Posted in beauty, lifestyle

2020’s generic skincare routine

The situation of my skin as of [9 February 2020] is: no active acne bumps, tightened pores and fading marks.

Over the years, it is safe to say that my skincare routine has evolved. A lot. I keep on testing new products since prolonged use of a single set of products often results in immunity from them. Truth be told, I think the vital role is of the nearing end of puberty and not solely skincare products and drinking gallons of water, I’ll be turning seventeen this autumn and I feel as if that’s more or less the major reason why I’m not facing acne anymore. I won’t guarantee you, because there’s something known as post-adolescence acne (heh), but yes, I can affirm that 60% of the reason why I’m not dealing with unexpected acne arrivals is because of the aforementioned reason.

Individually speaking, though, everyone has different methods of coping with acne and the… Trail it leaves. I also cut off certain elements from my diet because the target areas in my case were my chin, upper forehead, cheeks and some portions near my eyebrows and when you’re having acne breakouts there, then it’s because of not eating healthy!!! Listen, I’m not telling you to completely ditch them comfort foods, if you’re struggling with the commitment department, then you can always try reducing the amounts which works equally well! If you want to know why your skin is acting the way it is then you can check out face mapping!

Regretful food choices aren’t always the culprit, however! A few months back, I was facing small acne bumps near my lower forehead because of the stress due to my upcoming finals! Physical exercise can help you out with that. If you’re a couch potato akin to me, then meditation should be your first choice!!!

Also, you’ll notice that I have switched to medicated products instead of boujee skincare that cost me my entire bank account. Their benefits amount to a hill of beans, I’ll be honest, (I’m looking at you, Farasali’s Rose Gold Face Mist) so save your dollar bills, everyone! Plus, I realised—courtesy of one of my favourite readers—that not all of the products I purchase are available worldwide and on top of that, on a cheaper rate! So, this is mainly a super effective, drugstore skincare routine.

In this piece, I’ll be spilling some scorching hot tea!!! Regarding my new skincare routine. And not anything else. I tend to be a mysterious, brooding and private person online, sorry.

Disclaimer: I’m 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! None of the pictures used belong to me, the source is the internet.

(Image source: Pinterest)

1. Cleanser

If I could, I would start a Cetaphil Fanpage on Instagram. Cetaphil’s Gentle Skin Cleanser for All Skin Types is… Woah. Best part is that it shows difference after the first use, employ this in your morning and before going to bedtime routine and you’ll see some solid results! It helped me heal my blemishes and it’s also hypoallergenic so it doesn’t sting at all!

I use Cetaphil’s Daily Facial Cleanser since my dermatologist recommended it. It can be used with or without water and it is travel-friendly as well! Additionally, the products listed above cost you a bare minimum of $9-$10! There are multiple variants for the cleansers so you can check it out on the site itself and pick the one that suits your skin type! I have combination skin which is extremely sensitive therefore I use the said variants.

2. Toner

Bioderma Micelle Solution is the craziest product to exist! I have switched from makeup-removal wipes because most of them aren’t biodegradable and we need some sustainable makeup, sis! However, simply dabbing some makeup-remover on a cotton pad is not an equivalent of washing your face, please!! It’s absolutely unhygienic and the residue often remains!

Louder for the people at the back!!!

Micellar water is a one-stop shop since it cleanses, tones and removes makeup but it isn’t really The One for oily and acne-prone skin. Suitable for dry to normal skin-types it’s a viable option if you fit in the category!

I have been using Thayer’s Alcohol-Free Witch Hazel Facial Toner (Rose Petal) because I’m That Girl. Just kidding. I was a bit… Torn before trying it out because my brother has tried it plenty of times and has faced inflammatory reactions on his cheeks so I was a little hesitant. Turns out, it worked just fine on my skin and the effects varies individually. Witch Hazel contains tannins which are a class of astringent that tightens pores, extracts excess sebum without stripping off the skin of its natural oils.

Thayer’s Alcohol-Free Witch Hazel Facial Toner (Rose Petal)

If the Thayer’s formula isn’t available near you, you can always purchase other variants. Just, watch out for isopropyl alcohol (IPA) which is something I avoid at all costs! Repeated use of/exposure to IPA can cause inflammation, dryness and contact dermatitis!

3. Spot Treatment, Serums and Acids

I won’t call this exactly an acid because it really is a “topical antiseptic” that dries pimples from the inside-out. Cue drumroll. I present you, Hexomedine. Now don’t come at me for this because this is available at only European pharmacies—I’m not sure, though! I can’t stop singing praises of this because it’s just a miracle potion. It removes bacterial infection (i.e., my arch nemesis, acne) in more or less than 48-hours. Apply it using a Q-tip on the pimple and just go off to sleep, let it do its magique. Hexomedine is essentially a French disinfectant that’s mainly composed of propylene glycol!

In fact, instead of wasting your money on gazillions of acne-treatment products, just buy this! Hexomedine is an actual holy grail, it rescues you from even the slightest twinge of breakouts. I’ve given up on all other spot-treatments because this one’s a life-saver!

