Spring Skincare Favorites for Sensitive Skin

May 10, 2016

Today I’ve teamed up with Nordstrom to share a roundup of my favorite tried-and-true skincare products for spring – ones that I find particularly good for my super sensitive skin. When it comes to skincare I like to rotate through different products depending on the season and how my skin feels during a particular moment in time but many of you have asked for a list of my most re-purchased beauty items so I’m sharing a roundup of some of those items with you today. I just turned 35 and anti-aging is a big focus for me. For right now my main concerns with skincare are finding products that have anti-aging ingredients, help maintain a healthy glow and most importantly help keep texture smooth.

First up is my favorite toner of all time which is the SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion. It’s which is one of the skincare items I find essential to my daily routine. Having a good toner keeps the skin clear and break-out free by removing dirt, dead skin cells or any remnants of soap/cleanser residue on the skin that may remain after washing the face. The SK-II toner helps rebalance or soothe my skin. It works wonders to help smooth texture, makes it feel clean, isn’t sticky, makes pores smaller, softens the complexion, doesn’t irritate and doesn’t leave a film but still hydrates. I’ve purchased numerous bottles and no matter what other toners I try, I keep coming back to this one.

Using cleansing oils to double cleanse is also really important to help me have clear skin. I alternate between cleansing waters and cleansing oils to remove face makeup as a first step, then follow with a regular liquid or clay cleanser. I’ve found a lot of loves for cleansing oil, but the SK-II Facial Treatment Cleansing Oil is the best for sensitive skin. It took me a long time to decide to splurge on this one because it’s on the pricey side. There are definitely a lot of more affordable options that will work just as well (even for sensitive skin) but the one from SK-II has one of the most pleasant unique smells that is soothing. It almost has a cushiony feel when you apply it to the face. It’s soothing, emulsifies well with warm water, removes all traces of face makeup without leaving any residue. I feel like I’m hypersensitive to any kind of residue from makeup removers and this one leaves the skin feeling softly hydrated and clean but not tight and there’s no film leftover.

Finding a good facial cotton is important to me because tiny little fibers often stick to my lashes and irritate my eyes. The Cle de Peau Beaute Facial Cotton is hands down worth the splurge and my most repurchased face cotton since discovering. Many have said in previous posts they feel that the Shiseido Facial Cotton is identical for a fraction of the price. I’ve tried both and used Shiseido for a long time (I still do). I personally didn’t believe there would be a difference either – I’m glad I gave it a chance because it’s thicker and more sturdy while still being super soft. The size is perfect to remove all face makeup and eye makeup with 1 pad while with other brands I find I often have to use 2-3 to remove eye makeup and then all the face makeup.

Another game changer for me has been the Kate Somerville Eradikate Acne Treatment Swaps. These are the one-time-use on-the-go version of the original Kate Somervillle Eradikate Acne Treatment (which comes in a bottle). These contain the highest level of sulfur allowed to treat acne and it really helps keep skin clear of new breakouts – if I feel one surfacing I use this at night because of the pink tint and it helps dry out the area without making it sting or peel. The full size bottle is a better buy but the individually packaged swabs are super easy to use, convenient and you can take them anywhere with you. These work on my husband’s skin too. He uses them on a regular basis for spot treatments. Really anything in the Eradikate line is good. I’ve tried several items during a few Kate Somerville facials – the Eradikate Mask Foam is amazing!

It took me a long time to get into beauty oils because I felt like a regular cream just felt better on the skin. However two I swear by are the Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate and Kate Somerville Dilo Oil. Both recommended to me by Beauty Look Book readers and friends. With so many raves I knew I had to try them and I’m glad I did. There have been a few oils that were too rich for my skin and caused tiny bumps (a few from Lancome and some other brands) so I’m always very nervous to put these on my skin. My personal go-to is still the L’Occitane Divine Youth Oil which I’ve used up entirely and repurchased but several of my friends who tried it said it wasn’t hydrating enough. I have normal combination skin (not oily though). Friends with normal to dry skin said they needed something more and I had them test out the Kiehl’s and Kate Somerville as well. Both are really good at restoring the skin’s moisture but are quick to absorb. They leave the skin feeling well hydrated without the greasy feel and both are suitable for super sensitive skin. For me and a couple of my friends – no break outs, no irritation and no clogging with these.

The Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate has antioxidants to protect the skin from daily pollutants. It leaves the skin feeling refreshed and glowing. I find it suitable for my combination skin but if you’re on the oily side you may find it too rich. The Kate Somerville Dilo Oil helps restore the skin’s moisture but has a firming feel to it. It smooths the skin’s appearance and helps reduce fine lines and has the most amazing scent ever.

For the lips many of you know I’m a lip balm addict but am also highly allergic to some formulas (like the one from Kiehl’s unfortunately). The AmorePacific Moisture Bound Lip Treatment is my favorite unscented and unflavored no fuss option. If you want one that’s easy to use and adds a good amount of hydration without feeling too goopy or too runny, this is the perfect in between.

Last but not least – the two best anti-aging skincare products I’ve tried that help with my skin’s surface texture are the Kate Somerville DermalQuench Liquid Lift (for day) and DermalQuench Liquid Lift with Retinol (for night). Both have been featured before on the blog. The original DermalQuench is something I use every other day to daily. It’s designed to help combat wrinkles and sagging and although I don’t have sagging yet, I do have some forehead wrinkles and firmness under the eyes has started to decrease. With regular use the daytime DermalQuench has noticeably improved my skin’s texture and radiance – skin is smoother and it does feel firmer without feeling tight.

The DermalQuench with Retinol is gentle enough for my sensitive skin to use nightly and it’s worked wonders with skin discoloration from acne scars – although I will say my scars aren’t too bad but linger for a while. This works over time to even out the skin tone, brightness and texture. It helps with fine lines – I’ve tried to convince my husband to use it because he’s developed more fine lines around the eyes (sides and underneath). He tried it for a week and I think it helped his skin too, but he hasn’t been disciplined in using it although I think it would really help his skin as well.

On the nails, Tom Ford Sugar Dune

I hope you found this roundup helpful! I feel like I have quite a few favorites – enough to repurchase items on a regular basis, but these are my absolute favorites for sensitive skin. Let me know in the comments if you’re looking for any other recommendations or want another roundup post. I don’t think I’ve ever done a full skincare routine post since my routine changes frequently but if you’re interested I can definitely put one together.

Do you have any tried-and-true skincare that you love? Ones you’ve repurchased multiple times? If yes please share in the comments!

Many thanks to Nordstrom for partnering to sponsor this post.

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  • Lea

    I have always loved facial oils and am so happy that more brands are expanding the market. I do love the Bobbi Brown oil, but don't use it as often now that I have Sunday Riley's Luna in my arsenal. I don't get a lot of break-outs, but when I have, they're more on the cystic side. Luna has been amazing in keeping these at bay. I combine that with Dr. Dennis Gross extra strength alpha-beta hyrdoxy peel pads daily, along with SK-II essence and Sunday Riley Good Genes and my skin has never looked better or more pores smaller. Once or twice a week I throw in Chantecaille's honey mud mask to pull impurities out. My nightime routine is extensive (and expensive) but the results are ultimately worth it. What's the point of spending all of your money on make-up products if you don't take the time to focus on the skin underneath?!

  • Nemo

    I do not like to have a big boatload of products. I find that overwhelming. Instead, I follow my dermatologist's advice from the University of Michigan hospitals. I use nothing but Aveda skin care products because they are pure, chemical & paraben-free. I use the Tourmaline Exfoliating Cleanser year-around in the morning & evening with my Clarisonic. I use Botanicals Exfoliating Toner after. I use the Botanicals agent mist at night. My skin has been beautiful for years with this simple regimen.

  • I have super dry skin, so I use baby oil to remove my makeup, then Cetaphil or CeraVe to cleanse it. I follow up with Thayers alcohol free lavender toner. Along with Garnier micellar water and the CeraVe PM moisturizer during the day, those are the products I faithfully purchase. I'm on the hunt for a holy grail serum, and I'm currently loving First Aid hydra firm sleeping cream moisturizer at night.

    • Holy Grail Serum … Skinceuticals CE Ferulic. I have been using this for 7 years. Couldn't do without. Haven't found a replacement yet. Expensive but oh so worth it.

    • Nemo

      Cetafil contains propylene glycol.

