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A Detailed Deep Dive Into My Current Skincare Routine

current skin care top pic
All about retinol these days, babes.

I’ve been meaning to do an updated skin care routine breakdown, and today seems like a good day for it. But before I jump in, I feel like I should let you that I’m standing in my bathroom right now looking into my cabinet, which stands just behind and above the toilet, and having PTSD flashbacks of my Velvet Teddy lipstick falling into the toilet. 🙄

I keep hearing that *plunk* over and over again…

That said, here we go!

Everything I’m doing in my routine now revolves around how sensitive my skin is feeling on any given day, because I started using a retinol with vitamin C recently. It’s called Kate Somerville Retinol Vitamin C Power Serum, and I’m trying to ramp up slowly to be able to use it seven days a week. Right now, I’m at three days, and I find that introducing it slowly over weeks and watching everything else that I use in conjunction with it allows me to keep going without my skin turning red or freaking out.

Morning routine

In the morning, I’ll wash one of two ways. If my skin’s feeling extra tight and red and sensitive and angry, then I’ll do a few splashes of warm water on my bare face, then gently blot with a towel. If, on the other hand, my skin’s feeling OK, then I’ll use a squirt or two of Clinique Redness Solutions Soothing Cleanser directly on bare skin (I’ll work it in with my fingers). Then I’ll remove it with a washcloth dampened with warm water. After that, I’ll do a few splashes of ice cold water to help me wake up.

At that point, I’ll wait…usually between 30 minutes and an hour (depends on how much time I have and what I’m doing in the morning), and then I’ll apply all of my skin treatments.

I wait because I want my skin to be completely dry before I put anything aggressive on there, because if I don’t wait, and my skin is wet when I apply a BHA or benzoyl peroxide, they’ll just aggravate it even more.

So. Completely dry!

current skin care routine
It’s less complicated than it looks, I swear!

At that point, I’ll do an eye cream. (Right now I’m using this one by Nyakio, and I think it’s just “eh.” I’ll replace it eventually with something else when I get around it.) Then I’ll use two pumps of my ride-or-die Kate Somerville Anti Bac Acne Clearing Lotion all over my face to prevent the pimples from taking over.

After that, I’ll apply a thin layer of Avène XeraCalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Cream (which has been my skin savior ever since I introduced the retinol), followed by a healthy dollop of sunscreen, specifically Clinique Super Defense Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20 for Very Dry to Dry Combination Skin.

Sometimes, before I do the two pumps of Anti Bac, if I feel like my skin can handle it, I’ll do a little with Fresh Black Tea Kombucha Facial Treatment Essence, just because I like to sneak some exfoliation in during the day if I can. I’ll do that two or three mornings a week, so it’s not an everyday thing for me.

Fast forward to the evening…

First, a double cleanse. On completely dry skin (as in my makeup is still on), I’ll massage an oil cleanser on my face and eyes to break everything down. I like DHC Deep Cleansing Oil or Fresh Seaberry for this.

At that point, I’ll take a clean, warm washcloth and gently wipe everything off. Next, I’ll do a second cleanse with either Clinique Redness Solutions Soothing Cleanser, if I haven’t been wearing a ton of makeup, or if I haven’t been sweating; or the H2O Plus Elements Keep It Fresh Cleanser. I use that one when I’ve been wearing a little more makeup, or if I’ve been perspiring a lot. It’s just a stronger, more potent gel cleanser.

Again, I wait from 30-60 minutes (this generally depends on how tired I am), then apply eye cream, and I’ve been using this one called Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Supercharged Complex.

It’s OK… I’ve yet to find an eye cream that blows my mind.

If it’s a Tuesday, Thursday or Sunday, that’s when I’ll do one pump (just one) of the Kate Somerville Retinol on my face and neck. Then I’ll follow that up with the Avène Xera Calm, and I’ve also been doing this other thing lately, which has really helped with the sensitivity on my cheeks: On top of the Avène, I apply a layer of Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask only on my cheeks, and that really seems to help with the redness, soreness and sensitivity the next day.

Then, on the other days of the week, I’ll use Kate Somerville Anti-Bac, then the Avène or Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Cream for Dry Skin.

Eventually, I’m hoping to ramp up the retinol to seven days a week and add a glycolic or BHA toner into the mix, because I know my skin likes them, but it just can’t handle the full arsenal at the moment. I’m going to keep going slowly over the next few months so my face doesn’t freak out.

OK, whew! I know this probably sounded complicated, but really, my general skin care rule is to keep things simple (really, it is!). Like, I can’t do a 12-step routine. They’re just too much for me. I don’t have the time, and my skin doesn’t respond well to too much stuff.

So yeah, that’s my routine right now!

If you feel like it, please share your skin care routine in the comments. I’d love to hear what you’re doing now. Do you have any skin care app recommendations, product recs or kick-butt combos? Do you alternate among a list of different treatments? Do you and your dermatologist text on a daily basis? I want all the deets!

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


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