Moisturizer is the skincare product I struggle with the most due to my oily, sensitive and at times, very acne prone skin. I know I need it but so many times in the past, moisturizers either break me out, make me extra greasy or don't do anything. I think I have finally found THE ONE here: Avene Hydrance Optimale Riche Hydrating Cream (1.35oz/$32). I would have totally turned my nose up the air and walked right by it because it states right on the tube "for dry to very dry sensitive skin." That isn't even in my skin ballpark other than the sensitive bit. Fortunately, I received this as a sample and decided to give it a go, willing to risk another breakout. This cream is GREAT! It is so light, has no scent and absorbs seamlessly into the skin without making my face look like an oil slick. I use it twice a day–before makeup in the morning and after cleansing/acid toning at night. It is so gentle, has not broken me out and gives my skin just the right amount of moisture to balance it out. Ingredients include rich shea butter (doesn't break me out-promise!), Avene Thermal Spring Water, lipomucine and meiboserine which all work synergistically to lock in optimum hydration and prevent dehydration. I find the label is so misleading because I think this cream is fine for ALL skin types, not dry or very dry. Whatever–I don't care. I found my moisturizer staple and can cross it off my list. Happiness at last! For info/purchase, head to birchbox.com.
Hugely into acid toners and I find them to be a necessary step in a skincare regimen if you are serious about taking care of your skin. Exfoliation removes dead surface skin cells which in turn helps unclog pores, diminishes the appearance of wrinkles and improves the overall tone of the skin. Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid (4oz/$29) is for all skin types, in particular those who deal with enlarged pores, blackheads, redness and wrinkles (isn't that kinda all of us in some way or another?) This product "dramatically improves skin's texture for radiant, even toned skin" and is clinically proven to "hydrate, brighten and smooth fine lines." It has no scent and has a water-like consistency. It may be used twice a day after cleansing (no rinsing!) is non-irritating, fragrance free and gentle. I have had good success with this and have definitely noticed an improvement in my skin. It does not sting or cause any redness or dryness with its use. My skin does look fresher, clearer, and more even in appearance. It definitely fades old pimple marks much faster than anything else I have used. The only issue I have with it is if I use it every day, I tend to get smaller breakouts over time. If I use it every other day (or every few days) or when I have an existing breakout, it is all good in the hood. I can't figure it out! It may be just my sensitive skin reminding me not to get too comfortable and keeping me humble. I plan to keep using this wonderful product and am really pleased with the results. Don't forget to take it down your neck and chest area too! For info/purchase, head to paulaschoice.com.
My skin went CRAZY during the transition from summer to fall–I had multiple breakouts particularly around my jaw and sides of my face. I could not get a handle on it and I was starting to get really bummed out. I finally figured out an oil cleanser I had used for months and months without issue was the culprit. Crazy, right? What changed?? Why does skin have to be so mercurial?? Out of sheer desperation, I snatched up Acure Facial Cleansing Gel (4oz/$9.99) because it's for oily-combo skin and the word "gel" sounded like a good friggin' idea after the struggle I had with oil cleansers. I am sooo glad I did! Almost overnight, my skin cleared up without being stripped or feeling like my face would crack after I washed it. I haven't used a foaming cleanser since adopting Caroline Hirons skincare routine BUT this cleanser does not have any SLS and doesn't disrupt the natural acid mantle of the skin. It just takes to my skin like it was custom made for it. I haven't had one major breakout since I started using it. Ingredients include chlorella and tons of superfruit extracts like acai, blackberry, rosehips, pomegranate and lemon. It's also vegan, paraben free and contains mostly organic ingredients. It is a thicker suspension and has a pleasant, fruity-type scent that does not overpower the senses. I love it–period. I typically use it as my second cleanse and a little goes a long way. Less is more here even though I have a very heavy hand with products. Anyhoo, I highly recommend this line and if you are particularly oily and struggling with breakouts, this cleanser might be THE ONE. Head to Target, Whole Foods, or acureorganics.com for purchase/info.
I try to purchase organic, clean beauty products whenever possible, however, I'm not super precious about it either. If something works and causes me no harm (that I know of!), I will likely use it. My skin is super finicky so I can't exclusively pick one area of skincare over another. rms beauty ultimate makeup remover wipes (20 pack/$16) contain only raw coconut oil that is certified organic. That's it. One ingredient. Crazy good. They are described as "use anywhere wipes that melt away makeup, cleanse, soften and moisturize skin." They are safe for the eyes, can soothe rashes, sunburn, fine for blemish prone skin (ahem–me), gentle enough for babies (aww) and are 100% eco friendly. Plus, look how travel friendly they are! Granted, you could just take a scoop of coconut oil right outta the jar and save yourself 20 bones but where is the fun in that?
