• Arpine Kostandyan

Minimalist Skincare Routine for Sensitive Skin AM - Vegan and CF

Updated: Jul 14, 2019

Here is my skincare philosophy for a sensitive skin and the 6 rules I follow

  1. Sensitive skin means no harsh ingredients, no essential oils and preferrably no perfume

  2. "Natural" in skincare doesn't necessarily mean good (or even safe). Some fruits and spices are best suited for eating and not putting on your face

  3. Be extremely gentle, no physical exfoliation

  4. Consistency is the key, develop a simple routine that is even doable on the busiest mornings

  5. Skincare routine focused on active ingredients that have been scientifically proven to be effective and not trends

1. Cleanse

2. Moisturize

3. Protect

Step 1 - Cleanse

BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid) - 2% Salicylic acid (SA) face wash is a great multitasker for problematic spot treatment. I mostly use this for light exfoliation and to control my seborrheic dermatitis (SD) , but it is also a good acne control. It's best to apply it on the oily areas (t zone) and avoid delicate areas like under the eyes and neck as this could be extremely irritating.

Here are my favorite products:

  1. First Aid Beauty Pure Skin Face Cleanser - gentle cleanser that does not cause breakouts. I like alternating this with salicylic acid cleansers. The formula is non-stripping and has licorice root extract which is known to have skin soothing properties and is usually a good ingredient in sensitive skincare products.

  2. ZapZit - great value 2% SA face wash with minimal ingredients

  3. Vanicream Gentle Cleanser - fragrance free gentle cleanser formulated without harsh chemicals and common irritants for sensitive skin. Great value everyday cleanser for sensitive skin.

  4. Biolarity Clarifying Masque - once a week I use this masque targeting acne prone areas. BHA (Benzoic Acid) formula with skin-soothing licorice root, aloe and oat kernes.

Bioclarity Cleanse -gentle BHA (Benzoic Acid) cleanser with cucumber, green tea and chamomile extract.

Step 2 - Moisturize

The role of the moisturizer is to deliver moisture to the skin and prevent water evaporating from it. Right after cleansing I apply a humectant such as hyaluronic acid gel to the wet skin followed by a moisturizer and/or sunscreen (note most sunscreens are also moisturizers). Applying sunscreen on every single day, including winter months is the key for protecting your skin from photo-aging and skin cancer. I like using mineral sunscreen with zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide.

Here are my favorite products:

Hyaluronic Acid (HA)

  1. Osea Hyaluronic Sea Serum - much higher price point

  2. Pure Hyaluronic Acid by Cosmedica Skincare - great product at a very affordable price point

  3. The Ordinary Marine Hyaluronic - this formula acts like HA in terms of attracting and holding water but is more lightweight in texture. Great size for traveling


  1. Fist Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Moisturizer - lightweight formula with shea butter that is great for sensitive skin. Also contained ceramides that are effective in reinforcing skin's protective barrier

  2. bioClarity Hydrate - lightweight moisturizer with shea, chamomile, licorice root, and their proprietary Floralux® with chlorophyll good for sensitive skin.

  3. The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% - helps to reduce redness and skin blemishes

Step 3 - Protect

Wearing sunscreen year-around is one of the best prevenative measures you can take against photo-aging and skin cancer.

Per American Academy of Dermatology 'The sun emits harmful UV rays year-round. Even on cloudy days, up to 80 percent of the sun’s harmful UV rays can penetrate your skin.Snow, sand, and water increase the need for sunscreen because they reflect the sun’s rays.'


  1. EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 - this is one of my favorite tinted sunscreens. The active ingredient is Zinc oxide, the formula also contains Niacinamide (vitamin B3) & Hyaluronic Acid.

  2. Vanicream Sunscreen Sport Broad-Spectrum SPF 35 - great value mineral sunscreen for sensitive skin and the only one that does not cause burning when applied around my eye area. It goes on very smoothly and blends well, not leaving too much white cast even on a darker skin tones. I do like wearing this on it's own or under a CC cream or a foundation.

  3. juice BEAUTY Stem Cellular CC Cream - a light coverage Zinc Oxide based tinted moisturizer that pairs well with other mineral sunscreens. It does contain some essential oils so may become irritating for sensitive skin.

Don't forget about the lips

Shea Moisture Lip Balm - this is a lifesaver during winter months. Super moisturizing and has a very nice smell without creating the temptation to lick your lips.

Vanicream Lip Protection - great lip protection with Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide. It does not have any flavor and absorbs quickly. Great for everyday use and an essential for beach days.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Lip Therapy - Extremely moisturizing and hydrating lip balm. No more chapped lips. The formula contains colloidal oats which is excellent for dry and sensitive skin and shea butter to help moisturize and and protect skin barrier. I find this has a plumping effect on the lips as well.

98 views0 comments