My last post got a little deep so let’s lighten things up a bit: SKINCARE!
(But in all seriousness, THANK YOU for all the beautiful, heartfelt, kind responses. I truly felt SO much love and am beyond grateful for each of you who reached out.)
So why do I want to talk skincare? Because I want to share with you what truly has helped ME to finally have GOOD SKIN that I can be proud of – and not be afraid to share makeup-less selfies with you!
If you have followed my Instagram stories at all these past few months, you know full and well that I am completely obsessed with my skincare routine via Emme Diane. I have never had THIS much progress on my skin before.
Here’s what happened after just a month of using her products. Just LOOK (zero makeup on for either photo. My brows are microbladed and I obviously have eyelash extensions!) :
I found out about Emme from my lash girl, Marcelle (@lashfulaz.) Marcelle patiently listened to me for almost two years complaining about my skin during our appointments, and would gently say “you just need to go see Emme.” She was literally in my face every 2-3 weeks doing my lashes and knew that Emme would be my solution. But I didn’t listen to her. (I’m sorry Marcelle LOL! I love you and you were right!) What it actually took was a random night on Instagram when Emme’s post popped up about a Pumpkin Enzyme Mask and it sounded delicious and wonderful and I totally went down the late-night-Instagram-rabbit-hole.
An hour later I had hit “send” on a consultation request email to Emme with 3 close-up selfies of my face, without makeup (per her consult request).
If you ever want to voluntarily experience medium-level anxiety, send your makeup-less face photos to a complete stranger.
This “stranger” then called me THE NEXT DAY while I was shopping at Michaels. On the phone I could tell she was a kind person, and she listened to me and got me in for a facial the following week. And then basically I fell in love with her and she made my skin AMAZING and the rest is history. She is singlehandedly the most knowledgable esthetician I have ever met. I mean, she scientifically created her own line that is free from SO many of the ingredients people don’t know are pore-clogging and irritating, and has an impressive list of loyal clients who have followed her for more than a decade. Consider me an #emmebabe for life!
Before we get into my skincare routine, let me tell you about my skin and what I was doing before.
M Y S K I N
My main issue with my skin was melasma and sun damage/discoloration. After pregnancy, I got dark splotches under my eyes and on my upper cheekbones and also on my upper lip (looked like a mustache. Just NO.) They always got worse with the sun and it was super frustrating. And being in Arizona (and completely ignoring sunblock until I was about 30) meant sun damage was just inevitable and it finally was just showing up all over my face.
What I found out after seeing Emme was that also had adult acne. I knew I always had a constant, low-level of breakouts on my skin but had actually just chalked it up to having “not great skin.” I had REALLY bad acne in high school and took Accutane. After that, the kinds of breakouts I was having never seemed as bad as THAT, so I just lived with it. I had bumps on my forehead constantly and my cheeks and chin would get bigger breakouts. However, the melasma and sun damage for whatever reason bothered me more than the acne.
Overall, my skin is combination – oily in the T zone, dry on chin and cheeks. (Later I’d find out that my skin was actually more on the dry and dehydrated side. Who knew!)
B E F O R E
I want to show you what I was using before to give you an idea of the products I was using and what I was trying to do to target my own skin concerns. It might include some of your own current skincare products because I was using some pretty basic, prominent, and well-known brands. It might resonate with you because you might have the same skin care concerns as me, too.
This skincare routine was a compilation of recommendations of friends, suggestions from estheticians, my own research, and just seeing something at Sephora and going “that looks like something I need.”
I don’t think these are inherently bad. Just … wasn’t really working like I hoped to, and the cost benefit was disappointing overall.
Here’s some info on a few of the products you see above:
Dermalogica Cleansers : I would use anti-aging cream cleanser in the morning the cleansing gel at night to remove dirt, makeup, and debris. I will say, these were pretty good. I don’t know why I had two cleansers, though, TBH.
TNS Essential Serum : Ok, so this one was my biggest splurge because I heard from so many people that this was the holy grail of skincare. For me? Not so much. I did NOT notice a significant difference. I don’t know what I was even trying to target with this stuff but I assumed by it’s glowing reviews it would just take care of everything. At $300+ per bottle (the bottle is large but it’s actually not filled all the way) it just didn’t have the payout I was looking for. For others, I know this stuff works. It just didn’t for me ($900+ later…)
Lytera 2.0 : This was to target my melasma. Long story short, it didn’t work well.
DDF Microderm : I actually loved this because my skin felt so smooth afterwards. Turns out, I was totally over-exfoliating my skin. More on that later.
Neocell Collagen Builder : I’m all about vitamins and supplements and was taking this for the biotin and collagen and other vitamins it had for what it was advertised for – skin, hair and nails. Turns out, biotin is an acne trigger! See more below in my tips.
