Beauty Roundup: Combination Skin Solutions

May 1, 2017
Brown Eyed Toast - Combination Skin Care Regimen - Featured

We’ve all heard the saying, “April showers bring May flowers,” as if the gloomy weather until recently is some type of harbinger to spring blooms and endless sunshine. It’s a pretty idea. For me (or at least for my skin), it just spells disaster. The constantly fluctuating temperature throws my combination skin into a confused tailspin (80 degrees one day and 45 degrees the next, thank you global warming). And as much I don’t like to admit it, my complexion has been utter chaos, so much so that I’ve raided my entire beauty stash in desperate hopes of trying anything and everything to soothe the onset of all your basic skin ailments. Thankfully after three weeks of experimenting, I’ve found the magic formula.

A caveat for all my readers: this isn’t to say that the following assortment of products will necessarily work for your skin. Every person is unique, and your skin may react differently. But taking into account each product’s ingredients and application in conjunction with one another, I have found that they have worked incredibly well for my own stubborn blemishes.

My current combination skincare regimen follows:

Kate Somerville Eradikate Mask

Brown Eyed Toast - Combination Skin Regimen - 1
After dual cleansing (read more on this and 10-Step Korean skincare regimen here), I’ve started to incorporate Kate Somerville’s Eradikate Mask Foam-Activated Acne Treatment. All I can say is: it truly works. Granted, I did apply this nearly 5 nights in a row so make of that what you will. Even so, it didn’t dry out my skin, nor did it cause any unsavory side effects. This is in large part due to the 5% sulfur concentration, high enough to effectively kill pimple-causing bacteria yet not excessive enough to be overly drying.  The only drawback to this mask is a semi-strong sulfur/ rubber scent- manageable but potentially difficult to stomach for those with sensitives noses.

Immunocologie Vital Clay Mask

Brown Eyed Toast - Combination Skin Regimen - 2 For more stubborn blemishes, I spot treat with Immunocologie’s Vital Clay Mask. This is by far the most powerful clay mask I have used to date, and as such should be used with caution. Put too much on, and you risk completely dehydrating the dermis. But for the painful cystic-like bumps brewing under the skin, this can reduce the size dramatically when treated overnight. For an all over treatment, take care to apply only a thin layer as directed. I guarantee that even the most stubborn whiteheads and blackheads will come loose after using this.

Immuncologie Hyaluronic Serum

Brown Eyed Toast - Combination Skin Regimen - 3
Immunocologie’s Hyaluronic Serum is the perfect complement to the clay mask. This lightweight serum’s star ingredient is sodium hyaluronate, a derivation of hyaluronic acid with the ability to hold 1,000 times its weight in water. As this acid is naturally produced in our body, there’s usually no irritation to most users and works perfectly with our cells to improve moisture retention and plump up the skin. While there are many hyaluronic acid-based serums out there, I’m a fan of the Immunocologie version because it’s also formulated with Canadian Colloidal Clay, which balances out oiliness, and for my combination skin, every bit helps. It’s ideal for those who complain of oily and congested skin while suffering from dryness as well.

SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Defense

Brown Eyed Toast - Combination Skin Care Regimen - 4
My golden goose has to be SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Defense Serum, as evidenced by the nearly empty bottle in my photos. It has two key ingredients, first of which is 2% dioic acid. This reduces production of sebum and regulates production of melanin, all the while killing bacteria, one of the biggest culprits of acne. The second key ingredient (or ingredients, rather) is an effective combination of alpha and beta hydroxy acids (AHA, BHA’s, of which there is a notable concentration of 1.5% salicylic acid), all of which penetrate deep into the skin and aid in exfoliating dead skin cells and reducing clogged pores. As for my personal experience, this serum always brings all of the deeper, stubborn whiteheads (you know the ones that inevitably turn to painful red mounds but are impossible to pop?) to the surface for easy extraction. It has never failed me and is nothing short of a miracle worker. A word to the wise – I avoid applying this to the entire face as it does contain a bevy of acids as well as denatured alcohol among its top ingredients, which can dry out the skin. Use this to treat problem areas or stubborn spots instead.

