Divorce Recovery Skincare: My 21-Day Experiment Results

As promised, here's the results post about my 21-day, super cheap skincare experiment to transform the double whammy of parched winter skin that's also showing signs of being under extreme emotional stress.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am not a beauty blogger, I'm a divorce recovery coach, so there are no before/after photos below, just a log of how my DIY coconut oil/baking soda/essential oils regime worked for me.

To see the original post, detailing how I came up with the experiment (with the help of 60 women from my Facebook communities), and exactly what I used, click here.

Don't need the blow-by-blow?  Just scroll down to Final Thoughts.

21-day post-divorce skincare diary

Day 2: Alligator skin looking more moisturized.  A small difference, but it's there.  The big revelation was how much smoother my skin looked with makeup -- concealer wasn't settling into wrinkles, BB cream absorbed into my skin quickly without sitting on top of my skin in a greasy, slippery mess.  Vertical lines on upper lip are MUCH less visible.

Day 4: Bright sunlight today as well, so I'm still getting merciless views of my skin in my 10x magnification mirror.  Skin looking plumper overall, and, starting yesterday, I'm rubbing a little extra essential oil cocktail on my 11 lines between the eyebrows.  I'm definitely happy that I no longer look scary to myself, and it's only the morning of Day 4!

Day 5:  Bright sunlight persists, so I'm still getting non-flattering views of my face in the magnifying mirror.  Today:  The biggest news is that my crepey neck is much smoother.  Also, I have a persistent wrinkle along the side of my left cheek, and it's starting to diminish.  Eleven lines between my eyebrows are slightly better.  Who expected results like this in only a few days?  Overall, skin feels and appears thicker and much more hydrated.  Pores are smaller and clearer.  If these were the results after the full 21 days, I'd be pleased, but I'm not even through the first 7 days.

Day 7:  Wow, it's been a full week of bright winter sunlight -- 65 degrees today -- so I'm still getting scary views of my face.  Today:  Smaller and cleaner pores -- this keeps improving -- and plumper skin (it bounces back when I press my cheeks, instead of leaving finger indents where I pressed).  And, my hands and nails -- unexpected big change.  No wrinkles, and shiny, healthier-looking nails with no ridges.  When I wash my face with the coconut oil/baking soda concoction, I also rub some on my hands before removing with the wet washcloth.  Didn't expect to see a dramatic change in my hands, but, there it is.

Day 9: I'm taking a look at my skin in the magnifying mirror only every couple of days from here on out, and seeing a little bit more improvement every time I look.  The skin is just appearing younger and healthier.  I'm now seeing a slight lightening of sunspots -- very slight, but it's there -- perhaps due to the daily exfoliation from the baking soda?

Honey mask:  I was advised to purchase organic, filtered honey.  Have you shopped for honey lately?  Even non chi-chi grocery brand honey is expensive.  I am not someone who prioritizes organic groceries, and I'm not on a mission to spend as much as I possibly can, so I just used a jar of Goya honey that I already had in my pantry.

I left it on for 30 minutes, and rinsed it off in the shower.  Results:  Even cleaner, smaller pores.  That's about it, but I'll take it : ) .

Days 8 through 16:  I stopped scrutinizing my face . . . and fell down on the job a little bit (a lot).  I didn't use any products not on the menu, but, as I had earmarked several days to do nothing but generate content to share with my divorcees, no one was going to see me during those days, so I stopped bothering about using the products in the morning, and only did the regime at night.

So, Day 17:   My message is:  Don't love the results so much that figure you can slack off now.  The results are dramatic only if you keep at it, day and night.  So, if you're someone like me, who works in solitude in your creative cave and has the luxury of video conferencing (in less than high-definition) when with clients, don't skip doing the coconut oil/baking soda cleaning and moisturizing in the morning as well as evening.  My face went almost all the way back to square one.

