I've been using tretinoids every night for the past few month, plus chemical peels, and microneedling, my skin was just starting to flake everywhere and nothing was helping. I've been between night creams since finishing my Clarins Multi Active Night Cream, and using just ialuset hyaluronic cream and facial oils. I happened upon a former favorite, Elemental Herbology Facial Soufflé Overnight Cream $84 that the amazing girls from Mecca Australia gifted me a few years back. The dense, balm like texture, and intoxicating smell make this cream an all around amazing experience. It doesn't feel like it fully absorbs, it lays like a protective barrier on your skin through the night so you want up with super supple hydrated skin. Within 3 nights, my flaking was gone, and I was even mixing my tretinoid gel into it. I'm so sad I only had about 2 weeks left of cream to use, but my skin is looking a hell of a lot better.
A few months ago I posted that I receive the whole line of the recently reformulated Clarins Multi Active line. Since I had used the line years ago (like over 10) and was now the target age for the product, I was very excited to try it again with the update. So here's the low down...
True to Clarins form, the formulas are full of unique botanical ingredients. Organic Teasel minimizes fine lines caused by a stressful lifestyle, Myrothamnus fights the effects of daytime stress minimizing fine lines and boosting radiance and Organic California Poppy helps absorb the harmful effects of late nights and interrupted sleep. They make the Day version in 4 formulas, Normal to Combination, All Skin Types, Dry Skin, and an All Skin Type + SPF 20 and the Night version in 2 formulas, Normal to Combination and Normal to Dry. I started with the day for All Skin Types and night for Normal to Dry because I love a rich texture at night. Now I have combo skin, and as much as I love a rich texture, it's warm out, my skin didn't need all the extra hydration and l was waking up with a little bit of clogged pores, so I switched to the Normal/Combo night cream and that solved that problem. I continued to use these 2 for almost 4 months. I did use the Normal/Combo day cream a few times during hot and humid days and while traveling to humid climates, it was the perfect lightweight gel texture for those days, but I really loved the texture of the All Skin Type cream for the dry LA weather.
Clarins has texture down, they know what will work for each skin type, so stick with what they recommend. My skin felt comfortable and hydrated, but never heavy, every day I wore the creams. My skin was always glowing, looking fresh, never a clogged pore (except when I tried the cream too rich for my skin). During my time using these I also decided to give my skin a break from Botox. I've been getting so many compliments on my skin even though I have facial expressions again. I remember in my very first Clarins training, my fabulous trainer Christy said the night cream will give 8 hours of sleep no matter how few hours I sleep you get. Every morning I woke up looking like I got a full 8 hours of sleep (my average is an unhealthy 5-6), I almost didn't even want to wash my face in the morning for fear that glow would wash away!
Chances are, if you're in the 25-35 age range, when first signs of aging start, you're stressed the fuck out, not sleeping, and wondering why your skin isn't looking how it did 10 years ago. The Clarins Multi Active line is a going to work great for you. It protects from free radical damage while smoothing out those first fine line, so pretty much pausing aging and keeping you looking your best. The night cream is my favorite of the 2 products just because of how amazing I look in the mornings, but the use of both of them together, you really can't go wrong! At $53 for the day and $56 for the night, they're an affordable luxury you can't afford to miss out on. Which formula is your favorite??
In the hot summer months my pores get hella clogged and I have to cut back from using the heavy creams I love to use and switch them out for lighter versions. One of my favorite products to use during these times is the Decléor Aromessence Ylang Ylang Purifying Night Balm (and under $30 you can't go wrong). As it's a waxier balm texture, it still lets me have the feeling of putting on something rich all while purifying and detoxing my skin. It smells like heaven with notes of Ylang Ylang, Clary Sage, Clove, Rosemary, and Lavender. I wake up in the morning with the most radiant skin - pores minimized, blemishes lessened, and such softness. If I feel my skin can handle it, I layer my Clarins Multi-Active Night Cream (All Skin Types). I've been alternating or layer the 2 for about a month now and its been making my skin so much happier during these hot summer months.
