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The stress of the pandemic definitely sped up the the physical aging process for me. I went from having a lone, stark white hair, to now having several pieces of tinsel scattered throughout. The sprinkling of salt doesn’t really bother me, and I actually look forward to seeing how my hair changes my appearance as I age. Will I have that stately, elegant, sleek white updo? Will I have the soft, peppery bob? No idea.

What has tweaked my ego though, were the 11s that were starting to dig in between my brows. Not deep, not sharp, more like the gentle indentations left behind by low tide. Even so, I didn’t like them. Luckily, my dermatologist, the one I see on the regular for an annual skin check, she’s also versed in all things anti-aging. So we discussed cosmetic injections, and I opted to try Xeomin, which is basically a purified version of Botox. Unlike fillers, it just prevents your muscles from frowning, so the skin no longer moves into the 11 position, and as it relaxes, it smoothes out again. I’ve done it twice now, about once every three months, and I couldn’t be happier. I just do it on the forehead, as I don’t mind lines around my eyes or lips, it’s just the 11s that get me really. Here’s a before and after, with me frowning as hard as I can in both pictures.

Beyond that, I really do value my appearance. Part of it is vanity, and part of it is because I teach, and I believe that looking presentable and approachable helps keep students engaged. If you look good and smell good, people are simply more likely to want to converse with you.

Probably the very best thing I do for my skin, is that I primarily drink water throughout the day. I shoot for 80oz a day, and I definitely use water enhancers to get me there. I use Mio, Liquid IV, whatever I’m in the mood for. I also use a Hidrate bottle because I’m a data junkie. It tracks how many ounces of water I drink, and pops that info into my Samsung health app.

For cleanser, I’m currently using the Olay Regenreist Detoxifying Pore Scrub Facial Cleanser. It’s fine. A friend recommended it to me. I think I prefer a gel cleanser or something more moisturizing. I’m still on the hunt for a new cleanser.

After washing, I follow-up with the Olay Hyaluronic + Peptide 24 Serum with a couple drops of Earth Harbor Marina biome brightening ampoule with spiruline and blue tansy. This combo has been amazing and I’ve definitely noticed a reduction in the redness around my cheeks and nose, and a more even skin tone.

After that, moisturizer. This flips around depending on my mood, and I’ll definitely spend money on moisturizer. Favorites are Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream, Tatcha Dewy Skin Cream, and La Roche Posay Toleraine Double Repair Moisturizer with SPF. The latter one my dermatologist turned me onto, the same dermatologist that helped me with my 11s. If I’m using the Magic Cream or the Tatcha, I’ll also add SPF on top.

At night, before I go to bed, I’ll wash my face again and use a night moisturizer. I alternate between my two holy grails, Dr Brandt Hydro Biotic recovery sleeping mask (basically just a deep moisturizer, you don’t need to wash it off) and CosRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin. Both of these have been in rotation for at least five years, probably longer, and I’ve repurchased multiple times. These are the two items, in addition to chugging water, that probably made the most difference in the texture and appearance of my skin.

Anyway, let me know if you have any recommendations for cleansers, toners, or anything else!


Distracted, working mom seeking short escapes from a hectic life via quick crafts and fast food. Sure, she could meditate, after she cleans the house.

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