'Cos there is no room for nasties in 2019
This must be the most requested article I have ever written. Ever since I started posting photos of myself on Instagram, more and more people would ask me about my skincare regimen. Coincidence or not, I actually changed my entire routine five months ago; I decided to stick to brands and products that were "green/clean" and interestingly enough - you guys were the first to point out the difference. If you have noticed lack of skincare content on this blog, that is because from now on I only choose to support and feature brands that I personally trust and love. Everything you are about to see - are products that I swear by and have happily repurchased over and over again.
Now, before we move any forward, I have to put a disclaimer: no one has 100% perfect skin (well maybe except JLo and newborns) and that includes me. Please remember that I still wear a light layer of foundation/concealer on my photos and [like all mortals] I go through inevitable bad skin days. While I stepped up my skincare game, I have also improved my eating habits. After finding out that I was both lactose- and gluten-intolerant, I have switched to 90% bio diet, which is also lactose/gluten-free; I exercise regularly and drink plenty of water. From my experience - all of this contributes to a healthy, clear and happy skin.
My Skin Type/Concerns
I have dry, sensitive skin and can get easily dehydrated. My biggest concerns are: dryness, texture, clogged pores and hormonal breakouts.
One of the biggest mistakes I used to make in the past - was not using cleanser in the morning. I would just wash face with water and move on to other things. Eventually I started noticing more clogged pores that would lead to pimples, specifically on my chin and nose.
These days my mornings begin with Hydra-Restore Cream Cleanser by Grown Alchemist (49 USD; Made in Australia). It is a mild, creamy and plant-based cleanser that effectively removes any residual skincare/oils from the night before. It purifies the skin, without making it feel tight.
To balance the skin and add more moisture to it, I then use Balancing Toner by Grown Alchemist (38 USD; Made in Australia). It is a watery blend of various plants including rose, ginseng, chamomile and green tea, that feels and smells amazing. It does not leave a sticky residue on the skin, which is a drawback often associated with some other "hydrating" toners on the market.
I never (ever) skip on my eye cream and lately I have been enjoying Premier Cru Eye Cream by Caudalie (99 USD; Made in France). I do not know why good eye skincare is so expensive, but I have read multiple reviews written by people, who have been religiously using this eye cream for 10 years and could not imagine finding a better formula. Speaking of which - this eye cream indeed feels magical and lightweight; it contains hyaluronic acid, caffeine, peptides, avocado oil, polyphenols, resveratrol, viniferine and even soft focus powder (for that added instant radiance effect). Personally speaking, I would not call it the most hydrating eye cream I have ever used, but it still does a great job at keeping the delicate under-eye area looking smooth and never puffy. It did not get rid of my pandas (mine are hereditary, so that's okay), but if yours are not that bad - it might actually help.
I then use Vinoperfect Radiance Serum by Caudalie (79 USD; Made in France), which is an absolute must-have if you suffer from post-breakout spots (also known as "scarring"). It effectively erased mine in no time and I actually do not get as many dark spots anymore now that I am religiously using this serum every single day. Skin looks brighter, more radiant and overall juicy. It is also quite hydrating, so I can't recommend it enough.
After the serum, I always apply Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet by Caudalie (39 USD; Made in France). I must have gone through ten or more tubes of this magical moisturizer - and you know what? I am not even remotely interested in anything else. Rich in antioxidants, this gel-cream is a perfect warrior against free-radicals and pollution; it helps strengthen your skin's natural defense barriers, so that it becomes more resilient as you continuously use the cream. And what is even better - it works for all skin types!
Finally, the very last step is sunscreen and my absolute favourite discovery of 2018 was Unseen Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 40 by Supergoop! (32 USD; Made in USA). As a makeup wearer, the last thing I want is for my sunscreen to peel off or leave an odd white cast. This product is genius, because it is clear and has the most velvety silicone-esque texture, which means it also doubles as a smoothing primer. It feels quite hydrating as well thanks to shea butter, red algae and meadowfoam seed oil.
While my morning routine stays pretty much the same, I do like to switch things up a bit when it comes to what I use in the evening. There are days when I feel like I crave more hydration, but there are also times when I just have breakouts on my chin (hello hormones) or my skin peels like crazy. To avoid unnecessary stress, I opt for "prevention" strategy, which involves using various acids to either calm or gently exfoliate and renew my skin.
At first I will make sure to remove every bit of makeup on my face following a two- or even three-step cleansing routine. I remove eye makeup using either Makeup Breakup Cool Cleansing Oil by Boscia (32 USD; Made in USA) or Make-Up Removing Cleansing Oil by Caudalie (28 USD; Made in France). Both are great for people with sensitive eyes; I do prefer Caudalie a bit more though, because it does not blur my vision as much as Boscia does. I then use a liquid cleanser and finally, if I feel like I had a lot of makeup on that day, I might also use Micellar Cleansing Water by Caudalie (28 USD; Made in France) to make sure my skin is as clean as possible.
I also use a special deep pore cleanser at least once a week to prevent any skin disasters. I am talking about Osmoclean Deep Pore Cleanser by Institut Esthederm (Made in France). It has quite a pasty consistency and the more you massage this product into your skin, the thicker it becomes. It then sinks deep into your skin, lifting and absorbing impurities all at the same time. You need to rinse your face at least two-three times after using a cleanser like this and the long-lasting effect is absolutely amazing. Additionally you can also use the brand's Lightening Buffing Mask to eliminate dead cells and refine your skin in one go.
Once my skin is nice and clean, I spray a generous amount of Grape Water by Caudalie (18 USD; Made in France) all over my face and neck. This is a pure organic grape water, which is a perfect substitute for a hydrating toner. It is also a lovely soothing solution for people with irritated or overly sensitive skin.
