photo by ely fair photography
This post is long overdue, my friends! Truth be told, although it’s a very common question asked of me, it’s hard for me to consolidate a specific skincare routine for you all. Given that I spend so much time researching and trying skincare, my bathroom vanity is like revolving door…products in, products out, rinse and repeat.
However! I do have those tried-and-true products that never fail me. In fact, if you check out my last skincare routine post (made in 2015 WHERE DID THE TIME GO), you might notice several products are still in rotation 3 years later. And the coolest part? Since it’s Memorial Day weekend, most of these items are discounted for the next few days! So what are we waiting for? Let’s get rolling.
When I wake up, I’m all about invigorating my skin so I use either an exfoliating mask or an exfoliating cleanser. My exfoliating mask of choice is the True Botanicals Resurfacing Mask. This is a chemical exfoliation mask (as opposed to a physical exfoliator), and the process is very similar to the Body Radiance Mask I recently wrote about here. What I love about this mask is that it really minimizes my pores and makes my skin glow in such a short time. I put this mask on my face, go downstairs, start some water for my tea, and then rinse it off. (2-5 minutes is the recommended time to leave the mask on.) Boom, glowing skin. I do this every other day or so.
On the other days, I wake up and use an exfoliating cleanser. Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser (all purchases over $150 get a free glam bag this weekend at Citrine!) has been a long-time staple of mine. You apply it to a dry face and it gently exfoliates and clarifies the skin. Fresh enzymes, clays, essential oils, and microspherical apricot seed powder make this quite a lovely product and it’s gentle enough to use every day.
But guess what? There’s a new product in town, and I am obsessed. Have you heard of the Suki Exfoliate Foaming Facial Cleanser? The fabulous folks at Aillea Beauty turned me onto this line and YOU GUYS. I have no words. (Except yes of course I do.) I am in love with this cleanser. It looks like a traditional sugar scrub in the pot, but when you apply to your face with water, it turns into the silkiest lather that feels so good on the face. It clarifies, rejuvenates, smooths my skin, AND smells like fresh citrus, which is my fave. Suki is a new line to me, and I have been loving it because the products work AND the line is totally affordable. You all really need to check this line out. (15% off May 25-28 with the code MEMORIAL at Aillea Beauty! You can find most of the products I mention in this post there.)
After I cleanse my face, I use a toner. My two favorites are the MUN Anarose Toner, which I’ve talked about ad nauseam, and one that I’ve been reaching for a lot lately, the True Botanicals Clear Nutrient Toner.
The MUN toner is calming, balances the skin’s pH level, and I love the ingredients: rosewater, hyaluronic acid, and willow bark extract (which contains natural salicylic acid). I’ve used it for years and don’t see myself stopping.
However, the True Botanicals toner is absolutely fantastic for congested or acneic skin. Designed to remove bacteria and impurities under the surface, it eliminates congestion and clears acne, yet is not drying. How do that even work? Burning questions, y’all. This toner also has willow bark extract, as well as olive leaf extract, and sandalwood hydrosol. I LOVE this toner in the warmer months and/or when my skin just feels congested or icky. It’s the type that just feels active when you put it on.
(While we’re on the topic of congested or acneic skin, the entire True Botanicals Clear Line is amazing. Really. It outperformed Proactiv in independent trials and it’s totally clean, you guys. I have many, many friends who use this entire line and simply can’t live without it. Psst – $20 off your first purchase of $40+ with the code WHOORLTRUE20)
After I tone, while my skin is still damp, I apply my moisturizer, which is almost always an oil of some kind. Here are my favorites.
My #1 moisturizer that has yet to be eclipsed by any other product is the Maya Chia Supercritical Chia Oil. I could write paragraphs about this stuff. Here’s the deal – if I had to describe my biggest skin issue, it would be that it oftentimes feels, for lack of a better term, suffocated. So many products are just too much for my skin, resulting in my pores feeling all smothered and stuff. (Give my pores some space, yo!) With that being said, I am always looking for products with a minimal amount of ingredients to reduce the possibility of said “suffocation.” This oil by Maya Chia contains chia oil with a 2% essential oil fragrance blend that is light and citrusy. That’s it. My skin loves it. It’s so lightweight yet incredibly hydrating…I blow through bottles of this little wonder. High in vitamin B3 and Zinc, it smooths, refines, and just makes my skin seriously happy. This oil would work for anyone, but if you have sensitive, reactive skin, I highly recommend this!
Next up, MUN Aknari Serum, which is an oldie but goodie. Only 3 ingredients in this one – prickly pear seed oil, argan oil, and rose flower oil. Rich in fatty acids and vitamin E, this serum smooths and repairs skin and is all-around lovely. If you love the scent of rose, you will go gaga over this one.
A new addition to my arsenal (and another product by Suki) is the Balancing Oil. This one is fantastic for any combo/oily friends out there because it does just what it says. It balances. If you have oily skin and are afraid of using an oil, first off, DON’T BE, and secondly, use this one. It absorbs so quickly, sometimes I can’t remember if I put it on. I have been reaching for this on warmer days.
After I apply one of those oils to my skin, I give it a few minutes to soak in and do its thing before my last step, sunscreen. Now, I’ve tried a lot of face sunscreens and I do like a few, but these two are the ones I’ve been using the most this year. They are both totally different in the way they feel on the skin, so take notice.
