In this blog post I will be talking about why it is important to work out a skin care routine tailored for your specific skin, and how I worked out what was right for mine. This post is a continuation of my previous post where I discussed my biggest skin care mistakes! So, please take a look if you’re interested in this topic!
After years of unsuccessfully trying to follow other people’s routines that claimed they would tackle my combination, rough, acne-prone skin, I finally started to see some improvement when I began doing a bit more research into the different ingredients in my skin care products. Although my head was spinning after just 5 minutes of all the skincare jargon, I decided that I needed to make some changes. The first thing I ditched was the physical exfoliant, and shortly after introduced The Body Shop’s Vitamin C glow protect moisturiser, and noticed that my skin felt softer, despite no longer exfoliating. This made me realise that until this point, I hadn’t been using a proper moisturiser; I was relying on gels and light lotions as I assumed I had oily skin. However, the opposite was true. I was drying out my face with the harsh products, without even having the decency to moisturise it properly afterwards. Despicable. Soon after, my skin started becoming less oily, and more combination.
The biggest change happened when a friend of mine recommended The Ordinary products to me. Because of The Ordinary’s affordability and good reviews (and sleek packaging, I must admit), I took the plunge and bought:
1. Glycolic acid 7% toning solution
Glycolic acid is an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) and is a chemical exfoliator like lactic acid. It exfoliates the skin much more gently than a physical exfoliator and tingles slightly on application (but it should not burn). This toning solution leaves my skin feeling smooth and supple, and so I still use it now. The toner minimised the appearance of my spots, my dryness and helped to lighten up some hyperpigmentation over time that was left behind after picking at pimples (don’t be like me; leave your spots alone). Switching from a physical exfoliator to a chemical exfoliator has been one of my biggest skin care wins.
For those with acne-prone skin, I would recommend a chemical exfoliator as the physical abrasion of a traditional physical exfoliator on active pimples can be quite damaging.
2. Salicylic acid 2% serum
Salicylic acid is a BHA (beta hydroxy acid) great for acne prone skin, as it dissolves the skin debris that clogs pores and causes acne. The salicylic acid serum was clear, and I applied to my most acne-prone areas. I used this serum until the bottle finished, which was over 3 months, but I did not see a difference in my pimples, so I did not repurchase.
3. Alpha Arbutin 2% serum
The alpha arbutin 2% serum is one of my absolute favourite purchases, ever. It is a light formulation which dries quickly, and it is clear like the salicylic acid. After using it for just 2 months I noticed that my acne scars and hyperpigmentation were fading- my skin was looking clearer and more even!
4. L-Ascorbic 100% powder (Vitamin C powder)
The vitamin C powder is designed to be mixed into serums, essences, lotions or creams, and is applied wherever you desire lightening, brightening and evening out of your skin tone. Although I did notice some of these benefits when I was using it regularly, it is quite bothersome to have to mix the powder with other products every single time you want to use it. I was using it every other night at first, but now I use it when I remember (which is less often than I’d like).
My foray into exploring The Ordinary’s products taught me a very important lesson. You have to look around and experiment to discover what works for you! Now I use a range of products from various different brands.
So, what’s my current skin care routine?
My day-time routine:
1. Carbon Theory bar soap: £6
Don’t panic! This bar soap is a facial cleanser in solid form; it’s not just your run of the mill bar soap that you use to wash your hands!
To use this, I just wet my hands, lather the bar, and use the foam to wash my face. It forms a gentle sudsy foam that is easy to work with.
+ Leaves my face feeling clean but not dry
+ Very affordable and lasts for months and months
+ You can now buy this in completely plastic-free packaging, including the shipping packaging!
2. The Ordinary’s Alpha Arbutin 2% serum: £7
I apply this to the areas I have hyperpigmentation or dark spots left behind by acne.
+ Glass bottle
+ Works to lighten hard-to-fade spots
3. The Body Shop’s Vitamin C moisturiser with SPF: £15
+ Moisturising but also has sun protection
– Relatively expensive
– Not the best sunscreen to reapply SPF with throughout the day as it’s quite moisturising and can feel heavy.
4. The Ordinary’s SPF 30 sunscreen: £8.90.
I reapply my SPF every 2-3 hours throughout the day to keep my sun protection topped up, using this as I don’t want to reapply more moisturiser.
I am going to stop using this one soon as it isn’t my favourite SPF; I was just testing it out.
– Leaves a grey cast which shows up quite a bit against my medium toned skin
– Leaves my face feeling slightly sticky (which I personally don’t mind)
Night-time skin care routine:
1. Carbon Theory soap
2. The Ordinary glycolic acid 7% toner: £6.80
I use this every other night. I just put some on a cotton ball or a reusable cotton round and swipe it gently over my face.
+ Really works to exfoliate my skin!
– Plastic bottle
3. The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% serum
4. Hada Labo Rohto Hyaluronic Lotion: £10.64
+ This product lasts a really long time
+ Adds a boost of hydration to the skin
– Plastic bottle
5. CeraVe moisturising cream: £13.94
I use this moisturiser at the end of my routine to lock in all the hydration!
+ May seem expensive at first but lasts an incredibly long time as it’s a large tub
+ Contains hyaluronic acid and ceramides which help to restore and maintain the skin’s natural barrier.
– Plastic tub
I started experimenting with skincare some time ago as I was unhappy with my skin, but now it’s become a passion project. I love reading the ingredients of new products and analysing whether or not I think they would be suitable for my skin. Since developing a skin care routine that my skin is happy with, I have significantly reduced the number of pimples I have, I have softened my skin texture and I have removed almost all of my acne scarring.
I’ve created a skincare guide for skincare newbies! If you’re interested in skincare but you’re overwhelmed by all the options and all the buzzwords that you check it out!
I hope you enjoyed this post!
Bye for now,