This post contains affiliate links. I may receive a small commission if you use any of the links below. Thank you for supporting this blog.
Perhaps the title of this post makes you stroke your chin and wonder aloud, “Hmmm….” Naming this post was an unexpected challenge, as was writing it. As I am learning more about my skin, it’s needs, the ingredients in my products and the practices of the companies behind those products, I’m struggling to not feel overwhelmed by it all. I have adjusted my mindset regarding my beauty products from 100% all-natural to a routine that has been 100% thoughtfully curated to best address my needs and my values. Throughout this post you will find a mix of natural products, fair-trade products and clinical(ish) products – all of which is explained throughout the post. If you have questions about the process, specific products or are seeking recommendations, leave them in a comment below. Let’s get chatting!
About my skin: Oily and acne prone, minor acne scarring
Previously used: Rodan + Fields ‘Unblemish’ regimen
Background on the Process
For me, the first step in curating any sort of new routine is to find a starting point. When it comes to replacing your entire skincare routine, that can feel like a daunting and expensive feat. I recommend starting one product at a time, as you naturally use them up. Doing so will also give your skin time to adjust to new products gradually.
In the last month or so, I have become fascinated by understanding the chemical processes during one’s skincare routine and how specific compounds and ingredients affect one’s skin. My favorite resource? The incredible Caroline Hirons. She is a delightful riot of a woman who is incredibly knowledgeable about skincare processes, ingredients and everything in between. Check out her YouTube channel, you can thank me later.
The New Products
The first thing step in my skincare routine that was rethought was my face wash. I went to Target because I knew that they carry a wide variety of natural, fair-trade, quality brands that are affordable. I naturally gravitated towards Pacifica because I was familiar with the brand’s values: vegan products, never tested on animals. The Pineapple Cleanse face wash was new to me and I think it is exclusive to Target and Pacifica’s website (Note: I have checked two Ulta stores near me and neither carried this particular product). I saw ‘oil-slaying’ in the name and was sold; I have been experiencing some issues with managing the oiliness of my skin thanks to hormones. At the time of publishing this post, I have been using my second tube for about a week. I use this face wash twice a day.
The next product to go was my toner. Generally speaking, I’ve been using a toner off and on for most of my teens and early twenties. For the better part of the last year, I was using a skincare line that was sulfur-based, which my skin came to love for about eight of those months. Naturally, I headed to Target and remembered my sister raving about the African Black Soap range from Shea Moisture (about the brand: cruelty-free, ethically traded and fair trade). I saw they had several toner and moisturizer options within this range and decided upon the Clarifying Problem Skin Toner with tamarind and tea tree oil. I love that this toner comes in a spray, but won’t be repurchasing it – more on that later.
In the same trip to Target, I purchased the Shea Moisture Bamboo Charcoal Hydrating Gelee Moisturizer with aloe. I love the texture of this moisturizer and a little bit goes away. I use this as a nighttime moisturizer. It does a great job of moisturizing and sinks in nicely. Prior to purchasing this, I wasn’t using a nighttime moisturizer because my regimen didn’t include one. On nights when I felt particularly dry, I would use the Rodan + Fields Active Hydration serum.
When I ran out of my daytime moisturizer, I found it particularly challenging to find a moisturizer with good ingredients that contained SPF. At Ulta, I came across the Botanics ‘Shine Away’ range that had a daytime moisturizer with SPF. This brand prides themselves on using certified organic ingredients, not testing on animals and their commitment to sustainability. However, upon closer examination of the ingredients when I got home being guided by the lovely Caroline Hirons, I discovered that this moisturizer contains shea butter. I’ve learned that shea butter is an oil that is particularly heavy and difficult for our skin to absorb. This now makes sense to me because my biggest gripe about this ‘mattifying’ moisturizer is that it leaves my skin feeling tacky all day.
The Rest of the Routine
Eye cream – I using an eye cream morning and night. Right now, I am using the Rodan + Fields Bright Eye Complex.
Serum – As mentioned earlier, I have been using the Rodan + Fields Active Hydration Serum. Currently, I use this in the evenings, only over areas that are particularly dry and sensitive as needed.
