Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links.
By no means do I have perfect skin, but I’ve settled on a routine that keeps things under control most of the time. Some of the things I use are really cheap as fuck, others aren’t, but nothing is expensive as fuck. Note that I have oily skin that’s prone to breakouts and blackheads, but not extreme acne. So if you have a similar skin type, you might want to try some of this out. It might not work for you, but it works for me.
Step 1: In the shower, I use a sugar and honey scrub. I just take a little bit of brown sugar in the palm of my hand, squirt a bit of honey in (enough to make a sort of gritty paste), and then I massage it gently over my face and neck until I get bored. I make sure to do my lips too, which helps prevent them being all flaky and dry. Then I rinse it all off.
Step 2: I wash my face with Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Redness Soothing Facial Cleanser. It’s a pretty basic cleanser, but it seems to keep my face from getting angry about the scrubbing. I try to massage the cleanser into my skin for a full minute, but I don’t always have the patience. I also use it to wash my neck, ears, and shoulders, to get rid of any conditioner that might clog my pores.
Step 3: When I’m out of the shower, I use a blackhead extractor to get rid of as many clogged pores as I can. This is the one I have from Tweezerman. This thing is so much disgusting, fucking fun. Make sure to sterilize it with rubbing alcohol (I actually use hand sanitizer) before each time you use it, and try not to touch your skin too much with your fingers.
This is the only way I’ve ever been able to get rid of most of the blackheads on my nose. They come back, but I can at least get rid of them temporarily. The trick is to turn the thing over and push it against your nose instead of pressing/pulling like you would elsewhere on your face. Here’s a video to show you what I mean.
Step 4: Next I use toner to clean up and treat my skin after the extracting. This step removes oil, calms your skin, and exfoliates the pores you just opened up. I just wipe it all over my face with a cotton ball.
The toner I use is Paula’s Choice CLEAR Extra Strength Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution With 2% Salicylic Acid. This is the most expensive product in my routine, but I think it’s worth it. The bottle will last you forever. It’s also one of the few anti-acne toners out there that doesn’t contain alcohol. Alcohol is irritating as well as extremely drying - and not in a good way. It will just make things worse. Avoid it!
Step 5: I remove whatever eye makeup is inevitably left under my eyes at this point. I use Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion to do this. It works as well, if not better, than any makeup remover I’ve ever bought. And I’ve tried a bunch. It even removes waterproof mascara and doesn’t sting my eyes. A fucking huge bottle of this stuff will cost you less than $10. It is multi-purpose and will last forever. (I might just make a separate post one of these days repeating this recommendation for those people who didn’t have the patience to read this far. I feel strongly about it!) I also use a little bit of this to moisturize any parts of my face that need it, like my nostrils or around my lips.
Step 6: Then I use sunscreen. Every single day. I use this one from Paula’s Choice (as I’ve mentioned before). I put it all over my face, eyelids, lips, neck, cleavage, and the back of my hands. It’s not greasy, so I can move right along to makeup. Unfortunately, this product has been discontinued, to my great dismay, and I am currently searching for something else that I like a fraction as much!
This might all sound like a lot of work, but it’s really not. Each step, other than the blackhead thing, takes like 30 seconds to a minute. It helps that I am fascinated by the blackhead extractor, so that encourages me to not skip that step every day, though sometimes I do. I only do this once a day. Usually at night I am too lazy to wash my face properly, so I just wipe it down with these disposable cloths. I’m sure if I had the ambition to do something more involved at night too, my skin would be even better. But this is where I compromise.