In this series, we explore the self-care and skincare routines of the Flax Sleep co-founders, community and friends. Read on to check out our co-founder, Oana Papuc's, carefully curated and skincare routine.
My skincare routine has really evolved over the years. I wasn't introduced to skincare until my mid-20s – before that, I was a "wash-your-face-and-walk-out-the-door" kind of girl. I didn't even start wearing sunscreen until quite late in the game, and I certainly have the sun damage to show for it. Between that and age-related skin concerns (hello pregnancy-induced melasma!), my skin constantly needs some serious attention and care.
Through (much) trial and error, I have finally settled into a relatively simple routine that seems to be effective without being overly harsh. I try to stick to a few well-tested products, and supplement with the occasional medical laser treatment as necessary.
I switch between a few cleansers, depending on how my face feels (and what needs to be washed off). If I am mid-breakout, I will usually use the Cerave Salicylic Acid Cleanser (tried and tested drug store solution - nothing fancy). If there are no active breakouts, I do a double cleanse. I start with the Living Libations Best Skin Ever Seabuckthorn Cleanser/Moisturizer and follow with with the Biologique Recherce Lait U Cleansing Milk.
I rarely wear make-up these days (not mid-pandemic, anyway), so I find that this cleansing routine leaves my face clean without making it too dry or tight. I also use a Flax Sleep waffle linen Wash Towel to wash everything off with – it has a mild exfoliating effect and leaves my face feeling clean and soft.
For a long time, I actively wondered why I need a toner. What does it do anyway? Then I came across the Biologique Recherche Lotion P50, and all became clear (I use the PIGM 400 version because it's intended to help with hyperpigmentation). I press this into my skin in an upwards motion with cotton pads right after cleansing, and it feels wonderful. This particular one acts as a mild chemical exfoliator, leaving skin soft and ready for whichever serum/moisturizer combo you choose to apply next.
I use a Vitamin C serum most days (both morning and nighttime), and I find the Skinceuticals C E Ferulic to be the best. It really does help brighten my skin. I have also used the Cle Cosmetics Vitamin C Elixir, and find it gives a fantastic glow.
I am turning 40 this year, and retinol has just entered my skincare repertoire in the last couple of years. Its benefits are numerous (it increases cell turnover, boosts collagen and improves skin tone and colour), but its side effects (at least in the initial period) can be harsh – think dry, red, itchy skin.
That being said, if you persevere, the results will be evident (and, unlike many other products, the benefits of retinol are backed by science). I use a prescription formulation, but I also like the SkinMedica Retinol Complex 0.5 as an alternative, as well as the Dr. Loretta Firming Serum with Retinol.
I love the Dr. Loretta Tightening Eye Gel in the morning. I think it has an immediate de-puffing effect, and I definitely need that. That being said, I also sometimes use some good old-fashioned Weleda Skin Food under my eyes in the evenings and feel as though it accomplished just as much at a significantly lower price point.
By the time I get to this step, my skin often feels sufficiently hydrated and I'm tempted to skip the moisturizer, but I know better. I find that the Skinceuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 hydrates without being too heavy. Plus, a little goes a long way.
I spent most of my 20s trying very hard to tan my face (why, why did no one tell me how bad this is?). I am now a person who wears SPF every day, rain or shine.
I have used an Armani CC Cream for years and love it (it is SPF 35) – it evens out my skin tone, hides any redness and still feels light while also providing sun protection. I also discovered Cle Cosmetics CCC Cream the last year (care of the magical Sunja Link who stocks all the best clean beauty products in Vancouver – go check her out!). This one has SPF 50, so I use it on full sunshine days. If planning for a full beach day, I will also bring this Colour Science Brush-On Sunscreen and try to reapply after ocean dips.
With all that being said, I still love the look of a glowy, tanned face, so I now am a super fan of local brand Saltyface and their Clean Gradual Face Tan. Since I am olive-skinned, I find I need at least two to three applications to notice a material difference, but it works and gives me a nice glow and that well-rested look (which is frankly a complete lie since I am dead tired at all times).
Care to share your skincare routine? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to say 'hey!'