True Botanicals Pure Radiance Oil

Brown Eyed Toast - Combination Skin Care Regimen - 5

Finally, combat oil with.. even more oil. Interestingly, they actually help dissolve your skin’s sebum and regulate oil production. I’ve used True Botanicals Pure Radiance Oil on and off for a period of time, but have increasingly relied on it over the past few weeks. This is a dry oil with a light herbal scent, and it’s perfect as a moisturizer or even a makeup finisher for a beautiful glow. I’ve always known the product is great (all organic, plant-based ingredients, emphasis on purity and quality, etc.), but not until it soothed my inflamed blemishes and flaky (yes, unpleasant as it may be, you heard me) skin did I become a true believer. It’s not a surprise given the first two ingredients in it are green tea seed oil and grape seed oil, both of which contain a high amount of antioxidants and consist of incredibly small molecule sizes (even smaller than the average human pore size) to penetrate deep into the skin.

Brown Eyed Toast - Combination Skin Care Regimen - 6

To be honest though, much of acne has nothing to do with personal hygiene or your skincare habits. And that’s the most frustrating part. No matter how much brands can promise clear skin or glowing complexions, sometime’s it’s just not in the cards for the less genetically disposed (myself included). However, the right arsenal of products can make a big difference in preventative care and damage control.

For all those struggling with the changing seasons and the detrimental effects it may have had on your skin, I urge you to incorporate the above products into your skincare regimen and give it a solid go for at least a week. If you’ve tried any of the above or have any questions, I’d love to hear them in the comments.

As always, thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed!

Signature xo Soo


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  • Reply Christine Kong May 1, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    All of these products sound amazing! I honestly did not know you had even one trace of acne! You always have such glowing skin and clearly these products work since your skin is beautiful. For me, I am at the point where more than acne, I want to fight aging. I love Kate Somerville products but haven’t tried this EradiKate mask. You have me curious though at foaming since I love anything that has a great foam to it. I definitely want to check out this Immunocologie’s Hyaluronic Serum since hyaluronic acid is so good for our skin. The True Botanicals Pure Radiance Oil also sounds incredible and I love that it is organic. Thank you for sharing your skincare regimen. I will definitely look into some of these products. xoxo, Christine
  • Reply Jessie May 2, 2017 at 1:20 am

    I have never heard of Kate Somerville, but their packaging looks so nice! I’m a big fan of Skin Ceuticals! I love their products! Love you picks! I’m definitely gonna give some of them a try!

    xx, Jessie
  • Reply Jennifer Lee Quattrucci May 2, 2017 at 8:57 am

    Dear Soo,
    This has been such an eye-opening read. It’s true that these fluctuating temperatures have caused some problem areas and issues on my skin but I had no idea you had any issue! Your skin looks forever flawless. I always respect your opinion on beauty and skin care products and I am intrigued by this selection. You certainly did find a magic solution!
    The foaming action on the Kate Somerville Mask and the fact it WORKS makes me want to try it but I am concerned about the scent. I do have a very weak stomach when it comes to strong scents.
    I looked into the website for Immunucologies’s Vital Clay Mask and am going to try it !
    Both serums and the True Botanicals Oil all sound like very wise and amazing choices as well and I will definitely be looking more at their websites!
    Thank you so much,

  • Reply Diana May 2, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    I have been using Kate Somerville’s Eradikate Mask Foam-Activated Acne Treatment for about 3 months and my acne situation got proved. But I think that eating healthy helped a lot too. I never tried other products that you mentioned, but I do use serums and oils from different brands in my daily basis. You need to try a white clay deep pore cleansing mask by LATHER! Oh man, it makes me skin to glow and acne disappear next morning!
  • Reply Aimara May 2, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    What an awesome read girl! My skin looks terrible right now and it suffers as well with the crazy weather here in Chicago!
    I really need to try something new and I’m tempted to put my hands on a few of these. But I’ve never heard about any of these brands (maybe just Skinceuticals) so I want to check their websites for more info.
    Another thing I should put into practice besides trying new products is to be more disciplined with my regime!
    Also, combat oil with more oil? Never even occur to me this was an option.
    Thank you so much for such an honest review and info about your routine and these products that are definitely new to me!
    Have a great week!