The first is the Coola Unscented Matte Tint SPF 30. I can’t figure out how this product disappears so quickly into the skin. It’s amazing. It comes out of the tube creamy, but when you put it on your skin, it immediately turns velvety and leaves no trace of tint or moisture. It just disappears. The product itself is tinted, but I don’t notice the tint on my face when I apply it. Normal-to-oily types, get on this one. It contains titanium dioxide and zinc oxide and is formulated without gluten or oxybenzone (hooray for our ocean reefs!). It is hypoallergenic, vegan, TSA-friendly, cruelty-free, and water-resistant for up to 40 minutes.
Hynt Beauty Sun Prep SPF 25 – This formulation is more like a primer/lotion, and I reach for this one the most. Mainly because I personally like to add a bit of dewiness, but don’t get me wrong, it completely absorbs without any whitish cast on the face. Personally, this has replaced my Josh Rosebrook because, well, it’s less expensive. This one has also become very popular with many of my green beauty pals, so you know it’s a good one. Made with non-nano Titanium Dioxide, and free of chemicals SPFs, this really soothes and protects the skin while creating a flawless base. It also contains pine bark extract, organic sesame seed oil, organic aloe vera leaf, organic rhatany root extract, and organic green tea leaf, so I really view this as skincare, not just sunscreen. (The Detox Market carries Hynt, and you can get 15% off orders over $200 with code 15OFF and 10% off orders over $100 with code 10OFF this weekend!)
On most nights, I cleanse with my beloved One Love Organics cleanser, but once in awhile, I like to do a good ol’ double cleanse with a little face massage. MUN Akwi Cleanser is my favorite oil-based cleanser because it leaves my skin cleansed, soft, and moisturized. Plus, it actually does rinse off completely, unlike some other oil-based cleansers.
However, every night without fail, I cleanse with the One Love Organics Easy Does It Cleanser. (Also carried at The Detox Market, see above for discount codes.) Ladies, I can’t even count how many times I’ve shouted from the rooftops about this one. I have converted so many peeps to this star. It’s just THE BEST. Made with Chilean soap bark, cold-pressed apple oil, and vegetable glycerin, it lathers like a dream and is uber gentle on the skin. In fact, you can use it on your body and hair too. The kicker, though, is that it gets every last trace of my eye makeup off on the first pass. I literally rub some of the sudsy goodness around my eye area and poof, all gone. I should also point out that I wear contacts and can open my eyes while washing and it doesn’t sting a bit. If One Love Organics stops making this cleanser, I will take it to the streets. #onewomanrevolution
After cleansing, I tone with the aforementioned toners and then apply one of the oils all over my face and decolletage.
I have one more oil to add to the mix when it comes to the evening. The luxury of all luxury, May Lindstrom Youth Dew. Specifically formulated to clear skin *and* address chronic dryness, this truly is gorgeous. I use this on nights when I’m feeling decadent and want to give my skin a spa-like experience. I do find that if I use this all the time, I get that heavy feeling on my face. But once in awhile in the evening? You can’t beat it. Some of my friends with the absolute best skin swear by this oil, but not gonna lie, it’s pricey.
As for treatment beyond my cleanse-tone-moisturize routine, I love to add True Botanicals Vitamin C Booster to my oils. As some of you may know, Vitamin C is super unstable and can lose potency really quickly. However, when in powder form, it doesn’t activate until you add it to a liquid. Absolute genius. This powder helps to stimulate collagen and brighten my skin. I wrote in full detail about the booster and the Vitamin C potency issue here. I use it 2-3 times a week.
On the nights I don’t use the Vitamin C Booster, I use Kypris Moonlight Catalyst which is a herbal retinoid formula. Made with pumpkin enzymes, this is the closest thing to conventional retinol without any of the bad stuff. It refines texture, enhances cellular renewal, evens skin tone, and doesn’t contain any essential oils, for those of you who can’t tolerate. One piece of advice – you must wash/rinse your skin the morning after. This product is potent and you don’t want it on your skin in the sun.
Well, what about the eyes? I have two products I really like, although if I’m honest, I forget to put them on most of the time. #forgetful #butalsolazy
Maya Chia The Eye Achiever is a roll-on oil blend that really helps to de-puff and smooth fine lines and wrinkles. I use this at night because it does take some time to soak in.
If you are looking for a great eye cream that is more of a traditional cream consistency and absorbs quickly, I absolutely love the 100% Pure Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream. It smells so divine and makes my eye area feel smooth and plump.
What about those mornings when you wake up, let’s say, after ingesting way too much sodium and/or alcohol and your eyes are so swollen you can barely open them? (Um, just me?) You simply must use the 100% Pure Bright Eyes Mask. OMG. So good. Place them under your eyes, leave them on for 10-20 minutes, and you’ll be shocked at how much puffiness/darkness disappears.
Last, but certainly not least! I love my Jade Roller. I use it after I put on my oils at night or if I have time in the morning or generally any time I want to relax and de-stress. It feels wonderful and the actual effects (like boosting circulation in my face, reducing tension, etc) are a bonus, as far as I’m concerned. #selfcareftw
Phew! I think that’s about it. As always, feel free to ask any questions in the comments section. Hope this has been helpful!