I'm definitely no skin care expert, but the post-shower, pre-bed routine I've been diligently carrying out for the past couple of weeks appears to have paid off. Before, my skin was inexplicably dry, in that foundation didn't apply as smoothly, but rather emphasised flaky areas (particularly around my nose), even when I slathered on the moisturiser and face oils. Now, my skin looks to have gained back some suppleness and clarity, and become smoother in texture. I accept the number of products here may be overkill, but the combination and order seems to have worked for me. I'm also concentrating on using up old stuff I still have lying around, so really, it's win-win.
When I started this blog, I had minimal interest in skin care, dismissing fancy, expensive creams and seemingly hi-tech formulations as mostly hocus pocus and deceitful marketing. I believed that I could get by just fine with cheap supermarket cleansers and generic, no frills moisturisers like Nivea Soft. I barely knew what exfoliation was except something I did occasionally for the fun of it with a coarse, grainy scrub, and I didn't touch toner (what a waste of time and money!). Oh, how far we've come. I blame a large part of it on the influence of Caroline Hirons and my participation in the general blogging community. At the end of the day, I ain't getting any younger, and I'd like to think any measures I'm taking now will be incalculably beneficial in the long run. Prevention is better than cure, right? I do draw the line at elaborate daily facial massages, despite Lisa Eldridge being living proof of the rewards.
I'm the kind of person that doesn't care as much about what I use to take off makeup and cleanse my face as I do with what I put on after. Lately, I've been really lazy and relying on Swisspers Cucumber Facial Cleansing Wipes to get off face makeup and a soaked Daiso cotton puff with Bioderma to dissolve eye makeup. I then usually follow with a foaming cleanser in the shower. If I haven't pre-cleansed with a makeup towelette and/or Bioderma, I'll use Dove Foaming Make Up Remover or my DHC Deep Cleansing Oil, then do a second cleanse with a foaming cleanser.
The whole nighttime routine starts with Clarins Toning Lotion with Camomile on a Daiso cotton puff. This is a gentle, hydrating toner that restores some moisture into my face after relatively harsh cleansing while getting rid of any remnant product. It rebalances the skin and ensures a neutral, blank canvas ready for serums and creams. I also find the mere act of wiping a cotton pad all over my face is in itself exfoliating, even if the contents of the toner aren't.
I then liberally spritz Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist all over. And by liberally spritz, I mean a good dousing. Part of the reason for my exuberance is that I want to get rid of it ASAP (and I've been successful, in that there seems to only be about 20% left), since it technically expired a while ago. So long as I'm not breaking out because of it, I figured it shouldn't cause me any harm. It has a high alcohol content (it's the second ingredient), which I'm a bit iffy about. There's also lactic acid in there which always makes me think of it more as an exfoliating toner, though the amount probably isn't enough for it to be effective in that capacity. I find the mist to be fairly drying on its own, so the trick is to not wait until it's completely evaporated off the skin before going in with the next product.
Enter Caudalie Vinosource S.O.S. Thirst Quenching Serum. Once again, a case of mainly trying to use up a product I'm not crazy about. I know my indifference borders on sacrilege for a skin care item that I've not read a bad review about, but it never did much for me. If anything, I was paranoid for a long time it had a tendency to break me out. Having said that, I realised that I don't have many dedicated serums. Caroline Hirons rates serums as the #1 skin care product you should spend money on for those aged 20+, which essentially has granted me permission to treat myself to Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II or possibly Sunday Riley Good Genes Treatment (lottery win permitting) once the Caudalie runs out. The S.O.S. Thirst Quenching Serum is very thin, watery and lightweight. Applied straight after the two toners (and when the skin is still slightly damp from the second), it does provide immediate suppleness and sense of increased hydration.
Onto a face oil. I've been reaching for the Sanctuary Spa Therapist's Secret Facial Oil because it's one of the less heavy and greasy options I have. The oil feels relatively light and refined on the skin and absorbs well. I can't really tell apart the ingredients that go into different face oils, but I like the sound of the rose oils and extracts in this. I usually use about 4 drops all over my face, staying clear of the eye area. Any migration of this or any oil around the eyes is guaranteed unwanted irritation.
Finally, a dedicated nighttime moisturiser. This step after the layer of face oil is probably optional and perhaps entirely superfluous, but I do it anyway. The blurb on the box/jar of Grown Alchemist Regenerating Night Cream Neuro-Peptide & Violet Leaf tries valiantly to convince me the product is worth its $85 price tag, but luckily I only paid $12 for this. It's not too oily or thick despite being quite emollient and you need only a small amount for the entire face (though I apply a fairly generous dollop regardless).
Sometimes I'll skip the Clarins and go straight for the Jurlique (usually after I've already exfoliated in the shower), or use Iluka Hydrating Toner Mist instead. I'll also mix it up with the face oil, preferring Antipodes Divine Face Oil or NUXE Huile Prodigieuse. But the order and the essence of the products remains the same. I wake up the following morning to visibly rested, smoother, softer, and more evenly textured skin. The dry patches have for the most part been banished and active breakouts kept to a minimum.