Style by Joanie

Skin & Beauty Post

A reader emailed me a request to do a post on skincare which I thought was interesting because I feel like my approach to skin is almost non-existent. {editor’s note: this is a post by my sister, Joanie, from whom I get all my self-care inspiration! Enjoy-Rachael} Especially when you compare it to the current world of youtubers and bloggers who show their skin care cabinets packed to the gills with products. I felt under qualified to give tips but then I thought maybe it would be helpful to hear what a normal(ish) person is doing for their skin/hair/makeup routine and to talk about things like botox and aging. I feel like everyone has their little beauty secrets and I like knowing what works for people and the strange things they love. I like to keep things simple when it comes to beauty so that means anything I buy/keep around needs to pack a punch. I think that the idea of skincare can get wrapped into the idea of makeup, that they are one in the same, but for me, skincare is foundational and makeup is a far second. I’d much rather invest in a good face oil that keeps my skin feeling hydrated than in a foundation that covers my skin. I also think that our eyes might be used to seeing people made up, but I love a makeup less face. It feels so youthful. My sister and I definitely inherited my Mom’s sense of simplicity when it comes to these things. She taught us to wash our face with water, to put rubbing alcohol on a zit (which really works!) and that we didn’t need to shave above our knees.

When we were younger, she took us to have a makeup lesson where they showed us simple techniques for doing our own makeup and the less is more approach which I stand by today. One of the most important thing they taught was how to tell which colors look good on us, how to compliment our personal complexion and coloring. This is something that I still use and think about today, especially when it comes to clothing. Understanding our coloring and what makes your eye pop and your skin glow is a fun part of personal style and gives us an appreciation for our own specific combination of hair, skin, eyes.

My first memory of makeup (pre-makeup lesson mentioned above) is going to the Bobbie Brown counter at Woodland Mall in Grand Rapids, MI. I was browsing the products and they asked if I wanted my makeup done, I agreed and sat down. The only thing I really remember is that she told me that my foundation color was the second to the lightest they carry and that they name was “porcelain”. I can tell you that as an 8th grader, this was bad news. There are few things less cool than having porcelain skin which was why we were all hitting the tanning beds on the regular. Growing up, we all wanted to be tan which was not ideal for a very fair skinned Irish girl living in the Midwest where the sun doesn’t shine for 3 months straight. With age, I’ve grown to appreciate my very pale, freckled skin. I have freckles, lots and lots of them especially in the summer months. I’ve been told and taught how to cover them up but I actually love them.

The point being, is that the pressure to look a certain way isn’t something that comes with age, it’s something that comes with birth. The specific societal demands we feel around our beauty might change as we get older but the messaging is consistent, it is most desirable to look one way, youthful and glowing and we should do whatever it takes to stay that way. We can’t talk about skincare without talking about the ever increasing presence of cosmetic work, botox, fillers, etc. Aging skin is something that I’m coming to learn about, I look in the mirror and see more fine lines than I used to, most of my friends are getting botox or talking about getting it. And the truth is, the ones that are getting it, look amazing. Their skin is tight and glowing and I am not above wanting my skin to look radiant. It can feel hard to live in a city like Los Angeles where every 45 year old looks 25 because of the work of their demonologist. We have started to distort and misunderstand what it means when we say, “they look great for their age.” We don’t understand what age really looks like anymore. Our eyes have been tricked by what we’re seeing. And we all feel that pressure to look “great” as we age too, whether we know it or not. Acknowledging that pressure that’s on us is actually part of what helps us process it.

I am always all for everyone doing what feels right to them but understanding what we really want to do takes some digging. I think there is a fine line between doing something for ourselves and doing something because we feel like we need/have to, to stay young and desirable. It’s hard to push past the societal and internal pressures we feel. It takes pushing beyond the scary feeling of what if I get older and don’t get the work and I feel invisible? Or, what if all my friends do it and when we’re together I look older than all of them? Why not just do it now, when it’s available and it’s not too late? All of these are real questions and I don’t think it’s about doing or not the botox/fillers/cosmetic work. I think the most important part is doing what feels most honoring to you. And that can take some time to understand. I know it’s something I’m still working on.

For me personally, I have currently chosen to not get botox or any work/injections done on my face. There are two reasons for that, one is that I don’t like the idea of injecting anything into my body. I’m hesitant to take Tylenol so getting botox feels like it’s going against that strong personal feeling. And the second is that I have seen people who get work and how it has aged on them. These people are in their 60’s now and of course that means that they were getting work years ago and things have improved and gotten better. But there is a common thread with all of them and that is they all think they look like they haven’t had any work done. To the outside eye, anyone could tell in a moment that they’ve had work but because it’s been so many years and they see their face everyday, they don’t see it anymore. And somehow, that idea of losing sight of myself feels like the biggest deterrent. This isn’t to say that someday I won’t change my mind on the subject. And if I do, I’l be sure to let you know.

