Hey-hey friends! I’ve had some questions about what I use to cleanse, moisturize, anti-age etc. I also have some friends that don’t really cleanse or moisturize (you know who you are!) and I’m here to HELP you! I’m going to talk quickly about skin, important skincare steps and some products to use.
Our skin is covered with hair follicles, tiny tunnels through which hair can grow and reach the skin. “Hair Follicles” and “pores” are sometimes used interchangeably, and other times referred to as two different things. In truth, the hair follicle extends downward through several layers of skin but the pore is simply the opening of the hair follicle on the outermost layer of skin. Think about it like this, if a hair follicle were a tall chimney, the pore would be the opening at the top of the chimney. Instead of emitting smoke, the follicle emits a hair. (I liked that analogy.) Small sebaceous glands (aka oil glands) are located inside the hair follicle. They produce oil called sebum. Sebum travels up the follicle and exits (fingers crossed!) through the pore. Skin cells are also constantly dying inside the hair follicle. The sebum carries those dead skin cells up to the skin’s surface. This mix of oil and dead skin cells helps coat your skin to protect it from bacteria, viruses, and environmental factors. Sometimes pores are blocked and the materials become trapped creating acne.¹ Pimples are blocked pores that have become inflamed, hence the swelling and redness. Blackheads are blocked pores that are not yet inflamed-yay!-but the gunk has been exposed to the air, turning it a dark color. So know that we’re unofficial dermatologists (thanks internet!) lets get into our skincare to-do list to try and hinder that nasty acne!
Get your makeup off and your face clean – I do not use a product specifically for makeup removal, its just an extra step. Washing my face should mean getting it all-makeup, sunscreen, dirt, etc. But how many of y’all have washed your face to only then see stuff left behind? A few years ago, I switched to oil cleansing. Thats a rabbit hole that I’m not gonna go down right now, but if you are interested, just google it or send me a message. While I didn’t find that to be the best answer for me, it did lead me to using cleansers WITH oil. I know, it sounds counterproductive to wash your face with oil, but trust me-it works. If you are using another oil to break down the oil on your face, you do not need to use a cleanser with (harsh) surfactants, ie sulfates. Sulfates are the things that make soap foamy and lather. This is not something we NEED for our skin or hair. The goal for cleansing your skin is not to get “squeaky” clean but to remove impurities. Using oil based cleansers can help break down all the bad stuff but leave a thin layer to help keep your skin protected as opposed to leaving the skin completely stripped. A quick, easy, no-rinse, affordable product has finally crossed the pond to the USA and it is AMAZING. I’m talking about Micellar Water, it can also be referred to as “cleansing water”. If you’re a “lazy” face washer, GET THIS. (Want more info on micellar water? Click here and here!) I went through 2 bottles of the Simple Micellar Water (you can get this as HEB, Walmart, CVS etc) but I’m currently using Neogen Rose Cleansing Water which came highly recommended from this Korean beauty website. I use this every morning. I rarely ever used to wash my face in the morning but micellar water is so quick and easy, I honestly felt guilty for not doing it. Washing your face in the AM preps your skin for daytime moisturizers, SPF, and of course, makeup. So just squirt some of this water stuff out on a cotton pad and run it over your face, okay? At night, I use it after I wash with this charcoal bar and often still find makeup or dirt on the cotton pad! It kinda reminds me of junior high when I used Sea Breeze. Micellar Water DOES NOT BURN but there is something to say about the satisfying feeling of seeing a cotton pad loaded with makeup.
