Let’s talk about all the skin gloops in my medicine cabinet

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face goops in medicine cabinet

It recently occurred to me that I have a shit-load of skin creams, oils, washes, and various other gloops in my medicine cabinet. Like, way more than I should have. Some of them should be cycled out because I never use them, but I have surprisingly strong opinions about others. Like, it’s just gloop. Why am I so obsessed with these gloops? I cannot tell you, but I figured that if I’m obsessed with my gloops, you might be obsessed with yours, and maybe we can discuss our gloops. Ready?

Ok, so before I dive in, I have to say that I didn’t used to wash my face at all. I would rinse with water in the shower, and that was good enough for me. But I’ve been trying to get better about wearing sunscreen on my face (…yes, even in Seattle. I KNOW.) and the reality is that sunscreen is gross stuff that has to be washed off.

My current night-time washing routine looks like this: Clarisonic + Say Yes Tomato Cleanser + argan oil = HEAVEN. Like, my face feels so great after this process that I actually look forward to washing my face as one of my favorite parts of the day. (What can I say? I live a simple life.) So soft. So clean. So supple. I LOVE YOU, FACE.

Those three things are most of what I use… but what of the sunscreens? What of the lotions? What of the other gloops that get used on occasion?

From left to right, let’s meet my gloops

Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Face SPF 30
Ok, this stuff is all about two things: how it feels and how it smells. It doesn’t have that sunscreen-y gluey feeling, which is impressive alone. I’ve had very bad luck with facial sunscreens feeling really gross on my face, and so I appreciate that this one doesn’t feel gross. BUT THE SMELL YOU GUYS. I’m a sucker for the smell. This is definitely one of those “love it or hate it” fragrances, but it reminds me of fruity good times at the beach. I’d call it an “immature” fragrance, which might say something about me.

Kiehl’s Kiehl’s Super Multi-Corrective Cream Moisturizer
I get this stuff from a friend who works at Nordstrom who can get it for me with his employee discount. It’s definitely spendy, but feels really freaking great on my face. I used it every night and after every shower for almost a year, and really loved it. It soaks in immediately and feels great. Only disappointment? No SPF, and honestly after I applied it, the residue felt really weird on my hands. If I don’t like how it feels on my hands, what is it doing to my face? Also, too many ingredients. I don’t use this much these days.

MAC LIGHTFUL Marine-Bright Formula Moisture Creme
Ug, this stuff. I very rarely buy shit on a whim, but this was one of those ill-advised trips to MAC when I was like “oh I just need some blush OH LOOK PRETTY CREME.” I never quite like how it looked on my face, and at this point it’s a year old and I barely use it and I should probably just throw it out. Skin gloop fail.

LOVE IT: Mogador Certified Organic 100% Pure Argan Oil
You guys: wtf? The wikipedia page makes it sound like it’s basically the second coming of god… not only the most amazing oil ever for your hair, skin, nails, but also to eat; plus, like, defining the future of feminism in Morocco?! Is this real life? It goes onto my face like heaven, and has exactly one ingredient. I love this fucking stuff and was using it for both make-up removal AND face moisturizing, but it’s not cheap so I got almond oil for makeup removal. This is now what goes on my face every night. Soaks in like a dream.

Yes To Tomatoes Daily Clarifying Cleanser
Again, now that I’m more diligent with sunscreen, I feel like I need to actually wash it off at the end of the night. This stuff was recommended to me and it’s a pretty solid product for a drug-store cleanser. No parabens and I understand what most of the ingredients are, so I’m generally happy with it. It’s fragranced, but I like the smell. I wouldn’t say it’s the best ever, but it’s affordable and working well for me.

Burt’s Bees Orange Essence Facial Cleanser
Meh, this is another one I should probably just get rid of. I’ve had it for a year or two, and while I like that it’s oil-based instead of sudsy and doesn’t leave my face feeling tight or dry, it just never quite did it for me.

LOVE IT: Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint
I’ve had super bad luck with tinted sunscreens… I don’t wear foundation, so many tinted sunscreens feel too gluey & goopy on my face. Alternately, even non-tinted facial sunscreen feels too, well, SUNSCREENY and makes me break out. I’ve tried BB creams with sunscreen and been horrified… it felt like I was wearing a caked-on glue mask.

