Hello & happy Sunday! I have been getting so many questions lately via Tumblr about my skincare routine. The last time I shared a thorough skincare routine on my blog was 2015, and I recently realized how much my routine has changed in the past two years. Back in high school, I started diving deeper into skincare, specifically into the world of anti-aging products. I know what you’re probably thinking – ‘Girl, why are you using anti aging products in your early 20’s?!’. I am a big believer that it’s better to start preventing skin damage and aging now than to try and reverse things twenty, thirty years down the road. Though there are a lot of factors that come into play when it comes to skin aging (i.e. genetics, lifestyle, diet/health, sun exposure), I believe that taking care of your skin externally is also very important! I crave routine, so for me personally, having a skincare regimen is essential.
I could ramble on about skincare forever (even though I am no expert or dermatologist by any means); it’s always been such an interesting top for me personally. Today, I wanted to share my favorite skincare products, my current routine, and a few tips I have learned over the years. So without further ado, let’s get into it, friends!
- My skintype: normal/oily, acne-prone, sensitive
- My needs/concerns: hormonal acne, anti-aging
overview + recently
My skin has always been my biggest insecurity over the past twelve years. Having acne is frustrating, especially when you’ve been on multiple oral medications and have visited countless dermatologists. Some time during college, I finally got things under control after I was put on a hormonal acne medication and changed my entire diet (I switched to a dairy-free, plant-based diet). Things were going perfectly until I graduated college. A few weeks after college, my skin flared up again- worse than it had in years. A combination of major life changes (moving across the country to start a new job immediately after graduating college), lack of sleep, stress, and getting taken off of my hormonal acne medication, the acne on my chin was spiraling out of control. In an effort to resolve the problem, I started digging back into my skincare routine. When I realized that I needed to make some changes to get my skin under control again, I added a few new products into my routine to really tackle my new, hormonal breakouts. Along the way, I discovered a few new products that I absolutely love and that have really helped me with my skin needs these past few months. While some of these gems are new to my life, others are products I have used for years and years.
- Cleanse: I start my morning routine by washing my face with the Bliss fabulous face wash. I received a mini bottle of this cleanser to review about three years ago. I have repurchased it over and over on my own ever since. I really, really love it. One thing I love about this cleanser is that I feel like it deeply cleanses my skin. It’s exfoliating, but not harsh nor too abrahsive whatsoever. It also smells really fresh and is affordable too! My skin feels instantly clean and clarified after using this cleanser.
- Anti-Aging Serum: I first mentioned this little wonder on my ‘Updated Skincare Routine’ post back in 2015. It is a product I have continued to repurchase over the years, and I couldn’t recommend it enough! I have given it several times as gifts to friends and family; this product is awesome, in my opinion! I feel like this product really brightens and hydrates my skin. It makes my skin feel healthy and glowy, and I love applying it before my other skin care products and makeup. It’s really helped with the appearance of my skin, and it doesn’t break me out at all! I also love the citrus scent. I apply this product to my forehead, neck, cheeks, and eyes. I don’t typically use this product on my chin area or active breakouts, though I have had read reviews from others swearing that this serum helps acne! In general though, when it comes to serums, oils, and treatments, I like to spot treat. Spot treating is such an effective way to balance your skin if you have combination skin. I definitely think you don’t have to treat every inch of your skin the exact some way. Certain areas on my face have different needs than others.
- Acne Treatment: This product has to be my #1 favorite skin care product I currently own. It completely changed my skin and cleared up my acne in less than three weeks. After trying a sample bottle of Luna from Sunday Riley, I became obsessed with the brand. When I saw a mini bottle of Sunday Riley’s UFO ultra-clarifying face oil as a 100-point perk on Sephora, I immediately had to try it out. I read so many reviews on the product, and a lot of people said that this product cleared up their acne and cured their skin woes. After months of nonstop hormonal breakouts, I was ready to try a sample bottle of this product and give it a try. The oil itself is green, but it applies clear on the skin, and I wear it under my makeup during the day. Not all oils are great for day time, but I find that this one is perfect to wear all day! It looks very natural under makeup, and doesn’t take too, too long to soak in. While it soaks in, I usually get dressed, make up my bed, and pack for work. I also apply this oil before bed. It has a strong, earthy scent, but it definitely does not linger long. Unlike other acne topical treatments I have tried in this past, this oil did not dry out my skin whatsoever. Prescription topical treatments I have used over the years left my skin feeling flaky and parched. This product clears and heals my breakouts, while leaving my skin hydrated. The first morning after using this product, I noticed a huge difference in my acne. Huge, huge difference. After one week of using this product, I no longer struggled with covering up my active breakouts in the morning before work and I felt comfortable out in public without ten layers of concealer on my chin. They were significantly smaller, and the tiny bumps that never seemed to budge finally started to disappear. On my trip to Maui, I made my sister (who also struggles with acne and breakouts) try this product one night. She noticed huge improvements in the morning as well, and we both headed to Sephora that next day to buy full size bottles of UFO. It’s pricy. However, it’s still cheaper than paying for acne scar treatments. There are some fantastic ingredients in this product like salicylic acid, tea tree oil, cucumber, grapefruit oil, and licorice root. You do get a lot of bang for your buck because all you need is one to two drops. This bottle will definitely last me a very long time. I absolutely love this product, and I have recommended it to so many friends over the past month. I really, really love it and my family has even noticed a difference in my skin. My only con about this product is the price. It’s pricy, but it is something I would be willing to immediately go out and repurchase if I were to ever break my bottle or run out. I don’t mind the strong scent (which tends to be the #1 complaint about this product in every single review), and I really like the sleek, elegant packaging. My sister told me that this product actually dried out her skin a little, so she does not use it twice a day like I do. We both love it though, and it has really helped our acne. After three weeks of using this product twice a day, my acne has 85% cleared up and I have not had any active breakouts whatsoever in a week. The redness, painful spots, and hundreds of tiny bumps have cleared up pretty much completely. It’s absolutely crazy. I am SO happy with this one.
