My Current Routine: The Regulars

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I know this has been a long time coming, but getting my skincare routine down isn’t that easy because: 1. I rotate so much, for instance, I go between 3 cleansers every week (exfoliating, foaming, & daily) and I go between 3 moisturizers based on the level of hydration I need and how they layer with other products 2. I am constantly sampling new products. Due to my job, I have a lot of samples at my disposal, some I write about, some I don’t (obviously not clean brands like La Prairie, La Mer, etc.) – so I generally use those products to take care of the “nonessential” skincare products. 

Due to these factors, consider this… not my definitive routine, for example I’ve been using the Arcona Toner mainly just to finish it up, I don’t really think I’ll rebuy it again, and my cleanser is still in heavy rotation, and this list doesn’t even cover the facial oils I play with. Without further explanation, here is my current routine which is subject to change at a moments notice

Arcona Cranberry Toner: This is my pre-cleanser product since the Intelligent Nutrients Cleanser doesn’t really remove a lot. I apply 2-3 pumps of this to a cotton pad and remove “the day” from my face. I don’t use this in the morning and when I do use this at night, I follow up immediately with the cleanser because I’m kind of convinced the EO’s and fragrances in here are going to be irritating to my skin if I leave them on for long. Be sure you wash this off your skin because there are foaming agents and alcohols in here that are not good when left on skin for a long time, that is why I use it right before I hop into the shower with my cleanser. The scent is also something you’ll love or hate as it has staying power – I found it ok but a bit much. Another alternative I’ve been substituting is pure Jojoba Oil, but that is more like an oil-cleanse that the Intelligent Nutrients cleanser cannot “eat” through – so I reserve it as a once a week ritual.

Intelligent Nutrients Anti-Aging Cleanser: I find that in the winter, I do not need cleansers that “remove everything” because my skin tends to feel stripped afterward, leading it to over-produce sebum. I’ve been using this cleanser because it is actually more like a lotion that you apply to your skin. It doesn’t strip skin at all, in fact there is no foaming action at all, only the feeling of the cream sliding through skin. Before you ask when a cleanser would have anti-aging benefits since it is only on your skin for such as short amount of time, let me explain: what it lacks as a actual ‘cleansing’ agent, it makes up for in the nutrients department. This feels more like a skin conditioner than a real cleanser because most of what I rub around my skin isn’t even washed off, it seems to be absorbed by skin! You know when you massage a cleanser into skin and give it a while to do its work sometimes? If you do that with this, I’d say about 60%-80% of the product will be absorbed by skin. For ordinary cleansers that are loaded with foaming agents, emulsifiers, alcohols, etc. this may be a problem but the natural, mostly organic ingredients in this cleanser will only make skin better. I really like the wonderfully healthy ingredients list that boasts food-grade ingredients such as Apple Juice, Pumpkin Oil, & Cranberry Oil. 

I don’t think this is a good product it you’re really looking to remove a lot of make-up or grime/oil from your face, but it is wonderful for low-maintenance dry skin or winter skin that doesn’t need another round of detergents. As a bonus the plant oils in here leave skin glowing without creating congestion. For those of you with oily or congested skin, I actually recommend this cleanser over a lot of other cleansers (even those that may foam) because this is not formulated with any waxes so it is a lot lighter on your pores.

YULI Panacea Elixir: A staple product. I apply this LIBERALLY all over my face right when I get out of the shower to maximize absorption while my pores are most receptive. This is a toner/mist that is designed to treat and hydrate all skin types but particularly those who may have combination skin. The scent is heavenly and addictive, I can’t quite describe it yet except that its so fresh and delightful.I think part of the reason why their products smell so spectacular despite not using EO’s or fragrances, is that everything is made fresh and so pure in batches on their own farm+lab, the quality of ingredients is unsurpassed – just follow their twitter to see pictures they post of the vibrant biodynamic farm they work from! The formula is so pure and made of organic and wild-crafted ingredients including hydrosols and flower waters. There is a lot of research into the nurturing and healing powers of flower waters and after using this elixir, I believe in it 100%. This uses ingredients that are so fresh that they are biologically active which is why they’re so effective at remedying all skin concerns. I noticed that when I stray away from this, my skin becomes oilier and more prone to breakouts. This is hands down, my favorite toner on the market and a regular purchase. Only complaint: MAKE BIGGER SIZES.

Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Repair Eye Treatment: I haven’t really appreciated eye products in the past but this eye cream/gel hybrid from Juice Beauty is the first one that really agreed with my skin. It is the right balance: the texture is creamy but doesn’t make you feel like you smeared your eyes in a heavy paste and the product leaves a hydrating presence while still being fast-absorbing. I can say that although I don’t have many eye issues right now, I notice my eye area especially the undereyes where I have the hereditary dark eye circles, look more refreshed and rested when I use this. My eyes feel comfortable and rested, never feeling “streched” like how some products can make it feel. I attribute the results to a combination of the Vitamin C and Fruit Stem Cells and I believe the comfort and hydration can be attributed to the shea butter, aloe, and organic juices. This is also one of the only products that doesn’t sting or irritate my eye, which has been my experience with the majority of products on the market for eye cream ranging from Sunday Riley to vBeaute. 

I also like the lightweight cream texture because it applies very evenly and absorbs fast so it doesn’t “travel”. Lately I’ve been experimenting with an eye product from a natural beauty company that is a oil that you roll on and every time it gets into my eyes somehow and makes it sting & water. So there is something to be said for a well made cream/gel that can stay in place. 

