The journey to finally getting clear skin has been, well, a journey. From trying every over the counter acne product that claims to tame breakouts, to even using dermatologist prescribed products, my skin was never fully “clear.”
My skin care “routine” used to be washing my face once or twice a day, usually when I showered, applying moisturizer, then occasionally putting on spot treatment. In addition, I would exfoliate fairly often and use a facemask when I felt like it. The problem with this is that I had no set regimen that I would follow, and I would be introducing too many products to my skin at once. Consequently, my skin never really got better and I didn’t know why. Shouldn’t all the products be clearing my skin?
I eventually learned that my skin wasn’t clearing up because I wasn’t paying enough attention to it. The mix of products I was using caused more harm and resulted in more breakouts. So, I decided to do some research on skin care and try to figure out what a proper skin care routine is. This was news to me at the time, but I came across the types of products that should be used in a “basic” skin care routine. The websites I looked at and videos I watched made it seem like this routine was common knowledge, yet I never knew this was the so called “right” way to treat your skin. I ultimately decided to try this routine and my skin felt better instantly. I’ve only been following this routine for a few weeks, yet my skin has improved. It’s not 100% clear yet (and lets be real, no one’s skin ever is) but it’s improved immensely.
Here’s the steps I follow in my night routine, with products I use that won’t break the bank. It’s important to really care for your skin before you go to bed because while you sleep, your skin repairs itself.
Step One: Makeup Remover
I usually use Aveeno Ultra-Calming Makeup Removing Wipes because they’re gentle on my skin and aren’t overly expensive. Some recommend also using a cleansing oil to break down the makeup on your face.
Step Two: Face Wash
An essential part of taking off your makeup is doing a “double cleanse.” Using a makeup wipe simply isn’t enough because it doesn’t get all of the makeup off your skin. Use a gentle face wash to clean your skin. I use Aveeno Ultra-Calming Foaming Cleanser because it gets the job done.
Step Three: Toner
After cleansing I use toner to tighten and further clean my pores. I’ll pour some toner on a cotton pad and swipe it across my face in an upward motion to ensure that I really gets into my pores. Try using witch hazel or a Mario Badescu Toner.
Step Four: Serum
The purpose of using a serum is to further moisturize your skin and give it a firmer look, shrinking the appearance of your pores. There are many different types of serums to choose from, all with different benefits and purposes, but I’ve been using Trader Joe’s Hyaluronic Moisture Boost Serum (when doing my research, bloggers claimed this to be the “holy grail” of Trader Joe’s skin care line).
Step Five: Moisturizer
At night it’s important to use a cream thicker than the one you use during the day. The cream you use doesn’t have to be advertised as a “night cream,” but rather one of more substances. I use Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion.
Step Six: Eye Cream
When researching, many professionals recommended using an eye cream as you enter your early twenties. Doing so will not only benefit your skin in the long run, but can help reduce puffiness and dark circles. I use Clinuque’s All About Eyes Rich Eye Cream.
Step Seven: Spot Treatment
I used to think spot treatment should be applied before moisturizer, but it should actually be used after. If you apply it before, you run the risk of spreading it all over your face and drying out parts of your skin that you don’t want to. I use Clean and Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment, yet sometimes I’ll apply tea tree oil to my skin, which is a natural astringent. If using Tea Tree Oil be cautious because it is very strong, and may not work for everyone. People often break out from using Tea Tree oil because they use it in the wrong way and it over-dries your skin. To prevent this, make sure to dilute the oil with water and then apply to your skin. I usually use a damp Q-tip to apply the tea tree oil.
When I wake up in the morning, here’s what I do to my skin (and don’t worry, it’s less steps than during the night.)
Step One: Rinse Face with Cold Water
I simply rinse my face with cold water to wake my skin up. You can use a cleanser if need be, but I prefer to just use water because you don’t want to wash away all the work you did for your skin overnight.
Step Two: Apply Toner
Again, you want to do this for the reasons listed above.
Step Three: Apply Serum
You can use the same one used during the night routine!
Step Four: Apply Day Cream
As mentioned before, the cream you use during the day should be lighter than your nighttime one. I use
Neutrogena Oil-Free Face Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin because I find it works best for my skin. It’s lightweight, doesn’t clog my pores, and is fragrance free.
In addition to the routines, here are some other things you can do.
Be sure to exfoliate!
You don’t want to do this every day, but every few days be sure to work this step into your routine when you wash your face.
Use extra products only when needed
This goes for face masks, pore strips, etc. Yes, they are great for your skin, but you don’t want to use them too often.
Stick to what works
You don’t want to be using a mixture of a hundred different kinds of products. Find what works best and stick to using just that because introducing new products to your skin often can damage it.
Treat your skin from the inside out
Using topical treatment is just the start of skin care and the list goes on for what you can do in this step. But I recommend eating healthy, exercising, and drinking plenty of water. In addition, celery juice has also been known to help clear skin, so it couldn’t hurt to have some every once in a while.
When treating your skin, keep in mind that everyone’s skin is different–– this is what’s been working for me, but it could be totally different for you. Trust me, it’s so worth it to put the time in and find the products that work best for you.