This post has been a long time coming, both because I have been planning on writing this for a while and also because it took me a long time to develop a skincare routine. Up until my late twenties, my routine, if you could call it one, consisted of two items: an oil-free moisturizer with SPF 15 and a jar of cleanser. While there is nothing wrong with either of these items, they stopped addressing my skincare needs long before I stopped using them. In my previous skincare post, I mentioned that I have dry skin. I had just about gotten used to the tight, stretched out feeling that comes with extreme dryness and it wasn’t until I was pregnant with my first, that I actually gave some thought to what I’m putting on my skin and whether or not its working.
As with almost everything beauty-related, I’ve watched countless videos, read numerous reviews and talked to knowledgable friends, all in an effort to find a regimen that not only addresses my immediate concerns, but (hopefully) addresses any future issues as well. I’m totally fine with aging backwards 😛
These are the general steps I follow. As with anything, I may mix it up here and there, but the general gist remains the same:
Step 1: Cleanse
Though I always remove my makeup and cleanse my skin as part of my nighttime skincare routine, I always keep a bottle of cleanser in the shower to refresh my skin in the morning. I have been a fan of First Aid Beauty’s Face Cleanser for a while now because it gently cleanses the skin without stripping it, leaving a softness behind. I find the tiniest amount goes a long way, especially for my morning use. I stocked up on this product during the holiday sales, so I’ll be using this for a while to come!
Step 2: Facial Spray
Post-shower, I always find it helpful to mist and re-hydrate my face to allow all of my skincare products to work its best. Moisturizers are best absorbed and locked into the skin when it’s damp, and facial sprays have an added bonus of skin-loving ingredients that bring it a step above re-hydrating with plain water. My current spray is the Pixi Skintreats Vitamin Wakeup Mist, a toner that acts to even and illuminate the complexion. While I have enjoyed the actual product, the original bottle’s mist sprayer is a bit aggressive. I resolved this problem by placing the actual liquid into the bottle of my longtime favorite facial spray, the Mario Badescu (MB) Facial Spray with Aloe, Cucumber and Green Tea. Not only does this bottle deliver the perfect mist, I also enjoy the product as well. Both the Pixi and MB sprays are light on fragrance, which I prefer in my skincare. Once I have misted my face, I distribute the excess product with my fingers and quickly move on while my skin is still damp.
Step 3: Serum
This is the step of my routine that is most likely to change on a day to day basis. I have three serums that I rotate between, however I try not to layer more than two at a time in order to get the most out of each without unnecessary waste. Skincare is rarely cheap, so you have to apply wisely! I use the following:
- Obagi-C RX System C-Clarifying (Vitamin C and Hydroquinone) serum – I have hyperpigmentation and after using this serum for the past six months, I have seen a significant lightening of my sun spots and melasma (This product is available through prescription only).
- Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum – I am a big believer in the skin brightening benefits of Vitamin C. This particular product combines brightening with anti-aging. As someone with dry skin, I can definitely say that I see the results. I am on my second bottle and my skin appears plump and glowy when I use this.
- Poethique Radiance Boosting Serum – Though I have only been using this for a little over a month, I have really been enjoying this slightly viscous serum that leaves my skin feeling bright and hydrated. The formula includes natural exfoliating acids (AHAs), Vitamin C, and antioxidants. It also has a very pleasant light botanical scent which adds to the experience.
Step 4: Eye Cream
I suffer from dark circles and I’m afraid that I can see the beginnings of crow’s feet creeping in, but the truth is, co-sleeping with toddlers, I am not getting the best sleep AND I am a big fan of smiling 🙂 . My biggest expectation from eye cream is hydration and if I happen to see a reduction in under eye darkness and fine lines, I’ll gladly accept that as a bonus! I currently have two in my rotation:
- Drunk Elephant C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream – This is a very rich, hydrating cream that I typically use at night, but in this cold, dry weather, have been reaching for more and more. A little drop goes a very long way and even with makeup on top, my undereyes have been feeling well-moisturized throughout the day.
- Biossance Squalane + Peptide Eye Gel – I started using this last Fall and while I can’t speak to the claims of reducing under eye darkness (for reasons I mentioned above), this is a light yet very hydrating gel that I prefer using during the daytime when the weather isn’t too harsh. I’m looking forward to using this more in the Spring and Summer.
Step 5: Moisturizer
With all of the nutrient-dense skincare applied, it’s time to begin the process of locking it all in for the day. I either alternate between or mix two Drunk Elephant products, depending on environmental dryness and how my skin seems to be feeling that morning. Both provide long-lasting moisture for soft skin.
- Drunk Elephant Proteini Polypeptide Cream – Although this is described as a gel moisturizer, I really find that it is quite hydrating when mixed with Steps 1-4 above. It absorbs into my skin easily, without any greasy residue.
- Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream – This is a richer, cream moisturizer, with a whipped texture. Depending on how dry my skin is feeling, I have found myself mixing a half pump of this with half a pump of the Proteini Polypeptide Cream or in harsh conditions, using just one pump of this alone in the mornings.
Step 6: Facial Oil
I hardly use a drop or two, but I enjoy patting in a facial oil after I moisturize to seal in Steps 1-5. This step may not be necessary for everyone and I sometimes skip this during the day or all together during the hot and humid summer months, but for my generally dry skin, a tiny amount has always been beneficial. For the past year, I have been using and enjoying Derma E’s Radiant Glow Face Oil by SunKiss Alba which is a combination of Jojoba, Argan, and Seabuckthorn Oils with the addition of mica for a natural shimmer effect. This is a pretty dry, non-greasy oil, and as I mentioned above, two drops per application would be the most I would apply.
Step 7: Sunscreen
While I may change up the routine here and there, one thing that I never omit is sunscreen. It’s important to make sure you are using an SPF of at least 30 every day, and reapplying sunscreen if you are spending a prolonged amount of time in the sun. My main criteria for daily facial sunscreens are that they be clean, non-greasy, minimal to no white cast/sunscreen-y smell and should generally feel just like a moisturizer. These fit that bill:
- Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinte Physical Daily Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 30 – I am currently using this and while it has been working out well, I think I prefer Drunk Elephant’s un-tinted version more (I’ve finished 2 tubes of this in the past). I like to apply sunscreen down my neck and I think the tint is the version I have been experiencing some dryness and sensitivity there.
- Suntegrity’s SPF – I’ve finished a bottle of this in the past and I would definitely repurchase if I didn’t keep getting distracted by other releases! I found this through the EWG’s Safe Sunscreen list.
So there you have it, my 7-step morning skincare routine. It may seem like a lot, but I move through the products pretty quickly. I also recently learned through the wonderful Wayne Goss and Drunk Elephant Founder Tiffany Masterson that you can “cocktail” products together and apply them as a mixture on your face. I typically do this with my serum step.
For those of you looking to create a routine, I strongly recommend starting with determining your skin type, which I conveniently have a post about 😛 Based off of that, you can start looking into what your goals are, for example: brightening, calming acne, adding hydration… and go from there. Many sites that sell skincare, like Sephora, Credo Beauty, Dermstore, categorize based on concern. Also, the in-store associates at Ulta and Sephora (and online chat associates at CredoBeauty.com), are trained specifically to assist you in finding the best products for your skin. Never be afraid to ask for a sample, most associates can create one for you on the spot (also the worst they can say is no).
Note: I am not qualified in any way to recommend skincare products. I am simply sharing my routine and what works for me. If you have concerns, please consult a physician before using any skincare products to ensure you do not have any negative reactions.