Posted in beauty, lifestyle

a generic skin-care routine

Alternative title: Trying to Grab the Attention of Brands so they can Send Me Free Stuff or Sponsor Me, whatever works really

I think writing this piece is an absolutely terrible, abhorring idea that had had the misfortune to cross my mind last night, but, well. We’ve come a long way, haven’t we?

If you know me personally, which you don’t, thankfully, since I spend a lot of time with myself and from the knowledge gained from my observations, I’m quite a—how do I say it?—disingenuous, ball of claptrap who spews malarkey left and right at any given opportunity. Sorry, that was my regular moment of self-loathing. Anyhoo, if you had known me, you’d title me as a complete makeup junkie. I have utter crap cluttering my dressing table and for someone who harbours an unhealthy obsession with makeup, I have had awfully large amount of encounters with acne breakouts.

(Source: Pinterest)

When I hit the ripe age of twelve, I had my first encounter with, gasp, a pimple. It was a mere whitehead but it was disgusting, it made me feel queasy, squeamish and inferior (I’m being dramatic, forgive me) in comparison to my fellow beings who had skin as clear as a cloudless sky. I’ve had disastrous and ghastly experiences with cystic acne in the past that have been painful and scarring to say the least. Fast forward to a few years into the future, I have much clearer skin and much reduced breakouts.

A little something about me; I’m a bio-chemistry student (rip) and I’ve had a major interest in cosmetics ever since my mum purchased me my first Burt’s Bees Vanilla Bean flavoured lip-balm. Keeping that in mind, I did some research on the products that I’ve been using and my allergies and before I elaborate on that, I have a good news for all of those sensitive people like me who cry at the teeniest inconveniences—your tears contain something known as a ‘lysozyme’ which hydrolyses the bacterial wall that’s forming on your skin. So, next time when you’re tearing apart, make sure to rub that saltwater all over your face. It helps. Don’t hate me.

Moving on, I’m not a big fan of the entire ‘anti-chemical based products’ since even the natural products contain a good amount of chemicals that provide the foamy texture or the formation of lather. Most of the products that I’ll be listing out might not be vegan/all-natural, so if you’re not into that range of skin care this might not be your preferable routine.

Disclaimer: I am no professional! I’m still in studying! I’ve been using these products on the basis of research done at my own end and the formulations listed below are very much customised in terms of order of use and application. Some of the formulas/ingredients might also prove to be allergic to some! It may not be suitable for your skin despite you having the same skin type as me. It’s better if you discuss your skin condition with your aesthetician/dermatologist!

1. Cleanser/Face Wash

I have oily skin with blemishes and enlarged pores around the T-zone (forehead + nose), so I’ve been using Body Shop’s Tea Tree facial cleanser for about a year and a half and it works like magic! While travelling however, I often use Forest Essentials’ Delicate Facial Cleanser with Kashmiri Saffron and Neem since my mum’s really into Indian Ayurveda and vegan cosmetics/skin care lines. Truth be told, I don’t recommend switching to different cleansers but it’s easier to carry Forest Essentials’ tiny bottles and I’m lazy as heck.

Cleansing is quintessential! Especially when you have a skin type similar to mine, it’s also a nuisance since oil resurfaces in about an hour after cleansing! Thoroughly washing your face and massaging at the T-zone has proven to help me a lot since massaging helps in increasing the blood circulation.

Once you’re done with the first step, don’t rub the towel on your face since it can cause micro-tears and inflammation/redness. Pat your skin with it. Don’t just take the towel used by your sibling and violently rub it all over that pretty face after washing.

2. Toner

Many people are actually unaware of the use of a toner, in case you’re one of those people, I’ll let you know that it’s mainly used to tighten skin cells and add active ingredients (antioxidants, retinoids etcetera) to the pre-existing products. It’s super refreshing and is meant to unclog oil and dirt-clad pores that further transform into acne.

Again, I use Forest Essentials’ Panchpushpa Facial Toner and highly recommend it but if you’re looking for something affordable and effective, I’d suggest Neutrogena’s Oil and Alcohol-Free Facial Toner with Hypoallergenic Formula or Dickinson’s Enhanced Witch Hazel.

Rose-water is also a commonly available multi-use toner. It can be applied to treat sunburns, acne, to remove makeup and when mixed with coconut oil, it can also turn into a moisturiser! I suggest to use it twice; once after cleansing and/or followed by scrubbing since it closes and tightens the pores. Rose water acts as a sort of ‘hindrance’, since it forestalls the production of elastase and collagenase which are harmful for the skin.

3. Spot Treatment

Typically, spot treatment isn’t well-known when we’re conversing regarding unprofessional, regular skin care routines and even if it is, customers often purchase essential oils (mainly tea tree oils or even mustard seed oil) for direct use.

If you’re seeking professional spot treatment, I’d 10/10 recommended La Roche-Posay Effacular Duo Acne Treatment it contains Benzoyl Peroxide which is often an active component in facial cleansers as well! Some people may be allergic to the aforementioned chemical since it causes excessive drying (with respect to Salicylic acid) and in extreme cases, it might also cause irritation, therefore, please refer to your aesthetician/dermatologist before applying such a concentrated formulation directly on your skin!

