I've had skin issues for as long as I can remember. It started with eczema in the first grade, then rashes and hives throughout most of my school years, followed by adult acne (not embarrassing in the least), and skin allergies resulting from sun and chemical sensitivity. It's gotten so bad over the years, that during the summer months I have to wear gloves, socks, and a wide brimmed hat whenever I step outside.
The problem with having such sensitivities is that my skin had become extremely lack-luster due to all the prescription topicals I was using to keep rashes at bay. These medicines were meant to ease my symptoms and heal scars but did nothing to solve my everyday skin issues, such as dryness or uneven tone.
And as a mom with young kids I don't have the time to dedicate to a specialized skin routine, so I began looking for products that were quick, effective, and didn't irritate my sensitive skin. Needless to say, this "search" quickly became an infatuation over time as my skin began to look and feel better... and people noticed.
After much trial and error (and several allergic reactions) I've finally found products that work well for me and have proven to have the most impact on my skin's health. I thought I would share these little loves, with the hope that one (or a few) might help you combat your skin's woes. Whether you're on the hunt for new skincare or just looking to enhance your routine, these guys are definitely worth a look.
Sumaiya's skin woes:
- fine lines
- under-eye circles
- acne scars
- easily irritated
Sumaiya's skin goals:
Skincare begins at night when your skin has the most time to absorb whatever nutrients you put on it, so be picky with the products you choose!
Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that I am not a dermatologist, nor claim to be an expert on skin care. Everyone's skin type is different and although these products work for me, they may not work for you. My thoughts on these products are my own and I am not, through monetary compensation or affiliation, being paid for these reviews.
1. Face wash & the double cleansing method:
I've been double cleansing since before it was a "thing". My mom always instilled the importance of clean skin before bedtime, and this little trick worked perfectly when I was breaking out as a teenager.
Start by squeezing a few drops of oil into your palm and working it onto your DRY face, helping to break up dirt, sweat, and makeup before washing. I usually use baby oil, olive oil or coconut oil for this step. Then, wet your hands and wash your face the way you normally do, using a gentle cleanser. My favorite cleanser is Mario Badescu's Glycolic Foaming Cleanser, because it takes off every bit without drying out your skin.
2. Essence oils prep skin for nighttime:
After cleansing, it helps to layer a nutrient-dense oil before applying your moisturizer. The oils I have pictured above are great multi-taskers: you can use them all over your face, rough areas of your skin like elbows, knees and feet, or the ends of your hair for added moisture. Tarte's Pure Maracuja Oil is thicker and more dense and works well if you have very skin. Josie Maran's 100% Pure Argan Oil is thinner and works well for all skin types.
After much experimentation, I've realized that rose or botanical essence oils work best for my dry and sensitive skin. Below are a few that I absolutely LOVE.
Biossance The Nourisher Precious Rose Face Oil has vitamin C that helps fight free radicals, squalene that creates a barrier on your skin to lock in moisture, chlos crystal oil and damascus rose extract that help give skin suppleness. The rose scent is strong in this one, but hasn't caused any irritation whatsoever.
Korres Wild Rose Oil, another favorite, has (as the name suggests) wild rose oil, vitamin c and is infused with actual crushed dried roses. It's a true spa-like experience.
Decleor's Aromessence Neroli Moisturizing Serum Oil for the Face is a botanical oil derived from hazelnut, neroli and sandalwood. It smells amazing and has had the most noticeable impact on my skin's level of hydration, luminosity and smoothness.
3. Serums lock in moisture:
I know it seems tedious to layer one product after another, but it makes such a huge difference in your skin's overall health and look. The ingredients in each step differ dramatically in the same way their functions do. While oils are wonderful for quick absorption and hydration, serums are targeted treatments for skin woe's like brown spots, scars and hyper-pigmentation. A definite must for someone who's pockmarked like me.
This is a great one by Nuxe, Nuxellence Detox Detoxifying and Youth Revealing Anti-Aging Care. It's perfect for all skin types and tones. It's also chock-full of wrinkle reducing and detoxifying ingredients that help to create a youthful glow.
The finishing touch for any nighttime skincare routine is a really good moisturizer. I really love this Nuxe Reve De Miel Ultra Comforting Night Cream. It's thick and creamy, absorbs quickly and leaves my skin feeling super soft and hydrated in the morning. It's also a really great option for people with normal or combination skin during cold, winter months.
1. Gentle cleanser & exfoliation
Using a gentle exfoliator in the morning will polish the skin and help remove dead cells, like this one from St. Ives, Blackhead Clearing Green Tea Scrub. I use it interchangeably with the Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser, that I raved about earlier. They both make my face squeaky clean and don't dry out my skin.
2. Refreshing Mist
This step is not absolutely necessary, but it's a quick way to quench your skin if you don't have time to moisturize. It's also a wonderful little item to keep in your purse to spray on throughout the day.
The Rosewood Reviving Mist by MonuSpa smells great and leaves my skin hydrated, but a small spray bottle filled with pure rosewater works beautifully as well. I keep one in my fridge; it's a great pick-me-up during the afternoon or when I start to feel tired.
3. SPF is a must!
Regular use of an SPF is critical to keep skin looking and feeling young. High sun exposure leads to premature aging and wrinkles, sagging skin, sun/age spots, and (in extreme cases) can lead to skin cancer.
During the summer months when the sun is out and it's blindingly hot, we tend to remember sun protection and wear our SPF regularly, but did you know that up to 80% of the sun's harmful UVA and UVB rays can still penetrate clouds? That means that even during the winter, when the sky is cloudy and the days are dark, your skin still needs UV protection. So be sure to use an SPF everyday.
This one from Josie Maran, Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47, absorbs quickly and doesn't leave a strange white cast the way that most other sunscreens can.
4. Daytime Moisturizer
On most days when I'm out and about, I use sunscreen in place of a moisturizer, because it's quick and gets me out the door fast. However, on days when I'm working from home or when my skin feels like it needs extra moisture, I layer one of these daytime moisturizers under my regular SPF.
The Nuxe Reve De Miel Ultra Comforting Face Cream for Daytime, is a wonderfully thick and creamy moisturizer that penetrates deep into the skin and lasts all day long. And the Olay Active Botanicals Moisturizing Day Lotion Hydra Complex with Snow Mushroom, is light and milky; it absorbs quickly and leaves my skin with a beautiful natural glow that I love.
So there you have it - a few of my skincare loves. Comment below and share your skincare must-haves! I'd love to know what works for you!