Simplifying your skincare routine: my top 4 must-have products

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When I was moving into our new home back in September, I had a chance to paw through a large box filled with beauty products. Some of them were items I use every day that happen to be on sale so I stocked up. There were a few lotions and body washes I picked up when Victoria’s Secret/Bath and Body Works/Drugstore.com was having a clearance and I thought, “well, one can’t have too much body wash” which is a lie, of course. The whole collection was getting out of control.

I have very finicky skin. It’s delicate AND acne prone AND rosacea prone. All I have to do is scratch my eyebrow and the skin turns pink. Keeping my skin happy has been a lot of trial and error and for a while I had a whole beauty ritual with several products in the morning and several more at night. And almost none of them were drugstore brands but expensive department store brands carrying the names of hot-shot dermatologists. Again, this was out of control.

But deviating from the ritual was scary. Where do I start? I’ve never been a fan of multi-tasking products (tinted moisturizers are a joke). But that’s what I needed: a couple of products that do their job really well. So I’ve compiled a list of my must-haves.

1. Argan oil: This stuff is great. Josie Maran’s Argan oil line has brought this product into the mainstream, but the substance itself has been around for ages. Argan oil is harvested from the argan tree in Morocco. Don’t worry: you won’t be destroying an ecosystem if you buy this product. Although argan trees have been decimated like other forests around the world, the promotion of argan oil is sustaining the argan tree’s numbers and helping to bring back this awesome tree. The great thing about Argan oil is it’s extracted and manufactured through a group of women’s co-ops. This allows women to earn money on their own and use it to fund education for themselves and their children.

What does this all mean to you? Nothing, except you’re buying a product that’s doing a little good in this world. Argan oil is jammed-packed with vitamin E so it’ll keep your skin happy. That goes for the skin on your face, body, eyes, finger nails, cuticles and so on. AND your hair. It’s definitely a “dry” oil so mixing it with your favorite moisturizer might make you feel better. This is one of a few oils that is good for acne-prone skin, and teenagers with acne seem to respond especially well. This product also helps heal cuts faster due to the vitamin E. I like that this oil is a great ingredient to add to other products. You can use it on its own or add it to your favorite body butter, moisturizer, body wash, conditioner, etc. for an extra boost. When applying argan oil directly to your face, I’d recommend putting a few drops on your hands, rubbing them together and then applying it to your face. Argan oil is definitely a “dry” oil so it doesn’t glide as easily as synthetic oils.

When you go to buy argan oil, make sure it’s USDA-certified organic. Josie Maran’s oil is USDA certified but it also costs a fortune. A quick google search with find a handful of USDA organic oils, including this one. There are other oils out there that say their organic but use different certifications instead of the USDA. My experience with these are so-so. I thought I was on the right track with a couple of them but then the next bottle I purchased would smell funny or be a different color. I suppose this is to be expected but I haven’t noticed those inconsistencies when buying USDA organic argan oil.

2. Wipes. I try to not wash and dry my face a lot since it just irritates it, so for a while I’ve been using Yes to Cucumbers wipes to take off my makeup and whenever I need to refresh my face. They’ve been great but then they started doing Yes to Grapefruit wipes and I think I like them better. They seem to have more moisture in them so it’s easier to take off my makeup.

3. Serum. The company, Nature’s Inventory, that makes this product also makes a line of wellness oils. I have sciatic pain on and off and my massage therapist suggested their Sciatic Soothe oil. I thought it sounded like hocus pocus until I tried it AND IT WORKED. When you make a purchase on their website, you can choose from a few samples. The first one I tried was the Ultimate Skin Toning Serum and now I mix that with the argan oil to create my own little facial moisturizer. In addition to my other skin ailments I also have freckles (read: a nice way of saying sun damage) and I’ve noticed a difference since using it. They have other DMAE serums (anti-aging, anti-acne) so you can pick one that suits your needs while still getting the benefits of DMAE (which are still questionable but the general idea is that it promotes firmness and skin tone).

4. Toner. I stopped using toners for a while because it was really drying my skin out. My problem is I was using toners that have a lot of alcohol in them and I needed something suitable for my skin. Again, Nature’s Inventory to the rescue with their calming facial toner. I don’t use it every day but when my skin is stressed, it really helps.

And there you have it! My makeup routine is a story for another day, but it’s pretty simple as well.

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