I am 49 But People Think I’m in my 30’s! Here are the Products I swear By!

calm black woman with sheet mask lying on bed and reading book


Pic of Cari J.


My mom and I used to discuss everything, and that goes tenfold on the topic of skincare. As she tells me, her carefully curated nine-step skincare routine has been years in the making, testing and recalibrating every step until finding that one formula that doesn’t break her out or exaggerate her hyperpigmentation. And, it seems to be working. At this point, she gets more compliments on her skin than I do, so I’ve come to learn to take her word for it when she raves about something new. After years of trial and error, my mom finally revealed the secret sauce behind her luminous skin. If you’re like me and can hear about skincare for days, keep scrolling ahead to see the full lists of products she swears by.

Step 1: Cleansing Balm

“I’m a big advocate of double cleansing–my face just doesn’t feel clean without it. I love how cleansing balms don’t dry out my skin, giving me a bare luminescent canvas for the next steps of my routine. I usually start with a cleansing balm or oil from either Eve Lom or Elemis, and just a tiny bit is all it takes to glide away the day’s makeup. The Eve Lom scent is probably my favorite skincare smell of all time.”

Eve Lom Cleanser ($24)

Step 2: “Deep” Cleanse

“The next part of my double cleanse: I add a bit to a small pool of water in my hand and gently smooth it onto my face with my fingertips. Although my daughter loves her PMD Clean Pro, I typically don’t use any tools or brushes to cleanse my face to minimize exposure to bacteria or germs. I find that when I do, I break out more easily. Once I’m done with this step my skin feels smooth and prepped for the rest of my routine.”

Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm ($64) Stabilized Rice Bran Enzyme Powder Face Wash and Scrub ($21) Tatcha The Rice Polish Foaming Enzyme Powder ($65)

Step 3: Mud Mask

“I use a mud mask about once or twice a week without fail. I know sheet masks are super popular, but I just can’t get over the wet, cold feeling of the serum on my face. Plus, you have to be pretty stationery with a sheet mask on your face, and I’m not that patient. The black Glam Glow is without a doubt my favorite, but I’ve started trying out this Hungarian Herbal Mud Treatment, and it has impressed me thus far. My skin feels so renewed and supple after using them.”

Glamglow Youthmud Glow Stimulating Treatment Mask ($60) Eminence Organic Skin Care Hungarian Herbal Mud Treatment ($46)

Step 4: Toner

“This is easily my favorite step of my entire routine. I first came across Erborian’s Liquid Lotion after borrowing it from my daughter, and needless to say after that, she never got it back. I consider it my secret weapon because this toner is super hydrating and leaves my skin glowy. Paula’s Choice Repairing Toner is another one I have on rotation– I splash a little into my hands (again I never use cotton pads!) and pat it into my skin. My face just soaks it up, leaving it moisturized with a luminosity that I can’t explain.”

Erborian Yuza Hydrating Liquid Lotion ($36)Paula’s Choice Resist Weightless Advanced Repairing Toner ($24)


Step 5: Essence

“Some people ask me if an essence is truly necessary after a toner, and I firmly believe so! I find that they restore a bit of glow in addition to added elasticity and moisture back into my face. It’s basically like giving your skin extra moisture sans the greasy feeling– I swear after I put these on, my skin is like butter. SK-II’s essence is really amazing, but I just couldn’t justify the price, so that lead me to Royal Fern and Clarin’s versions which I have now incorporated into my routine.”

Clarins Super Restorative Treatment Essence ($62) Royal Fern Phytoactive Skin Perfecting Essence ($85)

Step 6: Serum

“Until I started becoming obsessed with skincare, Vitamin C wasn’t really on my radar. Honestly, it wasn’t until Indya kind of forced me into using it that I discovered its usefulness. Sunday Riley’s CEO brightens and tightens my skin like nothing else, giving me a radiance that carries me until the next use. When I want to go the affordable route, Klairs Vitamin C gives good results too. I notice my pigmentation fades more evenly using this.”

Sunday Riley C.E.O. 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum ($85) Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Drop ($22)

Step 7: Eye Cream

“To be completely honest, I haven’t come across an eye cream that wows me yet. Out of all those I tried, this is the only one that I’ve noticed a difference after months of use. You can say I use an eye cream as a preventative measure to retain moisture within the delicate corners of my eyes.”

Lancôme Advanced Génifique Anti-Aging Eye Cream ($65)

Step 8: Moisturizer

“For me, this is a Holy Grail. It never fails to deliver continuous moisture to my face no matter if I’m in a blizzard or outside in 80-degree weather. It’s not sticky at all which is another plus.”

Clinique Moisture Surge 72-Hour Auto-Replenishing Hydrator ($57)

Step 9: Lip Treatments

“My biggest pet peeve is dry lips, so of course I have to have a balm that remedies that all day. The Laniege lip mask in berry is everything! It’s called a sleep mask but I use it anytime my lips need extra moisture and a hint of berry. As my backup, First Aid Beauty’s Lip Repair is a worthy runner up. They both help me keep dry lips at bay.”

First Aid Beauty First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Lip Therapy ($12)

Laneige Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask Berry ($25)

$10!! Face Junky Luminous Lip Gloss is a Vegan & cruelty-free, ultra shimmery lip gloss, for a radiant look that’s out of this world! Apply 1 coat for shimmery lips with a touch of color.


Clinique has been producing high quality, dermatologist-developed skin care products since 1968. … Today, Clinique produces a variety of different products to meet the needs of all skin types.

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