Skincare Shopping - Know Your Skin Type!

I have been skincare obsessed - down to the ingredient - for over five years at this point, and I still get SO overwhelmed when I try to pick out products.

As a teen, I suffered from painful, irritated, rashy acne that required actual medical attention from a dermatologist to finally clear up, and, even now as I approach 30, I have to be careful.

Even the most popular, widely recommended products for sensitive skin cause instant rashes and week-long breakouts for me to tame. 

I've got a beauty budget just like everyone else, and I don't like my hard-earned pennies going into the trash when a $50 CC cream clogs my pores into oblivion! That frugality and mistrust of the beauty industry to care for my epidermis is largely why I do what I do. 

Well, that and pure, unbridled obsession.

However, throughout my journey, I've picked up on patterns in ingredient formulations, and I feel comfortable enough at this point to share a few tips with you to help you in your shopping endeavors.

First, know your skin type!

Your skin type plays a TREMENDOUS role when setting up your daily routine. Every type is different in its own special ways, and therein needs specific care.

Let's dive in, shall we?

Oily skin is - predictably - OILY.

It produces more sebum, pores are larger, and it's considerably more prone to acne.

If you have oily skin, you probably feel the need to wash your face often, makeup tends to slide around, and if you're like I used to be, you avoid moisturizers.

Always moisturize. 

Our skin sends us messages, and if you're producing a lot of oil, your skin could be over-producing to compensate for a lack of moisture. Crazy right?

A few tips:
Use an oil-free moisturizer or serum in the morning. It'll condition your skin without sitting on top of it all day.

At night, cleanse well with whatever cleanser leaves you feeling clean but not stripped or tight. This could be anything from a bar soap to a gel cleanser. Then, apply a gentle toner or cleansing oil to get down in those pores to remove impurities and makeup (if you wear it). Follow up with an oil serum or super rich night cream that is formulated for oily skin.

It should include light, non-comedogenic (pore-clogging) oils, and some astringent, oil-taming extracts or hydrosols (floral/herbal waters).

Dry skin is -again predictably - DRY.

It has dry patches, flaking/peeling, can feel tight, and may be prone to wrinkling prematurely. Characteristically dry skin is caused by a lack of sebum production, and is usually genetic.

If you have dry skin, you probably exfoliate a ton to try and remove the flakes, you may suffer from conditions like rosacea & eczema. Your skin is likely sensitive; it needs some extra TLC and LOTS of moisture.

You need ingredients that get way down into the deepest layers of your skin and give it lots of love and moisture.

My tips:
Use a natural, gentle cleanser. As much as I love using bar soap on my face, it is not for all skin types, really only very oily skin can tolerate soap as a facial cleanser. You need a gentle cleanser that won't strip your skin or affect its pH balance - especially if you're suffering with rosacea or eczema patches.

Cleanse your face in the morning and use a serum plus a quality moisturizer that's formulated for dry skin/sensitive skin. You don't need oil-free, as your skin is going to drink up anything you put on it!

At night, wash off all your makeup, then use a cleansing oil.

I know there are probably toners out there that are for dry skin, but really, you're better off with an oil cleanser. I'll do a quick and dirty oil cleansing tutorial in a sec.

Where were we? Right. Night time!

So get a deep clean going on every single night. Then, follow up with a simple oil serum or decadent night cream that's been formulated for dry skin. It should have a ton of calming extracts and hydrosols as well as rich oils and humectants to draw in moisture from the air.


Combination Skin

Some people (like me) have combination skin, which is, as I'm sure you can guess, somewhere in between dry and oily, but not "normal".

Combination skin can still be quite sensitive and reactive. 

For instance, I get really oily throughout the day, but I can't quite hang with an oil-free regimen without having some tightness/dryness going on. 

I wish I could give an absolute routine recommendation, but honestly, if you're rolling with combo skin, you have to experiment a little and find what works for you. I'll share my routine, and maybe that'll help!

My routine:
In the mornings, I wash my face gently with warm water and a facial pouf or baby wash cloth. I follow that up with a couple drops of oil serum mixed with an oil-free moisturizer.

At night, I give my face a good, soapy scrub with a baby wash cloth to exfoliate and cleanse, and I follow up with a good soaking of oil serum (mine is a simple 1:1:1 of hemp, jojoba, and apricot oils with a couple drops of tea tree) mixed with an oil-free, unscented moisturizer.

Annnnd that's it! 
I should probably be doing more, but I've got three kids and that's all I can squeeze in every day. 

Like I said, you'll have to experiment some to find your balance. For instance, I'm thinking of going with a foam or cream cleanser in the mornings and maybe a moisturizer that isn't completely oil-free, especially since we're in the cool months now, and I'm seeing some dryness!


"Normal" Skin

Does that even exist??

Normal skin types - y'all are super lucky and shouldn't really need to take extra precautions to cater to your skin's needs. Just wash 2x a day and moisturize how you please, and you'll have smooth sailing!

Keep your routine simple, and your products of good quality and clean origins!


Okay, so now that I've written a novella about skin types, I'm going to give you a quick oil cleansing tutorial, and then I'll scoot.

To properly use a cleansing oil as a gentle daily deep cleanse for your pores:

  1. wash off your makeup
  2. massage the oil into your skin and lay a warm wash cloth over your face
  3. when the wash cloth cools, gently wipe away any excess oil
  4. repeat steps 2 & 3 if desired
  5. moisturize
  6. nighty night, sleep tight



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