Show Your Skin Some Love

Year after year Valentine's Day is celebrated as this romantic holiday where we rely on other people to show their affection towards us.  Eff that!  This year I decided to put extra care into the way I love my skin and the results from doing so have been super rewarding.  Some time in 2016, I seem to have given up on taking care of my skin or having a routine altogether.  I was literally doing the least, expecting the most and putting out fires (pimples) as they arose.  Looking in the mirror without any makeup on was all the motivation I needed to change those horrible habits.  Instead of reaching out to makeup companies, I spent more effort reaching out to skincare brands.  While I love cosmetics just as much as the next girl, I have this thing where I want to feel comfortable with naked skin as well.  And GIRL, I was far from that!  A few brands were gracious enough to send products my way.  The rest were investments from Sephora and Marshall's, yes MARSHALL'S!  Don't sleep on the discount stores because I found some amazing skincare products from Bliss on clearance for less than $10 there.  So, instead of falling in love with the way my face looked beat I decided to fall in love with taking care of my actual skin.  In return, it's loving me back by looking amazing.

One of the major components to loving your skin is developing a routine.  This does require a bit of trial and error... oh and some coin!  But don't be foolish.  If you try a product and have an adverse reaction to it then take that puppy right back to the store for a refund.  I suggest purchasing from Sephora, Ulta or department stores like Macy's and Nordstrom.  Target use to be a go-to but they have changed their return policies on cosmetics and each store has the power to accept or deny the return if it's been used.  Personally, I follow a routine for acne prone skin even when my skin is clear because underneath all the great skin is a pimple waiting to pop it's little ass out.  I caught up with Rachel Roff, owner of Urban Skin Rx, who gave me some personal tips on keeping a routine geared towards my skin type.

Currently, my routine consists of a Cleanser, Treatment/Mask, Toner, Serum and Moisturizer.  At first, the thought of using so many different products deterred me from keeping a good skin care routine but when I started noticing a visible difference just after a few days, that was enough to motivate me to keep going.  I've done my time in the trial and error phase so now I know what products/brands work really well for my skin needs.  Some are from Sephora but some are from the drugstore and as I mentioned earlier, some are actually from Marshall's.  Deciding where to buy your products from all boils down to the ingredient list.  Rachel Roff, owner of Urban Skin Rx, gave me some great tips in that department as well...

If you're just curious to see what products I've been using lately, they're listed below with a quick review on each.  My skin type is oily + acne prone which leads to hyperpigmentation issues as well.  Some of these products may work for you as well if your skin type is the same or similar but I highly recommend researching and spending time developing your own routine.  Don't know where to start? If you have a brand/line of products that you currently use and they're not giving you adverse reactions then dive deeper into their product line to develop your routine.  It's not always necessary to have a billion products from a billion different brands unless you know of other brands and products that work for you as well.  Here's a bit about my personal skincare routine:

1. Clarisonic*:  I've been using a Clarisonic for well over 5 years now.  It's definitely an investment but they last FOREVER.  Just recently I did a YouTube video and discussed why every girl needs to own a Clarisonic.  Check it out here.

2. Urban Skin Rx Clear Skin Cleansing Bar*: This is a product that I've been using for about a month now and my skin is loving it!  I like to use it in the mornings to remove all the excess oils on my skin that develop throughout the night but I have used it at night as well.  Just depends on my mood really.  It's doing an amazing job at keep my skin clean + pimple free.  Using this with the Clarisonic is absolutely THE best duo ever.  Thank me later!

3. Bliss Steep Clean Mattifying Toner Pads:  I use this as my toner during the day to prep my skin for makeup.  It's good for clearing out those pores and mattifying the heck out of your skin.  If I go bare skin in the morning but decide to apply makeup later on in the day, I just use one of these pads to wipe my face down instead of re-cleansing.  It does the job!

4. Bliss The Youth As We Know It Anti-Aging Serum:  GIRL.  I don't know where this serum has been all my life but it's freaking amazing.  After sucking the life out of your skin with all the cleansing and toning, this serum brings that glow right back and its immediate.  You don't have to wait at all!  I've learned with research that Anti-Aging products are great for their own benefits but they are also great at combatting hyperpigmentation as well.  Most Anti-Aging products (including this one) contain cell renewal agents which is one of the top performers in getting rid of hyperpigmentation.

5. Algenist Genius Ultimate Anti-Aging Cream:  Let me tell you how I had this item in my cabinets for months before deciding to actually use it.  Between being overwhelmed with the products I receive as a Blogger and moving my family from Virginia to Maryland, it just wasn't on my priority list at the time.  Well when I finally settled into my new home and organized things, I pulled this puppy out and Lordahammercy!  This stuff is incredible and has my skin looking better and better each morning I wake up after using it.

6. Pixi 24K Eye Elixir*:  Admittedly, I forget this step occasionally.  I really don't know how I can even forget when I stare at those dark under eye circles every single day.  But you know when I remember?  During my makeup routine, right before I apply my under eye concealer!  LOL.  The amount needed always reminds me that I should never forget my eye treatment.  This product is super lightweight, almost like a serum but still does a great job at moisturizing that sensitive area.

7. Urban Skin Rx DermShield Sun Protection Daily Moisturizer:  Honestly, I'm on the fence with this sunscreen only because of how thick it is.  It doesn't settle into the skin immediately and requires a good amount of working into.  Then obviously, you don't want to reduce the amount you're using because it IS sunscreen, DUH and that's it's purpose!  Using it on days where I'm wearing no makeup, I absolutely LOVE it.  It's when I try to use it under foundation that I'm not head over heels.  I've been using this product for over a month and applying it in different ways to see if I can find a happy medium.  But I may be in the market for a sunscreen soon so if you have any that you love, I'm all ears!

There are a multitude of different products that I rotate in and out depending on my skin needs or whether it's day time or night time.  Some of the items not listed above that are still regulars for me are: Bliss Micro Magic Treatment* (use a few times a week), Urban Skin Rx Even Tone Night Treatment* (night use only), Alpha H Liquid Gold (night use only a few times a week), Pixi Beauty Sleep Cream* (night use only), Clinique Pep Start Eye Cream (day time use), Clarisonic Radiance Cleanser* (night use only every few days).

So there you have it!  A complete round up of my routine and products I use.  Some of the products I'm currently using were sent to me for review and are marked with (*).  I have tons of products and not all of them work so well but for the purposes of this blog post, I've left those out.  There's a time and a place to throw shade and it's not here and now.  LOL.  So, go on ahead and show your skin some love this Valentine's Day!!