Five Beauty Habits for My 36th Birthday

May 29, 2018

Today, I turn 36-years-old.  I started this blog when I was 26.  Boy, has a lot changed since then.  Leisurely masks that took 20-minutes to work, have given way to 1-minute flash facials.  Here are some beauty habits that I plan to get back to or start this year.

Taking Care of The Rest of My Skin. For years, I was religious about moisturizing every day.  Recently, skipping my body lotion has become an every day thing.  And the slightly crepey skin on my calves is showing it.  So I’m digging out my industrial sized bottle of Kiehl’s Creme de Corps (purchased during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale) and putting next to my shower so I don’t miss a day.

My heels will also be getting a regular coat of O’Keefe’s to correct the dry callouses on my heels.  This electric nail file removes the worst areas to allow the lotion to penetrate deeply.

Adding to Collagen My Diet.  As you age, your body produces less collagen.  There is some scholarship to suggest that consuming more collagen could help replace some of the losses.  I purchased some of Vital Proteins marine collagen to add to my daily smoothies.  Will it help?  Perhaps, perhaps not.  But this falls into the harmless and worth a shot category of the beauty world.

Need a cheaper option?  Try Zint’s hydrolyzed collagen powder.

Tackling my Acne Scarring Head On. It is the bane of my existence.  Twenty-years worth of acne has left behind a field of pitted and scarred skin.  And the older I get, the more easily it scars and the more noticeable it becomes.

It really shouldn’t be possible to have acne and grey hair at the same time.  So I’ve decided to give my new at home regimen six months to produce some results.  If it doesn’t, I’m saving up for a pricey laser treatment that I consider the nuclear option.

First, use my GloPro micro-roller as much as possible to stimulate my skin’s natural healing.  Second, apply Nurse Jaime’s serum and silicone face mask.  Third, use my new PMD Clean to massage my face and stimulate circulation.

Why the silicone face mask?  Silicone scar healing is one of the new revolutions in the beauty world.  The idea is that a piece of silicone sheeting can speed healing by keeping the skin moisturized and promoting collagen production.  In addition to the face mask, you can also find silicone sheets to minimize wrinkles on your décolletage and stretch marks from growth or pregnancy.

Caring for My Hands. It was 1:00AM.  I was up, writing a blog post, when I saw them: wrinkles forming at the base of my hands, near my wrists.  Sadly, our hands show our age even when our faces don’t.  So what do you do?

For starters, I’m using serums and creams on my hands.  It’s simple, just rub any excess from your face into the skin on your hands.  Then, I’m applying SPF to my hands daily, just like I apply it to my face.  I keep the Supergoop travel size in my purse, and apply their makeup setting mist to my face.

Whitening My Teeth.  If there is one part of my beauty regimen that I have completely let go, it is my teeth. White?  Not so much.  Luckily, there are about one-zillion products out there to help me get that megawatt smile.

I already use a whitening tooth paste from Sensodyne Pronamel.  It works well, but, in my view, your toothpaste is just there to prevent the problem from getting worse.  I also have the Phillips Sonicare toothbrush, which has really improved my gum health.  To this routine, I’m adding good old, reliable Crest Whitestrips.

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  1. Mary G. says:

    Happy Birthday, Abra!!

  2. Monica T says:

    Happy Birthday! Yes yes I feel you. I turn 37 later this year, and I don’t know why I have to have hormonal acne AND wrinkles. Another funny thing about aging is that makeup looks worse on me than just going bare since it seems to settle in to my lines and pores more now. I’m focusing on skincare and you’ve inspired me to whiten my teeth too.

  3. Christine says:

    Happy birthday! I’m turning 40 in 3 weeks and have taken a similar approach to finally taking care of my skin. But I also decided to ramp up my exercise regimen and I completed a half marathon just to see if I could do it and to get some more stamina in my rapidly aging body.

  4. Pompom says:

    Birthday twins! Have a wonderful day! Thank you for sharing your gifts with us!

  5. Sarah says:

    HBD! I started using Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides about 6 months ago and I have been pleasantly surprised. I am a skeptic by nature, but gave them a chance. I used them for 3 months, took a month off and noticed some aches and pains coming back. A day later, I realized it had to be the peptides as that was the only thing that changed. So I am back on them for the past two months and no aches and pains. I also use the treatment for my face (which I have hormonal acne thanks to PCOS) on my hands and I think it is working. I always feel like someone can have a young face, but their hands tell their true age. Your blog is the best!

  6. M says:

    I did a series of Clear + Brilliant sessions a few years ago to tackle my scarring and it was easily some of the best beauty money I have spent. Was it a 100% fix-all? No, but it really helped and delivered immediate noticeable results that years of pricey at-home attempts did not. Highly recommend.

    • Belle says:

      That’s the laser I’ve been looking at, do you have before an afters? Because the one they have on the site is a pretty dramatic change, and I’m not sure I can trust it. Also, how was downtime?

  7. M says:

    and happy birthday!

  8. Sarah says:

    Happy birthday Abra! Wishing you the very best in this next year 🙂

  9. Mary says:

    Happy birthday, Abra!

  10. Jules says:

    Happy birthday!
    I’m heading into my mid thirties and my Bday is coming up and made the decision to go for Botox to treat myself. My “elevens” makes me look like I am perpetually scowling. (not a great look)

    I’ve been noticing my hand wrinkles too 🙁 You reminded me to lotion it up just now.) I need to start buying sunblock in bucket sizes. I also need to work on whitening my teeth.

