Happy April everyone! It is my favorite month of the year, mainly because it's my birthday month but also because I really do love spring. The winter months are coming to an end and it's going to start being sunny and I can't wait! With that being said, this transitional period between seasons (super dry to warm and hot) can be really hard on your skin. We are used to keeping our skin super hydrated when it's cold and windy, but when it's warm sometimes that extra moisture we are putting on our skin leaves us feeling oily and sticky. While I don't want to claim to have perfect skin, because trust me, I don't, I want to share what I've found that works for me and what I use each product for. Before I get into my routine I want to share a little background on my skin, so if you are interested, keep reading!
So my skincare goes back to when I was in high school. I had a pretty nice complexion from what I remember in junior high and even high school. During puberty I only had a few breakouts here and there, but when I was a sophomore in high school I started doing theatre. During this time, I was wearing a ton of stage make-up and my skin wasn't happy. It wasn't until my junior year when my character required a bald cap and a ton of latex to apply that over my head that my skin started to break out. Looking back, I don't think it was a ton, but to me it was. I had a friend that was using a topical acne medication so I went to my doctor and inquired. This is when the downward spiral began. You know what they always say, "Your skin will get worse before it gets better," but the thing is, my skin wasn't even that bad. I was already super anal and nit-picky about my skin back then. If I could turn back time, I would have told my younger and self-conscious self to just let your skin do it's thing and don't resort to any medication. But I can't do that so thus I tried medication after medication to try and get my skin to what it used to be.
I used different topical creams, then started taking actual pills, till I got on Retin-A and was on until college. I had crazy breakouts and was so so so insecure with my skin back in high school. It was like cystic acne and that is when I think my hyper pigmentation started. I never used to scar from blemishes then once I started the medication, I started getting dark marks whenever I broke out. It was horrible. Flash-forward and I'm in college and learning more about skincare. It was maybe my sophomore or junior year when I started going to an esthetician, Devyn, in Orange County. I found her online and thought I would give her a try. Back then I was using a super basic cleanser, moisturizer, and Retin-A. I told her my routine and she told me to basically get rid of it and specifically, get rid of the Retin-A. Retin-A is known to thin out your skin and although retinol can be good, Retin-A is not and is actually damaging your skin. It was a hard pill to swallow and something I couldn't let go of because in my head, I was thinking that if I stopped, I would breakout again. She gave me a ton of products that I tried and found worked really well for my skin. I still use a ton of the products she put me on to this day. One thing she told me that has stuck with me to this day is that most products sold at drugstores or department stores are made for the masses in large quantities. So they are mass-produced meaning the potency may not be as strong as something made in smaller quantities and for specific types of skin. Think about it, we are all different and have tons of different kinds of skin. Oily, dry, combo, acne-prone, etc. How can one product be good for everyone? It just doesn't make sense! This is the chart my esthetician showed me that really got me to be a believer. Also shout out to Skin Script because half of my routine contains products by them!
So once I started all the new products I finally saw results. It took time like Devyn said, but I was finally happy and feeling really confident. It only took a few hundred years! I kept seeing Devyn even after I graduated and moved to Los Angeles, but the commute to get a facial was way too long so I went and found someone local and I now see Dana Elise in Beverly Hills. She does amazing facials and is licensed to use needles via electrolysis, which some estheticians aren't, and can get some extractions that Devyn couldn't. She got me on great products as well that are very specific to my skin.
Anyways, you guys are here to find out my routine, not hear about my background! But I do believe it is important to know where I'm coming from and what got me to change my ways. And with that whole backstory, I feel like I can be confident with what I say and hopefully gain my readers' trust because of it. Like, would you want to hear skincare tips from someone who has had perfect skin their entire life? Probably, but at the same time it's harder to relate. I mean, that's how I feel at least! So without further ado, here is my routine!
My routine is different for morning as it is at night, as it should be. I don't think I've mentioned this, but I have combination skin. I have a super oily T-Zone, but then am dry everywhere else, so my cheeks, chin, and sides of my forehead.
Cleanse: I always cleanse my face no matter what. This is so so SO important. You've always heard that if you want good skin, you must always wash your face, and that couldn't be more true. Think of all the gunk on your face, even if you washed your face at night. That gives you 8 hours when you are sleeping for bacteria and other things get onto your skin. It also feels good to start your day with a fresh face! I use a different cleanser for the morning and night. For the mornings, I use Skin Script's Green Tea Cleanser. You can check it out here. This goes on really nice and feels super smooth and everyone that has tried it loves how it feels. It just makes your skin feel soft and isn't harsh at all. It also smells really good.