  • Reply shalini May 2, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    Thanks for sharing this review on Kate Somerville’s Products. I have never used it before but I am surely getting tempted now. I have been looking for the perfect mask to reduce blackheads and the Immunocologie Vital Clay Mask sounds like the mask for me. I use a lot of oil on my face since my face absorbs oil better due to dryness. The botanical oil sounds amazing! All organic and has my favorite oil (grapeseed) as an ingredient is a thumbs up for me. I do totally agree on hygiene and genetics when it comes to skin. I am lucky even in my late 30’s I still have good skin! All thanks to my mother and all the organic products I have used for the past 20 years. Happy May! xo shalini

  • Reply Maggie May 2, 2017 at 11:07 pm

    Wow, I actually haven’t read any of your beauty posts before, but now I’m going to go through them. You provide such professional insight in the way you write. Let me tell you, it’s definitely not one of those typical blogger review posts. My skin was suffering actually from a plethora of things, but I think I finally figured it out. My exfoliating cleanser was causing a lot of bumps on my skin (not acne) and it was so terrible to deal with. I’m totally sold on the Immunocologie’s Vital Clay Mask. I do have dry skin so I’m sure if that’s going to work well, but I feel like I have deep black heads that need to be loosened. I also have to try the True Botanicals Pure Radiance Oil. I’ve stayed away from a lot of products recently, but I’m on the hunt for a new one and this sounds like the perfect one for my dry, flakey skin.

    By the way, it helped me a lot when I switched over to products that don’t contain the word “fragrance” in the ingredients. That might help with your’s as well.

    Maggie S.
  • Reply Vanessa May 3, 2017 at 1:04 am

    Wow, let me just say that all of the products you included in your post look absolutely amazing. I personally haven’t tried or heard of any of these. The one I would probably and most certainly get for myself would be the clay mask because I love the way they feel. However, I’m not a big fan of the super strong ones like the one you mentioned, but I’d still take the risk, haha. I also find the Kate Somerville mask very interesting, mostly because of the the the 5% sulfur concentration. After reading your review, I am very curious to see how it works. Overall, I love this post, thanks for sharing babe!

    Vanessa, xo!
  • Reply Sheree May 3, 2017 at 1:18 am

    OH my gosh, I feel like this post is written and designed for me! I suffer from the exact symptom you have described down to a T! I have oily nose area and chin area but my forehead and my face tend to be super dry, I can see the little crater skin cracks and peels. I already use Kate Sommerville’s Eradikate face scrub and wash but this mask sounds pretty great. Heck all of the products sounded so good I might have to order it all. Especially the golden goose blemish control and anti-aging, two best friends that a woman over 35 need! Thank you for this review and I can’t wait to try these new products and see what it can do for my skin.

    ~ xo Sheree
  • Reply Sarah Atiq May 3, 2017 at 7:46 am

    Soo, I honestly loved reading this post. As I have combination skin too, I sometimes feel confused about what products may or may not work for my skin. Also living in a humid climate has really affected my skin. I feel that I can only use light serums or oils, none of the heavy creams work for my skin. I’ve tried several clay masks, but the Immunocologie’s Vital Clay Mask sounds like a product I need to try (especially to get rid of those stubborn blackheads). And I would also love to try the SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Defense serum. I love that it does so much, including killing the bacteria. I would love to add both of these products first into my routine. Honestly I would have never known you have similar skin issues to me, you definitely know how to care of your skin. Thank you so much for sharing your routine :).

  • Reply Andreea Birsan May 3, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    The weather in Bucharest was also moody and thanks to that I managed to get a bunch of break outs. As you, I have combined skin, which can be quite terrible at some times. But hearing about the formula you tested for the past three weeks really got me thinking on trying a new skin care routine. I’ll have to check out if I can find the exact products in here as well, because I’d love trying them out. As for the clay mask, I’m really curious about this one! I love using clay masks but taking them off can be so so messy, which I hate. Is this one mess free and easy to take off? Wishing you a great day! xx

  • Reply aurela May 3, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    I have read this post twice and I feel I am reading another language. I am so clueless about skin care or skin products. Is terrible I know but I am too lazy nor have much knowledge about anything related to skin care. My girlfriend gives me grief every time I ask her sill questions. You know so much about what your skin needs and what ingredients each product has. I have done 2 facial in my entire life and both times they told me I have a combined skin type. I only do moisturizer and that’s it. I know I am horrible, perhaps I need help. I have tried clay mask once and like you said my stomach didn’t like the smell so I took it off right away. I’d love to try them out but I need to educate myself in skin care before I start. Since I am getting older the Skin Cuticles Blemish + Age Defense serum would be ideal . I never had acne though but my skin breaks when I have my periods and always at the same spots. Thanks for sharing your experience. Is time for me to start investing time & money and will definitely read more about this products.
    Hope you are having a great day!

