The enigma of a beauty/makeup lover: having sensitive, reactive, dehydrated, combination, acne-prone, temperamental skin. It’s the WORST! I am taunted daily by individuals who can slap on drugstore foundations or switch their skincare routines and experience “amazing” results. If I were to do that, and when I *do* do that, I get to experience something a little less than amazing. I pretty much revert back to my 13-year-old self (pre-foundation days). Not cute.
But I know my baseline now. I have curated a group of products that will get the job done and calm my face down in a two to five day period if and when I decide to stray. A plus? It’s mostly drugstore items! Keep reading to find out what my everyday sensitive skincare routine is…
Three Simple Steps
Step One // Splash face with warm water. Use a quarter-sized amount of CeraVe Foaming Face Wash for normal/oily skin. I am not a fan of the lotion-y weird version for normal/dry skin. Cetaphil makes a similar consistency. I just don’t think it does anything that a plain washcloth can’t do. Anyway, work up into a lather and gently apply to face in light circular motions for a full minute. I actually count. Maybe I have OCD. It’s ok.
Step Two // Rinse and pat dry with a clean towel. I’ll rotate out my face towels every three to five days to ensure my skin is keeping as many bacteria away as possible. Plus, there are few things better than a soft, fluffy towel to the face when you’re still sleepy.
Look at that fluffiness? I want to just take a nap already and I’ve been awake for 65 seconds.
Step Three // My holy grail daytime face moisturizer that is completely underrated and I would just die if it ever disappeared – Elta MD SPF 40. I’ve been using this face moisturizer for almost five years religiously. I get mine from Dermstore.com and always get 10% off since I’ve added this product to my account’s “favorites.” Try it; there’s a ton of skincare and makeup products you can get 10% off if you add to your favorites, as well! Be sure you’re applying a nickel-sized amount to your face and neck err’day. No one wants skin cancer on the face.
Step One // Remove all makeup. This is not the same as cleansing my face. Cleansing happens after I remove my makeup. I’ll take one cotton round and soak it in L’Oreal Clean Artiste (the best eye makeup remover… high end or drugstore), hold it over my eyelid for a minimum of ten seconds on each eye, and gently swipe downwards to mainly remove my waterproof mascara. Once complete, I’ll move to my face and use an oil-based makeup remover. I’ve been using oil-based makeup removers for a solid four+ years. They’re the easiest thing ever to get the job done fast. Before I started using waterproof mascara, I could even remove my whole face makeup completely with this stuff. I take two pumps of Boscia’s Makeup Breakup and massage it into my skin until I look like a hot greaseball mess. Usually about thirty seconds. I also enjoy MAC’s Cleanse Off Oil, but Boscia’s has a better texture and does a better job, in my opinion.
Step Two // Once the water is warm/hot, I’ll rinse everything clean. For those of you who have never used cleansing oils, they rinse completely clean and take your dirty face with it. Once I’ve rinsed off the cleansing oil, I’ll take another quarter-sized amount of CeraVe Foaming Face Wash and massage my skin for the full 60 seconds (I’m telling you, this makes the difference). If it happens to be Wednesday, I’ll use my Clarisonic Mia, but I only use this once a week. I found using it more than that was irritating my skin and my esthetician agreed. I love the Clarisonic, but I love it even more that I only need to replace the brush head every six months instead of three (since I’m using it less frequently). #Winning.
Step Three // Sort of tone. I use a cotton round soaked in Koh Gen Do’s Cleansing Spa Water after patting my face dry to just make sure I’ve gotten the last bits of makeup off my face. I’ll even run this over my eyes to get rid of any last traces of eyeliner. I’ve also used Bioderma and just plain old Witch Hazel in the past. All work very similarly for me.
Step Four // Moisturize with a quarter-sized amount of CeraVe’s Moisturizing Lotion and be sure to bring down product onto the neck. I also use an eye cream. I’m all about prevention and I’ve been using some form of eye cream for almost five years. Currently, I’m using Shiseido Benefiance and I’m enjoying it. It’s pretty heavy, FYI, but I love how it just hydrates the heck out of my eye area and especially during allergy season. I do tend to like heavier eye creams since I only use them at night, and I haven’t used any budget-friendly versions that have met my expectations.
Step Five/Optional // Apply any treatments. Three times a week, I use Retin-A on my skin, which is by prescription only. Retin-A works to prevent wrinkles and acne, but I did experience a huge adjustment period (e.g.: flaking, minor breakouts) before I saw results. Results DO come, though, and it’s great for collagen production and keeping acne and wrinkles at bay.
So those are the products that pretty much keep things under control for me. Very simple and basic, but when I decide to go crazy at Sephora or Ulta and try new things, this is generally what takes me back to normal. Below are some alternatives/honorable mentions of products I’ve tried in the past that have been cooperative with my face. I hope this helps and if you also are a sensitive sistah, leave a comment and let me know what products are your favorites in your routine!
–Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Oil-Free
–SkinCeuticals Renew Overnight Combination/Oily