Taking Care of My (Aging) Skin

joanna_goddard_yellow_wall

I’m always trying to figure out what my 36-year-old skin needs. We have recommended splurge-worthy products in the past, but many readers have asked for a more affordable regimen that still works really well. So when Olay asked if I wanted to come to their lab to get my skin analyzed, I gave them an enthusiastic (but nervous) yes. One morning, I got up at 4 a.m. and took a flight to the Olay lab in my native Midwest. What I found out surprised me…

shannon

At the lab, I met a team of scientists, and Shannon (above) showed me around. (She was really fun and made me think of the site This is What a Scientist Looks Like.) She took close-up pictures of my face with a special imaging machine, which compared my complexion to other women of the same age.

results

It was a trip! And the results were fascinating. Even though I stress about my wrinkles, the lines I have are actually normal for my age. (This was shocking to me!) Instead, the area of my skin I realized I need to pay more attention to is the overall tone and texture. I have sun spots and sun damage lurking underneath the surface.

Thankfully, Shannon explained that my issues can be helped — and even reversed — with the right approach. She also emphasized the importance of treating skin overnight. Before this, I didn’t always wash my face before bed (too tired!) but now I force myself to use a cleanser and moisturizer. Apparently it’s a crucial time to replenish and repair your skin.

olay-best-moisturizers

Ever since the trip, here’s the regimen I’ve been using:

Morning:

Luminous Brightening Cream Cleanser removes traces of dirt and makeup, while brightening up skin and smoothing out texture.

Luminous Tone Perfecting Treatment
I put this on twice a day to help fade the discoloration on my skin and smooth fine lines around my eyes.

Luminous Brightening and Protecting Lotion With SPF hydrates skin, offers sun protection and is designed to remove darkness, making my skin tone look brighter. (It also smells great.)

Night:

The cleanser and treatment again, and then…

Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream is a soft, rich anti-aging cream. The three big ingredients — Hyaluronic Acid, Amino-Peptides and Vitamin B3 — help repair skin overnight.

These products have been great, and a huge bonus is that it’s easy to find them at the drugstore. Thank you so much for the experience, Olay! I’m thrilled to have this skin regimen, and would totally recommend the brand.

(Top photo by Nicki Sebastian for Cup of Jo. This post is sponsored by Olay. Thank you so much for supporting the brands that support Cup of Jo.)

  1. Andrea says...

    I take all of your thoughtful advise and research seriously . Thank you for sharing your experience! I’m not adding under eye cream to my morning routine.

  2. Angela Wong says...

    I used Olay products in the past. I’m not sure what the ingredient listings are but have been turned on by a non-toxic, vegan, cruelty free, organic skin care line (luminanceskincare) as an alternative to a main stream skin care brands. I am in my late 30’s and recently had issues with sallow color skin, dark spots, tone and vibrancy. I started using the anti-oxidant spray and deep hydration moisturizer and saw a difference within a few short weeks. Amazing results! I couldn’t be happier.

  3. Ahh I’d be so nervous to have an analysis like that done! It would make me even more paranoid, lol. I get told I look young all the time so I guess that is good. I am starting to see fine lines around my eyes which is freaking me out a bit. I need to invest in a good eye cream. I use mostly Clinique products because of my sensitive skin. I’ve recently bought Fresh seaberry oil because the Canadian winters are so harsh on my dry and sensitive skin. It seems to be working pretty well (I use it at night). I also love the 3-step Ole Henriksen power peel, which I use once a week. Luckily I have always been in the habit of washing my face before bed and wearing sunscreen during the day. I think once you’re in a routine it’s just second nature.

  4. Kit says...

    Hey JO,

    Where did you get that awesome jumpsuit from and how can i get one?

