I've been thinking about doing more skincare posts lately, but was hesitant. Skincare is such a personal thing; something that does great things for me might do nothing for you, and things that do great things for me right now might not work in a couple of months. But I've had a couple of friends ask me to do more skincare-related posts, and I get complimented on my skin a lot.
I guess I should start off by telling you about how I got to where I am now with skincare. Up until I was about 19 or 20, I could just splash some water on my face, put on any moisturizer with SPF in it, and be set. I didn't get pimples, blackheads weren't a problem, and as long as I used products formulated for sensitive skin, I would be fine. Now, I have to take better care of my skin; it is very dry and can get dull and rough very easily. I get pimples if I don't keep up with my routine and if I don't moisturize enough. I know it's counter-intuitive, but when my face over-produces oil to compensate for being dry, it clogs up my pores and bad things happen. Plus, I still have sensitive skin, so some treatments irritate it.
That being said, I've figured out that if I take really good care of my skin, I can get it back to where it was when I was a teenager and didn't have to think about it. I've found a basic routine that I'm really happy with and that leaves me with supple, baby-soft, clear skin, and none of the products will break the bank. That's not to say that I don't have other products that I rotate in (or that I don't rotate any of these out) based on specific needs, but this is my basic routine.
I like to take baths in the morning, and this works really well in the bathtub, but that's not to say that you couldn't find a way to leave the masks on for 10 minutes during your morning routine if you shower or tend to bathe at night instead.
First, I wet my face with really warm steamy water and scrub it really good with a dollop of Neutrogena's Oil-Free Acne Wash: Redness Soothing Gentle Scrub. I've tried a few different "acne scrubs", and I like this one the best. It's scrubby enough to really get rid of dead skin cells, plus the salicylic acid helps exfoliate chemically. It really does help reduce redness for me, too; not sure how it does that, but it works! After scrubbing for a couple of minutes, making sure to spend extra time where my pores tend to get clogged with blackheads (for me, that's my nose, chin, and the parts of my cheek near my nose) and where I have dryness (usually near my mouth and between my eyes), I rinse it off and dry my face.
Next, about every other day (every day when I'm having trouble with my skin, less often if I'm pressed for time) I use one of the two masks I've shown here. They are both by Formula 10.0.6, which appears to be made by the same company that makes Bonne Bell. The pink one is Pores be Pure Skin-Clarifying Mud Mask, and I use that if my pores are looking clogged. The orange one is Deep Down Detox Ultra-Cleansing Mud Mask, and I reach for this one if my skin is looking dull. I leave it on for the duration of my bath, and rinse off with warm water.
Next, I pat a couple of drops of 100% pure jojoba oil onto my slightly damp face, neck, and decolletage. I get mine from Trader Joe's and it is very reasonably priced there, although I think you can find this at a lot of health food and natural stores. After the scrub and the mask, the jojoba oil really helps to lock in some extra moisture and make my skin very soft. Before I discovered oils, I was moisturizing several times throughout the morning before applying makeup to try to keep dry patches at bay. Jojoba oil is thicker and will break me out if my skin is not absolutely parched; my favorite face oil is NARS Body Glow II, a monoi oil, and I use this overnight. It is thinner and more delicate than the jojoba oil, so it works well to boost my heavy night cream. Under my lighter day lotion, however, the jojoba oil does just fine for a fraction of the cost, and it only takes a few drops, especially on slightly damp skin.
After the jojoba oil, I use Trader Joe's Enrich SPF 15 face lotion, and after that's soaked in, I am ready for makeup! It's a really basic, gentle lotion, and the SPF is a must for me year round, since I am so fair. It is also incredibly affordable and doesn't irritate my skin at all! I actually reviewed it awhile back here, and I've been using it ever since. If I know I am going to be out in the sun, I either replace this with a higher SPF sunblock, or I wear another sunblock on top of it. If I need a little extra moisture or if my skin looks especially dull even after moisturizing, I sometimes use a little bit of The Body Shop's Vitamin C Skin Boost.
This routine has done great things for my skin. Hopefully this has been helpful for someone; even if your skincare needs aren't exactly the same as mine, I think these products can be used interchangeably with a lot of other routines, so maybe one of these is just the thing that's been missing from your skincare routine!
I'm planning on sharing my nighttime skincare routine in an upcoming post, and eventually get around to doing reviews for each of these products, too! What do you guys do for your skin? Have you found any Holy Grail skincare products?