Photo by Carly Bish
Photo by Carly Bish
So imagine my delight to find that somehow Jouer manages to go on creamy and not feel oily or greasy. As others have noted, it almost feels dry to the touch once it’s on your skin, but my face itself doesn’t feel tight or dry when I’m wearing it. At first I was worried about the light diffusing qualities… I tried putting some of the sunscreen on my inner arm, and it just looked sparkly. I LOVE GLITTER and abuse sparkly eyeshadows regularly, but I’m not into having my entire face look like a disco-ball, so it was a relief once I put this one on to see that it didn’t actually make my face twinkly at all. I looked, well, dewy! It was lovely. On the whole, this may honestly be the best tinted facial sunscreen I’ve ever tried. I’m impressed. This is as close to foundation as I get, and if you thought my skin looked nice in that 10th anniversary shoot, this stuff is probably why.

LOVE IT: NOW Foods Sweet Almond Oil
As mentioned earlier, I started using argan oil as an eye makeup cleaner and it was awesome, but yikes: too expensive to be using that way. I was in Portland visiting a friend a couple weeks ago, and her bathroom was essentially empty except for Doctor Bronner’s and a huge bottle of this sweet almond oil. She’s a former massage therapist, and was like, “This shit’s the best. I use it on my face, my skin, my hair, everything. It’s my cleanser, my moisturizer, it does it all. And this enormous bottle was $10.” I bought an enormous bottle and was immediately like WTF WHY HAVE I EVER PAID FOR LOTION. Basically, one dribble of this stuff after the shower will cover your entire body, leave you glowing, and feeling awesome. Number of ingredients: 1. Cost: $10. Skincare minimalism at its finest.

Ok whew. There’s a tour of the skin gloops in MY medicine cabinet. What’s in yours?

Comments on Let’s talk about all the skin gloops in my medicine cabinet

  1. I used to have tons of gloops, but a recent move forced me to downsize. What made the cut: a blend of castor, jojoba, and argan oil (with some lavender essential oil) for cleansing/taking off makeup, plus a homemade toner that’s essentially just herbal tea, apple cider vinegar, and essential oils that I use every morning and whenever my face gets super sweaty during the day.

    My skin has always been super sensitive, but up until the past year it was very clear and problem free. Seemingly out of nowhere, I started getting cystic acne earlier this year, and after trying lots of different things (various masks, honey, tea tree oil, baking soda, and so on), I have come to the realization that less is more and I just need to leave it the hell alone.

    • As a sufferer of cystic acne, if you suddenly get it, I suggest you go see your doctor.
      Cystic acne basically only comes from imbalanced hormones, and may be a first sign of polycystic ovarian syndrome. However, imbalanced hormones can also come from hormonal birth control, consuming conventionally-raised animal products, sudden weight gain, and unmanaged stress.

  2. I just ordered a bunch of stuff from Andalou Naturals and I’m REALLY excited to try them out. Their ingredients are super simple and, for the most part, all-natural. Plus their prices are pretty reasonable. Check them out: http://www.iherb.com/Andalou-Naturals

    Also bought some sesame seed oil, as its well balanced in oleic and linoleic acids (good for my combination skin). The blog http://swiftcraftymonkey.blogspot.com/ is really great for anyone that wants to learn more about the composition of ingredients in gloops, or even making your own gloops (which can be very addictive).

  3. That bathroom cabinet is delightfully minimal! I have a real gloop addiction. As well as a full cabinet, I have TWO big vanity cases stuffed full, and other stuff dotted around the bathroom 🙁 And I only use about five different products out of all that! Just another hoarding issue…

  4. I just have to say, this is one of the best articles evah!! I learned a ton from the article, and even more from the comments – I love lady goop talk, it’s the best. I also have a mild goop addiction, but have mostly kept it to lotions and potions from Whole Foods, because it’s all organic and the labels are usually cool, so it must be good right? Riiiiiight….
    I feel like I’ve perfected my face and general body goop game, but I need serious help in the foot department. I have a very physical job and am on my feet constantly, and have the calluses to prove it. Despite regular attention, anyone have any ‘miracle’ solutions for softer feet? Better yet, any chance of a foot goop article in the future? My tootsies vote yes!

  5. Why does gloop packaging come without directions sometimes? I’m gloop illiterate, and I struggle when I’m given undirected gloop…my internal monologue basically goes something along the lines of:
    Thanks for the gloop. I’m just going to go and apply it to my hand…face…butt? After a shower? In the shower? Before the shower? Help me out here! Nope, you’re not saying. I guess this is going in the guest’s toiletries box then…
    It’s worst when the gloop is from my mum. “Mum, what’s this for?” “I don’t know, I thought you’d know. The tube looked pretty.”

  6. I stopped using gloops last year. Now I just wash my face with soap if I am washing myself.

    I have never been happier; my skin seems basically the same as before.

    I would recommend: no gloops.

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