I recently had a sleepover at one of my friend's houses. She is both beautifully honest and utterly wise. She is effortless, not because she thinks it's cool, but because she is too focused on saving the world to do otherwise. She also has a toddler, something I hope to have one day, but know in my heart will consume the energy I frivolously waste in other directions.
So there I was in her white living room with my bag of skincare. As we talked, I layered on paper thin layer after paper thin layer of product as she and her husband watched on. "You're going to need to hire a baby sitter while you do that every morning..." she quipped at me when I attempted to attack her face with my microcurrent device. Knowing the statement was intended completely without malice, and feeling charmingly teased, I agreed.
I know my routine is ridiculous.
I learned what I know about caring from my skin first and foremost from the women in my family. They also have an abundance of tubes and pots and solutions for every woe. They also have phenomenal skin. My mom has literally never had a pimple.
To me, a decadent indulgent skincare routine is not something alien. But neither am I lacking in self awareness. This level of effort is neither viable nor appealing to everyone.
Ask a beauty blogger what her version of heaven is and it would probably would not include some kind of custom concoction that hits all of our skin wants in one potent, effective, adorable package. Where is the fun in that? I cherish the 20 minutes a day (15 in the morning, 5 at night) that I spend loving my face. It makes me feel beautiful and cared for. If you follow me on Snapchat you know that I could spend all day massaging layers of potions on my face and not run out of options. I have a box the size of desktop computer filled with products I alternate on an almost daily basis. They are all amazing. But there are so many of them.
I know that seeing my routine could be enough to put a normal, busy woman off the idea of skincare. This is not the way it needs to be for everyone. You don't need to do all this. You definitely don't need to waste your precious time staring at an overwhelming number of products and wondering such profound questions like: What order do I apply them in?
I also know that in the course of this blog I have been incredibly blessed to receive many of these products to try for free. I do not advocate for choosing skincare over food. The life of a beauty blogger is not for everyone, just like every product out on the market is not for everyone.
And that is the perfect lead in to this product.
Behold, the latest asian import - Skin Inc Custom-Blended Serum. Take the quick, cute but incredibly detailed quiz and they will recommend a custom blend just for you. I love the rainbow colors that appear as you complete it. I love the sliding bars which feel so much more effective as a tool to answer than multiple choice or scale of 1 to whatever. This is robot skin wizard intelligence at it's finest. It's witchy.
I felt incredibly validated in my own beauty skills when the recommendations actually matched what I would recommend for myself. The ingredients were potent, natural picks that include familiar names I already seek out for myself. But again, I spend a lot of time on this stuff - you don't need to.
In the wake of rashfest 2016 new additions to my routine are all about soothing and calming my skin. I know that the skin's barrier is an incredibly important part of that equation. When pollution, dirt, dead skin cells and other ickies get past my skin's defenses - through cracked, dry gaps in the natural barrier - really bad things happen.
Licorice root has been clinically proven to help with eczema, psoriasis and inflammation. Adult acne is an inflammatory disease, like cancer or arthritis.. Plus I do in fact suffer from eczema. Hyaluronic acid is basically my all-star favorite ingredient of all time. It's also something our skin naturally produces. The small, topical molecules of HA draw and trap moisture in the skin - plumping it up immediately, while also helping to maintain a balanced moisture level that makes the texture appear smoother and more refined. Ceramides are the natural lipids (aka fat molecules) that make up a layer of our skin. Combining the three is like beefing up my skins shield, protecting it from the irritants and environmental factors that break it down and irritate it.
Included with the serum they sent me was a sample of the Pure Revival Peel, which is the most amazingly gentle, but effective peel I have ever tried. I geeked out when I massaged it in and felt little peels of skin come away onto my fingertips. Gross but SO satisfying. Unlike other peels my skin felt soft and refreshed after - not tingly, not over-stripped and with absolutely no stinging.
When I added this serum into my routine as part of the "treat" section (I group products into three categories: cleanse, treat, moisturize) I noticed a bounciness right away. My skin felt good, not only to touch but for me as the person who has to wear it.
At $90 this serum is not inexpensive - but knowing that it was a one stop powerhouse and could replace several other products could definitely help to ease some of the pain associated with the cost. Sephora is also quick to remind you that buying the oils individually would be about $225. Since you only need 3 tiny drops (try mixing it into your moisturizer to help spread it around) I can see this bottle lasting a long time. The Sunday Riley oils immediately came to mind in terms of smell, texture and ingredients when I first tested this, but you would need to combine several of those (at $75-90 each) to get the same combination-skin treating effects. How do you choose? Apparently you don't have to.
Skin Inc also boasts impressive science to preserve the integrity of the molecules from oxidation and sun exposure that can weaken the effectiveness of the ingredients.
Best of all, (for some of you) this is a seriously streamlined option.
There just might be hope for me yet.