Nicole’s Favourite Things: The Pro-Aging Skin-Care Edition

It was my birthday this week! I love birthdays so much; mine, obviously, but also everyone else’s. I mean, it’s the day you came into the world, let us celebrate! And as I said in my last post, every day we are alive is a gift, every birthday we celebrate is a blessing, let’s have some cake.

My driver’s license was set to expire, and so off I went to renew it; there’s nothing quite like official government photos to make you aware of your chronic Bitchy Resting Face. This is my BRF in 2016:

And here’s me now:

After I turned 40, I really ramped up the skin-care regime; before then I was still breaking out occasionally – acne AND wrinkles, wow, thanks – but in my 40s those pimples finally (FINALLY) stopped (please god, I hope I didn’t just give myself bad skin juju, I HAVE DONE MY TIME), and so I focused all my skin-care on products aimed at reducing the physical signs of aging (I will NOT say anti-aging, I will NOT). Here’s 2016 me, the non-blurry-official government BRF photo:

And here’s me now:

I feel like the regime and products I have been using have definitely slowed the wrinkle roll; I’m not aging BACKWARDS, but I’m also not rapidly spiraling into life as one of those dried-apple dolls. Not yet, anyway. NOT THAT IT MATTERS, WE EARN OUR FACES, AGING IS A GIFT, but you know. I like my moisturizers.

On that note…

Nicole’s Favourite Things: The Pro-Aging Skin-Care Edition

You all know me, but in case you’re new here, a note: nothing is sponsored, I get nothing for free, Nicole’s Favourite Things features items and products that I love and use and paid for. Even though it SEEMS like Neutrogena sponsored this post, they didn’t. (Although, that would be nice).


I wash my face three times daily: once when I first wake up, post-workout-in-the-shower, and at night. I am always shocked when I hear people say things like “I didn’t remember to remove my makeup before bed” because what. How. Anyway, Dove bar soap with cold water when I wake up, Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser in the shower (which, heads’ up, is more scented than you’d think an “Ultra Gentle” cleanser would be), and Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair at night. The latter is gently exfoliating and keeps my skin glowy, and it’s great for makeup removal.

Good Morning Part One

Since it’s generally 4:30 am when I wake up, after washing with Dove and cold water the most I can manage, pre-coffee, is a simple moisturizer: Neutrogena Rapid Tone Repair with SPF 30. This product is really incredible, especially for a woman like me who, as I mentioned before, had acne and wrinkles at the same time. Any leftover red spots or uneven skin tone from said acne is repaired with continuous use. I use SPF 30 at all times of the year because I generally get my daily walk in pre-shower, and you can get sun damage even in the winter, people.

As an aside, it is REALLY hard for me to write the word “acne” in that, I had it. It’s funny how that shame just stays with us, isn’t it? I could write a whole book on what acne does to a woman’s feelings of self-worth and esteem, but for now, I’ll just recommend this as an excellent product.

Good Morning Part Two

I alluded to these products in my last post: The Ordinary. Fantastic price point – less than $10 per bottle, and each bottle lasts MONTHS – and I think they’re effective. The argireline solution is for my forehead furrows (we earn our lines, we earn our lines) and the caffeine solution is for under the eyes to reduce puffiness and dark circles. Post-shower-and-gentle-foaming-cleanser, these two are the first things I apply.

Sun Protection, Yes, Even In Calgary

After using The Ordinary, I apply a BB Cream with SPF; I have been a fan of Smashbox for years, but they are DISCONTINUED, WHAT EVEN, and so as soon as I squeeze the last drop out of this tube, I am going to try this new product, from It called Your Skin But Better:

It was recommended to me by a friend, but also, I love the name.

When the sun is more intense – non-rainy-or-snowy days from May to August – I use an intense SPF sunscreen, plus Garnier BB Cream without SPF. I like Neutrogena (hi, sponsor me) because it’s light and non-greasy.

Good Night, Sleep Tight

Post-nighttime cleansing with Rapid Wrinkle Repair, I apply the Ordinary argireline solution to my forehead, smooth Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Nighttime Lotion all over my face, and then use Rapid Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream underneath my eyes. After I’m sufficiently lubed up, I toddle off to bed to get my beauty sleep. I know, I know, for us perimenopausal women sometimes sleep is a literal dream, but someone told me once that just lying in bed is almost as restful as actual sleep, so I’m going with that.

Those are my current favourite skin products, do tell, what are yours? xo


  1. This is a great post; I’m always interested in what other people are using. You have a nice routine and YOU look great. Time has stopped.
    I love IT products and I use the Your Skin But Better CC (not the matte one) most of the year aside from our hottest months because then it feels a bit ‘heavy’. You have a totally different situation, so I’ll love to know what you think of it.

    I started a few years ago using a vitamin C, lactic acid and Coenzyme q10 each night, with one night taken off of that and that night I use a retinol product. I think this has changed my skin, or at least slowed down the affects of maturing. πŸ™‚

    I use an SPF everyday and last year I started using it on the tops of my hands too because they were showing the age. If I have one piece of advice, it’s SPF your hands now before it’s too late.

  2. Nicole – happy birthday! You look great, and therefore you SHOULD get sponsored by Neutrogena. When I was putting photo albums together during the pandemic, I noticed how MUCH younger I looked – not that long ago. I am going to take notes here and give some of this a try. Thank you for doing all the leg-work here, or in this case, face-work.

    I wash my face with Dove bar soap and I use Oil of Olay moisturizer with SPF 15. I’m embarrassed to admit that I enjoy tanning in the summer. I know, I know. Might need to move away from this practice.

