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I know it seems vain, but it is not the redness or the irritation with stinging skin that annoys me the most when starting prescription retinoids. No, it is the flakiness that tends to appear and that makes every bit of foundation look awful.
But while there is nothing you can do to completely get rid of it, through weeks of trial and error I finally figured out a morning routine that leaves my skin soft and glowing instead of a flake-fest.
I even have a bonus makeup tip for you at the end!
Now don’t come at me here, but you could totally get away with not cleansing your face if you don’t feel like it. Overcleansing is a thing, and your skins barrier might benefit from being left alone. I personally do like to wash my face in the mornings, but I am extra careful to use a very gentle cleansing option: The Inkey List Oil and Water Cream Cleanser (read my full review here).
Yes, it is the same one that I use at night, but I stand by what I said in my retinol nighttime routine: It is perfect for use alongside retinoids.
For hydration I love layers, so I start by applying the pixi Milky Tonic to still damp skin. The formula contains humectants alongside a few soothing ingredients and while like all Tonics isn’t a product that will have a huge impact on your skin, still helps boost hydration levels.
I follow up with the Instytutum Super Serum, a serum rich in Glycerin and Hyaluronic Acid as humectants as well as Panthenol for soothing and Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, which claims to boost collagen production. It is very expensive and a more affordable one would probably work as well, but I adore the lightweight texture.
And because I don’t think a mourning routine is complete without an antioxidant, I add yet another layer, this time the Q10 Serum by The Inkey List. (Read my full review here) Don’t be fooled by the name, it is enough to double up as a moisturizer in the summer time.
If you are wondering why I don’t use a Vitamin C, I explain it here a little more in depth, but long story short I want to avoid every risk of further irritation and Vitamin C can, depending on the way it is formulated, be pretty irritating.
Moisturizer and Sunscreen
When it gets colder, I introduce a separate moisturizer in my routine, and for the last weeks that was The Inkey List Snow Mushroom. After testing it for a while though (full review coming soon), I realized that despite the name it is actually more of a hydrating serum rather than a moisturizer. Worked fine for autumn, but now that it is really cold, I might need to switch to something richer.
My sunscreen stays the same day in and day out. I have been using the ISDIN Foto Protect Fusion Water SPF 50 for several years now and nothing I have tried beats the lightweight feeling and comfort – truly a staple in my routine.
I admit that even with this routine, I am not able to completely avoid some flakey bits, and while you don’t really see them as long as I am barefaced, foundation makes them extra obvious. Avoiding foundation completely would be the sensible thing to do, but there are days when I don’t feel like I can face the world without at least some coverage.
For days like this, a hydrating creamy concealer is your best bet. I use the NARS Creamy Concealer in the shade and just apply some around nose, chin and forehead and blend it in with my fingers (you can see a before and after picture here).
No, the coverage is nowhere as good as it gets with foundation, but my skin looks just a bit more even, I look a bit more pulled together and, most important, it doesn’t emphasize any flakes.
Do you have a product you swear by for retinol skin?
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