Trying some face-creams; Routinely

After examining myself in the mirror over the past few months, I’ve come to realize that I’m beginning to develop the same ‘issue’ that runs in my family. Our fair and sensitive skin tends to take on a more permanent reddish tint. Overall, I’ve come to terms with our family traits, but maybe not quite yet, especially at the age of 40. I’ve been reluctant to incorporate daily creams and serums into my routine because, well, I’m a guy, you know? However, in this article, I’m pushing myself out of my comfort zone to try out some creams and serums from Routinely.

I had already been experimenting with some sample moisturizers from Rituals. It became necessary as my skin, especially during the winter, was prone to flakiness, which wasn’t ideal for any occasion, be it a meeting at the office or just going about my day. The moisturizer from Rituals proved effective; it had a pleasant scent, wasn’t greasy, and kept my skin hydrated. Now, I’m considering trying out some products from Chanel, particularly because they might complement my current fragrance, Bleu de Chanel. However, the Chanel moisturizer comes with a price tag of around 68 euros.

So I thought, let’s give Routinely a shot. Routinely is a Dutch startup company headquartered in Amsterdam. There’s a reason why I decided to give Routinely a try. Before I delve into that, let me tell you about them:

When applying for a job in IT through my recruitment agency, I was connected with Routinely. Routinely is a Dutch startup/scale-up brand that specializes in innovating creams and serums. The company genuinely intrigued me, not necessarily because of the product type itself (this was about 5+ years ago), but because of their approach. They have a strong belief in their products and refrain from using strong perfumes or extravagant ingredients and packaging. Instead, they invest in a nicely presented, yet simple package. I appreciate that approach.

I took their simple skin test and indicated that I have mildly sensitive skin, with a combined skin , and I am highly sensitive. My goals are to reduce redness, dryness, and oiliness, and if possible, to address aging concerns as well. While I’m not overly concerned about aging, I’m curious to see if their products can make a difference. After completing the test, I received the following advice from them:

Upon placing an order, I also received a complimentary “Everyday Exfoliating Serum.” I opted for an introductory package and received the exfoliating serum as a bonus.

The initial days of use

The first thing that surprised me was the lack of fragrance in the products. I have a habit of smelling everything before I use it, so it took some getting used to. This absence of fragrance means that there’s nothing to mask the scent of the active ingredients. The products have a mild oily smell, but it’s not strong enough for me to dislike it. When applied, I can still detect the scent, but it’s barely noticeable.

On the Routinely website, they provide a recommended order for using the routine. Essentially, in the morning and evening, you follow these steps: Cleansing balm, Exfoliating serum, Multi-molecular serum, Reset bakuchiol, and then finish off with the Guardian cream (moisturizer).

The Cleansing balm

The Cleansing Balm is notably greasy and has the strongest oily scent compared to the other products. Its purpose is to effectively remove dirt from your face. While I understand why this step is recommended, I personally don’t think this product suits my needs. If you wear makeup or are frequently exposed to a dirty environment, it might be suitable. However, for me, simply cleaning my face with water would be sufficient before applying the rest of the routine.

Everyday Exfoiliating serum (86)

Next on the list is the Exfoliating Serum. There are a couple of variants of this, and the one I’m using is a milder version suitable for people with sensitive skin. This serum is designed to remove dead skin cells, which is one of my concerns. I’m happy to give it a try. The serum feels light to the touch, and applying it gives a refreshing sensation. As I put it on, the oiliness quickly dissipates, and I feel a slight tightening sensation on my skin. It’s not unpleasant; rather, it feels like my skin is being awakened, akin to the feeling I get after drinking coffee. It’s actually quite enjoyable. This sensation lasts throughout the day. However, after applying the serum, my face becomes slightly redder than usual, and I feel a mild burning sensation. It’s not severe, but I hope it’s not an allergic reaction. Thankfully, after a few minutes, the redness and burning subside.

