I know, I know. I told you I was so over self-development only six months ago. But that was the summer. I was warm and happy and freshly home from France, and there was nothing I needed in life. But now it’s winter. It’s cold and harsh and it’s time to self-reflect and trudge through the work it takes to become a better version of myself. And that includes perfecting my skincare regimen.

With my new years resolutions leading the way, this year I have decided upon four words that I want to bring into my life this year: fitness, service, savings, and discipline. Service means helping others, and to this end I have joined the UN Women in Utah as their VP of Marketing & Fundraising. My husband and I have also been training to mentor refugee children (we will be assigned to our families in two weeks!).

Savings means keeping to our budget so that one day we can buy a cool modern condo or townhouse in Salt Lake City. And discipline means working hard, even when I don’t want to. On my job, on ballet, on my graduate degree, and perhaps on a novel. Because it’s going to take hard work to get me to where I want to be. As the CMO of a technology or luxury company; a ballet dancer who can pirouette and dance en pointe; an established theologian and mariologist (and perhaps archaeologist and etymologist); and a published novelist (since we’re dreaming here let’s make that a New York Times bestseller).

I’ll probably talk about all of the above in future articles, but fitness is what concerns today’s post, and particularly one part of it: my skincare regimen.

Fitness to me means self-development of the body: toned muscles, straight teeth, good hair, and clear skin. If that sounds rather aesthetic, it is. But I don’t think there is anything wrong with taking pride in your appearance. Especially as I will be turning 32 on February 1st and would love to spend my thirties looking and feeling like I’m in the prime of my life. Because I am!

I know that ballet will help with my muscles (as will yoga, tennis, and nordic skiing). I have been eating well (and less) thanks to my organic and vegan GreenChef deliveries. I recently started Invisalign to straighten out my teeth for good and finally found a good hairstylist, but good clear skin is a work in progress and I’ve tried everything to perfect it. Not that it needs much. I have always had good skin to begin with (thanks Mom!) but I’ve also been a life-long experimenter on optimizing my skincare regimen. And making my skin the most glowing it could be.

And so, here’s my exact skincare regimen (in probably way too much detail):

Food

To start, it’s worth noting that there are several factors contributing to the wellbeing of my skin: the first is not eating the foods I’m allergic to (that being gluten, dairy, eggs, and beans), and the second is not eating sugar. Sugar has proved to be the arch-nemesis of my skin and whenever I eat it in excess (more than once a week) I start to see tiny little bumps appearing on my forehead (the area of the face related to digestion and the liver).

Supplements

One of the most crucial elements of my skincare regimen is my mineral supplements. Having had hypothyroidism in the past (and having healed it holistically), I use Concentrace Trace Mineral Drops daily to keep it at bay. As my goal is to drink 64-ounces of water a day, I drop ten drops in each 16-ounce water bottle so that I get 40 drops throughout the day. When I don’t use my mineral supplements for awhile I start to see minor hypothyroid symptoms returning: namely small breakouts around my mouth and chin and on my throat (the area of the face related to your thyroid).

I also take Garden of Life Multi-Vitamins and Fish Oil, and then I rotate between various hair & nails supplements (because many of them contain biotin—and too much biotin can cause your hair to become brittle and break). Right now I’m alternating between Jarrow’s Biotin Supplement and Banyan Botanicals’ Hair Supplement.

And finally, I add one teaspoon of Premier One Royal Jelly In Honey to my matcha latte every morning. Though I’d recommend finding one that is local to you so that you get the immune benefits of the honey as well (Premier One is local to Park City, Utah close to where I live in Salt Lake City). I started using royal jelly after reading raving reviews from Jennifer Aniston on the benefits it has to the skin, and goodness she was right. My skin has become far more glowy and plump and beautiful ever since I started using it. Truly a miracle worker!

