Skin SOS

  • March 02, 2018
  • By Kathy@MoreCoffeeLessTalky

For years, I had a great skin routine - it kept my skin hydrated, dewy, supple and most of all, wrinkle free (since we all know that dry/dehydrated skin = wrinkles and fine lines). 

Since Fall of last year, I had been struggling with my skin.  I wasn't sure if it was a combination of hormones and the wacky weather but all I knew was that 1) my skin products just weren't cutting it anymore (sob) and 2) my skin was so freaking dry all the time it was triggering hyper-sensitivity, was always itchy and red.....which made me look like an old hag and ain't nobody got time for that.

After trying a zillion products both on their own and in combination with others, I finally found my new and perfect skin routine and wanted to share it with you fine folks.  Note that I have dry, dehydrated, sensitive and aging skin. I rarely get acne and if I do, it's one pimple by my eyebrow which always indicates that I'm nearing my period.  Thanks, hormones.


1/ Vitamin C.
Vitamin C is new to my line up.  I was always afraid of using something like this because I was scared that I would react but since I started using this, my skin is softer, looks brighter and more even-toned.

When I first introduced this into my routine about 3 weeks ago, I started applying it every 3 days (to test it out); then when I didn't react, every 2 days and now I apply this every day.  I've noticed that on the days I don't apply it, my skin feels drier and I get flakes near the end of the day. Rude.

Because Vitamin C oxidizes quickly, I store this in the fridge wrapped in foil.  I'm not even joking when I say that.

2/ Hydrating serum 
My old serum had been in my routine for over a decade but as of late, it just wasn't working for me anymore (didn't keep my skin hydrated throughout the day).  I'm a huge believer in hydrating serums; the water-like consistency absorbs very quickly in the deeper layers of your skin to keep it hydrated and plump all day.  This serum has the same ingredients as my old serum but with one additional powerhouse:  whey protein - an antioxidant that protects your skin from free radicals and contains important compounds for cellular regeneration and collagen production. 

This is slightly thicker than my old serum (because of the protein) and - it's so luxurious hydrating and plumping

3/ Face oil.  
My previous holy grail magical face oil was argan oil but like my old serum, it just wasn't cutting it anymore.  After doing a ton of research on replacement oils, I discovered that marula oil is actually better for my skin type so I went and bought one from The Ordinary to try. 

Thicker than argan oil, it actually absorbs quicker and wow, my skin just loves this oil. It really does keep my skin soft and hydrated all day; gone is the tightness and dry patches that used to creep up by my chin mid-day with  my previous products.  But guys, can we talk about the price? I paid $9.90CAD for this which is practically free when we're talking about skin products.

4/  Moisturizer
I love me a thick, greasy moisturizer but that shit don't fly when you have to work and can't look like an oil slick.....enter:  Naturopathica.  I had been struggling with a moisturizer for a while and couldn't land on one that consistently worked until I tried this.  Not only does it smell amazing, it's light yet super hydrating without leaving me greasy.  I can see this being a year-round moisturizer (it's so light weight) but since it's winter and our skin has to fight the dryness of indoor heating and freezing temps, I add 3 drops of this rosehip oil (another favourite face oil) to pump up the jam and also reap the benefits of rosehip oil

5/ Cleanse + exfoliate.

I swear, ever since I started exfoliating more often, my skin has made such a fantastic improvement (aka softer and smoother). I used to abide by the once-a-week rule to avoid sloughing my face off but now that I'm an old hag, I need to get rid of dead skin faster so that my products can absorb deeper.  I went from exfoliating only on Sunday to Mon, Wed and Fri.  I mix a bit of my dermafoliant with my (milk) cleanser, add a bit of water to emulsify and work in gentle circles for 2-3 minutes.  My skin feels so smooth and dolphin-like after.

6/  Retinoid
I started considering adding a retinol to my routine when I was approaching my 42nd birthday back in December.  Strong actives like this scare me; my sensitive skin can't really handle strong products so I put in a lot of time, thought and research to find one that worked yet didn't irritate my skin.

