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The DaSkincare Code

By Amalah

My dearest Amalah, who I may have to name my firstborn child after regardless if it’s a boy or a girl, for the gratitude I feel for you now:

Before reading the smackdown I was one of those wash my face with soap and water kind of girls. If that. And you’ll cringe even harder if I tell you my age, so I’ll refrain from telling you that’s the way I’ve been doing it for thirty four years. I’ve contemplated doing other stuff in the past, but it’s always so complicated with all the steps and the products and I would get annoyed just thinking about it. But I invested in some of the wonder product known as Philosophy Purity Made Simple that you can’t stop talking about, and I am in LOVE.

So now it’s inspired me to want to make the change and be a responsible grown-up who moisturizes and wears foundation and maybe even occasionally tweezes her eyebrows. The problem is, I can’t afford to walk into the local Sephora and say “one of everything please.” I’ve got to budget for this stuff. So I want to slowly phase things in.

Which leads me to my question for you: So I’ve started with the cleanser. And next up is moisturizer. But then, what’s the order in which I should change/add things to the routine?

Because a girl has to continue eating, ya’ know?

Thanks bunches,

Okay, this one is for all women, for all product lines. The Skincare Products You Must Own, In Order of Importance, Though They Are Separated By Mere Fractions of Importance, and Okay, I Will Stop Talking Now and

Type the List Already, Oh My God:

1) A gentle face cleanser
2) A just-for-your-face moisturizer
3) A just-for-your-eyes moisturizer
4) Sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher)

I don’t care what brand you buy or where you buy it, but you should most definitely be using all four of those products. If your moisturizer contains SPF, awesome. Aren’t you just the skincare efficiency expert! Whatever shall you do with those extra 14 seconds every morning? Personally, I would eat a waffle.

So for you, Michelle, I’d definitely go for a Philosophy eye cream next, and soon. I am a fan of the Hope in a Tube Eye & Lip Cream, but if you prefer more moisture over anti-wrinkle effects, go for the Eye Believe Cream. Then keep checking this page for the results of my Sunscreen Price Tag Cage Match (research still in progress, and oh! what tireless research it is! I hardly ever leave my lab these days!) to help you pick product #4. Har.

After that, whenever you’re in a treating-yourself kind of mood, you can venture beyond the everyday essentials. If you’re prone to zits, get the When Hope Is Not Enough Serum I talked about a few weeks back. (Thank y’all for the nice testimonial emails, by the way. It’s so lovely to know I’m not alone in my love!) Ask for the Microdelivery or Oxygen Peel for Christmas.

And remember, gals-on-budgets: the gift sets are your friends. Not only are they a great value, they always include a bunch of additional free samples. Which…you will of course love and then buy the full-price version. Hmm. Wow.

It’s almost like some marketing-genius-type person is putting the free samples in there ON PURPOSE.

I must investigate! Back to the laboratory, Igor! Hurry!

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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I’ve been a fan of Philosophy for quite a while, but have only recently really ventured into their skincare line. I’ve used the Purity Made Simple for one full 8oz bottle’s worth (umm… maybe like 4 months or so… not sure) and then I got a Sephora gift card for my birthday and used it to buy the Makeup Optional gift set. Now, I am a very budget conscious girl, so I spent a lot of time looking at all of the Philosophy skincare sets online and seeing which had which products, which seemed like the best deal, etc. Their… Read more »


What about toner? Should we use toner? What is it for?


I have to leave a testimonial, too. I started using the Philosophy line about three weeks ago. I had been thinking about it and doing my research and what tipped me over the edge were (1) yet another Philosophy-based post here at the Smackdown and (2) I’m turning 30 this year and realized I need to start acting like a grownup about skincare or I’m going to look 80 before I’m 40. SO, I girded my loins and bought the Makeup Optional gift set from Sephora, the serum, and a Microdelivery Peel set for use once a week. (I had… Read more »


Philosophy offers a tv special at The set includes a three-month supply of the cleanser, Hope in a jar moisturizer, microdelivery peel, hope ina tube eye cream, and the vitamin C/peptide serum stuff. The entire set is close to 90 bucks, BUT the payments can be split into an affordable (and completely budgetable) $30 per month. You also can increase the length between shipments if you take longer than 90 days to use your products. In addition, you can substitute products, like Hope in a Bottle for Hope in a Jar. I’ve done this a couple of times and… Read more »


Run don’t walk to! Right now they have an introductory special on Philosophy’s 6 piece Make up Optional gift set. It contains all of the items recommended here for less than $50! I’ve seen a simialr set at Sephora for over $90! Not sure if they are full size bottles but they on QVC they usually are! Definitely seems worth a try – QVC also has great deals on autop delivery for this stuff!


After Michelle’s comment, I just had to go check out the deal on QVC (even though I just bought the Makeup Optional set). The advanced Makeup Optional set on QVC has all the items in the regular Makeup Optional set except in smaller amounts (about half of what I got in the regular kit), BUT it does add on the microdelivery peel pads and a moisturizer with SPF. So it seems like a pretty awesome deal for someone just starting out… 6 things to try to see what works or doesn’t work for your skin. But no, it’s not the… Read more »


Curiosity has gotten the better of me, and my birthday (tomorrow) has convinced me to go ahead and splurge on myself (again). Happy Birthday to me!
Thanks to Stephanie and Michelle for the tip to check QVC – that place is great for little starter and trial kits of all kinds of stuff for really good prices.