To test the effectiveness of the serum, I sometimes use a dry dark cloth to wipe my skin and use it like a scrubber. After using the entire routine (including the other serums and creams), I’m pleased to report that there are rarely any dead skin cells visible on the cloth anymore. Over the next few days, I plan to skip using this serum in my routine to see if dead skin cells return. If they do, then I believe this serum is delivering on its promise.

Multi-molecular weight HA serum (48)

The first serum that got adviced is the Multi-molecular weight serum. This one is supposed to hydrate my skin. As my skin is very dry, I actually enjoy putting this on. It feels like a moisturizer, but it quickly feels dry to the touch. There’s not much to say about this, other than what I’m going to say in the conclusion for the first days

Reset Bakuchiol serum (03)

This is the first one I tried on without anything before/after. This serum is the most noticeable fragrant one. It does smell a bit more oily than the rest. This serum suppose to reduce skin aging. This is the one I’m most sceptical about. If my few wrinkles would dissapear or be less, I have yet to see. But, what I can tell, is that the feeling is pleasant.

The Guardian cream

The last product on the list is the Guardian Cream, which serves as the moisturizer. This was the product I was most interested in trying out. Essentially, it’s meant to “seal” and “guard” the serums to ensure they continue working throughout the day. The moisturizer feels nice—nothing extraordinary to note about it. It’s not oily; it’s just what you would expect from a moisturizer if you’ve used one before. There’s a slight smoky scent to it, which, as a man, I find not unpleasant. It’s very subtle and hardly noticeable for most people.

A few days with the whole routine, twice a day

After a few days, I’ve noticed that the routine seems to be effective in terms of reducing dead skin cells, moisturizing, and providing a rejuvenated feeling. My skin doesn’t feel oily or dry but rather more balanced. It’s not as smooth as right after scrubbing, but it’s still pleasant.

However, there’s one issue that bothered me. I have quite dry eyes, and when I’m exposed to wind, my eyes tend to produce tears, which can sometimes mix with the cream and serums and irritate my eyes when they get back into them. For me, the solution might be to avoid treating certain areas around my eyes in the future. It’s something to consider for the days ahead.

After a month of using

I wasn’t expecting miracles, and I didn’t experience any. However, what I did notice is that my skin is no longer extremely dry or oily. It’s now gently oily all over, but in a pleasant way. Areas that used to feel overly greasy and uncomfortable now feel more breathable.

I decided to stop using the cleansing cream as it didn’t feel pleasant or necessary for someone like me who only uses this routine along with a gentle spray of perfume. Since I enjoy woodworking, soldering, and commuting, my skin can get dirty, especially with saw or sand dust. Instead of the cream, I now use a wet hand towel before bed, which is always a good routine to maintain.

I’ve stuck to the suggested routine of applying the serums twice a day with two or three drops each time because I believe it works. On days when I couldn’t follow this routine, I noticed that my skin felt slightly less pleasant, although not as bad as it did before using the serums. The effects seem to persist over time.

There’s also a visible improvement in my skin. The uneven red spots on my face have disappeared, although the overall reddishness hasn’t gone away completely, likely due to my white skin and aging. I even received a compliment at work after using the serums for a few weeks. Despite having a few days in bed due to a mild infection, I continued using the serums as part of my self-care routine.

Regarding the “Everyday Exfoliating Serum,” I initially doubted its effectiveness. However, when I stopped using it for a while, I noticed the return of larger skin flakes. Even though I gently scrubbed with the wet hand towel, it wasn’t as effective as the serum. So, I can safely say that this serum does the job I want it to do.

Lastly, the issue I had with getting some of the serums in my eyes is no longer a problem. I’ve gotten used to the application process, and it no longer poses any difficulties for me.

Would I be continuing this routine?

I can simply answer this question with: yes.

I’m not completely convinced about all of the serums, especially the “Reset Bakuchiol Serum (03)”. Mainly because it claims to prevent aging, and you don’t want to test this on yourself through a side-by-side comparison. However, it does feel good, and it mentions that it makes your skin “glow”. It’s a little hard to prove or explain. The way all of the serums work together does seem to help. Even in the morning, I notice a difference. The effects are gentle and feel good. I will continue using this, except for the cleansing balm.

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