I had my teeth cleaned a few weeks ago and my dentist mentioned how good my skin looks. I usually attribute skin compliments to whatever foundation I’m wearing, but I wasn’t wearing any foundation that day so it must be my skincare routine for the second half of the year (the last time she saw me was August).

I thought, it’s about time I post this long overdue installment. Click the link for my Morning Skincare Routine.

Evening Skincare Routine Scatterbraintures

Step 1. Remove Makeup (First Cleanse)

I just finished my PureVivi Micellar Water, my favorite cleansing water! This is what I use on nights when I’m too lazy to wash, tone, treat, and moisturize. However, the number of cotton pads I finish up in a month due to micellar water use is just too much so I decided to explore emulsifying cleansing balms (aka sherbet cleansers). I have Banila Co Clean It Zero*, used it a few times, and liked it. The latter does a good job loosening up makeup.

For eye makeup and liquid lipstick, I always use a bi-phase cleanser. It removes the most stubborn makeup without the need for aggressive tugging and rubbing. My all-time favorite is Laneige Lip and Eye Makeup Remover.

Step 2. Second Cleanse

I rotate 3 cleansers at the moment (because — struggling hoarder). I have Safeguard Dermasense for Sensitive Skin, Safeguard Dermasense for Acne-prone Skin, and Olay Regenerist Cream Cleanser. When my skin feels dry, I use Safeguard for Acne-Prone Skin or Olay Regenerist. Both of the latter are cream-type non-foaming facial cleansers.

When I miss the feeling of soap I use Safeguard Dermasense for Sensitive Skin. It foams up a little but it doesn’t make the skin tight and dry unless you have dry skin to begin with.

I don’t care for expensive cleansers. As long as I don’t feel my skin drying out, I’m good.

Evening Skincare Routine Scatterbraintures 2

Step 3. Tone

As I mentioned in my Morning Skincare Routine post, I don’t consider toning a must-do unless I’m using it for exfoliation (i.e., acid toning).

Where I live, tap water is occasionally rusty, as in rusty-watermarks-on-the-dish-drain level of rusty. Due to this, I feel the need to cotton off excess tap water with a non-drying toner. I currently use Dear Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner which has a watery gel consistency. I think it’s best applied with fingertips, but I need to feel like rust is getting wiped off with a cotton pad. It’s moisturizing but it’s not something you can rely on solely for your moisturizing needs.

Step 4. Treat

I’ve mostly just been using two treatment products: The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2% and The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2%.

I’ve been using prescription retinoids (tretinoin/ retin-a/ all-trans retinoic acid) for years which I credit for keeping adult acne at bay. My main beef with tretinoin is how fussy it is to use. You have to make sure you apply a VERY thin layer on completely dry skin. If you apply a little too much or if you get too impatient waiting for your skin to dry, there’s high probably you’d wake up to flakey skin in 2 to 3 days. There’s also the problem of dehydration which affects how my skin looks more than anything. I had been meaning to switch to non-prescription retinoids but before The Ordinary, most products I found were exorbitantly priced–at least twice as much as tretinoin.

The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2% (now, Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion). The active ingredient in this product is hydroxypinacolone retinoate (HPR), an ester of all-trans retinoic acid, and retinol. The number of studies on HPR pale in comparison to tretinoin’s 50+ years worth of clinical studies, but I jumped on the former because I just had it with how finicky a routine with tretinoin can get.

Whether The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 20% is working or not, only time can tell. Hopefully, my senior citizen self won’t hate me for switching to an off-the-shelf retinoid, BUT my skin right now is thanking me for it. My skin experienced a lot less bouts of dehydration, feels supple, and looks really clear. My adult acne didn’t come back, too.

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2%, on the other hand, addressed my blackheads. I can’t say for certain that this can remove blackheads, but it kept my skin blackhead-free since I last got them extracted–something I did NOT expect. My blackheads usually come back after 2 to 3 weeks after a facial (w/ extraction).

I usually use Salicylic Acid just on my nose, but on days when my skin feels congested, or during my period, I apply it all over the face. I don’t advise everyone to do this, though. I believe my skin is more tolerant to acids than most.

Laneige Perfect Renew Serum

Step 5. Moisturize

I find The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2% to be moisturizing enough most of the time that I don’t find the need to layer on something else afterwards. However, the air has been drier lately so I’ve been layering with Laneige Perfect Renew Regenerator Serum. The latter doesn’t have occlusive ingredients that trap moisture in, but it gives enough added moisture to keep my skin hydrated until my own skin oil rises up to the surface to do its job.

In the next few weeks, I’ll incorporate Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate (oil) to top everything. I bought this last year but haven’t gotten around to using it save for mixing with thick foundations. I hope it works well with everything else.

I swear to the skin gods, if this post jinxes how my skin is behaving right now, I’m gonna be pissed!!!

*PR Sample

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My As-needed Skincare Products