Given my fleeting taste in makeup, fashion and most things in life I was plenty surprised when I found my skincare routine had stuck for months. No more four bottles of cleansers, five bottles of face oils, and ten tubes of face masks! Things have been constant for the past (let me see.. Sep, Oct..) FOUR months (!) and going strong. ‘Constant’ being the operative word here because this routine is not streamlined or concise in any frame of reference. I thought I’ll write an essay and explain whats up!
I don’t find it easy to talk about single products. Thats just how I am. I never use one product in isolation so its hard to tell what actually worked. That said, sometimes when a certain combination fails I know which few products will come to rescue! That’s one reason why you see me talk more about “routines” and “favorites” than single products. I just cant!
My skin for most parts of the year has been balanced, sitting somewhere between dry and combination with spells of dehydration whenever I neglected it. Nevertheless, I ended up with more and more products in my routine to treat dehydration because that I have come to blame for every skin problem I have ever had. Also, totally unintentional but my skincare routine currently comprises primarily Natural/Organic products. What started with Oskia’s Renaissance Cleansing Gel is now a full blown love-affair with all thing packaged in pristine bottles with clean ingredients that keep everything but my wallet happy! I wish the good stuff was more affordable (or atleast I could look past packaging!) and more importantly, easily available. Thanks to my usual online hangouts, CultBeauty and FeelUnique, I can get most of my supplies delivered but I dread to think of the day when this luxury expires!
A word of caution; I am cuckoo for skincare so I have dumped all my life savings (or equivalent) on tiny bottles of face oils. This does not mean I promote it or imply that you should do the same. Its a personal thing, expensive skincare over designer handbags, everytime!
Don’t look surprised when I tell you that my cleanser BFF is Oskia’s Renaissance Cleansing Gel. Thats a given by now. Oskia and Tata Harper’s Refreshing Cleanser together sort me out both in the am and pm. If it has been a makeup-wearing-day I first remove it with some Bioderma, wait a few seconds and then use one of the cleansers. A beautiful thing about TH’s Refreshing cleanser is that its texture, although clay based, is so mild and gentle that it adapts itself to my needs and works equally well in the evening as it does as a morning cleanse. Never strips my skin of moisture never makes it greasy, it does as it says, refreshes and cleanses the skin for the day/night ahead.
I am constantly (half-heartedly) trying to find a cleanser to replace the TH but nothing comes close. I am now on Bottle Number 2.
This is something I am still unsettled on . While I don’t practically use a “toner” (which has a blurred definition anyway) I do love to use “toning water” (my guess: milder more forgiving versions of the original) or “thermal water” (A gift to the beauty world from the French). Pure unadulterated Rose water has been steadfast in my routine for over a year now and one which I attribute my general skin wellbeing to. I am not sure whats it about Rose water or roses in general (soothing, hydrating, toning anyone?) but I am pretty sure its the reason why I have fewer dry areas than I used to and a largely softer, blemish free complexion.
I recently bought a brand new bottle of Kama Ayurveda’s Rose Water Toner after I finished all my back-ups of Forest Essentials. This is a good one, I mean its the same thing but the big bottle comes with a pump (no more decanting and wastage) and cost a tiny bit less. Also, that brown apothecary (Aesop-esque) bottle gets extra browny points from me.
MV Organic’s Rose Plus Booster is by far the max I’ve spent per ml on a beauty product! It puts me right there among the nut-jobs in my family but I don’t care. When I first got this and applied a few drops too much and I hated it; Almost instantly regretted dropping so much cash on this tiny bottle (also, no fireworks? what?). I had shelved it for a more appropriate time which came soon enough after my trip in October. This time I was prepared; I sprayed my face sparingly with some rose water then took exactly 4 tiny drops of the oil and massaged it on to wet skin et voilà! The slightly damp skin distributed the oil infinitely better and a little restraint on the number of drops meant I wasn’t turning my face into an oil well.
This has been my preferred method to apply oils ever since and its nothing short of a little beauty discovery of my own. Given how expensive this tiny bottle is I have now kept it aside as a special-events-only treat and on the regular I use one of the other more affordable oils.
