I don’t know about you but I’ll be using this long weekend to indulge in a little pampering (right after our Thanksgiving feast)! After spending 3 years in the beauty industry, I’ve learned a LOT about skincare. I’ve always been partial – if given the choice between a serum and an eyeshadow palette, I’d pick the serum every time. I believe in taking care of the deepest layer and then working outward. Your makeup will look better! In the last few months, I’ve gotten a bunch of unexpected compliments about my skin and so many people have asked me for the products I use. So, that’s why I’m sharing my nightly skincare routine! It’s a religion!
Let me start by saying this post is not sponsored. I don’t currently work for any of the brands although I have been exposed to some amazing ones in my professional career (outside of blogging). My only intention is that we all have glowing skin!
Before working in beauty and cosmetics, I thought that all products were good. I was mistaken. Why would a brand development and put something in market that didn’t work? Why would they release something that had issues? After getting to know the product development teams at Beautycounter and Hourglass (my previous employers), I started to understand a little better. Here’s what they’re up against:
- Everyone’s skin is different. It’s incredibly difficult to find a combination of ingredients that has the same results on everyone. That said, there are some that are proven effective in over 80% or 90% of cases.
- Individual ingredients might not do exactly what you want them to do when combined. Remember some of those high school Chemistry experiments gone wrong? Consistency can change, the formula can be less effective, and the product might not survive in certain temperatures. Packaging is a HUGE element in the beauty industry and is equally as important as the product inside the tube!
- Resources are a huge thing. If you’re an Estee Lauder, you have access to a huge workforce and tons of raw ingredients. If you’re a smaller company, you’re more limited. Just like in your day job, you can only do what you and your team is capable of. You’d be surprised how many brands you see lining the walls of Sephora are run by companies of 50 people or less.
- How closely is the brand paying attention to ingredients? Are the ingredients safe and non-toxic? It’s both shocking and terrifying how many name brands aren’t paying attention to this at all. Why not? It’s cheaper and easier for them not to. One of the reasons I joined Beautycounter was because their mission is to get safe products into the hands of everyone. I trust that every single one of theirs isn’t harming me every time I put it on. Partly because I know about the intense ingredient selection process and partly because of their transparency.
- There’s also a matter of availability. If the palm oil you were using suddenly is unavailable or changes, you may have to reformulate the entire product. This is why I keep switching my liquid eyeliner – there’s no consistency. It’s frustrating but it’s also a reality of sourcing high performance ingredients.
- Lastly, there are always internal politics. After all, it’s business. Whether you need to launch a product to make it into the Sephora VIB sale (huge sales $) or an executive loves a certain product, there’s a reason behind everything.
So that was a lot of information but I feel like it’s helpful to know what goes on behind the scenes. And now, let’s jump into my routine!
Step 1: Wash off your makeup. I never go to bed without washing 100% of my makeup off. I can’t. There is no way I would want all of those chemicals sitting on my skin while I sleep let alone rubbing off on my pillow! I love Beautycounter’s Nourishing Cream Cleanser for this. I first wash off my mascara – it’s gentle enough to use around my eyes and doesn’t sting at all. I put a small dollop into my palms with a splash of warm water and gently rub my eyelashes. I got LASIK 2 years ago so when I say gently, I mean it! I’ve tried to use eye makeup remover in the past but I’ve found I lose more lashes than I want to that way. Since I wasn’t blessed with voluminous thick lashes, I need to keep all of the ones I have!
Then, I use the same cream cleanser to wash my face. I personally love that I can use one product for both my eyes and face because it’s efficient. I rotate between using a Clarisonic, washcloth, and konjac sponge to scrub off anything that’s on my skin. There’s no rhyme or reason to what I use other than how I’m feeling that day. I like to mix it up.
This product will last you about 2 months if you use it every night. Note that this cleanser won’t get sudsy like other cleansers. That’s because the chemicals that create suds (some surfactants) can disrupt your hormones. Yikes!
Step 2. Toner. I didn’t start using one until I bought this Sunday Riley Martian Mattifying Toner. I don’t even remember what caused me to start using a toner (I don’t have acne problems) but I’ve loved the results. My skin is now more consistent – I haven’t had a single blemish since I started using it. I used to have small breakouts once a month (like AH zit – nothing to get upset about) but now I’m all clear! I love the gel-to-water aspect of it. It feels refreshing on your skin and is easy to see it working.
