Skin care has literally always been something that I’ve struggled with. My skin has never been horrible but I have had issues with texture and occasional breakouts. My thing with breakouts, to this day, is that when they happen… they happen. Like full force. I very rarely get one blemish. Instead, I get 5 blemishes. Even worse, I’ll get one blemish that will start to heal and then the next day I’ll get another blemish and then this turns into the routine for about a whole week. Blemish after blemish after blemish.
I’m sure that my diet and overall health contributes to it… While I try to take care of my skin from the outside, the ONLY thing I do to take care of my skin from the inside is stay hydrated. And I stay hydrated af. I’ve talked about the importance of this before in numerous posts (you might like this one this one about how to relieve anxiety).
But other than that, I eat what I want when I want + I don’t work out + I stress out + hormones. So it makes sense that my breakouts happen occasionally. Yes, I know. I need to Get. It. Together.
I’m sure if I implemented lifestyle changes along with this skin care routine that I’m on now… I would have near perfect skin. “Perfect” is a word I hate. Let me change that to “blemish free”.
Because let’s be real here: it happens.
You will break out. There IS a rhyme and reason behind it… But a majority of the time it’s out of your control. However, a good skin care routine CAN save you 95% of the time.
So if you’re struggling, just know it can get better! You just need to commit to finding what works for your skin!
The problem is, what works for your skin most likely won’t be the same thing that works for my skin, or your best friend’s skin, or your sister’s skin. But by taking their skin type + their routine + your skin ALL into consideration, you can modify certain aspects and try to achieve your ultimate regimen.
And the important thing to remember, is that your skin care is going to be ever-changing. It needs to change over time to meet the needs of your skin as it evolves. Think of your skin care as a relationship. You need to meet it in the middle, combine both of your needs, and constantly learn + evolve.
For me, it’s gentle + simple products that work the best.
For as long as I can remember I had always used very harsh products on my skin because I thought that the “medications” and chemicals would help my skin. But really, harsh products made my skin worse. And I didn’t realize it! I was so ignorant thinking “why is this not working” and “omg my skin is getting worse I need more product” — no no no no nooo. I needed less product.
Parabens, mineral oil (paraffin), mercury based thimersoal, aluminum, triclosan, fragrances (parfum)… These are all ingredients that you can find listed on the back of your skin care or makeup.
They are also ingredients that are known to irritate skin, cause breakouts, lead to health problems + are possible or known carcinogens. You know I love my research.
So I’m going to leave this article here for you to read up on. It does an amazing job at explaining how to go about natural skin care, why you should make the switch, and goes into some really good details towards the end about all of the chemicals I listed above.
My research also informed me that there are over 1000 ingredients banned from cosmetics in Europe and ONLY 10 banned in the United States. Say what?? Just let than fun little fact resonate with you for a while.
Anyways, for the past year I’ve been using gentle products that I know I can count on at this point. While I’m definitely not at my “all natural” goal, my regimen is so much gentler than it used to be. So, yes. Some of my products still have the occasional “bad stuff” listed on the back. But it is a rare occurrence with me.
So let’s narrow it down and get into focus.
I’m going to give you the skin care tips that I know have helped my skin immensely and add in the products + techniques that I use to implement these tips into my own routine.
This post contains affiliate links, but you can trust that I only ever recommend products that I actually use, love, and trust. Check out my disclosure policy.
Tip 1: Use the simplest of simple to wash your face.
A good ole’ bar of soap is all I use to take my makeup off. Stop with the weird oil-based cleansers, the fancy makeup removers, the face cloths — just forget it all. Nothing has ever taken off my makeup quicker, gentler, and more efficiently than my bar of soap has. It isn’t all natural, but it’s SO gentle on my skin. Skin care is a give and take, remember? It’s like a relationship. You win and you lose some + you need to be flexible.
I also use an enzyme cleansing gel after I finish removing my makeup.
One mistake that I see a ton of people making, is thinking that their cleanser will remove all of their makeup. It won’t! It will look like all of your makeup is gone, but trust me… if you went in with a toner on a cotton pad, you would be amazed at how much product is still sitting on your skin. So, you need to remove your makeup and THEN use your cleanser.
Again, this enzyme cleanser is not all natural. However, it does contain some other great ingredients + papaya and grapefruit extracts. Alpha hydroxy acids are gentle exfoliators that are found in these fruit extracts which prevent dulling of the skin and the resulting breakouts.
