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Skincare & Make-up Routine

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Sarah Kuszelewicz Photography

When I first moved to New York and things were finally starting to settle in, my skin really took a turn…as in lots of breakouts that could not be contained. Hi, I’m Lauren and I’m 32 with ridiculous amount of acne. Hi, Lauren!

I have a few hormonal imbalances/issues that make it difficult to get pregnant, so I thought maybe MAYBE my body was limping along, trying to work as it should, but it was obviously unable to manage itself properly. So, I did what any self-sufficient (but really desperate) adult would do: go to the dermatologist and ask for help! I found Dr. Hilary Reich on the Upper East Side, made an appointment, paid my copay and basked in the glory that was Dr. Reich. This woman changed my skin. I went in saying “I’ll do anything.” And that’s what she did! Initially, she gave me a gentle chemical peel, injected my face with cortisone to help all my acne heal, prescribe some topical ointments and lotions as well as some oral medication to really try to wrangle my hormonal outbreaks. After seeing her monthly for three months, having two more chemical peels each visit, my skin was completely clear and the best part was I no longer had that painful acne that would never really heal. I felt like an adult again and could focus on dealing with wrinkles instead of acne AND wrinkles. (Ah, the joys.) 

Here are the nitty gritty details of products I use and how I use them. Of course, talk to your dermatologist about what would work for your skin, as several products are only available with a prescription.


I’ve always used Cetaphil Cleanser and Moisturizer morning and night because of how gentle it is. I double checked with my dermatologist and she said to keep using it and to especially keep using my moisturizer even though I was convinced it was causing my breakouts. Did I mention I have oily skin? (She also mentioned CeraVe Cleanser and Moisturizers are good too, but I’ve never used them.)

In the mornings, I was prescribed to use something called Aczone gel after my moisturizer to control the breakouts, working from the outside in. In the evening, I use Epiduo gel as needed.

Every three or four days, Dr. Reich told me to use this Alpha Beta Daily Peel to help the turnover rate of my skin and even out my skin tone. (After having breakouts in the same spots on my chin and jawline, I had a lot of dark spots and discolorations, hence the stronger, in-office chemical peels and these recommended home peels.)

My oral medication is called Spironolactone and works from the inside out. It took a few months to get the correct dosage that works for my skin, but happy to be in a place where it’s working! In a few weeks, I’m going back to the office to reduce my dosage to wean my skin off of it and hope my hormones are a little more…balanced.

Other then that, I don’t really do much else. Neutrogena make-up remover for my mascara, the occasional nose strip and that’s about it.

Sarah Kuszelewicz Photography

Before I start listing everything I use and love, I think it’s important to note that I wear make-up 3 or 4 days a week. The rest of the time, I don’t really care because of how happy I am with my skin! Also, I’m a mom, I work from home and my husband doesn’t really notice when I’m wearing make-up or not, so it’s not that super important to me. I do like feeling put together though, and make-up is a part of that. If I’m just recipe testing or staying at my computer most of the day, I don’t bother. But on other days, I try a little 😉

Once I stick with something, I usually never change it unless I run out or feel really impressed by someone recommending something else on instagram that I’m compelled to buy and try. Basically, I’m a creature of habit. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

For years and years, I’ve been using a powder foundation because I have oily and acne-prone skin, so the liquid stuff just never really cut it for me. It would usually cause more problems for me and my sensitive skin. So, the last three years or so I’ve been solely using this Clinique Double Powder. I apply it with a large makeup brush, not the sponge it comes with.

In November, I bought this Blush Bazaar Palatte from Tarte for half price from Sephora and have been loving it! The finish is so soft and lovely. I haven’t tried every color yet, but my favorites are Exhilarating, Skillful and Angelic. I don’t think it’s available anymore which, I realize, is super unhelpful, but it is what it is. Lots of colors to choose from here.

I don’t use concealer, though sometimes think I should for the dark circles under my eyes. But, when I’m particularly self conscious about it, I use this Highlighting Pencil by Anastasia. I’ve been using it for YEARS and haven’t given it up. I put a little in the corners of my eyes, on the brow bone and sometimes a skinny little swipe underneath my lower lashes. Works like a charm and not too heavy at all.

I have relatively skinny eyebrows thanks to my plucking addiction back in high school when it was cool to have skinny eyebrows. So, I use this pencil also by Anastasia to fill in those eyebrows and it works really well. You can get the pencil with a thicker tip and an angle, but I just get the small skinny one. (It’s cheaper too!) Color in Taupe.

I don’t use eye shadow and own very little of it. Meh. That’s how I feel about it.

I’ve talked about my love of this Neutrogena Mascara before. Works great for me, though dries out really quickly. You get what you pay for, I guess. I also am trying out this mascara which I found on sale for $3.99. It has a tendency to flake off (hello cheap mascara!) but works pretty darn well considering.

When I do wear eye liner, I use this Urban Decay liner in color Legend on my water line most days. When I really want things to be prominent (which is usually just on Sundays or special occasions) I use this Sephora liquid liner in color Jet Black.

If you know me or have been reading for any given amount of time, you’ll know that I hate lipstick with a passion. I hate how it feels and looks. Lip gloss or tinted lip balm on the other hand, I love! These are the three I alternate between, depending on what I find in my purse, coat pocket or makeup drawer. Mom life, right here. Favorite lip gloss in color Frivolous for fancy occasions because it’s a little sparkly, next favorite tinted lip balm for every day in color Berry, inexpensive tinted lip balm that I have in a lot of coat pockets in color Sunny Berry.

That’s pretty much it!

Since talking about my dermatologist on instagram stories and then discussing my beauty routine on a previous instagram live, I figured it was about time I just laid everything out there for ya for you to come back and refer to. Hopefully this was helpful for you 🙂

Have a great day, friends! xo

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13 Responses
  1. This Week at the Brennan's | Lauren's Latest

    […] Thursday, I’m going to see the dermatologist! She’s adjusting some of my medications for my face, I think…and possibly doing another chemical peel. Read more about that here. […]

  2. Laura

    Love this post! I have the discoloration/dark spots after having breakouts in the same spots along my cheek. Going to try the Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel! Thanks!

  3. Rachel

    Spironolactone worked miracles for me too!! Adult acne sucks. Totally should not have to be worried about pimples AND wrinkles! My dermatologist also recommends cetaphil and cerave. Glad to hear others agree.

  4. Aly

    I am the only I know who hates the feel of lipstick. Glad to see I’m not alone!! I’ll have to give those lip glosses and balms a try. Thanks for sharing!

  5. kelly

    I LOVE all the makeup products..but then to go and use them…meh…BUT my middle daughter is a makeup guru and would spend HOURS in front of you tube videos…I also felt it was a waste of time..but I tell ya she looks B-E-AUTIFUL all made up so..there is that…anyhoo, reason for this long drawn out post is YES, all these products she also uses…found and LOVES so i guess she does know what she is talking about!!

  6. Beth Mitchell

    Hi. How was the recovery from the in office chemical peels? I am scheduled for one next week. Does your skin flake a lot afterwards?

    1. Lauren

      Ok, so it depends on how mild the solution your dermatologist uses. I started off with a really gentle peel with just a little flaking, but the next few times, it got worse! Peeling skin for maybe 5 days after. Worth it!!