Thank You to the Woman at Ulta Who Gave Me My Confidence Back

If you have any chronic skin issues --acne, eczema, dryness, psoriasis-- life can feel like a constant battle being fought with expensive creams and treatments. After my latest cystic acne flare-up which paired terribly with my winter eczema, I felt like I hit rock bottom and my confidence took a tumble.

Between acne gels meant to dry out the swollen lumps along my cheeks and my nose basically cracking no matter how much moisturizer I slathered on, my foundation and concealers were just not working. It looked like it was caked on (it was, tbh) and looked disgusting as my setting spray failed me by 11 am.

I was sitting in my car after a meeting, preparing to put on my usual second round of foundation for the day with my rearview mirror. At the peak of my latest breakout I was wiping off my foundation up to three times a day and reapplying it because I was so self-conscious. I looked in my bag to realize I had forgotten my foundation on my desk at home… well over an hour away with northern Virginia traffic.

Panic set it and I started to cry. Bloody, painful face and all.  

I had two hours between class and, absolutely desperate, drove to the closest Ulta. I wandered the aisles searching for my usual foundation shade when a kind employee saw me (and likely took pity on me). I explained my latest bout of acne and eczema, then asked if she had any ideas on how to help.

My only regret is not stumbling into the store sooner.

She sat me down and took off the last of my god-awful foundation. She chastised me for picking at my skin (again, guilty). She introduced me to this wonderful line by Dermalogica meant for people with sensitive skin and said their Calm Water Gel is her personal saving grace. We talked about brands and which would best fit the needs of my skin. I needed moisture, long-term wear and major coverage.

Although I had splurged on makeup before, I was nervous at the price tag of the NARS foundation she picked out. I was also doubtful anything could work better than the ten billion products I had tried before. She explained it had a primer built in and provided great long-term coverage without oxidizing (another constant issue I have with foundation).

The best part about the foundation and moisturizing gel are that they’re products where “less is more,” she explained. The more you pile on a blemish or scab without a moisture barrier, the quicker it will crack and rub off. She also taught me to use a stippling brush and to tap the product into the skin, something I had tried before because I’m a devout Beauty Blender girl. She explained my Shape Tape concealer was likely several shades too light and was actually drawing attention to the blemishes my making them brighter than the rest of my skin.

Life changing, tbh.

After setting powder and some highlight, she explained that contouring is great because it not only masks the blemishes that fall under the area that's contoured and they end up a little darker (which is easier to hide), it also completely draw attention away from the blemishes.

I looked in the mirror she handed me and wanted to cry again, but this time I was grateful. The swollen red scars, scabs and pimples were barely visible. My skin hadn’t looked this great since I was just out of high school and puberty hormones finally settled.

I thanked her an endless amount of times and headed to the checkout counter, armed with leftover Christmas gift cards, to buy my newest weapon in the battle against my skin.

This time, I think I finally won.