It’s important to let every product absorb after you put it on so I typically do something during all of these steps. Brush my teeth, pick up my clothes, scroll through Instagram – I’m being efficient and effective!
This product will last you about 6 months. I purchased at the beginning of August and it feels like it’s about halfway done (you can’t see through the bottle). Note that the gold lining under the cap may start to wear off around month 4. This just started happening to me and looks like it was caused by some of the product dripping onto it. I photographed this after it had started happening so it’s nothing that would stop me from purchasing again as you can see. It might motivate me to be more clean though…
Step 3. Serum. I loveee a good serum. Serums often have the highest concentration of ingredients that are designed to actually make changes to your skin. I’ve tried a ton that have no visible results and at all price points. For $56, this Jurlique Herbal Recovery Advanced Serum is the only thing that I’ve seen make a difference. My skin became brighter and more glowing after 1-2 weeks of consistent use. My husband even said something about it. With that said, I would love a serum that would take my skin back to what it looked like when I was 15. I’ll let you guys know if I find one.
I gently cover my face and neck with this product (usually using about 3 pumps). You’ll notice the key aspect of every step in my routine is being gentle. I hate feeling like I’m pulling – I cringe at the thought of what it’s doing to my skin! Few people have been able to guess my age and I’m crediting this routine for that!
This product will last about 2-3 months. I just repurchased in the Sephora VIB sale. Note that this serum smells extremely floral-y. It can knock you back a little if it’s your first use. It’s definitely not my favorite scent but I’ve gotten used to it and it works. The scent is something I’m willing to overlook for results.
Step 4. Eye cream. Eyes are my problem area. I have extremely dark circles that are accentuated by my deep set eyes. While I do use concealer daily to cover them, this Fresh Age-Delaying Eye Cream has helped lighten the circles. I’ve tried a ton of eye creams with no results and I’m satisfied with this one. I feel like there may be something better but I’ve had so many bad experiences I’m not eager to put something new on my face every week. If La Mer was dropped on my doorstep by the skincare fairy, I’d gladly try it. But for now, I’ll stick to affordable products.
I use my ring finger to lightly dab this eye cream along the cheekbone (NOT in the eye circle). I dab all the way from right by my nose to where crow’s feet start to emerge (as a preventative measure)!
This product will also last about 6 months. I’m %60 of the way through and purchased with the Sunday Riley toner in August!
Step 5. Face Oil. This is THE BEST thing you can do for your skin. Before working at Beautycounter, I’d never heard of it. Put oil on my skin? I’ll pass on the greasy face. However, the effect of face oil is counterintuitive. It actually balances. Whether your skin naturally produces too much or too little oil, face oil will help regulate the process. I’ll add a disclaimer that you may break out at first while your skin starts to get used to it but push through. It’s exactly like training your hair not to get so oily so you can rock those 4 day old flawless waves.
I am addicted to Beautycounter’s Balancing Face Oil (they make 2 other versions). I’ve converted friends, family, and even strangers to this face oil. I swear by it. I put 2-3 drops into my moisturizer and mix in my hands before gently pressing it onto my face and neck. You can add more or less depending on the time of year and how dry your skin is. For example, I’ve probably been doing 4-5 lately since it’s really dry in Chicago. In the morning, I’ll do 1-2 or none depending on how my skin feels. If your skin is really in need of TLC, you can use just the face oil (no moisturizer). Play around with it. You’ll get the hang of it.
This product will last you about 3-5 months depending on how much you use. I’ve been averaging about 3 months because I’m addicted. Note that I didn’t include a moisturizer or night cream in my post because I’m still looking for one that I truly believe in.
A few more tips about skincare. If you are trying new products, make sure to introduce one product at a time. This way you can see the results of that product and also identify if you’re having an allergic reaction to it. As I mentioned before, my skin is extremely sensitive so I don’t anticipate many people having issues with any of the products I’ve listed but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Start reading the labels of your products. If a brand specifically calls out that the product is formulated without parabens, phthalates, or sulfates, you’re on the right track. Safety first!
If you have any questions, feel free to comment below or shoot me an email! I love talking about products and hearing what works! Do you have a skincare product you swear by?