    • Hi Holly,

      I was also a SkinCeuticles customer until I found a clone. Check out Cosmetic Skin Solutions C+E Serum Advanced Formula on Amazon. It's under $40 and contains the same ingredients as the SkinCeuticles CE Ferulic serum. I'm sure the amounts of the filler ingredients have been tweaked a bit so there is no patent violation, but the percentages of the C, E, and Ferulic are exactly the same. Exactly! 15% L-Ascorbic acid (C), 1% Alpha Tocopherol (E), and 0.5 Ferulic acid. It also contains some Hyaluronic acid. The serum is packaged in a dark glass 1oz. bottle with a dropper (just like SkinCeuticles) and when it arrives, it is crystal clear which indicates its freshness. As a longtime C user, I'm sure you already know that C deteriorates rapidly and once it turns that medium dark yellow you might as well toss it out. It's worthless! Unfortunately, because of the exorbitant price of SkinCeuticles, many women don't use the serum generously and/or they continue using it long after it has lost its efficacy πŸ™ Because of CSS's reasonable price point, I use it on my face, neck, chest, hands, and arms. It's a good product so check it out. My skin never noticed that I had made the switch πŸ™‚

  • Your selection is impeccable. Right now, I am on a Chanel Hydra Beauty journey. Let's see how it goes. After that, I'll try a few Korean skin care treatments from Hera and Sum37. I just cannot be faithful to any brand or product. I am always on the hunt for the one that will make me stop hunting.
    I love SKII Essence and Lotion yet some other products from the brand broke me out badly.

    • Thank you! Glad you liked the roundup. I've tried a few things from the Chanel Hydra Beauty line but they left me wanting more. I did use them up entirely but never repurchased.

  • So glad to hear that the Kiehl's Concentrate was so good because I've been wanting to try it. I have loved the Lancome Cleansing Milk for years and years and no matter what, I always go back to it. It allows you to wash your face with very minimal water which is great for my dry skin (especially in the dead of winter). It smells fresh and clean too which always helps!


    • Oooh, I will have to look into the Lancome Cleansing Milk since I love the water, I suspect I will like it too!

  • I didn't know there was a Dermal Quench with retinol out! I haven't tried any new KS products in a while but that sounds great!

    • It is really quite good πŸ™‚

  • Thanks for the roundup, Sabrina. I'm a year younger than you (I turned 34 in early April) and have very sensitive, dry skin so I really appreciate your thoughtful reviews.

    Here's an oddball new love within the past 10 days- the Foreo Luna Play is finally a facial brush friendly to my skin (Even the gentlest Clarisonic is way too rough on my skin). My skin feels velvety smooth.

    I adore L'Occitane's foaming Immortelle cleanser, alternated with Chanel Mousse Douceur, Laneige's Sensitive Toner and Emulssions, Chanel Le Lift Eye Serum (it seriously works), Shiseido Benefiance eye cream, Chanel Le Solution 10, Guerlain Abeille Royale Oil, to name a few. Shiseido's eye area sunscreen is also the best. Dr.Jart+'s Water Replenishment Masks and PTR's Rose Mask also do my skin wonders.

    • Oooh glad you liked the Foreo Luna! I have one of the older style minis but haven't been disciplined in using it. I go back and forth between the Clarisonic and Foreo – the Foreo is so much more compact, but I like the super soft brush for the Clarisonic.

  • Hey girl, you should google search the Somerville dilo oil review by chemists. They break down the ingredients and It's a MESS for your skin and collagen in the long run….the amount of fragrance breaks down your skins collagen over time, with Prolonged use. Stopped using KS after researching and NEVER LOOKING BACK! Even "natural brands" like Korres are a mess. So essential to research. Xo

  • Sabrina I love the nail color in the last pic. Can you share the shade name?

  • The Kate Somerville products look and sound very interesting!! Lovely post <3

    Amelia | http://amelia-g.blogspot.com.au/

  • I love the Kiehl's Daily Reviving Concentrate! My bottle actually ran out a few weeks ago and since then my skin got so dry that I practically had to run to the store to get a new one. xx


  • CeraVe is what I use…it's mild and has really good for the skin ingredients…and sooo affordable!


  • Gorgeous photography. X

  • Hi! My skin is too sensitive so, I use olive oil as make-up remover and prefer lifecell skincare and my skin is just flawless now.

  • The SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion sounds wonderful, so does the Kate Somerville Derma Quench Liquid Lift with Retinol! Even though I might be too young for it, I really want to try and start incorporating some Retinol into my skincare routine!


  • You should try Hera Cell Essence instead of SK-II, it provides the same results but is cheaper!

  • Great products, my skin feels a lot more sensitive lately so this is so helpful, thanks for sharing x

    ALittleKiran | Bloglovin