One of my girlfriends recently commented about “how good my skin looked” and I joked back about how not wearing makeup has done wonders! Of course, letting my skin breathe and barely wearing makeup for sixth months has definitely played it’s part. No doubt! But I got to thinking… I guess my skin has been looking a bit brighter and clearer, and less red for sure. And I’ve barely had a breakout… Have I been doing anything differently?! The answer was actually YES!
Over my little Summer Sabbatical, I pared things down A LOT! I’m always trying a bunch of new products… Testing new things for the blog, trying out a new brand for a potential partnership, seeing if a cult-favorite lives up to all of the hype, etc. But when I was packing up my apartment and deciding what to send to storage and what to take with me for two months this summer, I kept things to a minimum.
If there’s one product I always use, it’s a Vitamin C serum. (Wondering why? Read this post!)
I’ve raved and raved and raved about Kiehl’s Powerful Line Reducing Concentrate for years. I started using it in 2016! In my opinion, it’s the most potency for your buck. It’s 12.5% Vitamin C + Hyaluronic Acid (great for plumping!) and it’s under $100. It gives a slight tingle when you apply it, which always makes me feeling like it’s *working,* you know? But I’ve always said… If you have sensitive skin, it might not be for you!
I’ve bought SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic numerous times over the last few years… I know everyone raves about it, and I’ve always liked it when I’ve used it (I’ve emptied at least 3 bottles!), but I’ve always thought Kiehl’s was a better buy because it was essentially half the price.
And then I had a lightbulb moment a few weeks ago when all of the pieces clicked together and you would’ve thought I just solved life’s biggest mystery… OMG, THAT’S IT! My skin has looked it’s best when I’m pared down, sticking to a consistent daily routine (ie: not trying new things), and when I’m using a certain two products. When else have I thought my skin looked better than usual? Months two and three of Remote Year. What products was I using then? Yep, two of the same products as right now. MIND. EFFING. BLOWN.
I’ve realized that the Kiehl’s concentrate might actually cause some redness for me. (I mean I do have sensitive skin, but apparently I thought my advice didn’t apply to me. 🙃) I feel like my thorough skincare routine has always kept my skin relatively in check, but upon reflecting and connecting the dots of when my skin has looked the most clear, even, and bright… I was using the SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic as my Vitamin C serum.
But news flash, fam… It doesn’t tingle at all when you apply it. And in my crazy brain, I always feel like I should be feeling something for it to be doing it’s job, but alas, that’s probably where some redness was coming in.
As for the Hyaluronic Acid component in the Kiehl’s that the CE Ferulic doesn’t have? I’ve been using a dropper of the SkinCeuticals HA Intensifier after the serum. And I swear the two are the most dynamic duo! The Hyaluronic Acid Intensifier is meant to be used alongside a SkinCeuticals serum, like CE Ferulic. And you can tell they’re made for each other by how well they work together. For me, at least! If you’re not familiar, Hyaluronic Acid plumps the skin, so you get a smoothing effect. Think of it like a very, very temporary, watered-down Botox-alternative that you have to apply daily 😂
Now here’s the downfall… They both cost a pretty penny. 🙈 The 1 oz (30 ml) bottle of CE Ferulic will last you about four months (applying daily in the AM!) and will cost you $166. The HA Intensifier of the same size will cost you $100, but the consistency is thicker, so you’ll need to restock faster than you will with the CE Ferulic. Maybe 2.5-3 months?!
They’re definitely not cheap… I recently realized I had a TON of points at SpaDerma, a med spa here in Chicago where I currently go for HydraFacials (and where I previously got all of my laser hair removal done) so I used those to stock up on some of my SkinCeuticals favorites because they carry the line.
BUT if you are interested in trying either of these products out, Dermstore is currently running a SkinCeuticals promo for 15% off with code SKINC15. (I can’t figure out when the promo ends so truly no idea?!)
Honestly though, I still do have such great things to say about the Kiehl’s product… And if your skin can handle it, you’re in luck because it works!! But if you’ve tried it and had some redness, I’d try the SkinCeuticals next.
Okay, let’s get to the rest of my routine, shall we?! I promise there are a lot more affordable products ahead!
DAYTIME ROUTINE = Cleanse + (haven’t been toning 😬) + CE Ferulic + HA Intensifier + FAB Moisturizer + Sunscreen
Honestly, this summer I haven’t been consistent with a specific cleanser. I’ve been on Mission: USE UP PRODUCTS, so I’ve truly just been finishing a bunch of cleansers that aren’t worth writing home about. (Some favorites can be found here & here!) I hate wasting product and just throwing things out, so I’ve just been getting through some bottles of okay cleansers that I’ve been sent to test. Of course, if something was bad, I wouldn’t use it. But if I just feel MEH about something, it’s not worth telling you about.
BUT CAN WE TALK ABOUT THIS MOISTURIZER?! If you listened to the podcast I recorded with my friend Jamie, a beauty blogger in LA, I talked about this moisturizer that I’ve been L-O-V-I-N-G. For starters, First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Oil Control Moisturizer is only $32! (And my 1.7 oz jar has lasted me ~2.5 months.) But I kid you not… I have not had to use an oil blotting sheet a single time this summer. I wear this moisturizer on days that I do wear makeup, as well as allllll of the days that I do not. And I’ve never once felt oily or shiny! 😲 I don’t have oily skin typically, usually I’m on the more dry side, but I always find myself reaching for blotting sheets in the summer months in years past. But I’m telling you, this stuff is like magic! My skin feels fresh and hydrated, but not greasy at all. (Even on the most humid days!) Oh, and it’s CLEAN, too! 👏🏼
And lastly, SUNCREEN! Rain or shine, your skincare routine is not complete without SPF. This summer, I’ve been loving Supergoop Glow Screen. Since I haven’t been wearing makeup 98% of the time, it’s the perfect amount of sheen to almost give you an IG Filter IRL! I will say though… It f*cking stings when it gets in your eyes. (Which is, like, daily when you’re wearing SPF and sweating everyday.) I’m the biggest Supergoop Stan and swear by so many of their products, and Glow Screen is truly the only one that’s ever made my eyes sting. I don’t want to sound dramatic, obviously I still use and love the product, but just FYI. I’m also obsessed with their Unseen Sunscreen and SuperScreen Daily Moisturizer, and neither of those have ever given me the eye waters.
Another sunscreen that I’ve been loving this summer is the SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion. Compared to Glow Screen, Physical Fusion has no sheen or shimmer at all… It’s a matte tinted formula, so it more so just evens out your complexion, sort of like a light, tinted moisturizer. (FYI: It’s also included in the 15% off promo with code SKINC15!)