It's been about six months since I posted my Skincare Routine (HERE). I've changed things up a bit since then and have been using my current routine (with a few exceptions) for the past couple of months. And here it is! Oh, and be forewarned this is a lot longer than my last Skincare Routine post (insert War and Peace joke here), as I'm also kind of reviewing some new products :-)
***All items either purchased by me or received as a gift from a friend. Links are non-affiliate links.***
Basic Skincare Routine
This is the basic routine I've been using a majority of the time, with spot treatments, masks and some other things listed below. I'm inserting a back story here, as it has influenced some of my choices...
I've had this weird rash on my forehead that kind of comes and goes. It started out slowly, but then became so frequent that I didn't know what to do. Of course, going to a dermatologist would've been the smart thing to do. But guess what. I'm SMARTER!!! LOLOLOL :-P Yeah, right. More like I'm just stubborn and think I can figure it out even if it takes a long time. The rash would appear, I'd delete some product from my beauty routine, slap on some cortisone cream for a few days and it'd be gone. Rinse. Repeat. And rash would reappear.
At first I thought it was makeup related and slowly took away anything I'd recently tried until I had eliminated everything until before the rash started appearing. Nope. Not makeup. Then I started with skincare. At this point it's mostly gone...it reappears hardly at all now, and when it does reappear the size of it is very small and only in one spot. Still not sure what caused it since it seemed to come back no matter what I used or eliminated (even things I was fine with prior to the rash), but at least I'm on the mend now vs. it getting worse. I should probably still see a derm, right?!! LOL clearly you don't know me!
Back to the routine :-)
1. If I've worn any makeup, I tissue off what I can so the cleanser doesn't have to work so hard.
2. Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Cleanser (review HERE) - One of the things I eliminated to try and solve my rash problem was my beloved Omorovicza Cleansing Foam (review HERE). I don't think the Omorovicza was the culprit though, as the rash held steady no matter what cleanser I used. But I've been using Ceramic Slip nonetheless just to maintain some sort of regular routine. I had been so enamored with the Omorovicza I completely forgot how much I loved Ceramic Slip and just how really fantastic it is!! And amazingly enough, I haven't felt any of the dryness I did when I used it before (previously, I felt it dried me out every so often). Plus I can use this to cleanse my eyes with no problem - for some reason the Omorovicza gives my eyes a rough texture. Weird.
3. I usually remove Ceramic Slip with a muslin cloth or baby washcloth (not pictured), but not always.
4. Spritz with filtered water. I like doing this to trap as much moisture into my skin before applying oil or moisturizer. Plus it helps oils apply more easily. I buy these mini spray bottles at The Container Store.
5. Apply 5 drops of African Botanics Marula Oil. The bottle in the picture is empty, and what's left (not much!) is in the amber dropper bottle behind. I always decant into a dropper bottle because I find application much less messy and easier to control, plus I find these 1/2 oz bottles much easier to travel with. I'm not sure how the full size of the African Botanics Marula Oil is, but this luxury sample is just an open neck bottle and pours out so it's really not suited to precise application. If you are a regular user/tester of oils, I'd recommend keeping dropper bottles on hand, as most applicators are not that user friendly and generally dispense more than you need. I buy mine from Amazon.
All that aside...Bronzer Bunny suggested many times that I try the African Botanics Marula Oil because she is a big fan of the line in general and she also knows how much I love my oils! She was kind enough to give me this luxury sample size, but I didn't try it until I decided to eliminate Emu Oil (review HERE) because of the rash. Woooow...I thought the Emu Oil was really good, but this Marula Oil is even better!! It's lightweight, is nicely moisturizing and absorbs easily even without spritzing water beforehand. It makes my skin very soft and naturally glowy, but not shiny-over-the-top.
What I most loved about Emu Oil is that it seemed to heal my skin, and this Marula Oil does as well as Emu if not better. Case in point: once I started using Marula Oil, my rash diminished in size and frequency and did so much more quickly than anything else I had been using (except cortisone cream). I also had some weird rough patches on my shins (it's like the hair follicles were growing out of themselves or something? Idk but it wasn't regular dry skin) that cortisone cream wasn't doing much to help. Enter Marula Oil and those rough patches are almost gone.
And if all that wasn't good enough, I haven't had an active breakout after using the Marula Oil for a couple of weeks. I've had some clogged pores here and there, and some random sore spots that never came to pimple fruition...nothing that isn't normal or that I can directly attribute to the Marula Oil. And all those have gone away after using my spot treatments. But with any other oil I've tried I always had a zit at one point or another, even if they were less frequent. I also feel this has helped speed the fading of old acne marks, moreso than anything else in my routine.
On the aging front, I've also been using this on my crepey eye lids, and it's helped a little :-) Nothing short of plastic surgery or lid replacements will completely get rid of the crepe, but I'll take what I can get ha ha!!
I purchased a full size already, though I opted to go the Garden of Wisdom route. The African Botanics version is $80 for just over 2oz, and the GOW is $12.30 for 1oz. Plus, the African Botanics has added fragrance, which I'd rather not have and I'm not fond of the way it smells. Think I mostly don't notice it now (it's been over 2 months) but I still catch a whiff of it every so often and...well...I'd rather not. I'm assuming the GOW version will work the same on my skin, but in the off chance it doesn't I'll be more than happy to purchase the African Botanics one despite the fragrance and price, I'm loving it that much. Fingers crossed though!
