I had great skin in high school. Not to brag, but acne was not something I struggled with, and people used to ask what I used to do to keep my skin looking so good.
Then college happened.
College does not do great things for your skin. My acne erupted like no other, and huge welts covered my forehead, nose, and chin. It was ridiculous, embarrassing, and confusing. Even when I wouldn’t pick at them, the scars were inevitable. By the end of it, you could pinpoint every single pimple I had had on my face like a trail on a map. I refused to leave the house without makeup since I looked so atrocious, and my self-esteem was almost non-existent.
So, when I turned 21, I told myself I would make a change. Even though it was going to be a little pricey, I wasn’t a college student anymore, so it was time to make an investment in myself and in my skin. I put aside the money, put in the effort and commitment, and I swear to you, IN ONE YEAR, I was a completely different person. ALL MY SCARS had vanished and no one could even believe the “before” pictures. Once again, people started to ask me what I was doing to my skin to keep it looking so fresh and it was incredible. My skin looked even better than it did in high school, and for the first time in years, I felt confident enough to step out without makeup. It was enlightening, to say in the least.
Here is what I did and these are products that I swear by and that I will continue to use for eternity.
*Disclaimer: Once again, these are not affiliate links and I do not receive anything for anyone clicking on them nor am I sponsored in any way, shape, or form. I just provide them for your ease should you choose to purchase any of these products yourself.*
I’m going to start with my nighttime routine since it’s a little bit simpler and doesn’t really change. Here is what I do, in order.
First off, I wash my face with a cleanser. Personally, I recently started using the Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser ($25), which really deep cleans your face and your pores. But, before that, I used the Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit Oil-Free Acne Wash ($8). This was my cleanser for years and years, and works just as well. It also takes off your makeup like a dream.
Next, I tone my face with rosewater. Rosewater is known to help boost skin radiance, revitalize, and re-freshen. I get my rosewater toner from India, and unfortunately, it’s hard to find a good pure rosewater toner in the U.S. But, currently, I am testing out the Mario Badescu Facial Spray ($7), which is a good alternative. Or you can order pure rosewater from Amazon.
After that, I usually apply an eye cream. I used to use Tarte’s Maracuja C-Brighter Eye Treatment ($38), before switching to Kiehl’s Creamy Under Eye Treatment with Avacado ($29), and finally settling on Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Eye ($37). Even though I’m young enough that I probably don’t need an eye cream yet, I have seen a vast difference in my under eye circles, and you know what they say. Prevention is better than a cure.
Now, if you know me, you know that no skincare routine of mine can be complete without my beloved Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate ($48). I cannot say enough good things about this and this is the miracle stuff that made all my acne scars disappear. So that is what comes next. I take 3 drops (that’s literally all you need), rub it in my palms, and press it into my face. Do not rub onto your face! This stuff absorbs so quickly, that if you rub, you’ll lose most of it. Gently press into the different parts of your face, avoiding the eye area, and you’re all set!
Depending on the season, I will use a moisturizer on top, or stop here. If it’s fall/winter, I like to put on moisturizer at night because the environment is a little dryer. But, in the spring/summer time, the MRC usually provides enough moisture. Use your judgment here. If you feel like you need some more hydration, go ahead and wear a moisturizer. I usually use Burt’s Bees Brightening Even Skin Tone Moisturizing Cream ($20) or Pond’s Dry Skin Cream ($5).
Finally, I use the Hanalei Lip Treatment ($20) to keep my lips soft and hydrated. Again, you only need to tiniest bit of this and it will last you forever. Or, you can use any lip treatment or lip balm that works for you!
So here’s where things get a little interesting.
- 2 times a week, I will use an exfoliater/exfoliating cleanser
- 1 time a week, I will use a deep cleaning mask
- 1 time a week, I will use a brightening mask
- 1 time a week, I will use a toning mask
Now, the hard part is scheduling, since you don’t want to use an exfoliater the day after the cleansing mask, but you should do the toning and brightening masks after you exfoliate, and you don’t want to do any of these on the same day, blah blah blah. Here is how I set it up. You can use it and just shift the days to match your preference.
- Monday: Deep Cleaning Mask
- Tuesday: Normal Cleansing
- Wednesday: Exfoliate
- Thursday: Brightening Mask
- Friday: Exfoliate
- Saturday: Toning Mask
- Sunday: Normal Cleansing
Okay, now that that’s settled, here’s what I do for each thing.
Normal cleansing just consists of washing my face with my Clarins cleanser, using my rosewater toner after that, and then applying moisturizer. The moisturizer I use is the Yes To Cucumbers Daily Calming Moisturizer ($13) *.
*Note: This is the only day moisturizer I use, so hence forth, I will referring to it as “moisturizer”, “cucumber moisturizer” or “DCM”.
Deep Cleaning Mask
First I wash my face with my Clarins cleanser, before using the mask. The mask that I use is the Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay ($15). This stuff is super cheap and works. I take out 2 teaspoons in a small plastic container and slowly add in apple cider vinegar until it makes a smooth paste. I slather it all over my face and keep it on until it starts to hurt. It WILL start to hurt, since it’s pulling out all of the yuckiness from your pores. When it does, usually 15-20 minutes after you put it on, wash off with warm water. Then, I spritz on my rosewater toner, and apply my moisturizer.
Using an Exfoliator 2x a Week
The days I decide to exfoliate, I substitute an exfoliater to wash my face instead of my usually Clarins cleanser. The exfoliater I use is the Everyuth Naturals Exfoliating Walnut Scrub, which I get from India. But, you can also get it from Amazon, or there are a couple other scrubs that I like, such as the Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser with Tamarind ($25) which has cleansing pearls, or Dr. Brandt’s Microdermabrasion ($79) [expensive, I know, but I got a sample and it worked really well. A good dupe for this is the DermaE Microdermabrasion Scrub ($30)]. In essence, really any exfoliating scrub of your choosing will do, as long as it’s not too harsh on your skin.
Afterwards, I use my toner and finish it off with moisturizer.
Brightening and Toning Masks
On these days, I will wash my face like normal, then apply the masks. For brightening, I use the Yes To Grapefruit Pore Perfection Brightening Peel ($16). Simply rub this mask into your skin, leave it on for 10-15 minutes (you’ll feel it work), wash off, then apply toner and moisturizer.
For the toning mask, I use the Fresh Rose Face Mask ($62), that I received in the Sephora Birthday Gift for this year. Again, after washing, simply rub this mask in, leave it on for 10-15 minutes, wash off and apply toner and moisturizer.
I should mention that for the masks, if you’re feeling too lazy to apply them during the day since we are humans and have other things to do, you can also apply them at night after washing before the actual nighttime routine (aka before the toner etc.).
And that’s it! I know it may seem like a lot, but it really pays off. If you want your skin to look great, you have to put in the effort. Of course, don’t forget to drink lots of water, do some exercise here and there, and eat right as well. All of these add up!