Don't click away! I know you typed in www.sugarandsatire.com in search of some vegan baking inspiration or a new essay about something emotional and probably not appropriate for the internet -- But you're still in the right place, even if this is a post all about my cruelty free skincare routine.
I've been getting quite a few DM's on instagram about my skin, with people asking me what products I use and luckily skincare is one of my greatest loves in life, so I decided to put together this little post about all things skin. I'm by no means an expert, and all my information comes from various forums on the internet (see bottom of this post), but I have worked really hard get my skin in a good place. Also I went to San Diego and stayed in a nice hotel so I could write this post but still count is as "work".
The most important thing to take note of when looking for new skincare products is finding recommendations from people with a similar skin type as you. Now, obviously even if we have similar problems with our skin, remember that results will always vary and that my limited (but enthusiastic) knowledge of skincare should not be taken as seriously as recommendations from your dermatologist or trusted healthcare provider. Skincare is a deeply personal thing, and it takes time to find products that work for you. Don't be tempted to buy tons of products and use them all at once, and don't be discouraged if you don't see results immediately. If you're trying out a new product, make sure to patch test for a minimum of two weeks and only using one product at a time. If you don't do this, you'll have a hard time understanding what ingredients work for your skin, and which ones cause irritation, breakouts, and scarring (emotional or otherwise).
My skin runs very dry. Like a meringue that's been cooked for too long, or the LA river. But it's also pretty sensitive, so finding moisturizers has always been a struggle for me. It took me years to find products that kept my skin from feeling itchy and tight, but that also didn't cover my face in acne or redness. I also have a sensitivity to products with high concentrations of hyaluronic acid, which is a very common ingredient in a lot of skincare products that promote moisture.
I'm lucky enough that I haven't had super crazy painful breakouts since high school, but I've always noticed that any kind of congestion I get is followed by days of flaky skin. Dry patches that makeup clings to and uneven texture throughout. It looks like I'm shedding layers of skin like a molting snake, but unfortunately I'm still just a regular human woman who is as sensitive on the outside as she in on the inside. </3
My primary focuses are keeping my skin clear, preventing signs of aging, and keeping that juicy moisture barrier intact. I'm also focused on finding cruelty-free alternatives to products that I know and love, and have been slowly phasing out products that don't match the values that I care about. In this quest I've bypassed some more affordable options, and embraced higher end products. I justify this by telling myself that I have no children to feed (which is true), and also recognizing that in the long run I'll spend less money on makeup if my skin stays nice. I've tried to do a good job of listing a mix of products of all prices in this round up for you. A sneaky tip I use is to purchase the majority of my favorite products in November/December during Sephora's friends and family sale where mostly everything is 20% off. I literally save all year for this. Each individual line usually has sales on their official websites at that time too. Then I hoard product like a little squirrel packing away acorns for winter and only open product as needed.
I'm still in the market for a good cruelty free micellar water and salicylic pads. So far the ones I've tried have caused irritation and breakouts so I'm still using a few products that aren't cruelty free. I won't be naming those here.
TLDR; Dry, sensitive skin. Main concerns are evening out texture, preventing signs of aging, and making sure I look like a dewy goddess at all times.
*I purchased these products with my own money and am not being paid to write this post. All opinions are my own.*
First things first, a good cleanser is hard to find. I can't use one that is too drying, and I like to make sure that it's very mild as well. For awhile I was using a soy based cream cleanser and it worked really well for my skin, but unfortunately that brand isn't cruelty-free so I phased it out to get the Youth to the People Kale + Green Tea Spinach Vitamins Age Prevention Cleanser. It's not super creamy, but it works really well for me. It's gentle and doesn't make my face feel tight after using, just smooth and soft. I use this as the second step in my evening routine after an oil cleanse with mineral oil.
At $36 this one isn't exactly the most affordable option, but it works well for my skin and one bottle usually lasts for about 9-10 months for me.
For the longest time sunscreen was a necessary evil for me. I can't even begin to tell you how many sunscreens I have tried that have irritated my skin, or broken me out beyond belief. This one glides on seamlessly, and doesn't pill underneath my makeup. I've gotten huge compliments on my skin since I started using the Silken Pore Perfecting Sunscreen from Tatcha, and I don't leave the house without it on. Works great as a makeup primer too! If you're one of those people who doesn't wear sunscreen, you definitely need to rethink that. It's one of the most effective ways to prevent signs of aging, and will keep you looking young and cute forever. Even if you don't visibly burn, you are still doing damage to your skin that has long term effects.
Before you judge me for spending $65 on a bottle of sunscreen, let me explain myself. One tube of this lasts me 7 months with daily use. I've also been known to cut open an empty tube and scoop out the remaining product when it's almost empty. I will wear this product until the day I die, and then I would like to be buried with it. Because I'm sure my pale ass skin would find a way to burn even six feet under ground.
I spent the first 23 years of my life thinking that oils in my skincare would make my skin oily, but it turns out that they actually do the opposite. My dry, sensitive skin thrives with the use of oils in place of thick, creamy moisturizers and I no longer get the flaky patches that I used to see around my nose and chin. I first incorporated the U.F.O oil from Sunday Riley into my routine about 8 months ago, and I saw a dramatic change in clarity and texture. My skin cleared up within a week (not an exaggeration) and remains clear to this day, barring any random changes in my diet or patch testing a new product. This one smells very earthy, but I love how well it works to keep my skin clear. I would bathe in this oil if I didn't have student loans to pay off.
