Before I launch in to the list, I'll chat a bit about the kinds of products I use. I try to use things that contain no mineral oil, no SLS/SLES, no parabens, artificial fragrances, or colours. I tend to stick to organic and natural-ingredients products. Not because I think that "it's natural, therefore good", but simply because I have had fewer reactions over the years to that category of product.
I have trouble skin. It's sensitive, irritable, dry (to the point of flaking), waxy (instead of oily), and I get hormonal blemishes. It reacts quite vehemently with many substances. It gets unbearably itchy for no apparent reason. Fragrances that linger tend to give me headaches, too.
Without further ado, this is what I try (and frequently don't) do:
- Cleanse - Cleanse and Smooth Face Balm by balanceMe
- Exfoliate - Cellulose Face Sponge by Ecotools
- Mask - Radience Face Mask by balanceMe or home made Olive oil and bicarbonate mask
- Moisturise - Hydraluron by Indeed, Vita Min Fix 24hr Cream by Green People
- Cleanse - Cleanse and Smooth Face Balm
- Moisturise - Radiance Face Oil by balanceMe, Vita Min Fix 24hr Cream
I use an oil-based cleanser - Cleanse and Smooth Face Balm by balanceMe. It really helps with the dry patches, and does wonders for my blackheads and occasional zits. Oil cleansers, used properly, work for just about everyone. Even if you have oily skin. This has been covered extensively across the internet - a google search for "Oil Cleansing Method" generally brings up some good results. The short of it is that mixing oil with a thinner oil tends to make the oils easy to remove gently without aggravating the skin and stirring up extra oil production, while not messing so much with the water balance of the skin. Many people find they don't need to use a moisturiser after using an oil based cleanser, because their skin isn't stripped. Annoyingly enough, I still need to use a moisturiser. I use either the muslin cloth the balm comes with, or if I need a bit more exfoliation, an Ecotools Cellulose Face Sponge to take off the cleanser.
I use a face oil when my skin needs it - Radiance Face Oil, again by balanceMe. My sebum is waxy instead of oily, and tends to block up pores instead of flowing freely on the skin. So I end up with dry patches, and congestion. The face oil helps thin out the sebum in congested areas, as well as compensating for the lack in dry areas on my face. I don't use this every single day, but I do use it more often than not. It feels nice, and soaks into my skin in about 10 minutes. I find it soothes my skin quite well when it's irritated.
The Hydraluron is new to my routine - I've heard great things about it elsewhere on the internet, and Boots had a 3-for-2 yesterday, so I picked some up. It contains hyaluronic acid, which is apparently useful for helping the skin to retain water. I have HUGE issues with my skin dehydrating all the damn time, so I figured it was worth giving a go. I may do a review later on; I'm not sure how I'm going to structure such things yet - it's early days for this blog. Anyhow, my skin didn't freak out after last night's application, and it is surprisingly still happy with me this morning. This is a great start.
I use the Radiance Face Mask intermittently - at the moment, I'm using it maybe once every 2 or 3 days, to try and clear up a few issues I'm having. I find it can be quite drying if I'm not careful. I use the home made olive oil and bicarb mask once a week to really give my skin a good oil soak.
There are gaps in my routine. I'm looking for a salicylic acid toner to help with my blackheads, for instance. I'm also not set on my moisturiser. I've found a few that my skin doesn't react to, which is of course a good start. However, I haven't found one that is really awesome yet. I'm also looking for a hydrating mask. The olive-and-bicarb is great for the dryness in my skin, but doesn't do much for the dehydration. If anyone has any recommendations, I'd love to hear them!
Phew. That's all I have to say just now on this topic, I think.