Get that dead skin off – So we now know that sebum isn’t bad, in fact, its necessary to keeping our skin healthy and young looking. But sebum+blocked pores=acne. How do we keep our pores open? Exfoliate. Exfoliating on a regular schedule will help keep your skin clearer, your pores their “natural” size, and can help speed up cell turnover which stimulates collagen. I’ll be honest, I kinda suck at this. You really only need to do it a few times a week, no more than every other day, so I often forget. But it is something that can TRANSFORM your skin in a matter of DAYS. I started using the AmorePacific Enzyme Peel at night every few days. It contains papaya enzymes which help eat through the dead skin. The exfoliant I’m using has a pretty steep price tag but the girls at Sephora got me a sample before I splurged. Go talk to them about your skin concerns, read reviews online, and ask for samples. Sephora and Ulta also have great return policies if the product just didn’t work well for you. Its made a big difference in the luminosity of my skin and the appearance of the pores around my nose. Pore size is genetic, you can’t really shrink them, however the ones we have can look bigger because of junk trapped in there. I used to not exfoliate much because it would kinda hurt. I was always red afterward and my skin felt almost bruised. I just thought that meant it was working! No. No, ladies, no. That would be me overzealously rubbing crushed walnut shells (whaaat?) all over my face. I have since learned about chemical exfoliants. I really can’t think of an instance where I would recommend physical exfoliation over chemical exfoliation but some people prefer that route. Chemical exfoliation is usually more gentle than physical exfoliation and provides less opportunity for user error. I get that using a physical exfoliant can feel “better” because it gives you that instant satisfaction of scrubbing the crap out of your face and getting rid of all that nasty dead skin but in actuality, you’re probably creating micro-tears in your skin, leading to redness and even sensitivity. Just use a chemical exfoliator and back away from the St. Ives Apricot Scrub. If you want more info on physical vs. chemical exfoliants, why both are okay to use and some more product recs, this article is a quick and helpful read.
Work on your issues – Your skin is clean and your pores are open. Now is the time to add a serum. (Wear serum everyday, morning and night. It just works even better after you exfoliate) Serums contain the highest percentage of “good stuff”. It could be a wrinkle fighter, dark spot corrector, and/or acne fighting serum. This stuff, (on sale at Target for the next few days!) has very positive reviews across the board. I did a lot of research on various sites about the “best” anti-wrinkle creams for the money and this one continuously ranks in the top 10. I can’t say I’ve seen a huge difference yet, but I’m gonna keep on keepin’ on. Its definitely not hurting anything. Let me know what y’all are using! I really want to add a dark spot corrector to my regimen.
Lock in moisture – Full disclosure, I am drinking the Josie Maran kool-aid. I have used a number of her products and reordered almost every. single. one. Thats unheard of for me. I’m super ADD when it comes to repurchasing, so this is a testament of my satisfaction. I use the Pure Argan Oil every night, just a couple drops (okay, 4) and press it into my face, neck and chest. In the mornings, I use this tinted moisturizer, either under my makeup or alone. It has SPF 47! I use two pumps for my face and take that down my neck. Before I discovered the tinted version, which is also very glowy, I used the regular version-two bottles worth! Both the oil and the moisturizer are light and soak right into the skin. I never feel greasy with these. If you are uncomfortable with the price tag, argan oil is getting big, so take a look down the “natural” aisle of the grocery store or check out Sprouts. Just be sure you’re getting 100% Argan oil and not a blend. My other source of moisture, and I may lose some of you here, is different… I have been researching and learning more about K-Beauty (Korean beauty products and procedures). K-Beauty is making a big impact on our products here in the States and is showing up regularly in Sephora and Ulta. There are countless articles discussing the greatness of Asian beauty ingredients, so I finally jumped on the bandwagon with snail slime. Yeah, I’m putting snail mucin on my face. It claims to aid the healing of scarring as well as redness. Its very moisturizing and this particular product has no smell. Its not sticky feeling, just a tad thicker than water but still quite runny. I put it on morning and night before the oil or moisturizer step. It has definitely helped my redness but I haven’t seen a significant difference in my dark spots. It probably won’t be a repurchase for me but I don’t dislike it! I think this step would be a great choice for anyone suffering from rosacea or severe dryness.
What does your skincare routine look like? Tell me about products you’re loving or any questions you have!
*Amazon links are affiliate links. If you’re interested in Josie Maran, QVC runs good deals on her stuff so look there before you purchase from her website or Sephora. And I always click through RetailMeNot for coupons or rebate deals regardless of where I’m shopping!