The Luna Sleeping Night Oil from Sunday Riley is used to fight signs of aging and improve texture. It's a retinol that I upgraded to after I saw such good results with The Ordinary's Retinoid 2% (more info on that below). Retinol can be very tough on sensitive skin, so I only use this oil every 2-3 days, otherwise I notice dryness and redness. I also noticed a brief period of purging when I started this product (and when I initially started retinol usage in general), but after about a month it went away and revealed younger, smoother looking skin. Both of these dry oils absorb quickly into my skin, and have really improved the look of my skin.
Sunday Riley's Good Genes All In One Lactic Acid Treatment might be arguably the internet's favorite skincare product. I swear every single beauty guru or skincare junkie I follow hypes this product to the ends of the earth and back. Surely it can't be that good? I've got bad news, it is. It's fucking good. It makes my skin feel brand new, like a freshly born baby. I stay away from sensitive areas like under my eyes, around my nose + mouth to avoid stinging and I expect the full size product to last me about one year. This is by far the priciest product on my list, but I feel strongly about its effectiveness.
The Ordinary's Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution is some REAL GOOD STUFF. This is a chemical exfoliator that makes my skin look so plump and bright in the mornings when I wake up. This one is very affordable, and one bottle lasts a long time for me. I've read a few articles that say not to mix glycolic acid with salycilic acid in order to prevent chemical burns, so I don't ever use this product with anything other than a mild rosehip seed oil (see below).
Both of these products have a mild tingling sensation when applied. It's never painful, but it's definitely noticeable. My skin got used to it after a few months of consistent usage, but be mindful of this if you add any acids to your routine, and wash it off if it becomes painful.
These two cuties were the products that started my love affair with skincare. The Ordinary's Advanced Retinoid 2% (now known as Granactive 2% Retinoid Emulsion) expanded my horizons and realized I could be taking measures into my own hands in regards to aging and texture. It did cause some purging in my skin for about a month, but after that it was gone. This product is very affordable, but the downside is that I had to be very diligent about the way I applied it. I'd wait 30 minutes after applying before finishing with an oil, otherwise it would pill and cause a grainy texture on my hands. I think this is a VERY good product and while I haven't tried the new formulation, I believe they've addressed the graininess. Also -- Kim Kardashian apparently uses it.
The Ordinary's 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil is to this day one of my favorite skincare products of all time. I buy 3 bottles at a time because I hate running out of this one, it works so well with my dry skin, and for awhile it was the only thing I was using on my face after cleansing. It heals active breakouts, smooths out my dry patches and is a dream to apply. I use this every single night without fail and cannot recoomend it strongly enough.
If you're familiar with the concept of self-care (and if you're aren't, welcome to the year 2018 where we take care of ourselves and refuse to feel guilty about it) then you know all about how good it feels to take time for yourself. I've found that a soak in the tub, combined with a face mask is one of the greatest pleasures in life. Masks can be a very effective way to take care of your skin and your mind, and I try to make time for one at least once a week.
The NIOD Flavanone Mud is fantastic, and I use it anytime I feel a breakout coming that my regular routine can't kick. Its effect is noticeable about a day after, and I love using it for maintenance and prevention as well. I first learned about this product from a skincare blogger I adore, Detail Oriented Beauty, and I now swear by its ability to transform my sensitive skin. This burgundy colored clay has a tendency to stain, so be prepared when wiping this off with a white washcloth, and the size I have comes in a jar that you have to scoop product out of. It's not the most sanitary, but if you use a little scoop instead of dipping your fingers you can combat some of that. The larger size comes in a tube, and when I eventually repurpose (this product lasts forever) I'll be splurging for that. It stings a little once you take it off, but I love the way it works with my skin and I don't find it painful. I leave it on for about 10 minutes, but many people leave it on for as long as an hour.
Tatcha's Violet-C Radiance Mask is another favorite of mine, not only for its beautiful purple hue, but for its glowy impact on my skin. It's creamy, rich and a dream to apply. This one is rather pricey, and not an absolute must have, but it's quite lovely and I enjoy using it regularly. Vitamin C is known for keeping skin youthful, and it's something I need to work on incorporating more into my skincare regimen. It's also got an ingredient called "beautyberry" which sounds like bullshit to me, but honestly what do I know? It works.
Last one! This Dewy Skin Mist from Tatcha is my favorite part of my morning routine. Because I use sunscreen and primers, I don't like to layer even more moisturizers on my face before, I've found that this spray does a wonderful job of prepping my skin and keeping it hydrated. It's not a must-have for most people, but it fits really well into my routine.
Top 3 products
If I had to rebuy my skincare collection from scratch I would choose these three to start with. The sunscreen is a must, given that it works so well under my makeup and with my skin chemistry. The U.F.O. oil is what I credit my clear skin to, and the results have been so consistent and dramatic that I don't see myself ever removing it from my routine. The rose hip seed oil is another favorite, and changed the way I moisturize my skin completely. These three are my holy grail skincare items that I can't imagine going without!
MY Skincare Routine
- Wipe with micellar water
- (once a week) apply face mask
- Spray with Tatcha Dewy Skin Mist
- Apply Sunscreen
- First cleanse w/ mineral oil
- Second cleanse w/ YTTP Age Prevention Cleanser
- Wipe with micellar water
- ONE of the following:
- Wipe with salicylic acid pad + apply U.F.O Oil + apply rosehip seed oil
- Wipe with salicylic acid pad + Luna Sleeping Night Oil + apply Good Genes
- wipe with Glycolic Acid applied onto cotton pad + apply rosehip seed oil
- Wipe with salicylic acid pad + apply rosehip seed oil + apply Good Genes