Recently, a guy near and dear to my heart, came to me because he had the breakout blues. However, like most guys he wasn't willing to go run to Sephora to get an expert's advice - he was just using whatever stuff he could find at the local grocery. Don't get me wrong, the grocery store has some great finds, but many skin care products just aren't cutting it and he was seeing no change in his skin.
Fortunately, he came to the right person. I have had flare up skin since probably the 4th grade, and have probably tried every skin care line you can think of. What I've found is that most don't work for my combination skin - they either don't get rid of the oil or dry me out! So, after years of experience here are my do's and don'ts on skin care products - with a list of many of my favorites. Don't let the price tags fool you...if you use many of these products the right way they can last for 6-months to a year. And...that's a whole lot of piece of mind!
One of the first things I asked my friend was if his face wash or toner was turning his towels strange colors. He replied that they were definitely turning colors. Well, what most people don't realize is the secret to many skin care lines is lots of bleach and alcohol. While these won't hurt you, in most cases they don't get rid of your acne by treating it, but seek to dry out those pesky zits. Problem? Yeah, they do that to your entire skin. It dries your skin out so much that once your skin gets a little oil guess what? The zits are back. These products will strip your skin and cause redness and puffiness. So, read the labels! While words like "organic" and "natural" may have caused you to steer clear in the past, they may actually be worth looking into.
Secondly, make sure you use products in the right order. Someone recently told me they didn't understand why they couldn't get rid of their acne. However, after questioning them they had the right products but weren't using them as directed. It sounds silly, but if you pop a zit and then try to use your toner to calm down the inflamed region, you're only spreading the bacteria that just came out of your pore.
Lastly, if you are a lady, invest in make-up remover. It doesn't have to be top of the line make-up remover (I actually prefer Sephora's totally affordable $10 bottle below), but you do need some. Why? Well, if you have heavy eye make-up on and simply try to use your cleanser to remove it, you'll end up using twice as much cleanser and won't fully clean your face - causing a breeding ground for bacteria and oil to get trapped and have a zit pop up by morning. If washing your face isn't your strong suit, then invest in a face brush. While I have not tried the over-the-counter brushes, I love my Clarisonic and the best part is that any product can go on the brush. You'll get a deep clean and softness that you won't feel after just a quick wash.
Sephora Waterproof Makeup Remover, $9.50 for 4.2oz bottle
If you're looking for an all-in-one cleanser, try Philosophy's Purity. It's one of the most affordable cleansers and the `6oz bottle will last you a year if you use it two times a day. This product is the perfect every day cleanser for the person who wants to keep it simple.
Purity Made Simple, $32.50 for 16oz bottle
One of my favorite natural brands available at many drugstores and groceries is MyChelle dermaceuticals. When I found out I had Celiac's disease, I had to get rid of a few of my favorite products and turned to this brand for some gluten free relief. I'm a huge fan of the White Cranberry Cleanser - it's gentle and controls oil which is perfect for summer weather. And, at a totally affordable $10/bottle it won't break the bank!
MyChelle 2.1 oz White Cranberry Cleanser, $9.69
If you're looking for oil control in the t-zone or all over there are a few products that are great. Depending on how oily your skin gets, you want to proceed with caution. I use some of my deeper cleansers or exfoliators just 1-2 times a week so I don't dry out my skin. One of my favorite lines for oil control is Kiehl's White Clay - the Deep Pore Cleanser is a God send. You will definitely feel this product working, and at only 1-2 times a week it will last forever! Just remember a small bit goes a long way!
Kiehl's Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser, 5oz, $22.50
One of my other favorites for oil control is from a high end line called La Mer. This product was recommended to me by one of the ladies at Nordstrom, and if I had known the price I probably would have never purchased it. However, 6 months later I've used only 1/4 of the tube and love how it control my oil. The best part? It's a cleaning foam that works great with a brush system or just a little friction from your hands. I use 1/2 a dime size and have enough for my whole face - one of the best investments I've made!
La Mer Cleansing Foam, $65 for 4.2oz
And lastly, for an every day cleanser that smells great, feels great, and does great things try Fresh Soy Face Cleanser. This gentle cleanser leaves your face super soft - and it's French! Ooo la la!
Fresh Soy Face Cleanser, 5.1oz bottle for $38
Still not sure? Check out the travel or trial sizes of many of these products. It's a great way to see if it's the right cleanser for you without breaking the bank!
Just remember, even if you have genetically flawless skin (like my mother, ugh! thanks, dad!) you still need to take care of it! Damage to your skin is irreversible so treat it well!