Routine Skincare

Fall & Winter Skincare Routine

December 7, 2017

Fall in Las Vegas is basically anything but stable. Winter’s prelude has introduced quite a few interesting, or rather chaotic, weather shifts so far with temperatures often dropping to artic tundra proportions (artic here = anywhere from the 40’s to low 70’s), only to creep up to hellfire hot in a matter of a few hours. One day you’re inclined to turn on the heater, the next day you could be running the AC at full force. Oh, and did I mention the insane up to 50 mph wind gusts haunting multiple days of the week? While the weather is anything but predictable, one thing has been for sure and that is with the cooler temperatures finding us more and more by the day, my skin has already started to signal that it needs a little extra caring for. During Fall and Winter, cold temperatures holding less moisture in the air can cause skin to dry out quicker, provoking the complexion to grow dull as a result. My skin has a tendency to become its driest in the Summer as opposed to Fall or Winter, but does still need extra moisture and hydration not just to combat general dryness, but also since it tends to lose its luster quicker and almost appears fatigued and raw. Historically, I don’t tinker my skincare routines from season to season, but rather tailor it according to how my skin is behaving in the moment. Alas, Winter is coming and that means ramping up the TLC in just about every facet of the products I rely on daily.

A little background on my skin type – it is normal/dry but can be super temperamental. I’ve mentioned a number of times that while my cystic acne is virtually completely under control, one wrong ingredient could start a possible reaction, so in order to not yield to a wider flareup I always patch test products before applying them all over. The main focus of my skincare routine involves a trinity of anti-aging, acne prevention, and of course, hydration. I have a rather complex routine overall and you definitely don’t need to have one this complex nor do you need all the products I am about to mention. With time and testing I have come to discover what products and techniques exactly work for my skin, and for today’s post I am not just outlining what I use for the Fall and Winter seasons, but also what I use on a weekly basis and why.

Cleansers

Double-cleansing is an important part of my daily routine as it helps in keeping my skin as clear as possible by assuring no impurities are left to fester on either the surface or deep down in the pores. Over the years, I’ve double cleansed with a wide variety of oils, gels, traditional washes, foams, waters, etc. However, I only double-cleanse at night. In the mornings I exclusively use a toner to remove any dirt or oils. There is such a thing as cleansing your skin too much, which could lead to dryness and irritation – dryness equals to your skin sending itself into overdrive producing more oil to combat the dryness, and more oil means more risk to pores becoming clogged which in return causes more acne.
I prefer traditional liquid cleansers because I find they lather best to really clean the skin. Here is a roundup of tried and true favorites that I reach for daily depending on what my skin needs:

  • Tatcha Pure One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil – is one of the very few cleansing oils that does not clog my pores. This is a gentle two-in-one makeup remover and cleanser with camellia oil that gently melts away impurities, even waterproof makeup, leaving behind pure, silky soft skin. Without stripping natural moisture, this does a really good job at removing makeup but I still think a follow-up cleanser is necessary since makeup residue can embed itself deep into the pores if it really wants to. It does not contain mineral oil, so the liquid emulsifies completely and leaves no residue behind. This leaves the skin feeling moisturized and clean.
  • Murad Time Release Acne Cleanser – is a anti-aging and acne preventing formula. This is a gentle, low foaming formula that delivers sustained-released salicylic acid and improves skin’s appearance over time with consistent use. It has quite a thick texture but is creamy and leaves the skin feeling supple and hydrated.
  • Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser – is simply just a great basic cleanser. This is a gentle liquid formula that cleanses without over-drying or stripping the skin. Among other skin improving derivatives, it contains apricot kernel oil that moisturizes and softens the skin while helping retain clarity and suppleness. Avocado oil helps restore skin’s natural moisture; and squalane, Kiehl’s signature ingredient, keeps skin extra soft and supple. For me, this one is pure love.
  • Neogen Dermalogy Real Flower Cleansing Water – Calendula – is a water-based cleanser that I typically use after every shower as my “third” cleanse, or on days where I am just super exhausted and cannot muster the energy to shower. This is a ultra-hydrating cleansing water that whisks away dirt and makeup while calming the skin. It’s a super gentle cleanser and is perfect as a post-cleansing toner or a standalone cleansing step, similar to micellar water. With real calendula petals suspended in water, the calming formula is perfect for those with easily irritated or redness-prone skin. Those with oily, combination, or acne-prone skin can benefit from its balancing formula that whisks away excess oil and sebum while keeping your skin hydrated. I like to use it in the evening – it leaves the skin clean without stripping essentials and feels like it’s boosting my lipid barrier as opposed to taking from it. I also find that it makes the face glow without looking greasy. My skin feels much more balanced throughout the next day when I use this the prior evening.
  • Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Cleanser Daily Foaming Wash – is a dual-cleanser as it also exfoliates, which I think is highly important when rejuvenating the skin. It is such a unique cleanser that it actually took me by surprise. The formula has gritty texture like typical exfoliants do but does contain a mix of glycolic acid and lactic acid along with pineapple, pumpkin and papaya enzymes to exfoliate the skin in a natural, gentler way without being abrasive or drying. It’s super gentle – there has been no irritation or harsh feeling on the skin even when it is at its reddest or most sensitive. This became my go-to cleanser during the Summer for after-sun care.
  • Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel – is my favorite phase 2 to most of my double-cleansing sessions and perhaps one of my favorite conditioning and purifying cleansers to date. I’ve gone through several bottles over the years and it’s one I keep coming back to. The medium-to-thick creamy gel effortlessly disperses all over my face while I use small circular motions that I feel melts away any remaining makeup without leaving behind a greasy film. Whenever I feel like my pores are becoming clogged for whatever reason, this is the cleanser I turn to for pulling out any and all impurities, instantly clearing the complexion. The gel is nicely hydrating boosting my skin’s natural moisture rendering it feeling balanced and fresh.

