Skintype: DSPT in Baumann terms (Dry, Sensitive, Pigmented, Tight):
- dry: very, and prone to dehydration too. My face has actually cracked and bled on long-haul flights / during very cold winters so staying moisturised is top priority.
- sensitive: though it's much less sensitive and less thin compared to a few years ago, I'm still prone to eczema and rosacea. 'Bad' ingredients I've learned through experience to avoid include: alcohol and alcohol denat., aloe, witch hazel, geranium and eucalyptus oils, avobenzone.
- prone to pigmentation: freckly, and every single spot, scratch or insect bite I get leaves a livid red mark for at least 6 months and then contributes to skintone unevenness thereafter. The potions that tempt me out of my skincare comfort zone are usually ones that address this.
- tight: daily sunscreen is my only anti-ageing thing right now (late twenties). I do have some fine lines and enlarged pores but they only become visible when my skin is dehydrated (likewise nasolabial...foldiness).
If wearing an apocalypse-proof Japanese mascara, I'll swipe (1) Kiss Me Heroine Make Mascara Remover through my lashes, leaving it for a few minutes before cleansing my face with 1-2 pumps of (2) Fancl Mild Cleansing Oil, which removes all traces of makeup, suncreen and London ick and rinses clean. (It also melts off waterproof Western mascaras on its own).
A few drops of (3) Hada Labo Hyaluronic Acid Lotion Moist patted on with hands helps to lightly hydrate and normalise skin pH after cleansing -- functioning like a moisturising toner. Followed up with 2-3 pumps of (4) Mandom Beauty Barrier Repair Super Concentrate, a lightweight and instantly-absorbed serum containing squalane, hyaluronic acid and glycerin, incredibly effective at boosting moisture levels both short- and long-term.
About half a pea size of the ridiculously expensive (5) Sisley Sisleya Global Eye and Lip Contour Cream smoothed around eyes and onto lips works bloody miracles, un/fortunately. Having tried dozens of cheaper and even one or two pricier options, this remains worth every cent of the €80-odd I pay every five months. Luckily my face prefers no-frills Avène moisturisers to the luxe stuff and I rotate them seasonally. For winter, (6) Trixéra+ Emollient Cream in its large body-lotion-sized tube is perfect for slapping on profligately, topped with a drop or two of oil to seal everything in. Currently, it's (7) DHC Olive Virgin Oil because I got a bottle for Christmas -- it is both lighter and richer (and easily absorbed, almost like a dry oil) than 'normal' cooking or medicinal olive oils, with almost no scent -- but my skin also likes rosehip, almond, squalane and avocado (I've found no difference between 'branded' and cheaper versions of these).
Because of my dry skin, I don't wash my face in the mornings; splashing with warm water does the trick, followed by (1) Hada Labo lotion and (2) Mandom Beauty serum to provide a weightless hydrated base again, and (4) Sisleya eye cream with (5) Avène Trixéra+ as more traditional moisturisers.
In between, two pumps of (3) Olay Regenerist Fragrance Free serum provides a daily shot of niacinamide (Vitamin B3) in a bland silicone base, which helps with moisture-retention, skin barrier repair/strengthening and pigmentation-fading. Once my Olay 'stash' (I usually stock up during Boots offers) is finished, I'll be trying a DIY version of niacinamide powder mixed into my Hada Labo lotion (cheaper and one step fewer.)
I'm religious about sunscreen because the effects of skipping manifest immediately on my sensitive, pigmentation-prone skin; I've actually gotten a sunburn (peeling and all) sitting by a window on a cloudy day in London, while wearing SPF15. -____- So it's 5 pumps of (6) Ducray Melascreen SPF50+ Cream all over my face, a dollop of (7) Clarins Wrinkle Control Eye Contour Care SPF30 (all-physical, never stings) around eyes and (8) La Roche Posay Anthelios SPF50+ Sensitive Areas Stick on awkward bits, like ears, hairline and for touch-ups after handwashing.
In 'emergencies' (cracking, peeling, bleeding and other attractive symptoms of
For upkeep, my current overnight balm is (4) Rouge Bunny Rouge Kiss Elixir, a thick, glossy, honey (well, it tastes, smells and feels like it, but mainly consists of jojoba, macademia and avocado oils, and importantly, no water) which is one of the only balms that I can still feel on my lips in the morning -- and it leaves them lastingly plump and smooth. Will see how long the tiny tube lasts me before I declare HG.
(5) Kiss Me Moist Lip Natural SPF15 is a light-as-water, clear and unscented hyaluronic-acid-containing lipbalm which works excellently under makeup -- no waxiness or over-creaminess, white cast or waiting for it to sink in. Japanese brands seem to do these 'bases' best -- DHC Lip Cream is a pricier but also wonderful option and to add a bigger moisture/gloss kick to drier formulas without turning them into slippery messes, Maquillage Lip Essence is a deservedly cult bestseller.
Despite all this assiduity, some days my lips will just be too hideous to inflict on a poor innocent lipstick, even a Suqqu Creamy Glow, and (6) Fresh Sugar lip tints are the only possible option; my favourite shade is Honey, pigmented and warm enough to be the perfect neutraliser for my cool mauve-pink lips.