Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Skincare Update, Spring 2014 (aka, MONSTER SKINCARE POST)

[No affiliate links. Products marked * were provided by PR, ** were gifts from friends.]

Most of us agree that our skincare lineups are ever-changing, evolving things, that we adapt to suit the seasons and age and changes in diet. In general, I have dry skin, and I opt for products that aid in brightening, retain firmness, and mitigate sun damage and acne spots. I'm breaking my regimen down here to "Daily AM," "Daily PM," "Weekly Treatments," and "Spot Treatments," and I'll try to be brief, but skincare posts always end up being ridiculously long, so I apologize in advance.

Daily AM

I wash my face in the morning with Ole Henriksen's On the Go cleanser (which will last forever - next time I think I will buy a different one, but this one works well enough and is not stripping, even though it is aimed toward normal/combo skin). Then I apply a vitamin C serum; currently, it's Lumene's Vitamin C+ Bright Skin Serum, which is a budget-friendly option (my other go-to is Ole Henriksen's Truth Serum Vitamin C Collagen Booster, but ouch, $72 for 1.7 oz).

I let that sink in for a few minutes, and then I apply a moisturizer. Right now, because I need richer moisturizers in cooler weather, it's Juice Beauty Nutrient Moisturizer; it's thick, but smooths into skin easily and doesn't leave skin greasy. After a few seconds, I apply Clarin's UV Plus HP Broad Spectrum SPF 40 Sunscreen Multi-Protection**. I like this one because it's all physical sunscreen (titanium dioxide) but the texture is fluid, not thick and pasty like many other mineral sunscreens (I rub excess product at each step on my neck and hands).

The last step is eye cream - I pat minimal amounts of Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Vitamin E Eye Balm gently under eyes with my ring finger - this is just to keep the undereye area hydrated throughout the day. I let all of this sink in, while I help S. take the dogs out and eat breakfast. Then I apply makeup, etc. at that point.

Daily PM

If I'm wearing heavy eye makeup, I soak a cotton ball with Neutrogena's Oil-free Eye Makeup Remover and gently dab it off, and then I remove the rest of my makeup with an oil, like Tatcha's One-Step Camellia Cleansing Oil*. I shower in the evenings, so I pump some oil in my dry hands, rub it all over my face, and then jump in the shower to wash it off. After my shower, I wash my face again with the OH On the Go.

Then, it's night treatments. I start with Shiseido's Ibuki Softening Concentrate, which is actually on the affordable end of the brand; it softens skin and makes all of my other treatments more effective - I've actually started seeing better results a few weeks after incorporating this into my regimen. It's fluid and leaves skin very moist; I wait half a minute or so to let it sink in before continuing on with my night serum - at the moment, it's Shiseido's White Lucent Intensive Spot Targeting Serum. Which, I know, holy crackers, Larie, it's $125/ 1 oz. I know. I only bought it because Macy's was doing an intense GWP (which is the best time to buy Shiseido, by the way) and because I was feeling really depressed about my skin for a while. This stuff really works, if you're curious - of the handful that I've tried, this is the most effective at mitigating hyperpigmentation. Other, more affordable options: Vichy ProEven Daily Dark Spot Corrector, Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector, Ole Henriksen Enlighten Me (which Sephora no longer carries but other sites do). I feel like the White Lucent Intensive Spot Targeting Serum is the BIG GUN; once you go through a cycle of it, it's sufficient to go back to one of the more affordable options for a while.

The night time moisturizer is another ultra-rich cream: Shiseido's White Lucent Brightening Moisturizing Cream (the dry skin version in the line) which is super luxurious but also easy to work into skin. The last thing, once again, is eye cream - I use a preventative-all-the-things cream at night, and currently it's Shiseido's Ibuki Eye Correcting Cream (my other favorite is Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Eye Concentrate). My goal is to depuff; I can color correct with concealer, but puffiness is hard to disguise.

Weekly Treatments (1x or 2x a week)

I exfoliate once or twice a week, and also try to use a mask once or twice a week. I don't use the same ones every week - I try to assess my current skin needs and pick one that addresses the concerns. The ones I rotate through are Tatcha Classic Rice Enzyme Powder*, a drugstore exfoliating wash like Garnier Clean + Balancing Daily Exfoliator for Combination Skin (which I share with S.), and also using my Clarisonic Mia** (with OH On the Go). The masks I like are detailed here and here. I'm also experimenting with some other weekly treatments (I picked up a mini sampler set of exfoliators and masks during Sephora's VIB sale) so I'll report back on those at some future point.

The other thing I do 2x a week is apply a retinaldehyde, like Avène's Ystheal Anti-Wrinkle Emulsion. It's a weird orange-colored cream that spreads out easily enough, and doesn't burn like some retinol treatments I've tried. I like (this line comes recommended by Lena).

Spot Treatments (as necessary, on targeted areas)
Oops, the Avene's in the wrong photo. Ok, you guys. I confess: taking photos of skincare products is hard, because they're everywhere in the house where I need them to be, and annoying to round up for photos.

My two spot treatments are either to hit acne, or soothe dry spots. For the former, I use a drugstore 2% salicylic acid treatment like Clearasil; I rub it gently into the affected area (and a little bit of the surrounding area) in the evenings only (Monika did a great run-down of acne-combating ingredients). To soothe minor irritations (itching) and dry spots, I use FAB's Ultra Repair Cream (I have the giant size, because I use it all over body for the same reasons as well. I've gone through two tubs so far of the normal size).

Ok, I'm exhausted. I'm sure you are, too. But there it is - my current lineup. I'll try to answer any questions about products in the comments - didn't want to pour any more words into this post. Have you come across any great products lately? How often do you rotate skincare items in and out?