Nina’s Morning Skin And Hair Routine… Exposed!

Name: Nina

Age: 35

Hometown: Berkeley, CA

Current weather: cool, sunny and dry

Hair: shoulder length, wavy at the ends, fine and thin

[Note: Nina forgot to include her icon from the past so we went with another Nina.]

Skin: I am a brown girl. I joke that I tan in the shade.  I never burn.  Before I had a baby and for the last 10 years or so, I have had clear sensitive skin, with occasional pimples.  In my teenage years I had horrible skin and I took medication to alleviate the problem, which didn’t actually help. And then in my twenties my skin some how worked itself out — I didn’t do anything special.  However as we all know, pimples are only one part of the problem.  There are the after effects of scarring and pigmentation, which I do suffer from, but it’s amazing what time does!  They fade and I was finally in a great place about my skin.

Then my old skin roared back after I gave birth.  Not immediately but may be six to eight weeks post partum.  At around this time, I had the Mirena put in and then I broke out like it was no one’s business.  Two months later I had that darn thing removed though a doctor suggested prescribing a low dose estrogen patch.  No way! Take it out.  My skin is not as clear as pre-baby skin but I hope that my skin returns to its former self once I have weaned my baby.  Apparently breastfeeding suppresses estrogen production which means more testosterone is floating around (since there is less estrogen to bind to it).
In any case, I really enjoy reading this blog, learning about a variety of routines and products. However, I was the one wondering if only/mostly 20 somethings get to post.  Where is the working women in her 30s or moms (either working or not)?!

Reading these vignettes made me think of the 2007 New York Times article The Cosmetics Restriction Diet by Natasha Singer about skin-care minimalism.  Can one over do it, even with clean products?

Before I started a family, I had a simple routine.  I have wondered if I am missing out when I read what others use but if it’s mostly working than why change, right?  Now I really appreciate my routine though at times I can’t complete it!

I no longer have the time to research products and companies.  I dislike spending gobs of money on products without actually knowing if they will work.  Now I only purchase products if I can purchase a trial size and then I don’t feel robbed if something does not work.

I wish more companies selling pricier products would offer trial sizes for sale.  Hint: I would love to try the Marie Veronique line but no individual samples for sale, just travel kits.

Some of my clean routine began back in 2003 or 2004, when emerging from the throes of graduate school, I noticed that my face cheeks were tingly, red and sensitive in the AM, after applying a cult favorite, Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion (score of 4 on the EWG’s Skin Deep website).  I had ignorantly assumed that this popular product couldn’t be why my face was red but it was indeed the reason.  So I threw the lotion out and immediately noticed a difference.  Not long after I suspected I had rosacea which was then confirmed in a five minute appointment by a dermatologist I had waited one month to see who then subsequently prescribed me a topical antibiotic.  After a bit of research suggesting that long term use could make me addicted to this medication and make my condition worse, I never had the prescription filled and I also no longer see this dermatologist.

This incident led me to use even fewer face and body products.  I don’t think I have rosacea.  I used a product that damaged the skin which leaves it red.  Subsequently, most products even those labeled sensitive skin make my skin red so I am very particular about what I put on my face.  It can take me months to purchase products but with trial sizes I am much more game.

In the Shower

I have a 9.5 month old and while she’s a gem of a baby, I don’t shower for as long as I used to though I am sure my dermatologist is happy (apparently shorter and less frequent showering is helpful to the skin).  I miss my long daily shower — it was my vice.  Since 2010, for my hair, I use baking soda shampoo.  I mix 1.5 tsps of baking soda to 1 cup water.  When I first tried this, I used 1 T to 1 cup and it made my hair dry and brittle.  I also use apple cider vinegar conditioner.  I mix 2 T ACV to 1 cup water.  In the last month I discovered that I had been using the wrong proportion (1 T instead of 2) and now my hair is much more manageable.  When I was using 1 T ACV I had to periodically apply oil on my hair before showering but now I can skip the oil which even after rinsing left my hair limp.  And now I can wash every three days without washing (so if I wash on Monday then I wash again on Thursday).  My husband also loves these shampoos and conditioners.  In fact, his hair dresser loves his hair and says it is strong.  My hair is soft, shiny and tends to be frizz free.

