I have an updated skincare routine and testing roundup today! Summer is here so I’ve changed some things in my daily and weekly routine. This year has been a challenging one for all of us. For me added stress, hormonal changes and wearing face masks has definitely taken its toll on my skin. In May my face had a total freak out – I was breaking out in places I’ve never had issues with, I had texture issues + redness and increased sensitivity. Part of the reason why I haven’t been posting as many makeup reviews lately is that I’ve been trying to let my skin breathe and recover – thank goodness by now it has!
For some background on my skin type. I have normal combination skin. I do feel I run on the sensitive side although I can handle some acid treatments in moderation. My main skin concerns are keeping a smooth skin texture, depuffing the eye area in mornings and anti-aging. This year I turned 39 and fine lines have kept creeping into my forehead. I have not had Botox although I’ve talked about wanting to try it for a couple years now. I’m deathly afraid of needles and a few of you have emailed me and assured me it’s quite tolerable. I’ve never had bad acne issues until this year with some hormonal issues which caused bad painful breakouts around the chin although this could have also been due to wearing a face mask. I’ve since gotten it under control.
Many of these things you’ve seen on the blog before – I have a lot of tried-and-true products. There are some new items I’ve incorporated and tested. I’ve split everything by category and given my thoughts for the new items I’ve tried. For example, I think some are better for dry skin vs. oily skin so I’ve put notes below on each product I’ve tested.
Makeup Removers + Cleansers
Out of all the skincare categories I go through cleansers and makeup removers the most. I love testing different formulas but I typically use only 2-3 at any given time.
For makeup removal I almost always remove eye makeup separately from the rest of my face. I find long-wear mascara and liners are easiest to remove when soaked with a pad or bi-phase remover first. My top 2 are Bobbi Brown Instant Long-Wear Makeup Remover and Almay Longwear Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover Pads. Both have an oil in the formula but do not sting my sensitive eyes.
These days I’m all about solid balm cleansers to remove makeup and my go-to is the Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm. It’s one of the few that will rinse off completely and does not leave a greasy film on the skin. Another good option is the Sisley Radiance Foaming Cream*. It’s an effective one-step cleanser that removes makeup but won’t strip the skin. They just added two more items to this line and I just tried their new Triple-Oil Balm Makeup Remover* and it is quite amazing! It has Babassu, Shea and Macadamia oils, melts into the skin and rinses off nicely.
For a traditional rinse-off cleansers:
- Best gel cleanser is the Drunk Elephant Beste No 9 Cleanser (nice gel option)
- Best dry skin cream cleanser the Cle de Peau Softening Cleansing Foam is nice for dry skin
- For super oily skin the Saturday Skin Rise and Shine Cleanser is a good purifying option (also nice for post-workout)
- Best calming cream cleanser is the Kate Somerville DeliKate Soothing Cleanser*
My latest try is the new Kate Somerville DeliKate* line which I think is phenomenal. I’ve been using the DeliKate Soothing Cleanser in the morning or before bed and it really works to calm stressed out skin. It’s a cream formula and super gentle. The Kate Somerville team has offered my readers a special offer, if you order from their website, use code SABRINA20 at checkout to save 20% off sitewide now through 9/30.
Regular exfoliation is essential but I try to do this in moderation with scrubs. The best daily gentle scrub I’ve tried is the Fresh Sugar Face Polish because it melts into the skin and isn’t harsh or too gritty (also available in a mini if you want to try it out first).
My go-to toner is the Sisley Botanical Floral Toning Lotion. It’s alcohol free and leaves the skin fresh and soft. I have also used and really enjoyed the Revive Balancing Toner for another soothing option. Other formulas I’ve tried include the Eve Lom Rescue Toner* which I think is a nice gentle option and La Mer Tonic. My favorite out of all of these is the Sisley formula.
My favorite daily moisturizer has probably been the Drunk Elephant Polypeptide Cream but I’ve used it up and decided to try something new. The Kate Somerville DeliKate Recovery Serum* and Recovery Cream* are really nice for normal to dry skin and work to reduce redness and soothe the skin. I’ve been using this on dry skin days or at night and it really does work to soften and help redness. For daytime my latest obsession has been the Kate Somerville Peptide K8 Power Cream*. It’s a great smoothing moisturizer that blends in nicely and has really helped even out tone after regular use.
