If you have been around for awhile, you’ll likely notice that many of the products in my lineup have remained unchanged since I last provided an update. I do test out new products and occasionally old favorites are replaced with those that my skin seems to respond better to.
I have oily, textured skin that is prone to dehydration and congestion. My primary focus is on actives and I build in the remainder of my regime with products that a.) play best with those and b.) are soothing to my skin.
I wear makeup and sunscreen just about daily. Because of that, I subscribe to the double cleanse method. Essentially, the first cleanse is intended to remove makeup, sunscreen and whatever other icky environmental debris has accumulated on my face throughout the day. Step two is focused on properly cleansing the skin. If you jump in the shower with a face full of makeup and begin working cleanser into the skin, you are essentially rubbing the makeup deeper into the pores. This method also fails to properly remove sunscreen. Many people who claim that “sunscreen makes them break out” are really just failing to remove it properly and thus congesting their skin.
I have been using Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm for a few years now. It requires very little product and there are always sales to be had on Clinique. I usually pick it up at either Sephora or Ulta when it is on sale for $15.00. One container lasts me just shy of a year. Rub your fingers into the balm and apply to your dry makeup ridden face so that it can work its magic. Once I have thoroughly rubbed it in, I wet a cloth (I use these microfiber face cloths – they are life changing) and remove both product and debris from my face – gently. (Not only are these microfiber cloths super soft, but they are white so that I can confirm everything has indeed been removed from my face.)
I have also faithfully used CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser for a few years now and I could not be happier. I have received other cleansers in subscription boxes and sample bags but always come back to my CeraVe. The price point is low to begin with, but I wait until Ulta has is on sale Buy One Get One Half Off and combine with with a $3.50 coupon for the best price.
2-3 nights a week, I apply some sort of mask after washing my face. Once a week I use Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial. This is a powerful at home peel that helps to keep stubborn congestion and closed comedones at bay.
On the days in between, I rotate between GlamGlow SUPERMUD Clearing Treatment and the more wallet friendly Aztec Secret. (I mix it with Apple Cider Vinegar.) They help to draw debris out of pores and reduce oil in my t-zone.
Between the cold weather and drying effects of a constantly running furnace, I try to layer hydration as soon as I finish washing my face or removing a mask. I shake a few drops of the Secret Key Essence into my hands and pat all over my face. If my skin is feeling particularly parched, I will wait a minute or so in between and apply multiple lightweight layers.
I keep a combination of treatments in my arsenal at any given time. My primary line of defense is Curology, it is a prescription Tretinoin. It is really the gold standard of anti-aging, and mine is formulated to include Clindamycin that fights inflammation and acne causing bacteria as well as Azelaic Acid to unclog pores, reduce dark spots.
*Curology does offer an excellent free trial if you are interested. The first custom prescription is free, you will only pay shipping. They are essentially a web based dermatologist, so you just need to complete a profile and provide photos of your skin so that they can provide an assessment.
A couple of nights a week I replace the Curology with Farmacy Honeymoon Glow. When I apply this in the evening, my skin is so even and absolutely glowing the next morning. This is always my go-to when we have any type of event or plans scheduled the next day. The Curology is definitely better suited to the long game, where as the Farmacy is more of an immediate gratification solution. (For those familiar with Sunday Riley Good Genes, I used that until I discovered this! The Farmacy price point is also far more attractive.)
I don’t advocate investing a great deal in your moisturizer. Really, you want something that seals everything else in and supports the protection of your skin barrier. I swear by CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion PM Ultra Lightweight. I use two pumps every night religiously to my face and neck.
Trying to keep my lips from becoming chapped seems to be the bane of my existence in the winter. The Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask works wonders in the battle against scaly, peeling lips. I promise you, apply this before bed every evening and you will be astonished by how much less lip balm you will require during the day! Very little is needed and the container lasts me forever.
In the morning, I am just looking to remove the actives and oils from the night before, without stripping my skin. I do a single step cleanse using the Cerave Hydrating Facial Cleanser.
Once again, I am looking to lightly layer hydration into my skin. I pat a few drops of the Secret Key Essence and go off in search of coffee.
In the morning, I have found that the Paula’s Choice BHA is perfect to keep my skin on track without compromising the integrity or wear time of my makeup. You can find it at several stores online, but I purchase the two-pack included in the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale each year for half the normal retail price.
For daytime, I stick with Vitamin C as my antioxidant of choice. After trying several, I still believe that Timeless has the best formulation for the price. They also make their product available here on Amazon if you prefer. It’s important to remember that Vitamin C is inherently unstable. I keep mine in the refrigerator to ensure that I can finish it before it begins to go off.
So, I never put much stock in a separate eye cream. Then, last winter, a fun new thing happened where the inner corners of my eyes were suddenly noticeably dry and at times flakey under my concealer. I tried a few samples and then discovered the Kiehls Creamy Treatment With Avocado. I dab the tiniest conceivable amount under my eyes and it seems to remedy the problem. Since I’m already there I also dab a little on the outer corners as well. I bought it last winter and have hardly made a dent in the container. Also: No milia. I’m calling this one a win.
Contrary to my husband’s belief, you really do suffer damaging effects of the sun year round. (This is an ongoing battle in our house.) I have found that a moisturizer/sunscreen duo works well for me in the winter. Elta MD UV Clear continues to serve me well. It wears so well under foundation that it almost acts as a built in primer for me. There is no offensive smell and it never leaves me oily. I have never noticed a white cast of any sort, but I almost relatively fair.