Skin care is a temperamental love of mine. While I would love to not have the skin of a perpetual teenager, it just isn't in the cards. So I'm always looking for products that work for my skin - cystic acne/dry patches/oiliness...the combination skin trifecta. I found Lush Cosmetics not long after I finished taking Accutane when I was 18 & visiting California, and I fell in love. Unfortunately there were no Lush stores near me in North Carolina & it was a bit (okay, a lot) out of my budget anyways. So I struggled along with drugstore brands until I was 21 & began working at the Lush in Raleigh. After much experimentation, I've found a skin care regime that works for me, and have gained so much knowledge on ingredients & skin alike.
First: natural is generally best.
Lots of products contain really harsh ingredients + tons of things most people cannot pronounce. For example, drying ingredients like alcohol and chemical exfoliants like salicylic acid irritate skin & cause it to over compensate with extra oil production - not what we want! Knowing what's in your products & what those things do is really helpful.
Second: skin needs change with the season & no one's skin is the same
While I have a couple constant products, if I notice my skin is acting up/is drier or oilier than usual, I change something - usually my cleanser, sometimes my moisturizer, & sometimes how often I wash my face. Don't get stuck in a rut of things that aren't working for you, even if they seem to work perfectly for other people!
This is my current summertime routine:
1. Coconut Oil
I only wash my face at night, so I have to remove my makeup first. For a long time I used an awesome product by Lush called Ultrabland, but I ran out a while ago & have found that coconut oil works just as well, if not better. (I buy mine at Trader Joes & use it in my smoothies as well!) A tiny fingertip scoop melts into skin and dissolves makeup, even mascara, without burning skin or eyes like many makeup removers can. Coconut oil is naturally anti-inflammatory & boosts skin cell reproduction, which makes it great for blemish prone skin, and, of course, it's moisturizing. After massaging it in for a minute or so, I use a washcloth & warm water to remove.
In the summer months when my skin is oilier, I use a Lush fresh cleanser called Herbalism. It has a kaolin clay base, which draws out impurities, and ground almonds & rice bran to gently exfoliate. Rosemary, sage, chamomile, nettle extract & rice bran vinegar all work together as natural antiseptics & soothers. The fresh cleansers can take a little getting use to - they're cut off a roll to order, & you pinch off a pea-sized amount, work into a "lather" for lack of a better word, massage into your skin & rinse. Herbalism leaves my skin feeling clean & fresh without dryness.
I don't usually use a toner at night, but in the morning, since I don't wash my face, I spritz a bit directly onto my skin & remove with a cotton ball before I moisturize. Slightly damp skin accepts moisturizers much better than dry, & locks it in all day! Breath of Fresh Air is another Lush product, full of soothing ingredients. Seaweed extract, aloe & rose all refresh and hydrate while seawater, patchouli & rosemary are antibacterial & help fight excess oil.
I'm sort of a moisturizer junky. I've tried every Lush moisturizer and tons of other brands as well, and these two are my favorites. Skin Drink is considered a heavier moisturizer, usually recommended for those with dry skin, but I've found it to be great for my combination skin as well. I use it at night; a finger-dab covers my whole face, and immediately my skin feels wonderful. It contains super hydrating sesame & avocado oils & cocoa butter, plus soothing aloe & rose, and evening primrose & neroli, great for skin texture and firmness.
Imperialis is helpful for most any skin type, with lots of balancing/soothing ingredients like olive oil, lavender, rose, sweet violet & elderflower extracts. Lavender helps tell skin where to produce oil & where not to, and rose calms redness while working as a natural humectant, holding hydration in. Again, a finger-dab is all it takes. I usually use Imperialis in the mornings, when I want something a bit lighter.
Now. While that is my usual routine, I have to admit that there are nights I am ready to collapse into bed & barely have the energy to brush my teeth. I am convinced makeup removing wipes were invented for these nights. I do not claim that they are at all good for your skin, but I will say they're better than falling asleep with your makeup on (not only does your face feel icky in the morning, but your body temperature rises while you sleep which allows your pores to open up & your makeup to sink right down into them). I've tried a few kinds, and Aveeno makes my favorites (these ones) & these Neutrogena ones don't leave my skin burning or feeling too tight (plus they were on sale..what can I say?)
What are your favorite products?
* I am not currently working at Lush Cosmetics & this post is in no way endorsed by the company - these are purely my opinions + the knowledge I attained while working there.