Seeking the Fountain of Youth: Adventures in Tretinoin (Stieva-A) Week 1, Tretinoin and the Changes to My Routine



Before: AM Routine

I’m a Paula’s Choice Junkie, so you may notice a trend.  I like deals, but even better than deals I like products that actually do what the label promises.  Paula’s Choice consistently delivers.

5AM: Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Lotion + Sunscreen

Then I head to the gym to work out, post gym I shower there and get ready for work


Spectro Gel Cleanser (Just a gentle cleanser, it was recommended by my derm when I was a teenager and it’s worked for me for years now.  It’s cheap, gentle, and awesome)

Super Serum by Silk Naturals which I’ve been phasing out (it’s almost empty) and replacing with Paula’s Choice RESIST Pure Radiance Skin Brightening Treatment – both of these have Niacinamide, I don’t really think they are equal products, and I’m not sure exactly what I’ll do once I’m out of the Paula’s Choice.  I may try something else entirely.

Snail Bee High Content Essence is awesome.  I love it.  I’ll probably write about it soon.   I never thought I’d put literal snail slime on my face, but I’m a convert.  More raving about it to follow.

Dr Jart V7 Eye Serum I actually got this in a Memebox, it was a spoiler and pretty much the reason that I ordered the box.  I like it a lot, even though a lot that I’ve read says don’t bother with eye cream.  This one is light and gentle, and doesn’t run into my eyes.

CeraVE AM sunscreen.  I know I need to add an actual sunscreen + moisturizer as separate steps, but I really like CeraVE AM.  More Niacinamide, moisture, and a decent SPF.  I put a ton on and just let it sink in while I do my hair, so i know I’m getting the requisite 1/4 teaspoon on my face.  Actually I think I put about double that, these days.

Makeup is various things.  I bought both the BB cream and the Paula’s Choice foundation in the wrong color, but mixing them together seems to make the color right.  Next time I’m just going to Sephora to get a proper color match and some good foundation to try.


Before: PM Routine

OCM:  I’m an OCM junkie, I started with just unscented baby oil, but then I went on a Garden of Wisdom buying spree to the tune of $200 or so, and got a ton of oils to try.  Right now I’m using Argon, Avocado, Almond, Jojoba and baby oil all mixed together.

Spectro Gel to double cleanse

The sometimes treatments section of masks, and AHA.  I love this Weekly Resurfacing Treatment AHA by (who else?) Paul’s Choice.  I can’t wait to bring it back into rotation once my skin is used to the tretinoin.  I fit in My Beauty Diary sheets masks a few days a week.  Right now I’m on Snail and Caviar.  They just sell these at the T&T Market by my house, they are more than online but it’s very convenient.  I also like this Skin Food Black Sugar Scrub.  I don’t use physical exfoliants often, but I do like it throw it every once in a while.

Resist C 15 Super Serum by Paula’s Choice.  This one is expensive as far as C Serums go, and it seems to do the same thing as the Silk Naturals one.  I love C Serum though, so I will always use one from some brand or other.

Garden of Wisdom Hydraulic Acid serum.  This one is blueberry, the one I tried before was Grapefruit, and next I may try Honey.

CeraVE in the tub works well as a moisturizer for me, it’s thick and creamy and great.

Laniege Water Sleeping Pack to top it all off.  This is pretty scented, but it works well for me.


This is my current routine.  I won’t go into all the products again, especially since the only new addition is the trentinoin at night.  I’ve removed all my chemical exfoliants, which i can not wait to add back in once my skin adjusts in a couple of months.


Current AM Routine


Current PM Routine

Seeing this all laid out like this I feel like such a product junkie.

Anyway, what do you think?  What did you change in your routine when you started something more extreme?


Memebox LuckyBox 2

What’s a Memebox?


Memebox is a Korean beauty box service that ships from Korea to Canada and the US. In each Memebox, you get 6-8 Korean beauty products, some are deluxe samples and some are full sizes.  It’s $23 + shipping (and not shipping per box but per order, so if you order multiples it’s a way better deal.  plus right now if you order 3 you get $5 off as well. 

