It has been a while since I shared my routine, so I thought I would fill you guys in with the products I use nightly. But first a side note: I’ve started washing my hair and showering at night and it has transformed my routine. No overheating while I rush to blow dry my hair in the morning. My skin soaks in all those lovely body oils and I wake up with hydrated skin. And the warm showers lull me to sleepiness in a hot minute (just as I’d imagine sleeping in this dream bedroom above at Tulum’s Coqui Coqui Spa & Residence Resort.
I finish with two new obsessions the Fresh. The Black Tea collection has been rocking my world – the texture is super luxe but the price tag isn’t quite as painful as other super-luxury lines. The Fresh Black Tea Age-Delay Eye Concentrate contains noni juice that firms and illuminates my under eye area. The Black Tea Age Delay Cream soaks into my skin immediately and helps with next-day radiance. My dry, sensitive-prone skin loves this collection.
I know this is a brief summary of loads of products. I plan on doing in depth review of most (if not all) of these in the near future!
pr samples and affiliate links may be included in the above post. Fresh samples generously provided by Neiman Marcus as part of the Beauty Ambassador Program. I consult for Neiman Marcus which is affiliated with the Neiman Marcus Group, but as always, opinions are my own.
I am a longtime fan of this brand inspired by an amazing Japanese ingredient. Learn about how I first fell hard for SK-II and the history of the brand here. Ironically, that was almost exactly two years ago. Since, the SK-II ‘Facial Treatment’ Essence has been a consistent part of my skin care routine.
The newest from the brand might just elevate itself to that status as well. Keep in mind, I am constantly testing and changing what I use for skin care. So only a few select favorites make it into the permanent category.
The new Essential Power Essence is a rich serum powered with Artichoke Extract, Siberian Ginseng Extract and Niacinamide. My dehydrated skin with hyper-pigmentation adores this formulation. The silicone-in-water emulsion is a silky, rich and translucent texture that is quickly absorbed.
While the main advantage advertised is an improvement in the appearance of pores, I find this is actually helping with sun damage and keeping my skin radiant and luminous. I have had it in the rotation for approximately a month, but I remember seeing a difference after just a couple days of use.
It is designed to be applied just after the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. I’ve played around with using it after and before my retinol, alone as a moisturizer and first after washing. I actually prefer it as a first step and use a light moisturizer after letting it absorb for a couple minutes – usually while I brush my teeth. The best part: an amazing scent that gives me just a scootch of a spa experience even in frantic mornings.
It was a little tricky using the dropper at first. Depress the dropper and dip it into the serum and then release. I use a full dropper each application which sounds a little decadent – but trust… you won’t be able to resist. That is if you have dry skin like me. Those with oilier or acne-prone skin might not like the rich and silicone-based formula.
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Hyperpigmentation (grrr!) is my skin’s biggest issue. I’ve tried everything. And have made some progress. But every time summer rolls around, SPF be damned, I get those nasty spots again. (This summer, I am taking the hat-approach in addition to super-powdered SPF). The progress I have made, I credit to Vitamin C. This super ingredient can fade dark spots and even skin. It also helps with aging and radiance. So, here is my round up of Vitamin C MVPs:
SK-II Facial Treatment Repair C has been in my rotation for a while. I love the light formula with a silky finish. This serum also contains SK-II’s signature ingredient, Pitera to fight aging.
M-61 Vitablast C is a fabulous oil-free version from the BlueMercury brand. This formula contains gallic acid to naturally brighten. And at the same time, it soothes and nourishes skin with Vitamin E.
Taylor Owen Vitamin C+ 12% manages a decent level of Vitamin C without being irritating. This formula gave us some pretty immediate brightening and we love the way it smooths onto skin. Bonus points that this South Florida based skincare line is 98% natural.
OBAGI Professional-C Serum, 20% packs a punch. Obagi has consistently brought me fast and dramatic results. Expect no less with this highly concentrated serum. Not only will it bring the strongest brightening effects, but it will also give you a does of hydration.
Perricone MD Vitamin C Eyeworks specifically on this delicate skin and in conjunction with your your daily eye cream. For those with genetic dark circles, this could be the ticket. The formula is also loaded with antioxidant protection from Tocotrienols.
