My Skin Is Super Sensitive, So I Rarely Try New Products—Here's What I Swear By

Jamila Stewart
·6 min read

My love for the beauty space may span wider than most (and I'm not ashamed), but as a woman with sensitive skin, I know my limits when it comes to trying new skincare products. As a side note, here's how to find out your skin type if you're stumped. In so many words, my skincare routine and I are in a bit of a committed relationship, and we're in it for the long run. (Shall I put that in my social media bios?)

As much as I wish I could hop on the newest, freshest skincare trends, I'm almost always 100% sure about what will leave my face feeling itchy and inflamed. For me, they're usually products with excessive fragrance. In cases where fragrance isn't the culprit, I wish I had the answer.

After a great deal of trial and error (years of it), I'm finally satisfied with the system I have going, and I am on my way to ridding my skin of unwanted texture and restoring its oil balance. (I once had oily skin and now have the most unpredictable combination skin.) If you're in my shoes, let's talk. First off, and I know you've heard it before, drink your water. The rest I owe to these 10 products ahead.

Artizen Sunflower Oil ($13)

I promise I would not recommend that you put sunflower-seed oil on your face if I didn't fully believe in it. I had extremely acne-prone skin around the time of my high school graduation, and after failed run-ins with Proactiv (please don't judge me) and Murad, I nearly gave up on cleansing with chemicals. In search of an all-natural alternative, I stumbled across oil cleansing and can credit the end of my stubborn acne to that. As counterintuitive as feeding your face extra oil sounds for someone who is acne prone, it actually aids in balancing the natural oils in your skin, thereby alleviating breakouts.

Tropic Isle Living Jamaican Black Castor Oil ($11)

Introducing the second half of my oil-cleansing duo. Now, here's a quick rundown. As someone with predominately oily skin, I mix castor oil with my sunflower-seed oil, as the castor oil's astringent properties help the sunflower oil to not further irritate my skin. (Cleansing with castor oil alone would actually be too drying.) My mix is typically 1/4 parts castor oil and 3/4 parts sunflower-seed oil. I mix the two in a travel-size bottle, massage a quarter-sized amount onto my face, and cover my face with a hot towel for about 30 seconds (think of this as steaming your face) before repeating the process once more.

Drunk Elephant Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser ($32)

Alright, we're done with my spiel on oil cleansing. I've since welcomed store-bought cleansers back into my life, particularly in the summertime when my skin is happier with gel-based products rather than heavy oils. I hope it's not too dramatic to say I loved this cleanser from day one, but it's the truth. Also, it doubles as a pretty sufficient makeup remover, so that's one less product I have to worry about.

TruSkin Vitamin C Serum ($20)

I took my time researching before trying out my first vitamin C product and landed on this one from TruSkin. Can you argue with 22,000+ five-star ratings? Nowadays, acne is not so much my problem as is texture, and I've found this to be a lifesaver for replacing my unwanted texture with a much-wanted smooth and dewy glow.

Target Facial Buff Sponges ($2)

I stock up on these religiously, and they just may be the biggest contributor to my smooth skin. I don't know about you, but I simply can't get down with cleansers made with exfoliating beads (I always find them to be irritating), so I exfoliate by buffing in my cleanser of choice with these pads.

Ole Henriksen Glow2OH Dark Spot Toner ($29)

I purchased this for my boyfriend, and it quickly transitioned to my side of the bathroom. (I tried.) I love a toner that actually feels like it's working—you know, that tingly feeling in a nonirritating way. Consider it your go-to for skin brightening.

Grandidier Darjeeling Black Tea Brightening Essence ($77)

While taking on new skincare products is borderline scary for me, we've all heard amazing things about Korean-made skincare, and I wanted in. I alternate between this Black Tea Essence and my vitamin C serum. While vitamin C has certain beneficial properties I'm not willing to let go of, I am admittedly currently enjoying the instant glow brought on by this product just a tiny bit more.

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel ($30)

If you asked me which part of my skincare regimen has been the most difficult to find a viable contender for, my answer would be, without a second of hesitation, moisturizer. I've tried drugstore options, high-end options, and many in between. Spoiler alert: They all resulted in inflammation and itchiness. I'm almost positive that what saves this pick for me is it being gel based and, thus, not as heavy as cream-based moisturizers. I'm probably married to this moisturizer for life.

Kiehl's Avocado Nourishing Hydration Mask ($45)

I've mentioned having historically oily skin, but I've been much more prone to dryness lately. (It's worth noting that I recently moved from Dallas, Texas, to a significantly less hot and humid Los Angeles). I use this mask once a week, and it works wonders for a quick hydration boost. Plus, I've always been a fan of avocado-based masks. This is the best I've found yet.

Grandidier Darjeeling Black Tea Sugar Cleansing Serum ($55)

I'm a double-cleansing kind of gal, so when I'm taking breaks from oil cleansing (mainly in the summer, as mentioned), I use my Drunk Elephant cleanser as more of a makeup remover and then follow up with this one from Grandidier. While it does have the word "serum" in the name, it's totally not something you would apply to your skin and leave there. Nonetheless, when you wash it off, your skin feels just as soft and supple as a traditional serum would leave you.

Next up, This drugstore secret is the key to smooth and glowy skin.

This article originally appeared on Who What Wear

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