The sun is the leading causes of skin aging, it leaves dark spots, encourages wrinkles, and causes cancer. Enough to make you want to avoid it at all cost, right? Yeah, maybe not. My desire for a rich-even tan during the summer outweighs all that. Here's how I've achieved a super dark tan over my past few weeks of travel, but in the safest (kinda) way possible.
Leading up to my vacation I boosted my omega intake. Omegas are shown to boost your skins natural defenses against the sun. This in combination with sunscreen can help prevent burning.
With only a few shirtless hikes on Runyon under my belt, I headed to St Thomas on a family vacation without a base tan. Generally I like a little colour to prep my skin for the intense island sun, but I just didn't have the time for it. So during my first day in the sun I did the Sun Bum SPF 50 Clear Zinx Oxide on my face and a L'Oreal Quick Dry SPF 30 on my body. I got hardly any colour, but I didn't burn, so that was a plus.
Day 2 I kept the Sun Bum SPF 50 on my face but switched to Kate Somerville Body Glow SPF 20 for body, I had received it a few months prior and was excited to try it. I was even more excited when I realized it had gold shimmer in it, cause nothing says "vacation" like gold shimmer. Now the second day of sun was slightly more booze fueled than the first and I may not have been reapplying my sunscreen correctly. *You should always reapply sunscreen every 2 hours or after a lot of time in the water*. Since it's usually only my shoulders that burn, there's where I was reapplying. This vacation was an exception to that, I burned my stomach around where my sternum is, so random, but it got super red. I brought along with Kate Somerville Tan Maximizer, I applied this liberally every evening to calm down the redness. It has that distinct sunscreen smell, which I'm not a very big fan off, but whatever, I needed the hydration.
Day 3 Since I was still feeling a bit burnt, I kept using the Kate Somerville SPF 20 on body and switched to my favorite Jurlique Sun Specialist SPF 40 for my face, it just smells so damn good and feels rich and hydrating. I wear it on the daily even though its designed for beach use, its just so good.
Day 4, I needed a break from the sun and pretty much slept all day, had a quick workout, and bathed in after sun lotion.
Day 5 Still feeling a bit worried about my not yet peeling burn, I bought some Sun Bun SPF 50 for my body so I wouldn't get anymore burnt. My tanning had haulted, but I wasn't peeing yet. I stopped by a shop in St John and got Solar Recovery - Save Your Skin that has a concoction of natural oils to stop burns. The label even said something to the effect of "We don't know how it works, it just does" sounds good to me! My skin looked better over night, it is such a nice light hydrating spray and smells amazing. I'm still spraying it on myself when I get out of the shower every morning.
Day 6 I wasn't about to leave this island without a dark tan, time to call in the big guns! I busted out my absolute favorite Lancaster SPF 6 Tan Deepener, and proceeded to bake in the sun, seriously nothing is better! Without fail it got a beautiful tan and my burn didn't get any worse, woo-hoo!!
I continued using the Solar Recovery Spray to prevent my tan from fading, but I knew my tan would start fading if I didn't find something heavier for hydration so I grabbed the Coola ER+ Radical Recovery After-Sun Lotion and instantly fell in love. Almost 100% natural ingredients, an emollient formula designed to prolong your tan and reduce inflammation. It's been my body moisturizer since.
The following week I was working in Vegas, my sister was kind enough to get me a cabana at the Caesars Venus Pool for my bday. I laid out for about 4 hours using the Lancaster SPF 6. I would have stayed out longer, but when you're getting free drinks and they're the size of a big gulp, nap time comes a bit sooner than normal.