  5. Amy says...

    My mum has always preached Olay, but skin is super sensitive (had eczema all my life) and I’ve found the Aussie brand Go To Skincare (http://www.gotoskincare.com/) to be perfect for my tricky skin sitch. Their Very Useful Facecream and Face Hero (face oil) is lightweight but still replenishes skin that is prone to drying out. I’m a bit biased as an aussie- but they are also cruelty free so it’s a win-win I guess. x

  6. saw your spread in People Magazine!!! Almost fell out of my chair! Congrats, you/it looks great!!! Such a pro! xoxo

  7. I have used that brightening cream cleanser for over a year now and LOVE it!!!

  8. Oh my I would love to get my skin analyzed! I’m so strict about my skincare but am wondering if I am focusing on the wrong thing as well (my wrinkles!) :)

  9. Véronique says...

    Have you ever considered DIY?
    I have done this recently with my kids. It is really easy! You only need to find a recipe that suits you and where to buy the ingredients. Once you have done this, the process of actually mixing the ingredients is very easy. The cream is really very nourishing, all natural products, you choose if you want to add essential oils for the smell, etc. You just need to know that the cream is to be stored in your fridge and user whithin 1-2 months. I am using a german recipe but I am sure you can find all info needed on the internet. (Sorry for any typo). All the best and am will be very excited to read if anybody does it or tried it

  10. Bianca says...

    I used to use Olay in my 20s and got on great. Then I decided to use products free of animal testing and they seriously wrecked my skin. Adult acne and scarring followed, and pigmentation too. I want to be good to the planet but am very afraid to use anything new. Any of them fragrance free and suitable for very sensitive and reactive skin? (That excludes Dr Hauska, Weleda, The Body Shop, Boots Botanics and Burts Bees).

    • Celeste says...

      I’ve had the same problem! I haven’t found a natural skincare product that I like as much as some of the drug store options. I’ve just started using water and a wash cloth and moisturizing with coconut oil but I would like something for a deep cleansing.

    • Connie says...

      Bianca, the Body Shop has an aloe vera line for sensitive skin that is completely fragrance free. You might want to check that out?

    • Andrea says...

      I have the same problem with finding natural products, especially after I started scanning my beloved drugstore products with EWG’s Skin Deep app! I’ve been using Kari Gran’s oil cleansing system (www.karigran.com) about once a week for a year and surprisingly (especially given my acne issues) my skin has never looked better. On nights I don’t use it I just splash warm water on my face. I’m sure there are a lot of other oil cleansing systems that are great – the basic principle is that a lot of cleansers strip your skin of its natural oils, causing a lot of problems that then have to be fixed with moisturizers, etc.

    • Look into Pai – both natural and very, very gentle. They specifically avoid irritants for people with heightened sensitivity, rosacea or the like.

    • Devon says...

      Try Taspen’s Organics. taspens.com
      They have great natural products. I’ve been using their cleanser/mask (in a clay form) for a while now along with their moisturizer and I love it!

    • Kerstin says...

      Try “Trilogy,” a beautiful organic brand based in New Zealand. My 16 yo daughter has seriously sensitive, reactive, inflammatory, acne-prone skin. After trying all the conventional treatments (including dermatological) and many OTC products, I convinced her to give Trilogy a try after discovering it at Whole Foods. She loves it and even better, her skin does, too! I ended up ordering a couple of additional products for her straight from New Zealand and they arrived quickly with nine days. Since then, I’ve discovered the entire product line is available from beautorium.com (and shipping is free for orders over $100). The products cost more, but they are gentle and effective. We are now in the process of purging all products from our home that score high on the Think Dirty app. (Love the way this app grades every ingredient in a product so that the consumer can make a conscious choice about whether they want to use products based on ingredients that rate high for carcinogenicity and reproductive/developmental toxicity.) I only wish well-established companies like Olay would clean up their product lines — all of the items listed score an eye-popping 9 or 10 on Think Dirty. Toxic isn’t beautiful.

  11. yael says...

    Just to say I don’t think your skin looks ‘aging’ at all – and I love your jumpsuit

  12. What great insights on my favourite skincare brand – Olay. I have been using Olay since I was 18 (now 25) and I’m thrilled how healthy and smooth my skin is. I always recommend starting a good skincare routine young – just like Christie Brinkley!!

    Nat Lewis
    Rocky Mountain Decals – Cute Wall Decals for kids, home and office!
    http://www.rockymountaindecals.ca

  13. susan says...

    My grandmother used Olay products and she was beautiful, I’ve been using their products for years with good results. A healthy lifestyle also is important…nothing can substitute for that. Thanks for a very interesting article!

