In my efforts to pare down my possessions, I’ve been looking to keep my skin care products to the bare essentials and, if possible, to use multipurpose products. I’ve honed in on a routine that meets these criteria and, most importantly, works for my skin. I have fair, sensitive, and dry skin that is very easily irritated, especially by fragrances, exfoliating products, retinols, glycolic acid, sunscreens, and so forth. I’ve tried many expensive creams and serums over the years, most of which have been too irritating, and which resulted in burning, stinging, eczema, or contact dermatitis. I’ve learned that I need to keep my skin care as simple as possible to avoid irritation. I’ve pared my skin care routine to four products.
In the morning, I rinse my face with warm water and pat dry with a small microfibre towel. I find most cotton towels to be too rough on my skin. This microfibre towel dries very quickly and is ideal for travelling, as well. I use my all-purpose cream (discussed later) around my eyes. I learned a very long time ago that specialized eye creams are a complete waste of money and that many can do more harm than good, especially if they tighten the skin. During scarf season, I will use my all-purpose cream on my neck; in other seasons, when my neck is exposed, I wear my sunscreen.
Sunscreen is absolutely non-negotiable. I avoid sun exposure like the plague and have done so since I was in my teens. I wear an SPF 60 on my face every day, regardless of the weather or the season. The product that works best for me is La Roche-Posay Anthelios Fluid Lotion SPF 60. This lotion is very light on the skin, is fragrance-free, non irritating, and moisturizing.
In the evening, I cleanse my face with sweet almond oil, which I buy in bulk from a local store. I’ve tried many gentle cleansers over the years, but they always made my face feel very dry afterwards. I massage a few pumps of the oil on my dry face, then wipe clean with a wet Erase Your Face cleansing cloth. I use this cloth to remove my eye makeup as well (no cleanser is needed). I rinse my face with warm water then dry with my microfibre towel.
The final step is to apply my all-purpose cream, which is highly recommended by many dermatologists. I’ve been using this product for the past two weeks and love the results: CeraVe Moisturizing Cream. I had been using a much more expensive product for the past few years, but I was going through it like water. Further, I wanted a product that I could use on both my face and my body, as it’s one less thing to buy. The product works better than the expensive cream. What’s even better is that I use the Shopper’s Drug Mart dupe for CeraVe: The ingredient list is identical, but I get a 453g tub for under $20.
This cream has no fragrance or irritating ingredients. It’s rich and moisturizing, but absorbs quickly and is non-greasy. I use this cream on my face and neck, and around my eyes. It doubles as my body cream as well and, even more importantly, as my hand cream. I’ve always needed to by separate hand creams, as body creams have never been moisturizing enough, but this one product does the trick.
I use bar soap exclusively to cleanse my hands and body. The richest soap I’ve found is L’Occitane’s Shea Butter Soap. I use a dry body brush to exfoliate my body. I avoid exfoliating my face as much as possible, as I find it too irritating. I occasionally use a paste made by wetting some kaolin powder, but I do this only every two weeks or so.