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mending my broken skin barrier ; a cruelty free + vegan winter skincare routine

It's been about two months since I returned from New York and I'll be honest, the weather was not good to me those last few weeks of the year. My skin cells pretty much decided to have a mass protest on my face, resulting in my face becoming dry and flaky. It got so bad that my eczema starting to flare up again, something that I've never experienced on my face to this degree, so I was pretty taken aback by the sudden irritation. I have sensitive skin that usually acts up during a shift in weather, so I try to switch my skincare products to fit the season.

I actually ran out of most of my skincare products before arriving to New York, and thought it would be cool to try out some new products while I was there. I guess the breakout forced my hand in the type of products I needed to buy, so most if not all of these products were bought or repurchased with the intention of mending my broken skin barrier. Some of them worked wonders and others literally burnt my skin off lol. I've been using most of these products for over 3 months now, so I know what's working and what's not. Do I wear them all in one go? No, I'm too lazy. But these are the products that I've been using the last few months. I also included some products that sucked ass lol but hopefully the products work for you!

🐰Cruelty Free | 🌱 Vegan | 🌎 Sustainable / Ethically Sourced | 🌞 AM Routine | πŸŒ› PM Routine
All icons are related only to the product itself, so where products may be marked as 'vegan' for example, I can't guarantee the entire companies line of products are vegan friendly. 

   
Cleanse and Exfoliate 
I first wrote about the Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser in my glossier haul, and my thoughts on it being a perfect morning cleanser still stands, I actually solely use this for both morning and evening routines because it's so gentle on my face and doesn't irritate my skin or eyes when I rub it in. The Vitamin B5 ingredient acts as a natural skin protectant, directly aiding the repairing of my skin barrier with it's anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties. I would say it's a cleanser any skin type can use as my face doesn't feel dry or oily after use, simply clean. I can definitely smell the rose scent that everyone raves about now, it's subtle and doesn't last long but it's a nice scent to wake up to in the morning. 
🌞🌜🌎🐰🌱 | Rating: ❤❤❤❤/ 5

When I was approached by the worker in Sephora, I asked her if she knew of anything that could help deal with the flaking and dry patches on my face. She suggested the Biossance Squalane + Glycolic Renewal Mask, and I would be lying if I said I wasn't feeling apprehensive about the product. I haven't used a scrub style exfoliating mask with small beads in years so I didn't know how my face would react, but I gave it a go as she sold me on its 'no irritations' 'smooth and firm skin', and I knew ingredients like glycolic acid should help with dead flaky skin and hyperpigmentation. Upon application I felt immediate irritation which pretty much remained there until I washed it off. Now call me an idiot, but I've used it again because I was desperate to get my skin barrier back to normal and I spent $$ on this product lol. I had the same reaction, so I'm not purchasing this product again. 
🌎🐰🌱 | Rating: ❤ / 5

I picked up the 'Brush Strokes' Face Mask by LUSH after learning my favourite face mask of all time, 'Oatfix' had been discontinued, and the staff member suggested this one as an alternative. As bummed as I was, I really wanted a cooling and gentle face mask that didn't irritate my skin and still smelt really good, so I gave it a shot. Honestly? It didn't match up to Oatfix at all for me. My skin felt cleaner after washing it off, and a little firm, but it didn't feel soft, the smell of the mask just wasn't pleasant, and I don't think it had any affect on fixing my skin. I really hope that Lush can find another way to source a different ingredient and bring back oatfix. 
🌜🌎🐰🌱 | Rating: ❤❤ / 5

This was a product I was never particularly interested in, but I had always been drawn to it when browsing sites for Korean skincare products because of it's sleek and simple packaging. I had left my toner at home as I didn't want to to burst while on the flight, but I didn't want to just use a chemical exfoliating toner as my everyday toner despite the product saying it's okay to do so. I took the opportunity to try Pyunkang Yul's Calming Deep Moisture Toner, and it gave me everything I needed in a daily toner. The toner uses calming ingredients such as centella asiatica to speed up the healing process of my damaged skin barrier, and is great for eczema or acne, so this worked a treat on my sensitive skin.
🌞🌜🌎🐰🌱 | Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤ / 5

My face was pretty much irritated until the moment I put the 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant from Paula's Choice on my face. The salicylic acid works as an anti-inflammatory and since it absorbs so quickly, it was like an instant cooling and soothing sheet mask for me. I was shocked at how quickly it calmed my face down, it's actually the first chemical exfoliating toner I've ever had to do this.  It didn't feel sticky like my previous toners, but it felt hydrating, instantly softened my skin, and my face looked brighter (glowing). I would go out of my way to say this could be a skincare staple of mine for the foreseeable future. The product says it's for daily use, but since it's still an exfoliating product, I'm currently using this 3-4 times a week.
🌜🌎🐰🌱 | Rating: ❤❤❤❤ / 5 *The Ordinary's parent company Unilever is not Cruelty Free. 