    Aurela xoxo
  • Reply manda May 3, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    I’ve been looking forward to this post after I saw it on IG. This weather has been so hard on my skin lately too! I almost never break out but have been seeing spots pop up hear and there over the past two weeks so the Kate Somerville’s Eradikate Mask Foam-Activated Acne Treatment sounds like it would work wonders. I’ve had issues with clay mask and haven’t found one that really works as it should without causing my skin a ridiculous amount of irritation without amazing benefits so I’d be hesitant to try that one. The Immunocologie’s Hyaluronic Serum sounds like something that could be very useful since I have combination skin! The SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Defense Serum seems like perfection for those couple of spots that have been extra aggravating lately! Also, I am so on board with oil for skin care. I actually remove my makeup with olive oil and it works wonders so anything that is oil based I’m down to try! Thanks for all the info on some great products to check out!
  • Reply Thomas Falkenstedt May 3, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    Sometimes your posts are just so perfectly timed. I’ve had some really nasty skin issues (well, according to me, other people would probably just shrug at them) lately and have tried basically everything without a result. What I am going to try out for sure is the Kate Somerville mask as 1. I’ve never heard of it 2. It seems really effective even in a short term “cure”. Unfortunately, as you say, I don’t think it’s what products I’ve used or not used lately that are the problem anymore. The problem is spelled: stress, lack of sleep and bad food habits. I really need to get those parts of my life together and my skin will hopefully get back to normal again, but that doesn’t mean I won’t give Kate a try so thanks for the tip!
  • Reply Michelle May 3, 2017 at 10:44 pm

    My skin has been a mess recently. I’m not sure if it’s the changing of the seasons or trying too many new products at once, but it just went crazy. I’ll agree with Thomas that your post came at just the right time! I’ve never tried any of these – but I’ll have to look into them. I’m currently using a different Kate Somerville product that I really like so I’ll be checking out the Eradikate mask for sure! But I totally agree that when using anything – you have to give it a go for a few weeks to really see a change. So often people give up before it finally kicks in. And it’s true, Acne has nothing to do with hygiene. Most of it is genetics, the food you eat and even environment. Some people are luckier than others in that department. I actually had perfect skin until my twenties and then I moved to the City and started working and got hit with adult acne. Maybe it was stress? But it took a few years to get under control. So glad you found a system that works for you!
  • Reply Tandya May 3, 2017 at 11:22 pm

    This is such an insightful post. My skin has been a mess since March. Although the LA weather isn’t as extreme as New York, it still has its ups and downs. Thank you for sharing what works for you! I may try the Immunocologie’s Vital Clay Mask. I love dual products. Those that work as a mask and that you can also spot treatment.
  • Reply Tandya May 3, 2017 at 11:23 pm

    This is such an insightful post. My skin has been a mess since March. Although the LA weather isn’t as extreme as New York, it still has its ups and downs. Thank you for sharing what works for you! I may try the Immunocologie’s Vital Clay Mask. I love dual products. Those that work as a mask and that you can also use as spot treatment.
  • Reply Maryam May 3, 2017 at 11:24 pm

    I totally relate to you as far as my concerns with my skin. I also have an oily t-zone. But it’s funny because I feel like my skin changes all the time so I have to change my skin care accordingly. I had not heard about this line, but it sounds great. I specially like the dry oil. I used to think it’s not good for oily skin, but I’ve learned recently that it’s very hydrating and not at all oily. I will look into purchasing it in a near future.
    xo, Maryam

  • Reply Maryam May 3, 2017 at 11:50 pm

    I totally relate to you as far as my concerns with my skin. I also have an oily t-zone. But it’s funny because I feel like my skin changes all the time so I have to change my skin care accordingly. I had not heard about True Botanicals Pure Radiance Oil, but it sounds great, specially because it’s all organic. I used to think dry oil is not good for oily skin, but I’ve learned recently that it’s very hydrating and not at all oily. I will look into purchasing it in a near future.