Day 18:  Back on track, with coconut oil and all of the other ingredients twice a day -- morning and night.  The twice-a-day regime is essential to keep getting the results that I was getting early on in the first ten days, so do stay with it.  Otherwise, your skin will go back to Day 1.

Day 21:  By the final day of the experiment, there was just one thing on the regimen left to try:  The DIY coconut water mask.  (Soak a paper towel in coconut water; apply to face for 5 minutes, and approximate the results of a high-priced Korean or Japanese sheet mask.)

I'm not a big fan of sheet masks, since, at $6 or more each, I feel there should be significant bang for buck, and that's never been the case, no matter how expensive the masks I've tried.  I usually leave them on for a minimum of 20 minutes.  But, I wanted to follow my correspondent's instructions to the letter, and she said, just five minutes.  If I could notice an improvement in just five minutes, I'd be more likely to do this little ritual on a weekly basis, since I'm not much of a fan of lying still with my eyes closed when it's not sleepytime!

So.  I tried it.  Didn't notice much of a difference after five minutes -- maybe a slight tightening effect, but no discernable difference in the way my skin looked pre- and post-mask. (I went to the magnifying mirror after the mask dried, before applying any other products.)  For me, it had kind of the effect of a toner (which I don't tend to use), so I may start using my left-over coconut water (there's lots left over!) as a toner.

Or . . . I have enough left to do at least 30 additional masks, so I'll probably try again and leave it on for 20 minutes.  The sequence I used was dermaroller, coconut oil/baking soda cleanser, then the mask (and don't wash it off).  Then I continued with the essential oils, my Roc retinol product, and finally, the Cetaphil lotion.

Why bother?  Maybe you're thinking:  "I can hardly make myself get out of bed in the morning."

#1  The coconut oil is soothing and feels good.  The essential oils smell great and have aromatherapy benefits as well as helping your skin.  The honey mask feels gooey and nourishing.  It all costs next to nothing.

#2  You'll be looking much better by Day 2 -- and when you see your true self in the mirror, rather than someone who looks like your grandmother, it's a big, emotional lift.

#3  You'll start getting compliments -- and who doesn't feel better when people ask you what you've been doing because you look well-rested, chill, and, well, like your old self . . . only better. 

#4  Because of #2 and #3, you'll feel an uplift in your mood, and be able to look around you and have the first glimmers of what's next, what would be good, what might you be up for?

Divorcees:  Here are my DIY skincare results, and it's really worth a try!

Plumper, more hydrated skin.  Less-prominent 11 lines, upper lip lines, and nose-to-mouth lines.  Much much much smaller and cleaner pores.  Smoother-looking neck.  Even less-crepey eyelids.  Lightening of sun spots.

I haven't used any soap-based product on my face for 21 days, but my skin looks much cleaner than before.

Makeup goes on smoother -- so the results look even more incredible with makeup.  If you've given up on wearing matte lipstick because it makes you look like Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard, try again.  If you're like me, it will glide right on, and no feathering.

Plus, it's cheap, ladies!  A box of baking soda; tub of coconut oil; and 1 oz. sizes of frankincense, lavender, and lemon oils will last you for-ev-ah.

This is not a miracle, but it's pretty darn incredible, considering that no expensive products were used.  The only actual "products" were my usual Roc retinol day/night, which I buy in bulk whenever Roc is on sale at Costco.  I stopped using Strivectin during this 21-day test, and I can't say that I notice any difference.

Starting tomorrow, I'll feel free to resume using a favorite Fresh Farmacy mask or two from Lush, and figure out how to incorporate Strivectin again -- I'm not quite sure how to do that because I don't want to stop using anything that I've been enjoying for the past 21 days, and I like to keep it simple.  So maybe I'll wait until warm weather to change things up.

Thanks to all my Facebook crew who chimed in with their favorite products to help stressed out, post divorce skin!

If you try my 21-day skincare experiment, will you comment below with your results, or share your own nature-based DIY skincare regimes?  Thank you!