My skin has always been one of my biggest insecurities. Ever since I was a teen, I’ve always had oily acne-prone skin. I’ve tried countless products–some effective and some not-so-effective–in order to find the right fit for me. Today, I continue to suffer from adult acne, but haven made great strides in not only controlling it, but also putting more emphasis on also trying to correct my hyperpigmentation from old acne. In this post, I will be discussing my current skin care routine (that I absolutely LOVE btw) as well as products that I have used in the past that have and haven’t worked for me.
**Disclaimer: If your skin is normal or dry, this post may not be completely relevant to you. However, some of the products are for all skin types and could possibly be used in your own skin care regimen, and as such, I will denote those particular products.
1. Start with a clean face.
I love makeup; it’s a fact. Nowadays, I only wear it about twice a week, if that, but on those days that I do wear it and am ready to take it off, I want to make extra sure that I get as much product as I can off of my face before cleansing it. I love to use makeup removal wipes + oil to remove my makeup. I know that putting oil on my face with oily skin seems counterintuitive, but if you use the correct oils in the correct way, they can actually be extremely beneficial.
My favorite makeup removal wipes are the Neutrogena Makeup Removal wipes. I’ll take one and pour some jojoba oil on top. Guys, I promise that this combination will remove 90% of your makeup with just one wipe before you even wash your face! My little sister also swears by the Sephora Collection Cleansing & Exfoliating Wipes in the fragrance ‘Coconut Oil’.
2. Oil Cleansing Method
This is an additional step that you don’t have to take, but it is recommended if you want to ensure that your makeup has been almost completely removed. I only do this on the days that I wear makeup or when it’s been an extra yucky day and need a bit more cleansing. This method is suitable for all skin types. Now, think back to your middle school science classes when you were studying mixtures and solutions. Your teacher would always say, “Like dissolves like.” This is the same principle behind the oil cleansing method. Here’s how you do it:
- Pour a generous puddle of oil into the palm of your hand (a little bit more than the size of a quarter). Rub your hands together to warm the oil up and then smooth it over your face.
- Massage the oil into your face for a couple of minutes. Not only will this remove makeup and dirt, but it will also help relax the muscles and tone the skin. Take your time, using slow and firm motions, to massage the oil deep into your pores. Take specific care to work any problem areas.
- Once you feel like your pores are fully saturated, pick up your washcloth and soak it in clean, hot (but not scalding) water. The warm washcloth will help open your pores and remove the oil. Place the washcloth over your face. Leave it there for 10 – 20 seconds to open the pores.
- Gently wipe the oil away and rinse the washcloth out. Wipe and rinse two or three times until you feel like the excess oil is off your face. Don’t scrub.
- If your skin feels too tight or dry when you are done, take a couple of drops of your oil blend and rub it between your hands. Then simply massage the oil residue onto your face.
It’s super simple, guys!
Here are a few oils that I would recommend using for the oily cleansing method:
I’ve spent hundreds of dollars over the years trying to find the perfect facial cleanser. Just to name a few, I’ve tried:
- Acne.org Cleanser
- African Black Soap
- Clean & Clear Deep Action Exfoliating Scrub
- Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser
- Fashion Fair Blemish Control Cleansing Foam
- pHisoderm Fragrance Free Cream Cleanser for Sensitive Skin
Some of these products worked well and others didn’t. However, I’ve found that several commercialized cleansers either dried my face out significantly or didn’t do a great job at making my face feel very clean.
Despite this, I currently use 2 commercialized cleansers that fit the bill:
Clean & Clear Essentials Foaming Facial Cleanser
I know that I just said that I’m not the biggest fan of commercial cleansers, but the Clean & Clear Foaming Facial Cleanser really works well for my skin type. It’s oil free and I genuinely believe as if it cleans my face. One of the best foaming cleansers that I have used (out of the above list of the cleaners that I’ve tried and discontinued) is the Fashion Fair Blemish Control Cleansing Foam; it is the most similar to this. What do they have in common, you ask? They are both foaming cleansers. I’ve found that those are the kinds of cleansers that work best for me–not cream or gel cleansers.
I use this Clean & Clear cleanser 4 times a week both morning and night. It is gentle enough for every day use.
Mario Badescu Skin Care Glycolic Foam Cleanser
Back at it again with another foaming cleanser. This one, however, serves a separate purpose. I was introduced to glycolic acid a few months ago. In simple terms, glycolic acid, or alpha hydroxy acid, is a powerful chemical exfoliator that helps bring new skin cells to the surface, which helps the complexion appear smoother. If you suffer from hyperpigmentation, glycolic acid is your BFF.
