My Skincare Routine

One of the very first blog posts that I ever wrote was about how I cleared my acne and the products that I used to keep my skin clear. I’ve struggled with very oily, acne prone skin for as long as I can remember and it’s always a struggle to find the perfect products that work. While I do still use most of those products that I mentioned in that post, I have also changed a few and discovered some new things. So I thought it would be a good idea to share with you my entire skincare routine, including all the products that I use throughout the day. The main thing that I have changed is using more natural and gentle products rather than harsh chemicals that I used to pile on.
When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is head to the bathroom (pre-coffee) to brush my teeth and wash my face. I like feeling refreshed to start my day and that’s exactly the way to do it! I want to get all the oils off of my face from throughout the night and prep my skin for the rest of the day. I don’t like using too many products on my face during any of these routines because I want to keep it light enough so my skin can still breathe and get some fresh air.

The first thing I do is wash my face with the Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser. This replaced my Clinique Acne Solutions Foaming Cleanser that I was using. The Cetaphil face wash is much more gentle and even though it’s not specifically made for acne, it has done a really good job of keeping my skin clear. I’ve heard that some acne face washes are made with a few ingredients that actually keep you breaking out and while I don’t know if that’s really true or not, I do know that the gentle Cetaphil wash has helped my skin incredibly! I would say I’ve gotten continuously clear skin more with this more than I did with the harsh acne chemicals that were in the Clinique wash.
I also cut out the Clinique toner from the Acne Solutions 3 step system and have been using rubbing alcohol instead. It’s just as intense, but more natural and much cheaper. Because my skin is so oily, this works fine for me. But if you have normal or dry skin, you could opt for witch hazel instead.

I have had Garnier Skin Renew Anti-Puff Eye Roller in my cabinet for a while, so that’s what I’ve been using under my eyes in the morning. The metal roller feels nice, but I don’t think the formula is actually doing anything for me. So I can’t say that I recommend it and won’t be repurchasing it in the future.

For moisturizer, I’ve stuck with the one from the Clinique Acne Solutions line. I’ve tried a few others, but haven’t been very impressed. This one is the most lightweight on the skin and has benzoyl peroxide as its acne fighting agent rather than salicylic acid, so it’s not as harsh as the other two products from the Acne Solutions line. This will probably always be a staple item for me because nothing has felt as fresh on my skin as this moisturizer does.

If I’m not going to be applying makeup right away, I’ll put tea tree oil on my acne problem areas (cheeks and forehead) and let it soak in. I’ve been switching up my acne spot treatments so that I’m not always using the same product, in order to prevent my skin from getting used to one particular item. The tea tree oil isn’t very slick like most other oils and soaks in pretty quickly. It has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties so it’s very good for the acne prone skin even though it’s an oil. This has actually really helped improve the texture on my cheeks. Where it used to have the texture of an orange peel is now smooth and healthy skin.
One thing that has greatly helped my skin and cleared my acne is washing my face as soon as I get home for the day. I remember when I was younger, I used to wear makeup from the time I woke up to go to school (6 am) to the time I went to bed (10 pm) because I didn’t want anybody to see my skin, not even myself or my family. I never realized how bad it was for my skin to have my makeup sitting on my face that long until I read a quote from Hayden Panettiere in a magazine. When asked what one of her best skin secrets is, she said she doesn’t wear makeup unless it’s necessary. That quote opened my eyes and changed my life. I began washing my makeup off the moment I walked in the door and started noticing results very quickly.
To take my makeup off, I used to use a scrub because I really like how the exfoliating beads washed away every bit of makeup. But after about two years of doing that, my skin started to become a little sensitive. I don’t like makeup remover wipes too much because I always feel like I have to wash my face afterwards. So I just skip over all of that and go straight to washing my face with the Cetaphil cleanser.

To take off the excess eye makeup, I use coconut oil that I put in a small container. It’s easier to do this after I wash my face and all the mascara is loosened up. I use the coconut oil with my finger and it wipes everything right off, as well as moisturizes the thin skin around my eye area.

