Anyone who knows the pain of fickle acne-prone skin knows that a hyper-regimented routine is one of the keys to keeping nonsense under control. I'm not going to sit here and pretend I have all the answers, but what I will do is tell you what is working for me as I work to meticulously scrub all of my makeup (gently).
First of all just know this is my night routine (aka, as soon as I get home from work and don't have to spend another second in my makeup because my skin hates makeup). I come home from work, which sometimes is very late, I say hello to Nick so he can appreciate the last glance of me with makeup on, then I go straight to the bathroom to wash it all off.
Step 1: Remove the makeup. All of it.
I start with the Tatcha Camelia Oil, hot water, and a clean white washcloth towel. You know those 12-packs from Target? Those. I use one every time I wash my face because my face is a delicate flower that appreciates clean towels. I love the Tatcha Camellia Cleansing Oil because I've tried just about freaking everything to remove waterproof makeup and this is the most gentle and effective. Fair warning: it is oily AF, but it's meant to be. It says so on the dang label: OIL. So, I gently work the oil into my skin, around my eyes, and let it dissolve the makeup. You're going to look like a raccoon before you wash it all off, but enjoy it because it does come off with water. I use the washcloth with a dip in hot water and start scrubbing away pretty forcefully around my acne-prone cheeks and get everything off, including any dead skin. I try to use one side of the towel to wipe off the makeup removing oil, wring it out, and I can keep the other side ready for step 2.
Step 2: Counterbalance the Oil. Get Squeaky Clean.
The Tatcha Camelia Oil works best when it's used in tandem with the Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powder. I prefer the Indigo one because it claims to be "calming" and it seems to work well for my skin. The rice powder smells like the bottom of a Rice Krispies cereal bag, which is delightful. It's wonderful as a step 2 because it soaks up all of the excess oil from Step 1 and leaves my skin literally squeaky clean. You pour a little bit of rice powder on your hand, put a couple drops of water in it and massage it on your face. Then, simply wash it right off. I like to use the clean side of my towel to pat it dry at this point.
Step 3: Reapply Moisture. The First of Many Serums
I like this Pura D'Or Vitamin C serum a lot as the first thing right after I wash my face. It's light but potent and soaks into my skin immediately. Also, it's a much cheaper option than other more prettier packaged products — hey Glossier, hey girl. I pat a couple drops on this all around my face (avoiding my eyes) and let it dry. I like the idea that vitamin C is against free radicals, and the concept of anti-aging firmness and such. Mostly, I like the way this serum soaks into my face and immediately feels happy, less dry, less, itchy.
Step 4: La Mer Treatment Lotion. Spoiler alert, It ain't no lotion.
I know what you think, OMG La Mer, how annoyingly expensive, you're just another braggy sonofabitch like the rest of 'em.
No. I've done the La Mer creams and what not and they aren't for me. But this? This is wholly worthy of inclusion into a post. Do I know how expensive it is? Fuck yeah. But it's my face I'm talking about here, not my elbow, not my hands, not my legs. My over 30-year-old, acne prone, business wheeling and dealing face. And all I know is this lotion feels more like a toner but it's amazing nonetheless. I use my clean hands and dab a couple drops to let it soak into my skin. Letting it dry is key here. I'm layering product number two on my newly cleaned skin so I let the first layer take a minute to absorb before introducing the La Mer Treatment Lotion. What's so fabulous about it? It claims to moisturize (it does) and help balance your skin texture (it does), but what I love about it is how dewy my skin feels immediately after using it. I feel expensive, but with acne, which is I guess middle-class fancy — and that's still pretty fucking cool. It makes a nice primer for the next step, which could honestly be nothing, but I do like to add one more thing.
Step 5: Moisturize, Anti-Age All-In-One Serum Lotion.
Listen, I don't know what exactly makes this Clarins Double Serum special besides the fact that the bottle seems to contain one serum within another one, but I do know is that it is one of the most agreeable anti-aging serums my face has ever experienced. My skin tends to get very fickle after applying products, much less three in a row, so it's a dang miracle that Clarins manages to be one of the few day time and night time moisture solutions that work with a bunch of other stuff or by itself.
After I let the La Mer lotion fully absorb I use the lowest setting on this double serum's fancy bottle (it gives you the option for one drop or two, but a little goes a long way with this one). I dab this on my face and pat it evenly around my cheeks, forehead, around my eyes, and finally a little on my oily ass chin because apparently if I deprive this needy section of skin with the moisture it retaliates with its own pore-clogging oil. I let this final layer of product dry and admire my dewy skin in the mirror.
This combination works for me right now, so I love it and want to share. I dermaplane my skin every two weeks with a face razor, I use other products during that time, and during high-noon pimpled times my routine changes a lot. Which I will share once I figure out how to leave work with more time to do things like eat, shower, relax, etc.
Let's talk cost:
The Night Routine:
- Target Washcloths, $2.99
- Tatcha Camellia Cleansing Oil, $48
- Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powder, $65
- Pura D'Or Vitamin C, $12.43
- La Mer Treatment Lotion $145
- Clarins Double Serum, $122
TOTAL cost = $395.42
That's like $400 dollars. WTF.
First of all: I KNOW. It's expensive. BUT these products will last a good 6+ months so there's that.
You do the math on that cost per use and you start getting into some rational territory:
6 months = 180 days , so $400 dollars ÷ 180 days is roughly $2.22 a night.
Suggestion? Build up the products slowly.
FFS don't go out and put these on a credit card. There are many lessons to be had there!
Everyone's skin is different, so go to Sephora and Nordstrom (two very samples-friendly places) and ask for hella samples for all of these before you commit. Especially the pricey items like Clarins and La Mer. Test them out! See how they make your skin feel. If you like them, incorporate them one at a time to your routine. While you do that, I think the Vitamin C and washcloths are no brainers due to their nominal costs.
Update 11:41pm | Thanks to @animalnecklaces for the note on Instagram about forgetting to include La Mer cost. Love the eagle eyes, girl!