Kahina Brightening Serum: I use this to justify all those times I leave the apartment thinking “I don’t need to wear that much make-up” because the brightening serum is kind of like my moisturizer + serum in one. The blend of shea butter, glycerin, argan, and hyaluronic acid in this makes it moisturizing especially after I apply this over the Panacea Elixir. I like the thought that not only is this moisturizing my skin but it is also correcting any possible discoloration. I don’t think I suffer from hyperpigmentation or discoloration, but I feel like we can all use products like these because ultimately the difference between photoshop and non-photoshop for a person with good skin is the tone and eveness, which is what this product addresses. So I like using this with the thought that “it’s making my skin look healthy”. It doesn’t hurt that the actual ingredients truly do make skin better, including white lily, seaweed, and algae extract. 

YULI Liquid Courage: This is their antioxidant serum which in the day provides protection from UV damage, environment (pollution, exposure), and fatigue, while in the night the antioxidants are at their most active in healing and repairing skin while we sleep. What I like most about this serum is that the key active is called the Botanical Antioxidant Seed Complex which uses pure botanical seeds that are known to contain the densest concentration of nutrients (Vitamins, minerals, Omegas, phytonutrients) and antioxidants. What makes it stand out are the supercharged ingredients like liquified Biofermented Black Garlic extract and chirally correct Ferulic Acid (derived from Acai and Argan) – their ingredients are truly outstanding and second to none. Working in beauty at a high-end dept store, I can say that these are ingredients that are ahead of the curve even compared to the $500 serums out there that use maybe a fraction of their ingredients. 

Ingredients aside, what makes this serum amazing is that each and every single time I use this, I notice it, especially the morning after I use it night. I had heard YULI say that they developed this product for their friends, professionals who traveled and were jetlagged but had to look like they had the perfect restful night on just 3 hours of sleep, and this definitely gives skin that perfected healthy glow. If you want to see results, use this at night, if you want protection and preventative benefits, use this during the day. I always wake up noticing how bright, smooth, and well cared for my skin looks. They truly are not joking when people say it gives the 8-hr sleep with perfect nutrition look even if you just went through a war. 

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Not Pictured:

Daytime:
Omorovicza Complexion Perfecting BB Cream SPF 20: The perfect daytime product, SPF 20 + Complexion perfect BB Cream benefits make this a versatile product that both protects from UV exposure (the SPF20 is fortified if you layer YULI’s Liquid Courage under to neutralize sun damage and free radicals). The cream is very light and will only enhance complexion without making face look made up. Expect very natural glow and minimal coverage. 

Nighttime:
Tata Harper Rejuvenating Serum: Great for winter when skin needs more than a facial oil. I love to layer this on as a lotion since it is quite thick for my skin type to be considered an actual serum. The fact that it’s loaded with 29 active ingredients means this is possibly the most loaded anti-aging night time moisturizer I have used, since it was designed to be a serum. The hydration properties are “just right” for my skin, any more waxes and my pores will not like it. 

Go Clean: Intelligent Nutrients Plant Stem Cell Renewal Complex

Product: Intelligent Nutrients Plant Stem Cell Skin Science Renewal Complex ($55, Intelligent Nutrients)

I love beauty products of every kind, there is nothing more exhilarating to me than the first pump, the first whiff of a new product’s scent, the first application, etc. I started at a young age when my mom started me on the Clinique 3 Step system, and since then my routines have evolved from Lazlo peels to even dabbling in La Prairie (the alcohol!). My most recent interest is in clean products. I think ounce for ounce, a well made, high quality clean product trumps all other products each time. I’m particular about saying ‘clean’ products because my personal theory is that a product doesn’t have to be 100% natural to be good for you, I just don’t want it to contain anything bad for me. There are some chemicals that can be good with no side-effects, and there are some naturals that can irritate or even be toxic!

In my quest to up my skincare to equally high-end, beautiful products that have better formulations, I landed upon a brand called Intelligent Nutrients. Intelligent Nutrients was started by Horst Rechebacher who was the founder of Aveda. His mission in creating Intelligent Nutrients was to create a line using non-toxic, 100% food based, organic ingredients. To prove how safe his products were, during a demonstration, he even drank an entire bottle of his cleanser.

I knew their key technology was the Plant Stem Cell and antioxidant rich Intellimune complex so I decided to try their Plant Stem Cell Skin Science Renewal Complex, which I’m told is their most concentrated product that combines all their core skin science philosophies.

The product is described as a spot treatment for scars, wrinkles, stretch marks, and other skin imperfections. I decided to use this on my forehead and smile lines since that is where most of my fine lines have begun to form. I also have some fresh acne blemishes on my forehead that I did not use the Ultimate Perfecting Serum on (I used that to get rid of old scars- click the link for my review on that wonderful product).

The first time I used this product, I felt like a scientist with the vial and dropper. The scent is strong and herbal but not unpleasant like how some synthetic fragrances are, in other words, you’ll live. I covered my “problem spots” with a few drops and massaged into my skin. The complex is easily absorbed and does provide some moisture.

The instruction say to not use anything else over it as that could compromise the effectiveness of the product. This is actually in line with what Dr.Hauschka and YULI say about letting your skin detoxify at night. Immediately after I put the product on, I could feel a slight… effect. It wasn’t a tingle but I could tell the product was pretty active.

After 2 weeks of use (they recommend using no longer than 30 days), I still have my fine lines, but they are ‘finer’ and less apparent. I also noticed places where I feel new potential breakouts really calm down when I put this over. In general, I have come to the conclusion that this is like a very natural version of a Retinol treatment without the risk of biotoxic accumulation. For $55 a vial, $130 for 4 vials – I think the price might be slightly high. However I would repurchase this again if my skin really needs an added dose of pampering.