4. Serum

If you’re tired of I endorsing Forest Essentials’ products, then I’m deeply apologetic! I’m truly guilty of ordering bulk of their products since their quality is over the top! Right now, I’ve been using their Activating Serum Rasa but then again, Forest Essentials isn’t exactly the cheapest. Body Shop’s Vitamin E Serum-in-Oil just as good as any other, it’s soothing and can be used overnight only to wake up to clearer and rejuvenated skin!

Other than the given products, The Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid 2% is also a must-have. It’s vegan and prevents dryness which might be caused due to pollution or lack of external hydration. It consists of Vitamin B5 as well which is found in avocados. It can be used directly onto the skin to form a luminous layer over which you can apply makeup. I won’t necessarily categorise it as a ‘serum’, since Hyaluronic Acid (HA) is the major constituent of the product’s formulation. HA is present in our skin as well and helps to retain the moisture content. When used externally, it serves as a humectant which is, in a layman’s terms, aid to reduce loss of moisture.

5. Moisturiser

I don’t think I can stress on this enough—moisturising is so just important. Moisturiser is generally anointed on dry skin types since it treats dry skin and not dehydrated skin (that’s where hydration comes in) but a lot of moisturisers have been produced to appeal to oily skin types. Other than moisturising, a good ol’ moisturiser allows makeup to sit properly on the face and even the popular HA can’t function to its fullest without it.

I shudder to envisage a day when I step outside my house without a film of sunscreen and moisturiser on my face. The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% is my go-to moisturiser. It’s so good that I had to control my temptation to buy one from Forest Essentials. That’s how amazing it is.

I usually go for cream-based moisturisers because I have had bad experiences with gel-based ones, but Clinique’s Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly made me realise that I had had a lapse of judgement. Although, I still hold a grudge against other gels, this one will forever remain an exception.

6. Scrubs! (Not that atrocious television series)

Scrubs are a treat for the skin, they help in the shedding of dead keratinocytes so that new skin cells can be produced. I always prefer not using walnut or rock salt scrubs or any scrubs with physical exfoliants on my face in general since they do not have uniformity maintained when it comes to the particle size. Some particles are rougher, larger than others and some might be sharper and more penetrating and can lead to micro-rips on the surface of facial skin. Scrubbing should be limited to twice or thrice a week since over-exfoliation can lead to a) dehydrated skin and b) capillary impairment.

Exfolikate by Kate Somerville and Dr Roebuck’s Bryon 2-in-1 Mask + Exfoliator are the best ones I’ve used yet. Dr Roebuck’s has jojoba beads that help in soothing, mild exfoliation whereas the former does contain some amount of physical exfoliants as well as chemical. This is totally out of context, but Body Shop’s Vanilla Chai body scrub and Vanilla Marshmallow scrub smells like the departure of fall/spooky season and the yawning of Christmas ahead! Please keep in mind that the latter are body scrubs—facial skin is much, much more sensitive than the skin on the rest of our body! (PS: The Body Shop, if you tend to stumble upon this post, uh, e-mail me? Thanks.)

7. Masques

At the present moment, I’m in love with Garnier’s Moisture Bomb Pomegranate Hydrating Sheet Mask and it is safe to say that it has literally taken over my life. You can also try the same mask in its Sakura variant! Both are unrivalled at replenishing and restoring the moisture and deep-cleansing the skin! For unclogging pores and reduction of their sizes, you can also use Sephora’s Pore Perfection Mask, it has a sweet pineapple smell and helps in evening out the complexion as well!

I also use clay masks! Clay masks are beneficial for the removal of that gunky stuff that fills your pores, it essentially absorbs the oil and other impurities from your skin. Lately, Charlotte Tilbury’s Goddess Skin Clay Mask has been my companion and I apply it once a week. Of course, the regularity of any mask’s application—or any scrub’s even, for that matter—depends on your needs. I also tried out Origin’s Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask, it was my first time using an Origins product and it’s safe to say that it did not disappoint me at all! It has a thick consistency and it feels slightly warm; there’s only one thing I’d like to inform beforehand—it gets stuck. It’s a tedious task to wash it off.

FAQ: Why am I having acne breakouts?

The most valid and likely answer would be hormones. You know, those little chemical messengers that are pretty much raging inside your bloodstream at the present moment? Yeah, those. But they probably make about 60% of the reason why you’re having frequent breakouts. Other reasons could be dirty phone-screen, unchanged pillowcases (silk cases are the best), improper exfoliation, lack of internal hydration and unbalanced, poor diet. Eat your veggies, grab that glass of water and invest in your skin-care.

Skin-care is a very crucial part of my daily life, I know it is time-consuming, but the results are worth it. I treasure my skin care routine because it’s also the only quality time that I obtain over the course of a week and it’s just so relaxing and calming. It generates the feeling of self-love and it’s something I always look forward to—if I ignore the meticulous steps, that is.

Tell me about your skin-care routines, your skin type and more cosmetic science stuff you’d like to know about! Adieu to you, my loves!


By the day, I’m an avid reader, writer and a bio-chemistry student and by the night, I’m a makeup addict and a full-time procrastinator. Mostly the latter.