I never imagined I would be typing a post like this, especially when a couple of months ago I was hooked on shopping, watching makeup and skincare videos on Youtube while browsing through endless articles and researches how to achieve flawless complexion. I rolled my eyes to bloggers and articles that suggested just slapping on something in a hurry. Where's the fun in that? For me, getting ready is simply not a chore and I want to take my time to enjoy it. When life gets hectic I've needed my routines even more. I still do, but I've simplified them to fill my current needs.
Some time ago I would panic if my routine wouldn't check all the boxes; Vitamin C serum, acid exfoliation, hyaluronic acid, mask, oil, balm, sheet mask, sunscreen.. Sure, I haven't abandoned these things completely, but now I'm taking it chill and only asking myself if my skin feels tight (I have dry skin), spotty, etc. and treating it accordingly. I feel right now it's very popular to be aware skincare ingredients, which is a good thing, but brands have also noticed a marketing spot to push us more skincare products and ingredients to fuss about. I've had enough of that. In a future post I'll talk more what changes has my no buy made to my spending habits and attitude. If you're not interested in skincare my current routine might still seem excessive, but to an addict like me it's a major step down from several toners, essences, treatments and serums.
I'm reaching for my balm cleansers the most; they're just so convenient, gentle, nourishing and pleasant to use. Cleansing balms remove stubborn makeup without irritating my eyes or drying out my skin. Depending my needs I choose balm-to-milk formulas or remove the cleanser with a steamy wash cloth for a gentle exfoliation at the same time. For my second or morning cleanse, I like using my trusty low pH Korean cleanses such as the Sulwhasoo cleansing foam and the SU:M37 Rose Cleansing Stick. They lather nicely again without being drying, are quick and convenient.
I totally skip a traditional toner. In fact, I believe pH balancing toners are unnecessary if you use the right cleanser in a proper way. Having dry skin, I haven't strayed away from a hydrating serum. After cleansing I need something simple, watery and hydrating to give my skin a drink. An essence, a hydrating toner or an effective mist would work just as well. Some time ago I would've used all three and a hydrating serum on the top.. But now I just don't feel the necessary to layer gazillion steps in my routine.
I like the Pestle and Mortar Hydrating Serum a lot: as it has some viscosity to it, spreads and hydrates easily. The Jordan Samuel skin Hydrate serum has gained a lot of popularity on Instagram, I think I will try it once I run out of P&M (or my no buy ends..). Hadalabo's hydrating lotion is a good and affordable classic (btw I didn't like the rich one in orange bottle as much), for oilier skin types I recommend something lighter, such as Josh Rosebrook, NUORI or January Labs mist.
Treat + Moisturise
After layering a watery serum or an essence, I like to seal in the hydration with a moisturizing facial oil or an oil-based serum. Josh Rosebrook's Active Infusion Serum gives my skin immediate glow while nourishing the skin. My other favorite is any beautiful facial oil by Max and Me: as I can't pick my favorite I rotate the Enchanted (review here) and I am The Light oils day/night. My recent discovery is the Mahalo Vitality Elixir, which is a multi-purpose oil serum packed with nutrition. I wear both Max and Me and Mahalo oils day and night; they absorb quickly and won't leave a greasy layer on the skin.
This is perhaps my favorite step at this moment. 1/2 year ago I was hooked on facial oils and balms, but right now I've been loving a traditional cream to seal in other products. January Labs makes my favorite creams, especially the Revitalizing Day Cream (review here) is excellent when you want your skin to feel plump but need a light enough texture under make up. This cream works every season and I've used up several bottles. The less expensive January Labs lotion is also pretty good and I've gifted a couple to my boyfriend who wants a super light texture (as he is not into skincare at all). My new favorite is the Vital Facial Cream by NUORI, a fresh skincare brand from Denmark. It has less runny consistency vs January Labs, but you still need only a small amount. This cream doesn't have a fancy smell, color or other bells and whistles but spreads easily and gives great hydration. I'm keeping my toes and fingers crossed I won't run out before my no buy ends.
That is it. Of course I still use sunscreen during the day time: my trusty, old Innisfree (review here) one I've used countless of tubes. No eye cream, no Korean 10 layers of essence or daily exfoliation with extensive amounts of acids and retinols. Skincare has been a crucial part of my self-care routine or so called "me -time" when I wind down and do something nice for myself. There's absolutely nothing wrong with this and I trust I will return to my longer routines when the time feels right. Right now my life has been hectic - I've been down with two colds, started a new job and moved as well, which shows in my makeup and skincare routine.
What's your current routine like? Do you pamper with several steps or keep it minimal?