I have an updated skincare routine roundup today with everything I use and love right now! I rotate and switch things up as seasons change or as I use products up. Out of all the skincare categories I run through bottles of face wash, makeup removers and face masks up the fastest so there are a lot more formulas I’ve used this year but I’ve rounded up the ones I consider favorites right now. Most of these I’ve bought on my own, any press samples featured have a * next to them.
For a little background on my skin type and routine, I have normal combination skin I consider to be sensitive. There are of course varying degrees of sensitivity – overall I’d consider my skin to be normal. I live in hot climate in Florida but do experience dryness during the dry months, especially being exposed to a lot of air conditioning. Humidity and weather fluctuates on a daily basis here and some months are clearly more wet than others. I am in my late 30s and have minimal wrinkles right now – primarily on my forehead. My main concerns are improving texture and keeping skin clear. I don’t have a lot of acne scars anymore – they’ve faded over time with regular exfoliation and light peels.
Cleanser and Makeup Removers
I have a different cleansing routine for morning vs night because I add an extra step for makeup removal at the end of the day. For regular traditional face wash my favorite right now is the Farmacy Clean Bee Ultra Gentle Facial Cleanser. I’ve used up so many bottles and love how gentle but effective it is. I recently started trying out some products from Revive and was so impressed so I bought the full size Gel Cleanser Purifying Wash and Foaming Enriched Hydrating Wash. I think both are excellent and 100% worth the splurge, right now I prefer the gel version.
For cleansing waters I’ve tried a number of excellent brands, Bioderma is a classic staple I always keep on hand but I decided to try a few newer ones this year and really love them. The Chanel L’Eau Micellar Anti-Pollution Micellar Cleanser* is a great gentle one that’s alcohol free and refreshing. The Omorovicza Peachy Micellar Cleansing Pads are amazing as well.
For a stronger makeup remover I use the Almay Longwear & Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover Pads to remove eyeliner and mascara first. For the face my top cleansing oils/balms are Farmacy Beauty Green Clean (best solid remover), Chanel L’Huile Anti-Pollution Cleansing Oil* (super soft and luxurious) and the Bobbi Brown Soothing Face Cleanser Oil.
Exfoliation is super important but I’ve kept it light this summer. Flare ups from allergic reactions to sunscreen, face sweat and heat have made my face more sensitive than normal. The gentlest face scrub I’ve been able to use no matter what condition my skin is in is the Fresh Sugar Face Polish.
For toners my top 2 are the Sisley Floral Toning Lotion and Bioderma Sensibio. Since I’m nearly out of my Sisley toner I decided to order something new and bought the Revive Balancing Toner which I’ve really been enjoying. The Bioderma one is the most gentle, Sisley makes the best everyday one for me and Revive’s offers more hydration. I use toner religiously after cleansing the skin to make sure all the soap and any remnants are removed and skin is rebalanced.
This year has been a challenging one for sunscreens for me. I put quite a few highly rated ones to the test but my skin reacted very badly to ones from Dr. Barbara Sturm, Elta MD, Neutrogena and Kopari. My skin had red bumps all over within a few hours which caused a great deal of irritation and flare ups that lasted a week before it returned to it’s normal state. In Florida weather I won’t use anything super thick or super hydrating because most formulas are simply too thick for this heat. I have four that I have in rotation right now that I can use under makeup, don’t have a thick texture, practically no white cast and are easy to remove at the end of the day.
- Supergoop! City Sunscreen Serum SPF 30 (lightweight and non-irritating), active ingredients are Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 8%, Octisalate 4%, Octocrylene 2%
- Dermalogica Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF 50 is a sunscreen and moisturizer in one, active ingredients are Avobenzone 3.0%, Octinoxate 7.5%
- By Terry UV Base with SPF 50 is one of my favorite face sunscreens, this one is currently empty, but I plan on repurchasing again, active ingredients are Avobenzone 3%, Octinoxate 6.8%, Octisalate 4.5%
- Chanel UV Essentiel with SPF 50* is the newest Chanel sunscreen that replaced all the other formulas, it is lightweight but not as fluid/thin as previous version, it is highly fragranced but non irritating, it does leave a very slight white cast but blends out well on the skin, active ingredients are Octinoxate 7.5%, Titanium Dioxide 3.8%, Zinc Oxide 17.1%
For the most luxurious lightweight cream and hydrating beauty oil, the best ones I’ve tried are the Sisley Black Rose Skin Infusion Cream* and Black Rose Oil*. Both of these are currently empty and I have not repurchased because I have so many other things to go through. I do think the Black Rose Oil is one of the best oils I’ve ever tried, a less expensive alternative I really like is the Laura Mercier Flawless Skin Infusion de Rose Nourishing Oil*.
For a regular daytime moisturizer I’ve alternated between a super lightweight serum and a regular cream depending on how hot or humid it’s been. My favorite lightweight serums/gels are the Glow Recipe Watermelon Pink Juice Moisturizer, Volition Strawberry-C Brightening Serum* and Tatcha Water Gel (last two not shown).
