Well, I get what people are saying, though sadly I think what I was saying was missed... but what can ya do.
I'm pretty happy with my new workflow... using the 50% grey layers for more drastic changes, and the curves for stuff like the skin. Also using the freq separation method for skin retouching, and a desaturated solar layer to help spot blending issues.
Looks like this now, vs the 1 50% grey layer I had and 1 layer for spot healing. Works great... but now need to update the computer since jumped from a 50MB file to a 500MB file.