New year, new routine

AMtoPM winter routine 2016
Alright, new-ish. I’ve been playing around with this skincare routine for about two months and all of this is from the stash. Two more facial oils and three more cleansers before I can finally break into my recent Jolse package.

For reference: my skin is combination (combination/dry with the current winter conditions). It’s sensitive and sometimes prone to redness, especially on the cheeks. I haven’t had a breakout of teenage proportions (read: 3 or more at a time) since…I was a teen. Which was a really long time ago. Most of my acne is either hormonal (<2 a month) or lifestyle induced (stress! late nights! crappy diet!). Rarely has a breakout been due to a product. My primary concerns are anti-aging (preventative), combating light pigmentation (on my cheeks and any PIH caused by acne).

From left to right:

Oil cleanser Almond oil on its own. I primarily do OCM so this is straight up oil (though you can mix castor oil as a base and use another oil as a carrier). I find castor oil to be drying and I get the same results with straight up almond oil. It’s light and low on the comedogenic scale (2) meaning it’s not likely to clog up pores. Still, patch test. With skin care, it’s all trial and error and a lot of comedogenic oils (olive, coconut) work on my skin when it would likely not work on others. PM only

Foam cleanser Shiseido Perfect Whip foam cleanser. For those who are pH-conscious this is a whopping 8 on the pH scale (sometimes 9). Briefly: the higher the pH, supposedly the higher the chance of eroding your precious skin barrier. Which could make acne more of a possibility. True enough, but I don’t use a lot at a time.

Whenever I have had a spot come up and have been using this at the same time, it’s usually because I’ve been overdoing it. PM only

Active serum DIY Vitamin C serum This formulation is at 15 per cent and I use it once a day, but I’m considering going back down to 10 per cent because I can’t deal with the initial split-second of stinging. I’ve been using this for two months. So far I’ve seen a little overall brightening, but it’s hard to tell if it’s in combination with the FTE I started to use at around the same time. Used every other day, AM

First essence SK-II FTE Super excited to finally try this out! I’ve been using this for about two months (a week or two after the vitamin C serum above). It’s my first time using SK-II anything because it was largely:

a. out of my budget
b. not really something I would have needed when I was a teen or even when I was in my mid-20s
c. aspirational skincare goals. The type of thing you only buy at Sephora during VIB sales.

So far, no breakouts and I see a sliver of brightness. Again I don’t know if that’s due to this, the vitamin C or a combination of the two.

Bonus: this works well in combination with the Vitamin C serum, since it doesn’t have niacinamide which is apparently not so smart to use in combination. Used daily, AMtoPM

Hydrating toner/Essence Haha Labo Super Gokujyun Lotion (the red kind). Technically, lotion is often classified as a moisturizing toner. But the texture leans more towards an essence/light serum, so!

I’ve used this since the summer and I’ve barely gotten through a quarter of the stuff. It’s very moisturizing and this stuff is amazing. It just enhances the rest of the following products. Used daily, AMtoPM

Ampoule Nature Republic argan ampoule This ampoule is rich and maybe even a touch richer than my argan oil. I love using this as it’s really moisturizing. I’ve been using this for about a month and I haven’t been irritated by it nor has it clogged my pores. So far, so good! Used daily, AMtoPM

Creams/Lotions/Facial oils Kahina Gives Beauty argan oil Argan oil has been my bae for close to a decade. This isn’t my favourite but it’s in the top two. It’s got a lot of things going for it: swanky packaging, light and appealing nutty scent and a light texture that absorbs quickly to reveal moisturized skin. It’s never irritated my skin; on the contrary, it’s calmed my skin from some awful tantrums due to too much dry heat, too much sugar and too much wind. Basically too much anything. Argan oil is my skin whisperer and this does its job really well. It’s a bummer this is pricy AF, though. Used daily, AMtoPM

(not shown) LUSH Full of Grace This is my second bar and this is so good. It’s a rich moisturizing bar. It goes on a bit thick and it takes a while to absorb into the skin but wow. My skin feels so nourished after I apply this. In the morning it’s all calm and soft and silky. PM mostly, sometimes AM on off days