And the week after that I went in Hawaii for work, I took full advantage of the little sunny free time I had (about 4 hours total in 2 visits) and again used the Lancaster SPF 6. This stuff is legit a tanning miracle, every time I use it I get amazing colour without burning. Only problem with it is the sheer tint is a bit staining on white clothes. Being that I was sporting my white AussieBum booty shorts, it can be a bit of a problem.
In case you couldn't figure it out, here's my formula for tanning. Start off with a high SPF to get your skin use to the sun and gradually lower your protection to get darker once you've built up a tolerance. Always use hydrating and anti-inflammatory after sun products, this will calm down your skin, prevent peeling, and help maintain your tan for a longer period of time. It's been 2 weeks since I've been in the sun and the tan on my body hasn't faded at all. My face does get a little lighter due to all the exfoliants and retinoids I use, but a few drops of the Clarins Radiance Plus Glow Booster helps fix that problem. This is my routine all summer long, then come winter it's time to break out the chemical peels and heavy retinals to get rid of all that sun damage I just caused...
One of the biggest questions skin questions people ask me is how to help their oily/combination or acne prone skin. There are so many different ways to answer this, so I’m going to address the most common concerns I’m asked.
1. Are You Oily?
Most people have a little oil in their t-zone by the end of the day. This is normal; it doesn’t mean you have oily skin. Truly oily skin will be shiny on the t-zone (forehead, nose, chin) and cheeks within a few hours of waking up. Combination skin will be shiny in the t-zone by mid-day, but shouldn’t be too shiny on the cheeks, or may even be dry there. Normal skin will have a slight shine to the nose maybe forehead by early evening. Dry skin will look like the Sahara from the moment they wake up. Your skin type probably changes based on where you live, visit, and time of the year. I’m Oily on the East coast 8 months out of the year and on the West coast I’m Combination with a little dehydration all year. Ugh the struggle.
Oh you wash your face with your shampoo and wondering why you have clogged pores? Well no shit brah, shampoo may get the beard nice and shiny but it isn’t going to help get your skin glowing. Cleansing may be the most important part of an oily skins routine. You need to find a perfect balance between detoxifying and exfoliating without stripping your skin completely. Your skin should feel smooth and slightly tight after it has dried off, not dry and patchy (sometimes you’ll see white flaking, no bueno). If you strip your skin of all its natural oils, it may over compensate by creating even more oil. I’ve used about 1,000 different cleansers, it definitely takes some experimenting to find which one works best for your skin, here are a few of my favorite oily/combination skin cleansers (some are good for all skin types as well)
Erno Laszlo Deep Sea Mud Soap $45 – Legit one of my all time favorite cleansers. I started getting acne for the first time when I was 26, and my pores were massive. A girlfriend told me to get this, and it changed my skin almost instantly. Mr. Laszlo creating an special cleansing method: Fill your sink with warm water, dip soap in water, massage soap on face, rinse soap back in water and set aside, lather face, splash face 20 times with water in the sink, then 10 more times with clean running water. I still do this cleansing method with most every cleanser I’ve used. Great for Normal-Oily Skin
Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip $45– I hated this the first time I tried it as I was so use to a lather. After tossing it aside for a few months, I revisited and fell in love. You have to get use to a very mild cleansing feeling, but trust that your skin is clean and balanced. It tightens pores, boosts radiance, stimulates circulation, and helps with irritation. Great for Normal-Combination Skin
Milk Makeup Charcoal Cleanser $28 – Yeah I work for them now, so I gotta do a plug, but I have been using this for 2 weeks now and I’m liking it more than I thought I would. This sulfate free cleansing contains charcoal from the Japanese Ubame oak tree + vitamin E, cleanses the skin gently without over drying. Great for All Skin Types.
I’ve used toner since I was 12, so I’ve always felt it a very necessary step in my skincare routine. Oh your cleanser has a built in toner? How? That’s never made sense to me. I apply my toner to a cotton square (Shiseido makes the best, you use less and makes your bottle last forever) and sweep it all over my face, excess cleanser and any remaining debris is seen on the square. So how exactly is your cleanser doing that? Yeah… I have a very hard time finding a toner I like, there haven’t been many, these are the exceptions.
Erno Laszlo Light Controlling Lotion $55 – I grabbed this after I fell in love with the soap. When my skin is on the oilier side I love a little alcohol in my toner. This one tightens pores, exfoliates, controls shine, and also has added humectants to bring hydration to the skin. Great for Combo-Oily skin.
Belif Eucalyptus Herbal Extract Toner $28 – More recently I discovered this guy on a hunt for a less expensive toner. Fell in love, even purchased a second time (which never happens). This toner contains a blend of herbal extracts to control sebum and shine without stripping. Great for Combo-Oily skin.
4. Targeted Concerns
These are those black dots you seen on your nose, forehead, and chin. What causes them is excess sebum and bacteria; these can turn into blemishes, so its good to take care of them. I usually steam my face and squeeze my skin (works great on the sides of the nose) to get the blackheads out. If done wrong though, it can leave some redness and scarring, so best to get a professional to do this. Pore Strips are a great quick fix (I love the ones from SkinFood), but it’s best to maintain by cleansing and masking regularly.
Pores are where these black heads are chilling out. Oily skin will have larger more visible pores, this is how the oil gets to the surface of your skin. You can’t make pores smaller, you just can’t, sorry. You can keep them clean though, which makes them look smaller. Keeping good about your skincare routine helps, so cleanse, exfoliate, and mask regularly. Now I have heard there are certain lasers that can help make pores smaller, but I’ve yet to experiment with them, have you?
These will be those pesky bumps on your skin that you want to pop, don’t, that’s how acne scars are formed. For emergencies I like to use a Benzoyl Peroxide based spot treatment (Murad Acne Spot Fast Fix works great) but using them too frequently causes irritation, sun sensitivity, and your skin can build up a tolerance. Stick to using it directly on blemishes and not on large areas. Salicylic Acid is milder and great for more regular use to control blemishes and is usually in a gel texture that’s easy to smooth over acne prone areas and large pores (Clinique Acne Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel). If you have an event tomorrow and need that mammoth zit to shrink overnight, Sulfur (Mario Badescu Drying Lotion) is the way to go. If you had chicken pox as a kid, this clearing method won’t look so strange to you. Dip a cotton swab in the formula and apply the pink stuff directly to blemishes before bed. This will shrink blemishes overnight allowing you to cover them more easily with makeup.
Cystic Acne is that crazy painful blemish you get that you can’t pop and hurts like hell when you touch. I get these on my forehead and the tip of my nose a few times and year and I hate them so much. I mean I’ve gone as far and sticking sterilized needles into them to pop them (I DO NOT recommend doing that, lesson learned). Cystic acne comes from an internal bacteria (in most cases). If you have severe Cystic Acne, topical products alone will not help, you need to see a dermatologist. Anyone trying to sell you a topical saying it cures Cystic Acne is just throwing you a sales pitch and doesn’t know what they’re talking about. In mild cases I’ve seen taking probiotics help (I take Natures Sunshine Bacillus Coagulans), but for severe cases a Dermatologist prescribed antibiotic is necessary. They will usually prescribe a retinoid (Like my favorite A313) to apply at night to smooth at the skin and help with the scarring.
So many people with oily skin don’t moisturize because they think it will make them even oilier. Note that I listed this topic as “Hydration”, Hydra=Water, oily skin can also be dehydrated, making it produce even more oil. There are also tons of environmental aggressors and free radicals floating around you need to protect your skin from; this is where a moisturizer comes in. I could list a million different moisturizers here, but unless oil control is your only concern, you should pick a moisturizer based on your skin concern, be it brightening, anti-aging, age prevention… Just look for lighter weight formulas, usually water based formulas or products listed as lotion vs a cream. Below are a few products I’ve used when looking to re-balance my skin and calm down the oil, these I’ve used as incremental treatments, then go back to my normal skin routine.
