i’d struggled with acne from the time I was like, eleven.
actually, I remember the scent of using my first face wash at a sleepover in 5th grade, which is yeah, 10-11 years old.
and, any out-of-my-control acne issues were only exacerbated by my skin-picking tendencies, which is an anxious bad habit i’ve had for as long as i can remember.
my amount of “new acne” + irritated redness reached a new level of looking terrible after I went away to college
and i continued to try spot treatment after scrub of new products. i was grasping at anything that could possibly help make u-turns out of all my skin’s turns for the worse.
i remember walking into the college station ulta yet again one day, only this time, i was approached by a lady who i later learned was an ulta-employed skincare consultant.
she said she’d like to offer me some advice if she may, and i was desperate, so even in my then-fragile state i sucked it up and asked for constructive criticism on my skincare routine.
and she said, “you’re doing waaayyyyy too much.” she could see how red and inflamed and irritated my skin looked from 20 yards away.
she told me my new prescribed regimen was simple:
- a gentle cleanser, like cetaphil
- plain aloe gel as a soothing hydration serum
then, i added an eye cream into the mix my last semester of college. (after my makeup trial where the makeup artist told me the skin around my eyes was really dry and that the makeup would apply better the day-of if that area was better hydrated.)
speaking of hydration, drinking at least half your weight in pounds in ounces of water each day is great for your skin’s appearance and texture as well. (i.e. if you weigh 140 lbs, drink 70+ oz. of h2o every day.)
finally, as an adult a friend shared the magic of witch hazel toner with me, so that made it as my favorite skincare staple now for years running.
my new life philosophy
if there’s something you have to do regardless, or that you want to be doing as your ideal self, then how can you make it the most enjoyable for you it can possibly be? do it like that so that you’ll actually do it.
applying this to skincare, i decided that i must love the scent and texture and application process and results for everything i deem as worth my time to ritualize and actually buy + use on a regular basis.
my everyday skincare ritual
[ am ] morning routine
- witch hazel toner with aloe — apply with reusable cotton pads. i love thayer’s, but when my favorite lavender scent wasn’t available, decided to try dr. teal’s with rose and it’s lovely as well.
- aloe vera gel (mine also has tea tree oil in it which is a natural remedy for acne).
- eye cream — i found this e.l.f. eye cream as a dupe for kiehl’s eye cream with avocado (the one recommended to me by the makeup artist from my wedding). when this elf on my beauty shelf runs out, i want to try this one i recently discovered.
- moisturizer with spf 15 (or ideally 30+).
- NO face make-up.
just mascara + brows (and highlighter if i’m feelin’ fancy) if anything.
i’ve actually never liked face makeup just as a whole concept.
it feels heavy. it means i can’t touch my face as often as i’d like to as a characterized face-toucher. and, it rubs off. (used to be on other people’s clothes when i’d hug them, now it would just rub off on my mask.) so years ago, i’d said, “fuck off” to face makeup except for fancy-schmancy occasions.
and, how i know my skincare routine has been working for me is that i get more compliments on my skin now when i don’t wear makeup than i ever did in high school and college where i wore makeup most every day.
my 5 go-to “stop skin-picking” strategies to utilize throughout the day
- apply hand lotion containing aloe after washing hands
- put jojoba oil on my cuticles
- wear gloves or what i call finger condoms on my trigger fingers while writing or otherwise working on my laptop
- fidget toys to keep my hands busy while writing or watching netflix.
- i’d also include my adult coloring books in this category.
- my more “witchy” fidgets — aka crystals, worry stone necklaces, tarot cards, and more.
[ pm ] bedtime routine
- oil cleanse
- purpose face wash
- witch hazel toner
- aloe gel
- eye cream
- richer moisturizer
i heard about double-cleansing with an oil because of how “like attracts like,” oil cleansing in theory helps oily complexions to clear out blackheads. i just recently added this to my repertoire, and to be honest, i rarely actually do it… often i’ll just use face wash in the shower, or sometimes just straight to the witch hazel toner like the morning.
i love the scent of the purpose face wash so much. that very first face wash i remembered loving in 4th grade? this one right here. the soap at an rv campground last summer reminded me of the scent. which, in turn inspired me to reinstate it into my routine. plus, it’s super gentle for sensitive skin.
and lastly, nivea is a staple brand in our family. i remember as young elementary-aged kids, after bath time my sister and i would sing the nivea commercial song as we laid out our towels on the carpet and used them like exercise mats on which to apply our nivea body lotion. i found this specific product because it’s supposed to be a dupe for creme de la mer which is supposed to be the dest damn moisturizer ever.
photo by laura ockel on unsplash