Ask, and you shall receive.
My skincare routine has been requested for quite a while now, but I never felt comfortable doing one. Not because I’m keeping secrets, but because my skin was never 100% clear. Recently I came to accept the fact that I’m a teenager, and genetically, my skin is very acne-prone, and I have also been moving towards only using products of companies that do not test on animals. I have tried SO many products and routines, but none have had the effect that my current one has. Skincare will forever be a trial and error method, but when you find a product that works for you, keep it. Don’t continue skipping around every week to find something “better” because whenever I did that, it really damaged my skin. But everyone is different, so if your skin can handle it, feel free to experiment.
When I first started paying attention to my skin I used Proactive, but I found out my skin was too sensitive for the high amounts of Salicylic Acid in it. I then tried Aveeno, which while it was nice and gentle, did nothing for my acne. My thought process after that was that “higher end” brands reigned supreme over drugstore brands, so I switched to Clinique and used that for quite a while. Unfortunately the system changed over the two years I used it, and the new products caused my face to burn. My mom, while researching things for her own skincare, discovered the Say Yes To Tomatoes line and promptly went to Target to pick some up for me. The SYT brand was my absolute savior my Freshman and Sophomore year – The exfoliating scrub was gentle enough for my skin, there was just enough Salicylic Acid to be effective without burning my skin, and it’s a cruelty-free brand, which is a big must for me.
But all good things must come to an end I suppose, and over the summer my skin grew accustomed to the SYTT line, and it was just no longer effective for me. So, during my time of which I was obsessed with the ever-popular “Glo Up,” I received several recommendations for the Shea Moisture African Black Soap line. The reviews were fantastic, it was all natural, cruelty-free, gentle, and smelled amazing. I thought “hands-down, this will be what saves my skin.” This was not the case though. It seemed to be working at first, but it was doing absolutely nothing for my skin, except drying it out. I had never suffered from dry skin before this, and I was exfoliating 2 times a week and using up to 3 layers of moisturizer to no avail. Heartbroken, I just assumed my skin would never be actually clear. Flash forward to roughly a month ago when I was wandering around Ulta while waiting for my lunch dates. I came across a brand called La Roche-Posay, which my mom later revealed she had used as a teen. The 3-month set was roughly $25 with my coupon, so I figured there wasn’t much to lose and added it to my basket.
Guys, this stuff has changed. My. Life.
Even during that lovely time of the month in which my skin looks AWFUL, I had never seen it so clear. Paired with other items of my normal skincare routine, I’ve been able to stop wearing foundation daily, and usually just get by with primer and a bit of under-eye concealer. Now I must note that I am not a dermatologist, and that this is just the routine that has worked for me, along with a good diet. Everyone’s skin is different, so this may not work for you.
Order of my skincare routine…
After some research and experimentation, I learned that I needed more than a basic 3-step system to keep my skin clear. Because of this, I gravitated towards more of a Korean skin care routine, mixing up the products as the weather changes. Since we’re still in winter, I tend to use items that are intended to add moisture to the skin, while during the spring and summer, I use more SPF and tone-evening items. The order of my skincare products are as follows, and the ones with asterisks are what I use everyday.
1. Micellar water* (PM)
2. Cleaser* (AM/PM)
3. Face mask (AM or PM)
4. Toner* (AM/PM)
5. Essence* (AM/PM)
6. Serum (PM)
7. Oil (PM)
8. Moisturizer* (AM/PM)
9. Spot treatment (AM or PM)
10. SPF* (AM)
This is the EFFACLAR set that I am currently using. I bought the moisturizer separate, and the serum was a free gift. The cleanser is almost like a watered-down gel cleanser, and it’s very gentle and lathers well. The toner doesn’t make my face sting like others do, and really works to control the oiliness of my face. The moisturizer is by far my favorite part, it almost has a creamy texture and goes on very smooth. As far as the spot treatment and the serum go, I cant say exactly how effective they are, since I usually put Tea Tree oil on my blemishes, and I don’t have very many dark spots anyway. The only downside to the set is that the cleanser smells a bit like soap, but I don’t mind it much.
After I wash my face and apply toner, I pat May Coop Raw Sauce into my skin using my finger tips and palms. I wasn’t sure what this was, I actually had received it when it was accidentally included into my Sephora order, along with some Korean brand cotton pads, but they had told me I could keep it since I wasn’t charged for it. After a quick google search, it was revealed that it’s actually an essence made from Acer Maple Water, which while I’m not sure what exact benefits that has for your skin, I know that this has definitely become a staple in my routine. Even better, the brand is cruelty-free!
I was really wary when I received the Tarte Marajuca Oil in my Ipsy bag. The common thought is that if your face is oily, you shouldn’t be putting oil on it. Well, I’m here to tell you that’s wrong. I’ve been applying 2-3 drops to my face at night before I apply my moisturizer, and I can definitely see the difference. Marajuca contains vitamin C, which helps to brighten and hydrate your skin. I don’t apply this every night, but I use it about every other day. I know many people have concerns that Tarte isn’t cruelty-free after being sold to KOSE, but the owner has publicly said they will not start testing on animals, so this will remain part of my routine. Bonus points for the gorgeous packaging!
I didn’t start using eye cream until I received the Clinique All About Eyes as a sample. I must admit that I don’t always remember to do this, and you can definitely tell by my dark circles. I will admit that I am in the market for other eye creams, as even though Clinique does not test on animals in the US, it is owned by Este Lauder, which tests where required by law, so I do have a bit of a personal struggle using this, but will continue until I find another eye cream.
Finally, I use the Garnier Miccellar Cleansing Water to remove my makeup at night. If I’ve woken up late or can’t be bothered to do full skin routine, like when I’m sick, I will just swipe this over my face before heading out. Garnier is owned by L’Oreal whose policy is no animal testing unless required. While apparently Garnier no longer sells in China, they are still listed by PETA as a non-cruelty-free company, so I will be searching for another alternative.
Luckily, South Korea plans to ban all animal testing by 2018 at the latest, and I will be able to expand my range of Korean makeup and skin care. (I will admit that I do own and love products from companies that, while they don’t test on animals, may use animal products or export to China.) So the law that will be going into effect will hopefully bring more brands onto my list of “acceptable brands” since there are several brands that DO test on animals.
So, there we have it, my much requested skincare routine, finally laid out for all of you! I would love if you share in the comments what your favorite skincare products and brands are, especially if they aren’t big name – I love discovering brands that are secret gold mines!
See you on Wednesday!