  14. Ummm yeah, I’m seriously going out right now and getting these products. I’m 25 and already starting to see signs of aging, and totally freaking out! These products are a great starting point for me!

    http://www.smallestthing.com

  15. Allison says...

    For those of you interested in learning more about the harmful environmental impact of micro plastics like the ones used in Olay products, I urge you to check out the amazing work of 5 Gyres:
    http://www.5gyres.org/

  16. Theresa says...

    My Mom used Olay products all her adult life and at 70 her skin is amazing and she looks much younger. I wish I could get over the fact they are not on the animal cruelty free make up list. I am turning 43 this weekend and need to ramp up my skin care regimen!

    • Molly says...

      I hear you. I used Olay all the time as a teenager. My skin got wicked dry by chlorine during swim and water polo season. I just loved Olay. Then, as I got older I began using cruelty free products and I stopped using Olay. It´s hard to find a truly moisturizing, cruelty free product that will not break the bank.

    • Maren says...

      I use a lot of different things, but I love Josie Maran, Tarte, and for cleansers and basic moisturizers, I love CeraVe. It doesn’t look like it, but it’s not animal tested. It’s very clean, simple, non-irritating (dermatologist recommended), and cheap! It’s very similar to the popular Cetaphil products, but cruelty free. :-)

  17. DAWN says...

    FYI- THEY TEST ON ANIMALS.

  18. Alice says...

    Jo I must say, from those pictures you have amazing looking skin before the use of Olay! Like some of the other women though, I am concerned about the environmental impact of the skin care products I use and found myself about a year ago pledging to use products not tested on animals. This can be tricky however, as a lot of companies sell to China which requires products to be tested on animals. Anyhooow, to cut to the chase, I loved your post on comparing natural deodorants and I now actually wear one that was reviwed. Could this also be done for natural skincare? Maybe you already have? As an Australian mum of two, with plenty of sun touching these cheeks and under eyes, I know I could do with a skincare regime!

    • MJ says...

      i would love this too! the ingredients in products are super important to me but it’s tricky finding the right product…

    • Nahal says...

      I would also love this. I only use products that contain no animal products in the ingredients as well as support brands that do not test on animals.

    • D says...

      I recently went to a talk in Toronto by Kate Black, author of Magnifeco. It was eye opening and her book has a shopping guide in each chapter. It made me consider my purchasing decisions more, but some of the common brands she recommends include: the body shop nutriganics line, Dr.Hauschka, Tata Harper, The Honest Company…

      So important!

    • Rachel says...

      Try a website called nourished life. Its Australian and as their products are toxic free the vast majority, if not all are free from animal testing. And the bonus is they are toxic free, no nasties! I’m in Melbourne Australia. If your in the North of Melbourne there is also a great shop called Terra madre which is one of the cheapest organic stores in Australia, if not the cheapest. They also stock and sell a great range of skin care not tested on animals.
      Best of luck Rachel

    • I have an answer. Luminance Skincare from Cali: http://luminanceskincare.com/ For most of my adult life I’ve had terrible skin; and have gone through a host of unnatural and damaging treatments to try to rid myself of the problem. Until about 18 months ago a friend turned me onto Luminance. The products are all vegan (like me!) containing none of the nasty ingredients in most products. They cleared up my skin immediately! The intro gift box is perfect to get started with just the few essentials and only $35! I’d also recommend the papaya exfoliant mask (you’d never know it’s scrubbing off dead skin & dirt, it’s soooooo smooth) and their soaps/serums. And I swear I don’t work for them, just think their products are the answer you (may) be looking for.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you so much for these recommendations and smart points. xoxo

    • Anna says...

      Have you tried Go-To Skincare? My sister gave me a set for my birthday in March, and they’ve really made a difference in my skin. I especially love the exfoliating swipeys, the facial wash and the serum!

  19. Danielle says...

    Thanks for posting this. I have been using Olay for years and love it, but I’m thinking of switching my cleanser (I’ve been trying out different ones of late) and moisturizer. At 30, I’ve noticed a decent shift with my face then when I was in my 20’s.

    I tried Mary Kay and Avon stuff but it’s easier for me to go to a drugstore to pick out stuff.

    I like this post because it was a reminder, for me at least, to change up your products every so often; what you need for face changes every few years for sure.

  20. What a major difference skincare products and washing your face can do!
    Buttt…
    Where is this romper from?! I must have it.

    • Christina Trifonov says...

