From super dry and tight to spot ridden to glowing, my skin and I have been through it all. I struggle with hormonal acne and usually break out on my cheeks right around ovulation and a week or before my period (thanks Glow app for all the insights!). Although I like to say that I handle stress well, I usually break out when I’m stressed too, but those tend to show up right on my forehead. Any time I breakout, it clears within two days, but leaves a dark mark that is a pain in the ass to get rid of. And I’ve also started to notice some wrinkling in my forehead – pretty much the first and only sign that I’m getting older! After a binge on Japanese beauty products over the summer, I realized I had a bunch of different products with a variety of ingredients, and I sat down and figured out what ingredients my skin needed, and what products had them. It’s taken me some time to figure out and some product hits and misses, but I’ve finally settled on an updated skincare routine that is perfect for me!
Figuring Out My Skin Type
It took me a couple of years to figure out my skin type, mostly because I had dry skin for as long as I remember and was using products for dry skin until one day I realized my acne didn’t really make sense if my skin was dry. After a couple visits to an esthetician last year, I learned that my skin was actually combination, which helped explain my oil production and monthly breakouts. A visit to Kiehls’ flagship also revealed I had a few wrinkles in my forehead. Although there are a lot of online skin type quizzes, the most innovative one I’ve come across is HelloAva – a personalized skincare recommendation software that uses machine learning and AI to help recommend products for your skin. It was co-founded by one of Jonathan’s business school classmates who just made Forbes 30 under 30 list, and I’ve found their recommendations and skincare analysis spot on for me!
The Products I Use
HelloAva recently sent me two boxes of skincare products for my CRPW (combination, resistant, pigmented, wrinkle-prone skin), so I’m adding them to my arsenal. Here are all the products I now use morning and evening throughout the week:
Youth to the People Superfood Cleanser
just got this from HelloAva, has the Clean at Sephora designation
Bliss Pore Patrol Daily Warming Scrub
budget friendly, feels great in the shower and doesn’t irritate skin
Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant
salicylic acid powered powder cleanser that clears pores
Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser
contains sulfates so I use sparingly only when necessary
Skin Inc Pure Serum-Mist
new in from HelloAva, haven’t tried yet but has hyaluronic acid which is great for locking in moisture
Indie Lee CoQ-10 Toner
been using this for weeks since HelloAva sent it and my skin loves it, helps rebalance pH after cleansing
Sunday Riley C.E.O. Rapid Flash Brightening Serum
I’ve used a trial size previously, so happy that HelloAva recommended it!
Dr. Brandt Dark Spot Minimizing Serum
contains Vitamin B/niacinamide which is great for evening out skin tones
Ren Wake Wonderful Nighttime Facial
great lactic acid dupe for Good Genes, via HelloAva
Coola Sun Silk Drops SPF 30
protects against UV, IR, and HEV light so works both inside and outside, goes on silky and doesn’t leave any ash since it’s a chemical sunscreen (vs a physical one)
Urban Skin Rx Dermshield SPF 30
physical sunscreen that doubles as a moisturizer and primer, goes on without any grey cast
My Morning Skincare Routine
In the morning I have two priorities – vitamin C to brighten my skin and SPF to prevent dark spots from getting darker!
I use a gentle cleanser like Bliss Pore Patrol Scrub (it’s actually really gentle despite the scrub name) most days, but try to incorporate the Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser weekly or if I feel a breakout coming on. I then use Indie Lee CoQ-10 as my toner, and follow up with a couple drops of a Vitamin C – the Melano CC serum or Sunday Riley C.E.O. Once that sinks in, I add Dr Brandt’s Dark Spot Minimizing Serum – which has amazing ingredients if you’re looking for an all around serum, but I’m not sure how effective it is by itself. After the serum, I use the Coola Sun Silk Drops as my SPF. Sunscreen is one of the biggest changes to my routine in the past two years and has tremendously helped my skin! Finally, even though the Youth to the People Superfood moisturizer is super lightweight, it’s been keeping my skin hydrated enough during the fall.
My Nighttime Skincare Routine
The most important things in the evening are thoroughly cleaning my face and applying treatments that will work overnight.
I start with the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil if I’m wearing makeup, and use the Colleen Rothschild Cleansing Balm if I’m wearing a heavy full face. I then follow up with Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant, which has salicylic acid that declogs pores. After that I tone with Indie Lee, one of my Japanese toners, or spray an essence. Then I use an active – Good Genes has been a fave all year and I recently stocked up during the Sephora sale, but I found it for 30% off today only here (best believe I’m buying this and returning the other one to Sephora!). Ren’s Wake Wonderful also has lactic acid so is a great affordable dupe for Good Genes. The only thing missing here is Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid which I also ran out of (but Amazon is delivering this week), because I got Jonathan to start using it as well since he gets blackheads pretty frequently.
So that’s my skincare routine! Though it seems like a ton of products, I switch out with a bunch day and night because I found that my skin gets used to things and hits a plateau over a while. If you have similar skin as I do, feel free to try some of these out for yourself, or try HelloAva for personalized recommendations – there’s a promo code here!
Do you have your skincare routine locked down?