Skincare is a sacred art form—like meditation. It takes months to research and implement the perfect routine. From drugstore to organic products, you have to find what makes your skin shine and avoid the dreaded flare up at all costs. It's a dance that requires finesse and patience. Have you ever been so eager to try a slew of new products only to find your face red and angered by the overwhelming onslaught of introductions to strangers? I have! Just like your brain, your face needs some time to process and feel out new friends. See if they are the right fit.
Five years ago, I was a skincare virgin. Heck! I didn't even start washing my face with face wash until I was seventeen thanks to a hot tip form the makeup artists painting my prom face! In my teens, I was #blessed with mild dry patches and the occasional pimple. Vaseline and chapstick were my go-to problem solvers. I steered clear of all makeup except eyeliner (thanks Avril Lavigne!) and never felt the need to cover my youthful porcelain skin with pore clogging coverage. My skin was happy and I was happy. Don't fix what ain't broke, am I right?!
By the time I hit my twenties, I embraced baby doll mascara lashes and the occasional lipstick (thanks for forcing me out of my comfort zone Vagina Monologues!) But it wasn't until I started slinging luxury skincare that I tried anything outside of my basic Cetaphil and Aveeno moisturizer with SPF routine. Retinoids were my first introduction to advanced skincare lingo. I learned that even though my skin still held a youthful glow, that slathering anti-aging ingredients on my mug and decolletage can never start too early. My husband often piggybacked on my fresh faced discoveries and used up half the bottle. But I was still only a skincare newb.
It wasn't til I had my first case of truly awful, bad, sensitive ass skin that I dove head first into the skincare underworld—checking ingredient lists and reviews with speed reader precision before I ever made a purchase. It took three months and three appointments for my doctor to properly diagnose my ailment—even after my accurate WebMD self-diagnosis and pushy persistence. Perioral Dermatitis—my first bout with bad skin. For 4 months I had a mean read circle from nostril to nostril wrapping around my chin and mouth. I tried everything, even the homeopathic torture of apple cider vinegar face frying toner (please don't try this at home! It burned like a mother f*****!) the only thing that got me through those months was my new friend, Avene Tolerance Extreme Cream, a French moisturizer made with mineral spring water that's advertised as safe for post surgery skin. If a fresh face lift could handle this cream, I thought my red bumpy smile lines would eat it up. They did, but my skin didn't heel until after a six week regimen of antibiotics (YIKES!)
With my face back to its old self again, I took my skincare VERY seriously. Thanks to my perioral dermatitis and the potential for future flare ups, I now avoid fluoride toothpaste and tap water (heads up—fluoride is added to most city water systems), steroid creams, and retinoids like the plague. With the new moniker "sensitive skin" and the knowledge that a solid morning and nighttime routine is essential to retaining elasticity and that inner glow, I sought out to find my skincare heroes in the hopes of avoiding potential future flare ups. I had to be proactive to keep my complexion happy.
Thank god for the Internet and free returns! Who knew you could return most skincare and makeup products that you don't love or give you a reaction?! I sure didn't! (heads up! Read a site/ brands return policies before ordering online without trying first!) I now have a solid skincare routine to keep me clean and clear for every season. Check out my regimen and products below. And remember, your skin is like a snowflake! No complexion is the same. Not all products work for everyone. Trial and error is apart of the process of building the best routine for your face.
I brush with Toms fluoride free toothpaste in the shower and wash my face with Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser on my One Love Organics French Clay Heart (for sensitive skin mild exfoliation—gotta sluff of that dry skin!) while in the shower. I wash my hair with Hairstory New Wash to avoid sulfates (my only allergy) and detergent. No conditioner needed with this stuff! It's magic! And twice a month I use Lush Superbalm scalp treatment to help my dry scalp and funky forehead dry patches that hide beneath my bangs. When I skip a wash (I only wash every 3-5 days) I use my Shhhowercap to keep the noise and humidity out. I rub Hair Balm into my tresses to air dry or protect my locks from heat tools. For body wash, I love by African Black Soap cause it's fair trade, silky enough to shave with, and good for sensitive skin.
Then the skincare routine really starts! First, Glossier Super Pure ( I use all of the supers, but they should only beused once a day, so I break them up into morning and night according to my daily needs). Let that sink in and dry before moisturizer. Then Avene Tolerance Extreme followed by Avene ultra-light mineral sunscreen. After that, I rub One Love a Organics super hydrating Vitamin E eye balm on my dry spots to beat flare ups before they start. This product has been instrumental at maintaining happy skin this past year with no more dermatitis outbreaks. And lastly, some Glossier Balm dotcom before I run out the door. I throw on some makeup some days—not all days—after my morning skincare routine.
Mostly the same as my morning routine, with a few cavities and extras. I wash with Milky Jelly Cleanser again before dropping some Glossier Super Bounce and Super Glow on my forehead and cheeks. Then I slather on some more Avene Tolerance Extreme Cream and balm dotcom on my lips before working a healthy helping of OLO vitamin E eye balm on dry patches, under eyes, and lids. When my skin feels super parched, I rub it all over my face. Every month or so, I do a Glossier Mega Greens or Moon Mask for some extra TLC.
We'd love to know—what's your skincare routine like? Which products are your daily drivers and complexion heroes? Comment below!