Aesop’s Fabulous Oil is one such option. I think this oil is magical! For blemished or redness-prone skin this works like a charm and the texture is perfect to suit a lot of skin types; not too thin or not too thick, just right. I am not the biggest fan of the smell but after a few nights (and days in my case) I don’t mind it so much. I think I don’t have a nose for strong herbal smells so do give it a sniff yourself before you decide to avoid this.
Another one (not in the picture) that I adore is the Clinique Turnaround Revitalizing Treatment Oil. I got it way back in July-August as a replacement for Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate (what was I thinking?) but it never quite lived upto expectations. That changed when I started using it in the morning mixed with my regular moisturiser and I have been using it like that ever since! This is a great way to dew-ify my skin in the morning sans highlighters and also keeps any dry patches in check. Cannot say much about its radiance claims but it sure doesn’t turn my skin oily and keeps it glowing all day! As with all Clinique products, this has zero fragrance and no parabens.
See, so many oils!
I have had two new additions to my moisturiser stack. MV Organics Rose Soothing and Protective Moisturiser is now my day time moisturiser of choice. Its a bit tricky to use because its really thick and if you were to apply it to bare/dry skin you’d hate it. Because its so dense it can feel tacky on dry skin and its also one of those which almost immediately disappears before you can properly spread it on your face. Again, Rose water to the rescue: I pump out some of the MV moisturiser, add a few spritzes of rose water, make a paste and massage it all over my face and neck. This makes it more emollient but adds a few seconds to the disappearing time. Once settled, it plumps the skin, mattifies it (a good thing for oily skin people) and primes it for any makeup application afterwards.
The ingredients list for nearly all MV Organics products is short and sweet making them a fail safe option for us ingredient-noobs.
Another fantastic moisturiser which sat proudly among my 2015 favorites is the Trilogy Rosapene Night Cream. This was one of those products I had very little expectations from thanks to the earlier disappointments I have had in the name of night creams! Luckily, its the nicest I have used, ever. I had a sample of the Aurelia Night Cream which left me pretty underwhelmed, and the story repeats itself with most of the other natural moisturisers that I have tried. They either have too much of a smell, too thick, greasy or too expensive. Trilogy has steered clear from all of these night-cream stereotypes and created an affordable, hydrating and wonderful night cream that I couldn’t have bettered even if I tried! The key ingredient here is Rosehip oil which works pretty well with my skin and Manuka honey. Except for the additional fragrance that this contains its pretty much a prefect product!
Tata Harper’s Resurfacing Mask is the latest to join the mask-squad. I am very particular about cost per ml (except a few lapses like above) and TH’s Resurfacing mask is a BIG lapse. But, now there is big BUT here (pun intended), this is not your usual acid exfoliation which the likes of REN and Oskia deliver (rather beautifully at that). This one tightens around the skin and when I remove it I can actually see a layer of gunk coming off (TMI!). Again a natural, organic, clean formulation which is less threatening than it sounds (resurfacing? for God’s sake!).
I still have a third of my Oskia Renaissance mask left and I have been alternating between the two. Admittedly, I cannot really justify having both the Oskia and TH masks in my stash. Essentially, they do the same thing i.e, exfoliate gently, but if I had to recommend one, I think I’d still go with Oskia. Its at a better price point (although marginally) and feels more gentle on the skin unless a skin-tightening-mask is your idea of an at-home pamper sesh. I have since tried a lot of Tata Harper’s products, through some goody bag or travel kit, and I have not been as impressed with the other stuff. It could be just me but again the heady fragrance in everything else just doesn’t please me!
Among such heavy-weight exfoliating masks, my clay-mask stash has been royally ignored. The reason is my skin which tends to be drier now than in summer and with most issues sorted by exfoliation there isn’t much need for clay action. That said, I love a bit of hard-core blackhead-banishing routine which the Caudalie’s Detox Mask does perfectly. Its intense, of course, but effective and very potent. I apply it only on my nose and chin and avoid everywhere else and go over with a different mask on those areas (heard of multi-masking? I thought so!)
I wanted to take a moment and send a virtual hug across to each and everyone of you who’ve stuck around (just like my skincare routine ha!) and have the nicest things in the world to say to me! It absolutely makes my day, week, month and has become a drug that I’m living off! I am pretty pumped about blogging this year and you can expect a lot more coming through soon. Please send in your feedback and requests so I know what you’d like to read!
Have a great week!