Okay, I admit it. I am a skincare nut. A total product junkie. It's my not-so-secret obsession. I've always said that if I don't make it as a writer, I would get into the beauty industry, and I still believe that to be true. From a young age, Sephora was my happy place, and though I deeply love mascara, defined brows, and a red lip, my heart flutters THE MOST when a new serum (as opposed to a cream shadow) hits the market. I mean, watch the fuck out.
Over the years I've amassed a host of skincare tips thanks to dermatologists, beauty magazines, estheticians, and simply my own trial and error. As a result, I feel that I can confidently guide you towards pretty much your best skin ever. Of course everyone's complexions are different, so instead of just focusing on the products recommended, pay more attention to what's in said products. These ingredients are found in a multitude of OTC beauty products, so find a way to integrate some of these power players into your daily skin diet by using a product suited to your skin type (oily, anti-aging, dry, sensitive, combination, the list goes on).
So I introduce to you, without further adieu, my dear friends.
1. Cleansers that don't eat your face. What do I mean by that? Don't bother with cleansers that strip your skin of all its natural oils. Stripping essentially diminishes your skin's acid mantle, which is what provides you with a nifty little barrier against acne-causing bacteria. The more the acid mantle is diminished, the more prone skin is to infection and oil imbalance. Your skin will secrete excess sebum to compensate, so essentially, your harsh ninja cleanser is actually helping you develop that hefty Tuesday Pimple. So cruel, right?
So choose cleansers that specialize in preserving your acid mantle, whilst still getting your face fresh as a daisy. Some tip-off ingredients that signify your cleanser could be stripping your skin: benzoyl peroxide, sulfates, salicylic acid, glycols, and isopropyl alcohols (just to name a few). Instead, opt for either a natural cleanser, or at the very least, one that steers clear of the aforementioned ingredients.
My skin is very reactive, so I use a cleanser by REN Skincare: Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk. It's free of parabens, sulphates, glycols, silicones, and all the things that would wreak havoc on my Sensitive Sally Face. So like, got milk?
2. Hyaluronic Acid. Alright, this stuff is definitely having a moment, but damn it is well-deserved, and it's all due to its super-human ability to retain moisture. HA is considered to have a greater capacity to hold moisture more than any other natural or synthetic polymer. In fact, one gram of hyaluronic acid is able to hold up to SIX liters of water. Say wha?
Hyaluronic acid can improve your skin’s moisture content and at the same time strengthen its barrier, and as we now know, a healthy barrier is key to battling acne, sun damage, rosacea, and a host of other issues, making HA ideal for all skin types. Also it's totally an anti-aging goddess, and who doesn't want younger-looking skin?
There are a myriad of ways to find HA in today's products, but I prefer my dose to be super concentrated in order to maximize my results. I use Peter Thomas Roth's Viz-1000 Hydrating Serum, which has 75% pure HA in it. 75 FREAKING PERCENT. It's a miracle. I cannot say enough about it. I use this serum 1-2x daily prior to applying my moisturizer, and my skin shouts an ecstatic THANK YOU every time.
3. Retinol. Fine, I know this word can be scary. We hear a lot of horror stories about how retinol can dry you out, flake you out, basically make your face look like raw meat, but I am here to tell you, that truly does not have to be the case. As long as you use retinol in its suggested (smaller) doses, you will reap its remarkable benefits. Retinol encourages cell turnover, convincing practically any and every skin cell to behave like a younger, healthier cell. What does that mean for you? Increased collagen production, less wrinkles, less acne, less redness, less sun-damage and scarring.
Again, since my skin is super sensitive, I use a retinol serum every other night prior to my night-time moisturizer. It's another Peter Thomas Roth serum, because that guy is basically the shit.
PTR's Retinol Fusion PM Night Serum provides me with a 1.5% concentrated dose of retinol plus nourishing Vitamin C + E, yielding maximum results with minimal irritation.
Disclaimer: You should always be using SPF during the day, but especially so if retinol's part of your skincare routine. No SPF could mean meat-face.
4. Moisturizer + SPF. I believe in keeping my moisturizer + SPF separate (i.e. not using a two-in-one), but that's because my skin demands extra on all fronts. Essentially, do I really have to oversell these two skincare components? Your skin is usually thirsty, so let it drink. You skin pretty much HATES THE SUN, so protect it.
5. Exfoliate. Now, this is where it gets personal, and I recommend consulting your dermatologist to see what's best for your skin type (slash you should be at the dermo at least once a year anyway for an annual mole check, because duh). If you're already using a retinol, that could be more than enough exfoliation for you (remember cell turnover). However, some people jones for an exfoliating cleanser once in awhile, and I don't blame them. It can feel real nice, almost spiritual, plus we love the instant gratification of knowing we are absolutely sloughing off dead skin cells right then and there, giving us Glowy-Von-Glowy Skin.
An exfoliating cleanser is not a part of my normal routine, but if I had to pick one, it is hands-down REN's Rosa Centifolia Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser. I'll use this in the morning, if let's say, I commit the #1 skin faux-pas and drunkenly sleep in my make-up.
So see if periodically using an exfoliating cleanser works for you. I guarantee it will at least work wonders should you indulge in too many tequila shots.
6. Water + Vitamins. Last but not least! H20! H20's the way to go! I mean COME ON, GUYS. We all know water is clutch, so drink the recommended 8-9 glasses a day for ladies (12-13 for men *apparently*). You will not be sorry.
Similarly, Vitamins when taken orally can boost your complexion as well, particularly Vitamins A, C + E. I take a food-based Women's Multi-Vitamin called Rainbow Light: Women's One that contains all of the aforementioned Vitamins + then some, plus a potent Vitamin B-Complex for extra energy and stress management.
This vitamin has worked natural wonders for me, but it has not yet been approved by the FDA (just so you know). However, I do feel that a pro-biotic Vitamin that contains things like kale, dandelion, spinach and beet can only assist me in my quest for general well-being + sexy skin.
So there you have it! My current tips for YOUR BEST SKIN EVER. Now, go. Get your tush to Sephora, and tell those babes I say hey. Oh! And here's a make-up-free-just-woke-up-like-this-selfie from yours truly to prove that incorporating these skincare ingredients into your routine will result in hard-earned bare skin confidence. Bare is beautiful, y'all!