And I have to say: I’m blessed. Truly, seriously lucky to have amazing, clear skin. I’ve got cellulite for days on my thighs, my vision is failing drastically at 23 and my bottom teeth are all kinds of crooked, but my skin has managed to stay consistently fab all these years (thank goodness!)
I know a lot of people struggle with skin issues. Let’s face it: the world is a judgmental place, and skin is one of the first things we notice on a person physically. Whether or not they take care of their skin, whether or not it’s clear or clean. And the majority of the time, people cannot control what their skin looks like or even what it does. While I cannot change your genetics, I can offer you a little insider information as to what I use to keep my skin in check… and I seriously hope if you’re struggling to find a skin-care routine that works for you, that perhaps my golden skin stars can save you time, hassle, money, and the skin you’re in!
These products are tried and true and absolutely what works wonders for me. I’ll walk you through product-by-product and break down their essentials and why I love them so much. I hope you find a new favorite in one (or all!) of these products, too!
Clinique was a brand my mom introduced to me at a young age. Despite my grandmother’s valiant efforts to keep sunscreen persistently slathered on me during hot Sacramento summers, let’s face it: I was sunburned a handful of times. My mom’s solution was Clinique’s Dramatically Different Lotion, the one in the yellow bottle. It soothed my skin like a tall, icy glass of moisture and from that point forward, I was a die-hard Clinique fan.
If there’s just one product I hope you guys take away from this post, it’s this one. Clinique’s Mild Facial Soap is a serious life-saver and I could not live without it. There’s no substitutions here and I positively swear by it. Their hard-milled soap cleans skin gently and doesn’t leave a moisture-zapped tout or dry feeling behind. It works up to a nice, bubbly lather with an undetectable scent and whisks the day away (on your skin, of course). I shower once a day and typically at nighttime. I use this soap nightly after removing my makeup with a makeup towelette. I wet my face with warm water, then work the soap into a lather, rubbing it in gentle, circular motions over my face. I let the soap sit for a couple seconds before gently rinsing it off. Easy-peasy!
This soap is a favorite because: it works. My sweet then-teenage brother didn’t get the same clear skin and had some pretty bad acne growing up. After unsuccessful attempts with a three-step product that shall not be named, I finally goaded him into trying this soap. Within a week, his acne had reduced at least 50%, and after regular use within a month his acne was gone. Not even kidding you, people. This soap is gentle enough for everyday use, yet effectively deep-cleans and moisturizes your skin, preventing bacteria and oils from clogging your pores. *Note that we use the Mild Soap, so if you have oily or combination skin, Clinique will likely recommend a corresponding soap to tackle those particular issues.
Don’t be fooled by the name: this ain’t no lotion. More like a toner with a very strong alcohol smell, you’ll probably briefly question if perhaps you grabbed the nail polish remover instead. Don’t fret, because despite the potent odor, this toner works like a dream. It effortlessly sweeps away dull, old junk to reveal fresher, newer skin in a matter of seconds. And it provides a taut yet supple finish that helps prep the moisturizer (aka, step 3) to do its job.
Again, much like the soap, I have found success with this Mild Clarifying Lotion because it really does two things for me. First and foremost, it works. But second, it offers the morbid weirdo in me some extra assurance that it’s doing the job. Despite removing my makeup with a makeup towelette and rinsing my face with soap, I’ll still soak a cotton ball in this powerful toner and wipe away extra muck and grime I didn’t know was lurking there. When the cotton ball wipes away clean, I know for sure my face is squeaky clean without feeling like I rubbed it with a brillo pad.
Much like the mild soap, Clinique has different options for their Mild Clarifying Lotion depending on your skin type. I find mild is perfect enough for everyday use for my particular skin type, but my mom swears by ‘2’ which is for the drier skin.
I stumbled upon this miracle acne gel after reading about it in Seventeen Magazine approximately ten or more years ago. If you’re human and even a human with near-perfect skin, you’ve had a surprise pimple pop up at the worst times… typically before a big event like a dance, your wedding, a date, or a presentation. Samesies, man. And after reading about this miracle gel I figured I’d give it a try after a particularly ugly son-of-a popped up abruptly one day (thanks, hormones). Reluctant, I gave it a try and lo and behold, it worked.
This gel is a serious lifesaver in those “oh crap, there’s one!” times. I dunno about you, but those times typically pop up.. well, you know what I mean, ladies. ANYWHO. When I feel one coming on, I’ll dab a little more toner there to help open up the pores better, then apply this gel right on top. I can feel it sink into my skin and by the morning, the pimple is dramatically reduced if not completely gone. And if you don’t feel one and it just up and appears, dab this gel on it morning and evening (after your skin care regimen) and it should dramatically reduce or disappear by morning.
Not to sound like your mom, but dammit, do not forget sunscreen! You can buy the most expensive creams, serums and Botox on the market but if you don’t wear sunscreen, you may as well just flush your cash down the toilet, dude. I don’t care if sunscreen wasn’t invented when you were a kid, or if no one wore it when you were a teenager. I don’t care about your stories of sitting on the beach rubbing olive oil all over yourself to get a tan, or how you used to hop in tanning beds *shudder* to look bronzed. It’s 2014, and each year, there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of lung, colon, breast and prostate cancers. DUDE. And a HUGE part of your risk could easily be eliminated by wearing sunscreen.
