It’s extremely easy to get carried away with skincare products, mostly because the beauty industry is incredible at marketing everything as a non-negotiable necessity in your routine—or face crow’s feet, at your own risk.
Recently I found a routine that has been working REALLY well for me (I feel like I should knock on wood, since I literally woke up this morning with a zit for the first time in months—sigh).
I realized a few weeks ago as I was doing my nightly skincare routine that it’s actually a perfect balance of intense products and gentle ones, with price points to match.
Removing your makeup
For starters, I remove my makeup with coconut oil. Straight-up, baking aisle coconut oil. There’s literally a jar of it with a spoon sticking out on the edge of my tub. I scoop some out, warm it up, and massage it into my face to dissolve all my foundation and mascara.
When we were in Cabo, I brought face wipes (the Simple brand) to take my makeup off so I didn’t have to explain to TSA why I was bringing a jar of coconut oil to Mexico with me. And let me tell you—I realized after a couple mornings of waking up with dried mascara caked under my eyes how much I can’t go without an oil makeup remover. The wipes just really don’t compare.
The best part is that this prime makeup remover is $4.99 in the cooking section of the grocery store and lasts forever!
There are plenty of makeup and skincare brands that have tried to capitalize on the oil cleansing trend and market their own brands of coconut oil makeup removers (complete with fancy packaging and names, like Clinique’s $30 Take the Day Off Balm), but the truth is, regular coconut oil works just as well—if not better.
I've also tried olive oil in a pinch (and out of curiosity), but for some reason it doesn't really work as well. The molecules in coconut oil are too big to soak into your skin, which may have something to do with it—something you've likely noticed if you've ever used coconut oil as a moisturizer.
Cleansing & exfoliating
After I’ve greased up my face and made it so I can’t see through my blurred, oily eyes, I bring out the (in my opinion) star of the show: the Skinmedica AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser. I blogged about this in the past when I started using it because I was so impressed, but months later, I’m still just as sold.
This cleanser uses gentle chemical and physical exfoliation to brighten your skin by sloughing off dead skin cells.
Similar to my coconut oil “you don’t know what you have till it’s sitting in your shower at home while you’re in Mexico” experience, I used a travel-sized drugstore cleanser while on vacation rather than trying to find a mini of my AHA/BHA.
By day 3 of sunscreen and makeup and improper cleansing, my face looks so congested. I don’t know how to describe it, but you know when your skin just looks like there’s a film or a haze over it? It didn’t look clear and bright like it usually does, and that was all the convincing I needed that this cleanser actually makes the difference.
Ellie turned me on to the next two products: one is a $4 drugstore find, and the other is a $45 Ulta purchase. Buckle up.
I’ve never been a “toner” girl. I tend to think the same people who use toners are the ones who use primers—they’re just the extra products that brands throw in the mix to gouge you of just a little more money. But when Ellie told me about her $4 witch hazel daily toning, I was interested.
Although I’ve read witch hazel is too harsh for skin, I was pleasantly surprised when I started using it because it doesn’t burn, sting, or leave my face red. It’s what they use at the threading salon on your eyebrows and upper lip to clean your pores after ripping all the hairs out of them (just me? Ok, cool).
I squirt some on a cotton ball and rub it all over my face after cleansing to pick up any extra gunk that the cleanser may have missed. Usually the cotton ball looks the same afterward, but every once in a while I'll catch some dirt or makeup on it and be like—that’s disgusting, thank God for this extra step.
Moisturizing & treating
Finally, I combine my tried-and-true CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion with the Mario Badescu Peptide Renewal Serum. I put a couple drops of the serum into the moisturizer, mix it together, and massage it into my skin. And then I glow like the top of the damn Chrysler building.
The lotion is extremely basic and has some solid ingredients without any fluff, and the serum gives it that extra kick. If there's room for improvement in this routine, I think it's at this phase—I bet there's a really solid, gentle moisturizer out there that delivers just a little more bang for your buck. Skinmedica makes an AHA/BHA cream, so I may have to try that out.
Another moisturizer I used to love (and truthfully, I forget why I quit using it) is the CeraVe SA Lotion. It's a basic moisturizer that they market to 'rough, bumpy skin' because it has salicylic acid in it. I think that'll be my next moisturizer purchase, so I'll let y'all know the results.
The peptide serum was a surprise to me because I was expecting it to be primarily hydrating (and maybe even a little gimmicky), but it’s one of those products where my skin feels slightly sensitive after using—like the way Retinoids make your skin feel—like it’s actually doing something.
The best part about this nightly skincare routine? Waking up in the morning and having beautiful, hydrated, glowy skin with a bright under-eye area without a trace of residual mascara or makeup grossness.
What’s your favorite skincare routine? Anything I absolutely need to try?
Let me know if you end up purchasing any of this and liking it—I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!
All things beauty.