I have always had a minor battle with my skin (face) but most of the time I feel rather lucky that it is as minimal as it is. I never had terrible acne but I have always dealt with minor acne (usually exacerbated by period hormones and of the cystic variety- over share, I know, sorry) and my greatest nemisis has always been redness. I'm still experimenting with different products, but I have identified the products I never want to run out of. If there are any gentlemen reading this post....don't be afraid of cleansers, serums, and moisturizers, they are your friends, too! I've laid out my routines below and linked to the products both in the text and through the product images (scroll over these for more info on retailer/cost). If you want more specific info on one of the products, shoot me your questions down in the comments at the end of the post and I'll be happy to answer!
This winter I have tried to be more gentle with my skin. When I wear makeup I've been using Bye Bye Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm as a remover before washing. I'll follow up with either a soap cleanser Cetaphil or Caudalie's Micellar Cleansing Water. I've reduced how frequently I use soap and typically save it for evenings when I've used more makeup that day or worked out and feel like I need a deep clean. Often, I'll actually follow up the Cetaphil with the micellar water just to make sure my skin is absolutely clean. In the morning I'll use the Caudalie Micellar Cleansing Water to remove any serums or oils I used before bed.
Hydration & Treatment
After cleansing I focus on hydration and soothing/treating my sensitive skin. I apply Thayers' Rose Petal Witch Hazel toner followed by my SK-II Facial Treatment Essence (a little goes a long way and this product lasts forever). In the morning I follow up with La Roche-Posay sunscreen SPF 60, a spritz of Odacite's Mint + Green Tea Hydra-Purifying Treatment Mist, and then my moisturizer Charlotte Tilbury's Magic Cream. This moisturizer is not inexpensive but it is the one product I will not let run out without a backup already in the house. I have never found a moisturizer I love as much as this one. I can always tell from my skin (in a bad way) when I haven't been drinking enough water---this is a free beauty care product---dont forget to use it!!
At night I use the same routine as my morning but I add Caudalie's Vinoperfect Radiance Serum and their Premier Cru Precious Oil (I mix them together in my palm) after the Odacite mist and follow them up with the CT Magic Cream. My last step at night is a little Black Tea Age-Delay Eye Concentrate from Fresh.
When I have a breakout, I use a little Vichy Normaderm Beautifying Anti-Blemish Care lotion on the trouble spot. My goal is to find the appropriate treatments to reduce my problems rather than constantly trying to cover them. But I'm aware that is a process that will take time and that it may never be completely cured.
I have a couple of products I turn to to neutralize redness and minimize the appearance of breakouts. I'm not huge on using heavy foundations. I prefer lighter products that don't feel heavy on my skin and don't make me feel caked in product that is hiding my skin rather than correcting or enhancing it.
On a typical day I only use Maybelline's Dream Fresh BB Cream with SPF 30. I used to use a L'Oreal bb cream but it didn't have any SPF built in so I swapped for this Maybelline one and I'm pleased with the change. I actually use the Light shade and have to hunt it down on Amazon as the local stores tend to only carry the Light/Medium shade as their lightest variation. When I need a little concealer I use Benefit's Boi-ing Airbrush Concealer on troublesome areas. On days when I am experiencing extra redness (which is always worse in the winter), or just need more coverage, I use Colorescience's All Calm Clinical Redness Corrector with SPF 50 (click here for 20% off at Colorescience) before my BB Cream. I have noticed lately that these products have been going on better since I've focused on better hydration and started using the serums.
This seems like a lot, but I'm not telling you to go out and buy all of it. We all have our own skin issues that we want to focus on and skin that reacts differently to various products. This is just a rundown of what I use and like. Some of this is active treatment of issues and others are preventative in nature (I am in my mid-30s afterall). A running theme is SPF- I want it in any product that will give it to me. I wish this was something I had been smart enough to do more of in my teens and 20s. The damage is done and all I can do now is try to prevent any additional damage! You can see some sunspots peaking through on my forehead and cheeks in the below picture, but overall they are pretty minimized and I feel like my skin has really improved over the last several months since I've started focusing on it more. I have a light layer of the BB Cream on here with a little of the Colorescience All Calm underneath on my chin and nose, but no foundation.
If you are looking to stay in the lower price ranges but want to try a couple of new products, my picks would be the Thayers' Rose Petal Witch Hazel toner, the La Roche-Posay sunscreen, the micellar water, or the Maybelline's Dream Fresh BB Cream. If you are looking to splurge I would start with one of the Caudalie serums/oils, Charlotte Tilbury's Magic Cream or the SK-II and see what you think. Remember, if you purchase from Sephora you can return products, even after using them for a little while, if you don't like them or don't see any results. This is a main reason Sephora has kept me as a loyal customer for so long.
What is your biggest skin concern? Have you found a product that helped you overcome it or are you still on the search?