Exfoliators

Exfoliating might just be one of my low-key most-liked aspects of performing a skincare ritual. There’s nothing like the feeling of freshly exfoliated skin, to then chase it with a sheet mask. I start salivating just at the thought alone because it’s so refreshing not to mention skin looks like a million dollars afterwards. Exfoliating removes the top layer of skin which contains dead skin cells that hinder the production of new cells (which helps with the aging aspect) but can also clog pores which leads to breakouts. Plus, dead skin cells equals a layer of dullness and when removed it reveals bright, glowing skin.

  • Bliss Micro Magic – is first and foremost the only facial exfoliator that I endorse, swear by, vow and commit my life to. The Bliss Microdermabrasion treatment contains powerful and soothing ingredients that scrub away dead skin cells and any leftover impurities that may contaminate your pores that regular face washing couldn’t get. While the Aloe and mushroom extract reduce inflammation and calms the skin, the peppermint extract refreshes and revitalizes. It is super gentle and non-irritating enough that it can be used twice a week. It won’t leave the skin feeling tight and digs up deep-lying impurities to assure a total complexion clarification. I also feel like the effects are more immediate vs. long-term with use as skin is instantly brighter and smoother afterwards.
  • Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Skin Brightening Exfoliator – I use more for brightening of old acne scarring and correcting any unevenness in skin tone. It has white birch extract that increases skin’s elasticity levels and collagen production resulting in restored skin density, volume and thickness, and peony extract works with activated vitamin C to facilitate the reversal of discoloration for skin clarity. For 30 seconds I will gently massage it all over the face in an upward and outward circular motion, avoiding the eye area, then rinse with cold water. I was hesitant at first straying from my tried and true Bliss Micro Magic, however, it’s gentle enough for my temperamental skin. So far I’ve been using this once a week for the last couple of months and I really like it as I’ve been seeing some significant results in the suppleness and overall texture of my skin.

Toners

Toning is absolutely essential to my routine, I do it twice a day and in the morning it functions as a face cleanser in lieu of an actual cleansing product. Toners are the product that dampens your skin and balances its pH levels.

  • Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner – is my all-time favorite toner and the one I use to tone my skin in the morning. If you’ve been a longtime reader of the blog than you’ve read me mention it many times before. A good toner in general further cleans the skin of any makeup or facial cleanser remnants but also helps get rid of any underlying oil, dirt even dead skin cells assuring that the skin remains breakout-free. The MB toner is formulated with 2% glycolid acid and grapefruit extract which works together to exfoliate, refresh and stimulate dry and congested skin but still hydrates. It helps to reduce discoloration from old acne scars as well as build-up that can cause skin to look dull by re-balancing it. I love that it keeps my skin’s texture smooth and softens the overall complexion by reducing the appearance of pores. I’ve purchased so many bottles that I lost count around year two or so and it’s the only one I keeping coming back to. So good.
  • Missha Time Revolution Clear Toner – is one of my most recent discoveries and has already made it to my top picks for facial toners. This is a mild formula that both cleanses as well as gently removes dead skin cells with AHA and BHA exfoliators. The Clear Toner has fermented yeast extract (saccharomyces ferment filtrate), which helps encourage cellular turnover, promoting clear, bright and even skin tone. I like that it’s gentle and effective, non-drying and feels super refreshing. Skin feels cleaner and smoother.

Essence

A total game changer for my skin has been becoming disciplined at effectively using an essence twice a day, every day. Essence is considered the heart of the Korean Skincare routine and is a kind of toner/serum hybrid made for hydrating and aiding skin repair and cell turnover.

  • COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence – is formulated with 96% snail secretion filtrate for super intense repair and hydration. While snail mucin does not sound particularly appetizing, it has the ability to repair everything from dry patches, to acne breakouts while helping zap hyperpigmentation, so with consistent use your skin will glow to look its healthiest. This is good for all skin types but in my opinion this may be a lifesaver for those with chronic dry skin as well as acne-prone skin. You use this on the skin applied with fingers or a cotton pad. It adds moisture and glow to the skin and is packed with concentrated hydrating, anti-aging, and complexion-enhancing ingredients. This far exceeded my expectations in terms of how it has transformed my complexion within literally the first week.
  • Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence Intensive Moist – is literally like holy water to me. It contains over 90% fermented yeast extract from Himalayan purple barley to effectively plump skin, refine texture, and reduce pigmentation. The essence practices a Ion fermentation process, which ensures rapid absorption of moisture, allowing skin to retain moisture for longer and restoring skin elasticity. Formulated with Niacinamide, this element brightens and clarifies skin tone while adenosine energizes for more younger-looking skin. With daily application, this essence moisturizes, improves texture and clarity. My skin has already shown its moisturizing and clarifying effects, even appearing a little lifted. A few drops of this essence will hydrate your entire face and you will definitely notice the difference the next morning.
  • May Coop Raw Sauce – is actually quite similar in concept to the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence but at half the price depending on what size you get. This is a gentle toner, emulsion and essence all-in-one that intensively hydrates and nourishes the skin. Formulated with 93% maple tree sap, skin-nourishing fructan powder (eco-cert certified), and Asian herbal and fruit extracts, the essence supremely hydrates the skin while leaving it feeling soft and dewy.

Face Mists

Face mists play a huge part in my skincare regimen. In fact, I can’t think of a more versatile beauty investment. Using a good facial mist will provide a refreshing, soothing and cooling effect on the skin which in return delivers various skin benefits like instant hydration, calms down redness or irritation caused by the outside elements, relieving the complexion from sweat, and so much more. Not only do they soothe the skin but also makes it glow with an even and balanced tone.

  • Caudalie Grape Water – is my lifetime go-to and I use it every single night before. This is a great treatment for calming certain skin concerns like soothing rosacea, reducing redness and sensitivity, and calming rashes. Rich in moisturizing polysaccharides, mineral salts, and potassium, Grape Water provides an immediate benefit of improved hydration and diminished skin sensitivity upon use. According to Caudalie, this is also suitable for sensitive skin but since I cannot attest to that fact I suggest doing a test run in stores first to make sure you will not experience any reactions. Caudalie Grape Water is one of the best refreshing toner mists that I have tried and I believe has a major voice in keeping my skin clear as well as optimally hydrated.
  • Herbivore Botanicals Rose Hibiscus Coconut Water Hydrating Face Mist – is a hydrating facial toner featuring coconut water, Bulgarian rose and hibiscus. This is good for all skin types and is formulated with coconut water, which rehydrates the skin and provides a new glow. Hibiscus flower works to provide natural exfoliation, speeds up cell turnover and helps skin maintain moisture. Bulgarian rose is hydrating and high in antioxidants and great at reducing redness and inflammation. At first I was under the impression that this face mist was like most others and you kind of just spray it on afterwards but instead you’re supposed to shake before use, spritz your face a few times and massage it in. It’s recommended for use after cleansing but before applying moisturizer. Once I started following these exact directions is when I saw the true benefits of this spray. My skin feels supremely hydrated and looks very naturally glowy each time I use it.
  • Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist – is a fine mist moisturizer that can be used under or over makeup for dewy glowing skin. I use it on my bare face like a regular facial spray if I want my complexion to look a tad bit extra in the luminosity department. I love how fresh it is and how my face feels after I spray it on. It makes my face look dewy and moisturized, plus the scent is simply heavenly.
  • L’Occitane Immortelle Precious Mist – enriched with Immortelle floral water, is a fresh and light mist aimed to moisturize and revitalize the skin instantly. L’Occitane’s Immortelle line is more preventative in treatment for emerging wrinkles and this mist leaves my skin looking very radiant and supple all the while feeling super hydrated and refreshed. This spray has a soothing, subtle floral scent as found in other Immortelle products. I like that it is gentle and is one of my favorite midday pick-me-ups.

