“What’s your skincare routine?”
I get this question every week and every week I’m shocked by the question.
For most of my life, my relationship with my skin (face and body) has been, well, turbulent.
I used to think skincare was just a fad that profits off of poor self-image. I didn’t think any Silence of the Lambs-esq face masks and fancy soaps would help my breakouts and oily skin.
Yet, by my freshman year in college, my period pains were so excruciating I went on a generic form of birth control. To my surprise, my period was finally under control, and at last, my skin cleared up- and I mean- everywhere. I used to have back acne and daily breakouts, but once I went on birth control they finally stopped. Sure, I still had the occasional blemish (or two) and blackheads, but there was finally a light at the end of the tunnel. Could I actually achieve a perfect complexion?
And that’s when I started caring. After a LOT of trial and error I found the perfect skin products for me. (KEY WORD: “Me.” What works for one person, may not work for you.)
I have combination skin. So my skin is oily in the T zone but dry in other areas. You can identify this when you’re doing a face mask. After 15-30 minutes of a sheet mask, check to see which parts of the mask have aborted the serum completely, and which parts are still wet. The dry areas of the sheet mask will show you which parts of your face are most dehydrated, while the moist sections of the sheet mask demonstrate which areas of your skin don’t need more moisture!
Anyways, here’s what I use:
1. Alaffia Everyday Coconut Face Cleanser. I’ll never use another face wash again. It removes makeup (mascara and foundation) easier than any other soap I’ve ever used before. You can practically feel it cleaning your pores. Also, if you have redness like I do, it really calms it. Yet, the best part about Alaffia is how ethical, environmentally friendly, and women-empowering the company is, read their mission statement here.
2. After washing, I like to use a toner. This True Botanicals Renew Nutrient Mist I bought from Follain calms redness, nourishes skin, and fights free radicals with ingredients like Kombucha, Milk Thistle, and Neroli Flower Oil. Oh, and it’s a major anti-aging tool, which yes, even a 22 year-old like me frets about.
3. I’m still experimenting with the right day time moisturizer, for me. Right now, I’m using this daily SPF 20 lotion. It’s pretty thick, which makes it perfect for the harsh Boston winters. The combination of fierce winds and dry office heat is horrible for our skin, so I like to prepare for it with a hefty moisturizer.
4. At night, I use something a little more… intensive. This organic night creme by Dr. Alkaitis (also bought from Follain) is an anti-aging and anti-acne cream with power ingredients like Shea Butter, Horsetail, Carrot Seed Oil, and Jojoba Oil. I’ve noticed a big improvement in my complexion since starting to use it, plus it smells great.
After running out of the Dr. Alkaitis organic night cream, I wanted to try something new. This Mahalo Rare Indigo Beauty Balm targets acne, signs of aging, rosacea, and deeply moisturizes the skin. This product contains collagen-boosting Vitamin C ester and indigo extract. I apply to my damp face because it helps spread the balm more easily. It takes about 5-10 minutes for my skin to fully absorb this cream and it leaves my skin dewy and shining (which I actually enjoy.)
When my under-eyes need a little boost, I like to use Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Eye Treatment.
And when I have a zit, I like to use the Glossier Zit Stick, it’s compact, can be worn during the day under makeup, and does a great job at drying out zits.
So that’s basically it! I indulge in Sephora’s sheet masks occasionally, especially when my skin is really dry or my eyes need a boost. I also like to wash my face with a coconut oil sugar scrub when I feel my skin looking dull and in need of a good moisturizing scrub- just be careful not to scrub too hard.
But here’s the thing, everybody has a different chemical makeup and what works for one person won’t always work for another. It’s important to know your hormone levels. If you’re a woman who is really struggling with acne and oily skin, your testosterone levels may be higher than average. If you think this may be you, I recommend seeing an endocrinologist for medication to normalize your hormone levels.
I hope this blog post helps anybody looking for new skin care products to try! Just remember: you are what you eat, water is key, change your bed sheets, wash your face towels regularly, clean your makeup brushes, don’t put your phone to your face, don’t EVEN touch your face, and you know, more stuff like that.
Okay, that’s all I got! Feel free to leave comments and questions here or DM me on Instagram at @miazarrella.