Hello, lovely readers!

Hello my friends! Many of you across the globe are most likely experiencing a pretty strange and worrisome time right now. First and foremost, I hope that all of you are, and stay, healthy!

I’m certainly no expert on quarantines or living out a pandemic, and I have mixed feelings about buying things in a panic. So I’ve been trying to take it slow, and think about what’s really important to me. Here’s a few things I’ve done, or learned, over the past week.

I’m ashamed to say this, but I need to print out 50 copies of this poster and put them on every wall in my life.
  • I thought of the *most* essential skincare items for me that were running a bit low that I might miss over the next thirty days, and ordered an extra on Amazon today. For me, this includes CosRX Low PH Cleanser, Aquaphor, and Thayer’s Witch Hazel toner.
  • Body wash, as compared to hand soap, doesn’t appear to be experiencing the same level of price-gouging or running out of stock on Amazon. There are several different body washes available for less than $6. This is just as effective as regular hand soap or soap bars.
  • The label “antibacterial soap” doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily any more effective than regular soap — both will get the job done. Antibacterial soaps are best for hospitals — not for day-to-day use, because it will kill your ability to naturally fight off bacteria over time. So don’t worry about making that distinction during this time! Read a little more about the differences here)
  • If you find your local supermarket might be out of stock on items you need like toilet paper, paper towel, and hand soap, try thinking outside the box! Holiday-themed shops often stock paper goods (if you don’t mind a couple of Christmas trees on your paper towels in the middle of March 🙂 ). Discount retailers like TJ Maxx and Big Lots sometimes carry soap. (just please, please, please, don’t hoard! Pay it forward to the next person who needs the item, and leave some for them. Everyone needs a helping hand in times like this!)
  • And for all of my fellow women readers — I know this does not pertain to skincare, but please consider picking up one extra box of feminine products today! (I personally “forget” about needing these types of things until, well, two days before I need it).

I hope all of my beautiful readers stay safe out there — I’ll see you tomorrow for my regular Saturday post! ~A

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

Thayer’s Witch Hazel

You really don’t know what you have until it’s gone! Or until you put it in the back-most corner of your closet for an extended period of time.

This is an alcohol-free (!) toner. If you flip the plastic bottle that it comes in on it’s side, the toner comes out in drops. It’s basically water. You can apply this with a cotton ball or a tissue, it’s not recommended to use your hands because of how quickly it absorbs into skin. I liked to use it after I washed my face, to take off any residual dirt or makeup.

The claim is that Thayer’s Witch Hazel will reduce your pore size. I trialed this for about four months to see if that was really true — it wasn’t. It did make my skin feel “refreshed” (and it’s rose scented, so of course I love the smell), and it does a really good job of removing makeup. And it didn’t break me out! But I didn’t feel like my skin was making any significant changes with it. In fact, if I didn’t immediately follow this up with moisturizer, I felt that my face was getting very tight (obvious solution: apply moisturizer within a few minutes of using this toner). Convinced that swiping my face with a tissue with this product every day was doing more damage than good, I shelved this for a few weeks.

My skin was crazy congested during those few weeks. Coincidence?! Maybe. But I really overlooked how well this removes makeup and dirt, thus eliminating some of the catalysts for breakouts. My face cleansers just can’t get into my pores the same way this stuff does.

So, back into my regular rotation this goes. For $7-9 at basically any drug or grocery store, I absolutely recommend this product. ~A

Buy Thayer’s Witch Hazel here:https://amzn.to/2Ef8ajr

Perceived efficacy: 4/5

Longevity: 5/5

How much I actually like this product: 4.5/5

Recommended for sensitive skin: Yes (just make sure to use a moisturizer right after!)