I wish I had a photo of my bare face when I was in my twenties. Not because I had glorious skin and I want to reminisce on my youth. Oh, no no. The exact opposite of that. The photo would serve as victorious reminder of how far my skin has come since then. You see, severe adult acne crept up on me when I was 22 and remained for the grand majority of my twenties. Topical creams, antibiotics, birth control pills didn’t work. I had painful, large red pumps all over my cheeks, my chin and the sides of my face. It was not fun, and it was not pretty.
Finally, Accutane was the last resort and it actually worked. It took a bit of time but it eventually eliminated the acne on my face. Summer of 2014, seven years after my face exploded with acne, my skin finally, FINALLY, cleared up. I no longer felt the need to hide behind layers of makeup. I stopped carrying concealer in my purse, and I even felt comfortable enough to leave the house without putting on makeup, something I could never fathom doing in my previous years. I gradually stopped feeling self-conscious and I eventually stoped hating my face. Boy, did I hate my face. Those who haven’t experienced bad acne will never know the insecurities it will make you feel, and they’ll equally never experience that liberating, exhilarating relief and freedom that consumes you when the skin on your face finally clears out. It feels like you’ve blossomed into a new person and you’ve been given a new, beautiful face.
My long and unpleasant acne journey encouraged me to take better care of my skin and to be more selective of the ingredients I put on my face, especially as I turned 30. I started incorporating a night time routine, I tried to choose natural ingredients as much as possible that suited my sensitive and dry skin, and the major thing I adopted: never, ever, ever going to bed with makeup on. That was a horrible habit I had all through my university days and I didn’t see anything wrong with it at the time. What a foolish girl I was. Now, just the thought of laying my face on my clean pillow without washing and moisturizing my face irks me. Even at 3am, even after a big night out, even tipsy, I will take the extra 23 seconds it takes to wipe off my makeup before plopping in bed.
So, I thought I’d start this skincare post with just that. The removal of makeup and my night time routine, which to me, is the most important and beneficial, continuing on with my daytime routine and my occasional treatments.
NIGHT TIME SKINCARE ROUTINE
Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micellar Water
This makeup remover is my holy grail makeup remover of life. It’s completely odourless, it is not greasy, sticky or drying, and it works perfectly with my sensitive skin. Bonus: because it removes makeup efficiently enough, you can get away with just using this and not following with a wash on those lazy, tipsy, 3am nights.
Pure+Simple Sensitive Cleansing Milk
I discovered Pure + Simple products while visiting their facial spa and I fell in love with their brand, and with this Made in Canada gentle face wash. The oat amino acids, jojoba, coconut, honeysuckle and lavender extracts make my face so gentle, moisturizing and smells like a soothing spa.
Saje Rose Hydrating Euphoric Mist
There are two ingredients in this: water and rose oil. This feels so luxurious and refreshing as a toner, and it can also double up as a hair mist.
The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
This year was the first time I incorporated a serum in my routine. I never used serums before but it’s crazy how much of a difference you notice in your skin when you do. This classic hyaluronic acid serum really sinks deeply into my pores and hydrates beautifully to the point were even after a long day, my skin does not look tired or dry. My 32 year old self is happy about this.
The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil
Facial oils scared me at first but after giving them a chance, they have hands down changed my life. Because of my acne history, I hesitated using oils on my face for the fear of it breaking me out, but that is not the case at all, at least not the natural oils I’ve tried. For a dry face like mine, this rose hip seed oil is heaven-sent. It’s rich (hence, why it’s perfect for nighttime) and I wake up the next morning with incredibly, soft, clear, silky skin. And the best part, this is under $10. Bonus tip: apply some on your lips and you will also wake up with satin soft lips.
DAYTIME SKINCARE ROUTINE
Since I’ve washed my face the night before, the only thing I do in the mornings is splash my face with water, mist my Saje rose spray and moisturize with my serum, and the following two staples to lock in all-day moisture:
Pure + Simple Skin Softening Moisture Lotion
This light and soothing face lotion is perfect for daytime moisture. It’s a light cream packed with rose oil and vitamin E that absorbs nicely so it does not feel greasy or heavy at all.
Holistic Vanity Comforting Camellia Oil
To lock in the moisture for the rest of the day, this camellia oil seals the deal, and it provides a light base under makeup. It feels and smells amazing on the skin and my makeup looks dewy and healthy over this. And even on the days that I don’t wear makeup, my skin looks natural glowy and healthy.
WEEKLY TREATMENTS (or whenever I feel like I need it)
Origins Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask
On the days I feel like I need to up the ante on clarifying my face, this charcoal mask has been wonderful. It draws out impurities and unclogs my pores to make way for the above-mentioned products to penetrate better into my skin. My face just feels rejuvenated and detoxified after I wash off this mask.
Greek yogurt and honey mask
Some would consider this a healthy snack, but I call this a quick, inexpensive and 100% all natural moisturizing mask. I combine 3 tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt and 3 tablespoons of honey, mix and apply on clean face. After leaving it on for 15-20 minutes, I wash away with warm water to reveal extra nourished and soft skin.
Mario Badescu Drying Lotion
Although my acne has vanished, I will get random blemishes that pop up once in a while (thanks, menstrual cycle). This calamine concoction is a great spot treatment and does a great job at drying out that unwanted bump pretty quickly.
Coconut oil and sugar face and lip scrub
This mixture of sugar and coconut oil is a simple and 100% natural way to exfoliate. The sugars serve as a scrub, and the coconut oil leaves your skin saturated with moisture. Works wonderfully as a lip scrub, too.
The Body Shop British Rose Fresh Plumping Mask
Sometimes I wanna treat myself to an at-home spa session, so I grab this moisturizing plumping mask. It feels so cooling and refreshing on the skin, and it has actual rose petals in it. I feel fancy when I do this.
Jade Facial Roller
This is a luxury item that was gifted to me by a friend who is equally, if not more, passionate about green skin care. The jade feels so soothing and cool on the skin, and it just feels nice to gently roll this on my cheek, chin, forehead and especially under my eyes. Silk robe and fluffy slippers optional when using this product.
So there you have it! The routine and skin goodies that have improved the health of my skin, and that gradually made me confident enough to do what was once the unthinkable – show my bare face 🙂