So – you’re stressed out at work, eating like shit and drinking gallons of alcohol each weekend. You’re starting to break out, and you realize that without your slightly healthy skin, you’re just as good as the garbage that you promised to throw out.
You come to understand that your aging ass needs to start taking care of yourself before the wrinkles kick in.
First, you come to terms with needing to spend money on things that are not food – it hurts, but you push through it. Now, you need to find yourself a skincare routine that has products that will focus on your problem areas, not irritate your skin, and hopefully solve your bad credit score. You’ve done some research, YouTubed the hell out your favorite influencers and even looked at a few BuzzFeed articles (before the mass layoffs) to help you find your perfect process.
This was my truth.
Now, If you’re thinking, “damn, this guy really didn’t have a skincare routine for 25 years,” why start now? Well, my shitty answer to this is, I always thought I had “good skin.” I never felt like I broke out badly (besides those pesky one-off pimples), and I never really felt like my skin was a problem. Little did I know that the more I took care of my skin that the better it would treat me. So if you’re reading this, don’t really have a routine and are thinking – “Do I need a skincare routine if I have ‘good’ skin?“, “Is having a skincare regime worth it?” the answer to that is simply yes.
Throughout 2018 and 2019, I really focused my energy on starting a routine that would make both me and my skin happy. This is what it consisted of when I first started using skincare products – now, I know this won’t work for everyone’s budget or skin type – so feel free to use this in whatever way possible. Extract whatever information you need. It’s cool, use me, I’m used to it.
To help you make the right choice on your next skincare product purchase, I’ve created a list of the products I use in my regime. Note that unless I otherwise specify, I only use one of the products in each category. I’ve gone ahead and listed the benefits I’ve seen in using these products, as well as my overall opinion about Sunday Riley and Lancer. Such questions like “Is it another hyped up IG brand?“, “does Sunday Riley actually work?” and “Is Lancer worth the price?” should be addressed.
Note: I use Sunday Riley products that the brand sent me – and I also continue to purchase my own. Lancer Skincare products discussed in the blog were given to me by a dear colleague.
Step 1: Cleanse
Although exfoliating, which we will get to in a bit, may not be something I do every day, washing my face is something I do religiously. Washing your face is arguably one of the most important ways you can take care of your skin. What I found worked for me were products that didn’t strip my skin of too much natural moisture, yet gave me a beautiful and oil-free finish.
Products I use to Cleanse:
- Sunday Riley Ceramic Clay Cleanser: The old formula for this product, which in my opinion had cuter packaging, was very drying and made your skin feel uncomfortably tight. Because of this, Sunday Riley revamped the product, making it more affordable, larger, and more hydrating. The wash, which cleans your skin of any residue, is meant to give your skin a radiant look while reducing the appearance of pores. This cleansing wash is gentle enough to use daily yet powerful enough to keep your skin feeling fresh and squeaky clean.
- Usage: I tend to use this product on the daily both during my morning and night routine.
- How to Use Sunday Riley Ceramic Clay Cleanser: I like to deeply massage the product into my skin, then slowly incorporating warm water to form a nice lather. Rinsing off with water when complete.
- Price: 5 oz for $35 (Sephora, Sunday Riley Website)
- Lancer The Method – Cleanse: The second step of Dr. Lancer’s three-step The Method products, is a soothing anti-aging cleanser meant to remove surface dirt. This rich cleansing formula feels luxurious and hydrating to the touch, which makes it perfect for those with dry skin. When using in conjunction with The Method – Polish, I do feel like my skin is very smooth and clean afterward.
- Usage: Similar to the Sunday Riley Clay Cleanser, I tend to use this product on a regular basis. Because I find the Clay Cleanser to give me a more heavy-duty wash, I tend to use the product for more intense washes opposed to Lancer The Method – Cleanse, which I use as a lighter wash in the shower. When it comes to which cleanser I prefer, I don’t really have an answer since it just depends on what moisturizer I’m using that day.
- How to Use Lancer The Method – Cleanse: After wetting my face, I massage the product on to my skin for a light and foamy lather. Rinsing completely with warm water afterward.
- Price: 4.05 oz for $55 (Sephora, Lancer Website)
Note: For drug store alternatives, I’d reach for something that is gentle enough for everyday use. Neutrogena has products that I used growing up; I think these can do the job if you’re looking for something more affordable.
Step 2: Exfoliate
Exfoliating your skin is a pivotal part of any skincare routine. Aside from removing old skin cells, exfoliating increases blood circulation and leaves your skin feeling polished and glowing. Although I tend not to use scrubs daily, I do like to exfoliate on the days that I feel residue from my bed/pillow. After years of testing out face scrubs, the scrubs presented below have wowed me and have consistently been on rotation in my routine.
