While I am no skincare expert, I do love reading and researching about what the best products on the market are as well as checking out reviews from other consumers like me who aren’t paid/given free product to endorse something. Two of my favorites to follow for product reviews and skincare advice are Kathleen Jennings and Jordan Harper. It can feel overwhelming to know what is ACTUALLY effective because of course the bottle will claim all sorts of amazing results…but my own personal results don’t always reflect what it promises it will do.
About a year ago, I made an appointment with my dermatologist to address my post partum skin concerns, mainly being hyper-pigmentation, uneven complexion and leftover melsama from pregnancy. I was still nursing at the time so she told me she couldn’t do a high powered chemical peel on me but suggested a product line that was pregnancy/nursing safe (i’ll share about it below) and said to come back once I was done having kids :)
Ever since then, I have really become more serious about my skincare regimen in doing what I CAN do during this season of my life and consequently, I have seen amazing results in my skin because of the attention I have given it this last year. Here is a before and after photo just one year apart. (the lighting is a little different in the photos since they were taken in two different locations but both photos are my bare skin.)
Pretty amazing, right? I do think some of my results are due to my hormones balancing out after stopping nursing but I can’t discredit the effectiveness of what I have implemented into my routine either. My skin is normal to dry so some of these products may not be best for you if you have a different skin type but hopefully you can find something in this post helpful. Also, you will see that I use quite a few items….and that might not be for you! I love my time at the end of the day when I can take a shower and then spend uninterrupted time applying alllllll my creams/oils/serums. Some people like to read or watch TV at night…I like to have my own personal spa. My husband has said once we finish remodeling our house, he doesn’t think he will see me at night anymore after the kids are asleep becuase i’ll be in the bathroom enjoying our soaking tub and my own vanity area. He’s probably right ;)
I’ve broken it down into my nighttime and morning routine and all the products are linked.
Night Time Routine
Cleanser- Tula Probiotic Skincare Purifying Cleanser. For years I used a drug store cleanser but my skin always felt SO DRY after I would use it. I realized I needed to find something that would deeply clean without stripping my skin of the good oils so enter…Tula! Tula uses probiotics in their products which help leave your skin looking nourished and balanced. This is a gel cleanser but it does still slightly lather when you rub it between your hands. It gets off all of my makeup, including mascara and I love that my skin doesn’t feel tight and parched afterwards. I’ve been using it for several years now and even my husband loves using this as his face wash. It’s suitable for all skin types and isn’t terribly expensive.
Micellar Water- Bioderma Sensibio H2O. If you aren’t using this stuff, you need to. I am always amazed how much makeup/dirt I still have remaining on my face after cleansing that comes off when I use this micellar water. This has helped reduce my acne by getting my skin squeaky clean and I use it both morning and night. It also doesn’t dry out my skin and leaves it feeling nice and hydrated. I use a cotton pad to apply and a bottle lasts me about 4-5 months. You can purchase on Amazon.
Facial Essence- SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. Ugh, I really didn’t want to love this stuff because of the price, but I have long had my eye on this and recently was given a 1 oz. sample bottle and when it runs out, I plan to buy a full size bottle. Yes, its crazy expensive…but yes, it is awesome. I’ve never used a facial essence before and really didn’t know what the expect as far as what exactly it was supposed to do for my skin other than make it look like that of a sparkly angel ;) The main things I’ve noticed it that it has helped the tiny bumps (pimples I guess that never develop into full blemishes) go away, brighten my skin, improve my discoloration and dark spots and leaves my skin feeling so soft and smooth. I use it both morning and night. They tell you to use a cotton pad but I found I was wasting product/having to use more so now I just shake it right into my hands and apply it that way by pressing it into my skin like when I put on a serum.
Serum- First Aid Beauty FAB Skin Lab Resurfacing Liquid 10% AHA. This is a new product I’ve introduced in the last month and I am still deciphering if I love this product enough to repurchase. The sales associate at Sephora convinced me to try it when I came in looking for a night serum similar to Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair that I’ve used for a while (and still really like) but was open to new suggestions….because I’m a product junkie and like to try new things. The First Aid Beauty serum is half the price and so far seems to perform ok. Some nights it slightly tingles upon application and feels somewhat tacky on my hands/face. I use this on the nights that I don’t use the next product…
Exfoliator- Sunday Riley Good Genes Lactic Acid. This is a really powerful product…so much so that my dry skin can’t handle it more than twice a week. When I first purchased, I was using it almost every night and my skin just couldn’t tolerate the potency of the lactic acid at that level of frequency. I rotate this in when I’m not using my First Aid Beauty serum and I will say, my skin has a truly noticeable glow immediately upon application. It helps with dullness and uneven texture, dark spots and fine lines and wrinkles. This is definitely a good all in one product if you want something that can tackle multiple problematic issues without having to apply several products. I plan to repurchase this when I run out.
