My Skincare Routine (Non-Toxic and Cruelty-Free!)
I struggled with hormonal acne for a few years, so I am incredibly picky when it comes to what I put onto my skin. I like to stick to as minimal ingredients as possible, and I only purchase things that are vegan and cruelty-free! Our skin is our largest organ, so I am extra mindful about not putting toxic chemicals or unnecessary additives onto my skin (which will be absorbed into your bloodstream). Here are my favorite tried and true products:
My skincare philosophy:
My routine focuses on healing and gentleness. I don't like to use products that are too astringent or drying, and I like to be familiar with every ingredient that I put on my skin (I also would feel comfortable eating my skincare products... although I don't recommend it).
Another thing: the best products in the world will not resolve your skin issues if you don't address your lifestyle. I only healed my skin after I adjusted my diet, managed my stress levels, and prioritized sufficient sleep (this one was huge for me!). I won't be getting into all of that in this post, but I would love to write another one on this in the future!
Simple, minimal ingredients, and always cruelty-free and vegan.
1. Cleanse (gently)
Cleansing is always the first step in my routine, so that I can prime my face for the other steps by removing sweat or any makeup that I had on for the day.
Most cleansers on the market (especially ones designed to target acne) are incredibly harsh and drying. This can actually exacerbate your problems and create more inflammation, redness or other discoloration, and dryness.
This is by far my favorite cleanser that I have ever used - it's oil-based, which makes it extremely easy to remove my makeup. The oils in the cleanser are incredibly hydrating and nutrient-rich, which is a huge plus for me. It's also is formulated with the perfect pH to balance your skin and prime it for the rest of your routine.
I also only cleanse my skin at night so that I'm not constantly stripping my skin of its natural oils. Plus nothing gets on my face while I sleep so it is still clean in the morning!
Tap water's pH is too alkaline for our skin, so it's important to use a toner to restore your skin to its optimal pH. I either use apple cider vinegar or Luminance's Rose Facial Toner before applying my moisturizer.
I only use apple cider vinegar every few days or so if I am trying to get rid of discoloration, acne scars, or small blackheads. Apple cider acts as a chemical exfoliant, which essentially means that a layer of dead skin cells is removed. As layers of your skin are removed, the discoloration, uneven texture, and blackheads will disappear. Apple cider vinegar must be diluted with water, otherwise it is too harsh. I like to mix equal parts of ACV and filtered water into a spray bottle so that I can just use a couple spritzes on my face. Another important note: make sure you use unpasteurized, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to get the best results - look for a label that says "with the mother."
Even though I have oily, acne-prone skin, I still use oils to moisturize - but not just any oils. Oils are ranked on a comedogenic scale, which rates how likely they are to clog your pores. Oils with a comedogenic score of zero will not clog your pores, as they are incredibly close to your skin's natural sebum.
Hemp oil has a comedogenic score of zero, and is full of nutrients and fatty acids that are great for radiant, moisturized skin. Since oil can be a heavy moisturizer (especially if you are going to put makeup on top!), I usually just use hemp oil at night so that it has time to absorb into my skin. I used to use hemp oil as my daily moisturizer, but I eventually found a lighter option more suitable for day use. Bottom line - hemp oil is a super affordable option for someone looking for a natural moisturizer that won't clog their pores.
Luminance Skincare Hydration Face Moisturizer
My new daily moisturizer is Luminance's Hydration Face Moisturizer. I LOVE the way that my skin looks and feels when I wake up (as I mentioned, I only moisturize at night!). This moisturizer is jam packed with anti-inflammatory, moisturizing, and nutrient dense oils, without the heaviness or added junk of mainstream moisturizers.
4. Heal (acne scars & spots)
As soon as I focused on healing my skin instead of 'treating' it, I noticed the biggest difference. Think of acne as a wound on your face; too much agitation (like drying acne products or picking) will only make the problem worse and create acne scars. This approach has helped me diminish my remaining acne scars, as well as prevent future scars.
My favorite spot treatment is fresh aloe vera gel - which you can probably find at your local grocery or health food store. Simply cut off a piece of the leaf, and squeeze the gel and liquid onto your face. You can use it as a mask and wash it off after 20 minutes, or slather it on your face and leave it on all night like I do.
Tamanu oil is higher on the comedogenic scale, and I notice that if I use it alone it can break me out. Don't use tamanu oil on active breakouts, but you can mix it into another non-comedogenic oil (like hemp oil) or use it directly on acne scars that you want to fade.
Luminance spot treatment
If you don't feel like putting your own spot treatment concoction together, then this treatment by Luminance Skincare is a great option. This is my most commonly used treatment because it is gentle, full of awesome fatty acids, essential nutrients, and antioxidants (you know, the usual!).
Luminance skincare french green clay mask
This mask from Luminance Skincare treats pimples, while still being gentle and moisturizing. It's full of essential oils that check off all of the boxes for me (moisturizing, fatty acids, nutrients, and antioxidants!), and is formulated to gently kill bacteria, eliminate excess oil, and remove impurities. I use this mask a few times per week if I notice a breakout coming on!
Bentonite clay and ACV
When my skin was at its worst, I used this mask all of the time. I rarely use this mask anymore, but I will reach for it if I'm having a particularly bad breakout (usually around my time of the month). Because it can be pretty intense, I wouldn't recommend using this mask more than once per week!
And there you have it! All of the products that I use on a daily or weekly basis. Super simple and most importantly, non-toxic, cruelty-free, and vegan! The only thing that I am missing from my skincare routine is a good sunscreen - so send me your recommendations!
FTC: This post is sponsored by Luminance Skincare. I only promote companies and products that align with my values, and this doesn't influence or change my opinion.