The start of the school year always brings a fresh-start mentality – as well as feelings of overwhelming chaos. Among our hectic, ever-changing lives, it is important to remember to always take the time to take care of your skin, even on your busiest days. It is so easy to get lazy with your skin-care routine, but the most crucial thing is to stay consistent with it. I know that my skin is a direct reflection of how stressed out I am, so I do the best I can to keep it balanced.
I thought I would share my favorite skin-care products that have truly stood the test of time. I have been using all of the products in this post for at least 6 months, and they have certainly made their way into my holy-grail products over time. As with all skin-care products, you need to use it consistently for at least a month to see real changes in the appearance of your skin.
Disclaimer: I am obviously not a dermatologist – so I cannot make recommendations for just anyone’s specific skin-care needs. However, these products have worked for me and maybe could help someone else.
Just a background on my skin: I have dry/combination sensitive skin – the outer edges of my face and cheeks tend to be very dry. I get slightly oily in the center of my face throughout the day; but in the winter, my entire face becomes so chronically dry that it hurts. As previously mentioned, I do tend to have break-outs when I am stressed, primarily on my forehead. And of course, once a month I get a break-out around my chin area along with my cycle (side note: breakouts on the chin are pretty much always a result of a hormonal imbalance). I also develop redness and blotchy texture from time to time. I have found, though, that the following products have been crucial to keeping my skin balanced.
This Philosophy Made Simple Purity cleanser is hands-down the most necessary skin-care product in this entire post. I use this every night and every morning, I have gone through countless bottles of this stuff (I get the large 32 oz. bottle on Amazon). It takes off all traces of a full-face of makeup with such ease. I don’t even have to use a makeup remover wipe before. I only cleanse with this once and I can trust that my face is totally clean. I have gotten my mom, sister, and best friend all hooked on this cleanser, as well. It doesn’t dry out the skin and feels super gentle. I would recommend this to anyone 100% of the time.
Sometimes, I like to use the Juice Beauty Stem-Cellular Cleansing Oil before I go in with the Purity Cleanser, especially on days when I am wearing waterproof mascara. You don’t need to even wet your skin before using the cleansing oil. I put one pump in my hand and rub it gently on my eyes, and it quickly removes even the toughest mascaras. This product is also good to use when my skin is feeling very dry.
My favorite exfoliating scrub is the Murad Skin Smoothing Polish. As my skin is always dry and flaky year-round, I use this product about once a week to remove dead skin. This product is rough enough to remove the dead skin, but also gentle enough that it doesn’t hurt or cause extreme redness, as long as you are gentle with it! The exfoliating beads in this product are so finely-milled that they remove flaky skin with ease.
This step is not completely necessary to my skin-care routine, but I really do enjoy using it. It is not essential for everyone to use a toner – according to my dermatologist; however, I like to use it sometimes in the morning before applying my moisturizer and makeup. I like the Thayers Alcohol-Free Unscented Witch-Hazel Toner with Aloe Vera. I purchased this because I do develop redness occassionally, and as we know, aloe vera is a natural remedy known to help sun-burn and skin redness – I have also read that witch hazel helps with breakouts. This product is unscented, which is essential for me as I have extremely sensitive skin. The best part is – this product is only $7.99 on Amazon!
When I visited my dermatologist for the first time, she explained to me that the best lotions are simple, inexpensive, and can be found at the drug-store. She recommended CeraVe or Cetaphil brand lotions for my face, and their creams for my body (thick creams are too heavy for the face, they will clog your pores and break you out). Ever since then, I have been using the CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion for Normal to Dry Skin on my face every night, and it works perfectly fine for me. Like I said, fragrance-free products are essential for me – I feel that putting products with fragrance on your face seems unnatural. This lotion also contains hyaluronic acid, which retains moisture and helps plump the appearance of aging skin.
When I need extra extra moisture on my skin, I will go in with the Kopari Beauty Coconut Melt. This is essentially just coconut oil, which can be found anywhere. We all have heard about the many benefits coconut oil has for your skin, hair, etc. – it has been proven to balance hormones, reduce cellulite, decrease wrinkles and age spots, etc. I slather this product on my entire body from head-to-toe. I use it for a hair mask when my hair is looking dry and damaged, and I also use it all over my body, as its moisturizing benefits remedy my eczema patches. I most commonly use this, though, as a moisturizer for my under-eyes and face when necessary.
My favorite moisturizer for my face before I apply my makeup is the Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream (I know it’s called a cream, but it’s not thick). It is so important to apply moisturizer before your makeup – I cannot stress it enough. A lot of girls, particularly with oily skin, are afraid to put lotion on their face during the day out of fear of looking shiny. This lotion, however, soaks into the skin right-away, which is why I like it for the day-time as it doesn’t leave a layer of film on my skin – I use this even when I am not going to be wearing any makeup. Applying a moisturizer before makeup will create a barrier between your bare skin and your makeup – which we know, is not the best thing for your skin. Not to mention, your makeup looks so much better with a layer of lotion underneath!
Face Cleansing Massaging Brush
In recent years, vibrating cleansing tools have been all the rage. The Clarisonic was the biggest name in the beginning, before several dupes came out for a fraction of the price. I do own a Clarisonic, which I love, but I found that when I would leave it in the shower, it would develop bacteria around the brush head, which freaked me out and I stopped using it. I really wanted to try the Foreo Luna 2 Facial Cleansing Brush – which is rubberized and waterproof, so it collects less bacteria than a brush with bristles like the Clarisonic – but, it costs $200. So, instead of investing in the Luna 2, I bought the dupe – the Solo Mio for $34.95. This cleansing brush is great for when I shower in the morning and want to wake up my skin.
I have not tried the Luna 2, but I have read several reviews from people who have tried both and say they don’t see much difference in the two products.
I love to use the Solo Mio with the Clarisonic Refreshing Gel Cleanser because it has a good lather and smells so fresh.
I was slightly reluctant to include this product, because it is quite expensive. I bought this when my skin was in a pretty bad place, and I read hundreds of reviews online testifying that this product saved their skin. This serum – the Drunk Elephant Glycolic Night Serum – is meant for all skin types, and helps heal breakouts, uneven texture, uneven skin tone and dullness. It has to be used consistently for at least two weeks to see a big difference. I can say that I have fallen in love with this product, it has made me feel more confident when I am not wearing makeup – it greatly reduced blotchiness and uneven skin tone for me. I have also seen a decline in breakouts, but I am not sure if that is a result of this product or from a prescribed cream I use on rare occassions (which I did not mention because I do not want to recommend prescriptions, as I am NOT a dermatologist).
I am a person who is willing to spend more money on skin-care than on makeup. Even if I found a foundation that was proven to be the best one on the market, I would not be willing to spend $90 on it, but for a great skin-care product, I will. It is much more important to take care of what is underneath the makeup.
I read once that in order to keep your skin looking young for a long time, you should start using anti-aging products in your early twenties. This panicked me and made me start using eye creams to prevent wrinkles and reduce fine-lines around my eyes. I have been using the Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream to brighten and de-puff and the Origins Starting Over Age-Erasing Moisturizer with Mimosa for a long time. When I use it consistently, I do see the effects. They keep your under-eyes from getting dry, and I can attest that they definitely de-puff and reduce the appearance of fine-lines.
I use the majority of these products before bed; in the morning, I just lightly wash my face and moisturize on most days.
Let me know if you try or have tried any of these products and how you like them!