I should never call it a routine – it’s anything but. My skincare product selection changes very frequently. Partially because my skin needs change, but mostly because I want to try ALL the things!
Recently, my friend Lisa* told me that my skin looks better than it has ever looked and wanted to know what I was using. She knows me well and starting off with a compliment like that ensures that I will tell her everything I’m using. Hell, I almost went out and bought it all for her too!
Last Saturday morning, I emailed her my current routine – and since I spent time giving her links to everything, you get to read it too! Feeling lucky?!? Of course, this is my still-expensive-but-accessible routine. The dream routine would include so much La Mer that I’d literally be homeless. But let’s not talk about upsetting subjects like the fact that I can’t afford a jar of $400 face
cream creme. Let’s focus on what we can have (yes, it’s still shit-ton of money).
I’m NOT a morning person. In fact, the only thing I like about mornings is getting tanked up on coffee. I’m constantly running late. My morning skincare routine has to be super fast and super easy. Otherwise, it would never happen.
- Garnier Micellar Water – I don’t wash my face in the morning, unless there is a reason to. I simply use micellar water to freshen up and remove overnight oil accumulation. This product is less than $10 and it’s better than Bioderma’s – and it’s half the price. No joke.
- Vitamin C Serum – When I’m not using a Vitamin C serum, my skin feels and looks it. It’s the fastest way to brighten my complexion.. It’s pretty tricky to create a stabilized version of Vitamin C serum that doesn’t oxidize quickly in the bottle. Because of that, I strongly suggest AVOIDING the natural C serums that are everywhere right now. The more orange the C serum is, the more oxidized it is. So, not only will it not perform as an antioxidant, it can cause increased damage. The best I’ve ever used is the CE Ferrulic from Skinceuticals. I also like Drunk Elephant which is quite a lot less expensive, but I won’t live without the Skinceuticals.
- Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid – I love these because Hyaluronic acid instantly draws moisture into the skin and visibly plumps fine lines. This type of moisturizer tends to be a gel and therefore is light and quick to absorb. This matters to me because I still have a whole lotta layers to add to my face. My current favorite is Algenist’s SPLASH Absolute Hydration Replenishing Gel Moisturizer.
- A quality sunscreen. I can’t get enough of Skinceutical’s Sheer Physical UV Defense It has a texture so light it almost feels like water, and as a bonus, it’s tinted so on days you didn’t want to wear makeup (I hear some people actually do this!), this could suffice.
Finally, I carry a hydrating mist in my purse (and have one in my car, a couple in my desk drawer) and use it multiple times a day. It helps keep your makeup looking fresh, gives you a second during the day to pretend you’re at the spa and keeps skin hydrated. Teaser: I have a blog post coming about Beauty Blender hacks and one trick involves hydrating mist too. I love Caudalie’s Beauty Elixir because it smells herbal, spa-like and wonderful – but the spray isn’t a fine mist and it’s in a glass bottle. Others that I enjoy are Tatcha’s Luminous Dewy Skin Mist and Farmacy’s Skin Dew. Some people swear by plain old Evian. I currently have Caudalie’s Grape Water in my purse because it’s sprays in a fine mist and and is in an unbreakable can. There are millions to choose from, but using one regularly will change your life. For reals.
Forgive me while I interrupt my skincare routine to bring you a couple of items that are outside of the routine: scrubs and masks. Three to four times a week I use a scrub or mask. I love the Too Cool for School Egg Cream Sheet Masks for lazy days and massive hydration. Last time my mom was visiting, I slapped one on her and she was pretty impressed too. Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion is my go-to exfoliator when I need something mechanical and more than anything in the world, I love Tata Harper’s Purifying Mask and/or Resurfacing Mask. I’m lying. It’s husband and kids first, but Tata Harper a close 6th. Pricey? At $58 I’d say yes, but I’d also say they are worth every last scent (get it? It’s a play on words because they smell wonderful!). Finally, there’s just something super satisfying about peel-off masks and none offer a more satisfying peeling experience than Boscia’s Luminizing Black Mask. It will clean out your pores, and remove every last hair on your face as a bonus. Plus, it peels off almost completely intact.
Night time is where things get tricky. And labor intensive. I have started with the Korean double cleansing ritual which I feel is the one thing that has made an impact on my skin. I am not sure I was every truly cleaning before.
For the second step, I adore Murad’s AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser and I will always use this daily because it saves a huge step. Smells terrible, leaves skin squeaky clean and gently exfoliates with both physical and chemical exfoliants. I’ve started to feel that using AHA/BHA daily is critical to avoiding yucky skin and I’m completely obsessed with Sunday Riley’s Good Genes.
I used to think that toners were a waste of time and money, but I understand their purpose now – and it helps that they aren’t basically witch hazel or rubbing alcohol anymore (anyone remember Sea Breeze? Toning not only removes final traces of makeup, it helps prime your skin to more fully absorb the rest of your routine. New to me is the Indie lee CoQ10 Toner. It’s so new that I’m not sure what I think of it.
After toning, it’s serum time. I tend to mix this up based on specific skin needs and samples that I want to try. Just go thinnest to thickest, and your skin really won’t benefit from more than 2 or three. Overnight is skin rebuilding time, get specific about your goals and choose products tailored to those goals. Retinol (vitamin A), resveratrol and peptides are all anti-aging products that are popular right now. I love Algenist, Skinceuticals and Sunday Riley products. I’ve tried this
After targeting my skin woes, I need to add mega-moisture. There are so many great products on the market that it’s really hard to choose. I’m currently out of Skinceutical’s Lipid Restore, but I am loving Algenist here too! 813
FINALLY (finally), I use a sleeping oil. Sunday Riley is queen here. I’ve tried Luna and love it. It smells bad, but does awesome things for your skin. I will likely replace it with Artemis to try something new. But I also really want to try Juno. So many decisions – and I’ve got several other bottles from other brands that I’m currently using, such as Indie Lee’s Squalane Facial Oil which I’m enjoying a lot too. Farmacy’s Oil Balm is so easy (not messy) to apply. I transfer most of my facial oils to roller bottles that I order from Amazon to make application less messy. Also? I love pressing the roller bottle around my eye Area to reduce puffiness.
My only caution about facial oils is to avoid Argan oil. I know everyone is on that bandwagon right now, but I find it too heavy and it goes rancid really fast. I can’t stand the idea of rubbing rancid oil on my face.
You will notice that this list doesn’t include a specific eye cream. I personally feel that eye creams are a waste of money. I use the facial oil intensively around my eyes and will use some on my eyelashes. I seem to always have millions of little freebie pots of eye cream laying around, but until I find one that seems to make a difference, I’m going to stick with the oils. If you have an eye cream that wows you, please share it in the comments below!
My list is constantly changing based on new products that I love and discover. I have tons of love for the brands listed here. What are your favorites? What do I need to try that I’ve missed?
*That is her real name.