Let’s Talk About It: Sensitive Summer Skincare

Hello Hello Beautiful! For today I’d like to start an ongoing conversation with you about something a little more sensitive to me – my skincare journey – what’s worked, what hasn’t, and what I’m willing to try next.  It’s a bit of a sensitive topic for me because I’ve not been blessed with perfectly clear skin. I’ve been struggling with hormonal breakouts, the hyper pigmentation that gets left behind, and my biggest struggle – learning to not pick at my skin. Of course I think it’s necessary to mention that everyone’s skin is different, what works for me might not work for you and vice versa. I’d still love to share with you and get your recommendations as well because I’m still on my journey to get better skin.

A good skincare regimen includes some basic steps:

  1. Cleanse
  2. Tone
  3. Serum or Treatment
  4. Moisturize and Sunscreen
  5. Extra Credit – exfoliators, masks, and eye creams

First, my biggest issue – picking at my skin. I can have the best skincare products but they won’t even touch the damage that I cause by picking. I’m still working on this most days but like most things in life I’m making progress. Has this been an issue for any of you? What has worked or not worked for you?

Another thing I want to mention is the unique state my skin is in right at the moment and how I’m working through it.  I began using a prescription retinol cream in February,  mostly for the anti aging benefits and to help with minor hormonal breakouts. I had heard wonderful things about retinol – how it helps your skin produce collagen, clear breakouts, and minimize fine lines by increasing cell turnover. While these are all true, unfortunately it did not work for me. My skin was inflamed and reddened most of the time and I had some very bothersome pealing around my mouth that would get worse as the day went on and start to flake off (talk about embarrassing!!). Also, I still experienced breakouts that I would, of course, pick at to make them worse AND my skin got so dry in certain areas. I really tried to have this work for me, I changed all my products to super gentle ones and I gave it several months to be effective.  Now though I’ve stopped using the retinol cream and I’m working towards rebalancing and letting my skin heal. I do intend to add in a few more exfoliating products and wrinkle reducers as time goes on, I’ll let you know when I do!

You’ve heard it before but it bears repeating – good skin is the foundation for any great makeup look you’re trying to achieve, or for that oh-so-desirable no-need-for-foundation bare skin, so it’s totally worth the little bit of time and effort to take good care of your skin. Here are some of the best products I’ve used recently that are gentle but effective.


Right now I use 2 cleansers for different purposes. I have my really good Ultra Gentle Cleanser by Neutrogena and Pacifica’s Rose Kombucha Cleanser.


I really love using a gentle cleanser that’s not going to strip my skins natural oils completely bare. Most day’s I don’t wear a LOT of makeup so both of these cleansers do and awesome job of removing what makeup I have on and cleansing my skin. I use the Neutrogena typically in the morning with my clarisonic brush (for some gentle but effective exfoliation) and and Pacifica at night.


I’m in love with a lot of Pixi products, but the Rose Tonic toner has been a life saver in rebalancing my skin since stopping the retinol. If you have dry and/or sensitive skin this product is a must try. It smells so nice, a  very light rose scent. I have heard wonderful things about the Glow Tonic and I’m excited to try this next. I’m a huge believer in exfoliation of the skin, second only to sunscreen, as one of the key steps in healthy skin. The glycolic acid in this toner is an excellent chemical exfoliant that will help to break down the outer layers of skin so that the younger newer layers can shine through.


Serums and Treatments

I have been using Pixi’s Milky Hydrating Serum for the past few months as my daytime serum and I’ve being loving the extra dose of moisture it gives and the powerful antioxidants it has. It feels smooth and soothing going on and has a pleasant light scent. For my night serum, before the retinol fiasco, I loved the Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Serum.  I plan to go back to this wonderful, moisturizing product in the next few weeks.


Once I’m done with the Milky Hydrating Serum I plan on starting to use the Ole Henriksen Truth Serum as my daytime serum. I’ve heard wonderful things about this serum for it’s brightening effects. I also really love Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair as a night serum.

As you can probably tell, I believe serums are worth a small investment because they pack such a punch in your skincare routine. I will definitely keep you updated as I switch up my routine.

Moisturizers and Sunscreen

One of the oldest and most well trusted products in my entire life is Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel. The Lotion version is my go-to in the colder dryer months here in Virginia. I tend to have combination skin that is more balanced in the summer months so this gel formula is absolutely perfect as the base layer. It is so gentle and has a light almost undetectable scent (that I personally love!).

The H2O Plus Waterbright Moisturizer has apparently been discontinued, but I’m not sad about it. I tried it out be cause I love the idea of having a sunscreen in your moisturizing step, but I have yet to find one I truly love. I did not experience a brightening effect and the product felt a tad oily on my skin. The search continues for this combination that works and feels as good as the Clinique. Until then I either use a separate sunscreen (Clinique’s Mineral Sunscreen) or my much loved It Cosmetics CC Cream.


As a quick side note, the clinique 3 step system is a great place to start if you are looking to restart (or even start) a skincare routine. They make them customizable for your skin type – 4 types that range from dry to oily. It’s super easy and free to pop by a Clinique counter for recommendations or just go to the website to see what they recommend.

In my makeup artist days I would always recommend Clinique products to people who were looking to start a good skincare routine or needed products that were known to be safe and tested for their sensitive skin. I always keep a bottle of the Moisturizing Gel in my train case for application on clients before makeup as base layer.

Moisturized skin is balanced skin. What does this mean? Basically, if you add a layer of moisture to the skin after cleansing and toning you are not only replenishing the dryer areas but your oilier areas as well. You keep you skin from overproducing oil in those areas by balancing the moisture level with something that won’t clog up your pores.

I love moving through the steps of a skincare routine in the morning and at night. My skin goals moving forward are to continue to be gentle and to fade the dark spots of hyper pigmentation that I have left behind from breakouts and picking. Next up – let’s chat about the extra credit products!


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