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 skin care.


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?