Skincare: Brighter, Softer + Gentle

Skincare: Brighter, Softer + Gentle

One of the most important things I’ve learned about skincare, after battling acne for years, it’s that gentle is the way to go. Even if you know your skin can “tolerate” a lot, gentle is the only way to go.

I also used to think that I could scrub my skin problems away. Then I became best friends with AHA and BHA products and kissed mechanical exfoliation goodbye. No more drying cleansers, no more beady scrubs, no more toning my skin alcohol, no more makeup wipes (except for emergency situations, that is), no more tugging on and pulling the skin. I talked a lot about things + lifestyle changes that helped me before finally going on Accutane in this post.

Today’s post is a bit of a Lovin’ Lately, but only featuring skincare.


Skinvolve Body Karate Cream ($40.00)- firming formula to improve texture and tone of skin. I haven’t done my usual Insanity workouts for over a month now since injuring my back, and, sadly it does show a bit on my skin. While the Body Karate cream can’t substitute a good workout routine, I find that it does help my skin stay firmer. It’s non-sticky, (which is usually an issue for me with this kind of products) and feels incredibly hydrating and leaves me feeling a bit less guilty about not being able to workout…. ;)


I’m pretty sure I briefly talked about Amlactin ($15.99) and I can hardly believe how much this has helped my skin. After getting off Accutane my skin still remains quite dry- especially my legs and arms. Amlactin is formulated with AHA, so it will sting if you use it on broken skin and it does feel a bit sticky after applying. BUT at the same time, it brings instant relief to dry, flaky skin but it also can help you minimize KP if you suffer from it, or ingrown hairs. My derm also told me that it can be used to lighten your underarms a bit- which makes total sense, I just never thought to use an AHA product under my arms? I use this daily and wish I’d discovered it much, much sooner. I always get (weird?) compliments from my friends about the skin on my legs being smooth and bump-free- it’s all thanks to this lotion and my Salux.

Palermo’s Body Scrub- Coffee + Lemon($18.00-$48.00)- this doesn’t only exfoliate but also nourishes and hydrates skin. It’s a perfect treat for your skin and a great product to reach for, whenever you need a little pick-me-up.



I’ve always loved Paula’s Choice products, mainly due to the packaging, effectiveness, and lack of fragrance. The Resist Omega + Complex Serum ($36.00) was featured here on many different occasions already so I won’t go into too much detail. The bottom line is that anyone with dry, dull skin will love this. I’ve also been loving their Hyaluronic Acid Booster with Ceramides*($46.00)- it helps tremendously with dull and dehydrated skin. I use this before my moisturizer. The packaging could probably use some work- the serum has a gel-texture, so the dropper doesn’t dispense the product too well when you’re running low. As much as I love this serum, I also find it a bit pricey at $46. I also use The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + Vitamin B5 serum, which works pretty much just as well and sells for only $9.00.

Right now I’m back on Tazorac, to keep my pores clear, but I find that I can’t use it nightly any longer as it’s way too drying. I use it every other night and alternate with Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Lotion* ($29.00). I missed using AHA products on my skin during my treatment and I’m so happy to be able to reach for them again. Let me tell you, when you have acne, it’s all you see when you look at your face. Now that my acne is gone, I notice all the scars that are left behind. Unfortunately, a lot of them are texturized (like rolling scars) so creams and lotions can’t help much. BUT Skin Perfecting 8% AHA  lotion does help brighten the skin, which definitely makes the scars less visible. I actually started with the 1%BHA Lotion ($27.00) when re-introducing acids, as it’s very gentle although not extremely effective, in my opinion.


I had so many of you guys tell me to try the Papaw Ointment ($7.99) and I finally did. This is one of those products that can be used on things like burns, cuts, dry lips and other minor skin issues. It is simple and effective, nonsticky.

In my Summer Beauty Essentials post, I talked about Soapwalla’s The Balm* ($64.00). Again, this is an awesome multitasker and I love using it on my face during my nightly facial massage. It’s hydrating and quite “balmy” yet, it doesn’t leave that greasy-sticky residue that some balms tend to do- this one just kind of melts into skin. I use it ALL OVER. It’s all natural, sulfate and paraben free.

Erborian Cleansing Water ($26.00)- probably one of my favorite products of this kind. Gentle, effective and doesn’t leave my skin looking red and blotchy or dry- unlike most micellar waters.


I have a thing for cleansers. Hands down, cleansing is my favorite part of my skincare routine. I usually rotate between at least four. When my skin feels dry or when I really want to indulge, I reach for the Awki Cleanser from MŪN* (use MUN13T for a discount). It’s unlike anything I’ve ever used and it still remains to be one of my favorite skincare products, after nearly a year of use.

Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser ($18.00) is probably my favorite product from the brand. I think that a lot of their products are overhyped, to be honest, but the cleanser does have a fun, unique texture and formula and it doesn’t leave the skin feeling dry and tight. I use it in the morning and in the evening when double-cleansing.

Another two cleansers I’ve been loving: Skinfix Foaming Oil Cleanser ($14.99) and Foaming Clay Cleanser ($14.99). Both are so unique; the Foaming Oil Cleanser has a formula that foams and leaves no oily residue behind while being gentle, non-drying and leaving skin feeling so fresh and clean. I don’t usually remove my makeup using cleansers, but this cleanser seems like it would get the job done. Now, I was a bit hesitant to try the Foaming Clay Cleanser because when I think “clay” I automatically think “drying”, which was not the case with this cleanser. It doesn’t leave the skin feeling tight, it rinses really well and it’s a great cleanser to use for your double-cleanse when you’ve been wearing a lot of makeup during the day. Both are also free of artificial fragrances, which is another thing that’s a must for me when it comes to cleansers. These were sent to me a while ago, but I actually already repurchased both- really impressed with both!



Complex Beauty Ocean Potion Mineral Mask ($35.00)- gentle enough to use on dry skin, helps with redness, feels soothing. If my skin is feeling too sensitive to use anything else, I always reach for this mask.

Perricone MD H2 Elemental Energy Firming Foam Mask ($50.00)- this is probably one of my favorite products from the line. This mask has unique packaging (pump) and it’s super fun to use- it foams on contact with skin. It also actually delivers most of the promises made by the brand- helps with dullness, smoothes skin and makes makeup go on very nicely. It’s definitely a nice product to reach for before any special occasion.

Last, but certainly not least, REN Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask ($55.00)- this was another product that helped me ease my way back to using acids. It’s gentle enough for someone who doesn’t use them on regular basis. It helps brighten the skin and it does take a few uses for the full effects to kick in.

How has your skincare routine changed over the years? Any mistakes you learned from?


  • Reply
    Asaake |
    August 5, 2017 at 11:24 am

    This is such an amazing Round up! I’ve had the Mun skincare on my wish list for a long long time and I still don’t know why I haven’t gotten it. I think I’ll get it now with your discount code.

    • Reply
      Paula @
      August 8, 2017 at 9:51 pm

      I don’t know how I’d survive being on Accutane without their Akwi cleanser- it’s soo good! Thanks for reading! x

  • Reply
    August 5, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    I have to admit, I kind of forget about taking care of my body skin sometimes. I never thought to use AHA in my underarms before, but that’s genius! I love cleansing too, and I’ve been meaning to try Mun for such a long time. Great post! xoxo

    Jenn │ Beauty by Jelly Bean

    • Reply
      Paula @
      August 8, 2017 at 9:52 pm

      Right? Makes so much sense, I definitely noticed a difference since using it on my underarms. Definitely something I neglected for years haha ;)

  • Reply
    Jaynie Shannon
    August 5, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    I am so bad with skin care. I have quite a lot but rarely remember to do anything other than take my makeup off. I need to do better because I really hate my complexion! I’ll have to check out some of these as I have dry skin too.

    Jaynie Shannon | Beauty & Lifestyle


    • Reply
      Paula @
      August 8, 2017 at 9:53 pm

      I used to neglect it too, but love taking my time with my routine now. I especially enjoy nighttime skincare routine- it’s so relaxing and helps me unwind before bedtime. x

  • Reply
    Linda Libra Loca
    August 5, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    My skincare routine is definitely more gentle these days, and I reach for balm and cream cleansers very often. The wisdom of age I guess.

    Linda, Libra, Loca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

  • Reply
    eleonora mezzo
    August 5, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    The filter of the photos is amazing, just classy and chic. By the way I need to try all these product, I have never heard of them before.
    xx Ele |

  • Reply
    Louise C
    August 5, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    I really need to try some Paula’s Choice skincare. I hear a lot of people raving about it, and the AHA Lotion does sound pretty amazing! That REN mask is also one of my favourites; I always crack it out when my skin needs a pick-me-up after a breakout.

    Louise | Lipstick & Luxe

  • Reply
    Meghan Baxter
    August 5, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    Yes! The point you made about “scrubbing” your skin problems away is so true. I feel like that’s why everyone still buys that crazy harsh Apricot scrub.

