Skincare (A Superficial Post)

September 18, 2019

One of my goals for this month was to be consistent with skincare — especially at night. Because I’m going to be 40 next year (um, yay?) and the habit of going to bed without even washing my face — well, it’s probably time to upgrade from that.

Which doesn’t take much.

My skin issues include some redness, a couple of dark spots (I am considering laser at some point because these annoy me), and adult acne. Not all the time, but at particular hormonal points — nothing to add fury to a raging case of PMS like a super painful zit, AMIRIGHT?

(Note – I always had really good skin while pregnant! But that ship has now sailed.)

I am also kind of a minimalist and do not want to spend a long time on skincare. However, I have found that washing my face and applying a couple of products doesn’t take that long and does make me feel good. As a bonus, I have not seen any acne this month (yet) and feel like my skin looks a little bit more hydrated.

My current routine includes:

yes it’s a random assortment here!


Wash: Cerave hydrating facial cleanser – someone recommended this to me and it reminds me of an even gentler Cetaphil. I am not sure I will stay with it long-term though – it’s almost TOO gentle!

Hydration: Drunk Elephant duo – B-Hydra Hydration Serum + C-Firma Vitamin C Day Serum. I bought these as samples but the tiny vials have (surprisingly) lasted a month with daily use. I am debating whether to order regular sized versions.

Caudalie beauty elixir – an allover spritz. I LOVE the scent of this stuff.

Makeup: all I currently wear is Benefit Boi-ing Hydrating Concealer, a combo of Dior eyeshadows, Lancome definicils mascara, and sometimes lip color – either Dior lip glow, Clinique black honey, or my new favorite Kosas in Pulse. I am on the lookout for a sheer foundation-type product that is really really minimal. (I hate the look/feel of full coverage foundation.)


Cleanser: Same facial cleanser + eye makeup remover if needed (I like Lancome Bi-Facil)

Toner: Aesop B & Tea Toner

Moisture: Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Moisturizer (it’s hiding behind the Caudalie in the photo). I love this stuff – it’s so smooth and smells kind of like fresh cucumbers

I feel like I need an eye cream but have not invested yet.

There you go! Superficial but not too crazy 🙂 And all kind of experimental (ie I really have no idea what I’m doing, but I figured I’d share what I’ve liked recently anyway!).

pre-work glamour shot

What amazing products am I missing out on? Recs for a sheer tinted moisturizer with SPF for day? Eye cream must-haves? Let me know!


  • Reply Erika September 18, 2019 at 6:23 am

    Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Radiance – it’s the best. I often wear just this with a bit of concealer. Almost sheer but a little glow and somehow makes everything look smooth. It doesn’t have SPF so I put EltaMD 46 facial sunscreen on first.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 18, 2019 at 6:56 am

      I love EltaMD pure! Though I admit I only use it when I will be outside for any prolonged amount of time

      • Reply Sophia September 18, 2019 at 8:47 am

        I like the eltaMD tinted sunscreen. Very light and feels like im not wearing anything

  • Reply Kay September 18, 2019 at 6:45 am

    Also I find that cerave cleanser is MUCH better when it is the foaming version…i bought the type you have pictured and yes it really doesn’t seem to clean really.

    I am approaching fifty and on the hunt for a new concealer!!
    Anon in mass

  • Reply Liz September 18, 2019 at 7:03 am

    I do not like full coverage foundation either, so I’ve been using NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer for years and I love it. It has SPF 30 and a tube last for a long time.

  • Reply Rachel S September 18, 2019 at 7:21 am

    I’m loving all your daily posts! I’m going to be sad for October! Ha! I’ll be following this post to see everyone’s comments. I’ve somehow ventured into more coverage with foundation lately. I do think the NARS tinted moisturizer is pretty sheer but it feels kind of heavy and the color isn’t quite right on me. I used to wear Bare Minerals powder foundation and thought it was fairly light. Maybe I should go back?

    Semi-related comment/question: could you talk more about your morning routine for getting ready? I know you usually wake up early and plan, prep podcasts, run, etc, but what about the getting ready for the day part? Are your kids already up? I know no one has it all figured out, but I’m hoping for a new perspective to help me adjust. I love to get up early and workout or read, but then I barely have time to shower before my kids are up, let alone enough time to have breakfast or anything else. And then the whole morning feels frantic! Maybe this should be a Q&A for BOBW, I’d just love your input (or anyone who is reading comments!) 🙂

    • Reply KGC September 19, 2019 at 8:37 am

      I second the request for a morning routine overview! I definitely don’t have it all figured out (up at 4 to pump, meet running friends at 5, home around 6 to shower/get ready/nurse baby/help toddler…is there time for eating? Drying hair? My goal of out the door at 7 results in failure every time!). I know everyone has different stuff to do in the mornings but I’d love to hear other routines to figure out ways to modify mine!

