Hello everyone! I’m super thrilled to have finally chosen a medium to share my love of skincare & I appreciate any and all feedback, suggestions, shared information, and so forth. I hope to gain some loyal readers and make some like-minded friends!
There are a number of basic guidelines to follow when developing your skincare routine and selecting products. Here, I will cover what I have personally found to be successful through trial and error over the years.
Only use cleanser at night
This is a big one, a tip given to me by a salesperson at LUSH years about 5 years ago. As she explained to me, your face isn’t dirty in the morning after sleeping, so just splashing it with warm water, patting dry and applying your routine products is all it needs. In fact, when you use cleanser on a clean face, you are stripping the natural oils from your skin which will cue your skin cells to overproduce oils to make up for the loss, resulting in a “shiny” (greasy) face throughout the day.
Washing with cleanser, exfoliating, doing masques, etc., at night and then applying your heavier night creams is much more sensible, as you are clearing the dirt, free radicals, environmental toxins & so forth that have collected in your pores throughout the course of the day. When you go to sleep, your skin has the opportunity to absorb what you have applied to it.
Avoid overuse of exfoliants & masques
It’s easy to get excited about caring for your skin when you find something effective; trust me, I know. Same logic as only using cleanser at night – you risk stripping your skin of its natural oils which it needs to function properly and look healthy, and this results in overproduction of oils. Exfoliating too often can have additional consequences, such as making the surface of your skin so smooth that makeup will not adhere to it (I have seen this happen, it’s somewhat amusing actually) and reddening patches of skin that have been worked over too roughly.
Switch up your brands & products
Every 4-6 months, our skin becomes accustomed to our routine and it stops being as effective as it once was. This doesn’t mean you have to toss your products if they’re still good; just save them for the next rotation. I am experiencing this right now; as much as I worship Origins, the cleanser that I have been using from their line for the last several months (A Perfect World antioxidant and white tea cleanser) has not been nearly as beneficial as it once was. My skin has become noticeably greasier & more oily for the past few weeks, resulting in blemishes every few days. To remedy this, I went to the Mall of America yesterday and obtained a shitload of free samples from various skincare retailers – namely, LUSH, Sephora, & Kiehls. I will share my tips for obtaining free samples in another post.
There is no right or wrong way to explore your options. Trial sizes or travel sizes are a good way to experience the product for a few weeks if you are unable to obtain samples (the brands I have already mentioned [Origins, LUSH, & Kiehls] are extremely generous with the free samples with no pressure to buy, which is how they have hooked me as a loyal customer). You know your skin type and your skin’s needs. Try mixing products from different brands in your routine, but remember that there’s no need to replace everything in your regimen just because one product isn’t working as well as it once did. I am currently only shopping for a new cleanser and toner-type product.
“Problem” skin is sensitive skin
This is another big one. We have the tendency to want to aggressively attack & treat blemishes and oil with harsh products that burn layers of the skin off, but this approach is completely backwards and misinformed. To be fair, much of the fault here lies with the marketing & advertising of companies/products such as OXYpads, Clearasil, etc. . The problem with these harsh products is that they contain ingredients such as alcohol and high concentrations of witch hazel, as well as salicylic acid. All of these ingredients serve to dry out your skin to a dramatic extent, which – you guessed it – leads to the overproduction of natural oils, creating a vicious cycle of dependency on totally ineffective products.
The proper way to treat your skin while addressing specific concerns is to use products designed for sensitive skin. These tend to avoid fragrances and heavy creams, which can irritate your skin. When treating blemishes, you need to only apply treatment product to the affected area! This is another key point that items marketed towards teens and people with chronic acne issues misses entirely; they are selling you the idea that you need to treat your entire face, even the unaffected areas. A more effective way to treat them is to find a “spot treatment” product (many brands make them) which may indeed contain one of the harsh ingredients that I mentioned earlier, but when you use a tiny amount only on the blemish itself you aren’t risking stripping the oils from your entire face. These will still dry out the spot to a dramatic extent, so it is important to also moisturize the affected areas once the spot treatment has dried, in order to avoid flaking skin.
Day and Night products are different
Contrary to popular belief, companies actually are not trying to scam you into buying 2 identical moisturizers. Daytime moisturizers are typically more lightweight, and a good one should contain SPF. Many even have a very subtle shimmer to them which gives your skin an extra “glow”. Nighttime creams, by contrast, are heavier since your skin will have many hours to absorb them without interruption, and usually contain a higher number of nutrients and antioxidants. It is important to use both of them after washing (with plain water or cleanser, respectively) in order to keep your skin looking so goddamn good that you no longer have any desire to wear foundation.
° Splash face several times with warm running water, switching to cooler water for the last few splashes.
° Apply toning product – currently using Breath Of Fresh Air by LUSH, switching from United State balancing tonic by Origins. Both of these products are balancing tonics with essential oils meant to maintain a healthy balance on your skin, not stripping it like many products marketed and sold as toners. Always read ingredients before purchasing anything!
° Apply any treatment product. When I have a blemish, I am using a sample of Grease Lightning by LUSH, switching from Super Spot Remover by Origins. This new product is much gentler and contains aloe vera gel to calm the redness caused by acne, and so far I am loving it! No burning sensation like you get with salicylic acid products, the tea tree oil is much gentler but still very effective at treating blemishes.
° Apply daytime eye cream – currently using GinZing refreshing eye cream to brighten and depuff by Origins, which has a really lovely subtle shimmer to help brighten the eye area. Remember to apply from your brows down to your lids using your ring finger, as it is the weakest and less likely to apply too much pressure. Also apply to your undereye area and the area beside the outer corners of your eyes. A little goes a long way here!
° Apply moisturizer – currently trying a sample of Enzymion by LUSH, switching from A Perfect World SPF 35 UV face protector with white tea & Mega-Bright skin illuminating moisturizer by Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins (I would switch between the two a few times a week, depending on how much time I was planning to spend outside).
° Admire yourself. Very important final step in achieving that youthful, dewy glow that everyone is seeking!
° Wash face with cleanser – currently using Herbalism by LUSH, switching from A Perfect World antioxidant cleanser with white tea & Mega-Bright skin illuminating cleanser, both by Origins. I was alternating these Origins cleansers randomly.
° Apply toning product – currently using Breath Of Fresh Air by LUSH, switching from A Perfect World Age-defense treatment lotion with white tea by Origins.
° Apply any treatment product – currently using Mega-Bright skin tone correcting serum a few times a week or as needed.
° Apply nighttime eye cream – currently using my nighttime moisturizer, which is generally fine unless yours contains fragrances or irritants (which it shouldn’t anyway), or otherwise states on the product not to apply to the eye area. My product of choice at the moment is High-Potency Night-A-Mins mineral enriched renewal cream by Origins.
° Apply nighttime moisturizer – currently using High-Potency Night-A-Mins mineral enriched renewal cream by Origins.
Always use the following products at night, for the reasons detailed above in the Basics section.
° Exfoliating – currently using Modern Friction nature’s gentle dermabrasion by Origins.
° Masques – currently using Clear Improvement active charcoal mask to clear pores as well as spot-treating with an application of Out of Trouble 10 minute mask to rescue problem skin to blemishes (I use both masques at the same time), both by Origins. I am also sampling several different masques obtained yesterday, which I will review as I use them.
Masques are most effective after you have opened up your pores with steam, and I really like to soak in a tub of hot water and epsom salts while waiting for the masque to dry, as this keeps the pores open and helps cleanse toxins from the rest of your body.
Alright well that’s all for now, gotta go cook a 2:35 a.m. dinner, because I’m bizarre with no schedule for the time being. Thanks for reading!