Good-day my beauties! Today I’ll be talking about my favorite subject – skin care!
I love skin care. I, just like everyone else, am constantly on the lookout for products that are more effective and more natural with kick-ass packaging (I’m such a sucker for that).
To preface the goodies below, I will say that my skin has changed quite a bit (that’s a lie, it’s changed A LOT) in the past year. It started out as normal skin (not dry or oily or blemished, pretty damn near perfect actually), but then I did this crazy thing and moved to New York City. My skin wasn’t too happy. This past “polar vortex” made my skin drier than the Sahara and adjusting to the pollutants in the city made me much more prone to breakouts. So in the midst of this (as I was using ProActiv at the time), I steadily learned about ingredients, chemicals, natural skin care, Whole Foods, Manuka honey and all of these wonderful things and people on YouTube and people with blogs that I had never even known existed before! During this revelation, I made the jump. I stopped using Proactiv and introduced my skin to a less harsh and more natural skin care routine.
Now, my skin is somewhat combination. I no longer feel that I fit specifically in the dry category, nor the normal, or oily, or acne prone. I’m a weird sort of skin hybrid with a combination of all these issues (is anyone else this way?). I tend to get blemishes nowadays, yet my skin is a bit dry around the perimeter of my face and more well-moisturized in the center.
I genuinely hope my experiences with products and my own skin can help guide you through your skincare journey!
Now, enough jibber-jabber. Let’s get started.
I start my skincare routine with this little gem to remove my makeup. I pour about a dime-nickel size amount onto my fingers, run them together to warm up the oil, and then gently massage it into my dry, makeup-covered face. This sounds bizzare to those who are unfamiliar with removing makeup with an oil/balm, but it has genuinely changed my skin. It DOES take all your makeup off (even Benefit’s pesky They’re Real mascara) and does so in such a gentle, organic way that I will never go back to using wipes or a makeup removing water again. YES, you did hear me correctly (err, read me..). After massaging this into my skin and working off my eye makeup, I like to take a hot, damp washcloth and very gently remove the oil. The warmth of the cloth helps to open your pores and prep your face for cleansing, while the cloth itself helps to gently exfoliate the skin. If you haven’t tried this method, I’m telling you now to try it. It’s incredible.
Next is cleansing. I love this cleansing milk. It’s very gentle and creamy, but it does actually work to clean the skin (not in a harsh way, but in an “ahh, my skin is clean and fresh” sort of way) while nourishing it with moisture. It smells lovely, has no nasty chemicals, and has wonderfully hygienic/economical packaging that I adore. If you haven’t tried it, pick up a sample or just say fuck it and go out to buy it because it’s plain wonderful. I spoke about this in my May Favorites, so if you want to learn more, go check it out.
T-t-t-toner. I’ll be honest. This toner does not blow my mind, so I won’t recommend it to you. BUT! If you use it and it works for you, then you go Glen-Coco.
It’s more gel-like and milky than a traditional water-based toner and feels cooling on the skin, but I just don’t know. It didn’t make my skin look more amazing than before I used it – it’s meh.
Silly me though. I got suckered into buying the full 8.4oz size of this at the Kiehl’s store on 3rd Ave and 13th St in May, so I will be using this for awhile (until every single last drop of it is gone, *sigh) before purchasing a new toner. If you are using a toner that you love, please comment below and let me know what you recommend!
This is an unnecessary and completely ludicrous part of my skin care routine, but I like to spritz my face with some rosewater after toning (just to add a little extra moisture to my face). I also like to use this throughout the day to freshen up my complexion and to smell the rose deliciousness. I would compare this to Caudalie’s Beauty Elixir, but much more economical, natural, and (obviously) floral.
This product changed my life after ditching Proactiv and I profusely apologize to you, dear reader, for having to hear another person rave about this product, but it is just that fucking incredible. My skin broke out a lot after quitting the use of not only harsh chemicals, but also acne fighting products that were in every step of my skin care. In a desperate effort to clear up my skin, I tried Origins Super Spot Removing Acne Treatment Gel, Murad’s Acne Spot Fast Fix, and Clinique’s new Acne Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel. The Origins peeled like a bitch so it couldn’t be worn beneath makeup, Murad’s didn’t seem to do anything at all besides smell awful, and Clinique’s was okay, but not impressive. None of these spot treatments seemed to work for me and I really couldn’t figure out why.