You can earn “meme points” as well for additional discounts, and the way and number you earn is varied and seems a little random.  If you want one click here if you would like to use my affiliate link.  You get 2 memepoints just for signing up!


On to the box!

Memebox LuckyBox 2

Apolla wants to know what this is.  She’s very suspicious.

The Goodies!

Espoir Lipstick:  I can’t figure out the color name, I think they have a numbering system, so the color is called RS103G?

This isn’t a color I’d normally wear, and I was actually going to try and trade it away.  But maybe I’ll give it a go.  I never thought I’d wear hot pink, either, and since I got a hot pink balm in my ipsy box, I’ve been wearing it.  The lipstick seems really nice, goes on like butter.  It makes me wish even more that I’d gotten something more neutral.

 Value:  $15 (full siz


Dr. G BIO-RTx Mentor Cream 3:  There were three possible options and I got the one for oily skin, which I do not have.  I will probably hold on to this one until it starts getting hot out before I give it a go.  My skin gets a bit more combination in the summer.  It seemed ok when I spot tested it, so I think this will work for me.

Value:  $14ish?  The full size would be $35, this is a 20ml sample


  LJH Tea Tree 90 Essence:  I was a little worried when I saw that this is Tea Tree since usually Tea Tree is something in anti acne products for oily skin, and I’m on Retin A (not for acne though, for my wrinkles) and I don’t want to double down on drying products.  It is created though for sensative skin, and has sea buckhorn and centella asiatica which claims to delay the aging process.  Count me in!

The spot testing went well, so now I just need to figure out where to put this into my skin care routine.  The directions say to apply to cleansed skin so I’m thinking it goes right before the serums.

Value:  $13ish?  The full size would be $32, this is a 20ml sample

 Miseenscene 2X Curl Essence:  I’m usually not wowed by hair care products, BUT I just cut all my hair off 2 days ago (I think I had over a foot cut off and now I have a bob) so I’m finding renewed interest in this kind of product!  Since it’s called curl essence I’m wondering if my semi wavy curly hair might do great with this.
Value:  $2, the full size is $10 and this is a 30ml sample

Nugenic Customized Sunblock Fresh SPF50PA+++:  Yessssss I was so glad to get this.  As I mentioned a bit back, I’ve started on Retin A and now I need to be even more obsessive with sunscreen because it makes you more photosensative, plus the sun damage I’m trying to cure will just get worse.  The spot test went great, it seems to rub in smooth without a white cast.  I can’t figure out if it’s a physical or a chemical sunscreen, but I like it either way.
Value:  $45, this is full size

Dr. Jart V7 Eye Serum:  This product is why I ordered this box.  It was a spoiler and I’ve really wanted to try the Dr Jart products for some time now.  On the card is says it brightens the skin and gets rid of any dark circles.

Value: $38, full size product

Well, I’m terribly hung over today (I’m too old for this shit) so I thought I’d really give it a chance to shine.

I don’t know what the appropriate amount is, but I went with a mid size blob (pea size) which was too much.  So probably just a little dab would be fine and this will last a pretty long time I think

Before and After.  I don’t see a difference (except in the angle of the photo of course.)  Maybe this stuff isn’t powerful enough for hangovers.
It feels really nice though, it’s a lite serum feel, and made my skin feel soft.

Leaders Insolution Mask Sheets (2)

Bio Medi-curing Mask Aqua Dressing
Coconut Bio Mask with Tomato
I like sheet masks, and I want to try these… I’m hesitent though since I’m not sure if coconut makes me break out, it seems to be a problem for a lot of people.  Also, I’m not sure if coconut jelly is as likely to cause breakouts as coconut oils. I’m probably going to give this one a go tonight.
Value:  $3 each

I’m overall thrilled with this box.  I love trying new products, and the sunscreen and eye cream alone make this box well worth the cost.  I’m excited to order more from memebox (I have one coming in June already) since their boxes seem to be really really good value and have great products (because high value products I don’t like aren’t going to be worth much to me.)

(Under $30) Cheapskate Approved because it’s so high value!


    Will use all products, very happy with the box all in all. Good Buy!