I come from a long line of very youthful-looking women. My mom, at age 59, has barely any crepe-y lines or wrinkles on her face. As far as I remember, she’s never had a dark circle in her life, even though she barely uses 2-3 skincare products, max. Last time I saw my sister (age 34–5 years my senior) for dinner, she came out wearing a pair of short-shorts and a backpack, and I was wearing an office-appropriate sheath and a trench coat, and I looked old enough to be her aunt.
Unfortunately, it seems I have a different set of genes than these two lucky dumplings when it comes to aging. I always suspected I lean on my dad’s side when it comes to physical appearance, and along with his height and super strength, I’ve also inherited dark circles that just won’t quit. *As long as I can remember*–or at least as far back as high school, I’ve had dark circles under my eyes. In college, the under-eye area even got distinct, drapery-like bagginess in addition to the darker color. Imagine the look of a valance curtain that hangs over the top of windows. It sounds extremely unattractive, and it really is.
Yet, I got through my mid-twenties without feeling a crushing insecurity or anything because a bit of concealer and decent lighting (or not looking at the mirror in bad lighting) minimized the problem. In fact, (ready for this?) I only started using eye cream exactly about a year ago, October 2015, at age 28. (Did a quick email search, and there it is, talking to Jen about my eye cream purchase).
I’d used Clinique Even Better Eye Cream once in college, and it had done nothing for me, so I had neglected using one altogether. But last fall was when I first started noticing a special dryness to the eye area. I bought Acure Eye Cream (chlorella & edelweiss stem cell), which unlike Clinique is cruelty-free, paraben-free, and vegan, and this hydrating (and quite affordable) cream really helped keep crepe-y fine lines at bay…for a while.
Fast forward about 3-4 months, I started experiencing tired eyes for real. I had a very exhausting stretch at work where I wasn’t sleeping more than 6 hours a night including on weekends, and my skin was aging very quickly. It was like I woke up one day, and my skin had decided “Oh yeah, she’s 29 after all…we kind of forgot to keep aging at a steady rate, let’s kick things up a notch.” Specifically, I was experiencing:
- Under-eyes: dark, baggy, fine lines. The trifecta from hell.
- Loss of glow, overall ashiness
- Laugh lines that appeared overnight
This was taken when I went back to campus in February. #nofilter Granted, I’d never slept so little for such a long stretch in my life, but…
I was putting a lot of money into figuring out a solution to this problem. I got monthly facials, which definitely helped, but the post-facial glow doesn’t last more than a weekend. Then I went on vacation, and couldn’t help but notice how old I look in my photos (ugh). It’s not like I can’t bear to look a day older than 22, but it just seemed to be happening too fast.
So after I came back, I consulted with our resident beauty guru, Mary, for a plan of attack. And I can’t believe how quickly and efficiently my skincare products are working together to repair my skin. Even though I’m not sleeping more, I wake up looking refreshed and youthful–rather than like a zombie!!
Without further ado, here’s exactly what I used. They’re all vegan, cruelty-free, and toxin-free–and I couldn’t be happier 🙂
1. Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum: I started using this in summertime, after Crystal swore that this was one of her secret weapons. Since Crystal has amazingly glow-y skin, I took her word for it, and boy am I glad I did. The serum contains Vitamin C (vital for collagen production–loss of collagen is what makes skin less elastic as well as thinner, which was a major problem for me); Hyaluronic Acid (plumps skin while softening–see why this ingredient is so important in our in-depth expose). I also love that the ingredients list is relatively short and filled with botanical substances. Sure, there are a few chemicals here and there–unless it’s completely oil-based, that’s inevitable. And I have figured out the hard way that some common base oils, such as jojoba, is anathema to my skin…so this hits the perfect balance between super scientific/functional and wholesome/botanical.
Effect on skin: My skin drinks this stuff up. It’s so hydrating and lightens dark spots and uneven tone considerably. I use this to do a DIY facial massage every morning and night, which boosts glow. Using my ring finger, I tap this all the way up to my lower waterline. Shockingly, I use this as my main moisturizing step in lieu of adding a heavy cream-based formula which can make me break out.
2. MyChelle Remarkable Retinal Serum: Mary recommended that I use Retinol to combat my issues–and I have to kick myself I waited two weeks before following through because this was THE KEY to all those issues. This contains patented IconicA® (Retinal), Ceramide3, and orange plant stem cells to promote healthy skin renewal. Basically, what Retinol does is help speed of skin cell turnover, which fixes wrinkles, fine lines, droopiness, dark spots, etc.
Effect on skin: When I was just using Mad Hippie and Acure under my eyes, the fine lines and bags just didn’t completely disappear. Surprisingly, I noticed the difference after tapping this baby on, THE NEXT MORNING. This is a “until death do us part” kind of product right here.
3. MyChelle Magnolia Fresh Eyes Eye Cream: Based on my success with Retinal Serum, I tried this eye cream (Acure was gone just at the same time). The blend of daisy, green tea, caffeine, green coffee extract, witch hazel, and black tea ferment sounds like a delicious afternoon tea right? All those help to decrease puffiness, dark circles, and fine lines.
Effect on skin: Caffeine extract’s ability to tighten and tone skin has been much touted, and caffeine is used in anti-cellulite creams. I just didn’t understand how well it would work on my super stubborn under-eyes…but the gel worked almost immediately. I couldn’t believe my eyes at not seeing drapey bags for the first time since my early teens. Geez.
4. Earth Kiss Millian Year Clay Facial Bamboo Sheet Mask: Contains Moroccan Rhassoul Clay and juniper to purify and revitalize. It’s also antioxidant, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory.
Effect on skin: For the past six weeks or so, I’ve been using about two of these a week. Nothing previously could convince me to do a mask 1x a week, let alone 2x a week, but the amazing hydration, glow, and revitalization (yes, really) that happens is enough to get me addicted to this. I’ve even told random strangers at Whole Foods (quite unnecessarily) how this is a miracle product and they should buy it.
I’m obviously over the moon about finding an anti-aging solution that works for me. As one of history’s most alluring women, Brigitte Bardot, once said, “Every age can be enchanting, provided you live within it.” While in agreement, I’m also tots okay with cheating a little 😉 and getting back a few years on my skin.
What are your “until death do us part” anti-aging products?
More in skincare: The Surprising Thing that Finally Cured My Hormonal Acne
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Photos: Peaceful Dumpling