Sunday, September 8, 2013

What Do You Use On Your Skin?

This post contains both products purchased by 
me and samples sent for consideration

What Do You Use On Your Skin?

It sounds like an easy enough question to answer. Yet, every time I am asked the question, I don't quite know how to respond. The reason is largely due to my combination skin, which forces me to use different types of products on different parts of my face, or address certain concerns as they arise. The answer may also change depending on what type of makeup I'm wearing that day, and how I prep my skin for the foundation I plan on wearing that day. Skincare does not have to be as complicated as I make it, but I am kind of obsessed with my skin. Each night, I assess it to see what it needs. Each morning, I consider what my base will be and choose accordingly. First of all, let me just state that I am not, nor do I pretend to be an expert in skincare. I am not a dermatologist nor am I telling anyone to run out and buy any of the products mentioned in this post. I will say, that I have practiced a very regimented skincare routine from a very young age, and I know what works for me. It actually takes me longer to get ready for bed each night, than it does to get ready most mornings because of my lengthy skin analysis habits. As a teen, I did some modeling after attending Barbizon Modeling School (I know...). During my "schooling", they drilled into our brains the importance of skincare so much, that I became terrified that if I didn't follow the proper cleanse, tone, moisturize regimen laid out for me that I would wake up with horrible skin.  While, terrifying teens is a bit much, I am actually really grateful for the good habits that stuck.  Now in my mid 30s, my skin looks pretty good for my age. I'm not saying I have perfect skin, trust me I don't, but I do work hard to put my best face forward. 

Like so many people, the two things I combat are acne and aging. During the times where my acne is under control, I switch to my anti-aging products. When my acne flares up, I use products to treat it. Common sense right? Not really. There are so many products on the market these days, that most people end up wasting a lot of money on products that don't work.  For every skincare article I read, I find another one that contradicts it. All I know, is this is what works for me. These products will not work for everyone, because each person should use a product formulated for his or her skin type. However, since I have combination skin, there are products listed below that may help with a variety of skin types.  You may note that I use products from a variety of brands. While some people frown upon mixing brands, in my opinion it is no different than mixing different designers in fashion as long as you know the active ingredients to look for. Certain active ingredients when placed together can render one inactive, or worse create irritation.  It is important to be knowledgeable about what you are putting on your skin,and make the right choices for your unique situation. While the products I use change from time to time, the following list contains a good mix of old favorites and new loves. I've tried to narrow it down by product type in case you want to skip ahead.

These are some of the products I'm currently using:

Cleanser: Kiss My Face Potent & Pure Clean For a Day Creamy Face Cleanser
Why?: It is a very gentle soap-free formula that doesn't irritate my sensitive skin. It cleanses, hydrates and removes makeup. This is a creamy formula with a light vanilla citrus scent.  It is made with organic ingredients and leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth.

Toner: Neal's Yard Remedies Frankincense Hydrating Facial Mist
Why?: While the jury is out on if toners are actually necessary, I have used toner since I was a teen and consider it an important part of my skincare regimen.  Unlike the alcohol laden toners of yesterday, this one is hydrating and gentle enough for all skin types. This can also be sprayed on over makeup to refresh your foundation later in the day.

Exfoliate: Nuance by Salma Hayek Ageless Clarity Daily Resurfacing Pads
Why?: These pads contain Alpha Hydroxy Acid, Lactic Acid & Vitamins A & C.  You apply after cleansing, allowing the product to sit on the skin for up to three minutes before rinsing. This product is gentle enough to use daily, and I prefer it to a physical exfoliation such as a scrub. I've tried higher end brands, and find this one does the job just as well for a fraction of the price.

Treat: Murad Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum
Why: This product contains 2% Hydroquinone and when I use it consistently, I have seen a noticeable reduction in my hyper-pigmentation and freckles.

Acne Spot Treatment: Nuance by Salma Hayek Correcting Spot Treatment
Why?: This is a 10% sulfer acne treatment ideal for treating the occasional blemish. I do not like this as an allover treatment because it can be drying. However, if I get one stubborn blemish, and apply a small amount of this at night, by morning the blemish is gone or significantly reduced.

Eye Cream: Tarte Maracuja C-Brighter Eye Treatment
Why?: While a lot of people think eye creams are overpriced moisturizers, this one just works for me. It is filled with antioxidants that combat free radical damage. The skin underneath my eyes tends to be pretty dry, and the one area of my face that has really started to show signs of aging. I honestly think this cream nicely hydrates my under eye area and leaves it with a brighter looking appearance. If you don't expect miracles from  your eye cream, and are realistic about what an eye cream can do, this is a great one to try. Plus it absorbs quickly, so you can apply makeup right after without any problems.