That was when I gave into the hype, marched on down to Walgreen’s and purchased my first bottle of this lifesaver. This formula consists of 5.5% benzoyl peroxide (combats acne) and .4% lactic acid (exfoliates) and is superb, while the spot treatments above mainly consist of salicyclic acid, which I have realized doesn’t have a great effect on my skin. La Roche Posay’s Effaclar Duo works to clear my blemishes in one-two days and has been my life saver. It’s incredible, I love it. I know some use it as an all-over treatment, but I use it as a spot treatment so my skin doesn’t (1) become immune to the formula or (2) become dependent on the formula.
If you are struggling with acne/blemishes, give this a go. It has worked wonders not only for me, but also Grace (and about a billion other beauty bloggers).
Face Serum/Blend of oils
This is a peculiar step in both mine and Grace’s skin care routines because we don’t use a traditional, commercial serum. Instead, we made our own. We were at Bloomingdale’s one day and this lovely woman offered the both of us Tata Harper skin treatments. The both of us, being beauty fiends, know exactly who Tata Harper is and what her skincare line stands for. Which of course led to us accepting her offer oh so eagerly (If you don’t know Tata Harper, click here). This woman giving us facials introduced us, and ultimately convinced us, to incorporating facial serums into our skin care routines, specifically Tata Harper’s Replenishing Nutrient Complex. Ooooh-Ahhh. And while we love the one made by Tata, we cannot exactly afford laying down loads of money for products we realized we had the ingredients for in our dorm room.
So, Grace and I proceeded to look up high-end beauty serums’ ingredients across the board and made our own. Beauty serums are generally a collection of natural oils. So, (Grace also talks about this in her skincare routine) ours consists of (as would appear on an ingredients list) jojoba oil, rosehip oil, apricot-seed oil, calendula oil, primrose oil, squalene oil, sea buckthorn oil, and carrot seed oil. I later added a drop of tea tree oil to my serum for additional blemish fighting action.
And lemme tell ya, this serum is amazing. I prefer it over Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Serum – it’s just that good. It’s moisturizing, but not oily or greasy. It’s a great primer for my foundation. It makes my skin glow when I wake up in the morning. It’s fabulous.
(Origins on the left, M-61 on the right)
While I wait for the serum to absorb into my skin, I like to apply eye cream. I use two different eye creams, one I use in the morning – Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream ($30) – and one I use at night – M-61 Hydraboost Eye Cream ($78).
Now, I am young and don’t necessarily need to use an eye cream, but I do anyways in the hopes it will pay off in forty years. That being said, I don’t use either of these eye creams for any particular reason. I use them simply because they’re around. Grace gave me her Origins eye cream after not liking it and I received the M-61 eye cream as a free deluxe sample in Blue Mercury’s store in NYC. I like both of these eye creams a lot. The Origins eye cream has a slight shimmer to it, and really works to brighten the face in the morning. Whereas the M-61 eye cream is incredibly hydrating and firming/plumping. I would recommend both of these depending on your eye-circumstances and your budget.
This baby saved my dry skin this last winter. Over time I have come to learn that this can be (and should be) used as a body moisturizer, but, saying that, it worked wonders for my face. As I said, I had incredibly dry skin a few months ago, but from the moment I started using this I have yet to see another dry patch. It’s so nourishing and gentle. First Aid Beauty is another clean brand – it’s formulated without parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, synthethic dyes, phthalates, GMO’s, and triclosan. It’s a thick white cream (that is deceptively lightweight) and works best when you warm up the product between your fingers before applying it to your face. A little product goes very far and the jar (6oz) that I have currently is still going strong since I bought it in the beginning of April. It smells faintly medicinal which I, surprisingly, really enjoy.
It’s a little heavy now that the weather is getting warmer, but there has never been an issue with it sitting oddly beneath my makeup – it’s still lovely. My only concern with this product is that it comes in a bulky jar. The thought of sticking my fingers into a jar repeatedly and then rubbing that product all over my face seems really unhygienic. Perhaps the next time I buy this (during the upcoming winter) I will buy the smaller tube size to resolve this issue.
And that is it for my skin care routine as of now! What are some of your favorite skincare products? Let me know! I’d love to test them out.
Happy Reading, Gorgeous!