My Current Routine

For the sake of documenting a moment in time, and perhaps to reflect in five years to ask myself “why on Earth did I use that?”, I wanted to list some of my current skincare favorites. I recently went on a short trip, which is always great for forcing yourself to decide on which products are truly must-haves (and also useful in those moments where you think to yourself, “why did I forget to pack that?!).

Now, of course, I don’t use all of these every single day, but everything listed is in heavy rotation. All of these products have been in my routines for a minimum of five months — some have been in my routine for over six years. I can say that all of these have maintained or improved my sensitive, acne-prone skin. Everyone’s reactions are different, but if I had to recommend products to someone with skin issues, these would all be included in that list.

AM Routine

  • COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser
  • Mario Badescu Rosewater Spray
  • Melano CC Gel (although I’m not 100% sold on this one yet…)
  • Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel
  • Rohto Skin Aqua Super Moisture Milk SPF50

PM Routine

  • COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser (I obviously love this)
  • Mario Badescu Rosewater Spray (same with this, I would spritz this every hour on the hour if I could)
  • Thayer’s Witch Hazel Toner

PM Exfoliant Options:

  • Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA
  • The Ordinary 5% Lactic Acid
  • Epiduo
  • Derma-E Anti Wrinkle Eye Cream

PM Moisturizer Options

  • Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel
  • Cerave PM

PM Heavy Moisturizers — “Last Step”:

  • Bio-Oil
  • CosRX Honey Ceramide Cream
  • HadaLabo Gokujun Hyaluronic Solution

Makeup

  • IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Illumination – Medium
  • Maybelline Stick Corrector Concealer (under eyes, and on/around eyelids with careful blending)
  • NYX Tinted Brow Mascara in Brown
  • L’oreal Lash Paradise
  • Physicians Formula Eye Booster Pencil Eyeliner
  • Physicians Formula Mineral Glow Pearls in Bronze (used as bronzer)
  • Maybelline Master Chrome Metallic Highlighter in Molten Rose Gold

Items to Trash, Volume 1

Usually I post on Tuesdays and Saturday, but I thought I’d mix things up a little and throw in a Thursday post! This post is going to be about the stuff I’m throwing/giving away (or, I think I’m throwing away — sometimes I get cold feet and end up hanging onto them anyway). Some of these items I’ve reviewed in the past — others, I may do a review for in the future.

CosRX Galactomyces 95 Tone Balancing Essence – I want to love CosRX products  because their business model is extremely honest and I appreciate that about them! But none of their products have worked for me (besides the master patches, of course!). This niacinamide product makes my skin extremely congested. If you still want to try, click here: https://amzn.to/2SI2dQY

The Ordinary Zinc + Niacinamide – I have decided that 30 minutes of perfect, glassy skin is not worth the six hours of pills rolling down my face This is still a huge The Ordinary fan-favorite, though. If you still want to try, click here: https://amzn.to/2REEYdi

Mario Badescu – Cucumber/Green Tea Facial Spray – Too drying for me 😦 It wasn’t for me, but might be good for others! https://amzn.to/2SUB7WA

Skindinavia Oil Control Finishing Spray – ELF does just as good a job, possibly even better, than this spray. For $20 cheaper. Without alcohol denat as the second ingredient. Or literally any other alcohol. BYE

Rimmel Scandal Eyes Eye Shadow Stick – I don’t know why you were in my purse for six months. I think I was holding out hope you would somehow produce color if I just carried you around or…. something.

L’Oreal Everpure Volume Shampoo – I know, this is a shampoo, so this isn’t in my usual line of business. But I was searching far and wide for a sulfate-free shampoo that wouldn’t wipe out the color in my hair in 40 seconds, nor dry it out. The more natural the better, and my quest to stay away from bad alcohols is beginning to extend to shampoos as well. ::excuses self to hide hairsprays:: This has benzyl alcohol in it. ~A

Mario Badescu Facial Spray – Aloe, Cucumber, Green Tea

Mario Badescu Cucumber

I loved the rosewater version of this facial spray. Not that I particularly feel that it’s doing anything, but I love the smell of it, and I love how refreshing it feels. On the off chance it was doing something good for me, I wanted to check out the other offshoots of Mario Badescu’s facial spray.

This aloe, cucumber and green tea one was sort of risky for me to try out, since I am sensitive to green tea products. Not only is the sting of the green tea a little too much for me to take, but it subsequently irritates my skin and breaks me out.