  • Reply Liz B. September 18, 2019 at 7:36 am

    Ahhhh…superficial thngs! These BOBW episodes are so fun!

    I don’t like to spend too much time on skincare either, but I’m 43, so it’s become necessary. Here are my morning and nighttime routines and a few of my favorite products.


    Toner – Heritage Store Rose Petals Rosewater in a spray bottle does the trick for me. I shower at night, so I don’t wash my face in the morning. Rosewater refreshes my skin without being too drying.

    Moisturizer – bareMinerals Ageless Genius Firming and Wrinkle Smoothing Neck Cream (this stuff is AMAZING and cheap!)

    Eye cream – Roc Retional Correxion Eye Cream helps with crow’s feet, dark circles, and puffiness.

    Primer – I love Ulta’s Mattifying Face Primer. I have combination skin and my T-zone can get somewhat oily in the Texas heat/humidity. This not only keeps the oil controllable, but also blurs imperfections.

    Foundation – I have used Tarte Amazonian Clay Mineral Powder Foundation for years. Have you ever tried powder foundation? You control the coverage, and I’ve found it to be perfect for all Texas seasons.

    Contour/highlighter – My skin has a dark, olive tone and I have a round face, so I use contour and highlighting powder for definition. It takes seconds to apply, but I don’t think it’s necessary for every skin tone or face shape.

    Eyes/cheeks – I put minimal shadow on my eyes (one shade of sheer gold in the summer/spring, matte tan in the fall/winter), a hint of Rimmel brown eyeliner, and Mally Instantly Impactful Dramatic Lash Mascara. I love L’Oreal True Match Super-blendable Blush (cheap drugstore brands really can work well!).

    NYX Matte Finish Fini Mat Spray – I finish with this matte spray for once last layer of protection again oil!


    Makeup removal – I apply Garnier Clean Lotion Cleanser to my entire face and wipe it off with Simple Kind to Skin Facial Wipes.

    Face soap – I make my own! I mix lavender liquid castile soap, pumpkin seed oil, vitamin E oil, frankincense essential oil, grapeseed oil (as a preservative), and distilled water. I pour it into a foaming soap dispenser and voila…the best face soap I have ever used!

    Toner, moisturizer, and eye cream from above

    Both routines take less than 10 minutes!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 19, 2019 at 6:00 am

      I have not tried powder! It sounds intimidating 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Reply Marissa September 18, 2019 at 7:46 am

    Hi! I am close to your age & a Mom of 3 littles as well! If you are not using one, might I suggest a good exfoliator? This has made a really great difference in the texture & tone of my skin. I like 2 products from Eminence-the pumpkin peel (use once a week) & the monoi cleanser which is a daily exfoliator. These products smell heavenly & are truly a treat for me to use. For a lightweight tinted moisturizer, I’ve used the 100% pure line for years now. Not heavy on the face at all!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 19, 2019 at 6:02 am

      Eminence looks so fancy! They are only sold at spas? Love the idea of doing a spa facial someday but it’s not something I’ve tried yet 🙂

  • Reply Kate September 18, 2019 at 8:40 am

    Great post! I just turned 41 and my skin has never looked better. After a bout of pretty bad rosacea and some adult acne, I’ve found a minimalist process that really works well. I use CeraVe as well, but I also use their AM and PM mosturizer. My derm recommended it during the bad bouts of rosacea and I still love it. I started using a primer about a year ago. Specifically this one:

    IT.IS.MAGIC. I don’t do real foundation, just some loose powder, and I tell you… this primer makes your skin feel amazing. I think the hyaluronic acid in there has also really helped with the aging and general vibrance of my skin.

    I did add CeraVe’s vitamin C serum at night too. It’s all working nicely together. Doesn’t take long either – I don’t like too much time getting ready in morning or night.

    Found these “when” masks at costco and love them too:

    Love this post and all the great recs!

