Is there anything more fun than playing mad scientist? There’s a freedom and sense of playfulness in mixing different items into a brand new, unique concoction. This experimental quality is one of the things I love most about my philosophy on choreographing your skincare routine. With a curated lineup of multi-use products, you can always combine and layer in fresh and interesting ways.
Tomorrow, I’ll be launching my Holiday Value Sets. These are great for restocking on your favorites at a reduced price, or for giving as gifts. Each value set also offers limitless opportunities for mixing and layering products to customize your own tailor-made skincare routine.
The Soloist collection contains all the essentials oily skin needs for a 3-step routine. After cleansing with the Matinee Gel Cleanser, you can layer Hydrate Facial Serum under the Performance Cream for lightweight hydration. If you prefer the cocktail approach, mix the Performance Cream with Hydrate to create your own calming, peptide-enriched gel-serum.
The Principal collection contains my best sellers, ready to mix and match as you please. One of my favorite skincare cocktails involves combining all three (the After Show Treatment Cleanser, Hydrate Facial Serum, and Etoile with Retinol Treatment Oil) and applying as a mask. Fruit extracts in the cleanser gently exfoliate while retinol, hyaluronic acid, and antioxidants in the oil and serum help to smooth, plump, and brighten skin. After 20 minutes, rinse off to reveal gorgeous skin!
Finally, the grand finale of my holiday collections: the Choreographer. This set contains my complete skincare lineup for mixing and matching with endless possibilities—use my balm cleanser as a base for a DIY facial mask, or mix a bit of Etoile with Retinol Treatment Oil into other products for added moisture to keep dry winter skin at bay. You can double cleanse, layer, and truly choreograph your personalized routine with the Choreographer set.
I’m so excited to share these new sets with you all. Let me know about your favorite ways you mix and match products in the comments, and have a happy holiday season!
I talk about skin sensitivity nonstop. It’s the number one concern I’m asked about, it’s the most common issue I see in my clients’ skin, and it’s something that I deal with personally on a daily basis. The majority of people I come across assume that they’re experiencing sensitivity because they have naturally sensitive skin. On the contrary, most have sensitized skin.
So what’s the difference?
Sensitive skin is an innate inclination toward sensitivity. Regardless of changes to skincare products, habits, environment, or stress levels, sensitive skin is quick to redden and emits a lot of heat.Even if the acid mantle—skin’s natural barrier—is healthy and uncompromised, naturally sensitive skin remains highly reactive. Truly sensitive skin is quite uncommon.
Sensitized skin, on the other hand, is self-induced and much more prevalent. My personal experience with sensitivity speaks volumes to how even the best intentions can go awry. For most of my life, I had extremely hardy skin that could withstand almost anything. Once I got into skincare, my curiosity got the best of me and I yearned to try every product I could get my hands on. I started using acids in multiple steps of my routine (including cleansers, toners, and serums) along with clay masks, scrubs, and retinols. Barraging my skin with so many actives left me red, blotchy, and reactive. My skin remained inflamed even when I stopped using most actives. I told myself that I had sensitive skin now—that my skin type had changed with age. In truth, my skin was not naturally sensitive. I had created my own sensitivity. That, in essence, is sensitized skin.
Luckily, I’m not doomed to have sensitized skin forever. By focusing on rebuilding skin’s barrier, sensitized skin can be repaired over time. To start, I discontinued use of strong actives and eased off of manual exfoliation. I still need to exfoliate—it aids in skin’s natural desquamation process—but once a week with a scrub or washcloth is plenty when your barrier is broken.
In terms of products, I focused on hydration. Nourishing ingredients like omega-rich plant oils, moisture-locking hyaluronic acid, and replenishing peptides formed the foundation of my routine. A gentle cleanser ensured that I wasn’t undoing all of my hard work by stripping away my skin’s natural oil. Finally, no skin routine is complete without SPF. Chemical SPF can be rough on inflamed skin, so I swapped it for a gentler physical/mineral sunscreen (one with zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide).
Restoring a compromised barrier doesn’t happen overnight. It requires time and consistency. I still experience little sensitivities here and there, but my skin condition has improved immensely and I’ve been able to re-introduce actives back into my routine in moderation. If you’ve had issues with sensitization, these practical steps can help you, too!
There’s a scenario that I see play out all the time. A person uses their skin routine consistently for a while and their skin behaves pretty well—until it doesn’t. When they notice their skin reacting or breaking out, they decide that one (or more) of their skincare products is the culprit. So they toss out their skincare for something new.
Don’t be so quick to blame your products. A minor skin issue doesn’t mean that you need to completely abandon your routine! Odds are that the problem isn’t your facial products. If your skincare worked well for you for a month or more, it’s unlikely to suddenly cause a reaction out of the blue. Instead, start considering factors in your environment.
Are you using a new laundry detergentor washcloth? Are you overly stressedor not sleeping enough? Has the weather changed dramatically? Are your allergies acting up? What have you been eating and drinking? Remember that your skin is a living organ and works in concert with the rest of your body. Anything that might affect you internally will show up on your skin, as well. Don’t waste your precious time, money, and effort by throwing away and replacing a skincare routine that isn’t the root of your issue.
It’s a problem that feeds a vicious cycle of consumption. When your skin acts up, you get rid of your routine and buy new products. If the new products don’t work out, you try others. If they do work well, you’ll keep them for a while—until the next time your skin starts rebelling (for reasons that may not involve your products at all). Moreover, overhauling your routine introduces even more new variables and makes it harder to identify the root cause that started this whole endeavor.
One helpful tool is skin journaling. Keeping short notes about your mood, sleep cycle, hydration, foods you ate, and seasonal changes (in addition to details your skincare routine) can provide helpful context when considering your skin’s health and appearance. Revisit your journal when your skin starts acting up to see if you can find a common thread. The few minutes it takes to keep an updated journal outweigh the time spent researching and replacing skincare products in the long run.
My main takeaway is this: your skin is part of a whole body, so holistic consideration is crucial. Reflect on the many factors that affect you on a daily basis before pointing the finger at your skincare.