(Disclaimer: I’ve received a few dozen requests for my “beauty routine” over the years, and I usually brush aside these requests because to answer them seriously would be ludicrous—almost everyone is more qualified to make beauty suggestions than me. I finally decided to write a post on the topic after receiving my latest request. My suggestions are earnest, if not the best researched, but I never claimed to be an expert.)
I don’t wear much makeup because I have sensitive skin (okay, the truth is that I am lazy; having sensitive skin doesn’t help). And it wasn’t until a few years ago, at my mom’s behest, that I started experimenting to create my own skincare routine (she has this crazy theory that every person needs one). In any case, I thought I’d share some of my beauty and skincare favorites now that a Sephora event is in session (Sephora VIBs can use code VIBSPRING for 15% off your entire purchase; the code for VIB Rouge members is ROUGESPRING).
Because I am lazy (this is really important and bears repeating), the products that I use generally don’t require supplemental products or equipment (I own a Clarisonic Mia, but have used it maybe once), and should ideally be safe enough to place on my headboard without significant spillage risk.
And because I have (mostly) dry skin that is especially temperamental during weather transitions, I err on the safe side and only buy products that are described as either “gentle” or have positive reviews from people who identify themselves as having sensitive skin (if I see more than two or three negative reviews from this demographic for a product, I won’t touch it).
For sunscreen, I use Shiseido’s Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector Broad Spectrum SPF 42 For Face on my face, and while it’s never given me issues, it does make foundation or BB/CC Cream more difficult to apply evenly (could also just be my face, YMMV). It is milky in consistency and easy to just slather on before I go running at high noon—I immediately feel like a responsible person for taking this precaution (I am constantly congratulating myself for small personal feats). My favorite thing about it, though, is that the packaging is incredibly leakproof, which means I can carelessly toss it into a bag and not be concerned that it will contaminate everything else.
I started using a toner last winter, after noticing my skin drying out at an alarming rate. The Lancôme Tonique Confort Comforting Rehydrating Toner did the trick, and if you get the larger size, it may last you years (just kidding, skincare products have shelf lives).
For moisturizer, a number of different products at affordable price points work for me. I recently started use the Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief and it works really well for my normal-to-dry sensitive skin in the fall. In the winter, I prefer using a few Hada Labo products that I would pick up at Asian beauty stores (there is maybe a placebo effect here…): Rohto Gokujun Perfect Gel, Rohto Goku-Jun New Hyaluronic Cream, and Rohto Hadalabo Gokujun Hyaluronic Lotion Moist.
On my body, I try to use only baby-safe products with no fragrance as I have atopic dermatitis that has the highest chance of flaring up during the winter, when my skin is dry and any potentially inflammatory product may trigger an episode. One prophylactic measure I take is using this InstaNatural Organic Rosehip Seed Oil generously on my skin. It does have a(n earthy) smell and the oil will stain clothes (so keep baby powder on hand), but it is relatively inexpensive and does the trick for those with problematic skin. (The packaging is leaky, though I haven’t been able to figure out the source of the leak; it’s easier for me to just put it on top of old cloth to absorb any leaked oil.)
The only beauty product that I hoard with any seriousness is lip products (though I avoid all products that easily transfer)—I really like the Clinique Chubby Stick Baby Tint Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm (in Poppin’ Poppy), the Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm (in Two Ton Tomato), and the Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupté Shine Oil-In-Stick Lipstick (in Poppy Coral).
One product that I recommend with caveat is the Touch In Sol Chroma Powder Lip Tint, one of those South Korean exports that is better in theory than in practice. The value proposition is this: the lip color is in powder form until the applicator meets your lip, at which point it transforms into a liquid. It’s a pretty cool concept and the colors offered are quite pretty (my favorite is “Leeloo,” a lovely reddish orange). Unfortunately it’s messy to apply, and does not work on chapped (or just drier lips). Use this with another lip balm for easier application.
I hardly ever use foundation, because they are more time consuming to apply properly and require brushes (which need to be cleaned frequently). Having said this, I received the bareMinerals bareSkin® Pure Brightening Serum Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 20 (which requires a special brush, the “Perfecting Foundation Brush“) as a gift some time ago and think it’s a decent product for my skin type. If I ever decide to wear more makeup, I will definitely give this another try.
While I don’t wear foundation, I do wear a BB/CC Cream most days for a number of reasons: (1) they are often marketed as having a high SPF without leaving a white cast—this makes me feel better about not putting on a base layer of sunscreen; (2) the magic cushion types are self-contained and come with a puff applicator, eliminating the need to carry around more product. I used the AmorePacific Color Control Cushion Compact Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ for a very long time, and it worked fine for my skin, but I’ve found a much more affordable alternative that also works well for my skin: the Missha M Magic Cushion No.23. They don’t offer the kind of coverage that foundation does, but they meet my requirements well.
I use eye makeup sparingly (and with many complaints), but here some products that I like (that are suitable for the clumsiest of us): Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Lengthening & Volumizing Mascara (I’ve stabbed myself in the eye with the wand before and can still see, so I think it’s safe for use), YSL Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils Luxurious Mascara, and Stila Stay All Day® Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner (A tangent: I was suspiciously peeking around a Sephora some years ago while waiting for a friend to complete a return when a beauty advisor found me holding some eye liner and said, “that one’s not going to work for you.” She then gave me this Stila eye liner and said with authority, “this one dries quicker and has a more precise application. Buy this.” And I did. And she was right! While this particular liquid liner is a pain to remove when I make a mistake—and there are many—it’s not impossible to remedy).
The thing that I try to take seriously is cleaning my face at the end of the day, especially when I put extra product on it. I am fully aware of the consequence of even a momentary lapse in failing to clean my face properly.
On the rare occasion when I use eye makeup, I have the Lancôme Bi-Facil Double-Action Eye Makeup Remover and the Clinique Take The Day Off Makeup Remover For Lids, Lashes & Lips ready on my bathroom counter, both of which work fine with baby wipes.
When my skin is at its driest/worst in the dead of winter and I need to remove all traces of makeup and dirt from my face, I use the Ole Henriksen Pure Truth™ Melting Cleanser. It isn’t great for removing heavy makeup from your face, but because I use a moderate amount, this works fine to remove that light layer without further drying out my face.
And all lazy people should buy cleansing wipes wholesale. I like to get these Pond’s Moisture Clean Towelettes from Amazon; four 30-count packages set me back about $15, but they are worth it if the alternative is going to sleep with a dirty face. I wash my face with a gentle cleanser after using one of these face wipes, but when I am extra lazy, splashing water on my face also does the job.
If you need better beauty advice, check out my blogroll. And barring a sudden change in interest, this will be my last “beauty and skincare” post for a long time. However, I have received requests to include any notable beauty sales in weekly shopping posts, so I will try to accommodate that request to the best of my ability.