I’m always on the hunt for new skincare products, but when you use as many products as I do your skin tends to go a little bit crazy. I’m from New England, my skin is used to 30 degrees, rain and snow at this time, but California has changed ya girl.
The desert has done something to my skin and it’s recently been feeling like probably a lot of you are feeling – dry and dehydrated. I still have my oily sections throughout the day.
I’ve put together a list of some great products I’ve been using to combat my Winter skin problems.
Here’s my routine so it can give you guys a little more perspective on the condition of my skin. In the morning I wash my face with CeraVe foaming facial cleanser, I use Pixi’s Glow Tonic, then I either use a brightening serum (I’m trying to get through the bottle of Boot’s Botanics All Bright radiance serum, not my favorite) or I’ll use my REN Flash Hydro-Boost hydrating emulsion depending on how I’m feeling that morning. I’ve been finishing it off with either Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Moisturizer or Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream (huge change for me). At night, I’ve been using the same cleanser, same toner, and I’ll use the Clarin’s Mult-Active Nuit Cream. Below are some of the things to keep in mind when making your own skincare routine, and some products that have been working great for me when my skin needs a little extra love.
Get Yourself A Gentle Cleanser
Even though my cleanser is targeted for normal to oily skin I think it’s still one of the best cleansers I’ve ever used no matter what season we’re in. I love how gentle it is, it never foams up too much, and it never leaves my skin feeling too tight after I pat my face dry. I feel like cleansers are one of those things that I don’t switch up as much as my other skincare products because you use it so often that when you find what you love, you stick to it.
As I said, I’ve been using CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser every day for the last 2 years. I also really love fresh’s Soy Face Cleanser, the rosewater is great to keep irritation at bay, and it smells like cucumbers. Also, KORRES Greek Yoghurt Foaming Cream Cleanser is one of my all-time favorite cleansers. I went through at least 3-4 bottles of this and then they changed the packaging and I thought it was gone forever. I may need to pick this up again.
Don’t Over Exfoliate
For a long time I was scared of exfoliating my skin. I’ve talked about this before, but I had a really bad experience with the Clinique 3-Step system that made my skin sensitive and set me up for really uneven texture that I’m still trying to fix. I was in high school, I was using the rest of my cousin’s products. It probably wasn’t the right skin-type for me and I probably wasn’t using it right. I know for a fact I didn’t use it consistently because the first couple times using their toner my face was so sensitive and sore that I thought if this is what it takes for clear skin then give me the pimples because I’m done.
After that experience I only ever used cleanser and moisturizer, I thought all toner’s must be full of alcohol which I knew gave me dry patches. When I was starting to get into skincare at the beginning of college I stopped by a Sephora and was told the texture on my forehead was from not exfoliating. I needed to get that dead skin out, resurface and boost my skin with something for turning over the cells. Honestly, I was shocked because I thought if I rub something on my bumpy, textured forehead I’ll just make it worse right? It’s like scratching a scab; it’ll just peel and re-scab. Skincare is special, guys. There’s an answer for everything and a product for every little problem.
So getting back to my recommendation – exfoliate, but do not over exfoliate. It messes with your skin, can cause irritations and and in the long run will make your skin age faster. Think of it like a relationship, if you smother it, it will freak out on you. I never exfoliate more than once in a week unless I’m doing a deep exfoliation, which I don’t do too often maybe once every 3-4 weeks. I’ve made Sunday my exfoliation day so I don’t forget and over exfoliate especially because I use toner twice a day and that’s a very gentle exfoliant in itself.
I tone my face daily with Pixi’s Glow Tonic which contains Glycolic Acid (and AHA that balances pH levels, evens and brightens skin), Aloe (anti-inflammatory and soothing) and Ginseng (anti-aging and brightening). I’m in love with this stuff, if you follow me on Instagram or YouTube you’d know my love for this stuff. Recently though I found The Ordinary’s Glycol Acid 7% Toning Solution with is half the price with double the product so I’m going to have to get my hands on that. If you’re looking for a glow from within without it being too aggressive on your skin try something with AHAs.
For my weekly gentle exfoliation I’ve been really enjoying Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser. I would not recommend using this every day even though it’s suggested in the name. I was using this every day because I was being lazy and immediately noticed that my skin was getting oily than normal because I was getting rid of too much of my natural oils. So I switched it up to weekly where I use it as a double cleanse, right after my normal cleanser. I also have been loving Vasanti BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator I use this interchangeably with the Kiehl’s for my Sunday exfoliating in the shower after I wash my face and I very gently rub a pea size amount on my face. The microcrystals (not plastic!) are not as aggressive as some others I’ve tried and it truly leaves my face smoother than before. It says use 3-5x a week, but I would never suggest anyone exfoliate more than twice a week.
I like to do my deep exfoliation on days when I’m not wearing makeup and probably not going to leave the house. I’ve noticed that sometimes after I use products that kind of peel my skin it makes it harder for my makeup to apply flawlessly. Let your skin breathe after exfoliating. Also your pores are wide open after a deep cleaning so you don’t want to be counteracting the cleaning you just did.
For my monthly deep exfoliation I’d recommend something like Sunday Riley’s Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment. It’s incredibly gentle, you don’t even feel it on your face and it smells like a citrus peel. It’ll help clean out your pores, eat up the dead skin, and give you an overall brighter complexion. I only have the sample right now, but the pump on the full size looks like it would make life a lot easier. It’s also has beautiful packaging so it’ll look great in your bathroom.
