Let me start by saying that my skin is a hormonal, fickle, pain in the behind. I'm 34 years old and my skin can be any condition depending on what season it is, what my hormones are doing, how I'm handling stress, how I'm eating, whether I'm drinking enough water, and whether I've been good about taking my supplements (Black Currant Oil is the biggie). Currently, it's fairly normal as I'm being pretty good about all of the above, but a couple of months ago, in the heat of summer, I was fighting an oil slick in my T-zone and closed comedones on my jawline and cheeks. Fall and spring are usually my least stressful skin times. As winter approaches, my skin will become drier. With that said, these are some my favorite products that are pretty steady in my routine. Stay tuned for full-length reviews on these products.
In the evening, if I'm not oil cleansing, I start off by removing my makeup with MAC's makeup removing wipes. These things are seriously the best thing since sliced bread. After years of using whatever was on sale at the drugstore (mostly Neutrogena, Pond's, or baby wipes), my mother handed me one of her MAC wipes. I've never looked back. They're a little spendy, but they last me two to three times longer than the others ones since I only ever use one wipe instead of two or three. Seriously...one of these babies can take off a full face of sunscreen, long-wearing foundation, various powders, and my waterproof mascara. Even if I only use this on a tired night (oops...yeah, it happens occasionally), I never wake up with raccoon eyes or, more importantly, breakouts.
If I don't use a makeup removing wipe, it's an oil cleansing night. Even after all these years (The original OCM article was here on TBB back in 2002!), it's still my favorite way to remove makeup and really purify my skin. And, I find that my skin always looks its best when I clean it at night this way. I usually use a blend of about 75% high linoleic sunflower seed oil and 25% castor oil.
If I used a makeup removing wipe, I usually follow up with one of my favorite, gentle cleansers. My skin is super sensitive to cleansers and I know almost immediately if I'm going to break out from a new one I'm trying. For a quick, gentle wash, I'll use a couple of drops of Johnson & Johnson's Head-to-Toe baby wash. I've used this for my entire adult life and no matter how irritated I've made my skin with some harsh product trial, this never burns or leaves me with tight skin. For something deeper, I love Clarins Cleansing Milk with Gentian. This is a creamy/milky product that feels like a light oil once you're massaging it into your skin, but then rinses clean and leaves the softest skin ever. Both of these are super gentle, but the Clarins has a heavy fragrance. Typically, I'm sensitive to fragrance in face products, but for some reason, the Clarins products don't give me any issues (which is thrilling...because I love beautiful smelling skin care). I love this and the matching toner so much that I purchase the professional size (with a pump) on eBay.
I do have and use a Clarisonic, but I typically only use it with the soft Luxe brush head. All of the other brush heads, with the exception of the Deep Pore brush head for acne, are way too intense for my skin. The J&J Head-to-Toe foams like a dream with the Clarisonic and I usually do this in the mornings.
This isn't something I do regularly, but occasionally, the mood strikes. When I'm feeling a little dry or sensitive, I spritz on some Thayer's Rosewater Toner. If I'm feeling grimy or oilier than usual, I swipe a cotton pad with Clarins toner over my skin. Both are alcohol free and, like I mentioned above, I love the Clarins toner in the summer so much that I buy the professional size on eBay. It's designed with plant extracts to help combat oily skin and I do find that it helps keep my jawline breakouts at bay when they flare up once a month.