Glamglow ThirstyMud : I would use this when I felt dry, which happened in no identifiable pattern. I think it worked pretty well, actually! But it probably did nothing to help my clogged pores.
Skinceuticals Mask : I would use this after my peels and microneedling to “cool” my skin down. It actually did work and feel nice! Speaking of treatments…
Treatments : Over this past summer I had gotten several Skinmedia and VI Peels, as well as a few microneedling sessions because my melasma came back with a vengance after being in the sun (one thing I learned about melasma – heat can bring it up, even if you have sunscreen on and are diligent about it.) Despite these treatments, my skin just wasn’t responding the way I wanted it to. It just wasn’t giving me the payout for the $200-$350 I would spend each time.
A F T E R
I started using Emme’s products in September and I noticed my skin improving right away but the REAL kicker was when Russ noticed.
When your husband notices your skin improvements, you KNOW you’re onto something good!
Now am in a totally easy, comfortable routine with them. She’s local to me so I get them in person when she does my facials but they can also be ordered online. Though my main concern was melasma and sun damage, Emme targeted my acne first because you have to clear that inflammation and craziness first before being able to target pigment. What ended up happening is that not only did my skin get clear and totally smooth, it also DRASTICALLY improved my melasma and dark spots!
Once we have total control over the acne, then we might start incorporating more brightening agents and really go for the discoloration. But I can’t even begin to imagine what that’s going to look like because I’ve already had such an improvement in that area without even trying.
M Y S K I N C A R E R O U T I N E
Here’s what she has me currently using (click the links for a much more eloquent and detailed description of each but I’ll share just a few words) :
Gentle Cleanser : This cleanser is low-foaming and does exactly what I need – gently cleanses my skin. It’s soothing and has little fragrance which took some getting used to, too, because I love scents. But fragrance has no benefit for your skin.
Ice: One new element is icing my skin morning and night! See my three tips below for more details.
Calm Down Toner: I use this after icing my face and LOVE how clean and smooth my skin feels. Prepped for the good stuff to come. I spray this on a cotton round.
Clarifying Serum SS: This is the version for sensitive skin which I would have never grabbed on my own, but I think this one has been key in clearing up my bumps. It absorbs quickly so I find that I’m ready to move onto moisturizers right away.
Skin Quencher: This gel hydrator is amazing. I found out that creams neutralize the effects of some acne-fighting ingredients, so this gel-based moisturizer is what I use in the morning under my cream hydrator for an extra dose of hydration, and then as my sole nighttime moisturizer before the acne treatments.
HydraLuxe Cream: I would not have thought I needed more moisture on my already kind of oily skin, but I combine this and the Skin Quencher in the morning and my skin has never been more naturally matte IN. MY. LIFE.
Tinted Mineral Sunscreen SPF 40: Sunscreen is so KEY and this one is great because it’s tinted and matte. I use 2 pumps if I’m not going to wear any makeup for the day (which is most days) and 1 pump if I am because all my foundations have additional sunscreen in them.
Bright Eyed Serum and Hydra-Revive Eye Cream: I love a good eye cream and this combo absorbs well and is super hydrating. It’s like a drink for my tired eyes.
Vitamin A Serum: This is the newest addition to my lineup; Emme didn’t introduce it into the mix until my acne calmed down. Retinol is vitamin A so if you’re familiar with retinoids then you know it targets everything (wrinkles, pores, discoloration, etc.) She calls this one liquid gold!
Acne Eraser 2.8%: This is a benzoyl peroxide acne treatment and I used the lowest strength she carries (also has 5% and 10%.) You don’t want this near your eyes, so at night I also keep moisturizers away from my eye area so that it doesn’t this it into my eyes along with it. That’s something new I learned from Emme.
Sulfur Clearing Lotion: I use this to spot-treat any breakouts that come up due to stress, lack of sleep, or hormonal cycles. Whereas I used to get a like 10 of them each month around my chin, I now get one lone spot that signals “that time of the month” and I zap it with this when I see it. I also get breakouts along my lower jawline and use this on those.
Sulfur Refining Mask: This is like a super detox your skin. I use this for just a few minutes (I love keeping masks on a long time but Emme says on for this, just a few minutes!)
Pumpkin Enzyme Mask: I love to use this RIGHT AFTER the sulfur refining mask for a one-two punch (per Emme’s suggestion.) My skin noticeably glows after doing this.
As I mentioned before, all of this is primarily to target my acne, BUT it has improved my melasma and sun damage SO MUCH.