Products I use to Exfoliate:
- Lancer The Method – Polish: This grainy exfoliant scrub does an amazing job of leaving your skin smooth and flawless. Although the price tag isn’t the most affordable, the gritty consistency is perfect for buffing away any dead skin cells, regrets from the night before and hangovers (okay, not the last two, unfortunately). Because the superfine and exfoliating crystals help reveal younger and radiant skin, this product, to me, is the best scrub I’ve come across. If you’re fixated on how products smell, then you’ll be quite happy with the minty fresh aroma that this product packs. Note: This is step 1 of Dr. Lancer’s three-step The Method products.
- Usage: I use this product once or twice a week while in the shower. Although I did use it 4-5 times a week before, I cut back because my skin started feeling too sensitive. Due to its sand-like texture, the product can feel harsh and abrasive for certain skin types. Thankfully, to solve that problem, Lancer crafted different formulas of its Polish product to work with various skin types.
- How to Use Lancer The Method Polish: Applying a small dollop to my finger, I gently massage the product on my face in a circular motion. Washing my face with warm water afterward.
- Price: 4.2 oz for $75 (Sephora, Nordstrom, Lancer Website)
- Sunday Riley Blue Moon Tranquility Cleansing Balm: Perfect for a pre-cleanse (if you’re into that), this smooth balm-to-milk formula has just enough grit to exfoliate and deep cleanse your skin. Meant to remove any makeup and impurities, the Sunday Riley online-exclusive product helps infuse your skin with any lost moisture by hydrating your skin with essential oils of chamomile, tangerine, vanilla and sweet orange. This product not only leaves your skin feeling healthy, but it also calms irritation and leaves you with a sheer glow.
- Usage: My use of this product isn’t going to be the most consistent. I like to use this cleansing balm on days that I want a softer scrub or days that I need to take off specific treatment masks.
- How to Use Sunday Riley Blue Moon Tranquility Cleansing Balm: After applying the product to my face (when dry), I lightly massage the balm for 1-2 minutes. When finished, I like to take a warm cloth to wipe away the balm.
- Price: 3.4 oz for $50 (Sephora, Sunday Riley Website)
Note: If you’re looking for more budget-friendly options without sacrificing the luxurious feel – I’d recommend using LUSH’s Let the Good Times Roll, Ocean Salt or Dark Angels Face and Body Scrubs. Each of these products tackles a specific problem area while keeping your skin soft and clean.
For drug store options (you know, when you’re on a budget, girl!), I’d recommend Clean & Clear’s Deep Action Exfoliating Scrub. Although you will sacrifice a lot of the grit, this scrub is hella affordable. Now, does it do the same thing as the above products – probably not – but this is a reasonable alternative to have.
Step 3: Treatment Serums
After making sure your face is stripped of all dirt and grime, you’re finally prepared for treatment product. Keep in mind that cleaning your face before applying treatment is essential for the most effective results, steps matter.
Products I use for Treatment:
- Sunday Riley Good Genes: The holy grail of products. This lactic-acid treatment truly reduced imperfections and sunspots in what seemed to be hours. This pricey formula, which may seem intimidating, is the number one product I recommend to anyone. Perfect for reducing the look of fine lines and wrinkles, there’s almost nothing that this product can not do!
- Usage: I tend to use this twice a day – as the product instructs, normally after my morning face wash and nightly shower. I use this in conjunction with Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil, which you apply Good Genes after the Luna Night Oil.
- Long Term: After months of consistently using this product, my skin is significantly brighter and has fewer sunspots and less discoloration. I’ve received multiple compliments on brighter skin, aside from seeing the results myself.
- How to Use Sunday Riley Good Genes: With this leave-on treatment, I simply apply 1-2 pumps to my clean face. On more occasions than one, have I applied this product to a freshly shaven area. And boy, let me tell you, it stings! As is expected. So if you’re not great with some discomfort, approach this method with caution and simply shave a few hours before using this product.
- Price: 1 oz for $85 or 1.7 oz for $122 (Sephora, Sunday Riley Website)
Note: Sunday Riley released a Glycolic Acid version of the Good Genes formula outside of the U.S. Check out the difference between both products here!
- Sunday Riley C.E.O Rapid Flash Brightening Serum: This rich and powerful serum is packed with tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate (THD Ascorbate), otherwise known as the gold standard of Vitamin C. This formula, which is creamy, rich and has the slightest smell of citrus, fights uneven tones for naturally brighter and more radiant skin.
- Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil: According to the Sunday Riley website, this blue tansy-infused retinol oil is said to boost the look and feel of your skin while also improving the appearance of wrinkles, redness and pores.
- Usage: I would use this multiple nights a week, using this as the step directly after I would cleanse my face. Note that I would use this in conjunction with Good Genes, which you apply after using Luna Night Oil.
- How to Use Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Oil: Massage 3-4 oil drips on to your face and neck area.
- Price: .5 oz for $55 or 1.18 oz for $105 (Sephora, Sunday Riley Website)
I don’t think it’s necessary to have both the C.E.O Rapid Flash Brightening Serum and Good Genes since essentially they are somewhat tackling the same problems. Seeing that Good Genes is the more concentrated treatment, I would recommend reaching for that one if you were going to purchase one or the other. Ultimately, go with what makes more sense for you, whether that be what’s more affordable or what you think is more necessary for your skin!
