Confession time…my very first article published to HerCampus was about skin care. In it, I defined different steps of a common skin care routine and gave my own recommendations for products such as Origins, Kiehls, Cetaphil, and Estee Lauder. All that sounds great except, I did not realize how clueless I was about skincare. I had no idea the sensitivity fragrant components could cause, how to properly read ingredients, or even what brands to consider. I had influence from outside sources such as my parents and friends. I thought that if they liked the products, I should like them – but their skin was not the same as mine. Don’t get me wrong, some of the brands present in that post I still love (looking at you Cetaphil), but this summer I educated myself deeper in the complexities (and myths) of skincare and ultimately created my own routine that has been working wonders. Through this process, I have found my favorite brands, learned how to better shop sustainably, and overall feel confident in my skin – no matter how much acne, scars, or discoloration is present.
Skincare is constantly changing and I am constantly learning. At this point, next year, I may have another skincare routine which is completely normal. Learning what’s best for you and what yields the most results is all a part of the process.
A small disclaimer: keep in mind that my skin is normal-dry. The true dryness comes out during the winter periods. I have frequent problems with redness, irritation, and sensitivity – especially to harsh fragrances. Understand that my skin may not be similar to yours and therefore products will work differently. However, if my skin sounds like yours, feel free to take these recommendations. Happy skincare hunting!
It’s true, I have officially made the switch from Cetaphil to Cerave. Both products are the drugstore skincare king and queen. They are reasonably priced and recommended by many people. I decided to try Cerave after hearing about their hydrating facial cleanser. My dry skin needed as much moisture as possible, without leaving a grease sheen. I am happy to say that I will not be returning to Cetaphil. While Cetaphil may work for those with more oily skin, Cerave’s hydrating facial cleanser has proven to be the simple cleanser I’ve been begging for. It effectively cleanses my skin without unnecessary stripping and leaves my face feeling fresh. It is also fragrance free and accepted by the National Eczema Association.
Everyone needs an exfoliator. How else will we rejuvenate our face from dead skin cells? Unfortunately, my sensitive skin can’t take strong exfoliators. I used to use physical exfoliants – which can be incredibly harmful if you use them look rough or too often. The type of exfoliant also must be called into question – walnut scrubs are some of the worst causing micro-tears on the skin’s surface (looking at you Kylie Skin). Luckily, I discovered Krave Beauty after watching various YouTube skincare enthusiasts and dermatologists recommend it on their channels. Their founder is a YouTuber herself named Lia Yoo. It is a perfect brand for those with sensitive skin. In addition, unlike other brands who encourage you to buy every single product they offer, Krave separates their skincare into “core series” and “supplement series.” The supplement series are not marketed as necessary for everyone. This exfoliator is part of their supplemental series but I have been loving what it’s been doing to my skin. 5.25% glycolic acid is enough to clear my skin without causing irritation. I use it twice a week to maximize results.
Another popular Krave product! This serum is revolutionary for the fact that it tackles the issue of skin barrier damage due to separate harmful products and environmental triggers. Before I re-imagined my skincare routine, I used a lot of products daily. Some were probably not the best and could have done more damage than good. However, this serum helps by repairing the skin’s natural barrier (or as Lia Yoo puts it, the skin’s “invisible shield”) as well as subsequent acne, discoloration, and irritation. Don’t be afraid to go for simple skincare!
The Origins Clear Improvement Charcoal mask is one of the only products I still use from Origins. This is not an everyday item, I will use it weekly or every other week depending on how clogged my pores feel. From my experience, it does well for people with oily skin, but when used sparingly, those with combination/dry skin can also receive its benefits. Charcoal masks are great for flushing out impurities, toxins, dirt, oil, or sweat from your face and pores, leaving you with a better complexion.
I’m not gonna lie, when I first opened this moisturizer, I thought it was a sunscreen. It had such a thick consistency, I thought I must have ordered the wrong thing. I was so used to the lightness and sweet-smelling nature of my other creamy moisturizers that I started the skincare relationship off on the wrong foot. After giving it a chance, it has become a staple in my skincare routine. I use it at least twice a day to quell dryness and excess patchiness. Ingredients such as colloidal oatmeal, shea butter, and allantoin calms and hydrates my skin while subsequently relieving redness, itching, and rashes. What more could I ask for in a moisturizer!
Wanna know a secret? Eye cream is glorified moisturizer. While the area under your eye is sensitive (and because of this, you should be gentle), eye cream is not a necessary step to everyone’s skin care routine. I found this out later than I should, after buying a new eye cream along with the ultra repair cream above. However, I never like to waste bottles, so I gave it a try. This eye cream includes niacinamide, which is a great ingredient in reducing dark circles under your eyes (another problem I struggled with). It also has pumpkin seed extract to depuff your under eyes for a smoother look and feel. I love this eye cream! Though this step may be optional, I absolutely noticed a big difference in my under-eye appearance after a few weeks of use.
Sunscreen is not something to take lightly. If sunscreen is not a part of your skincare routine, make it ASAP. Not wearing sunscreen can speed up the aging process as well as cause skin discoloration. Don’t mess with the sun. Drugstore sunscreens can work too (CeraVe has some good ones). However, this water-based sunscreen has a soft finish with little cast. It absorbs into the skin quickly and can be used on all skin types, oily to dry to extremely sensitive.