I've always struggled with my skin. If you read this skincare post, you have an inkling of just how much. I mentioned briefly in the post that I had started using some products from Eau Thermale Avène (from here on out, Avène), and the results were promising.
Several months in, I'm fully committed, and probably never going back. I'm hesitant to try new things because my skin is so temperamental. The right skincare is kind of like the right pair of jeans. It's an intensely personal choice, and you really need to go with what makes your butt—er, skin—look and feel its best. No one is exactly the same.
I have a frustrating combination of skin issues. Typically, my breakouts are hormone-related, though breakouts are rare these days, thank goodness. Depending on the skincare I use, my skin can become bumpy and congested. It's also prone to dehydration, and quite sensitive. Fun, right? The trick is to find balance—deal with congestion without stripping the skin of all the good things it needs.
I've noticed two things about most acne solutions: One, they seem better suited to adolescent acne than adult acne. Most teenagers don't deal with the same sensitivity, dehydration, and aging issues than we do. Two, the products are just harsh. Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid seem to be the ingredients of choice, and they're just too intense for my fussy skin.
Jessica of Beautezine alerted me to the fact that Avène products fight acne differently, using retinol. The entire line is designed specifically for sensitive skin (YES!), and it's built around water from a thermal spring in France that is perfectly ph balanced. Here is what the website says:
Thermal water originates from a naturally mineralized spring and possesses healing virtues that are highly recommended for therapeutic use.
Its characteristics provide beneficial properties that contribute to the preservation of health and it is recognized as a source of public interest by the French National Academy of Medicine.
French women ARE gorgeous, and dedicated to their skincare, so the claims were intriguing. The idea of a magical spring does sound a little silly, but hey—don't knock it 'til you've tried it, right?
My lovelies, I've tried it, and the results are astounding. My skin rarely breaks out. It glows. It's (fairly) smooth. I still get annoyed by the size of the pores on my nose, but I'm told they're actually not that big. I went for a facial today, and the professional said my skin was in great shape—very smooth, barely congested. (They don't have to say that, right?) I credit Avène. Here's what I use. Note that I'm very intentional about using things from different lines within the brand—in favour of balance, I don't stick to only hydrating products or only acne-fighting products.
- I cleanse with any gentle cleanser. I do like this Gentle Milk Cleanser ($23) by Avène, but I'm also a big fan of the Treatment Enzyme Peel by AmorePacific ($66). I'm generally not particularly loyal to specific cleansers. As long as they're gentle and get the makeup off without stripping my skin, I'm happy. After all, you rinse them right off—there's really no need for fancy ingredients, in my opinion. You'll just wash them down the sink.
- I use the Cleanance MAT Mattifying Toner ($24.50). It gets anything my cleanser might have missed off my skin, and deals with any excess oiliness or congestion without stinging. No alcohol for this girl. Nope.
- I use a generous amount of one of Avène's star products, the Hydrating Serum ($44). It's got a high concentration of the soothing spring water the line is built around. It's got a simple list of ingredients—basically pure hydration. I love it.
- I finish with Cleanance EXPERT Emulsion ($28.50), a light moisturizer for acne-prone skin, and Soothing Eye Contour Cream ($24).
- I use whatever gentle foaming cleanser I have on hand (see above) to remove my makeup and cleanse the skin. (I find milk cleansers aren't great for removing makeup). I use Bioderma Sensibo to remove eye makeup.
- I use the Cleanance MAT Mattifying Toner ($24.50).
- I use the Ole Henricksen Truth Serum for the brightening, anti-aging properties. I've been finding it a bit sting-y lately, so I'm thinking of just using the Avène serum at night.
- To moisturize, I use TriAcnèal EXPERT Emulsion ($31.50). Besides the hydrating serum, this is my favourite Avène product. it's the magic. It gently treats any acne I might have, and works to remove pigmentation and marks left over from healed pimples.
- Under the eyes, I use PhysioLift Eyes. It's an anti-aging product that's a little fancier than the Soothing Contour Cream I use in the mornings. It treats puffiness, wrinkles, and dark circles.
Whenever I feel I need an extra boost of soothing, calming, or hydration, I spritz my face with Thermal Spring Water, which comes in varying sizes. It's softening, soothing, and refreshing, and unlike the water out of your tap, there's none of of the extra stuff, and it's ph balanced. Do you need it? Probably not. But I enjoy it.
Things I really like about the Avène line
- The prices aren't crazy. It's a higher-end drugstore brand, and the prices reflect that. Some of the luxury and specialty prices out there are just stupid. Canadian girls, I recommend buying your Avène products at Shoppers. They often have promotions where if you spend between $20 and $75, you get 20X the points. (Make sure you load your coupons every week.) It adds up quickly, and you can end up getting a lot of your skincare for free!
- Most of the packaging is sterile. The products with pumps are airless, and most of the moisturizers are also designed to keep air out. Even the eye creams come in opaque tubes, which I like—I'm not a fan of pots, which are unsanitary and make active ingredients unstable.
- It's all designed for sensitive skin. No extra fragrances, and nothing harsh that makes my skin red or angry. I'm grateful.
What's your favourite skincare line? Have you tried anything from Avène? Let me know on social media or in the comments below!