Skincare Spotlight: What ACTUALLY Worked For Me (Products Linked!)
June 10, 2019
Hellerrrrr chicky babes! So a month-ish ago I posted on Insta that I was going to finally post my skincare routine. And because I am the worst procrastinator ever known it's taken me like a million years and multiple friends to remind me to get this up for y'all! So let's get started, shall we?
my skin now! Yes I def have makeup on but look how smooooooth
A little back story:
After I graduated college, I decided it was best for me to take a break from the pill. I had been on it since I was 14 for period cramps and I just felt like I needed a bodily reset and a moment to step back from it. About 6 months after I went off the pill, my life long perfect skin took a major left turn. My blackheads got worse, my pores became really enlarged and filled more quickly with funk, and I even - ew - got bacne (which I am still really struggling with- full transparency). But I really didn't want to go back on the pill for at least another year or two. I tried every fad product, facial, and peel under the sun. I tried only cold showers, only super hot showers, I tried the clay masks with 2,000+ 5 star reviews, I tried eating a plant based diet, I stopped drinking sodas, I reduced my dairy intake, drank green smoothies twice a day, I got 8+ hours of sleep, took my vitamins... trust me, when I said I tried everything I literally mean I thought I had tried EVERYTHING. And then, I was introduced to a miracle product.
Okay. I know it isn't mind blowing. Most of you reading this have probably either tried it or know somebody who has tried it. But most young people stop using retinol because many people have a very normal reaction to the chemicals in it that causes your acne to get worse for a bit from anywhere to a few weeks to a few months. If you are 20 years old or older, it's time to get some retinol not only just for acne but for anti-aging. I was incredibly lucky and my skin started to clear almost immediately but I have friends who say they had to use their retinol of choice for almost 6 months before their skin was really clear. Here are two different looks at my skin with zero makeup. The top two photos are pre-retinol and were taken about 2 weeks to a month before the bottom two photos while using retinol.
Okay my skin in the bottom two photos aren't perfect but talk about an INSANELY quick improvement! I immediately noticed that my pores tightened and my deep sebaceous plugs were loosening and basically disintegrating by the morning after application. It's really important to note that retinol is a product that most people need to be patient with. It takes time to see results for most people and you should start off only using it once a week for a month, and slowly, VERY slowly, work your way up to every night application. I could cry when I look back at the before and after pictures.
My skin has smoothed out SO much. Seriously my cheeks were so bumpy, these pics don't do it justice. I found this pic I think I sent my mom my first day back at work after coming home from Scotland in February to show her how sick I looked (lol- never not complaining) but I think what I noticed even more than how disgusting I looked was how bumpy, dry, and congested my skin looked. I think this was the day I texted my esthetician saying SOS all hands on deck I need a miracle, and holy shit did she provide.
Besides the help of my amazing esthetician and retinol which has been an absolute game changer for me, I've been more consistent with my routine. I like to give my skin what it needs when it needs it whether that means a break from the acids I use, extra moisturizer, or a face mask. I also have found it best to stick with a few amazing products rather than constantly trying something new. You know what they say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Here is a breakdown of what I like to use in order:
Gentle Scrub: contrary to popular belief, you absolutely can and should use a scrub on your skin especially if you have large and congested pores. Only once or twice a week after cleansing do I very gently massage Trader Joe's acai scrub (no link available- you can only get in store) into my skin for just a few seconds. Whatever the super fine grain texture doesn't get, the AHAs do!
Toner/Acid: I don't tone everyday like I should because I already use a lot of acids and retinols on my face and I don't want to dry out or burn. But a few times a week in the AM, I'll take a cotton pad and use Pixi Glow Tonic all over my skin. It'll burn if your skin isn't used to acids but after a few uses it won't anymore.
Mask: I only mask maybe once a month because the one I love is a product that requires some patience. Tata Harper's Clarifying Mask may be spendy but boy is it effective. After washing off and gently massaging the product into my face it is SO SMOOTH! But be warned, it DEFINITELY brings every little bit of grime up to the surface. Two weeks after application your skin will be legit flawless.
Last but not least, Moisturizer: In the AM, I am mixing Trader Joe's Aloe Gel moisturizer (again no link sorry!) with Dermologica's phyto oil. In the evening, I'll switch off between just the phyto oil or Cetaphil's hyaluronic acid night cream.
And there you have it folks! My skincare routine! Please note that this is what has worked for me and everybody is different! My esthetician Leslie has been my saving grace and has guided me in this journey. Please make sure you're going to a dermatologist regularly and making sure you are using products fit for your skin.