    Meghan | The Lipstick Philosopher

    • Reply
      Paula @
      August 8, 2017 at 9:55 pm

      OMG I used to use that scrub twice a day! Used to be so obsessed with it. haha :) My skin changed completely when I started being more gentle with it.

  • Reply
    The Makeup Feed
    August 5, 2017 at 10:47 pm

    I haven’t tried any of these products! But I really want to try the Glossier Milk Jelly Cleanser. Lovely post!

    xx, The Makeup Feed

  • Reply
    Danielle Alexa
    August 6, 2017 at 4:57 am

    I need to try some of these items out, I have to improve my skincare routine!

    Danielle xx

  • Reply
    Kiri Yanchenko
    August 6, 2017 at 5:02 am

    I just read a post that said the same thing about glossier products being overhyped too.

    I am all for AHA and BHA instead of mechanical exfoliation too. I think we have similar problems skin wise.
    Gentle is best – even the most severe acne is treated from within and using gentle skincare.

    I am glad I see an Australian product lucas paw paw in there – yay!

    Once again Amlactin sounds like my type of product.
    I have dry skin too!
    Set to Glow

    • Reply
      Paula @
      August 8, 2017 at 9:56 pm

      I love a lot of their products, but there are definitely some that are way overhyped and don’t live up to the claims.

      So happy I finally tried that balm, it’s so good!

  • Reply
    Natalie Redman
    August 6, 2017 at 7:52 am

    That clay cleanser looks gorgeous!

  • Reply
    Deanna Marie
    August 6, 2017 at 8:29 am

    I’ve just started using The Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid and I really like it so far. I definitely see that it makes a difference. Lovely post and products, and beautiful photography as usual!

  • Reply
    Aleksandra // bunniesaremagic
    August 7, 2017 at 4:18 am

    I cannot believe I used to torture my face with physical scrubs o.O I just want to travel back in time and slap my younger self on her stupid stupid head.

    • Reply
      Paula @
      August 8, 2017 at 9:59 pm

      I used to be so horrible with my skin- I remember at one point my skin was so bad and bumpy, I asked Mark if he has any sandpaper in the garage lol I was so close to using it on my face hah I used to scrub the shit out of it. You live and learn! haha :)

  • Reply
    Claire Cavanagh
    August 7, 2017 at 8:20 am

    I really want to improve my skincare so this post has been really helpful. I need to get into AHA/BHAs definitely :)

    Claire | Vanity Claire xx

  • Reply
    August 7, 2017 at 10:28 am

    I know SkinFix is famous for their hand creams, had no idea that they have a cleanser too. I absolutely love that Paula’s Choice RESIST Omega+Complex serum and I swear it helps my skin so much. Also love REN Glycol mask, I use it twice a week and the other days I stick to 5% Mandalic Acid toner.

    Shireen⎜Reflection of Sanity

    • Reply
      Paula @
      August 8, 2017 at 10:00 pm

      I really dig their cleansers. They are very gentle which is something I love in my cleansers. So happy you love the serum and that mask too- such great products!

  • Reply
    Naya //
    August 8, 2017 at 5:45 am

    What a great roundup Paula! I just placed my very first the Ordinary order and can’t wait for my AHA/Hyaluronic acid to arrive. I think they make such a fab difference. I feel like I want to try everything you’ve mentioned here! x

  • Reply
    August 8, 2017 at 7:49 am

    This such a great collection of products, they all sound so amazing! I too suffered from acne when I was younger, so I am all with you on the AHA/BHA bandwagon. However, I haven’t heard of or tried many of these products before so I have a lot of goodies to try out and look into. Love the sound of the two SkinFix Cleansers! x

    Chantalle |

    • Reply
      Paula @
      August 8, 2017 at 10:01 pm

      Acids are so good for my skin, I can’t live without them now. Hope you get to try some of these products, love them all!

  • Reply
    The Sunday Mode
    August 8, 2017 at 10:43 am

    I made the same mistakes when my skin was really bad, I just tried to exfoliate the shit out of it and it was not a great idea. I also used to slather on the benzoyl peroxide and it turns out my skin hates that stuff (plus it majorly stained my towels…). Now I’m finding I prefer acid products as well, with a combo of gentler products. I’m loving the Pixi Glow Mud Cleanser at the moment!

    Julia // The Sunday Mode

    • Reply
      Paula @
      August 8, 2017 at 10:03 pm

      Yup- story of my life haha. I’d scrub and scrub, then wondered why my skin was looking worse instead of getting better. Oh yessss love that Mud Cleanser- I started using it earlier this year and it’s become such a staple!

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