I have struggled for years with my skin, mostly with acne and post-acne scarring. Over the past couple years, early signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles have been thrown into the mix, so I’ve needed to re-evaluate how I care for my skin. A lot of products for acne can leave the skin feeling dry, which is not ideal for aging skin. I’ve been using my current skincare regimen for about a year, and have seen great results. Honestly, no one had ever complimented me on my bare skin until I started using these products on my dry/combination skin.
I curated this collection over time, with a lot of trial and error. My objective was to find good quality products that were as affordable as possible. It is seriously insane how expensive some skincare products are! My general rule of thumb for most (I said “most!”) skincare and makeup is that $30 usually indicates a product that is of a high enough quality to give positive results, while not being the absolute best of the best. Don’t get me wrong, I would LOVE to be able to afford the very best of the best, but at the end of the day I simply can’t maintain a regimen like that.
So take a look at my skincare routine below – I’ve also included a list of the actual products that I use at the end. The important thing to remember as you read is that everyone’s skincare needs are different! Maybe you get along just fine with a 3-step system, maybe your routine is 20 steps. Mine was inspired by the infamous 10-step Korean Beauty (aka KBeauty) routine and I absolutely love it.
Cleanse. The very first thing I do when I wake up is wash my face. I use a face wash formulated for dry skin, and this keeps my dry patches at bay while still removing oil from the places where I tend to get shiny.
Tone. After I pat my skin dry with a towel, I sweep a toner made for dry skin over my face using a cotton round. The toner I used does contain alcohol, so using the formulation for dry skin prevents my skin from getting too dry.
Moisturize. If I’m about to put makeup on, I’ll apply my moisturizer sparingly so that my skin doesn’t get too oily throughout the day. If I’m not prepping my skin for makeup, I moisturize a bit more liberally.
Pre-Cleanse. To dissolve all my makeup, I use a makeup-removing oil. I massage it thoroughly into my skin, and then rinse it off.
Cleanse 1. After the majority of my makeup has been removed in the pre-cleansing step, I wash my face with the same face wash that I use in the morning.
Cleanse 2. At this point, my face is pretty clean. I then do one more quick wash of my face with a salicylic acid wash. I let it sit on my skin for about a minute, and then rinse it off. I don’t use the salicylic acid was as a way to remove makeup, because too harsh of a cleanse can leave my face feeling dry, which in turn, can cause more oil and acne.
Tone. After the acne wash, I apply the same toner that I use in the morning.
Spot Treatment. Once the toner is dry, I apply an acne spot treatment where I need it.
Wrinkle Serum. Since my eyelids are so heavy, I have to make a conscious effort to open my eyes wider, which has created a few deep wrinkles on my forehead. I like to treat those with a serum, which helps soften their appearance.
Vitamin C Serum. Next, I apply a vitamin c serum. Vitamin C is great for lightening dark spots, acne scarring, and evening the skin tone.
Collagen Serum. Our skin loses collagen as we get older, causing fine lines and wrinkles. The serum I use contains ingredients to stimulate new collagen production and to smooth lines.
Moisturize. At night, I always mix hyaluronic acid with my moisturizer and let my skin drink it up while I asleep. Hyaluronic acid is seriously a game changer for the skin – it’s super light-weight yet intensely moisturizing. The best thing I’ve learned about my skin is that oiliness really can be helped with the correct moisturizer! Keeping your skin moisturized vs too dry can eliminate the need for your skin to produce as much oil.
Manual Exfoliator. Exfoliating is super important for revealing your best skin in general, but even more so if you wear a full face of makeup regularly. Twice a week – or three if my face is feeling nasty – I use a exfoliating pad with green tea in circular motions all over my face for 3-5 minutes. I do this at night, after cleansing and before toner and it really helps my skincare products to penetrate my skin more thoroughly.
Masks. I have a few different masks – one for acne/blackheads, a moisturizing mask, and a brightening mask. I mask a couple times a week, and the one that I pick depends on what I feel like my skin needs. I mask after the manual exfoliator and before toner.
Pore Strips. If I have them on hand, I’ll get rid of some blackheads on my nose with a pore strip. The strips get the job done well, but they are also pretty abrasive and difficult to put on when you have 3 piercings in your nose – so I’ve been sticking to masks lately.
- Cleanser: Liquid Facial Soap in Mild by Clinique, $18.50,
- Acne Cleanser: Acne Solutions Cleansing Gel by Clinique, $21
- Toner: Clarifying Lotion 2 by Clinique, $16
- Acne Spot Treatment: Acne Solutions Clearing Gel by Clinique, $18
- Wrinkle Serum: Deep Wrinkle Serum by Roc, $24.99
- Vitamin C Serum: Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Serum by Klairs, $23
- Collagen Serum: Time Stop Collagen Ampoule by The Plant Base, $29
- Hyaluronic Acid: Waterfall Moist Balanced Hyaluronic Acid 100 by The Plant Base, $23
- Moisturizer: Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel by Clinique, $28
- Manual Exfoliator: Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Green Tea by Neogen, $27
- Moisturizing Mask: Black Sugar Strawberry Wash-Off Face Mask by Skinfood, $11.50
- Brightening Mask: I Dew Care Disco Kitten Mask by Memebox, $23
- Acne/Blackhead Mask: Purity Made Simple Pore Extractor Exfoliating Clay Mask by Philosophy, $35
- Pore Strips: Deep Cleansing Pore Strips by Biore, $7.99
If you’re wondering what order you should apply your skincare products in, the general rule of thumb is to apply them from thinnest formula to thickest formula. That way, the thinner formulas (e.g. serum) can absorb into the skin as easily as possible without getting blocked by a thick product (e.g. moisturizer).
Thanks for reading,