  • Reply Katherine September 18, 2019 at 8:57 am

    Beauty Counter has a tinted moisturizer that a few of my friends love. I use their moisturizing foundation for a little extra coverage but have found it ti be very light and sheer unlike other products I have used in the past.

  • Reply omdg September 18, 2019 at 9:03 am

    I like clinique cc cream for tinted moisturizer. I think it’s SPF 30 or some such. Available in a variety of shades. Which reminds me. Current shade is for summer (i.e. light tan). Need to get lightest shade for winter, since “light” is a bit dark for me in the winter and makes me look orange.

    I basically just wash my face twice a day with neutrogena (regular neutrogena, not one of the acne soaps). I use the night cream both day and night as a moisturizer. If I wear makeup, I apply it over the night cream.

    If I wear makeup I go with clinique eyeliner (the khol one you can smudge) and maybeline mascara (I’ve found all mascara’s are basically the same for me, it’s just about finding a nice brush). I also add blush. It seems to perk my face up quite a bit.

  • Reply Laura V. September 18, 2019 at 9:28 am

    I like the Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer

  • Reply Gillian September 18, 2019 at 9:46 am

    I have been using Nars tinted moisturizer for years and love it. Lately I have been on quest to fine one with minter sunscreen and I have finally settled on Bare Minerals. It is some minimal coverage and evening of skin tone, feels great and uses titanium oxide for SPF. It also comes in a bunch of shades which is not always true of tinted moisturizers.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 19, 2019 at 6:01 am

      This was also recommended by my college BFF the beauty guru and I am going to order 🙂

      • Reply Gillian September 19, 2019 at 10:06 am

        Hah! I just saw my typo. But I hope you like the Bare Minerals. Oh, for the acne, if a retinol product doesn’t get the job done a little dose of spironolactone may. I have had hormonal acne for forever. I went and saw a derm who recommended it and of course I as an Endo I was like duh! but it really does work.

  • Reply Christi September 18, 2019 at 9:55 am

    For the radar re a light foundation: Clinique has a makeup for workouts that has an spf 50 or something (I think it’s cliniquefit) and it’s the faintest moisturizing foundation I’ve found. I do not use it for working out (hah) but do love it for every day use.

  • Reply Beth @ Parent Lightly September 18, 2019 at 10:06 am

    Following this one because my skin routine is almost non-existent and, let’s face it, I’m 37 and can’t get away with that anymore. I have rosacea in the winter (woohoo) and when I drink too much wine (boo). My skin is sensitive and my husband is very sensitive to scents.

  • Reply Amanda September 18, 2019 at 10:06 am

    I love this color correcting cream and always buy the sample size because it lasts a long time. Definitely not a foundation, but great for evening out skin tone with SPF:

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 19, 2019 at 5:59 am

      ooh I’ve heard good things about IT cosmetics

      • Reply Brittnie October 8, 2019 at 10:33 pm

        YES! IT products are awesome. I really love their “confidence in an eye cream” and also their “bye bye foundation powder”.

        • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger October 9, 2019 at 6:23 am

          eye cream is now an essential for me. when did that happen!?

    • Reply Lori C September 19, 2019 at 11:18 am

      This is the one I use too! I use it as my foundation. Nice and light/sheer but really covers up my redness/freckle type spots! Also it’s very moisturizing so doesn’t look thick or caked on.

  • Reply Sara September 18, 2019 at 10:21 am

    Shisheido Benefiance eye cream! I have tried so many and that one is the best. If I travel and don’t bring it I really feel the difference. It is the only product I’m completely loyal to in my entire skin care routine (which includes either Elta MD lotion plus foundation or Elta MD tinted sunscreen thanks to your recommendation!).

  • Reply Parita September 18, 2019 at 10:27 am

    I switched over my entire skincare routine to Drunk Elephant a little over a year ago and have seen a DRAMATIC improvement in acne, texture, brightness, etc. I live in Chicago, and the winter months absolutely impact my skin in a not so great way, but DE product definitely helped minimize the dryness/skin conditions that comes with that season. I know it’s a good chunk of change to do this, but IM (personal) O, it’s 100% worth it.

    Also, on a separate but related note, I LOVE the W3LL People Tinted SPF. It’s not super sheer, but it’s not heavy like foundation either. I find that I can usually use just this as my base and be good to go. GREAT product.

  • Reply Jessie September 18, 2019 at 10:43 am

    Another vote for Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer! Even for ~fancy~ events I use it and just layer some poweder on top. It is great for every day and so so simple to apply.