Tone: Although you aren't supposed to tone everyday, I do. I use Skin Script's Cucumber Toner, which can be found here. I always spritz about two to three pumps into a smooth cotton pad then wipe it all over my face. There is always dirt that comes off no matter when I use it, so I feel like it's pretty necessary. It also adds a little moisture to my skin after washing and balances my skin.
Serum: Ok so back in college when I started seeing Devyn, she told me to use this Vita-C Serum by Le Mieux to help brighten. She told me to use it every morning and night, but back then because I was ballin on a budget, I used it sparingly and only used it to spot treat any dark spots I had. That was what I would do up until this summer before I left for Europe. I had a small case of dermatitis back in July and I reached out to Devyn and she told me to apply this morning and night every day. So I did, and I have NEVER felt better about my skin. I swear even last year I would deal with a few breakouts (mainly cystic) every few months. And the thing with cysts is that although they go away and everything is A-OK, my skin darkens whenever I have a big blemish, and that stays around for weeks. So the goal is to get rid of any breakouts so I don't darken. I can say that by adding this serum into my everyday routine, morning and night, I have seen a drastic change in my skin. My skin's texture is better, I feel like my skin is brighter, and even tighter. It's great for anti-aging, acne, brightening, etc. I also just got my mom to start using it and she said she feels like her skin is glowing! You can find the product here. It is so important to have a vitamin-c serum in your routine and there are tons out there, but this just so happens to be my favorite.
Brighten: Besides having combo skin, I also deal primarily with hyper pigmentation as I mentioned briefly above. Hyper pigmentation, if you don't know what it is, is when your skin heals and produces too much melanin.
Hyperpigmentation is a common, usually harmless condition in which patches of skin become darker in color than the normal surrounding skin. This darkening occurs when an excess of melanin, the brown pigment that produces normal skin color, forms deposits in the skin
Since my skin is naturally darker than most, I suffer from this and this is why I need to keep my breakouts at a minimum. But that isn't always possible is it? And when you pick or pop, it makes the scarring worse. So although my scars aren't deep marks which is great, I get dark spots instead. With that being said, if I have any dark spots, I use the Vita-C serum as I mentioned, but that is all over my face. If I want to treat a certain spot, I use iS Clinical's White Lightening Complex which you can find here. It works great and because it is a complex, it is safe to put on clean skin in the morning and works throughout the day to brighten.
Moisturize: This is one of the most important steps! Moisturize moisturize moisturize! It's important to find a moisturizer that works for your skin type. Since I deal with both oil and dryness, I have to find something light enough to not be too heavy on parts where I'm oily, but also good enough to provide moisture to the dry parts of my face. I have found that PCA Skin's Rebalance works great for me. You can find that here. It comes in a pot so I just scoop a small amount depending on how dry I feel that morning and use it all over my face and neck. It is so important to moisturize your neck, especially now that we are always looking down at our phones!
SPF: Sun protection is one of the most important products to have in your morning ritual. Especially us Californians need to protect our skin from the sun. Trust me, I love a good tan, but your face is the first thing that will show age and sun damage. So although we'll look great now, think about a few years from now. What got me to always wear sunscreen is from watching this video:
I was SHOOK to say the least. Since then I have worn SPF everyday, even if it's cloudy out. I used to hate it because it made my skin feel heavy but I would rather that then future damage! Make sure your SPF has Zinc in it because it is the single best and safest UVA and UVB filter. I love this one by Skin Script because it feels nice and does the job.
That concludes my morning routine! Scroll down for my nighttime routine. You can click on the images below to find out where to purchase them.
My nighttime routine is very similar to my morning, just with a few different products.
Cleanser: As mentioned, I use a different cleanser in the morning than I do at night. I use Skin Script's Raspberry Refining Cleanser which can be found here. This is a great cleanser for end of day to really get rid of any dirt and debris. Not harsh at all and a great texture, definitely a little thicker than my morning, but still does the job! I usually apply as the last step when I'm in the shower.
Exfoliate: If I decide to exfoliate, I do it right after I cleanse and before I tone. I use Skin Script's Retinol Exfoliating Scrub found here. This has little jojoba beads that gives you that beady texture to really scrub off any dead skin and get into your pores to clean them out. I usually scrub my whole face and my neck, then leave it on for around 10 minutes. You can also use this just on your nose and leave it on longer to help break down the blackheads. Then you rinse it off and continue with your routine.
