Just a quick disclaimer. I am not a skincare expert. I have just done a ton of research over the last several months, and these are my findings. Obviously if you are having some severe skin things happening you should not take my advice. Also, no one’s skin is the same and what works for my skin may not work for yours. As they say over at Reddit, your mileage may vary (YMMV).
So I have totally overhauled my skincare routine over the past few months and I am seeing a noticeable difference in the tone and texture of my skin. My friends seem to be interested in it, which leads me to believe more people may be interested in it, so here I am.
What started this new skincare routine for me was stumbling across reddit’s skincare addiction subreddit (reddit.com/r/skincareaddiction). I have been pretty diligent with moisturizing and sunscreen over the past few years, but that was pretty much the extent of any routine. But I do have some skin things that I wanted to improve, mainly even out my skin tone, tame my shininess, and be proactive about fine lines and wrinkles now that I am in my 30s.
My skin type is combination. I am super oily in my T-zone (I can get VERY shiny on my forehead, nose, cheeks and chin, I have talked about this because I had to get my passport photo retaken like three time because my face was too shiny), but I also tend to get dry, especially in the winter. Acne has never really been a big concern of mine (lucky, lucky, lucky me, I know), but I do get the odd zit that I would like to take care of.
Since I have started my new routine, the biggest changes I have been noticing is how less shiny my face is at the end of the day, and how bright and even my skin has been lately. Evan even commented on how bright and clear my skin looked, and it was on the way back from the cottage when I was wearing zero makeup whatsoever. So that made me feel like what I’m doing is actually noticeable to other people.
Note that I researched things specific to my own skin, but no matter what your skin issues, here are some general takeaways that are applicable to everyone.
1 Sunscreen, sunscreen, suncreen.
The general consensus is don’t even bother doing anything else to your skin if you are not going to put on sunscreen. It is the single most important thing you can do. Skin cancer, sunspots, wrinkles, discolouration, unevenness…be proactive with the sunscreen. For years I have been using a moisturizer with an SPF, but apparently that isn’t even good enough. Moisturizers do not have enough sunscreen in them for full coverage, and you have to put on so much moisturizer to get the proper amount of sunscreen on your skin. It gives you a false sense of security. So now I use a separate sunscreen on top of my moisturizer, every single day. Also make sure to find one that protects against both UVA/UVB rays.
2 Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.
There are endless benefits to moisturizing your skin. I won’t get into them all, but even my 101-year-old Nana who has the most amazing skin claims that it’s because she has been using Olay moisturizer every day of her life.
That is her on her 100th birthday (she will be 101 in two weeks and she is still looking just as good!). It might be genes (I sure as hell hope it’s genes because I would be happy to have skin like that when I’m 70), but whatever is going on there, I am taking her advice.
3 Don’t put lemons anywhere near your face!
Stop it with the lemons! I see all these homemade face masks around the internet that include lemon juice and no! It is bad! Lemons are highly acidic and really mess with your skin’s natural pH balance. They also make your skin more sensitive to sun. No lemons.
4 St. Ives Apricot Scrub is a no no.
It’s becoming more well-known that St. Ives apricot scrub is no good. I used to really love this stuff years ago, and I would just slather it on my face and rub it around (vigorously like an idiot) because I thought it made my skin feel so soft afterwards. But apricot scrub has jagged pieces of walnut in it, which tear the delicate skin on your face. Use it on your feet, not on your face. Sugar can also tear your skin. I have been avoiding physical exfoliation altogether for months now, and have switched to a chemical AHA exfoliator, which is much more gentle.
5 Don’t fall for gimicky products that claim to shrink pores. Also, Biore pore strips can permanently stretch the size of your pores.
Your pore size is part of who you are. You can’t shrink them. You can reduce the appearance of them, but likely not with the products that claim to do so. Also, Biore pore strips may give you the temporary satisfaction of unclogging your pores (believe me, I know how satisfying it is to look at one of those things after it has come off your face), but they can permanently stretch your pores and actually make them bigger. And whatever they were clogged with is going to come back. Most “blackheads” are actually sebaceous filaments, and they are completely normal skin happenings. Everyone has them. To dislodge the gunk in there, there are much more natural solutions that can help, like the oil cleansing method, or OCM. If blackheads are a concern of yours, I’d read up on OCM (go here).
