My skincare capsule collection: a routine for sensitive combo skin
I’m well-known for a certain disdain towards the concept of capsule collections and minimalism. When it comes to skincare, though, I’m a firm believer in both a less is more approach and the capsule concept. It just makes sense – you want to have a skincare regime in which you can combine stuff that works for you, and you don’t want umpteen bottles and pots standing around and going off because you never reached for them. So my approach to skincare is to find stuff that works for me (doh) and products that can be easily combined for the many issues my skin may come up with.
So, what’s that capsule thing about?
The concept was introduced for clothes, and it centres around the maxime that all items in your wardrobe are both essential and easily coordinated with each other. From there comes the approach of only having favourites in your wardrobe, because all unnecessary items have been weeded out. As mentioned above, I tried to come up with a similar concept when it comes to my skincare.
What’s my skin like?
Oh, my skin. It’s… difficult. I’ve combo skin with the random outbreak and first signs of aging, and I’ve the distinct impression that my skin took a turn for the worse when I moved to one of the most polluted cities on Earth. My skin likes Vitamin C, BHAs, Niacinamide, Hyaluronic Acid and retinoids. My usual routine is to use something hydrating and a dose of Niacinamide in the morning and evening and use some Vit C to boost my sunscreen. In the evening I bring out the big guns, namely acids and retinoids on alternating days. I’m juggling with some additional stuff (peptides, propolis, Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate) and trying out some anti-pollution products, but can’t say something about them right now – skincare takes a lot of time to try and see effects!
A few of the ingredients I named above don’t play well with each other. These are BHA and retinoids, Vitamin C and retinoids, and Vitamin C and Niacinamide. My solution? I use BHAs and retinoids on alternating days, Vitamin C generally in the morning and retinoids generally in the evening. That leaves Niacinamide and Vit C – those two react when combined, creating nicotinic acid and leaving skin red and flushed in the process. Solution? I just wait between applying those two.
My skincare capsule collection and skincare routine
I use Clinique’s famous Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm to remove my eye makeup (obviously in the evening), Balea’s wonderful Cleansing Oil and afterwards L’Oreal’s micellar water. Not double-cleansing per se, but my skin likes the gentle cleansers I use and I feel it removes makeup very well. I use the cleansing oil and micellar water both in the morning and in the evening. (I’ve written about both products here and here.)
I follow up with a toner to neutralize the skin’s pH and also for an extra boost of hydration. Truth to be told, I don’t love any of the toners shown here, neither the cosrx Galactomyces Alcohol-Free Toner nor the HighDroxy Hydra Spray. They’re both ok, but don’t do anything I can detect. (Stay tuned for a closer look at my cosrx products – coming up soon!)
One thing I adopted from K-Beauty routines is the addition of an Essence or Lotion into my routine. Essences are usually lighter and not as concentrated as serums and deliver mainly hydration that you pat into your skin. They may also include an active ingredient like antioxidants or probiotics, yeast extract, the beloved Korean snail mucus, propolis, etc etc. I love my Hada Labo products shown here, both the Gokujyun Premium Lotion and the Super Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Essence. I included the Bioderma Hydrabio Serum, because that one used to be a staple for me before I ventured into the world of essences. This is a very lightwight, hydrating serum that goes with everything you want to layer over it. I honestly can’t see a difference in the effects of both Hada Labo products, they both hydrate excellently and are really pleasant to use.
Both BHA serums from Paula’s Choice are dramatically different, and not only in their concentration. I didn’t see any effects at all when I used the lotion-y and silicone-y Redness Relief 1% BHA Lotion Exfoliant. The Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid is liquid like water. I pat it on and get excellent results from it – clearer skin with reduced bumps and reduced redness. The HighDroxy Face Serum contains Mandelic Acid, a gentle AHA, for anti-aging purposes. It’s an excellent product that I’ll have to implement into my routine again soon.
Other serums and boosters
Vitamin C is a staple in my morning routine, and I didn’t care for The Ordinary’s Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12% at all (read about it here). I’m happy to go back to my Timeless 20% Vitamin C Serum with Vitamin E and Ferulic Acid that I do find superior in every way – more pleasant to use, visible effects.
I loooooooove having the option of adding a booster to my moisturizer and do so in changing combinations every day. I add Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster to my moisturizer every morning and every evening, sometimes adding the 1% Retinol Booster in the evenings as well. During winter I also like to add two or three drops of tai’s Rosehip Bioregenerate Oil – that’s amazing for a lot of skin concerns, but I like it for reducing scars and fine lines. (Also wrote about it here.)
One staple and a newbie: I’ve used Beyer & Söhne Hautcreme+ for ages (I think actually since the year they started?!) and it’s my go-to moisturizer that’s wonderfully formulated for sensitive skin, with no-nonsense ingredients and a lot of good ones in it. (Awesome news as well: if you’re in Germany, you can order this now in every!!!!!! pharmacy.) I didn’t trial the HighDroxy D Light Fluid extensively yet. I used some samples I liked a lot, and I like the concept of adding both sunscreen and AHAs to your morning moisturizer to fight against signs of anti-aging.
In the morning, I use Clinique’s pep-start eye cream nowadays (wrote about it here as well) that I like for it’s light formula full of peptides and a bit of shimmer. I used to use the super defense SPF20 age defense eye cream a lot, because honestly, it makes total sense to use sunscreen in the extra-thin eye area. I can’t say which one I like better. But I can say that I don’t care for Paula’s Choice’s Resist Anti-Aging Eye Cream one bit. I dislike the thick, heavy formula that doesn’t pleasantly melt but has to forcibly applied to the sensitive skin around the eyes. Formula – impressive. Texture: Just no.
Two favourites: SkinCeuticals Brightening UV Defense SPF30 has both UVA and UVB protection, a pleasant formula and some added skincare goodies. In the hot and humid Asian summers I experience in this corner of the world, though, it’s too heavy. The texture of Paula’s Choice’s Resist Youth-Extending Daily Hydrating Fluid with SPF50 is much more pleasant during those month. You wouldn’t think this one isn’t a very thin and quickly absorbing moisturizer!
This seems like a lot, but actually, for me, it isn’t – and I’m happy with nearly every product or have a firm grasp about how a replacement should be. (The search for another toner continues though…) I’ll definitely replace the toners and an eye cream for use during the night – but everything else I’m really happy with! Also, have a cookie for coming so far!!!!!