Review the previous parts and catch up on my skin care manifesto, won’t you?
Part I here (Includes an overview of the essentials and my suggested routine)
Part II here (Includes nothing but sunscreen)
Once again, it was when I started cleaning, exfoliating, using Vitamin C and Retinol on a consistent basis that my skin finally became pretty damn good. That doesn’t mean I don’t get acne (I do, on a monthly basis!) or that it’s never dry or dull, but if I keep up the essentials, it looks good 95% of the time.
I’m going to go through each of the remaining essential categories (Remember I did a whole post on sunscreen in Part II) and give my best recommendations, but you’ll soon start to see why this might get long (or complicated.)
Why use them: Because you get makeup and gook and pollution on your face. Clean that crap off!
My current lineup:
(Something organic and sustainable) Seed Gentle Face Wash
Hado Labo Foaming (super gentle and moisturizing)
This is the best AHA BHA exfoliating cleanser. My dermatologist recommended it and sells it at her office and I love it.
Drugstore fave: Aveeno Foaming – either the calming or clearing ones. I’ve also used these for years and currently they’ve been stolen by the pre-teens in the house.
In the winter I also will sometimes use an oil cleanser, especially if I don’t have too much makeup to take off (but I’m never going to be one of those double cleanser people) and I really like this solid cleanser for travel: Woodlot Nourishing Cleansing Balm
Because you have dead skin cells on your face and when you get rid of them, it makes you look fresher and brighter.
It also makes your skin keep working to make new cells.
It also removes the dead stuff on top so that your topicals (Your Retinoids, Vitamins, etc.) can get down in there and actually make a difference.
How often you exfoliate depends on you and how well your skin can handle it. My skin can handle gentle chemical exfoliation every other day at least.
Once again, you can simply use an AHA BHA exfoliating cleanser, like the one I recommended above.
For a once a week (or even once a month) heavy duty mama jama, I’ve got The Ordinary AHA BHA Peeling Solution. This is serious stuff. You will feel a burn. And please, slather on the sunscreen the next day.
I do like a physical exfoliant occasionally, too. Like I said, my skin can handle it and sometimes, if my face is feeling a little rough, I go ahead and use one of these:
Tony Moly Brightening Peeling Gel I know this says ‘peeling’ but it’s super duper gentle and is not nearly as serious as the Peeling Solution.
Why use it: It’s a powerful ingredient to stop aging and fight free radicals. More here: https://www.byrdie.com/vitamin-c-benefits
As I said in Part I, my go-to basic Vitamin C serum is the CSI one. I’ve gone through at least 5 bottles at this point.
I’ve also used The Ordinary 12% Vitamin C. I’m sure it did something but for whatever reason I went back to the first one when I was done.
I’ve also heard good things about this set of serums on Amazon that has Vitamin C, Hyaluronic Acid and Retinol all in one package.
Why Use it: It’s a superhero ingredient that fights wrinkles AND acne, stimulates collagen and more. More info here.
I’ve used a prescription retinoid for years now so this is one area that I don’t actually have a personal recommendation for. BUT. If my prescription ran out tomorrow and I couldn’t renew it, then I would try one of these.
OKAY. I know that’s a LOT of information and it may seem like a LOT of products (and it’s one reason why I personally try to find the most effective products at the most reasonable price – which I’ve shared with you!) But once you get the essentials down, it’s pretty easy:
Also, PLEASE remember that as you start to use or boost your frequency with these active ingredients, sunscreen becomes MORE important. So please don’t skip that step.
That’s pretty much all I have to say about all the Essential steps I talked about in Part I.
But I hear some of you still yelling at me:
But what about MOISTURIZER?!?!
I know, I know. I really haven’t forgotten it.
But it’s not an essential.
(I’ve shocked you, haven’t I?)
I’ll go into WHY I believe that moisturizer is NOT a skin care essential (and we’ll start to play with things like masks, snail mucin, collagen and more) in the next part of this series, coming soon.
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