I use the Mario Badescu Skin Care Glycolic Foaming Cleanser 3 times a week, both morning and night–generally on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays–alternating with the Clean & Clear Foaming Facial Cleanser mentioned above.
Before I go into moisturizing, I want to introduce you guys to this game-changing product. I was a skeptic in the beginning, but I’m a believer now.
First, I’ll start off by saying that when I worked at Sephora, I was introduced to several skin care tools, including the Foreo Sonic Face Brush. For a while, I had been using this brush and it made my skin feel so smooth! But are you familiar with that moment when you think that what you have is great until you experience something greater? That’s how I felt when I was introduced to the line of spin brushes from Vanity Planet.
Many YouTubers rave about the Vanity Planet Spin for Perfect Skin Brush. I’m typically not the one to give into hype, but when it comes to my skin, I will try pretty much anything. This brush is AMAZING! If you don’t get anything else from this post, get this brush. It truly exfoliates your skin, getting deep into those pores and removing all of your makeup and dirt.
The Vanity Planet Spin for Perfect Skin Brush retails for $99.99, but if you use the discount code SH-FBPR-70, you will receive 70% off, making the brush only $30! It not only comes with 2 facial brushes, but also a pumice stone attachment and extra large body brush. After I’m done cleansing, my face feels unbelievably smooth and squeaky clean. It is worth the buy guys, I promise!
Up until this point, a lot of what I have mentioned has been commercialized products. However, I am a huge advocate for natural products, primarily because they are less harsh on my sensitive skin.
Both morning and night, I use an oil and an anti-inflammatory agent to moisturize my skin. First, I use an oil. As I mentioned in the oil cleansing section, my all-time favorite oil to use on my face is jojoba oil. Jojoba oil is a non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores) oil that has a huge range of uses and benefits. I take about 3 drops on a cotton ball and gently rub it all over my face. A little bit goes a very long way.
Acne.org sells one of the best organic jojoba oils that I have come across. An 8 oz bottle with last you months, possibly even a year.
Another great oil that I use (but recently just ran out of) is rosehip seed oil. It’s a little difficult to come by, but Vitamin Shoppe sells it. Both jojoba oil and rosehip seed oil are great for all skin types and provide just the right amount of moisture and hydration after your facial cleanse.
**Disclaimer: Before I digress, I want to mention that it’s extremely important to purchase pure oils only in order to receive the full effect of them. Don’t be tricked! Many oils in your beauty supply stores and shopping markets are not pure and have additives. Places like Whole Foods (in-store and online) and Vitamin Shoppe (in-store and online) are great places to find pure oils.
Next, I use aloe vera gel. Aloe vera gel has wound-healing properties and is also an anti-inflammatory substance. Additionally, it controls oil and aids in healing chronic skin problems like acne, eczema, and psoriasis. I just take another cotton ball and rub this all over my face after applying my oil. Though not required, I like to keep my aloe vera gel refrigerated. It feels SO refreshing when applied cold.
5. Spot Treatment
Now that I’ve cleansed/exfoliated and moisturized, I take a few seconds to spot treat those problem areas, whether it’s active acne/potential acne or hyperpigmentation.
If I have an active pimple or start to see one form, I will use tea tree oil. This stuff is so potent guys. I will take a couple of drops on a Q-tip and place in on those areas of my face. For safe measure, I typically just apply it all over my T-zone and jaw line which is where I tend to get the most acne. Use tea tree oil on an active pimple, and it will typically clear up in less than 48 hours!
Lastly, I use a fade cream for my hyperpigmentation. Being a WOC, I typically stick to fade creams that target the African American community. I currently use the Ambi Fade Cream. I will emphasize, I only use this to spot treat, applying only to those areas that are hyperpigmented, not to any other areas that are already clear. Not doing so will cause an uneven skin tone.
Very briefly, I will mention 2 masks that I alternate each week after I cleanse:
Bentonite Clay + Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 tbsp bentonite clay
- 2 tbsp activated charcoal (optional)
- 1 tbsp ACV
- 1 tsp tea tree oil (optional)
- 3 tbsp water
**Make sure that this mask is mixed in a non-metal container
Aloe Vera Gel + Raw Honey
- 1 tbsp raw honey
- 1 tbsp aloe vera gel
Whew…that was a lot, I know. This skin care regimen might seem very extensive to some, and by no means do you have to follow everything here, but my skin has improved drastically in past month from using all of these products in conjunction with one another, and continues to do so.
If you’re like me with sensitive, oily, acne-prone skin, I encourage you to give all or some of these products a try. You’ll be glad that you did!