Happy to say this product did not break me out, and it’s still good for the quick skin “refresh” after hopping out of the shower or after washing makeup off my face. But the smell just wasn’t nearly as present as the rosewater (well duh, I guess it’s hard to compete with rosewater). The green tea notes are the most present for the first few seconds, before disappearing.

On the days that I used this, I do honestly feel that my skin was a little drier than it would be if I had used the rosewater, despite layering other moisturizers over it. Again, I would attribute this to the drying characteristics of green tea, and my known irritation to it. But, I wonder if it would be good for people with very oily skin!

So this won’t be a re-buy of mine, but it is a good $5 purchase for someone with a different skin type than me. ~A

This product didn’t work out for my skin, but if you’re more tolerant to Green Tea, check it out here: https://amzn.to/2Fea4l8

Perceived efficacy: 4/5

Longevity: n/a (I stand by my “fancy water” clause!)

How much I actually like this product: 2/5

Catrice Prime and Fine Dewy Glow Fixing Spray

Catrice Dewy Glow Fixing

“If it tastes good, then it’s not good for you”. Same applies here, minus the taste part… so I guess that’s more like, “if it works well, it’s not good for you”?

This stuff is amazing. So amazing that it’s always sold out at Ulta, and resellers price-gouge on Amazon and Ebay, pushing the price up from the original $7 to $20!

You can go ahead and layer up with your usual moisturizers with this product, then go ahead and spritz some product of this on prior to putting on your foundation. It even SMELLS nice — a little alcohol-y, but somehow, still fresh and floral. With almost any foundation, this fixing spray will guarantee that the makeup won’t budge for at LEAST eight hours, probably more. It works better than any setting or finishing spray OR setting powders that I’ve ever used. In fact, while I was using this, I wouldn’t even bother to use any other setters or finishers!

But alas… one day I turned the packaging around and re-read the ingredients. There it was, that evil benzyl alcohol. As you readers may or may not know — actually, I’m mostly writing this for myself, since I always forget — the “evil” alcohols in skincare are ethanol, isopropyl, methanol, denat, and benzyl alcohol. They make products dry up quickly on your skin, but end up also drying out and irritating your skin.

Possibly but not necessarily due to the benzoyl alcohol, my super sensitive skin had a couple break outs while I was using the product. Initially, I blamed it on my period. But then it persisted well past that time of that month and I just happened to take a gander at the packaging… (should this blog be called “a girl tries makeup without checking the ingredients first”?) It’s very disappointing because this product is phenomenal, and truly makes your makeup last on your face for a very long time. Back to the fixing spray drawing board…

Perceived efficacy: 5/5

Longevity: 5/5

How much I actually like this product: If there were no benzyl alcohol, 5/5!

Recommended for sensitive skin: No

Mario Badescu Facial Spray – Aloe, Herbs, Rosewater

Mario Badescu Facial Spray Rose

I looove this stuff. I’m not sure why. It’s another case of “is it doing anything?”. I don’t know if it is, but it sure makes my face feel better.

I spritz this stuff on after I get out of the shower, or after I wash off my makeup — so, I use it both morning and night. It smells GREAT — like roses, of course, as the label would imply. This isn’t something that I would use in place of a moisturizer, although the aloe certainly does provide some moisturizing aspect, but it does give the skin a little boost prior to putting the next layer on.

The website says something about “dewy radiance” and “boosts … glow”. I mean, of course, you basically just spritzed yourself with water, so of course you’re going to have a glow for a minute or two. But once it absorbs, it doesn’t quite stick around. Sure does feel pretty soothing, though.

I can’t really tell if there’s been any long-term benefit from using it, and unfortunately that rose water smell kind of, wears off after a few minutes. But for a quick boost and the “first layer” after washing your face, this is great, especially at the price point of $5. And since the ingredient list is pretty minimalistic, it has no adverse effect on my skin — no breakouts! I just picked up the cucumber and green tea spray the other day at Ulta, so I’ll see how that one stacks up compared to this.  ~A

Grab this refreshing pick-me-up here: https://amzn.to/2RhFxtV

Perceived efficacy: 4/5

Longevity: n/a (I don’t know if longevity is what this product is going for, really… I mean, it’s basically fancy water)

How much I actually like this product: 4.8/5 (if only that wonderful smell just lasted a liiiiittle longer!)

Recommended for sensitive skin: Yes