Today I’m going to talk about skincare! I really didn’t start taking care of my skin until my mid-twenties, but in the last few years I’ve developed a routine that works well for me. Note that in this post I’m going to discuss cleansers, makeup removers, moisturizers, and treatments, but I’m leaving sunscreen, lip products, and body products for another day.
My skin tends to be normal to slightly dry in the summer and dry in the winter. I rarely break out – I tend to get just one cystic pimple every 1-2 months in the week prior to my period. I’m also starting to see the signs of aging in my skin, mostly in the form of sunspots/ mild hyperpigmentation.
So, I need products that remove makeup/sunscreen completely without drying out my skin; hydrating moisturizers; the occasional spot treatment; and, optionally, products to keep my skin in good condition as I approach 30!
Cleansers & Makeup Removers
I’m very happy with my current lineup of cleansers & makeup removers, and not currently seeking other options. In the morning, I have three options. If my skin feels relatively clean, I splash with water. If I feel like I have some oils on my face from my nighttime skincare, I wash with CeraVe Hydrating cleanser, which makes my face feel clean, fresh, and never dried out. My wife & I both use it, and we’ve gone through probably 5-6 bottles and always have an extra on hand! Shop around for the best price – drugstore.com, linked above, sells the 12oz bottle for $10.29; around here, I’ve seen it priced from around $11 – $15.
If I want a deeper clean, I use Lush Angels on Bare Skin Cleanser (not pictured, because my container is old & grubby) which is a very mild physical exfoliant – it’s the only physical exfoliant I ever use on my face, I dislike feeling like my face has been scrubbed off! I’m still on my first container, but will be repurchasing in the next few weeks, as I’m almost finished with it.
In the evening, I wash with Shu Uemura High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil. It does an excellent job of removing my makeup and leave my skin soft and clean. I’m on my second bottle, and I actually just purchased a third this morning, as Shu Uemura is having a 25% off sale online (the code is SHUVIP). If I have any makeup residue around my eyes, I use Bioderma Sensibio to remove it. I also use Bioderma to correct makeup mistakes while I’m apply, and most morning I run a q-tip soaked in Bioderma under my eyes to remove any darkness from makeup that’s somehow appeared there overnight despite my face looking clean the night before.
Vitamin C Serums
I usually use a Vitamin C serum in the morning, after cleansing. Vitamin C is an antioxidant and also provides some sun protection. It is not very stable, so shelf life is often a concern. If you’d like to read more about the benefits (and drawbacks) of topical vitamin C, Skinacea has a good article.
I was previously using Silk Naturals Vitamin C Peptide serum, which I do like – I have purchased it twice. However, it goes bad after about 3-4 months – Vitamin C is not very stable. It sells for $15.95 for 1oz at the Silk Naturals online store, and samples are also available.
I’m currently using Ole Henriksen Truth Serum, which I received as a press sample. I think I like it better than the Silk Naturals serum – I really like the orange scent – and I’m hoping it’s more stable / lasts longer! However, it sells for $48 for 1oz, which is a little steep for me. I may experiment with making my own Vitamin C serum once the bottle runs out.
Hydrators / Moisturizers
My favorite moisturizer (by far!) is Mandom Barrier Repair Concentrate Serum. It has a light gel texture and is very hydrating, but never greasy. I use it in the morning & the evening after I wash my face. During the summer, I sometimes use it alone. During dryer weather, I first use a little bit of Hada-Labo Gokujyun Hyaluronic Acid Lotion (pictured in the first photo), then use the Mandom Barrier Repair. Sometimes I finish with a little bit of oil – my skin seems equally happy with argan, jojoba, or coconut. I’m not sure of the best place to buy either of the Japanese products online – I buy mine locally.
If you’re interested in learning more about how moisturizers work and how to layer them for the best effect, this post from LabMuffin is excellent.
The week before I get my period, I use a Stridex alcohol-free wipe over my chin and on the sides of my nose, which is wear I usually break out. The active ingredient is Salicylic Acid, which has always been the best for treating/preventing acne for my skin, but is too drying for me to use all over my face or on a daily basis. As I use it, it doesn’t dry me out too much and does a fantastic job at preventing breakouts!
I dislike the term anti-aging; I have no problem with aging, and I do want to look my age. However, I do want my skin to stay in good condition as I grow older, so I use some chemical exfoliators which are marketed as anti-aging.
Lately, I’ve been testing out Ole Henriksen Invigorating Night Gel, which contains Glycolic Acid and Lactic Acid - both chemical exfoliants. It’s too soon to tell how it’s working yet, but it has a pleasant gel-like consistency and isn’t irritating my skin. I’ve also tried some Makeup Artist’s Choice chemical peels – I prefer the Mandelic Acid peel (sample picture) to the Fade Peel (1oz size pictured) because it seems just as effective but less irritating to my skin. I don’t use either regularly, but I’d like to get better about that!
I used to use a retinoid cream – I like Avene Eluage – but I stopped because after 6+ months, I couldn’t see a difference in my skin. However, lately I’ve noticed more sunspots / hyperpigmentation than while I was using the cream, so I may start again. If you’d like to read more about retinoids, Skinacea has a lot of fantastic information.
That was longer than expected, whew! Let me know if you have any questions.
*As indicated in the post, I received the Ole Henriksen products as press samples. I purchased all other products featured in this post. This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.