Note: I’m not familiar with any drugstore alternatives when it comes to treatment, but if you know of any, please feel free to comment them below!
Step 4: Moisturize
Stripping your face of your natural oils can, at times, be harsh for your skin, – so using a moisturizer after treatment is essential to keep your skin feeling balanced and hydrated. Crazy enough, moisturizing to me is somewhat new. Here’s why!
Until about 5 months ago, I thought I had extremely oily skin. So naturally, I would always have a need to wipe my forehead because of the oily residue that my 5-head would produce. It wasn’t until one of my close friends (who also believed she had oily skin) told me about an appointment she had with an esthetician. Long story short, the esthetician told my friend that she had dry skin – further explaining that because my friend used so many mattifying and drying products, her skin was producing 2x the amount of oil to help keep itself hydrated.
After that, I thought. “Damn. Maybe a bitch should also give it a try.” And that’s when my life changed.
The Product I use to Moisturize:
- C.E.O. (C + E antiOXIDANT) Protect + Repair Moisturize: This rich and creamy moisturizer is deeply hydrating. Created with 5% Vitamin C, this product combats the signs of dehydration and sun damage while visibly brightening dull skin. The cream feels luxurious to the touch and is heavier than any other moisturizer I’ve tried (which quite honestly isn’t many).
- Usage: I don’t leave my house without having applied this. I use this at least once a day!
- How to Use C.E.O. (C + E antiOXIDANT) Protect + Repair Moisturize: I tend to dip my finger and dollop a few dots of the product on my face. I then rub it in gently as you would any other moisturizer.
- Price: 1.7 oz for $65 (Sephora, Sunday Riley Website)
After consistently using this moisturizer, I felt my skin becoming more soft and matte. The less shiny, less greasy looking me was happy.
What happens when I get a pesky pimple or feel a breakout coming to ruin my life? Besides breaking down and crying alone in my bathroom, I reach for the following product:
- Sunday Riley Saturn Sulfur Acne Treatment Mask: Holy sh*t, when I say this thing is powerful, it really is. This 10% sulfur treatment mask is one I’ve used for a few years now. It helps get rid of blemishes and acne by penetrating the skin and drying the problem areas. According to Sephora, this product treats multiple forms of acne with a powerhouse of great ingredients.
- Usage: I really only reach for this when I get acne that I want to clear.
- How to Use Sunday Riley Saturn Sulfur Acne Treatment Mask: I use this as an overnight spot treatment mask, but you can simply just leave it on your skin for 30 minutes if you have sensitive skin or are in a rush. Note that the product may leave your skin a bit red if you leave it on for too long – the redness will eventually clear out, but it can take a few hours.
- Price: 2 oz for $55 (Sephora, Sunday Riley Website)
My thoughts on the brands
I was first introduced to Sunday Riley when I was sent a few products by their PR team (shout out to y’all for that)! I really appreciate Sunday Riley because it is a simple brand that is straight to the point and effective. I find other brands try to wow consumers by using gimmicky methods and shiny packaging, which is why I like Sunday Riley’s less is more approach. The simplicity and the chemistry behind each one of these products are really what makes Sunday Riley a stand out skincare brand. I have to admit, I started getting serious about my skincare because of the amount of product that I had from the brand. And it’s been pretty smooth sailing since.
Lancer Skincare was created by Dr. Harold Lancer, otherwise known as the dermatologist to the stars. This high-end skincare product line gives you a unique and luxurious experience that allows you to feel like Kim Kardashian (one of his many A-list patients). With that sense of luxury and exclusivity, of course, comes a hefty Beverly Hills price tag.
Although The Lancer Method – Polish and Cleanser products are current staples in my routine, I don’t see myself reaching for them at the store once I’ve exhausted what I own. The polish’s amazing exfoliating capabilities are excellent, but I can’t get myself around to spending $75 for a face scrub. I understand I have more expensive products in my regime, but I’d instead invest my money on a treatment product that produces results over an exfoliant that I like. I’ll most likely replace The Lancer Method – Polish with one of LUSH’s Face & Body Scrubs and The Lancer Method – Cleanse with nothing since I’m already using Sunday Riley’s Clay Cleanser daily.
With that being said, if you want to feel like Kim K for a day, test out the products and see what it’s all about. Honestly, I would recommend going to a Sephora that offers the product and asking for a sample there.
To me, luxury skincare (especially at this price point) is an extravagance and not necessary. Mainly because I know I’m not the target demographic (or income), but if you got it like Ariana Grande, buy it.
I hope this was able to give you a better look at my day to day routine. If you have questions, feel free to reach out. Don’t forget to follow me on IG! @ASAVAQUERA
Note: This routine was created before I discovered other popular skincare brands and complex skincare routines. I started adding steps as well as products from popular brands like Dr. Jart, The Ordinary, Drunk Elephant, Milk Makeup and Belif.