Skincare Routine Part #3: Occasional Products + Treatments

For the final part of my skincare routine, I want to talk about those products that I use on a regular - but not everyday - basis: scrubs, masks, spot treatments, and a luxury balm.  Scrubs and masks were the first skincare items I really got into and I still really love both, so these are some of my favorite products out of everything I use.  Keep reading to find out more!

The Exfoliators
Exfoliating is key for sloughing off dead skin cells, but with never ending debates on chemical vs. manual exfoliants, it can be hard to know where to start.  My simple take: go with what works for your skin.  For me, that generally means gentle manual exfoliants.  I've only been using Andalou's Chia + Omega Radiant Skin Polish for a couple months, but it's already a firm favorite and I foresee buying it again.  With a mix of finely ground walnuts and chia seed powder, it's gritty without feeling harsh.  It also smells delicious, like peach pie, and contains skin brighteners like turmeric, vitamin C, and white tea extract.

When I've got a little more time to play alchemist, I enjoy using Kaia's Bamboo Tapioca Beads*, a Canadian-made multi-functional powder exfoliator and mask.  The beads are a unique blend of kaolin clay, tapioca starch, bamboo powder, chickpea flour, silica, and a mild, coconut-derived cleanser that can be mixed with just about any liquid - water, an oil, tea, honey and more!  My favorite method is to top a creamy cleanser with a generous sprinkle of the powder, mix together, and gently massage onto a damp face.  Used with just water, the beads are borderline too abrasive for my sensitive skin, but a creamy cleanser tones them down just enough to keep my skin happy without majorly impacting their exfoliating power.

The Masks
I've accumulated a fair few masks that I like to rotate between, but for the purposes of this post, I've just included the three I've been reaching for most often recently.  My top pick of the moment is Balanced Guru's Calming Masque.  As I said in my full review, I'm not sure calming is the most accurate description of this mask.  Ultimately, it does leave skin calm, but first it does a stellar job detoxifying and pulling any and all gunk out of the pores.  At the same time, nutrient-rich ingredients like echinacea, kelp, alfalfa, spirulina, rosehip, and marshmallow feed your skin, elevating the mask far above your average detoxifying clay mask.  

For a truly pampering treat, I like to follow with RawSkinCeuticals' Rosacea Herbal Gel Masque.  A gel/cream hybrid, this mask has an impressive ingredients list, including Vitamin C and superstar soothing and anti-inflammatory ingredients like shea butter, rosehip seed oil, comfrey, calendula, neem, and green tea.  I do experience a stinging/warming sensation when I first apply the mask, but it's relatively mild and dissipates within the first 5-10 minutes.  It's worth mentioning that while the Rosacea Gel Masque works beautifully as a second step following some kind of clay, when I've used it by itself, I did experience some breakouts and irritation, so I think it really needs already cleaned out, detoxified pores to work its best.  For that reason, it's strictly a second step in a double-masking routine for me.  

Lastly, I really enjoy Sibu Beauty's Sea Buckthorn Purifying Mask for those instances when I'm short on time, but still want to do a mask.  It comes pre-made in a tube, eliminating the mixing step, plus it only needs about 10 minutes on your face.  Again, I find the name to be slightly misleading.   Bentonite clay is the second ingredient - after water - but it's followed by so many other hydrating and nourishing ingredients that the end product is actually quite gentle.  It pulls some dirt and impurities out of the skin and I notice my face looks fresher after, but it's definitely not the most drawing or purifying mask in my cabinet. 

The Spot Treatments
Dr. Alkaitis' Soothing Gel made it into my Best Discoveries of 2015, but three months later, I still haven't invested in a full size bottle.  The problem - if you can even call it that - is that I use so little at a time, and it works so well after only one or two applications, that I doubt I'd ever get through an entire large bottle before the expiration. Though it makes an incredible spot treatment, the Soothing Gel is too drying for me to use all over, so I'm subsisting on samples for now.  I usually use the gel at night and by the next morning, any pimples or blemishes are either gone or significantly reduced in size. 

I've also used essential oils on blemishes for several years.  While tea tree is the standard choice, I find I get much better results from a combination of frankincense and eucalyptus.  Since discovering the Soothing Gel, I rotate between that and the two essential oils.  Or, sometimes I layer all three for an extra pimple-fighting punch.  

The Added Luxury
Before this, I'm not sure I ever would have purchased a separate product for the neck or chest, but Vice1960's Neck & Decollete Balm* does such an excellent job that I'm completely sold.  My chest/decollete area is prone to irritation and tiny bumps/breakouts and is also the first place to show when I've been in the sun.  Even when it's not a full-on sunburn, the flush/pink can linger for weeks!  This amazing balm clears all that up within just a couple applications.  The first ingredient is my much-loved hazelnut oil, and it also contains other great ingredients like meadowfoam seed oil, sea buckthorn extract, and carrot root oil.  It's quite a rich and emollient balm, so I find less is more.  You only need a tiny dab, and while I originally used it every night, since my skin has improved so drastically in this area, I find I now only need to use it once or twice a week for maintenance.  I've also occasionally used this in place of an eye cream and even all over my face and it's worked nicely for those purposes as well.  It's undoubtedly a luxury item, but one that's completely worthy of the splurge if you're able!

And that's my skincare routine in a (rather large) nutshell!  Make sure you check out my Morning and Night Routines if you haven't seen them yet.

*Press sample
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  1. I'd love to try the Balanced Guru Calming Masque. It sounds lovely in terms of ingredients and performance on acneic skin like mine.

    1. It's pretty amazing! I think it would work well for a variety of different skin types :)

  2. That's really interesting about the neck/chest area - I've noticed recently that I get little red dots all over -- and it's an area I tend to just forget about. I've never heard of Vice1960 before; yay for newness to discover! :) Andalou Naturals seem to have recently come to Whole Foods over here, so I've been tempted by a few things - but I didn't get around to looking at the masks... next time! Great post :) xx

    1. Vice1960 is great! I used a face oil of theirs that I loved as well :) I held off for a long time with Andalou Naturals - the body and hair stuff wasn't a big hit with me - but all the skincare I've tried has been great! Highly recommend this scrub, as well as the cleansers.

  3. I bought the Andalou skin polish last month, and will be testing it out soon - can't wait! The Balanced Guru mask sounds really good, as does the soothing gel spot treatment. xxx - natural beauty, affordable fashion, everyday life

    1. I think you'll really like the scrub! The Balanced Guru mask and Soothing Gel are two of my favorites too - I can't recommend them highly enough :)