The past year and a half has been a bit quiet on the blog here, but that is about to change. 🙂 Fortunately, after a year and a half of craziness, I was able to transition into a new job – one that’s literally 8 mins drive from my apartment, instead of 1.5-2 hours. Combine that with the whole WFH situation (which is still ongoing here in Santa Clara county), and I’ve found myself with a little extra time to start writing again and taking photos.
I honestly could not wait to get back into blogging. For a while there though, it was tough with the lack of time and energy. Working in the beauty industry doing – you guess it – content creation, also didn’t help. It almost drained all my creativity. By the time I’d get home, I’d be very difficult for me to jump right back into creating content for Jessoshii. My job also, well, de-glamorized the ‘quick-to-market’ beauty industry for me, while strengthening my stance on natural beauty. And by that I mean wearing focusing on the inside first-and-foremost (like diet, sleep, exercise, and reducing stress), wearing less makeup, and opting for more natural, plant-based skincare (while not necessarily ignoring the more science-based, clinical skincare brands), which brings me to the topic of today’s post – my current skincare routine.
Especially it times like these, I’ve been appreciating a good skincare routine for its therapeutic, self-care aspect more than anything. That extra little me-time, combined with amazing natural scents and textures, transports me out of my cramped little apartment, if only for a brief 10-15 minutes. 🙂 So without further ado, here’s a rundown of my current clean skincare routine, along with some of my all-time favorites for their efficacy and ingredients.
For the sake of time, I like to keep my morning skincare routine fairly simple. I’ll typically start by splashing my face with water, and then I’ll pat on a few drops of the Dermalogica Age Bright clearing serum, which addresses two of my main skincare concerns: large, congested pores, and lines and wrinkles. It’s super lightweight and absorbs quickly, and both feels and smells very refreshing. Plus, it actually works – thanks to this serum, paired up with some of the chemical exfoliators that I use in the evening, my pores have been gradually clearing up and reducing in size.
Next up, I’ll pat on a light layer of moisturizer with SPF – my current favorite is the Andalou Ultra Sheer Daily Defense Facial Lotion SPF 18 (Andalou is one of my all-time favorite clean beauty brands – they’re very affordable too!). I love this lotion because it’s very lightweight and spreads out evenly in seconds. It also helps hydrate my combo skin, leaving it subtly dewy – never greasy – and protected with the added SPF.
And because I like to mix up my moisturizers every other day, occasionally I’ll use Glo Skincare Phyto-Active Light Moisture. This is another great lightweight daily moisturizer that spreads like silk over the skin and helps to keep everything balanced and glowy without feeling heavy or greasy during the warmer months. Similar to the Andalou moisturizer, it helps fight signs of aging – using natural plant actives, it helps hydrate, firm, brighten, repair, and protect skin.
Finally, as a little treat for the eye area (and my senses too), I’ll apply the 100% Pure Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream. This stuff smells so delicious thanks to all-natural ingredients like coffee and vanilla, and it helps keep my eye area hydrated and smooth.
Now, on the days I decide to go bare-faced, I’ll instead reach for the Dermalogica Biolumin-C Vitamin C Eye Serum. I love the formula because it instantly brightens my eye area and also helps smooth out fine lines, giving my eyes a more ‘awake’ look (with the added protection + restorative benefits of Vitamin C!). I’ll apply the teeniest amount – one small squeeze, split between both eyes – which is great because, while this serum is quite pricey, you can definitely make it last. The only reason I use this only on my makeup-free days is because the formula is slightly tacky (at least for the first 10 mins or so) and in my often very rushed morning makeup routine, it can make anything applied over top look patchy.
For a quick refresher throughout the day, I’ll reach for OSEA’s Sea Minerals Mist – my new HG facial mist. I love it because it’s super refreshing and lightweight, and made with natural and organic ingredients. It comes in handy in the summer months especially, as it both hydrates and soothes thanks to sea minerals and aloe vera.
Another bonus is that it doesn’t leave behind a tacky or oily film on my skin, like so many other mists I’ve tried in the past. (I’ve noticed that brands will often put oils or glycerin high up in their ingredients list, in attempt to give skin that ‘glowy’ look. However, this often just leaves my T-zone looking even oilier, especially in the summer months).
The mist is also free of essential oils, and has a very subtle, natural mineral scent which I’ve come to appreciate, since I don’t always want a blast of fragrance in my face every time I use it (and I use it ~5-10x a day, as you can probably tell by the bottle! It’s about time for a new one!).
My evening cleaning routine will vary based on how much makeup I felt like wearing that day, my skin’s current struggles, and even my mood. If I wore heavy eyeliner or eye shadow, I’ll use a few pumps of Julep’s Love Your Bare Face Hydrating Cleansing Oil and gently press it over my lashes and lids. The oil-based formula does at an amazing job at dissolving away any and all eye makeup – even more stubborn, waterproof types. Most impressively, it rinses off easily and leaves skin feeling hydrated, sans any oily residue.
