It’s been about five months since I ended my Accutane treatment (I stopped with a few months to go because I moved to the UK for school) and despite the rude friends that popped up this week, my skin has remained surprisingly clear! I’ve changed a few things in my skincare routine since my last post because back then, I was dealing with dry, peeling skin that really needed careful attention and buckets of moisture. Now, I’m working with SUPER oily skin that I’m worried could break out at any moment (old fears die hard). Despite the addition and subtraction of certain products, the biggest change I’ve made is in how I perceive my skin and its imperfections. Cheesy, I know, but it’s true; I no longer freak out at the sight of a pimple, nor do I attack it with every blemish-fighting product in my arsenal. I want to preserve my clear and youthful skin because I really appreciate it and how far we’ve come (Accutane wasn’t super intense for me, but it definitely was a journey). That being said, I have realised that the more you mess with acne, the longer it lingers in the form of a scar, a red mark, a crater or even just staying on your face longer, which is why I have a streamlined and effective skincare routine in place these days.
I do a triple-cleanse most nights and while that might sound excessive, it’s what works for me and puts my mind at ease. My first cleanser tends to be something really gentle that mostly works to remove my eye makeup and that initial layer of makeup, loosening up the rest of the stuff on my face for the following cleansers. At the moment I’m using the Garnier Skin Active Micellar Cleansing Gel Wash and it’s definitely not my fave, which I should have known based on my previous unsuccessful experiences with the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water. I do two rounds of cleansing and rinsing with this and you’d think it would do a good job of removing my makeup, but it does very little of that and more just kind of sloshing everything around.
I then go in with a small amount of the Boscia Detoxifying Black Cleanser, just enough to pick up the bulk of the remaining product and act as a quick treatment. I only use this 5-6 times a week becasue I’m worried that too much charcoal will be bad for my skin when it’s done a lot to help me keep breakouts at bay.
My third cleanser comes in the form of Simple’s Micellar Cleansing Water, a product I cannot get enough of. At the moment, I have 3/4 of a bottle and a brand new backup, but a couple months ago I had three backups ready to go because I just can’t be without it. I use this on a Boots Cotton Wool Double Faced Pads, usually between 2 and 4, and just make sure I get all the makeup off my face, neck and behind my ears. This is when I truly feel like everything is clean and ready to go because I’ll eventually see a clean cotton pad and know that I can move on. I could even stop there if I was really lazy becasue everything is cleaned and my face is left feeling a bit more hydrated than it would with other cleansers. I think traditionally you’re meant to use the Micellar water first and then go in with cleansers, but I don’t trust that I remove everything that way around.
This is a new step for me because all my research suggests that I should be using toner and I’ve seen a lot of good things about the Pixi Glow Tonic (I picked this up when ASOS was doing 20% student discount, but they always have 10% on offer if you’re keen). It is a chemical exfoliant, which I like because it doesn’t ‘t irritate my skin. I use this about six times a week and have been using it most nights for a month now, but it looks like it’s barely been touched. Initially I applied it using a cotton pad, but after watching a slew of French beauty queens doing their skincare routines on YouTube, I decided the best method would be to dispense the product into my palms and then pat/press it into my face. This helps to really let the toner sink in, but also reduces waste in terms of the product itself and the amount of cotton pads used. I can’t really say whether or not this has done anything especially beneficial, but it hasn’t irritated my skin.
My next step is to use the Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil as a serum. At the moment, I’m just using two hefty samples of the product that I got from Sephora and combined in an empty Belif the True Cream Moisturizing Bomb sample-sized container (amazing moisturiser, btw) because this stuff is priiiiicey. I will be purchasing a 15 mL bottle next week during the spring VIB sale at Sephora ($55 plus 15% off), and I’m okay with dropping that money because a little goes a long way and I know this will last me at least until the end of the year. My reasons for using Luna are a) I’ve read/seen amazing reviews, b) I notice a difference when I use it, and c) it has retinol. My skin looks and feels more hydrated and plump when I use Luna, as well as a bit more glowy, but the oil claims to reduce the appearance of pores and that is definitely not the case with me (if anything, I feel like the pores on my nose are much more pronounced lately). I’m mostly using this because I know that once you’ve finished Accutane treatment, a lot of people are advised to use some sort of retinol (retin-a?), so I figured this would work for me since I had sampled it from Sephora before and really liked it. It’s meant to help keep your pores clear and assist in the renewal process of your skin cells, so because I ended treatment early, I want to keep breakouts under control and I also want to fade the scars and red marks that I didn’t get rid of through treatment (Accutane did really help in this department and I’m sure it would have removed a lot more had I seen it through). It is very important to note that you need to follow this up with SPF 30, which I do every day whether or not there’s sun and even if I stay in my room all day. I don’t use Luna every single night, maybe just 5-6 times a week at the moment, and I adjust as necessary.
