Updating My Skin Care Routine

I’ve mentioned a few many times before that my skin can be quite a piece of work. Dryness, breakouts, acne scars are my major skin care woes. While the overall condition of my skin has improved greatly over the past few months I still struggle with occasional blemishes. There is definitely room for improvement in my current skin care routine but with the huge variety of products on the market it’s hard to figure out what would work best for me.

So I’ve been doing a lot of searching and reading. A lot. During one of my Google searches I stumbled upon Caroline Hirons’ blog. I’ve seen her name mentioned by other beauty bloggers before but reading her skin care cheat sheet was an eye-opener. Carline Hirons is considered a skin care guru by many and has worked in the industry for over a decade. I like her no-nonsense approach and her advice just simply makes sense. If you have any questions about skin care go check out her blog.

Here is a quick summary of her recommended skin care steps:

In The Mornings

  • Cleanser – non-foaming (milk, balm, gel).
  • Acidic toner – containing AHA and/or BHA.
  • Hydrating toner – she recommends a spray toner.
  • Eye cream
  • Serums/Oils – apply water-based ones before facial oils.
  • Moisturizer
  • SPF – she recommends a SPF separate from your moisturizer.
In The Evenings
  • Oil/balm cleanser
  • Milk/gel cleanser
  • Acidic toner
  • Hydrating toner (optional)
  • Eye cream
  • Serums/Oils
  • Nighttime Moisturizer

Comparing this list to my current skin care routine I found that I’m lacking in a number of departments. Luckily, her blog gives quite a few recommendation on products to use for each of the above steps. After more researching and reading I narrowed down the list to a few products that I would like to add to my skin care routine in the near future.

Updating my skin care regimen

REN Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk – 5.1 fl oz, $28

“A gentle cleansing milk that leaves sensitive, delicate and reactive skin purified, calm and soothed. Its multi-action formula eliminates environmental aggressors, increases skin resistance and minimises the signs of chronic irritation and sensitivity that can lead to premature ageing.”

I received a sample of this cleanser with a recent Sephora order. While it’s quite a tiny size I’ve been liking it the few times I’ve used it. This would be a good cleanser to use in the mornings as well as for the second cleanse in the evenings after taking off my makeup.

REN Clarifying Toning Lotion – 5.1 fl oz, $28

“A refreshing exfoliating toning lotion that unclogs pores and sloughs off dead skin leaving the complexion looking clear, smooth and even toned. Reduces the appearance of pore size and oiliness while its antimicrobial action minimizes future breakouts.”

I don’t use any toner at the moment so this will be a new step in my skin care routine. The REN Clarifying Toning Lotion is an acidic toner containing glycolic acid, lactic acid, citric acid and tartaric acid. The purpose of an acidic toner is to exfoliate the skin as well as readjusting your skin’s PH level after cleansing. This particular one gets glowing reviews so I would like to give it a try.

Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic – 6.7 fl oz, $23.90

“Nature’s best skin soothers—chamomile, cucumber, and aloe vera—calm irritation and eliminate redness. Glycerin and d-panthenol (also known as provitamin B5) add a layer of weightless hydration to skin that helps prevent moisture loss all day. In lieu of harsh disinfectants, hops extract tones the skin and swipes away bacteria.”

This is another toner, this time a hydrating one to be used after the acidic toner. Again, the reviews look really good and I enjoyed the Liz Earle cleanser. I also have a bunch of Birchbox points saved up so this would be a good thing to spend them on.

Estée Lauder DayWear UV Base – 1 fl oz, $39.00

“This powerful UV protector helps defend your skin to keep it looking younger, longer. The most effective anti-oxidant power ever: includes our proprietary Super Anti-Oxidant Complex, proven to fight free radical damage. Advanced broad spectrum SPF 50 sunscreen helps skin resist the first signs of aging. Sheer, lightweight formula goes over any moisturizer. Leaves skin soft, smooth and comfortable.”

One major thing that is missing from my skin care routine is sunscreen. I’ve been searching for a good daytime moisturizer with SPF for quite a while but nothing could ever measure up to my beloved Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief. After reading Caroline Hirons’ blog I learned that a separate sunscreen is actually preferable as it will usually provide better benefits and your moisturizer can simply do a good job at moisturizing instead of doing double duty. The Estée Lauder DayWear UV Base comes highly recommended and with SPF50 it will give plenty of protection throughout the whole day.

Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm – 3.8 oz, $28.50

“Lightweight makeup remover quickly dissolves tenacious eye and face makeups, sunscreens. Transforms from a solid balm into a silky oil upon application. Cleans thoroughly, rinses off completely. Non-greasy. Non-drying. Ophthalmologist Tested. For all skin types.”

In the evenings I’ve been using a facial wipe to take off my makeup followed by a cleanser. I’ve noticed that there is normally quite some makeup residue left on my washcloth afterward so my cleaning routine is definitely not thorough enough. The Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm promises to take off even waterproof mascara and, again, gets really good reviews. I’m a bit concerned about using a balm on my eyes as I like to keep my contact lenses in until I’m done with my evening routine (I’m blind without them). Hopefully that won’t be an issue with this product since it’s ophthalmologist tested.

One of the most enlightening advices that I took away from Caroline Hirons’ cheat sheet is that you don’t need to stick to the same products every day. The most important thing is to be aware of your skin’s daily condition and adjust the products you use according to your skin’s needs. For me that doesn’t necessarily mean to go overboard and take this as a free pass to buy products I don’t need. I still want to work on reducing the stash that I have. However, there are certain products in my routine, like toner and sunscreen, that I haven’t been using at all so the products that I do end up buying will be more purposeful. There are certainly many other products that I would like to test but I think this is a good start to updating my skin care routine.

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