Mizon Snail Cream-Yes, snail cream. it literally has the slime that snails leave in their tracks in it. Clearly I am willing to do crazy things for the sake of good skin! I started using this per the recommendation of Kathleen Jennings (a lot of the items in my routine are recommendations of hers) and I really like it. The benefit of snail mucin is that it gives your skin great hydration and helps improve dark spots and speeds up the healing of acne scars. It’s very affordable and I like how it makes my skin feel plump and healthy. I use it both morning and night and while it’s a cream, I still apply a moisturizer on top since this is more of a “gel’ consistency and my skin needs more moisture. If you are oily, this could definitely suffice as your moisturizer.
Moisturizer-Drunk Elephant LaLa Retro Whipped Moisturizer or Obagi Moisturizer. I am in between moisturizers right now so I will share both. I’ve been using the Drunk Elephant whipped cream for over a year now and really love it…but want to try something else since I just finished the tub to test the waters on what else is out there. I have ordered the Obagi moisturizer because I’ve been so pleased with their vitamin C serum (more on that below) so I will be happy to update this section once I have used it for several weeks and can give an honest opinion.
Other things I do but not on a daily basis
At Home Dermaplaning- Tinkle Razors. Yep…I shave my face. I was so nervous to do this for fear the hair would grow back thicker/darker but I can assure you after doing this for over a year now…it won’t. The first time I did it, I could not believe the amount of peach fuzz that came off my face and then how much of a glow I had. It also helps your makeup go on so smoothly and look nicer, too. Dermaplaning helps deeply exfoliate your skin (so it’t not just removing hair…but skin cells are well) and it also allows your products to seep in deeper if you apply them within 15-20 minutes after shaving. I do this about one a week and use the Tinkle razors I get on amazon for super cheap. I only use a razor once but I know others who suggest using it 2-3 times before throwing it away. Here is a good video on how to do dermaplaning at home.
Sheet Mask- Trader Joes or My Beauty Diary. I confess, I don’t LOVE masking, but do it more so because I know its good for me. Its’s kind of like flossing my teeth…except I slack on that more than I should! Because of this, I don’t have high expectations so just a cheap TJ’s mask is good enough for me. The My Beauty Diary masks were recommended (yet again) by Kathleen Jennings (can you tell I take anything she says as gospel truth?!) and I think they are pretty great.
Overnight Mask- Beautycounter Cleansing Balm. I love how hydrating this balm is and will use it as an overnight mask on the days my skin is feeling extra dehydrated and tired looking. I wake up with a nice glow and plump feeling skin the next morning.
Most mornings I just splash water on my face but occasionally I will cleanse with my TULA face wash. After that, I use the following items in this order:
Micellar Water- Bioderma Sensibio H2O. Just like at night, I use a cotton pad to wipe down my face. I am always surprised that I am still able to get dirt/product off my face after just sleeping. I really can’t imagine not using this and will purchase this over and over again.
Facial Essence- SK-II Facial Treatment Essence.. Nothing else to say about how much I love this stuff. So much that I use it again in the morning.
Vitamin C Serum- Obagi Professional C Serum-20% When I visited my dermatologist a year and half ago seeking to improve my post partum skin issues (mainly hyper-pigmentation/melasma), she told me I needed to try Obagi’s Vitamin C line. The price of the products scared me away from buying them at that time but after dermstore.com had them on sale after the new year, I finally bought a bottle of the serum. The box says it takes 6-8 weeks before you can begin noticing any changes in your skin but I honestly began noticing major improvements in my dark spots within just a few weeks. I also feel like it has helped my acne that I am prone to get around my chin/jaw line due to hormones and even when I do get a blemish, it heals quicker than I’ve ever experienced. I went with the 20% but if you have sensitive skin, they suggest using a lower percentage such as the 10% or 15%.
Mizon Snail Cream. Yep, more snail goo. I love it.
Sunscreen- Elta MD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46. I’ve been using a great drugstore brand (CeraVe) sunscreen for a few years now but kept hearing about this product. I made the switch about a month ago and my favorite thing about it is the consistency. It doesn’t smell super sunscreen-y and it applies really nicely. It love that I can easily rub it into my skin without any residue, which was my biggest pet peeve about the last facial sunscreen I used it that it was so thick and left a white film if I didn’t rub it in well enough. This sunscreen not only protects against UVA rays but also UVB and it hydrates nicely. It also has lactic acid in it to help keep your pores clean so its performing at a higher level than just protecting your skin from the sun. You can find it on amazon or other skincare websites.
After I apply my makeup, I spray 3-4 pumps of a rose facial spray to set my makeup and give me a little extra glow. I currently use the Trader Joe’s brand and prefer it to the more widely loved Mario Badescu version.
So thats it! I hope you found this helpful and hopefully can find at least a product or two to add into your own regimen to help address whatever your problematic areas are. As always, let me know if you have any questions. I am more than happy to help anyway I can.
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