Wednesday, September 9, 2009

My Current Skincare Routine

When it comes to skincare, I'm pretty fickle and pretty picky. If a product doesn't work or upsets my normal to dry, sensitive skin, I toss it rather than try to make it work. The products I use have to be (synthetic) fragrance-free, keep my city-weary skin clear and smooth, not contain parabens, and comprised of mostly natural (preferably organic) ingredients. I know, I know. The FDA has said parabens are safe. And the concentration purportedly used in most sincare products falls far beneath the accepted threshold. And natural is not always better--after all poison ivy is natural. And chemical ingredients can be powerfully effective and gentle on the skin. I can't help it though. For some visceral reason I can't get around this preference and feel like my skin looks its best when I stick with products of this ilk. To that end, here is what I've been using lately and my thoughts.

Clinique Take the Day Off Balm ($27)- this solid cleanser in a pretty purple pot emulsifies when you smooth it over your face, breaking down even the toughest eye makeup. I use it all over and then rinse. The directions indicate that a separate cleanser isn't necessary, but I always follow up with one as I am a fan of double cleansing (using one product to simply remove makeup and another to cleanse the skin).
Nude Skincare Cleansing Facial Wash ($34)- Nude uses organic ingredients when possible and the packaging is recyclable. This cleanser smells of bitter orange water and gently foams to cleanse my skin without over drying. I wouldn't call it moisturizing, but because it doesn't strip my skin, in the heat of summer I do not even need a separate moisturizer. I also credit this for keeping my skin breakout free. The price may seem steep but just one little pump is needed and I anticipate it lasting several months.
Kate Somerville Total Vitamin Antioxidant Face Serum ($65)- I've been diligent about sun protection since my early teens so I don't have any age spots or real discoloration to contend with, but I live in NYC where the smog, pollution, exhaust, and general icky grime can really take a toll on skin. Couple this with the amount of time I spend outdoors walking around, and I need a serious preventative antioxidant. This light serum is Vitamin C based, sinks right in, and doesn't irritate my skin or clog my pores. Since I'm using it for prevention it's difficult to tell if it's working, but that is true of all products used for this purpose I suppose.
Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Gentle ($65)- As much as I love it, NYC is really tough on skin for the reasons mentioned above. Your pores fill with all of the muck and some serious degunkification is required! I tried the regular ExfoliKate and it was way to harsh for my sensitive skin, but this is perfect. In 2-3 minutes the product has dissolved the dead cells and cleaned out my pores. You get some manual exfoliation from the little granules it contains and are left with clear glowing skin.
Aveeno Pure & Free Baby Sunblock Lotion SPF 60+ ($11)- this contains all physical sun blocks (I won't use chemical sunscreens) and while it's not featherlight, it hasn't clogged my pores either. It is chock full of chemicals so I have Devita on my list to try next.
Jurlique Balancing Day Cream ($40)- This is indicated for combination skin, but I think it would be too heavy for anyone leaning towards the oily side. It's a bit thick but does absorb, and has a distinct floral smell (though the fragrance is of natural origin). I love using this after the Kate Somerville enzyme treatment. I warm a tiny bit between my fingertips and pat in on to my skin, leaving it moisturized and smooth. It's not a miracle--you won't suddenly look 18--but it's a great basic moisturizer with antioxidant plant oils that creates a good base for makeup.
Stem Organics Hydrating Face Fluid ($58)- I use this in the winter when I need something more hydrating than the Jurlique. Despite its more fluid texture, this is a highly moisturizing product with macadamia oil, shea butter, vitamin E and a host of nourishing extracts and oils. This is definitely indicated for dry skin, though the brand makes a version for normal and a version for oily skin and they come packaged in dark glass bottles with air tight pumps to preserve the antioxidants. You never hear about this line but it is absolutely fantastic!
Skyn Iceland Icelandic Relief Eye Pen with Biospheric Complex ($20)- I suffer from the world's worse undereye circles (so bad that I've had makeup artists tell me there's simply nothing they can do for them when I've sought concealer advice) and even though I logically know better, I'll still try any eye cream that claims to help with my shiners. This one not only claims to do that, but says it combats wrinkles and puffiness and contains optical brighteners. Plus it comes in a hygienic, travel friendly pen and the price is right! This eye cream is fine. Just fine. I've been using it consistently for several months now and have noticed no change in the darkness under my eyes and I haven't seen any of the claimed brightness. Concealer does go on smoothly over this but that's about it. I'll finish it up and move on the next eye cream with lofty claims!

Here is my routine:
Kate Somerville Total Vitamin Antioxidant Face Serum
Aveeno Pure & Free Baby Sunblock Lotion SPF 60+
Skyn Iceland Icelandic Relief Eye Pen with Biospheric Complex

Remove makeup with Clinique Take the Day Off Balm
Nude Skincare Cleansing Facial Wash
Moisturize if needed either with the Jurlique Balancing Day Cream or Stem Organics Hydrating Facial Fluid
Skyn Iceland Icelandic Relief Eye Pen with Biospheric Complex

Twice a week:
Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Gentle

That's it!

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