As for the serum and acids department, there hasn’t been a drastic change. Since we’re talking about acids, let me tell you that I’m still hopelessly in love with the Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 because it’s just unrivalled! I put it before slathering my face with multiple moisturisers and it can be a little… Sticky, I guess but it totally depends on how much of it you’re dumping on your face, I squeeze a pea-sized amount and work it off till my neck and honestly, that’s pretty generous. It increases the natural glow on my face and I have seen significant decrease in the amount of redness that had accumulated all over my cheeks due to acne!

The Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

However, Mario Badescu Anti-Acne Serum is now a part of my nighttime routine! It’s a preventive measure so I apply a thin layer of this before going off to sleep, it has salicylic acid which prevents pimples and pore congestion. Salicylic acid is The Cure for acne, you can fight me on this, if it’s in your daily cleanser or even your moisturiser, it’s great! It’s a necessity if you have rebellious, acne-prone skin that breaks out without warning! I was using this primarily to get rid of acne marks and hyperpigmentation near my cheeks and so far so good!

There’s still a tad bit of icepick scarring left near my under-eyes which will hopefully shoo away soon. I’ve had days when my skin has been clear as a crystal, but I utilise this nonetheless!

Lastly, I recently purchased First Aid Beauty’s Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum and I’ll have you know, that I’ll be buying it again. It has a water-based formula with Hyaluronic acid and the key ingredients include colloidal oatmeal and aloe leaf juice to refine texture and soothe irritated spots. I bought it because I was searching for lightweight formulas since they suit my skin-type; I use this twice a day and suggest you to do so as well!

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum

4. Exfoliation + Face Masks

Exfoliating your way to a clearer, healthier skin is a very ideal situation. It helps slough away the dead skin that’s residing over your face without rent! And it’s only expanding its family business! So get rid of it! Now!

For me, chemical exfoliants > physical exfoliants any day. Physical exfoliants corrode your skin because they don’t have particular uniformity! The pieces can be jagged and sharp and cause tears on your skin! So on that note, I got my hands on The Ordinary’s AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution and it’s literally out there, doing wonders with its deep exfoliation property. This is charitable, noble work. Alright, it may not suit some subjects but it has done magic on my skin. You know the icepick scarring I was blabbering about earlier? It has been reduced because of this. It has fought visible blemishes and substituted it with radiance. Just use a coin-sized amount and smother your face with an extremely thin, breathable film of this and leave it on for 10 minutes (as written on the bottle itself) and rinse it. Then, write me a thank you e-mail.

The Ordinary’s AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution

For masks, I didn’t use clay ones anymore because they are too much work! Sephora’s SUPERMASK – The Freezing Mask was an impulse buy and I was not exactly looking forward to it but!! It’s so awesome! It feels like the cold side of the pillow during balmy, summer afternoons. It’s best to use it with a jade facial roller! Along with this, I purchase my first ever GLAMGLOW product!! I got the BUBBLESHEET Deep Cleanse Sheet Mask Set which was a little heavy for my pocket but well worth it, I might add! It’s quite thick and full of liquid stuff (unlike the usual masks) and gets bubbly after a few minutes of application. It’s really silly to watch bubble up but it’s so fun! Totally a judicious purchase!

5. Moisturisers + Sunscreens

Moisturisers should be a fundamental part of your skincare regimen and it’d be shame if you’re skipping it. It’s quintessential.

I have officially ditched other brands and have moved on to Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré which is a cult moisturiser that’s recommended by makeup-artists. The formulation consists of soy proteins and shea that offer a soft-satin glow which is the real show-stealer! It’s a (don’t look at me with those judgemental eyes!) French moisturiser available in local pharmacies and it’s mildly scented, medium-weight concoction that does as promised! It’s also budget-friendly!

Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré

Thanks to Simone Shirazi, I now know what the “ash-factor” is. It often makes people of colour, alike yours truly, appear to be Elizabeth I during the time when she was in her deathbed due to her fatal makeup. It gives off a bluish, mauve undertone that’s obnoxiously eye-catching and disastrous. Sunscreens usually tend to shield our skin from UVB and UVA rays which cause sagging, skinburns and in severe cases, even skin cancer. Physical/Mineral sunscreens usually protect us from both of these but due to its overflowing amounts of white compounds it can make you like ashy. Chemical sunscreens that contain carbon-based ingredients should be opted for in such cases!

As for sunscreens, I’m all for Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF45. I usually never go for anything less than SPF30 because I’m brown so it offers me extra protection! Due to the combination skin that I was cursed with, I do have a lot of dry patches, especially along my jawline and my lower cheeks, so this emollient really quenches the thirst for those areas!

During my cycle, I often use Dermalogica Oil Free SPF30 because it swerves the spots and breakouts caused due to menstruation and does it’s job. It even works overtime. Only for £46.50. It gives a matte finish and is lightweight, easy to carry and can be mixed with heavy, full-coverage foundations.

If you’re still in a dilemma as to which sunscreen you should bring home, then you can try out this little quiz powered by Neutrogena to find your perfect match.