  11. Monica T says:

    reply function still isn’t working for me!


    It was actually a comment by a reader on this blog that made me decide to do the same. I’m have a happy personality and I just hated the perma-scowl look, especially when I was really just focused (or honestly just sitting there..because age). What I realized once I got it done is, it’s just not that big of a deal. And it made me feel SO much better about how I looked. Not because I looked older without it, but because I looked ANGRY all the time. So much about aging gracefully is not about wanting to look like someone else, but wanting to look like “ourselves” for as long as possible.

  12. Mered says:

    Happy birthday, and thanks for all of your hard work on this blog! With regards to the daily body lotion, I purchased the Curel HydraTherapy lotion you recommended last week, and it is fantastic. A great choice if your skin needs moisture but you live in a humid climate where thick lotions are just too much. Appreciate you!

  13. Jules says:

    thanks for the encouragement! Yes – it’s not so much I look ‘older,’ but Pissed Off at the world 😛

  14. NANCY says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY. I read a LOT of blogs and yours is my favorite. I appreciate your honesty, common sense and hard work to keep this blog going.

  15. Catalina says:

    Happy birthday, Abra! You’re still my favourite blogger after all this time, mostly because of how real and relatable you seem 🙂

  16. Jen says:

    Happy birthday, Abra! I’ve been reading you for 6-7 years, and it’s been loads of fun and extremely informative! Just wanted to say that I’m 42 now, so don’t sweat the age stuff. I don’t look much different now than I did at 35 or 36.The real change for me has been my eyesight…reading glasses also became a necessity for most of my friends when we hit 40! But relax any aging anxiety…life keeps getting better at 40! Be diligent in your new beauty routine and don’t stress otherwise!

  17. Guest says:

    Happy birthday! In terms of treating acne scarring (which I have also been focused on for myself), I strongly suggest getting a consultation with a good plastic surgeon or dermatologist who has a lot of experience with skin lasers to see what your best options are. Also, if you are still actively breaking out a lot, that may need to be stabilized first (birth control plus spironolactone is commonly used and effective) before investing a lot of money into treating scarring.

    Clear+Brilliant is essentially baby Fraxel, and alone may not be enough to treat your skin, depending on the type and extent of your scarring (hence the importance of a consultation!). I have had several microneedling plus Clear+Brilliant treatments, which have worked well. This is a slow and expensive process, though, and I will probably need at least 1-2 more sessions. Note also this microneedling is not what you do at home; rather it is more “industrial strength” and actually pierces the skin to stimulate collagen growth (which in-home microneedling tools cannot do).

    The healing time is not bad at all, since this treatment does not apply heat to the skin. I generally get my treatments on Friday morning, work from home that Friday as needed, and hibernate over the weekend. My skin essentially looks like it has a strong sunburn, but in 2 days it is fine. Starting Monday you can cover any remaining redness with makeup. Good luck! I’m happy to answer any other questions you have.

  18. M says:

    @Belle re: Clear + Briliant:

    I don’t have any good before + afters, I should have taken some but I’ll take a look at my photos to see if I can find any good comparisons. I think you’re right to be skeptical of some of the promotional photos – it’s not as dramatic in my experience. I would highly recommend a consult with a dermo – mine was very frank. She was upfront about what my results would be, with the most dramatic impact being a shrinking of visible pores but some of my worst scarring patches unlikely to improve without a more serious laser. The downtime was super manageable. I would schedule my sessions for a Friday am, work from home that day, lay low all weekend and be fine for Monday. You won’t want to see anyone immediately after the treatment but the next 2-3 days you look slightly sunburned.

  19. Jennie says:

    Happy belated birthday! Hope you had a wonderful day!

    Thinking about sending you a more detailed email, but I’ve had several procedures to help improve the look of my acne scars and I can share my experience with all of them. I’ve had aggressive treatments like CO2 laser treatments, Fraxel laser treatments, injections, and then less invasive treatments like medical grade micro-needling and microdermabrasion facials. From everything I’ve learned, treatment depends on the type of acne scars you have, so I would recommend finding either a plastic surgeon, dermatologist, or aesthetician you trust and work with them on a treatment plan. Right now I decided to try a series of collagen induction therapy (micro-needling) treatments before my wedding in August and I am very happy with the results, minimal downtime and cost. The office I go to performs Clear & Brilliant treatments, but I assume it wasn’t offered to me because it wouldn’t improve my type of scars.

  20. Sabiha says:

    I really want to whiten my teeth too! But i’m somewhat scared.

    I love Kiehl’s Creme De Corps but like you need to remember to moisturise my body more often x

  21. Wanda says:

    Happy birthday! These are all great tips. I’m going to be 40 this summer so the situation is getting dire. I’ve been using the Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides religiously for the past 2 years or so. Every morning and evening in my tea. I started using it for joint pain and I believe it definitely helps me in that aspect. However, when I began using it I wasn’t aware of the beauty benefits. It wasn’t until I noticed big changes in my skin, hair and nails that I realized those benefits of Collagen Peptides. I feel like my skin has never looked better, my nails and hair are stronger and grow faster. I truly believe that if you use it regularly twice a day you’ll see positive benefits.

  22. K says:

    Happy Birthday! I’m a terrible flosser, so I bought the Waterpik on the suggestion of my dentist. It’s really intimidating and I honestly let it sit charging for two weeks before giving it a shot. I googled a How-To video and it’s honestly kind of entertaining to use once you get the hang of it. I’d definitely give it a shot for your dental hygiene regimen.

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