As an aside, I was able to figure out the homemade shampoo and conditioner stuff when I was laid off from my job a few years ago.  So I was then able to try this out and not wash my hair for a week, something I could never do when I worked.  Prior to this,  I washed my hair every day.

I would like to use a product to give my fine hair texture but find that most weigh my hair down.  Any recommendations (I will only try products that offer trial samples for sale)?

On my body, I use either a glycerin soap or Whole Foods Market Triple Milled Organic Soap.  I previously used the latter on my face and it was a little drying.  I recently switched over to Evan Healy’s Blue Lavender Cleansing Milk. Thank you EH for offering trial sizes for purchase!

Outside the Shower

In a previous life I used Aveeno body lotion and noticed that if I missed a day, my legs would crack.  After a week of non-use, my legs were no longer cracked.  My body had been addicted and was now re-regulating.  I now use jojoba oil that I fragrance with lavender essential oil (1 ounce jojoba oil with 5 drops of lavender essential oil).  I use this all over my body.

For my face (and also my neck and decolletage), I use aloe vera juice (the drinkable kind) toner/hydrosol.   After a lot of reading and research, I purchased the 32 ounce bottle of aloe vera juice at Whole Wallet ($9) and a two ounce glass spray bottle (perfect for planes and travel).  I had no idea that something as simple as this juice could be so moisturizing!  The oil I apply on my face afterwards goes on so much better!  I also spray aloe vera on my hair, after towel drying.  I haven’t owned a brush in years — I usually comb my hair in the shower with a wide toothed comb.

I previously used organic jojoba oil but now use Evan Healy’s Rosehip Treatment Facial Serum (Blue) and I love it.  My skin is smoother and does not look as good if I skip these steps.

I then apply Skinceuticals Ultimate UV SPF 30 Sunscreen.  This is the least clean product I use, a 3 on the Skin Deep website.  I’ve been using this product since I learned about my “rosacea” and I love it.  It’s creamy, moisturizing and if I apply it right after a shower, I don’t get the whitish tinge, and I’m a brown girl.  I wish it were cleaner but it works.

Anyone have recommendations for sunscreen product (where I can buy a trial)?  I have tried John Master’s but the smell annoyed me and I also didn’t like the texture.  I spent $30 and threw out the whole bottle.

I repeat the face, neck and decolletage stuff at at night, minus the sunscreen.

Finishing Touches

I use Soapwalla Deoderant.  I also wear a perfumed lavender oil.  I use 1/4 ounce jojoba oil and 25-30 drops of lavender essential oil. I also love grapefruit essential oil.  When I purchase the raw ingredients, I save money. Plus, it’s fun!  You know how some people have a scent whether it be their perfume, shampoo etc?  You get a little wiff and you know exactly who it is (and I’m not talking about the overpowering scent, just the scent that makes you know someone), well I don’t have a scent though I wish I did.  I’ve tried different unclean and clean perfumes, and my skin just does not hold a scent very long.  I suppose smelling clean is better than having a bad odor!

On my lips I use Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer in plum but I suspect it’s what causing small pimples on m lip line.  For $5 to $6, you can’t go wrong.  I will be trying out W3LL lip and other face products since they sell samples for a $1.50 which means you can try lots of items without making a financial commitment.

I don’t wear make up — the last time I wore make up with regularity was in high school, and here and there I would purchase a mineral powder.  I see other women wearing a mascara or a little shadow and think wouldn’t that be fun or wouldn’t I look better!  Now I don’t have the time to experiment much less shower and eat on most days. And when I have down time, I sleep which is probably what I need more of for my complexion, and emotional and physical well being than anything else.