    I am with you on the self-esteem lowering impact of acne. It’s awful, and I didn’t even have a terrible case of it. My dad put Oxy 10 (over the counter acne cream in the 80s) in my Christmas stocking when I was about 12 or 13. He thought it was hilarious. I didn’t.

    • Oh Ernie, that’s so cruel and thoughtless. I wonder if people actually think about the things they say to kids/ teens and how it affects them. I have a similar story from a Christmas morning: in my stocking was a chocolate, and my aunt – who was visiting for the holidays – said “You need that like you need a hole in the head!” and then, just in case I didn’t get it, gestured to my face. I was about 13 and I remember it clearly. Allison referenced on her blog the concept of shattering a plate and gluing it back together, you can still see the cracks, and it’s like that. I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.

      • That’s terrible, both those stories.

      • Nicole – how horrible! I agree about the cracks in the plate. I have an incredible memory – they say that’s the first thing to go, but my memories are very much intact. I tend to be incredibly over sensitive. Sometimes I wish I could just let things go, but it’s hard to have resolution when people don’t apologize. I think I have plenty of happy childhood memoires but the ones that left a mark are the ones that I seem to remember so clearly.

  3. *Adds literally everything to cart* For some reason Target does not have the same cleanser you use at night! WTH?! I mean, perhaps I could look at some other stores besides Target.

  4. Happy BD, lovely! My skincare routine is very boring. I also have *eternal acne* and very dry skin, to complicate matters. So at the moment I use Aveno wash and moisturizer and still break out. I think I need to try The Ordinary that you all speak of!

    • Oh yay, acne AND dry skin πŸ™ Ugh, I feel your pain, sister. I still get the occasional tiny pimple around my period, but it’s a drop in the bucket from what it was, so I don’t mind. Also, I have teenagers and if I get a pimple, I use their medicated cream!

  5. Before I even finished reading the post to jump down and here and interject….

    Nicole’s Readers:
    When she says that ultra gentle cleanser smell is more scented than you’d think – she is telling the absolute truth!

    Nicole, that was the same product I was referring to in your last post. It (and their clarifying shampoo) has such a strong, medicinal scent about it that I just can’t even; despite knowing they have such a good reputation.

  6. Ok, I’m back after reading the post. I am very intrigued by The Ordinary and some of the other products you mentioned. I’m glad that the Neutrogena products are working for you – but after smelling that cleanser for about six months every night I’m wary of their products.

    Usually, I just splash my face with warm water in the morning (but then, I’m not walking/running/exercising every morning either) and then I apply a CeraVe (or generic) moisturizer. Make up comes off EVERY night…this is one lesson my mother drilled into me – with Pond’s cold cream.. I am currently using the CVS brand cleanser similar to Aveeno, I think. This one has such a light, fresh scent that is absolutely delightful, followed up with a heavier CeraVe night cream.

    • I don’t notice the scents of the other products as much, I don’t know if they are not really scented or I’m just deadened to it. I was surprised that a gentle cleanser would be SO scented! I mean, doesn’t that go against it. However, I don’t mind it really and I like the way it works. MAKEUP OFF EVERY NIGHT. It is like not brushing your teeth or something! It’s a RULE.

  7. I use Dove soap too! Most of the time, though, not just in the mornings. I did get some skin care products recently, though, after years of just Dove soap and a smattering of Oil of Olay because my skin is oily. Turn out I still need to moisturize, and my skin actually looks better when I do. Weird. I have the same BB cream too! Possibly because I bought it after you recommended it, but I don’t remember, so I’m going to call it a cool coincidence.

    • Oooh which one, Garnier or Smashbox? I read somewhere that moisturizing is better for oily skin, because it makes the skin…produce less oil? Maybe? It’s early, I can’t really remember πŸ™‚

  8. Just found your blog via Switzle and couldn’t resist commenting on my favorite topic, SKINCARE!
    I’m 52 and have always been loyal to under eye creams and moisturizer thanks to a great Aunt who took me to the Lancome counter when I was 13! I loved to tan a a kid but gave it up about 10-15 years ago when things started getting serious! πŸ˜‰ I discovered Angie from Hot and Flashy on YouTube a couple of years ago and have adapted a routine using her excellent, researched advice.
    In the morning I splash my face with cold water and then layer Timeless skincare’s Vitamin C, Coenzyme Q10 and Elta MD sunscreen. Sometimes I’ll tap in some Tula’s Brightening eye balm before makeup for extra moisture.
    Evenings, I use DHC Cleansing oil and a wonder cloth to take off my makeup followed by a mild cleanser (Dr Hauschka cleansing milk, atm) and then I alternate The Ordinary 10% glycolic acid serum with prescription retinol followed by Timeless Matrixyl synthe6 serum and Andelou night repair cream. In winter I’ll add on an oil to seal it all in on the days I use the retinol.
    I started using botox a couple of years ago for my elevens and forehead wrinkles and I have an appointment for my first filler injection in a month, eeek! Ngl, I’m a little intimidated but also excited.
    Thanks for the great post! Will be following you in my rss reader!

    • Hi Liz! Great to “meet” you! Thanks for sharing your routine; you are the second person to tell me about Vitamin C and Coenzyme Q10 so I think I had better look into that. I will look at the Timeless line, thanks for the tip. Another Ordinary user! I’m interested to hear how your filler injection goes – keep me posted!

      • Timeless is having a mother’s day sale right now so it’s a good time to try it out (just an FYI, got the email today!) also I use 10% lactic acid at night not glycolic..I think my face would be peeling off in sheets if it was glycolic, lollllllll oops!!

        I think the Coenzyme q10 is my favorite, it’s sooo soothing I would bathe in it if I could πŸ˜‚

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