      It’s Ace & Jig :)

  21. I sometimes find I neglect my skin treatment regimen out of laziness or time constraints. With your new plan, are you more serious (or maybe you always were!) about setting aside time first thing each morning and right before you go to bed? I need to be more dedicated! What are your tips?

    http://lessthanaverageheight.com/

  22. Julie says...

    Yes to Follain! Seriously the girls in the shop totally helped me revamp my routine. There are so many harmful chemicals lurking in our beauty products — there’s a lot of ways to research like the Skin Deep app and EWG. Finding products that work AND aren’t causing harm has been so impactful for me.

  23. Lauren E. says...

    I wish I could have my skin analyzed, too. I’m one of those people who always thought they had sensitive skin, but now I’m reading that most people don’t. There are SO many products out there, it’s tough to know what to buy. My fiance actually just bought that Regenerist multi-sculpting cream (“I want to get rid of my forehead wrinkles before the wedding.” ooooh, men…) so maybe I’ll sneak some and give it a try.

  24. Sasha says...

    That cleanser (and many other exfoliating ones) has plastic microbeads in it, which end up in Lake Michigan and being consumed by fish. http://www.greatlakes.org/microbeads
    I hope someone from Olay reads this, and takes some action to remove microbeads from their products.

    • Bethanne says...

      Yes! I think a law recently passed in Michigan that products with plastic microbeads can not be sold or purchased. Would love to see more states take this stance to protect our fresh water.

    • YES. I live four blocks from the shore of Lake Superior and this is an issue we are all very aware of around here as well. There are so many natural alternatives to the plastic micro beads (rice, for one thing) so I really hope Olay will change their recipes to be more environmentally friendly. I personally only use biodegradable beauty products (especially now that I am pregnant), and they work awesome, smell awesome, and are so much safer for my body and the Earth.

    • I’d heard of this being a serious problem, but wasn’t aware of the specifics. Thanks for the link. As a long time customer (I use Olay lotion for sensitive skin), I am hoping the company cares enough to change that product, too.

  25. Your outfit in the first picture. So bomb.

  26. I would love to have my skin analyzed and use the perfect products to help my problem areas. I might try the night cream. Have a great weekend!

    Danielle
    http://www.spring2spring.com

  27. Lauren says...

    Jumpsuit and shoes on Jo: from where did they come, please to tell? :)

  28. Alyssa Leister says...

    I would love to have my skin analyzed. I had great skin until I was about 23 and ever since, I have a lot of redness, acne and super sensitivity. I’d LOVE to know what would help.

    I feel like this regimen that you’re doing would make my skin SO greasy, but I have such oily skin that I can use a harsh scrub in the morning and still be shiny by noon.

    • M says...

      Alyssa,

      The same thing happened to me! I tried everything…dermatologist, facials, drying out my acne, moisturizing it, etc and nothing worked.

      If you’ve exhausted all other options I’d suggest checking out Caroline Hiron’s website. She’s a skincare goddess! I’ve been following her routine of washing with a gentle balm or milk cleanser, toning, applying serums, and moisturizer. Two months later and my skin is the best it’s ever been. Also this video is a great resource! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3tRjufnWr8

    • Isabelle says...

      Alyssa,
      I second that,
      you should have a look at british facialist Caroline Hirons’ cheat sheets, she’s just brilliant, a real goddess, yes! She saved my skin
      :-)
      Isabelle

  29. Cynthia says...

    Your lipstick in the top photo looks great on you! It’s important to cleanse your skin at night and moisturize, because that’s when your skin renews itself. It’s also important to use spf daily and not smoke because smoking really ages your skin. When you find products which work for your skin, stick with them. Price is no indicator of quality. I use a locally made, natural facial soap, facial oil at night, and a weekly scrub made of lavender, powdered goat’s milk and oatmeal. My skin is sensitive, and many of the anti-aging products irritate my skin. I like Clinique’s Dramatically Different Gel Moisturizer because it’s light and oil-free, and the large bottle is economical. I also like the Burt’s Bee eye cream with royal jelly for daytime use, and City Block spf 40. My routine hasn’t changed much.

