I haven’t shared my skincare routine in a long time and I have all new favorites since then. I also feel like my skin has been in pretty good shape in the last year because I’ve found what works for me and have stuck with it religiously. I’ve even gotten to a place where I don’t regularly wear foundation! That’s huge for me.
I call this “affordable” with hesitation. Affordable is such a subjective term and I don’t usually love when bloggers use it, particularly to describe things that are absolutely not affordable – “just” $49 for a tank top? “Just”? Come on. That said, all of these products are less than most of what you’ll find at Sephora and some are cheaper than drugstore products. So let’s say affordable compared to a lot of what’s out there in the skincare category, okay?
For some background on my skin type, I’m 31 and still breakout prone (especially around my chin and on my cheeks). I had cystic acne as a teenager and did two rounds of Accutane – one at 14 and again at age 19. This made my skin way more dry than it used to be. Though I don’t get cystic acne anymore, I still get hormonal breakouts. I’m starting to see some signs of aging.
My skin is super sensitive and I regularly break out when trying new products. I try to stick to clean products that rate low on the EWG ratings but will bend the rules when something works really well. I don’t use anything that has parabans. I also cannot use retinols because I’ve been either pregnant or breastfeeding for most of the last two years.
My skincare goal is always to have the clearest possible skin and to be fighting signs of aging. Here’s how I’m doing that…
Morning Skincare Routine
Splash water on my face. I don’t use face wash in the morning. I wrote about this a while back – the gross change I made to my skincare routine. I think this is a game changer for dry skin. It has kept my face from getting dry and flaky for the past few winters.
My first step is that I apply Maelove’s The Glow Maker. It is a potent vitamin C serum that is supposed to be a great dupe for the Skinceuticals CE Ferulic Serum that is $166! I’ve been using this for a year and the texture of my skin has improved and I did not get any melasma this pregnancy even though I did with my first (vitamin c is supposed to help with dark spots).
Next I apply about a drop of Hylamide SubQ Skin (made my Deciem, the company that makes The Ordinary) to my forehead, eye area, and outer cheeks (where I’m seeing some fine lines). This is a pepetide serum that is supposed to be anti-aging so I put it where I’m seeing aging. It’s basically one step up from The Ordinary Buffet which is still good but this has a better texture and is oil-free.
I let this sink in for a few minutes.
Then I apply Maelove The One Cream to my entire face. I love this moisturizer because it sinks in well and leaves the skin hydrated but not sticky. It works beautifully under makeup. It has kept my face perfectly balanced and doesn’t cause breakouts.
I then wait a few minutes and apply my makeup. Lastly I finish off with either The Honest Co. Tinted Lip Balm in Summer Melon or Chapstick Total Hydration Tinted Balm in Nude Pink. I love both of these so much! The Honest Co. Tinted Lip Balm is more pigmented and has a thicker texture on the lips but I actually think it’s less moisturizing.
Evening Skincare Routine
Wash face with Neutrogena Ultra-Gentle Foaming Face wash. I don’t LOVE the ingredients (it isn’t fragrance-free) but it works well and seems to agree with my skin. I’ve tried other cleansers and always come back to this one. Of note, I have literally never (NEVER) slept with makeup on. I wash my face every night, no matter what.
Apply a drop or two of The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Serum to my chin and cheeks. Being consistent about this has definitely helped clear up my skin. I always thought Salicylic acid didn’t work on my skin but it’s just because I was using it as a spot treatment and not consistently as a part of my skincare routine.
Apply two drops of Hylamide SubQ Skin serum to forehead, eye area, and outer cheeks.
Wait a few minutes for all of that to sink in.
Next I apply Maelove The Night Renewer to my entire face, avoiding eye area. This is probably the one product among these that I feel the strongest about. It’s so good. It contains a high content of glycolic acid and has helped keep my skin clear and really improved dryness. It’s supposed to help with fine lines as well.
I then apply Maelove The Eye Enhancer to the eye area. Fun fact: this was sent to my by accident in my first Maelove order over a year ago. I didn’t buy it. Well good job them because they got me hooked! Plus, that one jar lasted me 11 months! This is the most moisturizing eye cream you’ll ever find. In fact, it’s almost too much so I only apply it at night. In the morning your eye area will still feel moist. The only downside is that it’s almost sticky because it’s so moisturizing.
If my skin is on the dry side, I’ll let all of that sink in for a bit and then I’ll put a few drops of The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane on my hands and pat/press it in to my face. Squalane feels like an oil but it’s not technically an oil. It’s non-comedogenic so if you’re breakout prone, it’s a great oil like moisturizer that might still work for you. I do this in the morning on occasion if I’m really dry or looking for a dewy makeup look.
I then take one drop of Organic Castor Oil and put it on the tips of my middle fingers and then carefully put it on my eyelashes. They have fancy eyelash serums and whatnot but I figure any type of moisture/conditioner for the eyelashes is better than nothing. You could also buy an empty mascara tube and put castor oil in it but I’m too cheap and this way works. I’ve noticed less fallout since I started doing this. I also use this mixed with some coconut oil as a hair mask.
Lastly, I apply Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask. It looks like since I bought it (one tube lasts forever) they have reformulated it and the new formula isn’t getting such great reviews. I’m not sure I’ll repurchase.
So that’s it. That’s my daily skincare routine. I try to make sure that everything I’m adding has research behind it and I know the purpose of putting it on my skin.
I’m also careful to apply products in the right order so they are effective. Some products don’t play nice together so you have to be careful with layering. A general rule is to apply thinnest to thickest in terms of consistency and to be careful with Vitamin C because a lot of ingredients can make it less effective.
You might notice that there is no sunscreen here (slaps own wrist). They discontinued my favorite sunscreen and I’ve been on the hunt for a good one ever since.
Have you tried any of these products? Am I missing a game changing product in my routine?