Thursday, February 11, 2016

Skincare situation

experimenting


I have skincare confusion. Ever since I turned thirty I've been feeling like I should have a more strategic skincare system. But figuring it out felt like such a barrier that I managed to put it off for over two years. My skin is fine. It's dry but not particularly sensitive and for years I've just been washing it with Philosophy's Purity face wash and then using a lotion with SPF during the day and a thicker lotion at night. I'm definitely noticing more lines and dark spots as I get older and this fall, in a fit of good intentions, I buckled down and read a bunch of articles online and then came up with my own plan. I researched options, loaded up my various online carts* and bit the bullet (wincing at the cost - apparently looking ageless comes at a price, which isn't really surprising).

I stuck with my little routine religiously for two months, but when I started running out of stuff I just switched over to slathering coconut oil on my face twice a day and you know what? Works just as well, as far as I can tell, except that it does a better job moisturizing and a $5 jar will last me an entire year, probably.

I now wash my face nightly with Purity, then put on a generous layer of coconut oil and let it sit while I brush my teeth, etc. I wipe off the excess gently with a washcloth before I go to bed, but only because I have bangs and prefer not to saturate them with oil while I'm sleeping. I don't soap my face in the morning, but I do wipe it down well with cold water, then rub in a thin layer of coconut oil and let it sit before putting on my moisturizer with SPF (still using that Aveeno stuff pictured above although I might go back to Neutrogena Healthy Defense once it's out).

Once a week I use the Microdelivery Peel system from Philosophy (I've actually been in love with this product for years but was never consistent about using it before) and follow it up immediately with a thick layer of coconut oil.

I was afraid initially that straight oil might clog my pores but I haven't had any issues with it and it's been three months now. Of course, your mileage may vary. As I mentioned, my skin isn't sensitive or prone to break outs, but it is extremely dry. Yay for cheap solutions!

I'm still open to suggestions, though, if you have anything you couldn't live without ...



* If you're curious, here's what was on my shopping list, what I ended up purchasing, and how I liked it:

A serum (with vitamin C, which is supposed to help with dark spots) - I picked Philosophy's When Hope is Not Enough serum and then bought their Vitamin C powder that you can mix in. Verdict - I went through the entire bottle of this and didn't notice any difference. Bummer, because I normally love their stuff, obvs.

A daytime lotion with brightening agents (vitamin C or soy) - I got Aveeno Positively Radiant in SPF 30. Verdict - it's fine, although I think I had an adjustment period where this made my face slightly red immediately after application (it would calm down within 20 minutes or so). I don't think this is the most moisturizing option, but when I'm pairing it with the oil it's fine. I haven't noticed the brightening effect, though.

A nighttime lotion with retinol (for fine lines) to use a few times a week - Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair. Verdict - I used this for a while several years ago and definitely noticed that my skin looked brighter and tighter, so it was a no brainer for me to go back to it. I haven't been great about using it the last few months because it's been so dry that I'm reluctant to risk making my skin any drier. I also don't love the feel or the smell, but as soon as the weather calms down I'm going to suck it up and try again.

An eye cream with retinol (ditto) - RoC Retinol Correxion, based on online reviews. Verdict - I've been inconsistent with this for the same reason as the lotion. It feels fine, though, so I'm more likely to use it nightly.

Weekly facial peel - I've been using Philosophy's Microdelivery peel every once in a while for years and looove it, so I stuck with it and just resolved to do it weekly and not feel guilty about it. Previously I was hoarding it but it's easier to justify the ridiculous expense when my other main facial product is coconut oil.

Not originally on my list, but I got it with my Sephora points at checkout and it turned out to be a lifesaver - Josie Maran's argan oil. Verdict - amazing, but the insane cost per ounce is what pushed me to give the coconut oil a try. I honestly don't find there to be a huge difference between the argan oil and the coconut oil in terms of outcome. The argan oil absorbs more quickly and you use less of it, but they ultimately moisturize equally well for me.



37 comments:

  1. I have been using BioOil as my only moisturizer for years now- a $14 bottle lasts for more than a year, and I sometimes use it as a body moisturizer as well, so... cheap. I love how it feels and think it makes a HUGE difference for skin tone. I've also been obsessed with using these Yes to Grapefruit exfoliating/brightening wipes every few days- they make my skin feel super smooth and I definitely notice a brighter complexion.

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    1. Oooh - I'll have to get those wipes! I like the Burt's Bees grapefruit wipes and always keep some in my duffel bag for camping trips or emergencies. But they aren't brightening.

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  2. There are a few argan oils on amazon that are very highly reviewed and are a fraction of the cost - many Josie Maran converts! I picked up the Pura d'or one last year and it's wonderful, has over 5K reviews, and is less than $20.

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    1. Thanks for the rec! I checked Amazon originally but was a little overwhelmed by all the back and forth about which ones are good and which ones are imitation and I gave up!