6 Don’t squeeze your pores.
Same thing, you can alter the size of your pores and cause permanent damage.
7 Patch test new products. And don’t try a ton of new products at once.
I know how exciting it is when you discover new products and you want to try them out. But be patient, patch test, and introduce one new product at a time. This way if you skin reacts negatively you can pinpoint a particular product. And patch test because you don’t want to bring on a crazy breakout or a rash.
8 You don’t need to buy expensive skin products.
9 You don’t need a separate eye cream.
Just make sure you are moisturizing under your eyes and you should be good.
10 Consistency is key.
You are not going to see results overnight. But over time yes. Just be patient, and keep it up.
Alright, so here are the products that I use.
- JOHNSON’S baby oil
My routine is this:
Splash with water (I cleanse at night so I don’t use a cleanser in the morning because overcleansing can cause my skin to produce more oil, which I do not want, but I will cleanse if I went to the gym that morning and was all sweaty).
Moisturize with Olay Fresh Effects Dew Over gel moisturizer. I freakin’ love it. It has a cooling effect and it absorbs quickly. I chose a gel moisturizer over a cream because it is better if your skin is oily. I am also privy to Olay products because my Nana loves her Olay moisturizer so much, and at 101 her skin is to die for.
Sunscreen. I use Neutrogena Dry Touch Ultra Sheer and I really like it. It absorbs into my skin quickly, doesn’t leave it greasy, only has a very slight white cast, and it sits well under makeup (I just use powder). I don’t LOVE it though, so I am on the hunt for another one once it runs out. I have heard really good things about Biore Watery Essence, so that’s probably what I’m going to try next.
Remove makeup and oil massage for one to two minutes with JOHNSON’S baby oil. You can virtually use any oil for this (olive oil, sunflower oil, etc). I have tried it with coconut oil also but it broke me out pretty bad. So far that has not happened with baby oil (if your skin is sensitive to fragrance you can try the unscented one). It seems counterintuitive to put oil on your face when you skin is oily, but OCM is recommended for oily skin. Usually if your skin is oily it actually means it’s dehydrated, so over-cleansing and using products geared towards oily skin (which are about removing oil and therefore stripping your skin of its natural oil) can actually make oil production worse. I didn’t even realize my skin was oily because it was dehydrated until I found out about OCM. It’s made a HUGE, HUGE difference for me, so I recommend looking into it if you are oily or acne-prone. You may even get grits (when all the gunk in your pores gets dislodged, read more about that here.)
Gently wipe off oil with damp wash cloth.
Cleanse with Olay foaming face wash (I love the smell so much).
Rub St. Ives Exfoliating pad, which contains AHAs rather than salicylic acid, on face and neck (I will then brush my teeth while I let this dry). Basically you can read about why I switched from physical exfoliation to chemical exfoliation here (Stridex Maximum Strength is also really popular if you tend to be acne-prone).
Vitamin C serum – I am using the OZ Naturals one because it had amazing reviews on Amazon, but Reddit users usually recommend Paula’s Choice. I’m using this because Vitamin C serum is known for reducing brown spots and scars (I have a small acne scar on my temple that I’m trying to get rid of), and generally brightening your skin tone. Read more here. My skin is definitely brighter and more even, as I mentioned, but I really feel like it’s a combination of the exfoliating pads, the OCM with baby oil, and Vitamin C.
Moisturize, still with Olay Fresh Effects Dew Over. In the winter I might need a heavier one, but it’s working great for now.
And that is it. The PM routine seems like a lot but really only takes me about 10 minutes. I have been consistently doing it, unless I am sleeping over somewhere, and then I usually do a pared down routine of just cleanser and moisturizer.
I seriously cannot recommend Reddit Skincare Addiction enough. Check out the beginner’s skincare routine for more info. My skin has never been so clear!
Not perfect, obviously, but I am happy.
Note: affiliate links appear in this post, which means if you buy anything I’ve linked to through Amazon I get a small kickback. I have an elderly cat to feed, so I appreciate your support!