I then use my absolute favourite Hydra Beauty Micro Gel Yeux by Chanel (68 USD; Made in France), which is essentially an extremely hydrating eye gel, that is going to make your under-eye look smooth like a baby's bottom. I actually see noticeable results whenever I use it - it is the most soothing eye cream I have ever tried and it does not feel heavy at all. You also need the smallest amount of product, so one tube is going to last you a long time.
Lastly, I apply a night cream and my current go-to is Lala Retro Whipped Cream by Drunk Elephant (60 USD; Made in USA). At first I did not like this cream's rather unusual "nutty" scent, but the formula is worth every penny. This cream will be mostly loved by those of you, who have dry skin, because it is a rich blend of various rare African oils, plantain, green tea and sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer (which apparently has smaller molecular weight than that of hyaluronic acid - mmmokay!). Every time I switch to something else, my skin goes into a rebellious mood, so it seems like I will not be changing my night cream anytime soon. Alternatively, if I am feeling that extra bit dry - I will add two drops of Virgin Marula Luxury Face Oil by Drunk Elephant (72 USD; Made in USA) to it or use the oil on its own, since it really is a miracle-worker for those with dry skin.
When Skin Has Gone Haywire
Whenever I notice that I have a lot of little bumps on my forehead, my skin is extra textured or it looks dull - I know it is time to use glycolic acid. For the longest time my number one choice was T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum by Drunk Elephant (90 USD; Made in USA). This serum has a light gel consistency and is basically a blend of glycolic, lactic, tartaric, citric and even salicylic acids (with a "few drops" of raspberry extract). If you are into your AHAs and BHAs - you already know this is one of the most potent formulas you could ever ask for and thankfully it delivers results almost immediately - skin looks clearer, brighter, smoother and overall happier the next day. While the brand suggest that you can use it on a daily basis, personally speaking over-exfoliation is the last thing I want to experience, which is why I only apply it once a week.
A newer product in my routine is Vinoperfect Brightening Glycolic Overnight Cream by Caudalie (65 USD; Made in USA). Now, while Drunk Elephant is a serum and you might decide to use some sort of cream on top of it, this new product offers you the best of both worlds - exfoliation and hydration in one formula (thanks to hyaluronic acid and vegetal butylene glycol). Since I have dry skin, I do not use it every single night, but even when I do - it does the trick right away. Skin looks radiant, dark spots are not as prominent and even pores on my nose look noticeably smaller. This cream also calms down any active breakouts and for that alone it gets A+ from me.
Whenever I see that my blemishes are literally multiplying by the minute, I immediately go for my holy grail Vinopure Natural Salicylic Acid Pore Minimizing Serum by Caudalie (49 USD; Made in France). Now, this might be not the best product for the dry folk; after all this formula was created with oily and combination skin types in mind - but! I have never used a serum that clears my skin just as fast as this guy does. Yes, I might feel a bit dry and flaky the next day, but my blemishes will either get flat or disappear altogether. Natural salicylic acid minimizes my pores, removes any excess oil or dirt, while essential oils and rose water calm and soothe irritation all at the same time. Since I am dry, I often apply a few drops of Antioxidant+ Facial Oil by Grown Alchemist (65 USD; Made in Australia) on top of it to hydrate the skin. You can alternatively use this serum as a spot treatment.
Another anti-blemish solution in my skincare arsenal is Super Spot Remover Blemish Treatment Gel by Origins (18 USD; Made in USA). Unlike Caudalie, this little monster will sting your skin quite a bit at first (after all it has alcohol in it), but great thing is - this gel is clear and won't be noticeable on the skin. This way you can easily wear it during the day too. While Caudalie sinks right into the skin and leaves a natural finish, this guy creates almost a soft transparent film that covers the blemish (bear in mind - sometimes it peels off). I would not recommend applying any makeup over it, because it will create an odd skin texture effect. Whenever I am breaking out, I use a small amount of this gel overnight and it gets the job done almost immediately - breakouts look smaller, less aggravated/red. This spot treatment never makes skin around the blemish look dry or flaky, which is an amazing thing in my book.
Lastly, I want to mention a few ah-mazing lip products that I have been loving lately. My lips are almost often dry, so I exfoliate them regularly using either Lip Scrub by LUSH (7.95 USD; Made in USA) or Whipped Cherry Lip Scrub by Bite Beauty (18 USD; Made in Canada). Both are incredible, deliciously natural (gluten-free!) products, so I would highly recommend them. Bite's scrub has a slightly more refined texture though, compared to LUSH. During the day time (and underneath my lipsticks) I often wear Sugar Advanced Therapy Lip Treatment by Fresh (26 USD; Made in France). It is a slightly pricey lip balm (if you will), but it is the best formula to wear paired with any other lip product, because it applies in a thin layer and feels ultra hydrating at the same time.
As for the night time, I can't be without my holy grail lip masks. Two of my absolute favourites are: Lip Sleeping Mask by Laneige (20 USD; Made in Korea) and Agave Lip Mask by Bite Beauty (26 USD; Made in Canada). The latter one is a 100% clean, slightly more thicker formula, which is something I personally prefer whenever I crave that deep hydration and lip repair. Both products are true miracle-workers nevertheless and if you ever suffer from cracked, dry or even painfully chapped lips (especially during winter) give them a try and thank me later!
What do you think about these products? Did you spot any favourites? Let's chat some more in the comments!
Availability: sephora.com, ulta.com
Purchased products and PR samples; full disclaimer here