The one thing that threw me off when I first started using this cleanser is that it is a gel. This means it doesn’t foam up. So, if you’re really used to foaming cleansers then you might feel like this cleanser isn’t cleaning your skin. BUT it is! And you can absolutely tell once you rinse your skin.
Tip 2: Do not ever forget to exfoliate.
I don’t like exfoliating products. They feel too rough on my skin, are drying, and almost always contain harsh chemicals that irritate my skin.
So instead of using exfoliating products, I use a Clarisonic Mia. Seriously, this thing is an absolutely miracle worker. The enzyme cleansing gel above is what I use with my Clarisonic.
I do this in circular motions all over my face (staying away from the sensitive area around my eyes) and go in upwards circular motions on my neck.
I do this every night because that is what I’ve found to keep the texture of my skin and large breakouts under control.
BUT if you’ve never used an exfoliating brush before then I suggest that try every other night to every 3 nights in order to see what you skin can handle. If you go crazy and overdo it then you can end up causing dryness or irritation on your skin.
I’ve found that if I don’t do this every night or AT LEAST every other night then texture, or small bumps + larger, deeper, under the skin breakouts will start to appear.
If you’re not about the price tag associated with a Clarisonic… I also have this budget friendly one and it works just as good for improving my skin texture (plus it has all the cool attachments included).
But I 100% stand by the Clarisonic being worth it simply because of the way the brushes rotate. The Clarisonic vibrates and goes back and forth in partial circular motions, while the budget friendly one rotates full circles.
Tip 3: I used to think a toner was pointless…
Rose petal witch hazel toner is amazing. It’s gentle, alcohol free (so it doesn’t dry out your skin), and is so refreshing. I use it every morning and every night (that I don’t do a mask) after washing my face + during the day sometimes when I start to feel too oily or when I’ve been touching my face exposing it to dirt and toxins.
This toner is so refreshing, smells like straight roses, and helps to improve the brightness of your skin and shrink your pores (I have another AMAZING pore shrinking tip below so keep reading).
So, like I said… I used to think a toner was pointless. But witch hazel proved to me that it is completely necessary.
Tip 4: Treat your breakouts! Don’t make them worse.
Do not touch, pick, pop (gross), or anything. Don’t do it. I know. Trust me, it may seem temping… but you need to remember that doing any of the above will 100% will make your skin worse. So try your hardest not to.
Instead, treat any breakouts with tea tree oil. It’s a zapper full of naturally antiseptic properties that will slow a breakout down, heal it up, and get you back to normal in no time.
The good thing about tea tree oil is that it can be applied in the morning under your makeup or applied at night before bed. It’s a serious miracle worker!
You can get my favorite concentrated tea tree oil here.
Tip 5: Use preventative measures and treatments — even if you don’t need them at the moment.
My favorite mask is this African black soap mud mask. It’s gentle, antibacterial, and is great for preventing and treating breakouts. It contains raw shea butter to moisturize and soothe, African black soap (natural remedy for oily and breakout prone skin), tea tree oil for breakouts (naturally antiseptic, remember?), and tamarind extract (a natural astringent to exfoliate and brighten skin).
It’s more of a liquid than most mud masks I’ve used and goes on the skin into a thin layer. It also doesn’t dry out completely and harden like most mud masks. Which I like! It feels more refreshing instead of drying and rough on the skin.
The directions say to leave it on for 10 minutes. But since it’s not super drying I leave it on for more like 30 minutes. If it was a thicker, tougher mask then you definitely couldn’t do that. But since you can leave it on longer, you’re giving the ingredients more time to work their magic.
Tip 6: Moisturizing is the trickiest + most important part.
Moisturizing is tricky because if you don’t moisturize enough you can get dry skin OR you can start to produce excess oils to compensate for the lack of moisture. But if you moisturize too much you can start to get clogged pores + extra oils = breakouts.
It’s a game that I honestly have not won yet. So, I’m not going to share a moisturizer with you. Simply because I only share products that I love, trust, and want you to try because they’re so beneficial. But I don’t feel that way about my current moisturizer. I don’t think it’s worth the cost.
So we won’t discuss it.
But we will discuss the importance of moisturizing and go over some things that I know work for me, or that I’m interested in trying.
Moisturizing is seriously the most important part of a skincare regimen. Without it you get breakouts from the buildup of dull and dead skin cells, with it you CAN get breakouts from excess oils clogging your pores. So it’s the trickiest part to master, in my opinion.
