Last week, I wrote an introduction to skincare basics, and Evie shared her very extensive and learned thoughts on sunscreen. This week, I will share with you the details of my current skincare routine, tailored for the spring and summer, and all my favorite products (both old and new).
My skin type:
My skin type has definitely changed over the last decade, which is normal as most people’s skin types will change as they age. When I was a teenager, my skin was mostly pretty oily. I struggled with acne during first year of college until I discovered the magic of topical antibiotics and Differin, and dermatologists in general. During my 20s, my skin was mostly combination, which meant my nose and forehead tend to get shiny / greasy while my cheeks and nose can suffer from dry patches. In the last couple of years, my skin has become more normal, but also sensitive. In the winter and drier climates I need a good deal of hydration, but dial back in spring and summer. Having sensitive skin also means a number of products can cause breakouts, ranging from acne and clogged pores, to itchy red bumps and patches. In summary, I’m not sure if my skin needs have become any easier, but they certainly have evolved.
My skincare goals:
- Cleansing – as I mentioned in my Skincare Basics post, starting with a clean slate is very important. Clogged pores can wreak havoc on any type of skin.
- Moisturizing – hydration is key, as water is essential to the proper functioning and maintenance of all major organs, including skin.
- Anti-aging / Prevention – I’m a strong believer in prevention over procedures. Anything I can do to avoid pre-mature aging and going under the knife (or botox) is good.
- Cleanse with water, and either micellar cleanser or mild gel cleanser (not both).
- Park & Son Beauty Water – the market is currently flooded with micellar cleanser options. I like this one for its minimalist packaging and long list of benefits. I can’t speak specifically to all the benefits, but this has worked well for my skin (no breakouts) and is effective in taking off dirt and residual make-up.
- CeraVe SA Cleanser – affordable option from a solid brand. It’s no-fuss and no irritation, with added benefit of salicylic acids. I find it to be a basic, gentle cleanser that’s budget friendly.
- I use the Beauty Water when my skin is feeling drier, and CeraVe when it’s a bit more greasy.
- Treat & Protect with vitamin C, which provides protection from environmental stressors and firming and brightening effects
- Drunk Elephant Firma-C Day Serum: I started using this two and half years ago and never looked back (except for a few months at the end of last year that was definitely a mistake and we won’t speak of that again, sorry DE). But seriously, this stuff is amazing. Everything about is is pretty perfect, from the formulation and active ingredients to effective packaging (opaque bottle with airless pump that prevents the active ingredients from oxidizing / degrading). It’s not cheap at $80, but it’s worth every cent in my bank.
- Moisturize with First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration – This is an old favorite that I have been using for many years now. The formula feels light, is calming and moisturizing, and has added benefits of antioxidants. There’s nothing fancy about this moisturizer, but it does everything I want a moisturizer to do, with no irritants and unnecessary ingredients. When my face freaks out from trying a new product, I always come back to this, and it will calm down any flare-ups in no time. This is definitely a staple and I would never be without it. The price point is also great, $30 gets you a whopping 6 oz!
- Protect with sunscreen, because UV rays are the devil (J/K, but seriously, slap on some SPF)
- Urban Environment Tinted UV Protector Broad Spectrum SPF 43 – this feels a lot like a tinted moisturizer, creamy with light coverage (enough to even out any uneven skin tone and perfect for that “no make-up look”). This is a chemical sunscreen, which means the UV protection disappears after two hours. I like this for work days when I need the protection during my commute, and also for its added coverage.
- Australian Gold Botanical SPF 50 Tinted Face Mineral Lotion – I use this on weekends when I tend to spend more time outdoors, but I could easily use it every day as it’s quickly becoming my favorite sunscreen (detailed review here).
- Cleanse – my cleansing routine will vary depending on if I’m wearing make-up or not. On most days, I will use a mouse / cream cleanser, and finish off with a micellar cleanser (Beauty Water). If I have make up, I will double cleanse, followed by micellar cleanser. I find the micellar cleanser step key because it catches any residual dirt and makeup that I missed and serves as an insurance step. The Beauty Water also re-balances and tones.
- Lancome Creme Radiance Gentle Cleansing Creamy-Foam Cleanser: I’m really just using this because I’ve had it for a while in my stash. It’s a solid cleanser that leaves my skin feeling clean but not dry. Good at taking off sunscreen too.
- Su:m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick: I love this cleanser, but it’s sadly discontinued (at the moment, some people think the company might bring it back). This was the only cleanser I brought with me on my wedding weekend, and it took off layers of serious make-up with gusto.
- Shu Uemura High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil Advanced Formula for Sensitive Skin: I’ve had this for ages – I don’t even know when I purchased it. It’s a cult classic and works well in taking off any makeup (even waterproof). I only use this as the first step of double cleanse, followed by the either the Lance or CeraVe cleanser, and then Beauty Water. Oil cleansers are great options for taking off all kinds of make up and the right formula and application will not clog your pores (even for oily skin types).
- Treat – I use a portfolio of products to get different benefits and will rotate through them throughout the week.
- Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution: The active ingredients are retinol and ferulic acid. Together they provide retexturing and brightening benefits, while preventing wrinkles. I use this to treat uneven skin tone and pigmentation from sun damage and acne scarring.
- Sunday Riley Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment: Lactic acid is a gentler form of AHA and is effective in treating hyperpigmentation and clogged pores through exfoliation. In my experience, my skin always has a noticeable glow immediate after using this. I’ve tried other AHAs and BHAs but none has given me the immediate benefits I’ve seen with Good Genes, which is why I will keep purchasing this. I started out with the 1 oz size but will probably be getting the larger 1.7 oz going forward.
- The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%: I use this as a preventative measure against acne and congestion. If you decide to incorporate this into your skincare routine, make sure you do not mix this with L-Ascorbic Acid (mixing the two will render the vitamin C ineffective).
- Moisturize – I switch between the FAB moisturizer and a newly discovered overnight mask from Kiehl’s
- Kiehl’s Ginger Leaf & Hibiscus Firming Overnight MaskKiehl’s Ginger Leaf & Hibiscus Firming Overnight Mask: This is called a “mask” but I really treat it more like a night cream. The texture is thicker than most night cream and moisturizers and takes a bit more effort to spread evenly on the face. Kiehl’s website describes the mask as “velvety” and I don’t disagree. It also has a pleasant fragrance that is a blend of fruity and floral, but still subtle and not overpowering. I can’t really speak to the “firming” function or how effectively it “reduces appearance of fine lines and wrinkle”. I like this mask for the sensory experience and my face feels very smooth in the mornings. I think this would be a good overnight mask option especially for people normal, oily, and combo skin types. It’s probably not hydrating enough to be used on its own for dry skin types and there are more moisturizing options that might be more suitable for people with drier skin.