- Moisturize: I have tried so many moisturizers over the years. I go through phases, but this is the one that I always, always go back to. I like the way it looks under makeup, and it does not make my skin oily throughout the day. It’s light, unscented, and sheer. Though it is a more lightweight moisturizer, it still feels very hydrating and nourishing. I am probably on my tenth mini jar of this stuff, and I really do love it. My only con about this product is that it does not have SPF, which is a disappointment for me personally. However, my daily makeup products have SPF, and I will put sunscreen on my face if I am going to the pool/beach.
- Makeup Remover: When it comes to my evening skincare routine, the first thing I always do is remove all of my makeup. I discovered micellar cleansing water a few months ago, and now I can’t imagine life without it. I start by putting micellar water on a cotton pad and removing all of my face and eye makeup. It really does get absolutely every inch of makeup off and makes cleansing my face much more effective.
- Cleanse: In the evenings, I also use my Bliss cleanser. It’s perfect for night because the deep cleaning beads really cleanse my pores and leave my skin feeling very refreshed. I use to use the Clarisonic cleaning brush at night, but it is something that I stopped using probably a year ago.
- Acne Treatment: I use my ufo treatment in the evenings as well. Like I do in the mornings, I only apply this product to my problem areas (i.e. my chin). It dries pretty quickly and does not transfer on my white pillows. Any breakouts from the day are significantly smaller and less painful by morning with this product.
- Replenishing Oil: This is probably my third bottle of this miracle serum, and I absolutely love it. It is a very thick, hydrating oil that is perfect for night. I have tried it in the mornings, but it is a little thick for day, especially under makeup. I love it at night on my neck, under eyes, and forehead! It has a nice scent. My own complaint about this product is that it is orange when you first apply it. It does fade, but that is definitely a slight downside for me!
I also wanted to throw in a few of my favorite extra products that I use on occasion. For example, before a special occasion, I use Biore pore strips. They literally wipe out your black heads and help detox congested skin. I also like the charcoal line as well! When my skin needs an extra clean/bit of exfoliating, I use my favorite Pixi toner. I am almost out of my huge bottle, but I will be repurchasing more soon. As for face masks, Lush is my go-to. I love their fresh face masks, especially Cupcake! I love to self tan, but I typically do not use most self tanners on my face because my skin is so breakout-prone. The one facial self tanner I use is this one! It doesn’t break me out and makes my skin look very tan and glowy in the morning.
tips + in conclusion
Here are some general skin tips I have learned over the years:
- Visit a dermatologist if you are struggling with acne. If you are struggling with skin problems, I would highly, highly recommend going to a dermatologist. Some skin problems, like acne, can not be perfectly fixed externally with a face wash or a product. I was on oral acne medication for about ten years, and it was the only thing that worked for me for a long time. Through changing my skincare routine, my diet, and my lifestyle, I was able to get off of both of my oral acne medications (I was on an antibiotic and spironolactone, if you’re curious). However, the prescription acne medications really did help my skin for a very, very long time and prevented me from getting acne scars.
- Check a face map. If you struggle with breakouts, I would recommend checking out an face map/chart like this one or this one. It’s so interesting to me that certain parts of your face can tell you specific things about your health and your body. For example, I knew I had hormonal acne when I realized my breakouts were only happening on my chin area.