For those who are unfamiliar with retinols, they are derivatives of Vitamin A geared to accelerate skin turnover, stimulate collagen and elastin production and fade hyper pigmentation, resulting in brighter, softer and plumper skin.  Retinols are more "longer term" products meaning, you can't see immediate results but over time, you will.  You'll start to notice any pigmentation either gone or significantly reduced and fine lines disappearing or gone....basically, if you stand beside someone who is of the same age and has not been using retinols, you'll be able to see the in they're the old hag, not you.  I can totally get behind that.

I chose this retinoid because it was suspended in squalane oil which gives me added hydration while working its magic.  Since starting this in December, I've experience zero reaction (which was my main goal) and while I can't say that I see huge/glaring results, my skin is softer and there's an area on my face where the pigmentation is lighter.

7/ Masks.

I actually use three masks; not at the same time but depending on how my skin feels I'll use one or a combination of these.

The cucumber mask is a gel.  Cucumber is known for super soothing and hydration so I use this on days when my skin feels parched or after I've been out in the cold or hot sun for a long time.  It's also amazing for soothing irritated/inflamed/sensitive skin.  If your skin has freaked out due to a reaction from another product, this is your saviour.  Times when my skin is red and irritate, I apply this and I get immediate relief - redness disappears and my skin calms down. It's magic, really.

The rosehip mask is a cream-based mask.  Super hydrating and soothing, you get the added benefits of rosehip which is amazing for dehydratd and acne-prone skin.  I mix this with my cucumber mask for a blast of hydration. This combo is my main go-to during the harsh winter months and I use this mask twice a week (Mon, Fri).

The blackcurrent revitalizing peel is so gentle, I wouldn't even call it a 'peel'.  I use it when my skin looks dull or I haven't been sleeping well and I look haggard. It's a great skin pick-me-up. 

With any of these masks, I leave them on for a good 20 minutes, then rinse it off and follow my night routine.

The Routine.

When you apply products, the rule of thumb is thinnest to thickest.


  1. vitamin C - I apply first thing in the AM and let dry for a minute or so (I get dressed while my skin is drinking this up)
  2. face serum 
  3. face oil - I apply about 5-6 drops, gently massage into my skin using small, circular motions.  I usually give about 2 minutes for my skin to absorb (I brush  my teeth during this time).
  4. moisturizer - mix 2 drops of rosehip oil, gently apply onto skin.
  5. sunscreen
  6. makeup

Night:  the routine is nearly exactly the same except I exfoliate and instead of using the vitamin C, I use my retinoid. Always use retinols at night because it makes you photosensitive.
  1. cleanse (plus exfoliate if it's Monday, Wednesday or Friday)
  2. retinoid - I apply and give it time to absorb (I apply body cream during this time).
  3. face oil - same method as above.
  4. moisturizer
Have you found a great skin routine?

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  1. I was totally wondering if I can use moisturizer after I put facial oil on! This answers my question :)

  2. I have heard so many good things about The Ordinary - i'll need to check it out.

  3. Number 1 and 2 I definitely think I need in my life. I'm really interested in the Vitamin C and the flaking. I have that issue as well.

  4. My routine is similar, I'm loving the Ordinary products! I'm going to do an updated skin care post soon, just giving everything time to settle in, make sure it works.

  5. I know I need to do something more and guess I need to start checking out what's out there for oily/non-acne-prone skin. It seems like products for oily skin also include the benzoyl peroxide or salycylic acid -- I don't have spots (usually), just the oil so using those products makes my skin dry and angry.

  6. I took your advice and started taking Vitamin D. I feel like it's been a life changer!
    Right now I'm using a combination of rose hip oil and argan oil, plus my moisturizer that geared toward problematic skin (*raises hand*). I've been doing this for roughly 3 weeks? I think I've been seeing good results, lol!

  7. i am still trying to get my skin routine sorted. i do use Vitamin C though, good to know about storing it in the fridge wrapped in foil. i need to do that!

  8. I've heard a tone about marula oil recently. Might be a new product to try. Also, very interested in the Vitamin C. I am a huge fan of masks, love love love them.

  9. Oh I so need to try The Ordinary products. Everyone I know loves them.

  10. Nice! My friend's looking for a skin routine. For me it's only sunflower oil and scrub. But this looks like something I'd want to try.