I still hear people bitching about sunscreen, but it isn’t the thick, chalky, greasy goop they used to make. Sunscreens nowadays are so technologically advanced, they’re definitely smarter than your fifth grader. They have sunscreen in aerosol cans so you can effectively coat your own back without going into some funky yoga pose. They have sunscreen in lip-balm-sized sticks to rub in on the go. They have sunscreen baby wipes and gels. And they have seriously revamped the classic sunscreen lotion to be ultra sheer, dry, unscented and non-greasy, so there is no excuse not to wear it.
I wear this Neutrogena Sunscreen on my face every day, rain or shine. I apply a nickel-sized amount (larger if it’s super sunny) all over my face, blending it in with small circular motions. I allow it to sit for a couple minutes before applying my makeup as usual. This sunscreen is ultra dry and sheer so it doesn’t leave a weird, greasy residue or turn your makeup chalky or clumpy. It looks virtually undetectable on your skin, yet you’re completely covered. I always aim for at least SPF 45, but typically buy SPF 70 because I’m a paranoid freak and don’t like tanning or being out in the sun much anyways.
And yes, I absolutely apply sunscreen to my entire body on the daily. For this, I really like Banana Boat Ultra Sheer SPF 50. Unlike Neutrogena’s, this formula is thicker (as it is more intended for the body rather than face) but it dries quickly, applies sheer, and doesn’t leave a weird, filmy residue on your body or hands. Love it.
As I mentioned prior, Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion is like a tall, icy drink of moisture on your skin. The classic yellow lotion is lightweight and virtually fragrance free, offering a thick layer of moisture that feels surprisingly sheer. I really despise lotion that leaves a greasy residue or that doesn’t penetrate the skin quickly, but this lotion avoids both of those issues by absorbing quickly without any weird feelings.
After rinsing my face with Mild Soap and toning it with the Clarifying Lotion, I then apply a thin layer of the Moisturizing Lotion all over my face. It helps keep my skin soft and supple and keep that moisture barrier plenty high so my skin doesn’t dry out. This is especially helpful in the winter months when I tend to apply a little more lotion to prevent dry spots, which I tend to get if I slack on my moisturizing.
For the longest time, I didn’t wear foundation because I had the idea that it was this thick, cake-battery substance that made girls look disgusting (sorry, high school classmates). But after a particularly gnarly blemish would not leave my face alone, I was at my wit’s end and happened upon this BB cream by Benefit. Thinking it would be just as heavy as a Funfetti cake batter, I was reluctant but very pleasantly surprised at its texture and laundry-list of pluses.
First, it controls oil which thankfully, I don’t have much of a problem with. During the summer, I sweat like everyone else, but this BB cream stayed put without appearing clumpy, beaded, or streaky. It just continued to provide a thin coating of protection without making me look gross or wet (yuck). Second, it has SPF 35 which is awesome for a foundation, especially one as lightweight as this is. Third, the coverage is perfect for me. It applies as a liquid yet dries as a powdery, light finish that doesn’t look or feel heavy and is virtually undetectable. It still allows my freckles to peek through (one of my requirements, as I don’t like hiding them) and still makes my face appear fresh and breathable… not masked under a pound of foundation.
Generally, I only apply a miniature-M&M-sized amount on my face daily, but if you need more coverage, you could totally build this formula up for a more moderate coverage (however, I like mine ultra-light coverage). I use a standard foundation brush (nothing too fussy, just something I picked up from Sephora) and kind of feather it out in small strokes all over my face, alternating with little circles to prevent it from appearing streaky. If I have a particularly pesky blemish, I’ll apply Benefit’s Boo-Ing concealer over it after applying this BB cream. The result is a fresh-faced, perfectly flawless looking finish that I totally love.
This picture is a couple years old, but it was still back when I was staunchly against foundation… so, in this picture my actual face (obviously not eyes) is virtually makeup free. All that’s there is my SPF and a very light tap of some cream blush on the apples of my cheeks.
Again, I must reiterate how important sunscreen is. Not only will it prevent you from skin cancer (which should be one of the main reasons you use it!) but it also protects against free-radicals, age-spots, dark spots, dry skin patches, and wrinkles. I take great pride in knowing that I will age much better than other girls my age simply because I use sunscreen. I also like knowing that my face won’t be mistaken for a baseball mitt as I get older.
Obviously since I’m still younger (23) I haven’t really delved into the realm of anti-aging skincare. By the time I’m 25, I’m going to start slowly introducing some anti-aging products into my regimen to help further prevent wrinkles and the like, perhaps starting with an eye-cream to reduce fine lines and crows feet. For this, I’m scoping out Clinique’s All About Eyes formula, which also helps reduce puffiness and dark circles (yay!). I’m also loving the science behind Origins Plantscription Anti-Aging Serum which is jam-packed with anti-aging plant extracts to create a seriously potent cocktail for your skin. The matching eye cream and lotion look promising, too! Likewise, I’ve also heard stellar things about Avon’s ANEW line.
Anywho, I hope this post has helped you find some new favorites or think more about taking care of your skin. It’s never too late to start taking care of your largest, most visible organ, and you should absolutely start if you’ve been neglectful in the past. While I can’t guarantee that using these products will grant you perfect skin, I can guarantee that they will help you protect yourself, build up your moisture barriers, offer defense to junk in the world, and make you feel more beautiful and confident!
Have a beautiful day!!
Disclosure: I was not provided with any of these products to review, but if these lovely companies would be so inclined to send me free products, I would be pretty stoked. Also, please note that these are MY PERSONAL OPINIONS and what has worked for me. I am not a dermatologist and if I was I would probably have a yacht. But since I do not have a yacht, therefore I am not a medical doctor and can’t offer you skincare advice. Consult your physician before starting any new skincare regimen if you’re unsure.