Skincare Holy Grail (as of August 2018)
How long have I promised this article? Too long. It was between this one and a very serious piece about mental health and I’m in no mood to discuss suicide at lunch time on this beautiful Saturday so you lucky bitches finally got the long promised opus: my holy grail beauty products.
My routine has changed so many times that what I’m writing now is drastically different from the article I would have produced when I was first asked to write this. There is a focus, you’ll notice, on sustainable, low waste products as well as cruelty free products. I prioritize these values whenever possible. Being that it is summer time and sun exposure is at its yearly peak, moisturizing is a huuuge thing for me right now.
I’ve gone through a lot of phases when it comes to cleansing. I used to have one of those sonic spinning brushes and I’d rub my skin raw over exfoliating because I was conditioned to think that the tight “fresh” feeling that certain *cough* Clean & Clear *cough* cleansers produced. Your skin should not feel tight following cleansing. Lately I’ve been using Burt’s Bee’s Intense Hydration cream cleanser and it leaves my skin so soft after a shower sometimes I skip on an actual moisturizer and just stick to my serums. Another cleanser I had a lot of success with when birth control was wreaking havoc on my skin with cystic acne I had never experienced before was Glam Glow’s SUPERCLEANSE (but its really drying so I would only really recommend if you absolutely need it and follow up with intense hydration).
For body wash I’ve recently fallen back in love with Lush. I know it’s not #ontrend anymore, but the more I’ve been becoming conscious of my plastic consumption and the weird chemicals in my body products, the more I find myself favoring their products over more industrialized “organic” or “health conscious” brands. Right now I’m using “The Olive Branch” because I read somewhere that Louise Julie de Mailly-Nesle (see Fig. 1), Louis XV’s favourite mistress, bathed in olive oil for soft skin. For my hair I use Eva NYC’s Clean It Up Shampoo (& Soften It Up Conditioner) which I picked up because the packaging was cute and it was certified cruelty free and which I kept using because it fucking works.
Two general purpose miracle multi-use moisturizers in my collection are Bio-Oil and Medicine Mama’s Sweet Bee Magic Wand. I use Bio-Oil on my acne scars and as a moisturizer if my skin is really super thirsty or irritated. Virtual holy grail item Medicine Mama’s Sweet Bee stick can be used for everything from chapped lips of vaginal infections.
Now the fun part (and the reason why so many people requested this): my actives. I try to keep everything up until the end of my routine from having any strong actives so my serums aren’t competing with residual ingredients left behind from my cleansing + moisturizing. I’m really into Belif right now, I use two of their serums pretty much daily. Their Hungarian Water Essence, supposedly the secret of Hungarian Queen Elizabeth’s beauty, has made a huge difference in how supple my skin feels, and I follow it up with their Problem Solution Essence which I picked up because of it’s azelaic acid content. Azelaic acid is an antioxidant that is naturally produced by yeast living on the healthy skin. It has brightening, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory effects. It’s suppose to brighten skin, reduce the look of blemishes, fade hyper-pigmentation and reduces the redness associated with rosacea (and it does! At least for me).
I also use the Ordinary’s Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA which honestly has a very similar effect, I’m just most self conscious about my facial scars so that’s the main effect I look for. Similarly, I use Perricone MD’s H2 Elemental Energy hydrating booster serum in tandem with my Hungarian water essence for what I can only hope is double hydration benefits.
I didn’t forget exfoliation, I just didn’t include it in my cleanser area because you should not in my opinion be exfoliating your face in the shower. That’s just because I tend to be opposed to physical exfoliation, that is, the kind where you get something that calls itself a scrub that contains some sort of abrasive powder and you scrub at your face like you’re polishing wood. Doesn’t sound that good when I describe it like that? It’s what you’re doing, and you’re causing micro-tears in your skin in the process which will inevitably result in more breakouts.
I prefer chemical exfoliation. I used to use Drunk Elephant’s T.L.C. Framboos™ Glycolic Night Serum but it was way too strong for me. Now I use their Sukari Babyfacial once a week and that’s proved to be enough (you don’t need to exfoliate as much as you think you do! Your skin is a self cleaning organ, you’re just helping it do its job.) Another chemical exfoliant I like a lot is the Ordinary’s AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution. It looks like you smeared blood on your face and has a not unpleasant tingling feeling
Now do you see why I put this off for so long? It’s a fucking science project. My boyfriend calls me his little scientist because I’ve given myself chemical burns so often in the bathroom. Now that I mention that, here’s another tip: do not use anything chronologically following Medicine Mama’s Sweet Bee in this article on your face if you have even the smallest spot of broken skin. That means popped pimples too! If you’re like me and can’t help yourself from picking when you see a bump, stay away from the actives until the wound heals. You will fucking hurt yourself and you’ll make the wound last twice as long.
Drink lots of water, if you don’t like water, who really cares. It's important and you know it is. Once you cut out soda you'll feel better, I promise. Kombucha replaces soda really well also and is good for the skin too and so are CBD based beverages if you’re somewhere CBD products are readily available. I like VYBES MIND + BODY in peach ginger.
Fucking two pages single spaced.
You’re fucking welcome.
Shop the feature...
Burts Bees Intense Hydration Cream Cleanser, $10 / GLAMGLOW SUPERCLEANSE, $33 / Lush Olive Brand Body Wash, $35 for 16.9 fl oz / Eva NYC’s Clean It Up Shampoo, $9 + Eva NYC’s Soften It Up Conditioner, $9 / Bio-Oil, $27 / Medicine Mama's Sweet Bee Magic Wand, $15 / Belif's Hungarian Water Essence, $42 / Belif's Problem Solution Essence, $42 / The Ordinary's Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA, $8.90 / Perricone MD’s H2 Elemental Energy, $55 / Drunk Elephant’s T.L.C. Framboos™ Glycolic Night Serum, $90 / Drunk Elephant's Sukari Babyfacial, $80 / The Ordinary’s AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution, $7.30 / VYBES MIND + BODY Peach Ginger, $96 a case