My Winter HG Skincare Routine

Friday, March 18, 2011

One of my biggest struggles is still adult acne.  I have not been blessed with the easiest skin to deal with ever since I was a child.  I would often get rashes, freckles, and acne while my skin is also extremely sensitive at the same time.  Add to the mix is my skin's allergy to sunscreen, which causes instant deep cystic acne.  I have tried countless skincare products (high end & drugstore) throughout the years to battle acne, dryness, oiliness, and mild rosacea.

After many many years of searching, I can say I have finally found my HG skincare routine for the fall/winter.   Here I share with you what has worked for me.  However, please do keep in mind that everyone's skin is different so what works for me may or may not work for you.

Boscia Purifying Cleansing Gel ($26USD for 5 oz)  
   Every day after removing my makeup with Kirkland's Makeup Remover, I wash my face with Boscia's Purifying Cleansing Gel.  This can be purchased directly on Boscia's website or at Sephora. 

The Purifying Gel comes in a sturdy plastic bottle with a pump that's very easy to store and use.  It also comes with a pump guard to avoid leakage during traveling.  Boscia's products all have Sephora's natural seal.  This contains no parabens, sulfates, synthetic dyes/fragrances, Phthalates, GMOs, and Triclosan.

I was first introduced to Boscia by a Sephora SA who advised me to buy the introductory kit. I have been hooked ever since and this is my second bottle of the Purifying Gel Cleanser.  As noted, it is soap-free so it doesn't dry out my skin and is safe to use even with contacts. One pump is more than enough for my entire face.  I usually apply a small amount to my damp face, massage to a lather, and rinse off.  The gel does turn into a foam once it comes into more contact with water.

I would not recommend this to fully remove long-wear foundation, but it is great as a gentle face wash in the morning and after removing eye makeup.  I am running out of this cleanser and will definitely repurchase for a third time.

Kiehl's Calendula Herbal Extract Alcohol-Free Toner ($21USD for 4.2 fl oz)
   I apply this toner every day, once in the morning and once at night before applying moisturizer.  This comes in 3 sizes starting from 4.2 fl oz, 8.4 fl oz, to 16.9 fl oz as the super size. I started off with the smallest bottle and repurchased the current 16.9 fl oz.  This can be purchased on Kiehl's website or Nordstrom.

The toner comes in a regular plastic bottle with a flip-top cap.  I was attracted to this toner because it is alcohol-free, which doesn't dry out my skin, and it has Calendula, a plant known to have anti-inflammatory properties.  This particular product is the most expensive toner in the entire range offered by Kiehl's because of Calendula. 

As claimed by Kiehl's, this toner does soothe and improve problem areas on my skin.  It doesn't aggravate the redness on my cheeks or my acne.  I usually apply a small amount on a cotton pad and wipe all over my face. The toner is not sticky and doesn't sting, dry, or tighten my face. It is great to moisturize dry or irritated skin as well.   If you're curious, below is a close up picture of the toner with Calendula petals.  Towards the end of the bottle, some of the petals will come out on the cotton pad but I'm not bothered by this.  I will soon re-purchase the super size bottle for the third time.

Kate Somerville Exfolikate ($19USD for 0.5oz)
   I have heard a lot of praise about Exfolikate throughout the beauty community. Since my skin is very sensitive, I was quite weary because some have mentioned this is a very strong exfoliator.  Luckily, a Sephora SA gave me a small sample to try out and I've been hooked ever since.

Currently you can find Exfolikate in 3 different sizes ranging from 0.5 fl oz at $19USD to 5 fl oz for $175USD at Sephora.  I purchased my 5 oz Exfolikate along with the Exfolikate Body 5 oz on sale at Sephora for $125USD.  This is part of The Ultimate Exfolikate Kit with an original price of $165USD.  If you're interested, this kit is now only available here at Nordstrom.

Exfolikate comes in a simple squeeze tube and a flip-top cap.  The texture is a slightly gritty green goo that has a distinct, but not unpleasant smell.  I use this once a week by applying a small pea size on my damp face.  I wait for about 23-30 seconds and rinse off just as shown in the directions.  When I first used it, my face stung quite a bit but now my skin is used to the sensation.  After I rinse it off, I am left with smoother, brighter skin that's not red or irritated.  Exfolikate doesn't dry out, irritate my skin, or cause acne.  In fact, it has helped clear up my skin and slowly fade post-acne scars.

Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Acne Clearing Exfoliating Treatment ($65USD for 2oz)
        This is a new product from Kate Somerville, specifically targeted for acne-prone skins.  I purchased this at Sephora after using a small sample for a week.  Exfolikate Acne only comes in one size and can be purchased at Sephora or Kate Somerville's website.

Similar to Exfolikate, this comes in a small squeeze tube with a flip-top cap. I use Exfolikate at the beginning of the week and this at the end of the week to clean out my pores.  The texture of this is creamier and less sticky compared to Exfolikate.  I would squeeze a pea size amount of this baby blue cream and apply it on my damp face. This has Tea Tree Oil, Salicylic Acid, and AHA to exfoliate, clear out pores, and reduce acne scaring as advertised.  If I have a bad skin day, this helps reduce and eliminate swelling pimples.  It does rather well on cystic acne as well.

Juice Beauty USDA Organic Facial Moisture Concentrate ($36USD for 1 fl oz)
         After cleansing or exfoliating and applying toner, I would apply this as a night time moisturizer. I purchased this at Whole Foods after reading rave reviews on it.  This is a USDA Organic certified product, which means it contains ingredients that are certified as 100% organic. You can also purchase this directly from Juice Beauty's website or Skinstore.

The moisturizer comes in a plastic bottle with a pump and protective cap.  All I need is one to two pumps to cover my entire face.  I usually rub the oil between my palms and then smooth it onto my face, covering even the areas with acne. 

I know it may sound weird to slather a mixture of organic essential oils onto combination, acne-prone skin but it really does work. My face is left with a shiny film after applying this moisturizer so I only use it at night.  If there is a painful pimple on my face, I will wake up with it greatly reduced in size and soft, moisturized skin.  This does not cause me to breakout and reduced the blackheads on my nose.  I have been using it every day for the past couple of weeks and it has worked wonders for my skin. 

Philosophy Hope In A Jar Oil-Free ($38USD for 2 oz)
   This is also a new product from Philosophy's Hope In A Jar skincare line.  I impulsively purchased this at Sephora without much expectations.  I had used the original HIAJ in the past and hated it because my skin broke out from an allergic reaction. Unlike HIAJ, this is in a convenient slim squeeze tube.

Hope In A Jar Oil-Free has a very different texture compared to the original. It is more like a light cream and not a mousse-like texture.  The smell are both the same but I'm not bothered by it.  I use this after applying toner, and before applying makeup every morning. 

I wholeheartedly expected this to break me out like the original HIAJ but it has worked very well in moisturizing my face.  This has salicylic acid to help keep bacteria and acne in check and does not contain silicone.  I have already purchased a 2nd tube as a back up once I run out of this tube.  I love this moisturizer and will continue to repurchase.

After following this skincare routine for the past couple of months, my skin has been smoother and clearer. Having a regular routine of cleansing, exfoliating, toning, and moisturizing has done wonders for my skin. It also helps that I read all of the ingredients before purchasing a skincare product to avoid those that may cause allergic reactions.  I am now a huge supporter of organic, natural skincare, especially calendula and essential oils.

Have you tried any of these products? What is your HG skincare routine?


Justine (Productrater) said...

Wow that toner looks really cool with those bits in it. I agree with you I am in my late 20's too and have had more acne in my 20's than while I was a teen, it's getting better though, and I think most of my acne is actually irritation from using so many products or ones that aren't good for my skin.

I liked seeing what you use. I need to have a more consistent skin care system.

kali said...

Wow! So many products! Honestly, I don't have much of a skincare routine. =\ It's just some makeup remover, cleanser, and moisturizer -all drugstore. If I get the random pimple, I'll apply some prescription medicine but that's it.

I'm going to forward this to my boyfriend. Your 2 skin types sound similar.

faye lu review said...

great review. i too (still) suffer from adult acne and have benn eyeing hope in a jar for a while now - think it featured in oprah's favourite things =) - and the only thing that has been putting me off is the JAR itself. now that i know it comes in a tube, i'll definitely try it out. thanks for sharing xo

LittoMokaa said...

Yay thanks for sharing! My face is very sensitive to sunscreen too and I would like to know which one that you use? I'm currently using the Chanel one but I had a reaction to it (after several months of use :( ) Now I'm looking for a new one :)

Cherry Wu said...

The kate somerville exfoliator is quite interesting, but so pricy, haha^0^. Great picks~

sugar sugar said...

great review! i have only tried philosophy and juice beauty but i love your skincare routine! like you i have sensitive-combination skin. :( it's so hard to look for good products to stick to.

