Dommely beauty routine

Sometime soon-ish, the Masocast podcast will be publishing my third (THIRD!) interview :).

It’s been recorded already, but editing and post-production is a full time job (not for me, for the fabulous @UnspeakableAxe who creates the podcast).

We asked Twitter peeps for questions just before the interview and one was ‘what is your beauty routine?’ I can’t find that question now to credit the asker, but I know Axe did ask me, and I also know I didn’t answer it in any meaningful way (because it’s kind of dull and detailed and off-topic). So where else would I do ‘dull and detailed and off-topic’ than here?!! :)

Firstly let me say this: I did pretty much NO skin care for most of my life. What I DID do in my youth was slather on baby oil and go out in the sun every summer to ‘get brown’, and that was about it. I knoooowwwww!

I have had a cancerous mole cut out of my back already. There will be more, and honestly if I don’t get any skin cancer on my face, I’ll be pretty fucking happy. My sister, who was never the sun-worshipper I was, had to have her face sliced open to get rid of cancer last year (she’s fine). This is Australia, everyone of a certain age gets skin cancer.

So that’s my history pretty much.

About 10 years ago, I started seriously looking at my skin and wasn’t all that thrilled with what I was seeing, so I did a shit-ton of research and started a serious skin care routine based on peer-reviewed studies (yes, I AM that nerdy), my dermatologist’s advice, and product testing by online reviewers who based their product recommendations on scientific research. I was not willing to pay stupid money for snake-oil.

The issue with many commercial skin care products is that they often take scientific research, dilute the active ingredients, do a bunch of beautiful packaging and marketing, and suddenly you’re paying $150 for a $10 product that doesn’t actually work. On the other side, you can also find instructions to make some ‘scientifically proven’ products at home for next to nothing, but to get the benefits, many require some very specific attributes (pH balance, a particular concentration, stabilisation, a carrier to increase penetration, etc) that DIYers might not appreciate or that are difficult to achieve at home.

Skin care is hella confusing!

So a summary of the big hitters in skin care (or the ‘ABCs of skin care‘ (that’s my cute dermatologist btw :)):

Vitamin A in useful form is retinoic acid or tretinoin, available in most places by prescription-only (most popular brand name is Retin-A). Designed for treating acne, a handy side effect is proven impacts for anti-ageing, wrinkles and collagen production. Retinol is the over-the-counter, cosmetic version of tretinoin which needs to be converted into retinoic acid before it has any effect on the skin, so it is relatively inefficient.

Even the lowest strength tretinoin is stronger than the highest strength retinol product.

Vitamin B or niacinamide (B3) is an anti-inflammatory and can be useful to treat acne as well as acne rosacea. Studies showed significant improvement in fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, redness, and skin elasticity and recent ones show it may have some benefits in skin cancer treatment or prevention.

Vitamin C or l-ascorbic acid can reduce and protect from UV damage by the sun. It can also reduce unwanted facial pigmentation and is used as an active ingredient to treat melasma. 

Exfoliation: Another big ticket item in skin care is gentle exfoliation (not your grandmother’s almond scrub!).

There’s plenty of research around, but here’s a start if you’re interested (this study is very critical of over-the-counter (OTC) ‘cosmeceuticals’ claims in general (for good reason), but refers to positive research about (not-OTC) retinoic acid and niacinimide, and includes plenty of links to other articles to get you started down the rabbit-hole).

So I started a very strict daily skin care routine based on peer-reviewed research, quality products, and proven routines (and trust me, even when you know what’s good for your skin, figuring out what to use when is still hellishly confusing!).

My skin type: I want to say first (in case you’ve met me or seen photos, and want to reassure me or call me a liar :)) that if you aren’t looking closely (and seriously, who does), my skin looks great. Overall it’s clear and bright and looks pretty smooth with not a lot of signs of aging.

Up close and for real: I have mature skin, not a lot of static wrinkles, though heaps appear when I smile (around my eyes, crows feet etc). I have a few deeper lines that I treat aggressively and with hatred :P. My skin is lax in some places, and I don’t have great skin texture with visible pores, especially on my nose and cheeks. My skin is a little unpredictable: Some days it’s prone to looking reddish, but I’d say ‘normal’ overall with some oiliness at times in the t-zone.

Having given that brutal description, the reason it looks good is because of my skin care routine :).

Daily skin care routine for my face (with links to products I use)


I drink a lot of water. Not specifically for my skin, but everyone and anyone says it’s good for your skin. By a lot, I mean probably 3 litres a day (hard to say, I have a 600ml water glass that I just sip all day and refill every time it’s nearly empty).


*Tretinoin: I use 0.1% because my skin is tough as old boots and I’ve used it for years: If you are going to try it, DO NOT START THERE. It will pretty much 100% cause redness and peeling and irritation and be thoroughly unpleasant. Start with 0.025% every couple of days and see how it goes. If you are starting out you should also not apply it to a damp face, damp skin increases it’s permeability and also the irritation. This product can also make your skin more sensitive to the sun (see my ‘SUNSCREEN’ addition in caps for during the day). Niacinimide (which is in the moisturisers I mention) can reduce the irritant effects.

I would warn anyone wanting to start with a more structured skin care routine that what’s described above is what works for me, and I’m in no position to recommend it to anyone. A lot of those products can irritate the skin.

I strongly suggest that IF you want to start any kind of skin care that’s more involved than ‘put moisturiser on if I remember’, start with one product at a time and see how your skin reacts. Hitting baby skin with a bunch at once will probably not go well and you will struggle to figure out where the problem is if you get irritated.

My routine seems like a lot of work at first, but once it becomes a habit, it’s less onerous than it seems. If it was a lot of trouble, trust me, I wouldn’t be doing it.

And yes, it does work: My skin looks better now than it did 5 or 6 years ago, so I’m calling it a big win.

To bring this vaguely back on-topic for this blog, I would love to have my submissive know my routine and hand me products as I need them, like we’re some surgical team. That would be fun :).

Loves: 6
Please wait…

You may also like


  1. I all in this track too, with a family history to boot. I’m also about to move to the desert, and am looking to up my skin care. Thanks for the info!
    I’d love to hear more about what you find for sunscreen. I have the hardest time with this one. I also had one I loved, but it was discontinued. Bummer. Checking into Rodan and Fields now.

    1. You’re most welcome :).

      When companies discontinue your favourite products it’s such a bummer (esp if you’ve spent forever finding ‘just the right one’ :/).

      I’ve not heard of Roadan & Fields (it’s not a thing here).

      I’ll update if I love that Australian Gold sunscreen :).

      Good luck with your move :).


      1. I am super happy with Rodan & Fields, although I suck at doing the three steps regularly. Three! I’m such a slacker. ???? My skin still looks better though. It’s pricey, but worth it.

        1. @nerdy dirty girl: Great that you found something that works for you :). I do think the biggest challenge with any skin care is whether you will actually do it or not. If it’s tedious or time consuming, you just… won’t.

          If I ever give personal advice to anyone, I JUST say Vit A, B, and C and none of the other stuff. That’s more than enough :).


  2. I feel like you are a Domme so pretty much anything you do is on topic. Right? lol

    Good to hear Axe is still active :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *