It's September and my August Skincare Journal experiment is now complete! Despite my complaining, I actually learned a lot, and I hope that whoever read it got something useful out of it as well. If you didn't keep up with me over on my personal blog, no worries. Here are my top four takeaways:
1. I don't really have a set routine.
I've talked before about how consistency is key in skincare, and I do think that's true. You've got to give a new product some time before you decide to move onto the next. I see a lot of people repping a different skincare product every 6 hours on Instagram, and I'm like... but how can you try so many different products on your face at the same time and really know if it's working or not? Or which one is doing what? You know?
But that doesn't mean you have to use the exact same cleanser every single day two times per day for the rest of your life. Or the same toner, or the same moisturizers... Unless it's working for you of course, then by all means keep it up! Part of creating a skincare routine that works for you is being mindful of the fluctuations in your skin and then taking action to give it what it needs. If I felt like my skin was about to breakout, I did a charcoal mask. If I felt like it needed a bit more moisture, I did an oil cleanse, or a facial balm cleanse. When I ran out of my makeup remover + cleansing oil and didn't feel like making more, I switched to sunflower oil because, while it's not as fancy as the cleansing oil, I knew it would work just fine. Sometimes I was feeling lazy or in a hurry and I changed up my "routine" because I just wasn't in the mood. I think part of the reason why a lot of people tell me they don't have a skincare routine is because it sounds really boring, and like something you have to stick to OR ELSE. So if that's how you're feeling about it, I'd invite you to take a page outta my book and change the way you think about the "routine" of caring for your skin. I think my mix & match product line really reflects my approach, which I love. It should feel fun and luxurious and not like something you're trapped into or have to do or else end up with bad skin. This more mindful approach means that you have to do your part by paying attention to what your skin actually needs instead of just blindly following a set routine. It may take a while to learn to understand what your skin is telling you, but I think it's worth trying, don't you?
2. I wash my face a lot, but not really.
Like, imagine if there was something you could massage into your face to dissolve dirt and impurities and it would leave your skin more moisturized, and you could do it as often as you liked without stripping your skin of it's naturally protective oils... wouldn't you want to use that product all of the time? UM, HI! YOU CAN! It's called oil cleansing you guys! And it works. Regular soap and/or foaming water based cleansers have not touched my skin in over a year and a half, and I will never go back. I don't need to. Never, ever. I can't even think of a scenario where oil cleanse and/or a quick mask would not clean my skin sufficiently.
I'll admit that I was still a bit skeptical of the effectiveness of the oil cleanse before going into this experiment, but I noticed that the more I did it, the better my skin looked. I guess it makes sense... I mean, why just rinse your face with water when you can massage a little oil in to dissolve sebum build up and rinse that off in the shower to leave your skin more moisturized than it was before? I hate to admit it because I'd really love to be one of those girls who's like, "Oh, I just don't like to do too much to my face..." but I'm starting to think that when it comes to natural skincare, more is actually more. For me and these products at least. It seems that doing something is always better than doing nothing. When I don't wash my face, it looks dull and I get breakouts, and when I do wash my face, it always looks great. So, I can't say I won't ever get lazy about it, but going forward, I'll definitely be more prone to washing my face than skipping.
3. It never hurts to experiment.
What's the worst that can happen? You get a pimple? I mean... surely it's not the first, and I don't think it will be the last, unfortunately, as I am not a wizard. People always ask me, "What's the best product to use for this (dry, sensitive, acne prone, etc.) type of skin?" And really, you could use anything on my website. Literally anything. It's all good stuff. It's all anti-aging. None of it should clog your pores. It's all meant to make everyone's skin better. Just, read the descriptions and try what sounds good to you maybe? I can't really know what's going on with your skin. Only you can know that. And two years ago I didn't know anything more about skincare than you. I didn't know anything! I learned by reading and trying things. So what I'd love to be able to do is to empower all of my customers to start making some decisions for your own faces, and the way you do that is by trying things and seeing how they work for you.
But, I get it. I get nervous before I put anything new on my face too. My big experiment for the month was a new device I got called the Foreo Luna Play scrubber. I've been so curious to try the full size version of this, and one day I saw the mini "Play" version when I was out shopping and I went for it. I was so worried it was going to be a waste of money, but I love it! I was looking for something to give my oil cleansing a gently exfoliating boost for days when I don't feel like doing a full mask but want something more than a regular oil cleanse, and this totally fit the bill. (It's not meant to be used with clay based cleansers, FYI.) After a couple of tries I realized that it made my face feel a bit oily, so I started using it at night only. NBD. I'm really glad I tried it. This really glad person could be you, if you're willing to try something new. Which is why I offer samples. Ha.
4. Keeping track of your routine every day for an entire month is boring but everyone should try it at least once.
I was OMG SO BORED typing up these posts every night you guys. Like, uggggggh. It was the LAST thing I wanted to do at the end of the day. But I actually got a lot out of it, which totally surprised me! I realized that oil cleansing is a lot more effective than I thought. I realized that berries make me itchy. (Sad times.) I realized that throughout most of the month, my skin actually looked great and I was really happy about it and had no issues. I realized that I pick at my face when I get stressed and when Donald Trump behaves exceptionally stupidly so I started letting go of that needless frustration in my life. I even realized that I no longer fear the reverse camera lens on my phone!
But the craziest thing I realized is that I think I have a hormonal imbalance! I went into the month, like, "I just had a check up and there's nothing wrong with me!" But then I ended up noting that all of my breakouts happened right before and during my period, I had random bouts of extreme fatigue, headaches, and trouble sleeping even though I was going to bed earlier than ever... and just the act of writing that down combined with the fact that I have lost copious amounts of hair over the past few weeks and I'm thinner than ever made me realize, "Hey, actually, I don't think this is normal!"
So now I'm trying to figure out how to take even better care of myself. I've started taking some balancing herbs and supplements, more vitamins, and I'm even changing up my exercise routine to be a little less extreme. More rest days, less pushing though, sweating it out, and ending up depleted. I already feel a huge difference in my energy levels thanks to the supplements, and I'm going to try going to bed earlier and getting up earlier to do yoga and Pilates just 3 days per week so I can have more evenings off with my son. No more working all day followed by working out hard at night, followed by late dinners at my computer and staying up too late to work some more... at least I'm going to try!
Moral of the story: even if you think there's nothing wrong with you or your skin, it might be an interesting experiment to note down how it fluctuates in relation to your lifestyle. You might be surprised by what you discover!
I'm especially curious to see if staying on these supplements leads to less breakouts during my next menstrual cycle. Wouldn't that be amaze?! I'll let you know how it works!