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  3. I tried coconut oil for a bit but was never consistent about its use. But I recently opened up a jar for cooking (desperate, ran out of olive oil) so maybe I'll give it a go again. I love that you have been posting more recently.

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    1. Thanks, hon! I'm not sure if I'll get back to a regular posting schedule, but it definitely feels nice to pop in here more often.

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  4. I do oil cleansing with pumpkin seed oil, follow with a spritz of rose water or aloe Vera juice and then Bee Yummy Skin Food (the BEST!!) and sometimes a drop or two of evening primrose or pumpkin seed oil (from Mountain Rose Herbs). I learned about this combo on Minimalist Beauty (she has a great article on the different acids in different oils and which ones might be best). It's made a huge difference in my skin and even in winter in the Midwest, my skin isn't dry anymore!!

    -Sally

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    1. That sounds lovely! I've never even heard of pumpkin seed oil. I'll have to check out that site.

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  5. A few months ago I started using jojoba oil as a moisturizer and haven't looked back since. I can get a good sized bottle at Trader Joe's for $7.99 and it lasts a while. I had an initial few days of mild breakout on my chin but once it cleared up I haven't had any issues since.

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    1. I tried jojoba oil a few years ago and it didn't seem to work well for me - I wonder if I gave up too soon or if I'm just not suited for it?

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  6. target carries a facial oil -- boots botanics organic facial oil -- that i've started to use and LOVE. it's not expensive (granted, not as cheap as coconut oil, but i don't like the way coconut oil sits on my skin, and jojoba oil isn't moisturizing enough), not too scented, and absorbs just right. i use it morning and night since my skin is dry because of a medicine i'm taking. i also love the hot cloth cleansing balm in the same line. feels luxurious and lasts forever!

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    1. I use that facial oil as well - it's amazing!

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    2. Oh, double recommend! I'll have to check it out next time I'm in Target. I haven't heard of that line before.

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    3. I also use it and really like it. I just wish they sold it in larger containers, though I've honestly have had it for awhile and it's lasted (though I only put it on at night). It's a good size for traveling, though.

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  7. Does the oil leave a residue on your pillow or does it absorb the way moisturizer does? I can just see myself tracking oil everywhere!

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    1. I haven't noticed any issues with it, but I also apply it a little bit before I go to bed, so it has time to soak in, and I do wipe off the excess with a dry washcloth before I lie down. But I definitely haven't seen any oil spots or anything on the pillows!

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  8. I'm loving all the posts recently, Rachel! Long time reader, though I've never commented. I've been a bit obsessed with skincare recently. I'm 32 and seem to have aged exponentially in the past year!:(
    From what I understand, it's important to use an antioxidant serum + sunblock + retinoid for maximum anti-aging benefits. I would love to try the Skinceuticals CE ferulic vitamin C serum, but it's so dang expensive (and apparently oxidizes quickly). I've recently switched to a physical sunblock, as I'm concerned that the chemical filters (like avobenzone) might not be providing the best UVA protection throughout the day. That's a whole confusing topic and it seems like there are a lot of differing opinions out there.
    I'm also using a Neutrogena night cream with retinol, but eventually want to get a prescription retinoid.
    I don't have dry skin so I can't comment much on the oils, but I swear by the Trader Joe's jojoba oil for removing makeup and sunblock. I also use a Glycolic toner twice daily, which I think helps brighten and clear my complexion.
    Things I've been hearing about but probably won't try - snail mucus (!) and those pricey moisturizing sheet masks. There are just way too many options these days!

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    1. Same age, same feeling! I read the same thing re: the serum, sunblock, retinol system. I was trying the serum with vitamin C, but I just couldn't see any difference and the thought of continuing to pay for it was too much for me. I usually love Philosophy so I was surprised/discouraged that their serum + vitamin C seemed to have no effect! I should probably suck it up and look for another one, but ugh. Cost.

      Amazingly, I was just gifted a couple of those crazy snail masks (a friend just got back from Korea) and I think I'm going to try one this weekend although it skeeves me out a little. Okay, a lot. I'll report back if it's life changing.

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    2. Try Trader Joe's Antioxidant Facial Serum.

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    3. Thanks, Lindsay! Have you noticed a difference? One thing I kept reading was that antioxidants have a really short shelf life (which is why it was theoretically better to mix your own Vitamin C powder into serum instead of getting one with the antioxidants included) and with TJs I always wonder where they are actually getting their product, since they relabel everything. But if it's working for you, I'd be excited to check it out!

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    4. Korean sheet masks are super cheap on Amazon! I buy them in bulk for under $20 total. The Tony Moly ones in particular are great. I used the Skinceuticals CE ferulic Vitamin C serum for months and..nothing. I instead have switched to a cheap hyluronic acid serum and a separate cheap Vitamin C + ferulic acid serum, both from Amazon and I love them. I also love the serious cost savings because I have fallen down the Sunday Riley rabbit hole :( the Juno face oil and the Luna retinol serum have changed my life and it pisses me off that they're so expensive and actually work. Ugh.