(not shown) Sea buckthorn oil The big guns. I’ve used this in the past and I particularly love it for autumn and winter. It’s a heavy duty oil, definitely more moisturizing than the argan oil. It can stain if you’re not careful. Used on days and nights when my skin needs to level up on the moisture. Used daily, AMtoPM

Overnight mask Missha Super Aqua Snail sleep cream I use this sparingly (2-3 times a week) on parts of my face–often the forehead, apples of the cheeks and around my jaw and chin. I find this keeps me moisturized throughout the night. PM only

Spot treatments Thursday Plantation tea tree oil This bottle lasts forever. I use this for all of my acne needs but I find it really shines when I use this before a pimple rears its ugly head. It’s also really good in the early days of cystic acne. If I put this on when it happens the swelling and initial pain goes down. This oil is strong and can be very drying and also irritate the lips, nose and eyes if placed too close to these areas so I use this sparingly. I put this on after moisturizer, but if it’s too drying diluting it with an oil or witch hazel are ideas. PM only, when needed

Not shown

Sunscreen La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral Lotion SPF 50 For some reason my skin doesn’t do well with chemical formulations. I prefer mineral foundations and I’m in the minority when I say I don’t mind a white cast. Yes, I look like Casper, but I’ll take that over a strange rash on my face (which did happen).

This particular one is tinted and I wish it wasn’t. It’s in my skin tone range (which is good) in a cool undertone (which is bad). I like its texture (light, fluid, goes on matte) but am not a fan of the tone which needs to be corrected with foundation. And sometimes I prefer going out and doing me barefaced or with some spot concealer. It is also pricy so that’s a bummer. Used daily.

Spot treatment Etude House AC Clinic Pink Spot Powder I use this on some days when i just want my skin to calm down. It does that dramatically but I hate seeing pink spots on my skin at night. Granted they practically disappear in the morning, but I look so random with bright pink spots on my face. No funny smell, no weird texture, just the colour is odd. Clearly a vanity issue but yeah.

Performance wise, I’ve got no complaints. It works well with all types of acne and is as good as my tea tree oil with stopping zits in their tracks before they come to the surface. PM only, when needed


(night and home use) Nuxe Rêve de Miel This honey lip balm is one of my favourites. It’s very moisturizing and it doesn’t play around. Best of all, it lasts forever. This is a lip balm that stays pretty matte and is very smooth to apply. Absolutely no complaints: I can buy them from pretty much every drugstore.

(day lip balms) Skoah lip dip 30 I’ve been switching between this and the Jack Black Intense Lip Therapy since university. I walk around outside a lot so an SPF is a must but it’s frustrating because it wars with my love of lipstick. Still, I love this because it’s very moisturizing, not too thick and doesn’t have a weird texture. It wears like a gloss, delivering ridiculous shine but it wears like a balm which I appreciate. Used daily, applied often.

Jack Black Intense Lip Therapy This is most reliably found in the men’s section at Sephora. Pricy, yes, but I love the peppermint and SPF combination. It has a bit of gloss, but it is more of a lib balm. It’s just as moisturizing as the Skoah but has a different texture and a wonderful minty sensation. Used daily, applied often.

Lush Lip Scrub (Mint) I honestly don’t use this as much as is recommended, but that’s because I don’t really find the need to use it. When I do need to properly exfoliate this is amazing at sloughing off the dead skin. I have to be careful though because the sugar isn’t super fine and I find it can be a bit abrasive. Used occasionally, applied sparingly.

6 thoughts on “New year, new routine

    1. Yeah-it’s tricky keeping things hygienic with a bar, but I’m pleasantly surprised with its performance. And super happy with its price point! Thanks for the comment, Angela!

  1. You’ve got yourself a nice selection of skincare products! I have the NR Ampoule, Tea Tree oil and Shiseido foam although after hearing the PH level I’m a bit unease at using this! haha

    1. Thanks Weng! I really love the ampoule! It’s so light but so moisturizing especially after or coupled with the Hada Labo. As for the Shiseido foam, I think it really depends on a) how much you’re using b) where you are living c) your skin type. Obviously it’s not a smart idea to use a ton when you have dry or very finicky skin and when you’re living in a dry place. I think the high pH shouldn’t matter as long as you’re being smart and not using it too much that you’re stripping your skin. I’m still using it and it works fine!

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