In the mean time, below are some makeup/beauty/hair products that I love and use.

#1. There are two things I put on automatic subscriptions and have never regretted. One was my razor with Billie and the other is tampons with Lola. Both were items that I would run out of/forget to replace and would end up making an inconvenient trip to the store or an expensive CVS. I have the least frequent re-stock option for Billie and that works for me because I’m a recreational shaver, aka, I don’t always do it.

#2. Dry brushing is one of my favorite ways to care for my skin. The sensation can feel intense at first but after a while you almost get addicted to it. I start at my toes and go in a circular motion up my body. I do it quickly once or twice a week before I shower and I find that my skin feels really soft and smooth. I don’t do this on my face.

#3. I work at a blog so we get a lot of skin care and I’ve tried many a mask that has been sent our way. For me, there are two standouts. #1. is the Tata Harper Clarifying mask I’ve been having more breakouts lately then I normally do (might be the junk food) and this mask works wonders. It’s expensive but I’ve had it for a year and still have some left. To me, this one is worth it because I see a noticeable difference right away. #2. This is from Leahlani. It smells so good you almost want to eat it. This is less for breakouts and more for when my skin feels tired and dry. I use it for a glow and it works.

#4. My husband and I share shower products which is interesting because we have very different hair but I like the idea of not having a cluttered shower and sharing means that we aren’t over-buying products and letting things go to waste. We both use and love this face cleaner. I don’t wash my face with it every day, if I’m not wearing makeup I mostly just splash water on it, but a couple times a week I’ll use it and I really like it. It makes your skin feel clean and fresh and never dries me out.

#5. I wish it wasn’t the case but the face oil from True Botanicals is the best thing for my skin. I hate how expensive it is and I’ve tried a lot of the cheaper ones but they don’t have the same results. I ask for one for my birthday and I buy one at their black friday sale and those two carry me through for a year. I don’t wear makeup most days so I want my skin to feel hydrated and plump with just being moisturized, no makeup needed. I put it on morning and night and really rub it in which is maybe not recommended but I like giving my face a good massage. I have tried many of their products and to me, this is one only one that it really worth the price. But that’s my personal opinion!

#6. The most intense beauty treatment I have ever done was microblading my eyebrows. My friend Kristie was about to launch her service and she offered to do them for free. It was too good of a deal to pass up and I ended up loving them. You can see the before and after here. It’s not something I can keep up because of the price but it made me a big believer in eyebrows. I now use Hour Glass Brow Gel and fill them in with Glossier Brow Flick.

#7. Saie Beauty is definitely my go-to for any makeup related products. I like their Slip Cover that has SPF in it and gives the slightest bit of coverage. And I also love their liquid blush. I don’t use them daily but they would be great daily go-to’s if you wanted a 30 second makeup routine to give you a little lift.

#8. Lipstick is tricky for me, they never end up staying on right and I worry that I have lipstick on my teeth and no one is telling me. When I got married, I wanted very natural makeup and I was worried about the lip. I wanted it to look pretty in photos but to still feel natural and like me. The makeup artist used “Boy” by Chanel and it has since been my go-to. It’s a beautiful flattering shade and I get a ton of compliments on it. It seems to have a bit of a cult following and for good reason.

#9. I’m not a big body lotion person. I know I should moisturize but it somehow falls low on my priority list. I recently got this Coco Rose Body Oil and have been throughly enjoying it. I put it on after a shower when my skin is damp. A little goes a long way, it glides on and makes my skin feel smooth.

#10. It might sound strange but I love my tongue scrapper. I’ve been using it for 5+ years and I have to use it every morning or it doesn’t feel right. I use it right when I wake up to scrape off all the gunk on your tongue from sleeping, rinse out my mouth and then drink coffee.

P.S. Here is a picture of my face, just as it is. I had to resist the urge to stand in the good light, to fix my unruly eyebrows and to moisturize so my fine lines are less visible. I thought, well I look tired, maybe I should take a picture tomorrow but it’s just a normal face, being normal no Paris filter included.

A face I know and love very dearly! Thank you Joanie!


  • Susie

    Thank you, Joanie! Being in no way a self care or beauty expert, I do appreciate those who can guide in this area. The routines and products online are truly dizzying. This post is simple, warm-spirited, and calming: just what I needed.

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