I've used glossier's balm dot com which lasts about 2-3 hours before needing to reapply, Aesop's lip mask that lasts literally half an hour, but the winner for me right now are Ilia's Lip Wrap Hydrating Mask and Burt Bee's Pomegranate lip balm. Lasts a solid 5/6 hours for me, even with my habit of rubbing my lips together. Ilia's Lip Wrap is technically an overnight exfoliating mask, but I use it throughout the day anyway since it sits on my bedside table.
🌞🌜🌎🐰🌱 | Rating: ❤❤❤❤ / 5

    
Moisturizers
I followed up my toner's with a serum everyone and their mother raves about, The Ordinary's Hyaluronic Acid 2% +B5 serum. This product was used as an additional layer of moisture thanks to the ingredient hyaluronic acid's water retaining benefits. Not much to say about this one other than it does it's job well and keeps my face hydrated all day. 
🌞🌜*🐰🌱 | Rating: ❤❤❤ / 5 *The Ordinary's parent company EstΓ©e Lauder is not Cruelty Free. 

I previously tried the thick Raw Moisturizer from MAY COOP but it was too greasy and irritated my skin after every use. I believe it was not long after using this product every day that my face started to have such a really bad reaction, so I'm inclined to believe this may have had a strong ingredient that my face did not take to very well. It did moisturize my skin all day, but I feel it ultimately created more issues than it solved. I gave this to my boyfriend and he had no irritation, so I'm not going to say this is a shit product, it just didn't do what it said it would on my skin specifically.
🌎🐰🌱 | Rating: ❤/ 5

This moisturizer solved the main issue I've had with my skin, the flaking and dryness that became so unbearable I resorted to peeling dead skin off my face... Cosrx's Hyaluronic Acid Intensive cream is a thicker, hydrating cream that I like to use at night, and have now started using during the day as the weather has firmly shifted to the dry and cold half of autumn. After a month of use I've seen such a huge improvement in my skin. No flakes, no irritation, soft and plump. Some days where I'm lazy and just use my toner and this product, my face still feels incredible.
🌞🌜🌎🐰🌱 | Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤ / 5 

Dear, Klairs' Midnight Blue Calming Cream has been an essential part of my skin care routine for years, so it would be wrong to not include it to the list. With every break out I've had, this cream always calms my skin down instantly. It's a very no nonsense moisturizer lol. Guaiazulene and Centella Asiatica are the stars of this product, the calming and soothing properties are instant. It does exactly what it was intended to and that's how I like my products to be. 
🌜🌎🐰🌱 | Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤ / 5

I'm still on the hunt for the perfect SPF cream, especially one that ticks all the boxes of being affordable, no white cast, cruelty free and vegan. Anua's Airy Sun Cream ticks all but one, the white cast is definitely there with this product. If I'm not wearing makeup to essentially cover up the whiteness, it's very obvious to me after applying, but it does wear down after ten minutes or so. It looked like a dupe of Inisfree's SPF Cream, so if you want to make the change to cruelty free skincare, this would be a good alternative for you. For me, I'll keep looking for that perfect SPF, but this will do for now.
🌞🌎🐰🌱 | Rating: ❤❤❤ / 5

Last on the list isn't a face care product, but it's still an essential part of my skincare routine. I use the Lush's Charity Pot moisturizer as a daily hand cream, and it keeps my hands soft for hours! The air fan for my laptop is pretty cold and it dries up my hands after I while, so I leave this in my desk drawer and use it whenever I feel my hands getting a little dry. I have multiple hand screams that live in certain places, but this one lives exclusively on my desk space, so I get the most use out of it compared to the others. With each charity pot you buy, the proceeds go to building low income communities, so I always feel happy purchasing this product.
🌞🌜🌎🐰🌱 | Rating: ❤❤❤❤ / 5

My very simplified everyday skincare routine
♡ Cleanser - Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser
♡ Toner - Pyunkang Yul's Calming Deep Moisture Toner
♡ Serum - The Ordinary's Hyaluronic Acid 2% +B5 Serum
♡ Moisturizer - Cosrx's Hyaluronic Acid Intensive cream
♡ Sun Cream - Anua's Airy Sun Cream
♡ Lip care - Ilia's Lip Wrap Hydrating Mask

A long list, but I believe all of these products played an essential part of the story of mending my broken skin barrier. If you're also a person with very sensitive skin, I would recommend all the products with 4 or 5 stars, but do what works for you :)

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