For more emollient creams that are still lightweight I’ve had a lot in rotation this year, but right now I love the Chanel Hydra Beauty Camellia Water Cream* and Farmacy Honey Drop Moisturizer the most. Drunk Elephant’s Protini Polypeptide Cream is also at the top of my list but both Andrew and I use it up so frequently I don’t have it in stock in our cabinets now. L’Occitane’s Immortelle Divine Cream Grand Cru* is heavier and better suited for super dry skin days or night for me.
For eye creams and treatments I have yet to find THE one but I’ve been enjoying the Fresh Black Tea Firming Eye Serum which has a nice lightweight texture and reduces puffiness. It has a smooth texture so it doesn’t make my under eye feel greasy or heavy. Tatcha’s latest The Silk Peony Melting Eye Cream* is one of the most emollient eye creams I’ve tried, it literally melts into the skin. I’ve been using this for a few weeks now and find it ultra rich so like it at night, a little goes a very long way.
For night time it’s been recommended I use retinol or Vitamin C but my skin simply can’t handle most skincare with these ingredients. The only retinol-based products I’ve tried that I love have been the Kate Somerville RetAsphere 2-in-1 Retinol Cream and RetAsphere MicroPeel. They really help with fine lines and help smooth the skin. I do want to try Botox in the near future, especially for my forehead lines. I’m still building up the courage as I’m deathly afraid of needles.
Acne and Mask
Acne has been an issue for both Andrew and I this year. I’ve managed to get mine under control but the extra heat, sweat and moving (we did it all ourselves) caused some issues for my face. My absolute favorite acne treatment from MAC Blemish Control with 1% salicylic acid was discontinued years ago so I’ve been trying dozens trying to find a replacement. With acne treatments the best ones will depend on what kind of acne you have.
Salicylic acid is the best to unclog pores. It helps dissolve dead skin and remove excess oil. For us the most effective one has been the Kiehl’s Blue Herbal Spot Treatment with 2% Salicylic Acid. It won’t leave any red marks on the skin and it’s a clear gel. It also has other ingredients to soothe, absorb excess oil and reduce shine. A lighter weight version that I can use on wider areas of my face is the Kate Somerville EradiKate Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment. It has 2% acid but also has other ingredients to offset the dryness that is often caused my pimple treatments.
I recently tried the REN Clearcalm Non-Drying Acne Treatment Gel* with 0.5% Salicylic Acid which also is effective but for me the Kiehl’s works better. If you need a lower concentration of the acid the REN is a good option to try. I found it’s name well suited as it definitely is non-drying.
Benzoyl peroxide is another anti-acne ingredient that helps kill bacteria. We’ve loved the Neutrogen Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Spot Gel with 10% benzoyl peroxide. It’s actually a white gel but will disappear when you blend in and it works to reduce pimple size and redness like nothing else. If I catch a pimple forming quickly and apply this immediately the pimple disappears within hours. The only downside is it will bleach and discolor clothes. If it comes in contact with towels, shirts or anything else it will bleach them! Make sure to thoroughly wash hands/fingers with soap and water. Simply wiping fingers with a towel isn’t sufficient.
Hydrocolloid patches are clear stick on dots that we’ve found are best for white heads. They absorb excess oil and help draw out the center of the pimple by drying out the skin without any harsh pulling or squeezing. We’ve used the Mighty Patches the most and have gone through so many packs I’ve lost count. CosRX also makes good ones and they come in different size dots which can be handy. While they are clear dots they’re not really invisible. Each brand has an “invisible” version but in our experience you can still see them on the face so we use these at night or if we’re at home all day. You can find them at a number of places, we order ours on Amazon. To us they both perform the same.
I used to use face masks and sheet masks religiously. We’ve had a busy year and summer this year and this is one area I’ve neglected. I can’t believe it’s already September! I’ve had more skin clogging issues and acne so my go-to skin clearing masks are the Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment and Drunk Elephant TLC Sukari Baby Facial Treatment to help resurface skin with a light peel. I use both as needed. Sunday Riley’s Good Genes is a good resurfacing lactic acid treatment I used at night for a long time but I’ve used it up and haven’t repurchased. It’s not really a mask, but more of a treatment. I used this maybe 1 to 2x per week so I’ve put this in the treatment section.
For hydrating masks I used to use sheet masks but I’ve used most of mine up and haven’t gotten around to reordering my go-to Tatcha or 111Skin favorites. These days I really enjoy the Sisley Black Rose Face Mask*, Eye Contour Mask for Eyes* and the Fresh Rose Face Mask to hydrate/calm the skin.
I hope you enjoyed this roundup! I realize it’s a lot but I have a complex skincare routine especially since I put a lot to the test. These are the items I’ve loved the most this year and consider to be products I have in my routine. Both Andrew and I have put in a lot of work to find things that work for us. We both love trying new things even though skincare testing takes a lot of time.
This is more of a roundup rather than detailed review on every item. If you have any questions let me know in the comments! I’ve put a lot more to the test this year than what’s in this post.
What are some of your favorites in your routine right now?