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  9. I like acure organics marula oil.

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    1. Love that there are all these oil preferences! Is this one good for dry skin?

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  10. I used to be skincare obsessed, but lately I've gone WAY simpler. Sunscreen every single day (and a hat if I'm outside for a while), once a week Alpha Hydroxy peel from Paula's Choice (instant results!) and my best recommendation...get on a real deal retinoid ASAP! All I've read says that retinoids (like Retin-A) are world's better than retinols (like the drugstore stuff). I use Pocket Derm, and I pay about $15 a month for my retinoid, which also has Vitamin C. This is about the same price I was spending on Neturogena stuff and trips to Sephora, but it actually WORKS. I saw a difference in tone in about a month, and I plan to stay on it indefinitely. I'm 38, and stopped wearing foundation for the first time in forever...my skin is that good! So...my advice to myself at 30 would be, "Stop it with the Sephora splurges, keep up the sunscreen, get on a retinoid, eat well, done."

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    1. I have never heard of Pocket Derm and now I'm very intrigued! I am planning to ask for a derm referral when I see my doc next (I'm supposed to be getting annual mole checks anyways, so it's better for me to see someone in person) but otherwise I would be all over that! I will ask the derm about a real retinoid when I see him/her. So good to hear how effective it's been for you!

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  11. Definitely look into CeraVe products! I swear by them. I have dry skin as well.

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    1. I think my sister uses them! I've never really checked them out, but I'll have to take a look.

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  12. I just read Skin Cleanse, and her major points for cultivating good skin were:

    -eat your vegetables
    -figure out if sugar/dairy/wheat is aggravating things, and if it is, then bite the bullet and stop
    -coconut oil is a great idea
    -everyone is an individual, you have to be your own guinea pig and find what works
    -the beauty industrial complex is terrifying
    -make sure to check your sunscreen on the safety databases

    The problem I struggle with is getting lotion or coconut oil all over everything. If I'm supposed to slather on coconut oil after a shower, how do I avoid destroying my clothes? And what do I do if my hands are dry during the day? How do I avoid turning my computer into an oily mess?

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    1. Ha! The oil on everything is such an issue. For a while I was being really good about using coconut oil all over after a shower and my skin felt amazing. But it was a whole production because I'd have to get out of the shower, get the oil all over myself and then hang out in my cotton robe for a while, then wipe off the excess (and get into sweats, not clothes!), then clean up the floor. This kind of worked because I'm an evening shower-er, but it was such a pain that I only do it about once a week now and I stick with regular lotion the rest of the time.

      I did get this really great hand lotion that I keep on my desk and in the car, because it has sunscreen in it. It's super pricey but very thick, so it seems to last. It's the Forever Young hand cream from Supergoop.

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  13. Hey Rachel -- Great post! Bridget is definitely right about checking your sunscreen on the safety databases (ewg.org). I try to check everything I buy for my face on there.

    Right now I use a face oil blend I make myself. 4g argan oil, 4g evening primrose oil, 3g avocado oil* and 4-7 drops of lavender essential oil. It feels really nice on my skin and I think oils nourish your skin in a way lots of commercial moisturizers don't. It takes about 10 minutes to soak in. I also wash my face with a different oil blend. If you have super dry skin, that might be really good for you too. I use Be Natural Organics for that (and their sunscreen).

    Thanks for the post. If you find a serum you like, keep us posted!

    *During the summer when my skin isn't as dry, I use less avo oil. All the oils can be found at Whole Foods and they have little glass tincture jars to store the mix.

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    1. So impressed that you do your own oil mix! Do you have to buy all those oils in full size bottles and then mix them up at home? Does it take forever to use them up like that? I can't decide if I'm patient enough to figure out a blend that works for me.

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    2. They all come in 4 oz or small sizes, so I buy each and mix at home. I leave the primerose and avo oil in the fridge so they'll keep. I keep the argan in the bathroom b/c I put it in my hair. It takes a while to use up the oils but that just reduces the cost per mixed bottle. It goes faster if you use it as body lotion too.
      Also, figuring out the right blend isn't that difficult. You can tell right away if you have too much avo or not enough. You just mix using the 4-4-3 ratio. Then when you put it on, if your face feels tight, you add a little more avo to your blend (and remember for next time you're mixing); if the oil feels like it's just sitting on your face and not absorbing, you add more of the primrose and argan to your blend (and remember to use less avo next time). :)

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  14. You should try (diluted) apple cider vinegar as a toner. Using that and coconut oil has done wonders for my skin. Easy on the wallet, too!

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    1. Interesting! I don't use toner, but I'm all for using products that I already happen to have in the kitchen!

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  15. Whenever my skin feels dry or dull I take a little baking soda and mix it with a few drops of water and rub it all over my face. It acts as an amazing exfoliator, makes my skin incredibly soft and you can't get much cheaper than a box of baking soda.

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