I've struggled with problem skin all my life.
My complexion is super sensitive, easily congested (even when using high-end, noncomedogenic cosmetics), prone to T-zone oiliness and dryness everywhere else, and as a cherry on top, I get painful hormonal acne around my chin and jawline with every period like clockwork. I spent my teen years having cystic acne throughout my face that hurt both physically and emotionally. After I'd found ways to clear it up, I was left with scarring to deal with. Years of using glycolic acid products followed by coconut oil got rid of most of the scarring, and now, miraculously, people complement me on my complexion constantly. I get asked all the time what products I use and how I keep my skin so clear and even-toned. The answer: a glorious little eight-step everyday regimen.
The Everyday Basics
My twice daily (morning and right before bed) skincare routine involves: a gentle exfoliating scrub, cleanser, a moisturizing mask, a gentle toner, a serum, facial spray, moisturizer, and an eye cream. Whew.
This may sound like a lot of work, but it doesn't have to be. The entire process takes me 15 minutes, morning and night. Think of this as time to pamper yourself! You deserve to set aside a few minutes for self-care. Sometimes, I light candles, pop the bubbly, put on music and relax while I work my way through the steps.
Let's break it down:
STEP 1: Get Buff with Formula 10.0.6
One Smooth Operator is my go-to, everyday exfoliant. Made with soothing oat and gentle pumice, it buffs away dirt and dead skin to reveal a fresh face!
STEP 2: Cleaning Up with Formula 10.0.6
Be Berry Ready Facial Cleanser is the cleanser I use most often. It's made with little natural exfoliants, but not enough of them to really exfoliate well, so I use it as just a cleanser. Formulated with coconut milk, it's very gentle and never leaves my skin feeling tight or dry. Bonus: It smells so good!
Skincare brand RE:P's Bio Fresh Mask with Real Calming Herb is seriously to die for. Gentle enough to use everyday, it's moisturizing and soothing on my troubled skin. It leaves my skin feeling balanced and refreshed! It reminds me of some of Lush's masks, but without the hassle of having to refrigerate.
STEP 4: Tone Up with Mario Badescu
Mario Badescu's Aloe Vera Toner is invigorating and soothing all at once. Gentle enough for everyday use, it tones my skin post-mask and gets it ready for some serious moisturizing! If I'm feeling a little oily, I switch to MB's Grapefruit Toner, which packs a little more of a punch. It can be a little too drying for everyday use, which is why the Aloe Vera Toner is my daily go-to.
STEP 5: Put A Smile On Your Face with Some Vitamin C
Hopefully, some 90s kid out there will get that reference, right? Anyway, Mario Badescu's Vitamin C Serum is seriously amazing. A lot of other serums I've tried have been heavy, sticky, even syrupy, which is obviously terrible if you expect to be able to put makeup on over it eventually. Many serums I've tried haven't soaked in well, and some have even congested my skin and clogged my pores. Whomp-whomp.
My skin soaks up MB's Vit. C almost immediately! It's like my skin craves it. Vitamin C is a skincare essential, being that it's known to brighten, smooth and protect skin. This serum soaks in and delivers a really deep moisture that I haven't gotten from any other product. Not only that, but at $45, this serum is a total steal compared to many of the other leading similar products. I put a few drops onto my fingers and massage it into my skin morning and night. Boom! Beautiful, healthy skin.
STEP 6: A Refreshing Spritz by Mario Badescu
Mario Badescu's Cucumber, Green Tea and Aloe Facial Spray is an ultra-lightweight moisturizing spray that freshens and calms my complexion. I sometimes spritz it on throughout the day over my makeup to wake up my look with a fresh, dewy glow.
STEP 7: Staying Hydrated with Clinique
Clinique's Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel is my everyday moisturizer. It doesn't seem to soak in deeply for intense moisturizing like a serum, but it's great for lightweight hydration and protecting skin from the elements. Plus, the bottle it comes in is super cute! Win-win.
STEP 8: Keep Your Peepers Perky with Clinique
Clinique's All About Eyes Rich eye cream is powerful stuff, but super gentle! I have extremely sensitive eyes that are easily irritated and prone to styes. I didn't think I'd ever be able to find an eye cream that I actually would be able to wear, but all the rave reviews associated with Clinique's eye creams convinced me to give them a try. I like this Rich formula in particular because it's heavy enough to be effective without creating a greasy base for my makeup. I use it daily! It makes my eyes look bright and awake, reduces my dark circles and completely vanishes the little fine lines around my eyes. Poof!
A Few Of My Favorite Things!
My skin's needs are constantly changing, which means my skincare products and care techniques have to be ever-evolving, too. This is my base skincare routine, but I tweak it every now and then- I'll swap out a hydrating mask for a clarifying one if my skin is feeling congested, etc. The most important thing about skincare is listening to your skin's needs. Whenever your skin is oily, tight, flaky, blemishing, blackhead-prone, uneven in tone or very sensitive, it's trying to tell you something. Being open to adjusting your base regimen accordingly is one of the best things you can do for your skin!
Feel Renewed Pumpkin Walnut Facial Cleanser
I absolutely love the scent of this simple, effective cleanser made with gentle, natural walnut powder exfoliation. It's very soothing, so I use it whenever my skin is feeling extra sensitive.
Mario Badescu Whitening Mask
This baby evens out my skin tone like a champ, without all the harsh drying usually associated with other Kojic Acid masks. It's moisturizing and rich in antioxidants. I use it whenever my skin is feeling a little uneven and dull. It gives me a nourished, healthy glow!
Mario Badescu Glycolic Skin Renewal Complex
This powerful little moisturizer treats fine lines. I use it a few times a week to keep my skin looking fresh and youthful.
Walgreens Dry-Touch Sheer Sunscreen, SPF 100
Sun protection is so important! I absolutely love this sunscreen in particular because it goes on smoothly and dries to a powdery matte finish. I actually use it as a primer and wear it under my makeup. It smoothes out my skin's texture nicely without feeling greasy or heavy, and at 100 SPF, you know you're well-protected.
For me, cultivating a healthy, balanced complexion is time-consuming and expensive, but worth it. The most important thing to remember when caring for your skin is to listen to it. Your skin goes through a lot of cycles and changes; be open to adapting your products and strategies to suit your complexion's evolving needs. Explore your skin- find out what works for you and what doesn't. Just remember to keep your products gentle and be sure to moisturize, even if you have oily skin! Your complexion will thank you with a youthful, healthy glow!