I am not a believer in the ‘shop by skin type’ rigidity exhibited by many skin care companies, consultants and by those of the media. Skincare is simply not that simple, and I have yet to read a compelling academic paper that proves oil production varies greatly amongst the human population. In my experience it is often a product in one’s skincare regimen that causes fluctuation in oil production from the baseline norm. To that point, people who have come to me with ‘oily’ skin were often using products targeted for ‘oily’ skin that were depriving their skin and exacerbating excessive oil production. Those with sporadic blemishes were often using products tailored for ‘acne-prone’ skin which were not only excessive but far more irritating than assistive.
It is in my opinion that most people should start with a ‘baseline’ skincare routine. After assessing the results, after a month or so changes can be made to tailor the routine to the individual. To be clear: Blemishes do not necessitate a product that says ‘blemishes’ on the label, nor does dehydrated skin necessitate thick creams. Only after skin is brought back to a natural ‘middle’ state should more targeted products be considered.
Step 1: Remove makeup
How does it work? A micellar water works by absorbing sebum and oils into molecular bubbles; a gentle cleansing agent often accompanies the micelles to deal with breaking-down makeup. As an added benefit, micellar waters are often less disruptive to the skin than makeup removers. Marcelle, L’Oréal and Garnier make excellent micellar waters. Use a thick, dense cotton pad in conjunction with the water; thin cotton rounds are weak and using multiple pads is wasteful and tedious.
Step 2: Cleanse
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser, $26
Why? A truly remarkable cleanser, this is effective yet gentle enough for all skin types. It balances oil production whilst maintaining the skin’s acid balance. The additional lipids in its formulation ensure skin is nourished. A tube will last a year or longer making this an inexpensive buy. While it does contain SLS this cleanser still receives my stamp of approval as an overall wonderful face cleanser.
Nude Purify Cleansing Wash, $35
Why? My cleanser of choice, Nude Purify is a remarkable face cleanser. I do recommend it over the Kiehl’s if only because it is more ‘natural’ and has no SLS. There is, however, the price difference to consider though neither is extravagant and both will last about six months to a year depending on usage. If you have always been more blemish-prone you may wish to choose this over the Kiehl’s, though both are excellent baseline ‘all around awesome’ cleansers.
Step 3: Hydrate
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream, $33
Why? Moisturizers are a difficult product to purchase because it is in their nature to be heavy, often to the point of irritation. This Kiehl’s cream sinks into skin while providing enough hydration to keep skin comfortable and balanced.
Marcelle Ultra Gentle Moisturizing Cream, $19
Why? A recent launch, Marcelle has achieved a lightweight texture that still manages to hydrate skin. This is the least expensive moisturizer I have discovered that is neither dreadfully greasy nor ineffective.
After skin has acclimated to a simple, gentle routine you can then assess which concern you wish to target.
Morning Twice-Weekly Tone
NIP + FAB Glycolic Fix Treatment Pads, $12
Why? An acid will quicken cell turnover resulting in less severe blemishes and improvements to skin’s texture and tone. Glycolic acid assists with surface-level exfoliation, salicylic acid aids in pore-level exfoliation, and lactic acid breaks down the bonds between dead skin cells. Hyaluronic acid aids in boosting hydration levels.
Fresh Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil, $59
Why? A face oil is often a more effective method in balancing oil production and boosting moisture levels. Antioxidants found in plant oils aid in reducing inflammation which—when left unchecked—can lead to premature aging and more frequent blemishes. A face oil can be used prior or in lieu of a traditional moisturizer. (I use Fresh Seaberry in the evening and a traditional moisturizer in the mornings).