Hello all! It’s been a minute since I have done a beauty post. During this time of quarantine at home, I think a lot of us have been dedicating some extra time to our skin care routines – myself included. After some months of trial and error, I finally found a routine that my skin absolutely loves. With drier, colder weather fast approaching, this couldn’t be a better time to prepare my skin. My skin is naturally very dry. When I lived in Los Angeles, it was constantly a bit of a battle to keep my skin hydrated due to the fact that Los Angeles has practically no humidity and is dry year round.
In Hong Kong, my skin loved the humidity last year because the moisture in the air kept my face naturally dewy. However, while we have all been inside during the pandemic, my skin is constantly in rooms with aggressive air conditioning, air purifiers, and dehumidifiers, which means my skin was starting to dry out again. I finally figured out the best routine for my skin that keeps it happy, healthy, and hydrated even in the driest of circumstances.
Note: All of my favorite skin care products are cruelty-free.
I alternate between two cleansers depending on what my skin needs. When my skin needs extra hydration, I’ve been using Ranavat Botanics Luminous Ceremony Cream Cleanser. It smells incredible and is perfectly creamy, which my dry skin enjoys. On days I need an ultimate detox, which is usually around 2-3 times a week, I use African Botanics Marula Baobab Clay Oxygenating Cleanser, focusing on troublesome areas with clogged pores or potential acne breakouts. It has a gel like formula but still keeps my skin hydrated. I count down slowly from 60 when I wash my face, usually circular motions outward to thoroughly cleanse my skin. I prefer using a warm towel to rinse my face after cleansing.
Call me crazy, but I also have three toners that I alternate among after cleansing my skin. My go-to these days is Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% Bha Liquid Exfoliant. Under $30, its pH ranges between 3.2-3.8 to help lock in moisture and reduce the appearance of fine lines and blemishes. But on other days, I’ve been using Vintner’s Daughter Active Treatment Essence. I’ve sworn by this brand for over a year now and really credit their products with changing my skin. I’m so excited I can get this brand in Hong Kong because my skin would have had a temper tantrum. The treatment essence is formulated with over 30 active ingredients, and is enriched with antioxidant Vitamin C and skin-plumping Hyaluronic Acid. Recently, I also started trying African Botanics Rose Treatment Essence since I love their cleanser so much. Rose is excellent for hydrating and brightening, and my skin definitely feels plump and bright after I use this essence.
My go-to serum for the last year has been Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum. My skin gets so mad if I use anything else. When I say it gets mad, I mean it gets overly dry, bumpy, and dull. I noticed a massive difference in my skin when I started using this serum 12 months ago. I now use it morning and night after toning my skin. It’s made from 22 natural, organic, and wildcrafted oils to stimulate cellular turnover, restore skin balance and texture, deliver oxygen to cells, and protect against free-radical damage. I firmly press it into my skin instead of rub so it really sinks deep into my skin. It also smells amazing.
After applying serum, I’ve been using a Shungite Galet stone to help combat blemishes and inflammation. This stone is made from a rare mineral found in Russia. It’s anti-oxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory. I massage my face using outward strokes for about a minute. I’ve noticed a change in my blemishes since using this stone. As massive, deep zit on my chin thought he’d try to make an entrance, but after completing my skin care routine and massaging this stone on the troublesome spot for 2 days, the zit disappeared and never fully surfaced. Battle won.
There are a few natural oils in my routine that have really impressed me since I first started applying them. Lately I’ve started using all natural camellia seed oil, a very popular oil in Japan, to combat any super dry spots on my skin or where an acne spot is healing. This oil has honestly become my secret weapon to defeating stubborn acne that decided to show up anyway and leave a red, chapped mark. Camellia seed oil speeds up the healing process. I’ve also been using rice bran oil for my under my eyes (but not too close!). Rice bran oil also hydrates, heals, and brightens. My eyes always look more awake after I’ve used this oil the night before. I tap both oils gently; I do not rub in.
I use different moisturizers in the morning and at night. Both are creamy, but one is extra hydrating that I save for nighttime. But in the morning, I’ve been using Susanne Kaufmann Intensive Cold Cream for about 8 months now. This moisturizer is highly recommended for use in winter, however I’ve been using it year round because my skin really needs it. It has an active blend of Pansies, Echinacea, and Black-Eyed Susans fortified with nurturing Beeswax and Jojoba Oil. A little bit goes a long way. I JUST re-ordered my second jar…. it’s been 8 months since I bought the first one! So while it’s on the pricey side for a moisturizer, it’s lasted me such a long time and thus makes the price worth it for me.
At the start of summer, I started using Dr. Barbara Sturm SPF 50 Sun Drops mixed in with my daytime moisturizer to give my skin extra protection. Even on cloudy days, it’s important to wear SPF.
At night, I use an extra creamy moisturizer on my skin so it’ll sink deep into my skin as I sleep. About 8 months ago, I started adding Dr. Barbara Sturm Face Cream Rich to my nighttime skin care routine. It is formulated with purslane and potent antioxidants that absorb into the skin to soothe, calm, and tighten the skin, and it gives my skin a plumped look and feel the next morning. It’s also vegan! I will admit that it is very pricey. However, just like with my daytime moisturizer, I just ordered my second jar after 8 months of nightly use. A little bit goes a long way, even for my very dry skin.
About a month ago, I started incorporating using a massage tool on my face to help reduce puffiness and drain toxins. This tool by Sarah Chapman has unique 8 heads and 48 massaging nodules. Not only does it help my skin, but it also feels really relaxing after a long day.
Depending on how much extra time I have before I start my skin care routine, I love to apply a mask. I’ve been making my own masks from scratch, so I know exactly what is going into it and keeps it all natural. I get all of my powders and clays from Officine Universelle Buly (they have a gorgeous brick and mortar store here in Hong Kong but also have an online store) and I use hyaluronic acid, ionized water, and camellia seed oil or rosehip oil to make my masks. I like using a red clay mask every day for about 5 minutes (I’ll eat breakfast wearing it). The red clay helps pull out toxins and polluting agents from my pores. Hong Kong is very polluted at times, so this clay helps clear my skin. On nights where my skin needs a serious detox, especially if I am noticing any blemishes trying to make an appearance, I use an activated charcoal mask because it smoothes and tightens my pores. The day after I use the charcoal mask, my skin is so refreshed and gorgeous. Lastly, like I mentioned earlier, rose is great for your skin. Rose petal masks help brighten my skin especially when my skin feels a little dull. Using this mask always makes my skin extra radiant.
My skin care routine usually changes after a couple of months, but for the last 8 months I have stuck to this routine and my skin has never been better. It’s helped keep my skin hydrated as well as has helped combat any acne breakouts that do flare up.
Do you use any of these products? What are some of your favorite skin care products?