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My Skincare Journey & Current Routine

Sunday, May 13, 2018
I wrote in my April favorites post that I was feeling very content with my current makeup and skincare routine so it only feels right to share a bit about that with you! I'll start with the foundation of it all -- my skincare routine and the journey I took to get to where I am now.

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I really got into skincare about two years ago when I realized that 30 was just around the corner. Luckily I haven't struggled much with acne or any other skin concerns, so I was just focused on prevention. I knew enough from beauty magazines, etc to know that if I wanted to prevent wrinkles, retinol was my friend. I used face wipes or a foaming cleanser to take off my makeup at night, and introduced a pretty strong retinol eye cream. At this point I wasn't too concerned with hydration so I'd often have pretty flakey skin, especially in the winter. I was at least smart enough to start using a sunscreen on my face, so that's one plus!

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Eventually I started learning a little bit more about big time skincare additions like vitamin C and antioxidants. I found some serums online to add to my routine, but I still focused more on what I now think of as bonus add-on products. It wasn't until I discovered r/AsianBeauty and then r/SkincareAddition over on Reddit that I really changed how I think about skincare.

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I quickly learned the importance of nourishing and protecting your skin first, and putting all other products second. I realized that the face wipes weren't actually going to get my face very clean and that my foaming cleanser was way too harsh for my skin. Out went the high pH, stripping cleansers and in came the balm and oil based products. I ditched the wipes entirely which my face and the environment both appreciated. Suddenly I wasn't a flakey mess anymore!

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I became a woman on a mission to absorb all the skincare knowledge I could. I checked Reddit daily, started reading skincare blogs and watching YouTube videos about peoples' routines. I took notes and learned about all kinds of chemicals and ingredients. Now that I had my dryness under control I wanted to start adding in some of the things I saw other people using. I began to lose sight of what skin concerns I actually had and would try something so long as other people had seen it work for them. I was adding new products into my routine very quickly (big no-no) and using things that were inappropriate for my skin type. At one point I over-exfoliated with some BHA that I probably didn't need to be using in the first place and I could not figure out why my face was feeling so tight. My skin barrier was so damaged and/or confused by all the different products that to top it all off I started getting acne, despite never having had a problem with acne before.

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At the beginning of this year, I stopped using anything but an oil cleanser, a moisturizer and a sunscreen. The acne went away and my skin felt more supple than it had been in months. After my skin stabilized, I very slowly started adding things back in -- one new product every two weeks. Today I'm not using much more than that stripped down, emergency routine, and my skin is as happy as can be.

Here's a look at my current skincare routine:

AM

Rinse with water if necessary (it's usually not)
Indeed Labs Hydraluron serum
Cerave PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion
Shiseido Senka Aging Care UV SPF50+ PA++++ sunscreen (phew)

PM

Illi Total Aging Care Cleansing Oil (check out my review here)
The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays)
The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 30%
Indeed Labs Hydraluron serum
Cerave PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion

As Needed

Sheet masking! I'm not terribly picky about which masks I use and I constantly try new ones.
Peter Thomas Roth wash off masks (I talk a bit about them here)
Skinfood black sugar mask
Cosrx Ultimate Nourishing Rice overnight mask

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As you can see, it's not a terribly complicated or fancy routine. I've scaled back quite a bit from my heyday and so it feels so simple to me! I'm thinking of adding back a gentle retinol product again soon, so I'm sure things will keep evolving. This time I'll be sure to take it slow and really evaluate whether the product is right for me and worth my time and money. And now, off to go indulge my skin with a little Sunday face mask session!

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