Clarins Lotus Treatment Oil $54 – I talked about this in a previous post. It was the first all over oil I ever used and its still a favorite of mine. Use every night directly after toning (while skin is still wet) for 3 months at a time to help rebalance. Great to use as your night treatment in the hot summer and underneath clay masks as a booster.
Decleor Aromessence Ylang Ylang Purifying Night Balm $42 – Even when my skin is oily, I love a rich texture on my skin! This night balm is an emollient oil/wax blend that smells like happiness and leaves the skin feeling fresh and brightened in the morning. Cleanses and purifies, re-balances, and reduces imperfections and inflammation. Great for that dry-acne prone skin as well. Also available in a purifying Serum/Oil that can be used during the day.
More than any other skin type, masking is most important for oily and congested skin. Cleansing and toning can only go so far without being to aggressive on the daily, that’s when adding that masking boost comes to play. I love clay based masks and have gone through 100s of them. These are best when trying to combat blackheads, control oil, and maintain clear skin. Sheet masks are great for adding treatment into the skin, but they don’t pull anything out, so when you’re looking for that quick detoxifying fix, reach for the clay masks. Use as needed, but not more than 3 times a week. To add an extra boost to your mask, mix a drop or 2 of Tea Tree Oil with your toner right before masking.
Apivita Face Mask with Green Clay $21.70 - I grabbed one of these at a pharmacy in Spain and instantly fell in love. Its not at all drying, but leave the skin feeling fresh and the pores diminished.
Bliss Steep Clean Pore Purifying Mask $55 - This is one I've used for years! Dispense the dual pump product into your fingers, warm it up, massage it in, and in 15 minutes your skin will look poreless! Definitely must have!
Granular exfoliation stimulated the skin, which can make oily skin produce even more oils. It can also spread bacteria around creating more blemishes. I'm a big fan of chemical and enzyme exfoliants. These work by breaking down the proteins holding dead skin cells to your skin.
Amore Pacific Enzyme Peel $60 - I talk about this one all the time cause its so damn good. The powder foams up and removes all dead skin, leaving your face fresh and glowing. A definite must have, and it last forever.
First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Blemish Control Pads $30 - These are like your old school Stridex pads, only they won't rip your skin apart. You can use them after each time you cleanse to gently exfoliate while helping control oil and tighten pores.
You have all your skincare on and want to cover up some of your blemishes and/or control oil, but are scared that foundation will clog your skin. There are definitely some foundations that should be avoided for oily/acne prone skin (I won’t name names, but it won’t “Fix” anything), but there are plenty of foundations that are amazing for your skin type. Look for something oil-free, mattifying, liquid or powder based on your preference. Personally, I like the flexibility of a liquid, you can work it into hard to cover blemishes, and adjust the coverage as necessary. My favorite for oily-acne prone skin is the Hourglass Immaculate Liquid to Powder Foundation, yes I use to work for them, and I’ve seen it completely transform people’s skin. I even wore it myself on an occasion as a spot treatment to hide blemishes and pores and my skin looked better when I look it off than before I had applied.
When you do get shiny through out the day, be sure to have some blotting papers handy. Just press onto the areas of concern to absorb oil. I'm loving the Milk Makeup Roll + Blot, they're made out of hemp and double as rolling papers, whats not to love!
Ever since working for Clarins 100 years ago, I've been obsessed with facial oils. Think about it like this, most cosmetic products are water based, which our skin needs, right? Okay, but what does our skin naturally produce - oils. When you mix oil with water what happens? They separate. So while water based products can be absorbed into the skin, they don't always penetrate the deepest. Now when you mix oils with oils they blend together. So if you take a bacteria fighting oil and mix it with your greasy face, its going to cut that bacteria right down and create balance. On the flip side, if your Sahara like dry ass skin has no oil (but obviously still has sebaceous glands as tiny as they may be) putting omega rich oils on top of it will make it very happy. What cosmetics companies can't really claim (but like, its kinda common sense-ish) is that oils penetrate deeper than any other topical treatment because they can mix with our natural oils and enter the skin through those sebaceous glands.