The Girlie Blog said...

I'd love to give Kate Somerville products a try. I did try philosophy but found it so-so. Somehow it still made it to Oprah's faves.

Dovey said...

There are so many things I want to try here! I have sensitive skin that is cystic acne-prone, and it's such a pain. I'm surprised there's a Kirkland makeup remover; I've never seen it in Costco before, but maybe I'll have to take a closer look now! I love Philosophy's exfoliators and peels, but am not wild about the cremes.

Liz (Beauty Reductionista) said...

My skin is exactly like yours! I also love the Boscia Purifying Gel which I only discovered last summer. We don't have Kate Somerville in Canada, unfortunately, but I'll definitely be checking out that Kiehl's toner. Great post!

Kristie said...

Justine - I know huh. When I first saw the toner, I didn't know what those bits are either! Had to google and find out the goodness of Calendula.

kali - Hope this will be helpful for your bf!

faye lu - np! Hope In A Jar, the regular cream, is still not available in a tube sadly. The only one in a tube is the Oil-Free version.

LittoMokaa - I feel your pain. Unfortunately I haven't been able to find a sunscreen for my face that doesn't cause breakouts. I get my sun protection from foundations and tinted moisturizers (Laura Mercier).

Cherry Wu - Exfolikate is a bit on the pricey end but you can try the small 0.5oz for $19USD to see if you like it before splurging on the regular size.

sugar sugar - I know what you mean. It took me many products and years just to find things that don't break me out.

The Girlie Blog - I also found the original HIAJ so so but the Oil-Free version is much better for my skin. Have you tried that version yet?

Dovey - Definitely! They are at Costco in the makeup/soap section. I love them as they work so well and are very affordable.

Liz (Beauty Reductionista) - yay!! Glad to find a fellow Boscia lover. I hope Kiehl's will come to Sephora or Canada one day :)

Dizzy said...

Great skincare routine! I think I might have to try Kiehl's Calendula Herbal Extract Alcohol-Free Toner and Juice Beauty Organic Facial Moisture Concentrate.

Mitz said...

Thank you for stopping by my blog, I'm so glad - it led me back to yours! Your reviews are amazing!! Your swatches are incredible and your photos are bright and clear. I'm your newest follower! :)

Kristie said...

Dizzy - I definitely recommend both. Hopefully they'll be good for your skin :)

Mitz - thank you. I'm glad I discovered yours as well!

AngelicBetrayal said...

Wow, I love how comprehensive this skincare routine overview was! Awesome pictures and descriptions!

I have oily, acne prone skin so a lot of these are super appealing to me! The Kiehls Toner looks awesome but the price tag is quite steep >.< But as long as it works right? ;)

LDM said...

hi kristie it's jois from!
dropping by your blog and it's amazing and to think that you only started a year ago! would love to get some advice from you since i've only started for 2 months or so....and i'd love to share my experience with japanese drugstore skincare with you!

amazing blog!!!! will definately follow you :)

jois ldm

Lydia said...

I really want to try Boscia but it's so hard to find in the UK! I'm not sure if it's even sold here at all? Boo!
The Kerastase stuff is really great :) x

G A B Y said...

Great post! Your pictures are amazing. I have tried only one product from Kiehl's and it's their lipbalm, but I wish I could afford some other products!

Ling @ the best beauty blog said...

OOOHHH!! I'm a bit of a skincare freak and I haven't tried those brands yet...(except Kiehl's for shampoo & conditioner which was a no-no for me)
Thanks for sharing your HG products...what are mine? Mine change all the time lol

Christy said...

Thanks for sharing! I want to try the Boscia cleanser :)

Sabrina said...

Wonderful review! Thank you for sharing this with us, so comprehensive. I've always been weary of trying Philosophy but maybe I will try this once my Chanel gets used up. I love the KS Exfolikate. It's a great scrub!

resham said...

Aromatherapy works wonders! I make my own blends for face, hair n body...They work all the time...but still I am tempted to try skin care products from various brands!!

resham said...

I am really curious to try the Exfolikate!!!

Usually I make my own Aroma Oil blends for hair, face n body! Usually they work, but I still love to try skincare products... I am a huge fan of OILS in general...

Mike Walden Program said...

It’s a routine I couldn’t recommend more and the skin care I have used for sometime now is Clinique. The system comes in three types. I was recommended skin type 2 which is for dry-combination skin, which apparently a lot of people are. If possible, I would recommend a personal assessment from a Clinique counter to help you figure out what your particular skin type is.

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