I do like coconut oil and have used it on my hands and lips but I am leery of using it on my face. Therefore, I trialed these just with my eye makeup removal. They are not super saturated, smell faintly of coconut and work ok for taking off my makeup.The wipes aren't very big and have a scratchy texture to them. They are also on the dry side so I felt like I was rubbing harder than I like to on my eye area. They didn't remove most of my eye makeup either. I won't repurchase these again just because of the price and lack of effectiveness. However, I do love the one ingredient premise and I love this line for its purity and philosophy on beauty products. There are better selections to choose from in the rms line and they are well worth checking out at rmsbeauty.com.
I'm always up for a good sheet mask. They are tres trendy and everywhere right now from high end stores to mass retailers. They are soothing, easy to use, come in a range of prices and skin care concerns and kinda-sorta make you slow down for 20 minutes. Plus, Korean beauty products are pretty stellar for skincare in general. Manefit Cucumber Soothing + Moisturizing Mask (5 masks/$10) isn't a perfect match for my oily, acne prone, sensitive skin but every face needs proper hydration and soothing now and then, right? It also has antioxidants to even skin tone and reduce puffiness so there's that. It is made with microfiber and has no detectable scent. It has a bunch of fruit extracts like lemon, lime, grape, grapefruit and orange which is all sorts of fun. I left it on for 20 minutes as directed after washing my face and it stayed on really well. In fact, it completely dried out after 20 minutes of wear so that is very accurate. It did not break out my skin and my skin looked nicely hydrated. I wouldn't say this was a gamechanger or had much of wow factor but if you want an easy mask to chill out with, this is an extremely affordable pick. Head to birchbox.com for info/purchase.
I have been a big fan of Tatcha products for years and when I heard about Tatcha Pore Perfecting Water Gel Moisturizer (1.7oz/$68) I was immediately interested especially since it's "ideal for oily skin." Oily skin and moisturizers can be dicey business so striking the right balance is crucial. When you find the right product, you feel like you won the lottery. This moisturizer is described as follows:
"This illuminated water gel moisturizer offers ultralight, oil-balancing hydration. Features Japanese Wild Rose, Leopard Lily and Dokudami extracts to balance and clarify skin, while visibly tightening pores in 28 days. A dust of 23k gold imparts an exquisite, shine-free glow." How beautiful is that? Japanese Wild Rose is used in traditional Eastern medicine to bring back harmony to the body, improve circulation and calm the spirit. Tatcha scientists discovered "the fruits of this delicate blossom can even refine the appearance of pores and restore balance to skin, making it especially suited for oily skin care." Other ingredients include illuminating 23 karat gold, anti-aging HADASEI-3 Bioactive Complex of Rice Bran, Okinawa Red Algae and Green Tea.
As with all Tatcha products, the moisturizer is free of "parabens, mineral oil, synthetic colors, synthetic fragrances, sulfate detergents, urea, DEA, TEA or phthalates." It's also non-comedogenic, non-irritating, non-sensitizing and dermatologist tested. It can be applied to the face, neck and chest, under makeup or standalone.
The packaging is glorious as per usual with Tatcha products. It comes in a weighted, light blue-green pump that would look so pretty on display. The moisturizer is a very light yellow, pearlized color and has a thin, watery consistency. It has an extremely light, rose fragrance.
Verdict: The moisturizer feels slightly cool to the touch and absorbs pretty quickly. It does dry down to a tacky consistency on the face. I noticed with my seriously oily skin that it didn't really mattify or minimize the appearance of my pores. And again, it has more of a tacky consistency whereas I was expecting more of a water-like absorption into my skin. That being said, it's gentle, hydrating and non-irritating. I am still testing this out as I have noticed a couple of pop-up zits (hate that) and I'm not sure where they sprung from at this point. Overall, Tatcha remains a favorite line of mine and I will continue on with the moisturizer either on my neck/chest area or full face. Who can resist Japanese Wild Rose and 23 karat gold? Not. Me. For further info/purchase, head to tatcha.com or Sephora.