- If you have oily skin, don’t be afraid of oils and hydrating products. Before middle school even started, I was very aware that I had oily skin (mostly because other kids at school loved to tell me how oily my skin was 🙂 ). I remember being so embarrassed by my oily skin, and I would go to the bathroom several times a day to use oil blotting sheets and cake on pounds of powder to try and soak up the oil. I refused to moisturize my skin because I was so scared it would only make the problem worse. When I found out that oily skin actually produces MORE oil when it’s dehydrated, my life changed. As I started adding moisturizers and oils into my skincare routine, my skin actually became more normal (with a tiniest bit of oil in the t-zone). So if you have oily skin, do not be scared of moisturizers or facial oils. They can actually help your skin type!
- Make sure you are taking care of your skin from the inside. As I mentioned above, skincare is more than just what you put on your face from the inside. Taking care of yourself and body can make an even bigger difference. Eating fruits and vegetables, take vitamins, stay very hydrated (with water), stay away from processed foods/fast foods/sodas/alcohol/sweets as much as you can, workout, avoid smoking, and get 8 hours of sleep a night. Though those things aren’t always easy to do on a daily basis (especially if you are in college!), they really do make a huge difference. I notice a big change in my skin after a night of drinking or an all-nighter. Be mindful of how you are treating your body and what you put in it!
- Don’t touch your face throughout the day or pick at your skin. This is something I still struggle with. If you are breaking out along your chin and cheeks, be conscious of where you put your hands during the day. When I was in school, I realized I was resting my face on my hands during class. Your hands can pick up a lot of oils that cause face breakouts, so make sure you keep your hands off your face throughout the day. As for picking at your skin, it can be hard to resist when you have a really angry breakout. We’ve all been there. If you absolutely must pick a breakout, make sure you thoroughly cleanse your face and washing your hands before messing with anything!
- Don’t forget to wash your face! This is sooo important. Washing your face twice a day can really make a huge difference, especially if you wear makeup. I would highly recommend keeping makeup wipes by your bed in case you are too tired to do a full skincare routine before bed. I would also recommend keeping a bottle of micellar cleansing water + some cotton pads by your bed as well if you’re lazy, but still want to remove all of your makeup before hitting the hay. Leaving makeup on your skin overnight can really clog your pores and lead to problem breakouts in the morning!
- Find a routine that works for you. Just because a skincare product works for somebody else, doesn’t mean it will always work for you. We all have different skin and different needs, so do some research and find what works for you. It may take some trial and error, but it’s awesome to find a product that really, really works for your skin! Also know that your skin can change over time. My 22 year old skin is definitely than my skin when I was 12 years old. It’s normal for your skin to change, especially as your hormones fluctuate, so adjust your products as needed! I also adjust my products a little bit between seasons. In the colder months, I will up my hydrating products and masks to combat dry skin.
- There are great products at the drugstore too. Though most of the products I listed above are more high-end, I used drugstore products for the longest time. I personally love Neutrogena! Neutrogena has been my go-to drugstore skincare brand for a very long time. Another great brand is Cetaphil, and their cleanser is the one a dermatologist recommended for me back in high school. Though I do believe it’s important to invest in great skin care, there are definitely some incredible finds at the drugstore, so don’t think you need to spend thousands of dollars to feel great about your skin.
- Use sunscreen. Protect your skin! The sun is very, very damaging to our skin and it causes skin aging. It can be very dangerous, so make sure that you are using SPF every single time you go out into the sun. My mom had skin cancer when I was growing up, and it was definitely something that affected the way I viewed sun damage. Find skincare products and makeup products that have SPF in them and stay out of the tanning bed. Also, it can be helpful to wear things like sunglasses and hats when you are out in the sun to protect your skin. I used the tanning bed a few times in college, and looking back, it was totally not worth it. Opt for healthier alternatives as often as you can. Though I lay out on occasion, I typically self tan to get some color without the damaging effects of the sun. Staying out of the sun/protecting your skin when you are outside is one of the best things you can do for your skin and for aging!
- Your skin doesn’t define you. I have spent so much of my life letting my skin define me and letting it affect my confidence. I remember not wanting to go out because I was so embarrassed about my adult acne. When I looked in the mirror, all I saw was my acne, and I can assure you that you are worth more than your acne or any other skin problems you are struggling with. It was funny to me when I realized other people didn’t notice my breakouts like I did. So if you are struggling with acne or skin issues, know that you are not alone and that it’s not permanent!
In conclusion, different things definitely work for different people. I have been using most of these products for a year or two, and they are all ones that work really well for my skin type and skin needs. Is my skin perfect all the time? Absolutely not. Both of my parents are in their 50’s and still breakout, so I know acne will be something I will struggle with for years down the road. However, I do think my skin has come along way, and I am really happy with my current routine! I am definitely no dermatologist or skin expert by any means, but I do get a ton of questions on skin care, so I wanted to share my routine & tips with y’all.
Let me know what your favorite skincare products are + any tips you have learned over the years! I always love hearing new suggestions and products to try out.
shop my favorite skincare products: