A ritual of listening and balance

by Billie Cihangir

Billie is a 26-year-old living in Melbourne and forever chasing the sun. A strong believer in movement is medicine and using skincare rituals as a time for mindfulness and self care. A lover of the ocean, but terrified of fish. Far too emotionally invested in Game of Thrones, constantly planning her next travel adventure and a professional Pinterest-er. 

I’ve always had relatively clear skin growing up, but did have some closed comedones to deal with. I came across an Australian range called ASAP Skincare, which was a game changer for me, I was devout to their AHA dominated products from the age of 16 to 20. One winter, my skin decided it didn't want to play along anymore and turned dry, flaky, red, and sensitised. After trying every moisturising, repairing, gentle product I could get my paws on, I came across Dermaviduals. The clinician I saw prescribed for me a customised routine, including a customised serum/moisturiser and I was saved. My skin barrier began to function normally again. Since then, my focus has been on a healthy functioning skin barrier.

My current skincare goal is to work on pigmentation. I’m a picker and I have a lot to show for it. But, I’ve recently made some excellent discoveries for pigmentation and how to deal with blemishes. The actives that I am currently using require a careful balance to not over-exfoliate. 

My current regimen is as follows:

First cleanse: I’ll usually go in with a balm to oil cleanser to break down SPF and light makeup. I’ll be the first to admit I am absolutely useless when it comes to makeup. I will usually just wear rms beauty Un-Cover Concealer/Foundation and that will do for my day-to-day. To wash off, The Body Shop Sumptuous Chamomile Cleansing Butter is a really cheap and effective goodie. I also adore the Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm (but I like using it too much to use it as a first cleanse).

Second cleanse: Either something like Dermaviduals DMS Total Cleansing Cream or Jordan Samuel Plie Cleanser. My second cleanse is something I like to let sit on my face whilst I brush my teeth. I want those ingredients to spend some time on my face. I put a lot more $$ and care into my second cleanse.

Acid: I use Cosrx BHA Power Liquid on most nights. I apply it with my hands and let it sit for a while, sometimes 40 minutes if I have time. It’s not drying at all and my skin always feels ready for the next step. It certainly helps with keeping blackheads and closed comedones under control. I’m also currently using the Pixi Glow Tonic whilst I travel. It doesn’t feel too strong on my skin. I also use Biologique Recherche P50, which I picked up while I was travelling around the States last year. I don’t use it frequently, and I would save it for a ‘treatment’ night when I’m not really using any other actives. 

Mist: Josh Rosebrook Hydrating Accelerator, I love you. This mist actually has a beautiful finish, my skin always feels so plump and nourished after using it. I’m on my third bottle now. I’ve got a couple of other mists on my to-try list, but I will always have this on hand.

Treat: I have a few that I use to treat different skincare concerns.

  • Skinmedica Lytera. The ingredient list of this product is spot-on (vitamin C, retinol, tetrapeptide-30, liquorice root extract, squalene, etc). I’ve been using this every night (except on nights where I use retinol separately). It’s been so effective in reducing the appearance of pigmentation.
  • Speaking of retinol, I’ve made a very serious commitment to using retinol. My go-to is Skinceuticals Retinol 0.5% . I’m using it every 4th night and letting it sit for 30 minutes.
  • I’ve also been using the Jordan Samuel Hydrate Serum as a buffer just before retinol. I've had some mild peeling, but nothing too crazy. I did decide to take a step back whilst travelling as I’m in constant sun/heat. But I have stuck with the Skinmedica Lytera as it does contain retinol.
  • Timeless Skincare Vitamin C + E + Ferulic - I’m so, so, so scared of Vitamin C products oxidising before I finish using them, so I keep this guy in the fridge and keep a very close eye on the colour of the serum. I researched the crap out of Vitamin C products before I settled on this one. The ingredient list is very similar to Skinceuticals, but only $25, so it was a no-brainer really. It spreads really nicely and I usually wait 5-10 minutes before applying my next product.

Spot Treatment: I don’t get many breakouts, thankfully. I recently came across Cosrx Acne Pimple Master Patch, which have been incredible. Like I mentioned earlier, I’m a picker and these are the perfect solution. They gently draw out whatever needs to come out and create a nice barrier from my fingers.

Oils: Ahhh….I have a lot of oils. I like mixing oils and I like using them on their own. I fell head over heels in love with African Botanics Pure Marula Oil, it smells heavenly and always leaves a lovely finish. My skin drinks it up. I also have a few oils from MV Skincare such as the Rose Plus Booster and the Daily Soother Booster, which I sometimes mix in with the Signature Mineral Mask.

Moisturiser: I have a number of favorites for this category.

  • I’ve been loving the Stratia Liquid Gold. I came across it on Instagram and never looked back. It’s filled with ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids to help strengthen the skin barrier. It mixes so beautifully with oils so I’m often mixing it up into an emulsion.
  • I also like using Cosmedix Rescue+ Balm as a sleeping mask. It’s amazing for flights because of the thick barrier it creates. This stuff has saved my ass during times of over-exfoliation. I also really like to mix it with…
  • Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre. This stuff is gold. I love it as a thick moisturiser or primer.
  • The other moisturiser I use is by Dermaviduals as I mentioned earlier. This moisturiser is customised for my skin with boswellia, primrose nanoparticles, CM-Glucan Complex, and jojoba oil.
  • I also use the Dermaviduals Vitamin Cream Mask as a PM moisturiser. The ingredient list on this is awesome. I think that my skin would be perfectly fine if I only used the Dermaviduals range, but I’m far too curious about skincare products to only stick to one range. 

SPF: Ok, so I’ve tried and tested a few different SPF products. Chemical, physical, mixed etc. I hate anything mattifying and I find that purely chemical SPF’s leave me congested. So let me introduce you to this new guy I’ve been seeing: Elta MD UV Clear SPF 46 Tinted. Lightweight, no white cast, hydrating, and hard-working (5% niacinamide).

A lot of my friends often ask how I can be bothered doing such lengthy routines at the end of the day, but for me, it’s the perfect opportunity to practice some mindfulness tasks. It may take me 15-20 minutes to do, but it’s time that I can spend with a quietened mind, giving attention to textures and scents without distraction. 

Josh Rosebrook posted this image on Instagram a while back and it really struck a chord with me. 

And I said to my body, softly ‘I want to be your friend.’
It look a long breath and replied ‘I have been waiting my whole life for this.’

I work with lots of people dealing with pain and dysfunction. I listen to them label their body parts as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ and talk about injured shoulders, back, and knees as though it’s not a part of their body. I think I’ve been guilty about talking about my body and skin in the same way. I guess one of the reasons I love exercise (particularly Pilates) is because I can spend some time listening, questioning, and answering things about my body. If I feel really strong and supple in my movements, I can ask a little more of my body and push. Other times, when I know my body needs some nurturing, I listen and give. I hope to continue to give my skin the same amount of consideration and respect.