  30. Tanya says...

    Do you prefer Olay over True Nature Botanics?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Good question! They’re totally different and I use them in different ways. True Nature is all natural and so so good; and it’s definitely a splurge for those reasons. Olay is effective and totally affordable for everyday. Plus, they have a specific treatment for my texture/tone, which I need. Hope that helps!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      PS. I consider it part of my job to try lots of different products and report back. I’m lucky enough to get samples of many current products and can see which I like, feel “meh” about, and really don’t like. We have featured some splurge-y beauty products and many have also asked for affordable drugstore recommendations. Olay is definitely my top pick in this important category!

  31. Bethany says...

    I just started using Olay’s resurfacing scrub (it has a longer name, but I can’t remember it!) from the Regenerist line. I see a HUGE difference in my skin. I had a makeup artist recommend it to me as a good drugstore skin option and decided to go for it. I will definitely consider the micro sculpting cream–I’m 26, but my mom is always telling me that I should start with the anti-aging stuff soon.

  32. Kelly says...

    Hi Joanna! Just wondering did they re-image your skin at the end of the trial period? I would love to know whether the routine improved the pigmentation and texture that were identified as problem areas at the start

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i would have LOVED to do that!!!!! but we had to fly 2 hours to the lab, so we could only do that once. i would be so so curious to see.

  33. Jill says...

    I have been using the tone perfecting treatment for a year and my skin has never felt better (I don’t work for Olay or anything!). It has been the BEST for getting rid of dark spots.

  34. colleen says...

    I saw the giant ad in people magazine! Congratulations! Would much rather hear about your mug than see jessa digger on the cover, lol!

    • Leah says...

      Word.

  35. Kata says...

    I think we should be careful about promoting products that contain polyethylene microbeads.

    Tiny particles of plastic have been added to possibly thousands of personal care products sold around the world. These microbeads, hardly visible to the naked eye, flow straight from the bathroom drain into the sewer system. Wastewater treatment plants are not designed to filter out microbeads and that is the main reason why, ultimately, they contribute to the Plastic Soup swirling around the world’s oceans. Sea creatures absorb or eat microbeads. These microbeads are passed along the marine food chain. Since humans are ultimately at the top of this food chain, it is likely that we are also absorbing microbeads from the food we eat. Microbeads are not biodegradable and once they enter the marine environment, they are impossible to remove.

    • Nina says...

      Thanks so much for pointing this out !

    • Cecile says...

      Yes, thank you for pointing that out! I want good looking skin, but only support beauty products that are environment friendly.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you so much, kata! really appreciate this.

    • Jess says...

      I also appreciate you pointing this out — it’s one of the things I wouldn’t have been able to pick out of the long ingredient list. I’m at the age – like Joanna – where I need to start taking better care of my skin, and I’m also trying to be conscious of environmental and personal impacts of ingredients. So far I’ve had a good experience balancing those demands by shopping at Follain — shopfollain.com. I’ve fallen in total love (and I can’ t believe I’m saying this about a cleanser, nor do I have any conflicts of interest to declare ;)) with the Josh Rosebrook moisturizing cleanser — it’s 2-3x more expensive than the drugstore equivalent but I feel good about its skin benefits and ingredient list .

    • Lauren says...

      Wow, thank you so much for sharing and making me aware of this issue.

    • Lana says...

      Yes! Bravo for pointing that out. Let’s worry less about wrinkles and more about taking care of our planet. There are many affordable skincare products that are less intrusive on us, (our skin is our biggest organ and absorbs everything ee slather onto it!) and the earth. On a lighter note: great lipstick color, Joanna!

    • Yes, totally!
      I’m a big fan of Burt’s Bees Peach & Willowbark face scrub. The product works great and it’s much friendlier for the environment.

  36. Clare says...

    I really like Olay products, it’s always good to have an affordable alternative to the fancy anti-aging creams. But MORE importantly – tell me about that jumpsuit in the photo!! Adorable.

  37. kelly says...

    i would LOVE to have my skin analyzed like this! i feel like i’m always guessing at what i need when i buy products. but on the other hand, i’ve been using the Olay regenerist overnight mask for the last week and i’ve gotten two separate compliments about my “great” skin. so, i’m sold on olay.

  38. CandaceJ says...

    A friend and I were totally talking just this week about how our skin in our 30s is different from our skin in our 20s. Those pesky under-eye circles seem to be getting more pronounced by the day. So important to protect your skin and it’s never too early to start!