My Evening Skincare Routine

I can talk forever about skincare. It matters a lot to me because my skin isn’t naturally great, and I work pretty hard to keep it in good shape. It’s taken me years and endless hours of research, blog reading, video watching, and sampling to get where I am now. Pull up a chair (who am I kidding, you’re probably already sitting) and make yourself comfortable. This is my evening skincare routine and it’s a doozy. Not the best topic for me to try and be concise. My skin is in the best shape it’s ever been, so without further ado, here are the how’s and why’s of my evening skincare routine:

So first up is how. This is how I treat my skin every evening:

1. Makeup removal
2. Cleanse
3. Acid Tone
4. Hydrate
5. Eye Cream
6. Face Oil
7. Moisturize

This is a lot of steps. The reality is, like all good things in life, sometimes you really have to work for it. My husband? He never NEVER washes his face. When I asked him about it, he said “does the shampoo running down my face count?”. And his skin is FLAWLESS. We joke that he gets one blemish a year, then he’s got 364 more days of clear skin. It’s just genetics. He couldn’t put less effort into his skin if he tried. I can’t get away with that, so I put a little more effort in. I sit for 20 minutes every morning putting my face on. I like sitting down to do makeup, so if I put that much time in, I can’t expect to undo it all in a minute or two. These seven steps take me about 10 minutes each night, but it’s been the best investment in my skin so far.

The first step in any good skincare routine is makeup removal. Sorry to burst your bubble (one I lived in for a very very very long time) but one wash with a foamy-or-acne-oriented face wash is not going to clean your skin. It’s going to mush around all the makeup and bacteria on your face, and if you are really lucky, it will strip you of any natural protection your skin has built further irritating and annoying your skin. Mascara, foundation, sunscreen, powder, blush, eyeshadow… that’s a lot of shizz to remove with one foamy wash. It won’t happen.

First things first- I use two washcloths every night. Yep. Two. One removes my makeup, and one cleans my skin. I’ll do a full-on makeup removal post in the future, but trust me, the $2 per cloth you’ll spend will be well worth it.

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Then I apply my makeup remover of choice (Clinique Take the Day Off Balm-holy grail product status by the way) to my dry skin and massage my face for at least a minute. This balm turns oily on the skin and since oil dissolves oil (#science) my makeup starts lifting from my skin and dissolving with the balm. I remove it with a warm, damp cloth (see the grungy top one in the photo above).

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Next, I clean my skin. This is where the magic happens. If I hadn’t taken the time to properly remove my makeup, I’d never get anywhere near my skin due to the amount of product I put on every morning. Even though I remove my makeup, when I cleanse my face, I still pull┬ámakeup and filth off with the second step. Further proof that a second cleanse is necessary. If you do not wear makeup (or sunscreen- sunscreen needs removed just like makeup) then you can skip the Clinique TTDO Balm and go straight to cleansing.

I’ve tested MANY a skin cleanser. I keep 2 or 3 on hand at all times because skin changes condition every day, but the one I like the most is by NUDE Skincare. The consistency is very thick, but as it warms up on skin, it has more slip. I apply this to my dry face (after makeup removal) and massage again for at least a minute. Again, using an oil based cleanser pulls up any remaining makeup and dissolves the oils on my face. This cleanser is SUPER gentle and I remove it just like I do the makeup remover- warm, damp washcloth.

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My life really changed when I realized that cleaning my skin did not mean it had to feel squeaky, tight, and dry. Those used to be the signs I looked for that my skin was clean, and just thinking about it now makes me shed a perfectly-timed tear. No skin should feel that way after you’ve cleaned your skin. It should feel soft and smooth and happy. Yep-happy. Also, because I’ve now removed my makeup with one cloth, then my skin cleanser with another, I’ve physically exfoliated my face twice. No need for any of those crazy battery powered face sanders. Gentle exfoliation with a cloth and a little bit of elbow grease is all a girl needs for great skin.

Speaking of exfoliation, the next step in the routine is acid-toning. This means a light chemical treatment┬áthat helps your skin absorb products to follow and keeps your skin looking fresh. If you have very dry, dull looking skin and you do not use a chemical exfoliant (acid toner) I guarantee that if you added one to your routine, you’d have new looking skin in a week or so. The important thing to know here is that acid toning uses acids (yes, I know, hello captain obvious), not alcohol to treat the skin. I cannot and will never use an alcohol based toner on my face (they are commonly known as astringents). They dry me out, they irritate my skin, and they are just generally aggressive and unhelpful. An acid, on the other hand, helps my skin retain moisture and makes sure my skin is healthy and balanced. There are approximately 1279 variations and types of acids. I use lactic acid. It’s mild enough I can use it every day, and it’s powerful enough that I don’t have weird dry patches or dullness. This is where experimentation is key. I use the Facial Radiance Pads by First Aid Beauty. I love them. After I cleanse and my skin is dry, I swipe this all over my face, neck, and chest, flip the pad and do it again.

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There is no burning. If I have an active breakout, it might sting for a second, but KILL THAT BACTERIA!

During the winter months, I baby my skin with this next step (which is a treat, not strictly necessary) and spritz my face with a floral spray. It helps retain moisture and just feels luxurious and pampering.

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You can see from the bottle level that I LOVE this product. Tata Harper is really my favorite brand right now. They use food-grade ingredients and so far, not a single product I’ve tried has irritated my skin or caused a breakout (which in and of itself is a miracle).

While the spray dries, I swipe on my eye cream. I’ve been using this one by Clinique, and it’s definitely on the heavier side of eye creams, which I like. I swipe it under, and over my eyes, paying attention to my browbone. It’s a nourishing little treat.

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Once my skin is dry, I swipe on this face oil (again by Tata Harper) and pat it in using my fingers. All over my face. All over. It’s the best.

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It’s light enough it absorbs into my skin, but heavy hitting enough that it works.

As you all know, I’m a disciple of Caroline Hirons. She mentioned once that she spends the most money on the ingredients closest to her skin- cleansers, treatments, serums, etc, because in theory, by the time you get to moisturizer, your skin should already have all it needs to be happy and healthy. I was really skeptical about that at first because I was a foaming face wash followed by loads of moisturizer girl and I didn’t understand how my dry and irritated skin could ever live without moisturizer. I’m here to tell you that I own some, but I only have to use it intermittently. I don’t even have to moisturize in the mornings most days, and that’s basically unheard of for me. So I splurge on all the products above, and scrimp on moisturizer. I’ve been using this one for ages and I like it.

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And finally, in what has become an incredibly long-winded and overblown post, my last step:

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Nuxe Reve de Miel lip balm. This stuff is amazing. Really. It’s not slippy or oily, and it the best pre-lipstick balm ever. If you have chapped or sore lips, this stuff is your savior. I love it.

So there you go. All the babies posing together for a photo:

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It’s a lot. But you know what? It works for me. My skin is happy. I’m even researching another product to build in- probably something with retinol because I’m 30+ now and it will be great for my skin in the long run. Ultimately, each person should do what works best for them, but I love my routine. So much so that it hasn’t changed in over two months, and for a beauty and skincare addict like myself, that’s saying A LOT.

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