Dermatology

Last year, after extensively researching Jennifer Aniston’s skincare regimen (because how good does she look at 47?) I decided to invest in laser treatments. I got two IPL treatments to remove the small brown spots that have accumulated around my jawline thanks to lifeguarding and tanning in my youth. Unfortunately, it didn’t really work. They seemed to fade for a short period of time (about two months) but now look just as they had prior to treatment. I will be trying another one of Jenn’s favorite lasers, Clear + Brilliant, this year.

Skincare

As for skincare, I worship on the alter of “less is more.” I enjoy travel and thus prefer a skincare regimen that is simple and requires no more than three products. Since the three most important products to any woman’s anti-aging arsenal are: cleanser (for obvious reasons), vitamin C (because it brightens the skin and reduces the appearance of brown spots), and retinol (because it reduces the appearance of wrinkles), I have long prioritized those three.

As to specifically which three products I use, I am a die hard Intelligent Nutrients devotee and have been ever since it launched in 2008. Or rather, I should say that I’m a Horst Rechelbacher devotee. Horst founded Aveda in 1978 and ran it until he left the company in 2003 after selling it to Estée Lauder. I used Aveda products exclusively up until that time (and still do for my hair), but when he made the switch, so did I, and my skincare world changed forever.

Ever since then I have used the Gentle Cleansing Lotion to remove my makeup at night (which I exfoliate into my skin using Crude’s pull cloths) followed by the Time Traveler Serum which contains plant-based retinol. As it says on the website:

Synthetic retinols are known to smooth wrinkles, fade spots, banish breakouts and improve overall skin texture – but can be toxic and age skin long-term by overthinning, overstressing, and overdrying. Plant Retinol Science(TM) is a breakthrough with proven actives offering a non-toxic and truly effective alternative.

When I wake up, I apply the Revitalizing Moisture Creme which, as it says on the website: “Plant Stem Cells of Gardenia (Gardenia Jasminoides), a top ingredient used in our Revitalizing Moisture Crème, helps firm and stimulate collagen. It has the potency equal or greater to that of Vitamin C.”

A note on oils: I have veered from this routine a couple of times. Most recently after I read Mireille Guiliano’s French Women Don’t Get Facelifts. For a time, the book had me hooked on making my own cleanser (using rose water, vegetable glycerin, and tea tree oil) and moisturizing with Argan oil. But oil is interesting. It seems to really work for some women, and not at all for others. And I’m one of those “not at all” types. Though I sincerely tried to use it for a period of about three months, my skin developed a series of tiny bumps that never ceased until I finally decided to retire oil from my face and décollaté (I still use it on my body in the shower).

SPF

I follow my moisturizer with a face SPF and goodness did this take me YEARS to find. I seriously tried everything from every end of the spectrum (and still vow that nothing beats freshly awoken skin). Since I know SPF is crucial to keeping my skin young I would not be deterred. I wanted something that was all natural (as in primarily Zinc and/or Titanium based), smelled nice, had a pretty glow, and really allowed my natural skin tone to shine (no heavy foundations, tinting, or powders for me!)

I tried each and every face SPF sold at Whole Foods, Spirit Beauty Lounge, and Natural Grocer, but then eventually fell in love with Bobbi Brown’s Intensive Skin Serum Foundation (in cool ivory). I discovered it after asking a 70 year-old woman what made her skin glow so beautifully and she recommended that product. I don’t know why I was surprised. I’ve used Bobbi Brown exclusively for makeup since I turned 16 and was finally allowed to wear it. And who knew, it’s actually pretty darn natural. I use one pearl sized drop on a Beauty Blender every morning and it provides me with SPF 40 and beautifully glowing skin.

On the weekends when I’m not wearing any makeup or when I’m participating in something sweaty or sun soaked, I’m a big fan of Eminence Sun Defense Minerals (in peaches and cream). A powder, it provides SPF 30, is water-resistant, and it looks so pretty on. All I have to do is brush it on my freshly moisturized skin and head out into the bright beautiful world!

And there you have it. My skincare regimen. In way too much detail.