Skincare Favorites

Finding the right skincare products can feel like the longest journey ever. Not only is the market flooded with products that all claim to do the same thing, but our skin is always changing. So how are we supposed to know what actually works and what will stick with us through different seasons? I’m not sure I have the answer for that, but figured I’d give you the next best thing. My skincare routine has changed so many times over the years, but there are a few products that seemed to have had a permanent spot in my collection. You might have seen a couple of these before if you’ve read any of my previous skincare posts and they really are my favorites.
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Not everyone has the same skin type, so what might work for me might not work for you unfortunately. In case you’re new to my blog, I have extremely oily, acne prone skin with a few fine lines around my eyes and texture on my cheeks. One concept that took me forever to understand was how to treat acne and oily skin. What made sense to me was that I needed to use any and all products that were packed with anti-acne ingredients and that would dry up my skin. That is so wrong!

I used to swear by Clinique’s Acne Solution line and while that did clear up my acne initially when I was younger, I had to stop using it because it was no longer making a difference on my skin. I wanted to get away from such harsh chemicals, so I decided to try the Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser. I always heard about how this is the one dermatologists recommend, but never fully believed in all the hype. I wish I could have because this stuff has actually helped keep my skin clear better than the acne cleansers did. I can’t believe it! It’s very gentle on the skin, which is perfect considering I typically wash my face 2-3 times a day. It’s extremely affordable and leaves my face feeling super clean.

I also use the St. Ives Blemish Control Apricot Scrub twice a week before I do my mask. I used to use this every day because I thought the exfoliant beads were great for removing my makeup. That was fine for about two years and then I started getting a little more sensitive from using it every day. Two days a week seems to work perfect for me now. It is a very harsh scrub, which is what I specifically look for in an exfoliator. But if you like something more gentle, I’d recommend their Green Tea Scrub. It works just as good, but has smaller beads so it’s not as rough.
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For toners, y’all are gonna think I’m crazy but my favorite thing to use is rubbing alcohol. I know it sounds super scary and weird at first, but I have never used anything else that gets absolutely every little thing off of my face, especially makeup! It’s also great for drying up breakouts and is another incredibly affordable option.

Usually I switch on and off between the rubbing alcohol and the Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing Pads. If I’m dealing with a really bad breakout, then I always use the alcohol to clear it up. Otherwise, I’ll use the Nip + Fab pads, especially if I have an important event coming up. The glycolic acid in these really helps to retexturize my skin and make it look more smooth.
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I also have two different lotions that I like to switch between. Although I’ve pretty much found an alternative for everything in the Clinique Acne Solutions line that works better for my skin, their All Over Clearing Treatment has continued to be my favorite moisturizer. It has benzoyl peroxide in it rather than salicylic acid, so it’s a little bit more gentle on the skin. It’s not heavy at all and makeup layers over it beautifully. I’ve used it for 6 years now and I still get excited every morning to put it on.

I mainly only use the Clinique lotion in the morning because it’s so lightweight. At nighttime, I use Neutrogena’s Rapid Wrinkle Repair moisturizer. This one is specifically made for night and has retinol in it to help plump and firm the skin. Not only will this take care of random fine lines that I have around my face, it will also help smooth out the acne scarring texture that I have on my cheeks. If you haven’t seen it, I do have a full review explaining more about this product and how much it has helped my skin.
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This next one is for the lips, but I also consider that part of the skincare because if your lips are dry it’ll completely draw the attention away from however perfect your skin may be. I’m very particular about lip balms and their texture. It’s very rare that I ever find one I’m super impressed with, but I have repurchased this Smith’s Lip Balm so many times I can’t even count. It doesn’t matter whether it’s their original rosebud salve (as shown below) or one of their scented versions, I think they’re all amazing. I put this on every night before bed and it keeps my lips moisturized all night long.
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I remember when I first started really getting into makeup and skincare and hearing how much everyone raved about the Clarisonic, but as soon as I found out how much they cost ($129+) my mouth dropped. There was no way I’d ever spend that kind of money on a face tool I’d only use a few times a week. So I got the Olay Pro X instead ($25) and have absolutely loved it these past 5 years I’ve had it. I use it twice a week with my exfoliator and it leaves my skin feeling so refreshed. It can be a little addicting at first, but I don’t recommend using it every day because that can cause some sensitivity and irritation.
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I’ve mentioned this a few times on my blog and it was even one of my very first posts I ever published. This Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay mask has changed my life, I kid you not! It is extremely intense, but it seriously works wonders. After using it twice a week consistently for 3 years, I’ve noticed a huge change in my skin. My pores aren’t as large as they used to be, my skin isn’t as oily, and I don’t have as much hyperpigmentation. I definitely recommend using it with apple cider vinegar rather than with water because that will provide more benefits for your skin. If you have sensitive or dry skin, you could totally use this too and just apply a very nourishing moisturizer afterwards.
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The last two products that I want to mention are spot treatments. My first favorite is the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion. I just discovered it this year and can’t believe I’ve gone so long without it. It claims to heal blemishes overnight, which sounds like a total scam but is actually completely true. I mentioned in my full review of this product that it only has 10 ingredients with the first being isopropyl alcohol, so it does have a strong smell until it dries. I use this the second I start to see a blemish pop up and catching it early really is key. I’ve had their drying cream before and it’s definitely not the same, make sure you get the drying lotion.

The second product I like is the Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment. It’s definitely not my favorite because it doesn’t work as fast as the Mario Badescu, but I always keep it on hand because it’s a clear formula which means it can be worn under makeup. Since the Mario Badescu treatment has a pink color to it, it’s very obvious and can only be worn at night. The Clean & Clear is what I’ll use when I have places to go.
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There are a few other skincare favorites that I have, but these are my most used products that have really made the biggest difference on my skin. I chose to only include products that I always have in my bathroom and keep backups of just in case. I think the one that surprised me the most is the Cetaphil cleanser because I really didn’t expect such amazing results from it, but I definitely don’t think I could choose just one favorite. They’re all miracle workers!

If you found this helpful, please feel free to hit one of the share buttons below to help others find their problem skin solutions! Have you used any of these products before? What skincare item has changed your life?

~Mani Monday~
This is one of my favorite colors for Summer that I haven’t really worn too much this year. I love bright pastel shades that emphasis a beautiful tan. This polish is from the Ulta brand and is called Life’s A Peach. I think I’ve only worn this once or twice before and I don’t know why because I think the color is so much fun. I’ve had really good luck with the quality of Ulta polishes in the past, but this one is really streaky to apply.
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What’s on your nails this week?

~Christina~

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