I’ve also been using The Organic Pharmacy’s Enzyme Peel Mask, this is great for people that don’t have sensitive skin. It is powerful. I mean it will look like you just left a salon after getting a chemical peel. You will look like you got smacked in multiple sections of your face, and it’s a little scary at first, but it goes away in a couple hours. It stings a little bit, and you leave it on for 10 minutes and I swear when I washed this off my skin was glowing. This is aggressive, but it’s good for when you just really need a re-do at the end of the month. I would not use this more than once a month though because it actually eats up your skin.
Don’t Forget Your Lips
I need to remind myself of this all the time. It doesn’t matter where I am in the world, when winter rolls around my lips go into hibernation. It seems no matter what I do they are dry when I wake up in the morning.
What I’ve been doing is making sure after I brush my teeth at night I’m putting it an all-natural chapstick before bed. I love Burt’s Bees Lip Balm, it has to be the peppermint one so you can really feel it. I also love the Cowshed Lippy Balm, which I actually got on a United flight from Boston to NY so I can’t seem to find it online. The one linked is similar, but the oils in the formula are a little bit different, but probably the same texture since it’s still made with shea butter.
I’ve had my eye on the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask though, I’ve heard nothing but good things from multiple bloggers.
Tip for the lips – drink as much water as you can remember to drink. What’s the worst that could happen? You have to pee more often?
Switch Up Your Moisturizer
I’ve been on the hunt for another great moisturizer. Most of the time I like to use a different moisturizer in the day than I do at night. I like using morning products that are a little lighter, making it easier to lay my makeup on top, and it’s always a plus to have a little SPF in there if it’s not already in your makeup. I’ve been in a love fest with Origins GinZing gel moisturizer for a couple years now and I just can’t quit it. It smells like delicious oranges and it just enough to wake you up without being overpowering. It’s wonderful and the cool gel glides on your face so easily and sinks right away. It’s also one of the cheaper moisturizers I’ve loved at only $28!
At night I like something with a little more power so long as it does not clog my pores and give me milia or anything like that. The skin under my eyes tends to be very sensitive to milia so I need to make sure not to bring my moisturizer all the way up under my eyes or find a great eye cream. Still haven’t found a winner yet, if you have any suggestions please write them below!
The Clarin’s Multi-Active Nuit Cream has been my favorite part of my skincare recently. I don’t know if I could fully express how much I love this stuff. I don’t know what it is about french skincare, but it’s my absolute favorite. The French know their shit about keeping skin flawless and barely aging. It smells wonderful and my skin drinks it up. It feels luxurious, but not too heavy. It’s just the perfect cream to end your night. I need to try Multi-Active Jour immediately! I also really love the Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentrè and you can get 2-2 oz. tubes for $40 with a Costco membership, normally it’s $12-16 per ounce. At first I thought this cream was way too thick for me, but it’s actual magic. It sinks in so quickly and feels incredibly hydrating.
I think I’m going to make a post in the future of all the best Costco deals I’ve found, let me know if you guys would want to see something like that.
Don’t Skip On The Body
My body hates me right now. I’ve been trying so hard to not be lazy and make sure to put on lotion right after I dry off from the shower, and it’s difficult. All summer I was lathering my self up with oils and slapping on sunscreen that it was easy. Now that I’m usually hanging around the house I just never think about it. I’ve been getting a lot of stress rashes on my body lately, and it doesn’t help that my skin is so dry that I can’t stop scratching. I’ve just recently went back to Nivea’s Essentially Enriched Body Lotion with almond oil and I don’t know why I ever stopped using this. You can get two huge bottles from Costco for so cheap. It’s also just great to have something that isn’t super expensive when you’re going through it faster than other products, not to mention it’s such a neutral, clean smell that everyone in the house can enjoy it. I also love Neutrogena’s Body Oil. It’s not too heavy, it absorbs pretty quickly into the skin. If you’re the type of person to put on a robe while getting ready this is perfect for you. It’s fragrance-free, which is great for sensitive skin. Only downside is the packaging, so I’d try to find one with the pump, oil hands + slippery bottle = huge mess.
Add Some Oils
I added this section last because it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. So this section is more of a wishlist for those products.
I really want to try Sunday Riley’s Luna Sleeping Night Oil because I’ve heard great things about it, but also because it’s just interesting to me. It comes out blue, which is really cool to me, and the packaging is gorgeous in it’s square bottle and gold and white dropper. I love that this is a retinoid oil. I’ve been in full-blown anti-aging mode lately. I want all the products to keep my skin young and I tend to lean more towards anti-aging and recovery for my nighttime routine so this is perfect.
I’ve also been dying to try Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate with squalane, which helps restore the skin’s moisture balance.
And for a more affordable option that I’ve had my eyes on for a very long time – absolutely anything from The Ordinary. The site is a little confusing and I feel like you really need to know a little more about skincare and the active ingredients in order to find something that will work for you. In the Retinols alone there are titles like 1%, 1% in Squalane, 0.25% in Squalane and all gets a little confusing.
Though, I’ve heard nothing but great things about this brand, and for the price I don’t think you could go wrong with any of them. Choose a retinoid if you’re concerned about anti-aging, fine lines, pores and tightening; something in the Vitamin C or Direct Acids collection for something brightening or evening your complexion; pick a Hydrators for more retaining moisture; grab something from the More Molecules section if you’re focusing on certain problem areas like improving dark circles or uneven skin.
Skincare trick: try and buy everything you can with a pump because you’ll be less likely to skin the step.
These are just some of the products I’ve used, my thoughts behind my Winter skincare routine, and products I think would be really beneficial during the season. What are some of your favorites for keeping your skin healthy all year long?