  • Reply YS September 18, 2019 at 10:58 am

    I love Juice Beauty tinted moisturizer with spf 30. It provides minimal coverage but feels like nothing on my face. SPF and a Vitamin C creams are the must-haves, says my 70 year old auntie who looks like she is in her 50s, if that.

    I keep it pretty minimal, too. I don’t cleanse my face again in the morning because I’ve cleansed it at night, so in the morning, I just splash with cold water. I know you workout a lot in the morning, though, so that might not be an option. I’ve heard that dunking your face in ice-cold water is an instant pore tightener and great for the skin. I also do a weekly glycolic mask (brand: Acure, I think, in pumpkin “flavor”). I really think the keys are hydration, daily spf, vitamin C, and a good moisturizer. I have pretty good skin and am in my mid-40s but regularly get mistaken for being in the 30s.

  • Reply Rachel September 18, 2019 at 11:03 am

    Fellow mom physician here-I love the Laura mercier tinted moisturizer-have used it for 15+ years. It has spf in it, but since i live in California I also wear a moisturizer with sunscreen (cerave!) under it.
    Side note-love that purse! Would you be willing to share the brand?
    Thanks for a great blog-I never comment but look forward to all your posts. Love the podcast too!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 18, 2019 at 7:57 pm

      It’s by Lotuff. I love the brand! Small company in the northeast. Awesome customer service. I have 3 bags and a wallet from them now 😊

  • Reply Tierney September 18, 2019 at 11:03 am

    Adding to the treasure trove of comments:). I love Kosas face oil for daily “foundation”- 3 drops for light coverage that I don’t even feel. Although it goes on as an oil, it’s very matte when dry. There’s no SPF so I wear Coola mineral sunscreen underneath. Finally a new product for me is Kiehl’s cica-cream which has already done wonders for a rough spot that I’ve had for years on my left cheek. I love all the other recs and agree with many but I wanted to add my own faves!!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 19, 2019 at 5:58 am

      Ooh will look into the Kosas! Somehow this sounds appealing (I think you had me at ‘a few drops’)

  • Reply Danielle September 18, 2019 at 11:10 am

    I have the CereVe Hydrating Cleanser and their SA (Salicylic Acid) Cleanser. I choose between them depending on what my skin seems to need that day.

    As an adult, I’ve never found just one cleanser that suits my skin all month and all year long, so I’m fine with having the two. The Hydrating one gets more use in the Winter, but you definitely don’t deal with typical Winter weather!

  • Reply Eliz September 18, 2019 at 11:45 am

    Skinceuticals, hands down – CE Ferulic and some night routine. Also, microneedling at the derm!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 19, 2019 at 5:57 am

      Skinceuticals is what Lagliv swears by I think and her skin does look quite lovely 🙂

  • Reply Rebecca Swygert September 18, 2019 at 12:44 pm

    I really like the tarte BB tinted treatment primer. It’s like a tinted moisturizer/foundation. Not heavy or full coverage like foundation but a little more than just a moisturizer. I still wear cerevae moisturizer underneath it and tarte blush/bronzer mixed together but that’s it other than L’Oréal collagen mascara and benefit eyebrow gel! Perfect everyday face!

  • Reply Lee September 18, 2019 at 2:02 pm

    Posts and comments like these stress me out and make me feel like I’m doing it all wrong. 😉 I’m 45, and most nights I do some sort of skincare routine, but it’s very haphazard and a jumble of products. Mostly I use Aveeno cleansing and moisturizing products. What can I say, I’m cheap. Recently I stopped wanting to use anything with exfoliating beads, after reading about microplastics in the oceans. Sigh. So now I go with how my grandmother exfoliated — a washcloth (novel!) and Ivory soap! I do also have some Beautycounter products (bought from my friend, mostly to support her) and I like how they make me feel intellectually, but I don’t love how they cleanse. Their DewSkin Tinted Moisturizer is good, though.

    Basically, I have no idea and I hope just doing SOMETHING is helping in the long run.

  • Reply monica September 18, 2019 at 2:34 pm

    I LOVE:


    it is light, and works really well.

