My skin has been unhappy with me lately. I’ve had a dermatitis flare up, a mild sunburn, a couple of zits, and an allergic reaction on my hands. Ugh. Thankfully, I have certain products in my stash that I reach for when things go awry. With the current state of my skin, the seasons transitioning, and the Sephora VIB sale starting today, it seemed like a good time to talk you through my S.O.S. skincare for several issues: sensitivity, dehydration, congestion, uneven texture and breakouts, dry/cracked hands, sore lips, and all-around great products for everything in between.
I’ve raved a lot lately about the Good Things manuka honey cream cleanser, and for good reason. The tube I just finished saw me through a pregnancy and my first Minnesota winter. Needless to say, my skin was sometimes sensitive, and this cleanser was just what I needed.
It’s smooth and creamy with a light, inoffensive scent. It feels so relaxing on my skin. A little bit goes a long way. It’s very inexpensive. The only con is that it isn’t readily available in the U.S. I have purchased from T.J. Maxx/Marshall’s for around $5. Keep your eyes peeled for it! And do yourself a favor and cut the tube when it’s running low to make sure you get every little bit out 🙂
Unfortunately my skin is regularly dehydrated. (If you’re not sure how to tell if your skin is dehydrated, read this.) This is also a regular problem when I travel. I’m out of my favorite hydrating serum so I can’t feature it. But I also rely on hydrating sheet masks and facial mists. Both are necessary when you travel. I spritz myself during a flight or a day inside the house when the heat is on. I have a lot of mists and enjoy experimenting with new ones, but if you’re just looking for basic hydration, the Caudalie grape water fits the bill and is inexpensive. It has almost no scent if you’re sensitive to smells.
I’m not a huge sheet mask user generally, but a hydrating sheet mask after a long flight is brilliant. These from Farmacy are a go-to. When in doubt, look for one with hyaluronic acid.
If my skin is congested, my favorite purifying mask is the Himalayan charcoal mask from The Body Shop. It has a tingly feeling when you first apply, which I enjoy. It’s a bit messy with chunks to physically exfoliate when you remove it, but I love it anyway. It’s the most effective mask I’ve tried at clearing up congestion and it leaves my skin soft and smooth. I’m about to finish this jar and already have a new one waiting.
Uneven Texture/Break Outs
This category piggybacks off the last category a bit, but when I notice uneven texture, I know it’s time to bring in the big guns: Sunday Riley Good Genes. This is a cult product for a reason. I’ve found that using it 1-2 times per week is the right amount of acid exfoliation for my skin, and it always delivers when I need results. If I go too long without using it, it shows. Constant vigilance!
Thankfully, I am not acne-prone but I get zits just like the next guy/gal. I reach for Sunday Riley’s UFO to spot treat any blemishes and it diminishes them overnight. If you’re more acne-prone, use this all over your face regularly to prevent and treat.
Honorable mention goes to La Roche-Posay Serozinc. It’s a pain to find in the U.S., but the zinc sulfate in the spray definitely helps calm blemishes.
I’m not sure if my hands are unusually dry or what, but if I don’t apply hand cream after every time I wash my hands, they get dry and uncomfortable and will quickly start cracking. This is an issue in the summer as much as the winter, but it’s also hard during the season changes when I may think I don’t need to wear gloves anymore but the wind is still a bit chilly.
There are a lot of hand creams I enjoy, but my favorites are the various scented shea butter hand creams from L’Occitane and the Caudalie hand and nail cream. L’Occitane ones are great because they’re very moisturizing and come in lots of fun scents and purse-friendly sizes. I particularly love this little rose one from their recent collaboration with Rifle Paper Company.
The Caudalie hand cream is not quite as thick as the L’Occitane ones, but still very moisturizing. It has a light, refreshing, somewhat floral/somewhat fruity scent that is hard to describe. I just wish it came in a larger size!
I recently used a potted lip balm that totally dried out my lips. Enter Lanolips! This lip treatment is thick but not goopy and it really works. Bonus points that it smells like lemonaid. 🙂 If you suffer from chapped lips, give this a try.
All-Around All Stars
These last couple of products kind of do everything so I didn’t want to pigeon-hole them into any one category.
Everyone in my family uses Skincando combat ready balm. My husband applies for shaving irritation. I use it on my preschooler when his cheeks are wind-burned. I applied it on the dermatitis flare up on my eyelid (both under and over makeup). I use it under my nose when it’s sore from blowing it. It soothes sunburn. You name it, combat ready balm will heal it. I remember Sara from Skincando posting on Instagram once about a client using it to heal sores on her hands from chemo. (She named the balm based on its popularity with our soldiers whose skin was taking a beating while in combat in the Middle East.) We gave a jar to everyone in our family this past Christmas. I truly can’t say enough good things about it.
Lastly, the one and only May Lindstrom blue cocoon. This is the most expensive skincare/beauty item I own so I don’t include it in this list lightly, but it’s truly amazing. May was the first to use blue tansy and she uses only the best. The smell of this balm-to-oil product is divine. It will transport you. Part of using this is being able to inhale that scent and soothe your mind as well as your body. But the stuff delivers, too. I would use this for many of the same reasons as Combat Ready Balm, except I don’t share it 😉 It works very well on sunburn or other irritation. It was formulated for the most sensitive of skins so it will soothe any issue and I think anyone could benefit from it.
I store mine in the fridge to extend its life. I just finished a jar in February that had lasted me a year and a half. This new jar is sitting pretty until I finish up another balm but I miss it in my life already.
So there we have it. The problem solvers. What are your skincare S.O.S. products?
(None of the links are affiliate links; I just want you to be able to find these products.)