I know you aren't supposed to extract on your own skin, but we all do it so I'm not going to pretend like I don't! The reason I bring this up after the exfoliation stage is because this is when I usually do it. My biggest problem area is my nose because I constantly have clogged pores on my nose due to my oily T-Zone. While I don't have BLACKheads necessarily, oil does come out of my pores if I apply pressure. So to get rid of this, I first start by doing a little steam in the shower. In the shower, I turn up the water to the hottest my skin can handle, then I cover my eyes and cheeks with my hands and make sure the water is hitting my nose. This will help soften the skin. Once I'm out of the shower, I exfoliate using the scrub, then I take two tissues and wrap them around my index fingers and lightly press on my nose to get rid of any oil. You can usually feel the difference immediately after by how smooth the texture is.
Toner: Same toner and routine as the morning.
Mask: I've recently added Summer Fridays' Jet Lag Mask into my nighttime routine. I never exfoliate and mask on the same night because that is just too much product for the skin and you don't want to risk too much exfoliation and treatment. I saw all of the pre-press on this mask through social and when it came out I bought it the first day because I was really excited to try it. It claims to be super moisturizing and give your skin a dewy look and feel. It supposedly helps a ton with any under-eye discoloration or wrinkles (luckily, I don't suffer from this so I don't really see a change there) and gives your skin a filtered look. I use it because it is super hydrating and feels amazing on your skin. It also kind of wakes your skin up so if I feel really tired around my eyes in the morning, I'll put it on and either wipe it off or leave it on. I leave it on for around 10 minutes then wipe it off with a tissue.
Treat: I use Le Mieux's Beta Acid if I ever have a blemish to treat it. This acid is basically a stronger version of Salicylic Acid and really keeps my breakouts at bay if I ever have any. If I have a pesky spot, I'll use this in the morning as a spot treatment, but you must pair it with an SPF. You can find it here. I use this before applying the Vita-C.If I exfoliate or extract from my nose, I always take a pad and put a few drops of the beta acid in it and kind of disinfect and treat the skin.
Serum: I use the Vita-C serum after I treat, same as the one in the morning.
Brighten: If I have any problem dark spots, I'll usually apply a little of the White Lightening Serum at night as well so I can brighten overnight.
Moisturize: Although I just used a moisturizing mask, I like to lather on the moisture so my skin feels refreshed in the morning and isn't dried out while I sleep. I've noticed that my apartment in LA can get very dry so I've invested in a humidifier to try and bring back some moisture into my room. I don't feel so crusty in the morning and my throat is rarely dry. With that being said, I still apply moisturizer on top of all my products as the finishing touch so I feel hydrated.
Heal: Since I scar, sometimes when I pick I can do more damage than I intend. Because Dana knows this, she told me to purchase Avène's Cicalfate which is a restorative skin cream that accelerates the healing process. If you ever have any procedure or cut or scratch or anything, you can apply this! And apply as much as you want. It's great! You can find it here.
Lips: Who doesn't love good plump lips? I have been asked MANY many times in the past if I've ever gotten my lips done and I have not. If I did, I would be honest! I am lucky to have naturally thicker and fuller lips and I've just perfected the pout. But that doesn't mean I get chapped lips. Ever since I've been a kid, I've been obsessed with chapstick and making sure my lips are hydrated. Over the years I've tried many types of chapsticks but have found that they always dry my lips out even more, or no matter how much I put on it just doesn't work. A few years ago I started using Aquaphor's Lip Repair, but even that dried out my lips. And we're talking about Aquaphor here. So instead I decided to try regular Aquaphor, not the lip repair, and found that my lips were never chapped. It is normally a healing ointment for dry and cracked skin, but you can put it anywhere and on your lips. It gives my lips that shine without being glossy. It also moisturizes them like crazy! I purchase the small tubes that look like chapstick and carry it around always. You can find it on Amazon. I also had an instance a few years ago where my lips were super dry and irritated. They were crusty and I couldn't figure out what was going on. I did some research and I believed I was having some sort of allergy situation happening on my lips. I then purchased CortiBalm which has hydrocortisone in it which is great for any rash. It healed my lips and made them even pouty-er. I mean look at the before and afters on Amazon. Would definitely try if you have super dry and itchy lips, or just want to see if it gives your lips a little plump! You can find it here.
And that is a wrap on my skincare routine! I am always willing to try new products, but before I do, I always do plenty of research. I have sensitive skin so whenever I sample something new, I always apply it behind my ear before putting it all over my face. I learned this the hard way over the summer when I had dermatitis as I mentioned. Because of that I now do the test. I'd rather be patient when trying new stuff since it's always so exciting to put it all over your face but the consequences are not exciting whatsoever. I've used the products in my routine for years now and have never had any issues so it is definitely worth checking out. If you feel like you have a similar skin type to me, let me know in the comments what products you use or love for me to check out! I'll also add my estheticians' information in case you want to reach out. They both do consultations and are both amazing.