6. Eyes

This was my first type using under-eye pads other than the Florence By Mills’ Swimming Under The Eyes ones which I was obliged to finish before they hit the expiration date. Hydrogel Under Eye Mask by e.l.f Cosmetics hits differently when you’re sleep-deprived and born with dark circles. Since my finals are around the corner, I have little to no time to spare for sleeping, so I slap these on twice a week and get going. They’re transparent, not dripping with goo or sliding down half of the time and I have seven-eight sachets of these since each packet contains 3 pairs.

As I mentioned in one of my posts, I’ve officially put my faith in K-Beauty. Innisfree’s Orchid Youth Enriched Eye Cream is how I’m saving my cash because I don’t have to buy concealer anymore! Even though it is meant to balance out ageing, I coat my under-eyes with it because I have fine lines and yes, I’m sixteen. Listen, I’m sorry but that’s how schools tend to torture kids these days—by robbing them of their teenage beauty.

Innisfree’s Orchid Youth-Enriched Eye Cream

This one’s lowkey weird, but I got these French Talika Eyelash Conditioning Cream and it’s so sick! I’ve really short lashes (also not the typical brown bushy eyebrows, for that matter) and they’re sort of invisible. I absolutely loathe wearing falsies or mascara so I ultimately had to give up on the entire eyelash-game. This stuff’s on a different level altogether, it moisturises and hydrates, encouraging growth of the hair follicle by ten times so you can relate to whatever it is that authors of teen fictions (that have fed to my entertainment) meant by “she batted her eyelashes” or my favourite, “she fluttered her eyelashes open as if they were butterflies”.

7. Lips

A makeup bag is incomplete without lip treatments, sweltering summers and harsh winters can be cruel without them too.

I got a lot of lip balms, scrubs and masks this year (and January just got over) but I was super impressed by Milk Makeup’s KUSH Lip Balm which seemed extremely disgusting at first because of its green colour, but it smells so good! The scent is of shea, cocoa and a hint of mint and… It has only added to my lip-biting issue.

Milk Makeup’s KUSH Lip Balm and Lip Glaze

I tried out Burt’s Bees Conditioning Lip Scrub With Exfoliating Honey Crystals because a) its cute packaging was a total giveaway for me and b) I don’t think twice once I read Burt’s Bees written over a lip treatment product. Had me weak in the knees, let me tell you. It has granules of honey mixed with beeswax that makes my lips smooth and supple. Buying this was not the best decision because I could’ve just mixed some olive oil and sugar at home since it does the same damn thing but whatever!

However, I always keep my Vaseline Cocoa Butter Lip Therapy handy because nothing can ever match it. ‘Nuff said.

I have placed an order for Laneige’s Lip Sleeping Mask (and some other products from Laneige as well) for research purposes (gotta understand all that hype!) so I’ll try to fit those into my newer posts!

Q. What are some other ways of balancing your acne?

I’ll be brutally honest here. This post just makes up about 10% of the reason why I’m dealing with breakouts anymore. Add another 60% and you’ve got hormones, end of puberty and other bodily issues. The remaining 30% is loads of physical exercise including swimming, gym and meditation (to regulate stress), a healthier diet and increased water consumption on a daily basis.

1. It was a ginormous task when it came to cutting down on food choices. During December, I found out that white bread was the sole reason why I was facing forehead bumps as it was responsible for some sort fungal infection. This may not be the reason for your acne breakouts but carbs and food with high glycemic index are more or less the culprits when it comes to such bacterial infections. I also stopped taking dairy in large quantities; I have avoided cheese, milk and yoghurt with sugar for over two months now and it has shown drastic changes.

2. Try to have healthy, leafy foods during your cycle since the oestrogen levels drop during the span of those few days. Eat foods rich in Vitamin A and C which includes fruits, carrots, tomatoes, kale etcetera.

3. Always keep a bottle of water near you so you don’t forget drinking it!

4. Clean your phone-screen because prolonged use by fingers and then touching your face without washing them is also a major reason for occurrence of whiteheads on unprecedented locations.

5. Change your pillowcases on a weekly basis, try switching to silk ones since they don’t absorb your natural oils or leave lints.

6. Stop picking your pimples and touching your skin too! If you’re unable to resist, just take a cotton swab, dip it hot water and gently clean the pimple but don’t scrape it with your nails because it spreads the bacteria!

7. Try to fix an appointment with a dermatologist or a beautician! They know a lot more than a sixteen-year-old on the internet! Believe me! My dermatologist is a godsend, she’s helped me out with so many hormonal, dietary skin issues and all the credit goes to her!

This was longer than my will to live… Phew. I’m sorry I’ve been MIA for so long, I’ve had my practical examinations going on and the theory ones start next week. It’s so stressful being a human and existing just seems to be a pain in the butt. I wish I could press the pause button and just stop being.

Anyway! Guys! Tell me all about your skin-care routine and your new year resolutions! I’d love to hear all about it, so go crazy in the comments section! For more update, follow my Instagram for interesting polls and sneak peaks! Well, until next time. See you guys soon!


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.

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