  • Reply Marci Gilbert September 18, 2019 at 2:59 pm

    Highly recommend @kathleenjenningsbeauty for all things beauty. She is a mom of 3 and retired lawyer who we know in real life and has a big beauty following. Why laser vs. a skin peel or hydroquinone for the brown spot? I have one but haven’t decided what to do about it.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 18, 2019 at 5:06 pm

      I said laser bc a friend had it done w a very good cosmetic dermatologist but if she suggested a different treatment I’d definitely go w that!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 19, 2019 at 5:56 am

      PS checked out her site and wow it’s interesting but overwhelming!!!

  • Reply Lily September 18, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    I love bare minerals tinted hydrating gel cream – ridiculous name but light weight, moisturizing and good SPF (and good price point) In winter or when in a rush I use it alone, in summer I try to layer another SPF

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns September 18, 2019 at 4:36 pm

    I have mostly switched over to Beauty Counter products. I like that their products don’t have any phthalates and other things that can be found in skincare/make up products. I could read the labels of everything I buy but instead decided to just go with BC since their products are free from all of that stuff! I really like their Dew tinted moisturizer. It’s very very light coverage. Probably my fave foundation type of product ever! I still use some bare mineral products for blush and eye shadow but will switch over to BC stuff when I run out of what I have on hand.

    I am using their skincare line for acne prone skin. Unfortunately my acne was AWFUL during pregnant and really bad since the first 8-12 weeks post partum. I wanted to put a bag over my head! So I am hoping I do better on BC products next time around. They are not cheap but I find i don’t have to use much of the products so I think/hope they will last a long time!

  • Reply CBS September 19, 2019 at 6:44 am

    I’ve been using The Ordinary retinol and vitamin C mostly because they wrote me a little am and pm routine and I like to follow directions. I’ve recently started using a cleansing balm which is so lovely, feels like a little ritual on my skin.

  • Reply Lori C September 19, 2019 at 8:00 am

    I have sensitive skin with some redness and I love It cosmetics CC 50 spf. It comes in a silver tube. It’s light and very moisturizing!

  • Reply Kim September 19, 2019 at 8:24 am

    If you are dealing with adult acne, I highly recommend Retin-A Micro. Your skin may go through a dry/flaky phase, but once you get past that it’s great.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 19, 2019 at 8:46 am

      My acne is so episodic! It’s like once a month, always in that RIGHT-BEFORE-MY-PERIOD time frame. Retin-A sounds like it would be strong! But I am going to try a retinol product . . .

  • Reply Melissa September 19, 2019 at 8:45 pm

    BareMinerals CC cream. Its a sheer, tinted moisturizer with sunscreen…very minimal but makes you GLOW like you just had a good workout. My fave!

  • Reply Tyra September 26, 2019 at 4:44 am

    I’m only just catching up on blog posts and I’m excited you wrote about this because I have actually been obsessed with skincare for the past month. Prior to this I did nothing, but my skin has improved dramatically getting a proper routine. I definitely think vitamin C, retinols and AHA/BHAs have made the biggest difference for me – but i’m being careful not to overdo it on the actives. This is my current routine:

    AM: rinse face with water, some mornings I use REN ready steady go toner (AHA/BHA toner). Mix asap super B and C serum together (similar to the DE that you’ve got). SPF 50 sunscreen every single day (Ultra Violette Queen Screen) with a squirt of drunk elephant D-bronzi. No makeup. 2-3 steps!

    PM: cleanse with Philosophy purity cleanser. (If you like the CeraVe but want to feel cleaner, maybe buy the Face Halos and clean with them after?). Then I rotate between a retinol (beaute pacifique super 3 cream but I want to try the drunk elephant one because I love the brand), chemical exfoliater (drunk elephant TLC, I also want to try Alpha-H Liquid Gold), and just a moisturiser (Sodashi). Again, it’s only a couple steps each night.

    There’s a podcast called You Beauty that you might enjoy. Some of it may not be relevant to you because they talk about some Aussie products but the episodes are only 17 min or so and they’re fun to listen to!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 26, 2019 at 6:46 am

      OOH!!! Love all of this. My Sephora box arrived and I am so happy to have a little ‘routine’. I also feel like perhaps my skin is starting to improve (though . . . I would like more improvement to be honest) and I enjoy the process of doing it. I ended up getting some Sunday Riley active products to try but may end up going back to DE 🙂

  • Reply Lori C December 25, 2019 at 6:57 pm

    Would love to hear an update on how the new products turned out!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger December 26, 2019 at 8:08 am

      oh good idea 🙂

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