Face Oil: Mogador Certified Organic Argan Oil
Why?: Argan oil has so many wonderful uses. It can be applied to the face as a moisturizer, applied to hair and cuticles. I was using Josie Maran's version, which I liked, but the price was just too much. After a little research, I found this gem, which has all of the same benefits at a fraction of the price. The bottle pictured here is my backup, but I have been using this specific brand for over a year now, and it continues to be a favorite. I certainly don't mind paying up for quality, but this product seems to be exactly the same as higher priced versions I've tried.

Moisturizer: Nuance By Salma Hayek Ageless Clarity Acne Treatment Moisturizer
Why: When I'm dealing with breakouts, regular moisturizers can be too much sometimes.  Anything too emollient creates more acne. This product which contains lactic acid, tepezcohuite & calendula extract soothes my irritated skin, and treats breakouts with salicylic acid while providing some hydration.

Protect: Murad Oil-Control Mattifier SPF 15 
Why?: This is a product I use mostly in my t-zone area. It helps keep oiliness at bay, while providing some hydration and SPF protection. This is a thicker consistency, but it dries to a non-greasy matte finish.  

Serum: Hourglass No 28 Primer Serum
Why: As the name implies, this is a primer/serum hybrid. It can be used both as a base for your makeup, or solo as a skin care treatment. This product is very hydrating, so I tend to use it on the drier patches of my face, or if I am working with a mattifying foundation and need to create an extra barrier between my skin and foundation. 

Primer: IT Cosmetics No. 50 Serum Collagen Veil Anti-Aging Primer
Why?: This is another serum/primer hybrid, though I tend to favor this one as a true makeup primer. This product is hydrating and contains peptides, essential lipid-rich oils, vitamins, extracts and botanicals. It works so well, that I can use this instead of a moisturizer on most days.  However I am sure to never skip the addition of sunscreen. 

Night Cream: Green People Organic Base No Scent 24-Hour Cream
Why?: This omega rich facial cream is ideal for those with sensitive skin. In the winter, when my skin is particularly prone to dryness, I slather this on at night, and wake up with rejuvenated, hydrated skin. Plus, this product is completely vegan.

Makeup Artist Must Have: Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre 
Why?: Nearly every makeup artist has this in their kit. This is a great base for makeup, and the primary one I use for all beauty makeup.  It really smooths the skin, and is super gentle. This product is paraben-free and contains aloe vera.  It doesn't have any weird ingredients that will interact with other things I put on my face, so I really like this as a basic daily moisturizer.

SPF: Stila CC Color Correcting Cream Broad-Spectrum SPF 20
Why?: This is the newest product in my skincare arsenal.  I love this because it protects my skin with SPF 20, while providing lightweight coverage.  The product dispenses as a green cream, that when blended adapts to your skin tone to help brighten the skin.  It is available in 6 different shades, and leaves skin with a matte to satin finish. Please keep in mind, this is not the sunscreen I wear if I am going to the beach (I wear a much higher SPF), but it works great for daily wear.  If  you like the idea of a makeup/skincare hybrid, this is a great one to try.

I hope this answers the question of what I use on my skin!  As I age, and new products come to market, I am sure the brands I reach for will change over time. However, I will probably always cleanse, tone, treat and protect.  What are your skincare must haves?  Any holy grail products you can't live without?

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*This post contains both products purchased by me, and products sent for consideration. I do not get paid to write reviews. All opinions are my own. Anything I write in this post is completely honest, and consists of products that I actually use on my skin. 


  1. first of all, thank you for posting about Mogador Argan oil. i've been looking for a lower cost alternative to Josie Maran so i'll have to check this out.

    next, have you tried the Murad acne spot treatment? if so, how would you say it compares to the Nuance you've been using? i've used the Murad for a while and really like it.

    1. great question! yes I have used Murad. the main differences between the two products is that Murad is a 3% sulfur treatment while Nuance is 10%. the texture of the products is also very different. Nuance is more like a thick paste while Murad is more of a lightweight gel. so I think it depends on when you will use it and how bad your blemishes are. I only use it at night (even though the tube says you can apply throughout the day). I find the Nuance version to work a little bit quicker as an overnight treatment, but if are going to use it during the day or more frequently stick to Murad. hope that helps!

  2. Wow! So many products I want to try, though I'm always scared to change up skin care. Thanks for all the many recommendations! I've been really curious about the Stila CC Cream, so it's nice to see someone mention it! :)


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