The Beauty Routine

The irony of being asked for the secrets of my beauty routine is profound. While I am good at picking out clothing, I am hopeless with hair and make-up. Totally hopeless. Therefore, I have boiled hair and make-up down to the essentials. I hope you won’t be too disappointed.

Regarding hair, I can only offer this suggestion: It’s far better to rely on a cut than on styling and therefore it is worth spending some time discussing your hair with a stylist who understands your hair and can advise you on what cuts and shapes will flatter your face. Then, you can do as I do, and limit your hair-styling exertions to getting frequent haircuts and using a styling product to control frizz.
I’ve used Bumble & Bumble Curl Creme for years; it was re-formulated in 2016 and I actually like the new formulation better.
All that stands between me and a fright wig made of my own hair
Curl Creme is all that stands between me and a fright wig made of my own hair

So here is the daily routine.
After I shower (and usually after I dress — which may be a bad idea), I wash my face with a gentle cleanser: fresh (that’s the brand name, not an adjective) Soy Face Cleanser. I love this stuff. I imagine that the cleanser has scientifically verified chemical-molecular properties (perhaps positive ions?) that enable it to bond with grime and oil (could they be negative ions?) on my face and gently (scientifically, organically, and molecularly) remove them from my face.
This is probably fantasy,* supported by sketchy memories of high-school (and not Advanced Placement) organic chemistry.
I heart this stuff, whatever it is
I heart this stuff, whatever it is

The amount of actual product inside this shiny packaging would fill a mouse's teapot
Precious Cells? If by “precious” Lancome means “costly”, I guess that’s right; the amount of product inside this rich packaging would fill a mouse’s teapot
SO I slather the science-cleanser on my face, let it sit 30-60 seconds, and then use a paper towel that I have soaked with warm water (so that it’s warm and soft) to gently wipe the stuff off.
THEN I blot my face with a hand towel and then while my face is still damp I apply Lancome Absolue moisturizer.**
On top of this moisturizer, I dab and then blend in a small amount of Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF.

The Laura Mercier product comes in two formulations: regular and oil-free. The oil-free is difficult to spread — so I would only use it on top of another moisturizing product (as I do). Otherwise, you have to rub it in, and rubbing the face is verboten.
That’s it for face. Face done!
The rkdlfkafk;kf;k
No rubbing, no scrubbing, no tugging, no pulling

Wait! Wait! I forgot one thing.
MAC Pro Longwear is joined by a very tiny Santa
MAC Pro Longwear looked small and forlorn in its portrait alone; I have provided a tiny Santa for companionship
I tend to have dark circles under my eyes. I always have — even when I was a well-rested youngster. If they are particularly pronounced, I might use a little concealer. I dab a few light dots of MAC Pro Longwear Concealer on with a soft brush and blend them in with feathery strokes. Perfect coverage. But I don’t bother with this every day because the skin under one’s eyes is very delicate and I believe, in general, that it should be left alone.
Back to the routine routine.

Instrument of mild torture; very effective at getting results
Looks like instrument of torture but is not; unlike torture, this tool is actually very effective at getting desired results
Next: I curl my eyelashes and then apply dark brown mascara. I favor the Shu Uemura eyelash curler. Years ago, I would call the Shu Uemura store in Soho every year or so and have two curlers shipped to me . . . and then Shu Uemura stopped its U.S. operations. At the time, I wondered if it signaled a rupture in U.S.-Japanese relations (was the United States being sanctioned by Japan?) but it turns out that Shu Uemura is owned by L’Oreal and L’Oreal had decided to focus its U.S. marketing on other L’Oreal brands. But good news! You can now order Shu Uemura products on-line from Shu Uemura-USA.

I like two mascara products: Lancome Definicils and Clinique Lash Power Long-Wearing Formula. I wear dark brown rather than black because dark brown is more natural-looking.
Lastly, I put on lipstick, which keeps me from biting my lips — a terrible habit of mine.
I like big fat lip pencils, which I find much easier than tube lipstick to apply. My favorites are Trish McAvoy Essential Lip Pencils and NARS Satin and NARS Velvet Lip Pencils.
Trish McEvoy; I wear No. 10  Plum Brown
Trish McEvoy; I wear No. 10 Plum Brown
NARS; my favorite colors are Het Loo, Banshar, and Valkyrie which is inexplicably spelled Walkyrie
NARS; my favorite colors are Het Loo, Banshar, and Walkyrie

This whole “routine” takes less than five minutes.
Humble Pond's Cold Cream
Humble Pond’s Cold Cream
In the evening, I remove my mascara with Pond’s cold cream. If my face feels grimy — if I’ve been outside a lot, wearing sunscreen, or it’s really hot, I wash my face again with the Soy Cleanser and apply the Lancome moisturizer. That’s the whole beauty routine.

I bought some retinol product last year — Trish McEvoy Even Skin Vitamin C Cream — but am afraid of it because I heard that retinol creams sting. Perhaps this year I will throw this product away (for fear that active ingredient has gone bad), buy a new jar, and find the courage to use it. To new beginnings!
If anyone has any recommendations regarding retinol, night skin creams, or restorative products, I am keenly interested. Please share!
* Happy Birthday to The Photographer, even though he laughed at my scientific suppositions. He turns fifty-two today!

** Did my previous incarnation (Directrice 1916) despair when the word “moisturize” came into usage — as I shake my head every time I hear the word “incentivize”?

11 thoughts on “The Beauty Routine”

  1. Not disappointed! This is the virtual equivalent of getting to snoop around your bathroom. Thanks for the tour.

    I used retinol products years ago; they DID sting, especially when putting on the mandatory sunscreen in the morning, but my skin looked impressive.

  2. Hey, it’s my husband’s birthday today, too. Happy birthday to The Photographer.

    Your skin care routine, while appearing simple to my daughter, the onlooker, is complicated to me. Just don’t do what I did — run my products through EWG’s Skin Deep database — unless you have hours to spare and money to burn. It took me well over six months to find replacements for all the products I had to, in good conscience, get rid of!

  3. I LOVE Shu Uemura! They also have great facial cleansing oils and hair products, too. (The hair products are on a separate site, strangely.) The Directrice is lucky to be so naturally beautiful that she could walk around in a bathrobe with a towel on her head and still look elegant. And happy birthday to The Photographer!

  4. Dear Directrice, I can highly recommend Paula’s Choice products. She has a range of retinol products in differing strengths. They are reasonably priced, no excess packaging or BS. She also has excellent customer service, so you can return any product you are not happy with and receive a full refund. I use the lowest strength retinol every second night, and have had no tingling or irritation, and I have very sensitive skin.

    Best wishes to you and the Photographer for the new year,
    Your blog is always a joy!

  5. I have curly hair too and recently discovered the benefit of cutting hair while dry. Ask your hairdresser to give it a try.

    For face, I am very low maintenance and love Aveeno products. My dermatologist recommended their moisturizer for my very sensitive skin and have been using every since.

    For hair, I think Moroccan Oil products are fantastic or any good quality argan oil product will do.

    Does anyone have a lipstick recommendation for for very dry, sensitive lips?

    Happy New Year to all!

    • Also of significance is the shape/tension of one’s curls and where the cutting occurs, in relation to the shape of the curls. The mind boggles!

  6. I too place my trust in Paula’s Choice products. She has packaged a group of Anti-Aging products together that will positively make your skin sing! I am a hardcore fan of Trish McAvoy as well. Can’t beat her collection for fab color and super convenient packaging for us girls with WAY to much to do and too many places to be. Happy New Year Directrice! Looking forward to your next year of wonderful ideas.


Leave a Comment