I’m not the most diligent when it comes to using eye creams and after trying so many I still haven’t found THE one. I don’t have eye wrinkles yet and my main concerns are with puffiness. Three I have tried recently include the Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Eye Cream (nice lightweight hydrating option), Chanel Le Lift (does noticeably help with lifting) and the Sisley Black Rose Eye Contour Fluid. Quick note that I don’t look for super rich or thick eye creams this time of year. I only need a light amount of moisture and these 3 all were light enough to work for me. Out of these three the one I like the best is the Sisley option. It was quite the splurge but I like the cooling applicator which helps depuff and makes application a fun process. The formula works nicely to smooth and hydrate the skin.
For hydrating masks I really like formulas with rose for their soothing, calming and gentle plumping properties. The Sisley Black Rose Cream Mask is the best splurge to hydrate and plump. For a more budget friendly option the Fresh Rose Face Mask is a beautiful calming one that leaves the skin feeling super fresh. The newest one I’ve tried is the By Terry Baume de Rose Glowing Rose Mask* which is a brightening and clarifying option. It bubbles on the skin and when rinsed off leaves the skin supple and smooth.
Retexurizers + Acne Treatment
Since I live in sunny Florida I cannot avoid sun exposure so I try to keep acid treatments and retexturizing treatments to a minimum. They are essential to help get rid of dead skin and keep pores clean. Your mileage will vary depending on skin type and tolerance to acid treatments.
For acne or clogged pores treatment depends one what kind of acne you have. Most of the time I find the Kiehl’s Blue Herbal Spot Treatment with salicylic acid works best for blackheads and whiteheads. It helps reduce inflammation and exfoliates the dead skin to unclog the pores. Another good mask to help clear out pores is the Glamglow Supermud Charcoal Mask. Sometimes I will only use it on the T-zone or chin area where I have clogging.
My favorite night time treatments have been the Sunday Riley Good Genes, an effective lactic acid treatment, best for removing top layer of dead skin or the Kate Somerville RetAsphere Micro Peel, the only Retinol Glycolic treatment my skin has been able to tolerate, best to stimulate collagen and cell turnover. I don’t use these at the same time as I either use lactic acid or retinol. I’m currently using the one from Kate Somerville and only use it 1-2x per week.
An interesting peel product I’ve tried is the Saturday Skin Rub-A-Dub Refining Peel Gel. It has fruit enzymes and exfoliates the skin in a peel gel. You leave it on the skin for a few minutes so it dissolves dead skin. It’s very mild and gentle so it’s not harsh. It does contain alcohol denat though so if that is irritating to your skin you may want to pass.
My go-to sunscreens are from Supergoop!. The Unseen Sunscreen with SPF 40 is my go-to choice for everyday. I also really liked their City Sunscreen Serum with SPF 30 but keep forgetting to re-order it.
I know I covered a lot! To help simplify the roundup, here is my current routine and favorites:
Cleanser: Drunk Elephant Beste or Kate Somerville DeliKate
Toner: Sisley Floral Toner
Moisturizer: Kate Somerville Peptide K8 or Drunk Elephant Polypeptide Cream
Eye Treatment: Sisley Black Rose Fluid
Remove makeup with a balm cleanser: Farmacy Green Clean
Double cleanse with a gel cleanser: Drunk Elephant Beste
Eye Makeup Remover: Bobbi Brown most days, if I’m wearing waterproof mascara I’ll use the Almay Pads
Cleansing Balm (if I’m wearing makeup): Farmacy Green Clean
Face Cleanser: depends on how skin feels, most of the time it’s Drunk Elephant or Kate Somerville
Night Toner: Revive Soothing Toner
Night Treatment: Kate Somerville Retasphere Micro Peel (1x per week) on dry skin nights I’ll use a light moisturizer, most of the time I let my skin breathe
Acne Spot Treatments: Kiehl’s Blue Herbal Spot Treatment
1x per week or every other week acid, pore cleaning masks
2x per week hydrating masks as skin needs it
2-3x per week eye masks
I hope you found this helpful! Would love to hear what you use right now or if you transition your products as the weather gets warmer! If you’re looking into any of the Kate Somerville products don’t forget to use my code SABRINA20 for 20% off sitewide now through 9/30.
Press samples indicated with a *. All others purchased by me.