Serum

A serum that I seriously can’t live without is the Murad Advanced Acne & Wrinkle Reducer. Ever since I started using this it has been a complete game changer for me as far as serums or concentrates are concerned. The dual-focus formula works to prevent blemishes while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Here’s where the whole anti-aging and anti-acne criteria is matched. The formula is infused with salicylic acid, which helps the product penetrate deep into the pores to help clear and prevent breakouts. Another main ingredient is the powerful Kombucha Collagen Defense, which reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The Retinol and glycolic acid accelerates skin cell turnover to keep the face looking healthy and glowy with a smooth texture.

Eye Creams

  • For my everyday eye cream, I’ve been loving the Belif The Moisturizing Eye Bomb (reviewed here). This is a super lightweight, refreshing eye cream that smooths fine lines with a 26-hour burst of moisture, boosts elasticity, and increases the resilience of the skin for flawless makeup application. It’s packed with hydrating herb, comfrey leaf, and elasticity-boosting pennywort herb, instantly delivering intense moisture for radiant and youthful-looking eyes. Equipped with a pleasant cooling texture, the formula instantly bursts with hydration, almost feeling like water on the skin, and blends seamlessly for a supple, radiant and plump eye area.
  • As a second step to improve dryness and texture in the under-eye area, I use the Belif First Aid 360 Eye Care Mask (reviewed here) every single night as a leave-on mask. Before I even started incorporating the above eye cream, my eye area was making tremendous strides thanks to the Belif eye care mask. The First Aid 360 Eye Care Mask is a leave-on, intensively moisturizing mask with a pudding-like texture that provides 360-degree eye care for delicate and sensitive eye areas. It has a cooling and hydrating formula that instantly cools, relieves puffy and tired eyes and prevents visible wrinkles by improving the resilience of the skin around the eye by replenishing its moisture levels. From the first use my general eye area looked noticeably brighter, more supple and the wrinkles caused by dryness had decreased tremendously in appearance. By night four, they had completely disappeared and even my dark circles started to look lighter. Never in my life have I encountered an eye product that I loved this much and I honestly hope they never discontinue it.

Moisturizers

Hydration is such an important element of my everyday routine because the more hydrated your skin is, the healthier, radiant and more youthful it appears. So it’s important to find a moisturizer that works for your skin type equally for your skin concerns. Typically I carefully select moisturizers based on dual-focus formulas that target both hydration as well as anti-aging, and preferably anti-acne but this is not a requirement.

  • Tatcha The Water Cream (reviewed here) – is an oil-free, anti-aging water cream that releases a burst of complexion-improving Japanese nutrients, powerful botanicals and optimal hydration for poreless and flawless-looking skin. Formulated with Japanese Wild Rose, Japanese Leopard Lily and hadasei-3 (a proprietary blend of green tea, rice, and algae), The Water Cream delivers a luxurious spa-like experience balancing hydration as well as clarifying and refining the skin by tightening pores and smoothing out texture – all the while restoring and boosting healthy-looking radiance by imparting a subtle, shine-free glow with a touch of 23-karat gold. It’s a refreshing moisturizer that I have fallen head over heels in love with.
  • Belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb – I utterly fell in love with this cream after I used up three sample packets from Sephora and ordered the 0.84 oz jar the day after running out. This is a luxurious, lightweight gel-cream designed to provide intensive hydration and minimize the appearance of pores for soft, smooth, supple feel. This formula contains a blend of apothecary herbs, including antioxidant-rich lady’s mantle, which helps neutralize skin-damaging free radicals, improves skin elasticity, and minimizes pores. While the cream is primarily a hydration formula, it reduces the appearance of wrinkles and lines, leaving skin smooth, plump and luminous. This one is just perfect in terms of texture. It’s non-irritating, absorbs quickly but has more than enough moisture to make the skin look and feel well-hydrated.
  • Murad Anti-Aging Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 / PA+++ – is a triple-action formula and one of the very few daily moisturizers I know of that addresses aging, acne and SPF all rolled into one. This is a very lightweight formula that absorbs quickly, keeping my skin thoroughly hydrated while under a layer makeup without a greasy feel or sheen. The formula features broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection to defend against early signs of aging and again Kombucha Collagen Defense to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It hydrates and protects blemish-prone skin for a clearer, more youthful looking complexion.

I hope you found this roundup helpful for ideas on what to look out for or try if you’re suffering from dry skin or acne flare-ups. As always, recommendations and their respective results depend on what your skin type is and what its needs are as far as issues are concerned. If you’re going to experiment with new skincare, I advise to swing a sample size first before purchasing a full-size and do a test patch to see if your skin would suffer some sort of reaction. Remember when starting a new skincare product to give it time to see any benefits or results which sometimes can take months, and don’t panic if you do see a breakout as that could be part of a purging process – however, if persists or becomes worse, stop using what could be causing it immediately.

What’s in your skincare routine at the moment?

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