Having a moisturizer that is full of oils seems like a miracle worker for people with dry skin. But for people with oily skin, it seems like a disaster waiting to happen.
So moisturizers really are the ONE thing that you really need to match with your skin type. You also need to make sure that you’re applying SPF during the day to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.
I have oily skin to begin with and live in the most humid and sunny state ever. So by the end of the day, no matter what moisturizer and SPF I use, I’m going to be oily. It’s a fact of life I’ve learned to embrace.
But if I don’t moisturize at all or use a super lightweight moisturizer, my skin gets dry patches. So for me, I need my moisturizer to meet me in the middle.
I’ve been interested in oils for the skin for a while now.
Oils are becoming a huge trend and everyone is talking about their favorites. And I want to try them all! Coconut, rosehip, jojoba. I recently picked up some coconut oil and some rosehip oil and I’m so excited to learn + experiment with the pros and cons of each. I’ll keep you updated!
Currently, I’m in the middle of a coconut oil trial run. You will see a post on this next week. I’m using it as my only face moisturizer for 7 days and will let you know how it works for my skin.
Update: You can go ahead and check out the post on my experience with using coconut oil as a moisturizer on my face here.
I’m really interested in seeing if it’s too intense for me and clogs my pores, or if it will meet me in the middle and be just what I need since it’s not full of extra ingredients.
But what about morning and night?
Let’s talk about when I apply/do certain things in my skin care regimen.
In the morning:
Yep, ice rolling. I discovered it recently and I am 100% obsessed. I also do this later on in the day/night if I’m applying my makeup before going out or heading to dinner. It’s the pore shrinking tip that I mentioned above.
Ice rolling is AMAZING for skin. Like I said, it shrinks your pores but it also has a ton of other added benefits. Closing up your pores means less room for dirt and toxins to make their way into your skin + the coldness of the ice wakes you up and refreshes you. Your eyes get brighter, your skin gets firmer and stronger, fine lines become less noticeable. And it works wonders for any type of redness and inflammation — whether it be blemishes or tired eyes. It also makes your makeup go on SO SMOOTHLY. It’s magical, honest.
And here’s the thing. You can do this for free with ice cubes from your freezer or you can buy an ice roller for under $15. Both are amazing options. It just comes down to a matter of convenience.
Ice cubes melt and cause water to get everywhere while you’re running it on your face and neck. Ice rollers don’t do that and the cold lasts for a little bit longer. But ice cubes are a little more intense, which I like.
Either one, all you need to do is take the roller or the cubes and rub them all over your face and neck for as long as the cold in the roller lasts or as long as it takes for your ice cubes to melt. I like to focus under my eyes and on my cheeks.
Tip: When I use ice cubes, I wait until after I’m finished ice rolling to moisturize.
Because putting ice on your hot face = melting ice. So if you did this after your moisturizer, it would just all wash away with the ice water.
Morning time is when I also choose to use eye masks (these are what I’m currently using).
Hack: keep your eye masks in the fridge if you use them in the morning.
Having a cold eye mask will brighten your eyes, wake you up, and make you feel refreshed… if the ice rolling didn’t already do that.
I use my bar of soap to get rid of my makeup, then I use my cleanser with the Clarisonic. When I get out of the shower, I use my witch hazel (if I don’t do a mask) and apply my moisturizer + lather some lip balm or oil onto my lips.
If I do a mask, I always do it after I’ve cleansed my skin in the shower. I let my Clarisonic do all the dirty work that way when the mask goes on it can dig deep into my pores and treat my skin there instead of sitting on top of stuffy pores and drawing out dirt the entire time.
All in all, I keep it relatively simple when it comes to my skin care.
As I do with all of my routines.
When you make it difficult, it’s harder to commit to doing it every AM + PM. And skin care is something that I literally ALWAYS do no matter how sleepy, hungover, rushed, or just over it I am. But if I had a regimen loaded up with 20 different products… I doubt I could stand by that statement on my worst days (probably not even on my best days).
So take my product and application regimen as inspiration. Learn your skin type. Learn what your skin needs to be healthy and in tip-top shape. And give that to it!
Check out my Pinterest for a whole board of other makeup and skincare tips, ideas, and inspo + pin this post if you liked it or learned something new or noticed a product you want to try out.
Let me know if you have any other tips or similar products I might be interested in!