If I went light on the eye makeup that day, I’ll skip to step two of my cleansing routine and reach for the ultra-soothing and gentle OSEA Ocean Cleanser, which works three-fold to clarify, exfoliate, and balance. My combination skin is loving this, not to mention, its natural lime aroma and creamy texture makes for a very refreshing treat.
To keep keep pores clear, exfoliation is also key – but you don’t want to do it too often. For me, I’ve found 1-2x a week is perfect. Lately, I’ve been leaning toward using gentle chemical exfoliators lately as, from what I understand, they 1) help remove dead skin from not only the surface of the skin, but also deep down in the pores to reduce existing build-up and 2) they do arguably less damage to your skin compared to physical exfoliators, which can sometimes cause micro-tears to the pores. However, there are two methods of physical exfoliation that I do still use: Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant, which uses a rice-based powder to gently exfoliate, and a simple washcloth (I love these versatile hemp cotton ones from Etsy!). After some light exfoliation using one (or both) of these methods, I’ll finish up with a few drops of the Glo Skin Pro 5 Liquid Exfoliant, which features a blend of 5 alpha and poly-hydroxy acids to help clarify and minimize pores, as well as smooth and soften skin. This chemical exfoliant blend does not need to be rinsed off, and goes right under your moisturizer.
On the days when I skip the above exfoliation steps, I’ll apply Peter Thomas’s Roth Potent-C Power Serum to my face and neck. This serum instantly brightens my skin thanks to a potent concentration of 20% THD ascorbate vitamin C, an ingredient that’s 50x more powerful than traditional vitamin C. I’ve been using this for years now and it’s still one of my top favorites for all-over brightening plus antioxidant benefits. Long-term, it has helped smooth my neck area and visibly reduce lines.
After serum (or the Liquid Exfoliant, if it happens to be an exfoliation day), I’ll grab an evening moisturizer based on how my skin has been behaving. If it’s looking dry and just needs some basic hydration, I’ll apply Andalou’a Resveratrol Q10 Night Repair Cream, which is similar to their SPF lotion I mentioned earlier in that it helps fight signs of aging while keeping even very dry skin hydrated. I just love the texture of this cream – it feels super rich and buttery, yet it’s lightweight, absorbs quickly, and leaves my skin comfortable, balanced, and non-greasy. Now, if my skin is looking a bit dull or lifeless, I’ll apply the Andalou Purple Carrot C Luminous Night Cream, which helps to brighten my skin and get it glowing overnight.
If my skin is really in need of some attention – say if it’s red and irritated, dry, patchy, and dull – I’ll go from my third option, 100% Pure’s Multi-Vitamin + Antioxidants Ultra Riché PM Treatment, my latest HG moisturizer. The all-natural formula almost instantly soothes my skin, and overnight it magically revives and rejuvenates my complexion, making it look healthier, calmer, more even-toned, and balanced the very next morning. Add in a mini breakout, and I’ll finish up by applying pimple patches to help them heal a bit quicker (I rotate between 3-4 brands as I always keep these stocked!).
As a final step, I’ll put a few drops of the Kahina Argan Oil on my fingertips and then lightly press it into my brows, under my eyes, and on my neck – it’s the prefect ‘final touch’. (And I have to mention that Kahina’s oil is one of the highest-quality, organic, cold-pressed argan oils I’ve come across online. Unlike some of the cheaper variations, Kahina’s absorbs more quickly and leaves skin hydrated for much longer).
Typically on Sunday when I’m playing catch-up with my overall beauty routine – whether that be epilating, tanning, or cleaning up the nails, I’ll get the urge the treat my skin with a more intensive mask. Lately, I’ve been reaching for two in particular – the Andalou BioActive Berry Fruit Enzyme Mask and the OSEA Black Algae Flash Mask.
The Andalou BioActive Berry Fruit Enzyme Mask helps address signs of aging through a blend of fruit stem cells, a bioactive 8 berry complex, and resveratrol Q10. It makes my skin feel so smooth and supple afterwards, and as an added bonus, the butter-meets-gel texture smells deliciously fruity and refreshing, and feels cooling on the skin (even ‘cooler’ when stored in the fridge!).
To help reduce pore congestion, I’ll reach for OSEA’s Black Algae Flash Mask. It contains malic acid, and fig and pumpkin enzymes – all chemical exfoliators – along with jojoba spheres, which provide very gentle exfoliation. And just as the name implies, this stuff works fast – I’ll leave it on for only ~5 minutes before rinsing off to reveal glowy, smooth, and more even-looking skin, sans any dryness or tightness.
What are some of your current go-to skincare products?