A Sephora Addict Goes Clean - Part 2

You can read part 1 of this series of blogs here.

My Skin Type

I’ve always battled with my skin. As a mid-late teenager, I suffered from very clogged pores and acne, particularly around the T-Zone area, chest and back. After trying a multitude of different antibiotics, serums and lotions to no avail, I started taking the contraceptive pill when it was discovered I had polycystic ovary syndrome. Around the same time, I started a new skincare regime, using the Proactiv+ skincare regime for benzoyl peroxide treatment. My skin improved drastically, but I’m not sure whether to credit the pill or Proactiv+ for the improvement. I would get the occasional hormonal breakouts, but otherwise my skin was great, even after stopping Proactiv+ regime a year or so later. In March 2018, I came off the pill after 6 years and onto a non-hormonal contraceptive. Since then, my skin has worsened, but not to the extent of my teenage years, but I find it breaks out very easily, and my pores are prone to clogging. My skin fluctuates between oily and dry in certain areas, but generally needs more hydration than not, as it can feel tight after cleansing.

I’m only 24 years old, so anti-ageing treatments aren’t my number one priority. However, I’m all for preventative action, rather than reactive action. So I’ve included retinoids and copper peptides as preventative measures.

Here are my favourite clean beauty items for morning and night routines:

AM Routine 🌞

  1. Cleanser - Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser.
  2. Acid exfoliation - The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution.
  3. Serum/treatment - The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%. I wait 20mins to apply this after the acid exfoliation as it has a neutral pH*. When I don’t have time to wait, I just use the niacinamide on freshly cleansed skin.
  4. Moisturiser - The Ordinary Natural Moisturising Factors + HA.
  5. Eye cream - The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG. When I’m not getting enough sun exposure to warrant sunscreen, I finish my routine here!
  6. Sunscreen - If I do plan to be outside for more than 15 minutes before 3pm, I wear sunscreen either in addition to, or instead of, a moisturiser.

*When applying products with different pH levels—say, more than 1.0 or so apart— it is advised to add a waiting time of roughly 20 to 30 minutes in between layers. That way, your skin pH will have time to return to normal, allowing each product to work as intended. To avoid wait times, either a) only use products that are close in pH, or b) choose products that are not pH-dependent.

PM Routine 🌚

  1. First cleanse - Sukin Micellar Cleansing Water.
  2. Second cleanse - Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser.
  3. Acid exfoliation - The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution.
  4. Serum/treatment - The Ordinary Niacinamide 10%. If I don’t have time to wait, I just use the niacinamide on freshly cleansed skin.
  5. Oil - The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane.
  6. Moisturiser - The Ordinary Natural Moisturising Factors + HA.
  7. Targeted eye treatment - The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG.

After trying a myriad of different products and combinations, my skin responds far better to a less-is-more approach. So I’m trying to keep the number of products I use to a minimum. The general rule of thumb is only three serums and only one strong active at a time.

The next post will detail the importance of each step in this skincare regime. Until then, drop me a note if you want to share your thoughts on clean beauty! Below is the link to the previous blog in this series.

Part 1 - A Sephora Addict Goes Clean