Show. Don’t tell.
As writers, we live by this. And since last time we talked about how to start a skin care routine, today is a good time for me to show you mine. I change my routine up constantly with new products and techniques but this has been what’s made a difference over the past two months.
It’s important to know my age, skin type and concerns: I’m 26 years old, my skin type is combination and my concerns are acne, scarring, oil and dryness, sun protection and anti-aging.
Before we even start I have to warn you: THIS BABY IS LONG. I know thanks to the screens we bury our faces in 24/7 which grant us instant access to everything we want, we all have tiny attention spans. I tried to edit it as best I could but there’s some information that I think is important to understand my routine. Other important info will be covered in future blog posts. (I can’t give it all away in one shot!)
So grab a snack and/or a cocktail and let’s do this.
When I wake up, I splash my face with cool water and massage my skin to get rid of any sweat, oil or eye crusties (we all have ’em) that accumulated while I slept. I don’t usually cleanse or use warm/hot water because I felt it was too drying. (If I feel I need to cleanse, I use Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser.) Then, I use eye drops (I use generic hydrating eye drops) and gently pat my face dry with a clean towel. (ALWAYS pat, never rub. It tugs and pulls your skin and that’s never good for it.) Then, I exfoliate my lips with Tarte Pout Prep Lip Exfoliant then apply Glossier Balm Dot Com to soak in during the rest of my skin care routine.
I take about three pumps of Bliss Daily Detoxifying Facial Toner and pat it into my skin. I don’t massage certain products into my skin anymore — I pat them into my skin until my skin feels tacky. (This particular toner is discontinued but you know this girl bought as many as she could to stock up. Bliss re-branded and I’m hoping they will release some version of this toner soon. Otherwise, I’m on the lookout for a great moisturizing toner so HELP ME PLZ.)
Next, I use two pumps of Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum and pat it into my skin. This serum contains antioxidants and l-ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, which helps to brighten skin and spots of hyper-pigmentation or scarring and also promotes collagen production. (On dry days, I mix C-Firma with a pump of Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel.)
Next, I take about 2 to 3 drops* of The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 and pat that all over my face. (*Whenever I say, “drop,” I don’t mean I fill up the whole dropper. I mean a drop of the product.)
Hyaluronic acid (not an exfoliating acid — more on those later) is a humectant, meaning it pulls moisture from the air and into your skin. It also can retain up to 1,000 times its weight in water. Vitamin B5 moisturizes, heals and soothes.
Apply 1/2 drop of The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG,serum to each eye contour (space from just below lower lash line to top of cheekbone) and pat until tacky. When that’s absorbed, I pat Olehenriksen Banana Bright Eye Crème along my eye contour and top lid. (For products in jars or pots, use a tiny spoon or spatula to scoop out your product. It’s better than sticking your dirty fingers in it every time ¯\_(ツ)_/¯)
I massage in Olehenriksen C-Rush Brightening Gel Crème all over including my neck. (Sometimes, I use Glossier Priming Moisturizer instead.)
Sunscreen should be worn under makeup all year round. No excuses. I love Drunk Elephant UmbraSheer Physical Daily Defense Protection Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30.
Before we go any further, I need to talk about double-cleansing. As you’ve probably figured out, it means to cleanse twice: the first with an oil-based cleanser to remove oil-based impurities like makeup, sebum, SPF, etc.; the second with a water-based cleanser for sweat, dirt and more. It’s a K-beauty aka Korean beauty method.
On a dry face, I massage in Farmacy Green Clean Meltaway Cleansing Balm all over to remove makeup, rinse with lukewarm water and pat dry. I take off any leftover eye makeup with Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover or any drugstore alternative. (I wear lots of black eyeliner, mascara and eyelash glue and have never used a better eye makeup remover than this drugstore gem.)
Then, I use either Glow Recipe Blueberry Bounce Cleanser, Youth to the People Superfood Age Prevention Cleanser or Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser with a rotating cleansing brush (aka a bootleg Clarisonic because this gal knows where to spend and splurge. We keep it high-low here). Then, I pat my face dry gently with a clean towel. (Days I don’t wear makeup, I only use Milky Jelly Cleanser.)
Next, I spritz with a face mist. Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist has been my go-to lately. After, I take about three pumps of Bliss Daily Detoxifying Facial Toner and pat it into my skin.
I douse a Shiseido Facial Cotton with Tarte Knockout Tingling Treatment, which is an acid toner made up of a 10% mix of AHAs, or alpha hydroxy acids, and BHA, or beta hydroxy acid, for exfoliation and to balance pH for smooth, clear skin. (Full blog post on exfoliating with acids to come!) I run the square all over my face and neck, using upward strokes. (For whatever reason Knockout doesn’t work as well with a cotton ball. You don’t need to use Shieshido but any flat cotton pad will work.)
Toner/7 Skin Method/Serum
Next, I pat Belif Witch Hazel Herbal Extract Toner into my face and neck until it feels tacky. Then, I repeat that step six more times as part of the “7 Skin Method.” (I stumbled upon the method through K-beauty blog and brand Glow Recipe. This method entails applying seven layers of hydrating toner to the skin in a patting motion to front-load hydration.) Within these seven layers, I switch it up with some serums. I use one layer (2 to 3 drops) of The Ordinary “Buffet” serum if my skin feels tired and/or one layer (2 to 3 drops) The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% serum if I’m anticipating or experiencing breakouts.
I apply 2 to 3 drops of The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 and pat that all over my face.
It’s never too early to start incorporating a retinoid (Vitamin A derivative) into your routine, which promotes cell turnover and collagen production. Three nights a week, I pat 2 to 3 drops of The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion into my skin.
Pump 1/2 pump Drunk Elephant C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream onto the back of my palm. Dip ring finger (gentlest finger) into cream and pat it in my eye contour and top lid. (Sometimes I use Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Eye instead.)
I exfoliate my lips with Tarte Pout Prep Lip Exfoliant then apply Glossier Balm Dot Com. I swipe on Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask before bed.
I massage this step in. I love Belif The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb, Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream or Glossier Priming Moisturizer Rich to seal all my steps.
Your girl loves oil. Contrary to popular belief, all skin types benefit from oil, including oily. I pat this into my skin after my night cream has had time to absorb, so about 15 to 20 minutes later. My favorites? Sunday Riley Juno Essential Face Oil, Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil, The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rosehip Seed Oil or Julep Boost Your Radiance Reparative Rosehip Seed Facial Oil. It all depends on the day.
Remember: this is what works for me. Everyone’s skin is different and needs different things. The only thing you can do is assess what your skin needs and go from there. (Read my blog post about starting your skin care routine here.)
I’ll always be here to talk skin and beauty.
Gia Mazur is an award-winning staff writer and beauty obsessive who joined The Times-Tribune’s Lifestyles department in 2015. She’s a product enthusiast who can’t live without an eyelash curler. A proud Virgo, Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillow Talk is her go-to. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9127; @gmazurTT