One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to do more at home facials. Since weekly spa treatments aren’t really in the budget, I’ve been adopting some at home versions and have been pleasantly surprised by how results-oriented they can be. Here are some of my most favorite masks and treatments I’ve used lately:
Omorovicza Deep Cleansing Maskis the class spa mask loaded with Hungarian thermal mud to nourish while cleansing the skin. For all skin types, this traditional experience leaves my skin feeling uber-clean but also enriched and radiant. The white clay helps draw out oil and toxins, but without leaving my dry skin feeling stripped.
bliss ‘No Zit Sherlock’ Breakout-Busting Rubberizing Maskis what I turn to when I am feeling a little congested (in the skin that is). If I were a black head, I would shutter if I saw me whipping this stuff up. The mix-it-yourself mask transforms into a rubbery, thick texture that sops up oil and clog-causing debris. Seaweed, tea tree and menthol nourish and calm while cleansing.
Sisley-Paris Black Rose Cream Maskis a great mask when my skin is feeling a little sensitive. The rich formula infuses skin with vitamins and plant extracts to rejuvenate and plump. Fine lines are diminished and tone is brightened. If I am slightly red or irritated from dryness or too much retinol, the black rose cream soothes and softens skin.
SK-II Facial Treatment Maskis my dream travel companion. I haven’t been brave enough to wear this alien-looking mask on the actual plane. But every time I happen to have one, I immediate apply for a little pick-me-up once I check into my hotel. The cotton is soaked with vitamins, organic acids and minerals to return skin to normal operating behavior. Radiance and moisture are back in the game.
Somme Institute ‘Boost’ Mask, a warming mask, is particularly pleasant in the winter. The warming action increases blood flow, allowing for nourishing delivery of minerals and enzymes. The spicy, pumpkin scent sounds seasonal, but you’ll be drawn to it all year long.
I recently reported to you about SK-II ‘Facial Treatment’ Essence, the centerpiece of SK-II’s luxurious skin care line. Over the past couple of months, I have had a chance to use more of the line. Talk about true performers. This will always be my go-to routine to fade hyper-pigmentation and soothe and heal angry skin.
Upon my arrival in NYC back in September, I took a moment in my hotel room before venturing out and used the SK-II Facial Treatment Mask. Adored by makeup artists and globe-trotting fashionistas, this mask promised to give a “radiant youthful glow”. You know what? It did just that. The cooling sheet soaks your skin in vitamins, amino acids, minerals and organic acids, replacing dehydrated skin. This cotton wonder will be my staple for travel and big events.
I’ve been hooked on Vitamin C products ever since I tried Kiehl’s Powerful-Strength Line Reducing Concentrate. Having fallen hard and finishing every last drop of the Kiehl’s version, I was excited to try SK-II Facial Treatment Repair C. I love the replenishing and rich texture of this serum. It could almost work as a moisturizer. It contains Pitera, the anti-aging wonder ingredient found in the Essence, along with powerful Vitamin C. It leaves my skin smooth and not the least bit irritated from the active ingredients. While I have been using prescription hydroquinone for years, the addition of Vitamin C has taken my fight against dark spots to the next level. My skin looks more even than it has in years.
Lastly, the gentle, comforting SK-II Skin Signature Melting Rich Cream is a hydrating master. I love the purist approach to this cream. With strong anti-aging ingredients working in my serum and prescriptions, I was craving a nourishing pure moisturizer. This comes in a jar, but the texture is a lotion/cream hybrid making it easy to apply and absorb. Its focus on hydration leaves my skin radiant and soothed.
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The true center piece of the luxury skin care line, SK-II, is the SK-II ‘Facial Treatment’ Essence. Much more than just a product, this is actually a ritual. I’ve been dying to try this line for years. And I am thrilled to report, this lives up to the hype. After a couple weeks of use, my redness was moderated and my skin looks more even. The immediate effects are a refreshing and soothing and it amplifies hydration.
The formula helps stimulate the natural renewal process of the skin’s outer layer through a specific application process. Put a few drops in the palms of your hands. Press your hands together and then press it into your face. (in Asia they do it 100 times, I generally make it to about 20). Don’t miss your neck and décolleté. I take what is left and use it on the back of my hands.
The key to the essence’s efficacy is that it contains over 90% pure Pitera. Pitera was discovered in the 1970’s when a group of sake brewers in Japan were discovered to have ageless hands. The yeast they worked with had tremendous anti-aging properties. The scientists isolated the unique yeast strain to derive this source of vitamins, amino acids and minerals. There is a reason SK-II ‘Facial Treatment’ Essence has been a cult product for decades – a scientifically rooted formula with proven results. And there is something calming about a little “ritual” in my skin care routine.