The Fall Skincare Routine that Saved Me

I spend an arguably concerning amount of time fussing over skin care. Reading and watching product reviews, researching active ingredients, trying sample, ... you name it. I’d make one hell of a beauty guru if this “university” thing doesn’t pan out. My skin used to be oily with lots of blackheads that gave me really dull, uneven skin texture in my T-Zone. People’s skin can change for any number of reasons – diet, medication, climate, hormones, etc. Recently, mine has become drier and has grown more sensitive than I’m used to yet. Plus, I still have issues with its texture and my blackheads. Great. So, seeing as I don’t really fit perfectly into any “skin type”, I was much more focused on finding products with impactful and nourishing ingredients instead of following a certain fad.

 

Although I’m writing this with a very humbling hormonal break-out on my chin, since switching to these products in September, I have had more “good skin days” than I thought possible. That being said, you can only fix so much from the outside. Our skin is not immune to our bad habits. This is your reminder to cut back on processed sugar and a reminder to increase the amount of water you drink on a daily basis. It probably won’t solve all your problems, but it’s shocking how much a small change in your habits can help and have an impact!

 

  • Cleanser

I use the JuJu Bar by Drunk Elephant once in the morning and once at night. I’ve been using this face wash for over a year now. It's a bit pricey, but because it’s a solid bar, I find that one will last me 5 – 6 months! So, even with the price, it's totally worth it. It's formulated without a lot of harsh products (like alcohols and silicones) that are usually in skin care products. These harsher products can lead to issues like dry patches and irritation. The bar also has bamboo powder in it, an exfoliant that is gentle enough to use on a daily basis and miles better for the environment than those nasty plastic microbeads that are often used in drugstore scrubs!

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  • Moisturizers

Neutrogena Hydro Boost is an amazing drugstore moisturizer that I’ve actually been using for about a year. It’s a water-based gel, so you can apply a generous layer to your face and it doesn’t feel greasy! I started using this moisturizer when my skin was considerably oily. It didn’t feel heavy or cause breakouts, meaning I was totally sold on this product. Hydro Boost also has hyaluronic acid in it –which isn’t as scary as it sounds. Hyaluronic acid essentially helps your skin cells draw in and regulate moisture. This helps your skin stay adequately hydrated for a longer period of time than it could on its own. This higher and more constant level of moisture in the skin makes it feel soft and look super smooth! It’s a super interesting ingredient and this article is a great place to start learning about it. 

 

  • Oils and Other Extras

Adding “extra stuff” to my skin routine has definitely been the biggest game changer. I use two products from The Ordinary, which is a super affordable and cruelty-free brand. Their website is extremely informative and they most likely have a product that helps address whatever your skin issue might be. At night, I use “B” Oil all over my face. I was hesitant to use an oil on my skin as my face alone is sometimes oily. Adding this extra oil enhances the risk of clogged pores. I risked it anyway and found that “B” Oil felt much lighter than I expected and I have not had any issues with breakouts or clogged pores since. Score! It has an ingredient in it called squalane. It’s an oil that humans (as well as plants and other animals) naturally produce (while differing a bit in type). When squalene is included in skincare products, it's a super effective moisturizer, but it’s is also a natural antioxidant while having antibacterial properties. All in all, this means it can help reduce areas of dryness and irritation on your skin. This oil has helped address a lot of annoying patches and irregularities in my skin, you can read a bit more about it here. 

I also use a 2% Salicylic Acid solution from the same brand. I limit applying this to my nose and chin – where my blackheads and pores are the most problematic. In short, salicylic acid is a mild acid that helps break down and dissolve the outermost dead layer of skin cells (your epidermis) and excess sebum (oil) that are often the cause of blackheads and clogged pores. This article from Allure gives an in-depth explanation of how salicylic acid works on the skin.

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  • Masks

The two masks I always keep around that work great for my type of skin are both huge splurges. It really pains me when I have to order a new jar. First Aid Beauty’s 5 in 1 Bouncy Mask could very well be the love of my life. It smells delicious and a little goes a long way! Even a very thin layer over the whole face is enough to see “before and after” difference and the jar will last you quite a long time. This mask has Vitamin C and various fruit extracts in it that are all super rich in antioxidants. These ingredients will help with hyperpigmentation (dark spots) and reducing the inflammation in the skin, which results in smooth, bright and glowing skin. I have not used another mask that even comes close to executing and hitting so many aspects needed in skin care as well as this one.

Glam Glow’s SUPERMUD is a ride or die favourite for me. I only use this mask as a spot treatment, so buying the mini size is a bit easier on the wallet while still lasting quite a long time. I will put this on breakouts or small areas if my pores are clogged or enlarged. The mask has charcoal in it along with several acids (including our friend salicylic acid!) that help exfoliate the skin in slightly different ways to get rid of dead skin cells, reduce sebum production, and clear out clogged pore. The list of things it can accomplish really does go on. Using hydroxy acids as part of your skin care routine could potentially give you amazing results.

 

            Your main take-away from all of this should be that Google is your friend! Start with a concern or issue that you experience with your skin and research what ingredients are proven to work as well as what people have found helpful. Take a look at products you currently use and see if they’re what you actually need. The extra “good skin days” are worth the work, I promise!