Nutritionally, I take a multivitamin, lecithin (to help plugged ducts due to breastfeeding), and I eat 1 T of rosehips c/s per day. Rosehips is high in vitamin c.  I soak a bunch of rosehips c/s in water and keep in the fridge.  It’s tart and tangy, easy to add into a smoothie if you don’t like it straight.

And now that I have baby, I keep it clean for her too.

I wrote a lot.  Thanks for reading. In sum:

Face, neck, decolletage: Evan Healy Blue Lavendar Cleansing Milk, aloe vera juice, Evan Healy Blue Rosehip Serum, Skinceuticals sunscreen
Body: Either glycerin bar or Whole Wallet Triple Milled Organic Soap, fragranced jojoba oil, Soapwalla deoderent
Hair:  Baking soda shampoo, ACV conditioner, aloe vera juice
Makeup: none except for Burt’s Bees lip shimmer

12 Responses to “Nina’s Morning Skin And Hair Routine… Exposed!”
  1. Emma B says:

    I think that routine has already been posted before…

  2. Amy says:

    I loved reading this again, but by the third paragraph I pretty much realized that I’d seen this somewhere before! Where?! Here! On January 20th!!

  3. cb says:

    wonderful post, love love Nina Simone

  4. Tori says:

    Has any one else used aloe vera juice topically? I’m intrigued….

  5. Lola says:

    Love it Nina! I’m a Berkeley girl too (age 36) with a baby (still a baby at 19 months?) and I liked a lot of your routine.
    I think there are plenty of working moms here..but true it has shifted my priorities and I have less time to diddle with products.

  6. Lauren says:

    Loved reading this! I’m a 33 year old working mom with a 13 month old baby, so I completely relate to a lot of what was written. Thank you for sharing!

  7. Sloane says:

    Yes, us 30-somethings are out here! Trying to figure out how to be moms, how to feel fabulous, and how to keep it clean. Thanks for sharing your routine.

  8. Sydney says:

    @Amy Haha I totally did a double take too!

    @Tori I’ve used aloe vera juice in my hair before as a styling spray for my curls but I much prefer aloe vera gel. It’s actually pretty watery in consistency but still has a gel-like feel to it. I’ve found that it smooths down my frizzies without crunch, leaves my hair mega soft, and best of all-doesn’t leave my hair feeling or looking like I just doused it in product! But I especially love it for my skin…I pour a little into my palm and mix a couple drops of hazelnut oil into it and apply all over my face at night. It softens my skin, decreases redness, and my once mega oily skin is finally under control. I’ve also started applying pure aloe vera gel as an eye cream and my eyes have never been more plump (If that makes sense lol) and any sign of dehydration is gone. I would really recommend you trying it!

  9. Siobhan says:

    Nina’s so nice we did it twice!

    JK. It was an accident, but enjoy her, people!!!

  10. Silvy says:

    I have used aloe vera topically, and I love it! This toner is probably my favorite:
    Keeps my skin clear and lovely.

  11. Nina says:

    Hi Everyone, thanks for reading twice! This is embarrassing — I never saw my post the first time around! That’s life with a young one! I saw a few questions had been posted from January and I want to answer now.

    @ Jenni — I went cold turkey with the Aveeno. My skin cracked but then resettled and took care of itself. After that, I started using oils.

    @ Elizabeth and GG — I use rosehips solely for Vitamin C since it’s my understanding that it has the highest concentration of naturally occurring Vit C. I find that I don’t get sick but then that could be my constitution since I was not sickly before I started on rosehips. Sadly, I am not sure what the c/s refers to but I wrote it in because it is what I purchase. I believe it could refer to seedless rosehips. Not all rosehips are seedless and there are rosehips w. and rosehips p.

    Thanks again!

  12. Ivana says:

    Great overview! I enjoyed reading this. For a clean sunscreen, try DeVita Moisturizing Sunscreen, by far the best clean one I’ve tried.

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