Physical Exfoliant – I love me a physical scrub. There is something so satisfying about feeling the grit on your face and envisioning all of gunk getting lifted away. I am using the Rodan + Fields Micro-Dermabrasion Paste on Friday evenings in lieu of cleansing with the Pacifica cleanser.
Other Acids – I recently won a giveaway on Instagram in which I received about 10 mini Pixi Glow and Rose tonics. I have been using the rose tonic in the evenings all over my face. It’s a little tingly, which I love, and my skin looks refreshed in the mornings.
Products in the Pipeline
Like I mentioned earlier, I am really not a fan of the Shea Moisture toner. I have about a third of the bottle left and I will use it up, however, I did pick up a new toner when I was in Sephora redeeming my birthday gift. I picked up the Caudalíe Purifying Toner. It contains salicylic acid, which is great for oily and acne-prone skin. It also contains rose, grape seed oil and other calming ingredients. Caudalíe is a French brand that does not test on animals and formulates their products without parabens, phthalates, sulfates and a couple of other ingredients written in French on the bottle.
About my hair: A lot of fine hair, not colored or chemically treated.
It wasn’t until I cut nearly eight inches of hair off my head that I become a hair product person. Yes, I’ve used hairspray, dry shampoo and heat protectant, but only on special occasions. Now, I find that it takes some extra work to give my hair some interest – yes, I also need another haircut.
For as long as I can remember, my mom has used the Tresemme Trés Two Hairspray with the 4 hold. Therefore, that’s what I use. This is also Tuck’s favorite hairspray and he uses it much more frequently than I do, so I’m going to leave that for now.
Now as far as dry shampoo is concerned, I have been frustrated by so many underperforming over the years. In the same trip to Ulta when I purchased the Botanics moisturizer, I picked up the OGX organ oil of morocco dry shampoo. This is the first dry shampoo I’ve used that actually lasts all day. I apply it first thing in the morning as a preventative measure for longevity of my ‘do and love the scent. It does have a white cast, which isn’t an issue for me having blonde hair, but I imagine it could be difficult for those with darker hair colors to get the white cast to cooperate. About the brand: OGX does not test on animals and is weirdly allusive about their commitment to sustainability.
I have also started using a leave-in conditioner of sorts. I have been a fan of this John Frieda one for years and have recently switched to the eva nyc Mane Magic since using it up. I have used this one previously as a sample and really enjoyed it. It can be found at Ulta stores and online, but was recently at Costco in a 2-pack for $12 or some ridiculous deal. I was just at Costco earlier in the week and they still have it only for $6.97 – Y’ALL NEED TO RUN TO GET IT. RUN. It smells fabulous and is very effective as a detangler, overall smoother and heat protectant. About the brand: eva nyc does not test on animals.
Down the Pipeline
I am about to run out of conditioner – I purchased a random Dove one that was on clearance. I will report back with what I pick up.
I have been using natural deodorant for a year and a half now and Schmidt’s, in particular, for about a year. I love the stuff. I don’t mind sweating, I just don’t want to smell and this stuff does the trick. I have used many scents, this is the one I found at Costco for a bargain – something like 3 tubes (?) for $15. A note about Schmidt’s: not all scents are created equal in a way you may not expect. The rose scented deodorant, while great smelling, left armpit stains on my light-colored tops.
I have been super curious about charcoal toothpastes and admittedly very hesitant to trying one. I have a folder in my Bookmarks in my browser where I save links for items I’d like to try and hello toothpaste was one of them. It seems like no coincidence then that I received this toothpaste from Influenster to try. I have been using it on and off for the last two weeks and really like it. It tastes minty and doesn’t leave my mouth feeling dry, something I was nervous about with charcoal toothpastes. About the brand: cruelty free and their tagline is ‘naturally friendly.’ Their products are formulated without artificial sweeteners, flavors, dyes, fluoride, sulfates, microbeads, parabens, triclosan, dairy and gluten.
Products I have Previously Used & Enjoyed
Thank you all for bearing with me for this very in-depth blog post. I would love to know if you are embarking on a similar journey with your beauty routines and products. Please leave your recommendations for products you think I may enjoy in the comments below. Also let me know if you would be interested in reading a similar post on makeup products!
How are you trying to be more thoughtful about your beauty routines?