Day dreaming of an evening skin pamper is what keeps me going post lunch! I am not kidding.. I get through discussions, type through my knuckles, huff and puff on the treadmill, all while thinking of that relaxing warm shower and my skincare routine waiting at home. Little things that make my (beauty obsessed) life light up!
After a rather detailed discussion on what makes up my morning skincare these days, here I am with another long and winding narrative of my (equally) detailed night time routine. I know I live in a cocoon because the “10 step Korean Skincare routine” is now a thing and mine sort of just about makes up 5, but I have only one face and I am already loading it up day and night so 10 is out of the question!
My skin is now a lot more calm and much less sensitive, so I usually look for products which are hydrating without being greasy and concoctions to keep the pores from clogging. A balanced skin is what I am looking to achieve. The products in the picture isn’t everything that goes on the skin. There is a bunch of products I have a special spot for in the dresser for a once a week treat or an SOS situation but they deserve a post of their own. I have previously discussed them here so you can have a look.
For a regular day, I start by removing all my makeup, layers of spf and grime with a couple of cotton pads soaked in Bioderma’s magic water a.k.a Sensibio Micelle Solution. This is now a step I don’t miss EVER before hitting the sack and also something I grab when i need a quick cleanup. This is a sensible person’s version of makeup wipes but so much more gentle and easy on the conscience! The Body Shop’s Vitamin E facial wipes have been a gym bag staple for years but recently I switched that with a bottle of Bioderma and some cotton and my skin is much less aggravated, red and sore. I think that has been a very crucial change for my skin and ever since I have had almost no breakouts and no under the skin bumps.
On days when I have mascara or stubborn concealer on, I go over with an eye makeup remover or a makeup removing oil. Either way I make sure all makeup is off my face and then second cleanse. Evenings are meant for those indulgent, massage-heavy, second cleanses that
sometimes often overturn dinner plans! For many many months my go-to second cleanser has been the Oskia’s Renaissance Cleansing Gel but recently I switched it with another Hydrating cleanser from Radical Skincare. This cleanser is not a balm, oil or a gel, it is in fact creamy and almost clay like in texture but feels very light on the skin. It lives up to its hydrating claims but since I have been so used to Oskia, this one feels very different and slightly less luxurious. It actually makes for a great one-step or morning cleanser thanks to its texture which is very easy to rinse off and very comfortable to use. I like it and the more that I have been using it I prefer this to all the other creamy cleansers in my stash, more specifically the Tata Harper Refreshing Cleanser. When compared to that this is more hydrating and something even oily skin types can enjoy. It cleanses away while still leaving the skin feeling normal, if that makes sense!
This is one step I never thought I’ll get to write about! I have never been into toners, inspite of desperately wanting to fall in love with one, I never really found something that did anything for me. My pores looked the same before and after, even weeks after the blackheads were still there in all their shining glory! Gradually, I starting using mists like Avene’s Thermal Spring Water and something more hydrating like the Forest Essential Pure Rose Water and I haven’t looked back. These facial sprays make up for that step in my routine where I get rid of the tap water and experience skin-level zen. Its more like a last rinse for the face, the purifying step. Recently, I cracked open a bottle of the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence and things having been looking further up! This is basically the mid-step between a toner and a serum and is supposed to help the products that go after to absorb better (and some such?) I have never bought into those claims but curiosity got better of me eventually!
I take a few drop of this fragrance free Essence in my palms and gently press it into my skin. A very after-shave kind of application method but I like doing this over soaking a cotton pad and wasting a lot of this precious liquid. Over the past month and more that I have been using it I see that usual redness around my T-zone has considerably reduced. The pores around the nose actually look more diffused and get concealed better. I don’t throw away such statements in a hurry and I am very cautious of not misleading anyone reading my review but, for the first few weeks I only used this under a simple moisturiser, just to judge it as a product and the results were quite obvious. I’ll have more on this soon.
As I mentioned here, I have recently started using the First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads every alternate night for the past week and I am actually quite enjoying it. I have never had a prior experience with chemical exfoliation so this was an unknown territory which I consciously kept away from for fear of upsetting my super sensitive skin. Now that my skin is back to being normal-combination and doesn’t flare up at the drop of a hat, I decided to give such contraptions a go. The FAB pads are alcohol free and contain a blend of Lactic and Glycolic acids, known skin helpers and exfoliators along with cucumber and other toning and soothing ingredients. The jury is still out on it but my first impression was that my skin felt smooth and soft, like I had freshly scrubbed it, except, I had not scrubbed it and there was no customary redness. I do feel that I don’t need to use it as often as I am so I’ll cut back and use it may be 2/7. Will report back in due course.
Serum & Oils
I have been a long time fan of the Estêe Lauder Advanced Night Repair and to me its the best overnight serum for immediate results. Recently, I have been trying out the Kiehl’s Powerful Strength Line Reducing Concentrate* and never have I felt more strongly for ANR! I think I am just a creature of habit and even when I stray and try other things I always compare them to my favorites. Its not fair for the product but it gives me a deeper sense of attachment to my favorite products! The Kiehl’s serum feels velvety and soaks in rather quickly but I am yet to see a difference after a month of using it. I definitely have budding fine lines around the eyes and mouth but I see no difference good enough to report. I probably need to give it some more time. While I am still iffy about it, I do think that serum “virgins” would like this one. Its not a lot cheaper than Estêe Lauder’s ANR (especially in India) and for those of you who are big fans of Kiehl’s or hate EL, give this a go!
On the other hand, Kiehl’s do make one of my favorite facial oils which consistently delivers. The Midnight Recovery Concentrate is a treat to use, day or night, and never fails to give me a glow! I am almost out of it and have a similar product to replace it with but, oh will it be missed! I do see myself repurchasing it once I run through some more skincare (or just plain miss it too much!) but for now this makes up for the perfect topping for all the essence and serum that goes before it and rounds off everything nicely. This oil is very lightweight hence works perfectly for layering without ever feeling heavy. Even on its own, this is a great one stop product for a night routine and I always wake up with perfected skin ready for the day!
I always thought summer was not the time for facial oils given how much oil the face was already producing pointlessly! Oils like Kiehl’s have helped change that mindset and I am pretty much only using oils at night, which means there has been nearly no need for moisturisers for evenings. I can layer max upto two products and beyond that things start to feel heavy and uncomfortable but on days when I feel extra parched or my skin seems to be acting up I usually skip all of the above and use my La Roche-Posay Toleriane Fluide moisturiser straight after a hydrating toner. This is my fall back plan whenever I think I need to give the skin a rest from all the skincare drama! Its lightweight, almost milky in consistency and very nourishing. Being formulated for intolerant skin, this is as gentle as it can get! It works well layered over serums when applying oil is just plain daunting.
I have actually been a lot less regular with eye creams in the evenings. Instead, I use eye creams or one in particular, the Pai Echium and Argan eye cream in the morning and for the evening I feel the serum and oil already make my skin pretty much set for the night. May be in a few years I’ll give a more heavy duty eye cream/serum a go and then report back. For now I am taking it easy around the eye area!
With a bunch of new stuff waiting to be explored and my endless wishlist getting even more endless as we speak, it takes a lot of self control on my part to not slap everything on the face all at once and instead go slow and “less” with skincare. It always helps to hold back and use only what one needs at a given point in time.