For the past two months or so, I'd noticed the condition of my skin gradually deteriorating into the hormonal, congested, flaky, irritated territory. I was at a loss - I was already using gentle, quality skincare products, taking supplements, spending time pampering my skin; surely there's little more a woman can do, right? Wrong! About a week ago I chanced upon an old 'Routines Cheat Sheet' by the indelible Mrs Hirons (whom I've adored and silently stalked on social media for what... 4 years now? Holla, #TBT!) and it spurred me to really fine-tune my skincare routine. Mind you, it's not that I didn't read the cheat sheet when Caroline first posted it... but turns out, I didn't really really read it.
1. Cleansing. If there's just one thing Caroline will impress on you, it's the importance of properly cleansing your skin. We're talking absolutely no foaming cleansers, nice balmy textures applied on dry skin, removed with a hot washcloth (stupidly in the past, I thought she was referring to flannels as an actual fabric... and bought some baby flannel wipes that I still need to replace with just your plain old terry washcloths), as well as double cleansing. I have chucked most foaming face washes a while ago but I sometimes failed at double cleansing and using a cloth to remove it all, like when I'm using my TATCHA One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil. I'll now make sure to always remove it properly, and follow up with another cleanser (currently the Elemental Herbology Purify & Soothe) when I'm wearing make-up and sunscreen... and really throw that cloth in the wash when I'm done with it.
2. Toning. Incorporating an exfoliating toner into my routine has probably been one of the best things I've ever done for my skin. But, I'd fallen a bit behind since I first started using my Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner; Caroline suggests using one twice a day, morning and night, but due to some dryness and irritation, I'd been using it only at night. I now think that maybe I actually wasn't nourishing my skin enough afterwards, and also I might be sensitive to the grapefruit extract in the product (which is why I'll be replacing it with another acid toner in the near future). In the mornings, I've now started to mix a little bit of the MB Glycolic Acid Toner with some of the La Roche-Posay Physiological Soothing Toner, and I have to say my skin is now brighter, evened out and much less congested, without the redness I was getting previously.
3. Hydrating serum. Well... I just didn't always apply a serum, to be perfectly honest. If I was using the Murad Pigment Lightening Serum at night, I'd skip it for fear of the serum interfering with the efficacy of the lightening product. In the mornings, I'd skip it for fear of getting shiny too quickly and overloading my skin. Yet, I was still getting dry patches and flakes. Now, I've started to use this Bioderma Hydrabio Serum Moisturizing Concentrate for Very Dehydrated Sensitive Skin every morning, and I layer it over the Murad hyperpigmentation treatment at night, or alternate them every other day. So far, no flakes!
4. Facial massage. Following Caroline's recommendation, I got this little facial massager from The Body Shop, and use it in the evenings with my second cleanser. I haven't noticed any results from it quite yet, but it's quite fun and pleasant to use - the knobbly bits really feel like they're doing something extra compared to just massaging your skin with a cleanser in circular motions with your hands. I'm hoping the massage will help drain some of the toxins causing deep breakouts on my neck, jawline and chin.
5. Supplements. I've been taking fish oil capsules on and off for about a year now, but now I'm trying to step up my game and make sure I'm taking it every single day. Another supplement I'd like to try in the near future is quercetin, which Caroline recommended for acne-prone skin. From what I've gathered, quercetin is a natural, plant-derived antioxidant that may help with inflammation as well as allergies; in fact, some people call it 'the natural anti-histamine'. I'm planning on getting the Quercetin & Bromelain capsules from Vitacost (referral link) next time I place an order.
That's it for now; obviously, my skincare routine is ALWAYS a work in progress, so I'll be introducing more changes in the future, especially by way of replacing some products here and there. I still need to find some good exfoliating toner options to alternate (I'm thinking of trying REN's Clarifying Toning Lotion and First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads, which are currently on their way to me!), as well as a lighter cream/milk cleanser to use in the mornigs (maybe REN's Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk, or Anthony Logistics for Men Glycolic Facial Cleanser?). I'll definitely review new products as I try them, well if they're worth mentioning anyway.
Have you introduced any changes into your skincare routine recently?