  • Reply Jessica May 3, 2017 at 11:52 pm

    I feel your pain on the fluctuating weather and our skin paying the price for it! I literally just sat down after going through my nighttime routine and wish I have some of what you mention here to deal with the problems I’m facing too! I absolutely want to try that SkinCeuticals breakout lotion. While I don’t get too many lately, whenever I am trying new products – the reactions can cause more than I’d care to have! 🙁 xo, Jessica

  • Reply Darlene May 4, 2017 at 12:10 am

    This is a great article about skincare. Guilty as charged I don’t really have a skincare routine until recently when I saw a skin care specialist. I never experience acne so I don’t know how that feels. But since moving to Toronto (which I’m sure same weather as NYC) my skin suffered dryness and I didn’t understand what’s going on. These products sound amazing and I should probably invest in them. Thank you for writing such an informative post.

  • Reply Eva May 4, 2017 at 3:50 am

    I like your articles very much , because you have a capability to understand what you need and above to know the products well and know when they are serving and why. Surely the changes of the weather time it also suffers ours ski so it is necessary to keep it protected and very moisturized. Better hydrated skin improve the circulation and consequently the color or tone. I like oils because because they change so much and they mostly help me that I have dry skin. These botanical products would say “smart” are well done and help for what it needs. Its just right to choose certain the specific product for anyone .
  • Reply Rachel Holliday May 4, 2017 at 8:12 am

    I suffer from both combination skin and adult acne so I totally feel you! The change in weather really does make a difference. Here in tropical Australia, I often go from aircon to the hot outdoors and my face gets so angry! It looks like you’ve found a great skincare routine with some fantastic products that I’d love to try. I’m especially intrigued by the Immunocologie Clay Mask- when big cysts come up under the skin it’s so painful. I totally agree with using oil to beat oil too! I’ve been using organic argan oil serum on my face and it’s fantastic.

    Rachel xx
  • Reply Open Kloset By Karina May 5, 2017 at 6:58 am

    Hey Darling,

    Our Skin is Really Important, and I have very Sensitive Skin and Dry. I never Buy any products, without Trying, I had many Problems before, That I bought Expensive products without trying cause the Store Didn’t had sample and Of course Didn’t worked with my Skin.
    I never Tried any products what you Showed but I red many Good Reviews about The Kate Somerville Eradikate Mask. My Best Friend Use this and She was Amazed by Her Results:)
    I use Hyaluronic Serum as well, but would Definitely try the Immunocologie One, Do you think that for my Dry Sensitive Skin, would Work this product?
    Do They Have Testers?
    Love to Use Natural oils as well for my Skin, The True Botanicals Pure Radiance Oil with Green Tea and Grapeseed Oil Sounds Very Very Good:) I red Many Good Thing about Green tea and Skincare Routines and How Good for our Skin:) Super Curious about this oil:)
    Thank you For sharing your Experience with these Brands, and I agree with you, Everyone has different Skin, what works for you ,might not work for other people, this is why I think Skincare is sooo Difficult.
    I tried many products for Dry Sensitive Skin and didn’t Worked but the products were for my Skintype.
    Love Kisses
    Open Kloset By Karina
  • Reply Eliza May 5, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    For me, the transition period between two seasons is the worst time regarding the skincare regime. Especially now, when it’s “kinda spring” outside. It can be a real problem – the skin feels rough and tight or even becomes chapped or itchy. That’s why it is very important to follow a special skin care routine to reduce irritation, increase skin tolerance and restore its comfort.
    Although I’ve never heard of Kate Somerville before, but it sounds like a great product to try. As for the other products, I agree, the Clay Mask from Immunocologie really does wonders to the skin. And SkinCeauticals was always one of my favourite skincare brands and the life-saver. They have a lot to offer, and their products work perfectly with my skin.
    All in all, great review, as always! Thanks for sharing some of the great products!
    Cheers, Eliza |
  • Reply sunny May 25, 2017 at 6:28 am

    Thanks for your suggestion, I am also suffering from an oily face, When I woke up and rub my face I can see at least 1-litre oil on my face I am just tired.
  • Reply Prashant May 30, 2017 at 3:20 am

    Thanks for sharing this dear this will help me a lot i was looking something for my skin thanks again.
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