My moisturising oil is the Tarte Maracuja Oil that I’ve been using for about a year now. It’s very gentle and hydrating and doesn’t cause any irritation, plus a few drops go a long way. I’m on my third bottle of the 15 mL, each one lasting about six months or more and at $16, I have zero complaints. I use this every night because it’s just that gentle, and since it’s an oil, it does a good job of standing on its own when I don’t use Luna beforehand.
I’ve recently started using the Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil Face Butter (unscented) because I received it as a gift (otherwise I would just use something from the drugstore). I only use this on my neck because a) that’s an important area to cleanse and moisturise that I feel often gets overlooked, and b) I don’t want to load down my face with too many moisturisers (sometimes I break out if my face has too many products). I will use a light layer on my face maybe twice a week over everything else, and sometimes I’ll skip one of the oils and use it to lock in the moisture and effects of the one that I am using. I’m unsure about whether or not it’s breaking me out because I do get some pimples along my jawline, which is where an overlap of products occurs on a daily basis, but this is also the location of hormonal acne, so it’s hard to judge what’s causing the problem. It works really well for my neck though, and it’s very light and non-greasy, which I like. Plus, it dries quickly and definitely doesn’t feel like an oil, rather it feels like a really nice cream. I am a huge fan of the Josie Maran 100 Percent Pure Argan Oil and sometimes substitute that in fro the Tarte Maracuja Oil, so I know that my face does like this range.
Next I move on to my eyes and I just finished two Origins eye creams that I’ve had for about a year and half/two years now (GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream and the Eye Doctor Moisture Care for Skin Around Eyes). Those were both nice, but I can’t say they were effective in reducing dark circles or puffiness. I’m currently using the Clinique Pep-Start Eye Cream, just because it was a sample that I opened and needed to use up, but it’s nice. It’s lighter than the Origins ones and takes longer to blend out and sink in, but I would argue that it feels more nourishing. It also hasn’t removed my undereye problems, but I think 57 years of consecutive sleep couldn’t cure that for me at this point.
Finally, I apply a thick layer of the NUXE Reve de Miel, a longtime fave of mine. I’m about to finish a tub I’ve been using most of the past year, and I have two brand new backups ready to go (Boots 3 for 2 deal), as well as a stick version of the balm that’s a lot lighter, but just as nourishing. I use the pots overnight and on no-makeup or no-lip colour days because it’s so thick. I like the stick version because I can take it with me and apply in public without having to dip my fingers in a tub. It does alter any lip product if I wear it over or under, which is annoying, but that’s the cost of moisturised lips, I guess.
Masks and treatments
I have so many mask and treatment samples piling up in my drawers, so I’ve made it my mission to get through them and have actually done quite well as I use something 1-2 times a week. The masks and treatments come after cleansing and before toning and I’m not sure if this is the most effective method, but I like it. I’ve been exfoliating my skin once a week with either the Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask Enzymatic Dermal Resurfacer or the Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment, both of which are physical exfoliants and old favourites. I only have a sample of the ExfoliKate from Sephora (green product below), and that’s what I’ve been using so that I don’t ever actually have to buy a full size when I know I won’t get through it. ExfoliKate is rougher than the pumpkin mask, and also functions as a cleanser, so sometimes I use that in lieu of my Boscia Detoxifying Black cleanser. The pumpkin mask smells AMAZING and is super gentle. It also leaves your face looking super glowy, which I love. Another exfoliant-type product that I’ve been using is this Skin Inc. Pure Revival Peel that goes on clear and removes dead skin cells without any physical exfoliants. It’s not my fave, but my friend lent it to me and I like using it once a week or every two weeks just because it might be doing something? IDK.
I love using the Boscia Luminizing Black Mask becasue it’s a peel-off mask (no, it never hurts me) and I feel like it does a good job of clearing out my pores. It is also amazing at leaving my skin feeling clean and looking radiant. This one gets used once every 1-2 weeks, but I do like it when I remember to use it. My final mask that I’ve only broken out a few times since ending my treatment is the Peter Thomas Roth Irish Moor Mud Purifying Black Mask for rough skin days (like this past week). Previously I used to sleep with the mask on top of spots overnight, but I feel like that’s too harsh for any product, so I’d rather just keep it on for about 15 minutes and then continue with the rest of my routine.
It may look like a lot of products, but it’s really just about listening to my skin and ensuring that I give it what it needs. I’m trying to make sure that I don’t change the products up too often, which I think that also helps. I’ll throw in a DIY lip scrub or Sephora Shea Lip Mask every so often, but mostly I just rely on my lip balm.