I basically called my mom for help. Except when I say mom, I mean an esthetician.
There's no denying Hannah's on-point, glorious skin. In the flesh, it is as luminous as in her photos. But since her skin type falls on the dryer side, I thought I'd also do a roundup for us combo/oilier ladies. This is not a regimen, per se, but a list of my favourite products and what I do to keep my skin in check when it doesn't want to behave.
I have alright skin, which I attribute half to genetics and half to my mom's insistence that I take good care of it. My skin has not always been well-behaved. Teenage acne was definitely a problem, albeit not too dramatic. In college, however, my skin went through a pretty intense phase of acne. I lived for caked-on, heavy handed MAC Studio Fix and hiding my forehead with a variety of hats.
Today, I would say I am on the oilier side of combination skin, but am getting slightly less oil-slicky with age. My T-zone, especially my nose, is prone to large pores, and greasiness, while my cheeks are fairly dry, though not parched. What is weird about my skin is that while my nose is oily, it also gets flaky at times too.
I have some hyperpigmentation, and a small birthmark on the side of my cheek that has gotten darker throughout the years. I have a love-hate relationship with it. On the one hand, I hate it, but on the other hand, it's in the shape of a skull.
Admittedly, this wasn't a good skin day. I have been stressing out about my temporary move back to Toronto. Basically, I've been not eating, drinking or sleeping properly, and have a million and one different things to do before I leave, coupled with a bad case of procrastination and Grand Theft Auto V.
Here is a photo without any foundation, taken in the summer when I had a slight tan. I don't typically wear foundation, and usually opt for only under-eye concealer, unless I'm feeling fancy. You can see some of the pores on my nose and my cheeks--I'm not saying they're gigantic, but they're there and I'm showing you so you can get a better idea of my skin in case it's similar to yours. Lucky for you, that's as close a zoom as you're going to get!
Lush Gorgeous is one of my favourites, although it does cost a pretty penny. It seems to keep all my problem areas in check; oily parts don't get as oily and drier parts get just enough moisture. It also absorbs right into the skin, without leaving any greasy film, which I'm into.
My other true loves are Boots No. 7 Protect and Perfect day and night creams. The day cream has five-star UVA protection, and UVA is what penetrates deep into your dermis causing premature aging and potentially increasing your risk of skin cancer; UVA makes up 95% of UV rays. UVB protection is not enough people!
After two weeks, I always notice a slight difference in my skin, whether it's a bit more radiant, plump or just generally less tired-looking.
The only problem with these moisturizers is that they are come in jars, which I hate. I don't like dipping my fingers into stuff and feel like every product slowly loses its magical anti-aging goodness every time it's opened and exposed to the cruel, cruel air. There must be some scientific proof to back this up, right? No 7, you gotta get with the squeeze tube and consider me sold for life.
I am religious about sunscreen. I'm prone to freckles and dark spots, so on top of moisturizer, I also like using a high SPF like Lancome BIENFAIT UV SPF 50+ Super Fluid Facial Sunscreen.
I'm pretty picky about sunscreens, and this stuff doesn't leave that weird white cast that some other higher SPFs tend to do.
Queen Helene Mint Julep Mask is great for sucking up oil. I like to pretend that as it turns dark green it's vacuuming up all the bad stuff from my face.
Lush Fresh Face Masks also top my list. If my skin is acting up, I'll instantly reach for a mask, depending on how my skin is behaving. Acne flare up? Try Cupcake. When my skin was more susceptible to acne, this would be my favourite miracle worker. It seemed to help bring down the red, angry mess.
Right now, my favourites are Catastrophe Cosmetic, a soothing blueberry mask that really does leave a noticeable difference once washed off. My skin seems to love calamine, so this mask is no exception. Love Lettuce, which smells divine (if you're into lavender) and has little beads for exfoliation, so if you find yourself flaky or dull, this one is great.
When I'm feeling super indulgent, I also like to use different masks for different parts of my face.
If you are based in Europe or some parts of Asia, Fresh Line also does fresh face masks, and one of my favourites is the Rose Hydrating Mask. I know it's meant for dryer skin, but when my skin has no acne, I will reach for this one to give it an extra glow. It smells beautiful and leaves my skin really supple.
They also have a Potato Eye Mask, and I'm not sure it does much for dark circles, but it's really cooling and quite firming, while being moisturizing too, and I like the idea of an eye mask, so there's that.
Along with Protect and Perfect serum, I am a fan of Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate (the lovely Faz likes it, too). One vial lasts ages, and I do wake up to better skin when I use this. It doesn't do much for pigmentation, but I feel adequately moisturized with better prep for morning makeup after using this in the evenings.
This is where I'm not so brand-loyal--I will try anything and everything once.
Seacret Dead Sea Mud Soap gets my face feeling squeaky clean, but dry skin be wary, this stuff can be very drying. I am a huge fan of Lush's Aqua Marina cleanser, but it doesn't get rid of makeup on its own. It includes calamine again, so that agrees with my skin. It doesn't dry it out, nor does it make it more oily, so it's a winner in my book. I think it also says something about mermaids on the container, and who doesn't want skin like a mermaid?
I love Bioderma Sensibio H2O, as does every beauty blogger in the world, it seems. This stuff is hands-down the winner for makeup removal. It feels like water and doesn't irritate your eyes in any way.
I usually use just plain old rosewater, which is gentle on the skin.
I also love Eskinol, a Filipino toner/cleanser of sorts. This stuff is dirt cheap, and if my skin feels particularly dirty/oily/makeup overloaded, it is a godsend. I don't use this every day, but when I feel like a deep clean, it really does the trick.
Dry ladies beware, this stuff is laden with alcohol, but I honestly feel like it gives my skin a deep clean, getting rid of any dirt and debris on my face. After a billion makeup tutorials, it feels good to just get everything off. Highly recommend it if you're oily and acne prone.
Ugh, the bane of my existence are my punched-in-the-face-are-you-tired-are-you-a-zombie-are-you-dead eye bags. I've used jade rollers, eye patches from Muji soaked in eye cream and oils (which is a nice treat for moisturizing, btw), and just about everything that promises to banish those under eye circles.
Unfortunately, not much has helped to alleviate the situation, but there is one cream I have used that has made a slight difference. Sadly, it also comes in a jar, and again, I feel like i am somehow releasing the goodness of every ingredient every time I expose it to air and my probably unclean fingers.
Anyway, the eye cream is StriVectin-EV Get Even Dark Circle Corrector. And it works. But it's not a miracle. Help me find a miracle, you guys.
Whew. Apologies if this was unbearably long, but those are my go-tos in terms of skin care. My skin is far from perfect, but I do get complimented on it a lot, so maybe there's something there. Pushing 30, I still get carded for super-glue (never stop, please), so I must be doing something right.
What are some of your favourite skin care products? Do share; I'm always on the look out for my next Holy Grail.