6. LUSH Celestial Moisturizer (review HERE) layered over the Marula oil on my Sahara-like forehead, cheeks and neck.
7. Sunday Riley Start Over Active Eye Cream (review HERE)
8. Sisley Eye and Lip Contour Cream, not to be confused with the Eye and Lip Contour Balm. I layer this on the outer 2/3 of my undereye area, but not the inner 1/3 because I tend to get milia if I use anything too heavy on a regular basis. I bought this as a recommendation from Claire @ Aucuparia Brumalis, as it is a favorite of hers. Oh dear. I really didn't want to like this because of the price. But I'm afraid it's giving my favorite Shiseido Benefiance (review HERE) a big fight for the top spot. It's everything the Shiseido is, plus I find it lasts longer throughout the day almost creating a protective barrier from the elements. It also is firming and doesn't look or feel oily as Shiseido can sometimes be if I apply too much. Only disappointment so far is the jar...it's plastic!!! At that price point I really expect something gorgeous and GLASS.
Sometimes I only use one of these, but I often layer for better results.
1. Murad Acne Spot Treatment - This is one of my favorite spot treatments and I've gone through several tubes already. BUT BUT BUT does anyone know if this is being discontinued?? I can't find it on Sephora and many other sites anymore! I have some on backup, but those I had to buy from Amazon when I couldn't find it on my usual sites. Love it because it contains sulfur, which works really well on my spots.
2. Renee Rouleau Anti-Cyst Treatment - review HERE. This is my second bottle and I will keep repurchasing until something better comes along.
3. Professional Solutions Clearing Mask - This is also a sulfur based product. I used a sample and was hooked! I use it as an overnight spot treatment instead of a mask. It's the least drying of any other sulfur base mask I've tried. This helps to get those spots that haven't fully developed yet, and is just as good on clogs. Can be purchased HERE.
4. Cortisone Cream - I'm not partial to a particular brand, but given my tendency for skin irritations I always keep a tube on hand.
The Sometimes Cleansers
1. Tatcha Pure One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil - review HERE. I don't have much of this left and probably won't repurchase for awhile (if ever?). I think it's a fantastic rinse-off oil cleanser, but there are so many other ones out there to try. Also I haven't been wearing much foundation lately and find Ceramic Slip + cloth to remove works for the moment. I mainly use cleansing oils for times I'm wearing a more tenacious foundation, primer or sunscreen.
2. Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water - review HERE. Still love, and always have it on hand. I don't use it very often nowadays, since I can use Ceramic Slip for most days I wear eye makeup. I use this for heavier eye makeup days.
1. Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm. I put this under treatments because I've only been using it about 2x's/week as per Lisa Eldridge's technique in her latest skincare routine video from March 2014. You can see the video HERE, start around the 1:43 mark for her explanation. She uses the Eve Lom balm to give herself an extended facial massage, which helps circulation and drainage. The massaging feels really good - highly recommend if you've never tried it! I used to massage my skin with oil sometimes, but working with the Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm is such a lovely, lovely experience :-) This Balm has the trademark Omorovicza scent, which I like a lot, and in this particular product the scent seems almost soothing. The dark color comes from the Hungarian Mud, which provides minerals and a very subtle amount of exfoliation.
I use about a dime sized amount, warm it up in my palms and apply over my eyes and face (I make sure my skin is dry first). It does remove every strip of makeup, but since I've been preferring to use it on already cleansed skin so I'm not massaging makeup into my skin. I try to massage for at least 10 minutes. I remove with a warm cloth, almost hot (I microwave a bowl of filtered water instead of waiting for the tap). Strangely enough, there are no application directions on the jar nor on the outer packaging. Even the Omorovicza site only says 'rub a small amount'...ok so what exactly is a small amount?!!! I had to google for reviews to see what others were using. The first time I used waaaay too much. I find the less I can get away with on this product the better, otherwise it's too difficult to remove. It might take a little trial and error to find your perfect amount.
I don't feel like this removes completely residue free, so I do follow up with Ceramic Slip. However, the residue is very little and sometimes I wonder if it's even there?? Maybe it's my paranoia but I still like to follow up with a cleanser since I am very clog prone.
There is something very soothing and almost therapeutic about using this Omorovicza Balm. Maybe it's in my head. Maybe it's because I'm a sucker for the Omorovicza line. Whatever the case, I'll definitely repurchase!
2. Renee Rouleau Triple Berry Smoothing Peel. This looks like raspberry preserves, but rest assured it tastes nothing like that sweet yummy goodness. Really. I tried. LOL! But it does leave my skin looking bright and fresh!! Immediately I noticed a difference and was hooked. This is a smaller size they had available during the Holidays so I'm not sure if it's still available. I will still repurchase, even if it's the larger size. This is how potent the peel is supposed to be: the recommended usage is 1-3x per MONTH, or as needed. I've been using it once a week to once every other week, depending on how my skin is feeling. The site says this is a professional strength, at home peel so please proceed with caution especially if you don't exfoliate or use acids on a regular basis. Can be purchased HERE.
3. Skin Beautiful Refining Micro-Peel Pads. I use these once a week to once every other week depending on how my skin feels. This used to come in liquid form (review HERE) and I prefer these pads although they are very scratchy, so you probably don't want use them if your skin is really sensitive. I don't use this as regularly as I used to, and instead prefer to use it to help keep clogs at bay.
Below are some close up pictures of what the treatments look like...
WHEW. And that's a wrap!!!
Just kidding there's more.
LOLOL no seriously I'm really really kidding this time, I'm done :-)