I use T. N. Dickenson's Witch Hazel as my toner to make sure every little bit of makeup is off of my face. I like using the witch hazel in this step as compared to the rubbing alcohol because it gives my skin a little bit of a break during the day. Then I use the Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment whenever I have individual breakouts that I’m trying to get rid of. This is my second or third tube of this spot treatment and I have been really impressed with it.
For my nighttime routine, I use some of the same products that I’ve already mentioned and mainly like to focus on products that are going to nourish my skin overnight. I cleanse my skin one more time with the Cetaphil face wash while I shower and use the rubbing alcohol as my toner when I get out. That’s what I really like about the Cetaphil wash is that it’s gentle enough to use multiple times throughout the day without having to worry about over cleansing.
I use the Clark's Botanicals Anti-Puff Eye Cream that I got in my March Boxycharm. It’s not really very great for the price because I don’t notice any difference when I use it, but it does feel moisturizing and luxurious under the eye area. So I’m basically just trying to use it up since I did receive it in the Boxycharm, but I wouldn’t say I recommend it and I won’t be purchasing it once I’m done.

Then I apply the same Clinique moisturizer from the Acne Solutions line and finish up with the Mario Badescu Drying Cream as a spot treatment on any areas that might be breaking out. I used to really like this when I first purchased it, but now that I’m using it more and as the consistency has dried up from being open for a while I don’t like it as much as I used to. I’ve gotten over the smell of it, but I don’t think it’s working as fast as I would like to see results. When I run out of this, I plan on purchasing their Drying Lotion instead because I’ve always heard such wonderful things about that.
Aside from my daily skincare routine, I also have a few other items that I want to mention that have really helped keep my skin clear and healthy. Most of these next items are things that I use about twice a week for a more intense treatment and really clean out all of the built up gunk that settles into pores.  
Twice a week, I use the Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay mask. This is my favorite, most intense mask that I have ever used in my life. It pulls everything out of my pores and with consistent use, I have seen them reduce in size. I wrote an entire post with all the details on how I use this mask, where to find it, and what to expect when using it.

Before I use the mask, I cleanse my skin with the St. Ives Blemish Control Apricot Scrub to get all the dead skin off of my face. It’s a very rough scrub, but that’s what I look for in my exfoliators because I really want to feel like it’s cleaning everything off. I like buying it in the tub better because when you get to the end, it makes it easier to get everything out compared to a squeeze tube.

After the mask, I like to apply a more thick lotion to nourish my skin after such an intense treatment. I picked up a travel size bottle of the Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion just to try and I’m glad I got the small size. I don’t really like it for every day or in the morning because it’s so much thicker than my Clinique lotion, but it is nice to have on hand for lots of nourishment after my mask.
I use the Olay Pro X Cleansing Brush twice a week when I wash my face with the scrub to really work it into the skin. It provides even more exfoliation and feels like a nice massage on the face. I got this pink one years ago when they were having a limited edition version for breast cancer awareness. I only use it twice a week because just like the scrub, it can make the skin sensitive if it’s overused. I can’t compare it to the Clarisonic brushes because I’ve never purchased any of them before since I’m satisfied with the Olay brush.

I’m not sure what the exact name is for the tool you see in the middle picture below, but I call it my skin clearing tool. I use the small side of it to scrape across my pores after I rinse off my mask. The mask clears out as much as it can out of the skin and brings everything else to the surface, which makes it easier to go through with this tool afterwards. Twice a week is enough with this. When I first got it, I was so impressed with how much it gets out of the skin that I used it too often and my skin became sensitive. These are pretty easy to find in stores now and I can’t be without it!

Biotin has made its way on my blog a few times now and for good reason. I began taking it daily about a year and a half ago and started noticing a difference in my skin just within a few days. They make pills that have 5,000 mcg but I don’t want to over do it and stop my body’s natural production of it, so I just get the 1,000 mcgs and take 2 a day. The pills are pretty small, but the last two bottles I purchased I had to return because of a foul smell so I’ve been sticking with gummies for now. It also has helped me grow my hair faster and made my nails stronger.
As much fun as it is to apply makeup everyday and see the difference it makes, it’s even more important to make sure you take care of your skin first. Great makeup begins with great skin! I’m really loving this routine and it makes me so happy to watch my skin get better and better each and every day. If you have any other questions for me, please leave them for me in the comment section!

~Mani Monday~
Let’s start with an update from last week’s Mani Monday. I love that polish! The formula continued to amaze me all week long. It lasted a full five days before I got my first chip, which is very impressive. I will definitely be going back and trying more colors! And since today’s 4th of July, what else would I do than create something festive?! The polishes I used are the Sinful Colors in Snow Me White, Most Sinful (blue, from their Sinful Shine Collection), and Wet n Wild’s Red Red. I tried adding some polka dots too, but that didn’t work out so we’re keeping it simple for now.
What’s on your nails this week?


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