Top Shelf Beauty Favourites
Since we're still pretty early on in our Beauty School Dropout journey, we thought we'd take this opportunity to start with some of current beauty favourites, product-wise. As we mentioned in our intro to the series, we're planning on covering a number of different topics under the beauty umbrella, but because one of the first things we tend to think of are the products themselves, we figured we'd dive into that first, which also give you a bit of a sense of what our skin journeys have been like and where we're at.
So welcome to our top shelf beauty favourites!
Over the past year or so, I’ve been on a journey to try to figure out my ideal beauty routine, knowing right off the bat that my skin tends to be incredibly dry (especially in the winter months), and quite sensitive. It’s been a process, to say the least, and then once I found out I was pregnant, I had to take another step back to assess this new development. This was really the catalyst for my decision to start making the switch to natural ingredients whenever possible, and simplification became the name of the game. I’ve been finding that my skin sensitivity has become heightened, and have been struggling with frequent breakouts and red and uneven patches on top of everything else. They say that when you’re pregnant with a girl she “steals your beauty”, so maybe there’s some truth to that, if you want to believe these old wives tales?!
So back to the simplification. I stopped using any products that had harsh ingredients in them — which trust me, has been difficult at times, since when your skin is on the fritz it’s a pretty natural tendency to want to treat it with whatever potions promise the most magical results.
I’ve been using the Herbivore Pink Clay Cleansing Bar for a couple of years, and since I was turned onto it, it’s been my cleanser of choice — simple, effective, and the $16 price point for a bar that lasts forever doesn’t hurt either! So I started there, knowing that I wanted to keep the bar in my routine and that the Herbivore line, with their commitment to creating products that use the power of nature for highly effective results, aligned with what I was looking for. Plus, can we talk about the packaging? Always a bonus when it's sitting pretty on your bathroom shelf!
As I mentioned in our intro post, my skin relationship as been a bit of a battle. The ups and downs have always been something I’ve struggled with. Your skin is your biggest organism meaning its always on display and when it doesn’t feel good or look good my confidence seems to plummet.
This past year my nightly beauty routine went from using a micro exfoliant, a cleanser, a toner, 3 serums, a moisturizer, an eye serum and an eye cream (a lot, I know) to simplifying my beauty routine to a micro exfoliant, a cleanser, a serum, moisturizer and eye cream. Why? I started reading this book called Pretty Honest from Cali Hughes ( borrowed from Paige actually) and it caused me to look back on my beauty routine, simplify, listen to my skin and really see what works for MY skin. Realistically your skin can’t suck in that much product and who has three hours to spend on their beauty routine (although if I’m being honest I would if I could, but you can’t when you are a working girl… am I right?!).
Paige and I both wanted to share some product that were staples in our beauty routine and ones that we’ve found have made a true difference, sometime this does take time so be patient and other times these products might not be right for you, remember not two people’s skin are the same, listen to YOURS.
No surprise Paige and I have some overlap in the products we love. Paige actually introduced me to the Herbivore Pink Clay Cleansing Bar and after one use I was hooked. It smells amazing, makes your skin feel so smooth, uses natural ingredients and does not break the bank. Can you tell why we are in love? (Plus it’s pink… who can say no to that).
Next, I was on the hunt for a moisturizer, which historically has always been a really difficult product for me to find. I need pretty intense hydration for my dry skin (if I don’t moisturize after washing my face, even if it’s only a gentle wash, my skin becomes tight and itchy immediately — not fun). But I also don’t like products that take forever to sink in, leave a residue, or feel oily overall. Herbivore had recently released their Pink Cloud Rosewater Moisture Crème, so I knew I wanted to give that a try.
I had also started dabbling in trying oils as another alternative, specifically as part of my nighttime routine, and so I picked up the Mini Facial Oil Set as well since I couldn’t decide between their three options — the Lapis, Phoenix and Orchid oils. Plus, I love a mini size for travelling, so this seemed liked a good way to ease into it and reuse the adorable glass jars down the line as well. The verdict? The moisture crème is a dream (and smells oh-so lovely), and I’ve been rotating the oils in the evenings. I’m still not sure which one I’ll choose when it comes time to commit to one, but if I had to choose a favourite just from the feel and scent, it would be the Orchid Facial Oil. Heavenly, and perfect at night when you're for a calming, subtle scent to ease you into dreamland.
A moisturizer is something I have always needed. I have skin that without a moisturizer will become red and dry quite quick (and I love that moisturized glow, but who doesn’t). I’ve always found my skin seems to get bored with moisturizers until I found Ole Henriksen’s Truth Advanced Moisturizing Cream. It provides enough moisture without the creme feeling like you are clogging your pores and it also smells amazing (if you can’t tell I love it when my products smell good). When I feel I need some extra moisture I use Origins' Overnight Drink Up Intensive Mask moisturizing my skin the whole time I am asleep (especially good in the winter or after being in the sun).
The next product I added in is the French Girl Organics Rose Facial Polish, partially due to convenience, as I had it on my shelf from a photoshoot in which it served as a pretty prop (again, beautiful packaging on this lovely, organic line). I was finding I needed an exfoliant for the oils to properly soak in and must admit that I love the feeling of a freshly-scrubbed face, so I started using this a few times a week, and love its gentle effectiveness. It leaves my skin smooth and refreshed thanks to the finely ground botanical powders, and I simply add a few sprinkles to my lathered cleansing bar and I’m good to go.
I’m still on the search for a good exfoliant as I use a Dermalogica one at the moment that I like but don’t LOVE, I think next on my list will be the one Paige uses as her go to! It's okay to not have every element in your skin routine mapped out, it takes time to find the right products that work for you.
Another product (and line), that I was trying out was the Lixir Vitamin C Paste, and though I’ve read really good things about it and Abby has experienced amazing results, I stopped using it because it was feeling a little too harsh and my instinct was to go as natural as possible. So that’ll likely be something I add back in post-pregnancy again.
Otherwise, that about sums up the products that are in my current rotation. I’m also incredibly conscious of drinking a lot of water, eating as many fruits and veggies and skin-friendly superfoods as possible (more on this soon!), getting lots of sleep, and going bare-faced more often than not. All classic clichés, I know, but at the moment, taking care of my skin in all the simplest ways within my control is feeling like the right plan of action.
The Lixir Vitamin C Paste has been a GAME CHANGER for me. I don’t use it everyday but the days I do it leaves my skin feeling refreshed and ready to face the day plus I’ve seen lasting results in my skin becoming brighter. It's good for us multitaskers, you warm it in your hands and leave it on while you are brushing your teeth or making your morning coffee - time effective! It’s a little hard on the wallet (because of shipping and duties) but its worth it!
Besides these products I really try to eat for my skin (sounds weird I know). Another really amazing book is called Eat Beautiful by Wendy Rowe (a gift from Paige no less) where it talks about eating (and drinking... WATER) to nourish your skin for each season, a key element people tend to overlook or think products will solve all their problems. This has been something I have been trying to make a part of my daily life, and trust me, you see results because you are starting from within. It takes time, devotion and research but it's worth it in the end.
Another reminder is everyone's skin is different, so while these product may work for us, they might not work for you and that's okay. I also believe that as our skin changes so will our beauty products, what might work now won't work for example when you are pregnant, Paige demonstrated this. It's all about listening to your skin and trust me it talking to you, you just have to pause to hear it.