Sensitive material

by Rachel Van Parys

Rachel is a Health & Wellness Coordinator and sometimes-florist who has trouble committing to one place to live. She's equally enamored with Lil Wayne, Martha Stewart, and Matthew Gray Gubler, and can't wait until she one day has a farm with pygmy goats. Follow her on @witandshit if you like self-deprecating commentary mixed with landscape photos of wherever it is she's currently living.


I've got what I like to call delicate Jew-skin, which somehow manages to be simultaneously dry and acne-prone, and so absurdly sensitive that if I accidentally scratch it, it will stay red for hours on end. I've found that having a solid nighttime skincare routine helps my skin to behave normally, in addition to making me feel like a champion of wellness and self-care, despite minimal effort.

Drinking obscene amounts of water and changing my pillowcases on a regular basis only does so much for me, so I've found that Makeup removal + Face wash + Mask + Moisturizer is my golden equation--something I can commit to doing (laziness abounds!) that always gives me results.

I've got hella sensitive eyes and a deep, abiding love for heaps of mascara, so I've tried more than my fair share of eye makeup removers. I'm currently loving Micellar Water. I'm not loyal to any brand in particular, but lately I've been using Garnier, and I'm a fan. Just a tiny bit of this removes mascara super quickly, and never ever leaves me with red, itchy eyes. Get into it!

For a PM face wash, Acure Facial Cleansing Creme with Argan oil + Mint is my go-to. You only need a pea-sized amount to create a foamy, lovely-smelling lather for your entire face. My face always feels so much cleaner and brighter after I use this! The mint works as a deep cleanser, while the Argan oil, cocoa butter, and olive oil work to moisturize your skin. It's also vegan, sulfate-free, paraben-free, and cruelty-free. 

I was a little late to the mask party, but I'm now a total convert. Here are a few I like to rotate between:

Herbivore Blue Tansy AHA + BHA Resurfacing Clarity Mask is a miracle sent from above. I'm a sucker for cute, minimalist packaging and non-toxic ingredients, and Herbivore checks both of those boxes big time. The Blue Tansy mask has a crazy color (thanks to the blue tansy oil, which is high in Azulene--an anti-inflammatory to calm red, irritated skin), but goes on clear, and I'm a little obsessed with the smell. White willow bark and aloe leaf are natural beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) that work to unclog pores, while fruit enzymes work as the alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) that exfoliate and resurface the skin. I use this mask twice a week, and my skin always feels incredibly soft and smooth for days after I use it. I've been using the same jar for months with barely a dent gone, so it's definitely worth the price. Plus, it'll make your bathroom counter look super chic.

I also use the Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask at least once a week. If you've got acne of any kind, this mask is your new BFF. It sends some of my zits packing immediately, and brings monsters to the surface instead of letting them brew for weeks on end. Anything charcoal essentially purifies and detoxifies, and the bamboo charcoal is no exception. I credit this mask with helping me to have a face that belongs to an adult, instead of a hormone-ridden middle schooler. Big ups, Origins!

If my skin is feeling especially dry or sensitive, I always turn to fresh Rose Face Mask. It smells deliciously like roses, and keeps my face hydrated and toned. The 50% rosewater in the formula works to create radiant skin after you use the mask, while aloe vera and cucumber extract calm the skin and soothe redness.

My last step before bed is always to use Garnier's Moisture Rescue Refreshing Gel-Cream. It's got a texture that's similar to a gel, but it absorbs into your skin quickly. I swear that using this on a regular basis has me waking up with fuller, smoother skin. Any heavy-duty moisturizer that doesn't irritate my crazy-sensitive skin is a blessing, and this one is hands-down my favorite.

One last note: I find this entire routine to be way more effective if you listen to D'Angelo throughout. Bless up, kids.