Morning Skincare Routine


I’ve been hesitant about doing this but at the same time I’ve wanted to share the precise routine that I’ve stuck to that has improved my skin and in real life, non beauty-obsessive individuals have asked me about my routine so I figured it was time to get over the challenge of articulating a routine that differs slightly depending on the day of the week and the condition of my skin at the moment. I went on about my skin and skincare thoughts in the first post of this series last week here if you happen to be curious but I have dry sensitive skin with texture and brightness concerns and a side order of mild acne in short and here is my two minute morning routine…

Before I found easy gentle cleansers like the affordable Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanse($11-12 CDN) that gently cleanse the skin with minimal effort, washing away with a splash of water without leaving the skin stripped or irritated in some way, I wasn’t a believer in washing my face in the morning but now that I have, I can’t bring myself to turn back as my skin is far clearer.

Once-or-perhaps-twice per week, when I’m tempted I go for the extremely gentle salicylic-acid-based chemical exfoliant, namely the underrated — and way superior to the dreadful offerings in the three step formulation — Clinique Mild Clarifying Lotion ($16 CDN). With only 0.5% strength salicylic acid, this “toner” provides the gentlest chemical exfoliation and I tend to go for this when my skin is a little congested in areas — not too rare of an occasion, if I’m honest.

Being interested in the wonders of a serum as of late, I’ve recently added the La Roche-Posay Rosaliac AR Intense Localized Redness Serum ($35 CDN)into the morning skincare dash and so far I’m pleased with the soothing and hydrating power of this lightweight gel-like textured serum. I don’t have rosacea, so I can’t report on that front but this does help calm the skin, redness included.

Although there’s no SPF or anything of the sort that would confine this moisturizer to use in the morning, I tend to go for the lovely REN Evercalm Global Protection Day Cream ($54 CDN) that offers that essential soothing action with lightweight fast-absorbing hydration. But I still wouldn’t rank it above the Caudalie that I do not own at the moment but went on and on about last year for good reason, if you know what I mean.

Because I live in a cooler climate and have extraordinary issues with the whole sunscreen shebang – I’m allergic to most chemical sunscreens – I do that naughty thing and only wear SPF if I’m going to be spending the day outdoors in the sun and true to its name, the Avene High Protection Mineral Cream SPF 50 ($30 CDN)delivers. Like all mineral sunscreens, this one does bring a bit of a white cast and because of this the cream is tinted and pulls slightly pink-y on me (but not too terribly) but this remains the gentlest and most-effective sunscreen I’ve tried to date, never burning the eyes to boot. It has a hydrating texture that isn’t the most lightweight so on occasion I’ll skip on either the serum or moisturizer, as there’s no need for excess product.

It’s not life changing or anything of the sort but it hydrates my lips and works nicely under lipsticks so the EOS Smooth Sphere Lip Balm in Summer Fruit ($4 CDN) has my seal of approval. The texture isn’t overly slippy so it fares well under lip products and the scent doesn’t bother me like most fruit scents – if you ask me, it smells like authentic peaches.

What are your go-to products in your morning skincare routine?

Maggie, x.


My Skincare Saviors




Tuesday’s post covered a description of my skin and what in my experience is essential for caring for the skin so I’ll spare you the long ramble; I already shared my general advice for skincare so I thought it was about time to discuss my specific hero skincare products. I’ve already said this last post but thanks to these products in particular, my skin is the clearest it has ever been in terms of texture and brightness and is the least red as well.

Clinique Mild Clarifying Lotion ($16)
I’m a wee bit passionate about the chemical exfoliants and this is why it is completely rational – for me – to include multiple products in this category here and to be honest, I was tempted to include one more but I tried my best to narrow it down… This offering remains one of my favourites and in constant although I haven’t mentioned it as much in light of my discovery of more intensive chemical exfoliants. This offering might look just like another clarifying lotion within the Clinique 3 Step System but unlike those belonging to the system, this one does not include any irritating alcohol or anything of the sort and is not the strongest BHA, as its only 0.5 % – because of this it is a gentle acidic toner for everyday use. It did not have crazy results overnight but after consistent use, it really has helped with the overall texture and clarity of my skin. It never irritates my extremely sensitive skin and if anything actually reduces irritation and inflammation.

Indeed Laboratories Pepta-Bright Intense Brightening Treatment ($40)
This is the other chemical exfoliant that I attribute to the improvement of my skin but this one contains AHA’s and is more concentrated, focusing intensively on brightness along with texture. Unlike the acidic toner, this one is more of a concentrated treatment so I tend to use it less often, say four times a week at night — while there aren’t instant results with this, this cream-serum over the span of a few months of continuous use radically improved the brightness, evenness and texture of my skin. The cream texture actually is impressively hydrating on its own — I tend to follow with something but I don’t have to, which is impressive and it doesn’t have irritating ingredients or fragrance within it. I adore this serum and I wrote much more on it here when I reviewed it.

Organic Rosehip Oil                                                                                                                                                                                                 While my product is produced by the brand By Nature, I don’t think that the brand is significant in any shape or form as it’s just a pure oil. This oil does what its hyped to do, nourishing and deeply hydrating the skin with its non-greasy dry oil texture, soothes and calms the skin while helping to fade hyperpigmentation and promoting overall clarity. Also, I find when I have a blemish coming up underneath the skin, if I apply this on the area, it not only goes away much sooner but it also doesn’t leave any angry marks or other sources of irritation — this sounds kind of strange but it is true. However, I should mention that the oil has sort of a brassy tinge so if you’re wearing it during the day you probably should be wearing something on top.

Kiehl’s Skin Rescuer Daily Hydrator ($45 CDN)                                                                                                                               While I’m not quite ready to classify this moisturizer as holy grail or anything of that declarative sort, I must admit that this rich moisturizing treatment that remains lightweight and at the same time contains skin-soothing ingredients such as squalane and chamomile is impressive. While doing the above things in a practical pump container with a sufficient amount of product, it protects the skin against the elements and can quickly get my skin out of that cycle of irritation, itchiness and flaking. And it’s fragrance-free which is a nice change of pace.

Neutrogena Ultra-Gentle Daily Cleanser ($10-12 CDN)                                                                                                                    To be honest, it was rather difficult to chose whether to include this cleanser or the extremely similar Neutrogena Extra Gentle Cleanser but ended up going for this offering because while it wasn’t quite as creamy and as hydrating, this gentle fragrance-free cleanser also has the ability to remove makeup completely. This cleanser never leaves my skin feeling stripped and is a lightweight creamy-gel kind of texture – similar to Cetaphil but notably superior in my opinion – and is the perfect cleanser to go in for the second cleanse at nighttime – or first for that matter – but it’s a great one for the mornings as it applies and rinses without the aid of a washcloth with ease.

Boots No7 Beautiful Skin Cleansing Balm ($11 CDN)                                                                                                                                 This appears to be another one of those products that I actually have evidence of my adoration of here in review form. To be honest, I’ve actually just finished this product – after using it daily for a good ten months – and have moved onto the very similar Hot Cloth Cleanser from the same line but regardless, this nourishing and creamy cleanser removes makeup like a dream and leaves the skin soothed but cleansed like no other. I wouldn’t actually describe it as a balm cleanser but rather as a rich cream; I’m not complaining though, here. I occasionally use it in the mornings as well but this is my go-to cleanser for the first cleanse at nighttime to remove the bulk of my makeup gently.

The Body Shop Aloe Protective Restoring Mask ($22 CDN)                                                                                                               When I discovered this product a few months back, it was a riskier purchase as I tend to be skeptical of stores like The Body Shop as they tend to overload their products with fragrance and call them skincare but as I stated in an earlier post here, I was pleasantly surprised. Not only is this moisturizing mask packed with the soothing and healing aloe, it doesn’t contain any sort of fragrance or irritating ingredients either. This might not be the most groundbreaking moisture mask in existence, simply loaded with calming aloe that truly nourishes the skin but it does what it sets out to, calming down the skin overnight, adding intensive hydration without feeling overly heavy on the skin. And the next day, you wake up with brighter more radiant skin. I’ll warn you, though, this is the first moisture mask that I’ve tried so I haven’t really got anything concrete to compare it to.

What are your top skincare saviors?

Maggie, x.