The other reason I love plant oils and essential oils is that they are the core essence of a plant, all the nutrients from a flower, nut, roots, or leaf squeezed out into a beautiful texture. When applied, you’re getting all the beautiful actives from that plant, omega fatty acids, and vitamins, they penetrate so beautifully into the skin. People always ask why my skin is glowing, it’s usually because I have a bunch of oils on. My skin feels so naked without them.
I’ve used most all of the facial oils on the market and even make my own (hint hint…). Here are the 2 I’m currently living for.
Korres is an amazing apothecary brand out of Greece that’s specializes in using natural ingredients to create effective skincare products. I’m a huge fan of their Wild Rose range (I use the Daily Brightening & Refining Buff Cleanser and Vitamin C Petal Peel), when I heard they were launching a Wild Rose Vitamin C Active Brightening Oil I was like “Put it all over my body”. This oil contains their signature Wild Rose Oil (one of the brands original ingredients) rich in Vitamin C, omega 3, 6, 9 as well as Vitamin A. The brand also added a Super C active that increases the skin Vitamin C absorption by 1000%. All these actives promote collagen synthesis, brighten the skin, offer antioxidant-rich free radical protection (making it my choice for my AM routine), and has anti-inflammatory properties. I’m obsessed with the earthy floral scent and its fast absorbing texture. I’ve been using this lightweight oil over my serums every morning for a few weeks now and have noticed my skin glowing more and more; I need so little that I’ve barely put a dent in the bottle. Korres Wild Rose Vitamin C Active Brightening Oil 5/5 Stars $54
After hearing all the hype, a friend gifted me the Sunday Riley Luna Oil, while I really wasn’t expecting to even like it (I’m always disappointed when people talk about how amazing a product is) I ended up living for this oil. This deep blue oil contains Trans-Retinol Esters which help to fight fine lines, wrinkles, and loss of elasticity. I’m a huge fan of any type of retinol products, but its pretty rare to find retinols in an oil base. It also has ingredients rich in Azulene, and powerful anti-inflammatory, able to help calm down redness, even redness associated with blemishes; this is also what’s helping calm the skin from any irritation from the retinol. Luna has other oils that are rich in Vitamins A, B, C, D, and E as well as Omega 3, as well as sebum regulating properties making it ideal or all skin types. Waking up after an evening of Luna I notice smaller pores, softer skin, less irritation (especially since I’m always doing peels and lasers) and the fine lines on my forehead look a lot softer. I’ve been using it just under 2 months but it’s a new favorite and I’ll continue to use it! I apply it over my PM serums before my night cream and retinoid. Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Oil 5/5 Stars $105.
Let me walk down memory lane to the first facial oil I ever used, Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil. Clarins started with 3 body oils and later developed 3 facial oils, all 6 oils are still part of the brand today (the Tonic Body Treatment Oil is my JAM and great for pregnant women to help prevent stretch marks). When I worked for Clarins back in 2003 I was young and very oily. The Lotus Oil is designed to be used as a rebalancing routine, use it every evening for 3 months to calm down oily skin and make the skin act more “normal”. Night after night it made my skin softer, pores smaller, skin less oily during the day. I think my favorite part of the oil is the smell, it’s so herbal its just amazing. I purchased the oil recently when I was passing through Duty Free and was reminded how much I love it. I still use it under clay masks to do some extra detox. For the rebalancing routine apply 2-4 drops to skin still damp from toning and allow it to soak in for a few minutes before going to bed. To boost your masks, press a few drops onto the skin and apply a clay mask directly over top. Clarins Lotus Treatment Oil 5/5 Stars $54