So here’s all that rounded up into my morning, night, and weekend routines:
M O R N I N G :
- Tone (12 pumps)
- Clarifying Serum SS (1 pump)
- Brightening Eye Serum (1/2 pump)
- Hydra Eye Cream (1/2 pump)
- Skin Quencher (3 pumps)
- Hydra Creme (3 Pumps)
- Tinted Mineral Sunscreen SPF
N I G H T :
- Tone (12 pumps)
- Vitamin A Serum (3 drops every other night)
- Skin Quencher (3 pumps)
- Acne Eraser 2.8% (3 pumps)
- Sulfur Clearing Lotion (spot treat)
S U N D A Y S :
- Sulfur Refining Mask (3-5 minutes), followed by
- Pumpkin Enzyme Mask (20 minutes)
When you type it out it seems so much more work than it actually is. I just go down the line and this all literally takes just a minute or two each time. Like I mentioned in my nighttime routine post, going through my daily ritual of cleansing, icing, and treating my skin is something I look forward to.
I also have to say … the fact that all my products now match each other AND my bathroom is a total bonus!
Makes my Type-A heart sing.
If you want to have better skin but aren’t ready to give your your current products or just don’t want to jump into anything new just yet, here are some tips Emme had me implement that I have really found to be helpful:
T H E 3 B I G G E S T ( A N D F R E E ! ) T A K E A W A Y S T H A T Y O U C A N I M P L E M E N T N O W
- Ice your face. Icing helps to calm any inflammation. Just like you would ice a bump or bruise, ice can work quick wonders on your acne or any other skin ailments. Plus it feels INCREDIBLE. It wakes up my face and tightens everything in the morning (like I literally feel like my cheeks sink in and my cheekbones pop and who doesn’t want that?) and at night it feels like it calms my face from the hectic day. Ice. You already have it. So, free! If you want you can look into the ice roller I’m using above on Amazon. I like it but I think a good old fashioned ice cube does the trick just fine.
- Stop the Clarisonic. I have combination skin and never had issues with sensitivity so I figured, the more I could do to my skin the better. This meant I would scrub and clean it daily in a pretty aggressive way. Not like in a strong scary way but you know – I was getting IN there. I didn’t want anything left on my face. I had been using the Clarisonic for years. It makes sense that the cleaner your face is, the healthier and better it would be, right? Well, turns out that especially with acne, cleanliness through abrasiveness is not necessarily the ticket to a clear face. Once I put down the Clarisonic, I never looked back. I also let go of abrasive physical exfoliants (the microderm scrub, for example) and thought for SURE that I would end up with flaky, dull, rough skin. I was surprised to end up with supple, soft, non-flaky, smooth skin without the use of a daily exfoliant. If you are currently using the Clarisonic, try not using it and seeing if that helps. If you use a scrub, try easing up on that for a bit and see if that does anything for your bumps and acne. Any kind of heat or abrasion is not recommended for melasma.
- Look at your supplements and diet. I knew dairy was not good for acne and I was already wanting to decrease my consumption for dietary reasons. But what I didn’t know was that things like superfood greens (kale, chlorophyll supplements, etc.) can trigger melasma. Whatt! I love kale! Emme assured me that because my melasma was not on the worst end of the spectrum, I could still eat kale (which I love) as usual but to keep an eye out for overdoing it on some of these ingredients. Another skin-clogging trigger is biotin. I was taking it daily! Biotin might help your hair and nails, but so can many other good foods and supplements. Eliminating these foods and supplement I think definitely helped clear things up.
These are literally just a few tips from Emme and so much more can be found in her Acne Bible and Melasma Bible – which she will give to you upon booking a consultation or appointment. So much good stuff in there.
F I N A L T H O U G H T S
While my skin is 100% the best it’s ever been – is my skin perfect? NO. I don’t know if it every will be “perfect” and that’s …
There are countless environmental factors and dietary and hormonal shifts and just LIFE that happens to our skin. It’s the largest part of our human body and it’s working, changing, living, 24 hours a day. I mean, THANKS, skin – sorry I put you through a lot.
But let me tell you – this is the best skin I have had since I was probably a little kid. Not having to deal with putting on makeup in the morning and feeling CONFIDENT is beyond amazing. And I know sticking with Emme is just going to continue to improve my skin even more. Anything worth while takes a little time. I’m trusting the process.
A G I F T F R O M E M M E
Every person I have sent to Emme has come back to me with glowing reviews. Not one person has regretted it. So if you want to try out any of her products, whether it’s the pumpkin enzyme mask (I gave it to my sister-in-law for Christmas and she LOVES it) or the acne kit, here’s a code from Emme and me to use for 10% off – MIKA10.
If you’re local to the Phoenix/Scottsdale area, I HIGHLY encourage you to consider her for not only the skincare but her facial treatments. Tell her I sent you. She will take GREAT care of you!
You can contact Emme at emme@emmediane or on her site emmediane.com.
S H O P T H E P O S T