How I Cleared My Skin: An Essay

Image via Glossier

Acne: we’ve all struggled with it before. Some are fortunate enough to have avoided those demonic red mountains that plague the faces of many. Consider that a blessing from the universe. With so many regiments out there, it’s difficult to spend the time and money to find out which one works for you.

Personally, I struggled for months before I found something that worked for me. Applying countless scrubs, moisturizers, and creams without the results the tubes promised is more frustrating than you can imagine. And trust me, that certain three-step program guaranteed to clear your skin isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But I’ve finally developed quite an odd little routine that’s cleared my skin significantly.

I have combination skin, so while my T-zone is oily as f*ck, my cheeks and arches of my eyebrows (for some odd reason) become extremely dry during the winter months. So if you have combination skin and nothing has worked for you either, here are a few tips from ya girl that might help put your breakouts to rest and won’t break the bank.


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Inarguably, the most rewarding feeling after a day full of sweaty subway rides is washing your makeup off. All of the hard work you woke up two hours in advance to accomplish, all washed away into the drain of the bathroom sink. Instead of an actual makeup remover, I use something a little different: baby shampoo. You might be thinking to yourself, “Baby shampoo? Like…Johnson & Johnson?”. Welp, you are most definitely correct. It has removed waterproof mascara with ease, leaving a fresh feeling to the face.

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Photo courtesy of Duane Reade

Get it here for $5.49.

What I do: Apply water to the face until damp, squeeze a quarter-size amount into your palm and rub on any area of the face where makeup has been applied. Rinse thoroughly with warm water.


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Selecting the perfect face wash is a daunting task. After many trials, and equally as many errors, I’ve finally found my saving grace. Thank god Lush Cosmetics exists, because I’d be lost without their products. You may recognize this company because of their trending bath bombs, but this facial cleanser deserves the same amount of buzz, if not more.

Photo courtesy of Lush cosmetics

Photo courtesy of Lush cosmetics

What I do: Dampen face. Mix a pea-sized amount of Angels on Bare Skin facial cleanser with a little water. Gently massage into skin. Rinse with warm water and pat the face dry.

**A WARNING** Since this product is made from all natural ingredients, it does contain almonds. So if you happen to have a nut allergy, fear not! This cleanser has a similar effect on the skin and is a corn-based formula.


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My go-to, favorite product in my routine. I can’t believe I lived without a toner in my life for so many years. This blue liquid (yes, we know, it’s a Clean & Clear product) has been saving my face, one cotton ball at a time. You can pick it up at any Duane Reade or Target-esque store and once you try it, you’ll swear by it.

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Photo courtesy of cleanandclear.com

Get it here for $5.99.

What I do: After washing my face, squeeze a dime-sized amount to a cotton ball and apply to the whole face. Let your face air dry.


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The only form of continuity in my routine is the brand of my toner and moisturizer. Clean & Clear offer a large range of products that have (not surprisingly) worked wonders. This product contains medicine that aids in clearing up current breakouts and preventing future ones from happening.

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Photo courtesy of cleanandclear.com

Get it here for $7.49.

What I do: Apply two pumps to fingertips. Rub it together and evenly coat the face. Pretty self-explanatory.


And that’s pretty much it as far as my daily routine goes. I’m gonna leave you with a couple of tips before I go.

Get ready to pack away your beauty blenders and stipple brushes because tip numbero uno is: stop wearing liquid foundation. Acne makes us all feel insecure and trust me, I used to cake that shit on. But, since we blend and dab in concealer with our fingers, we’re actually forcing the oils from our hands and the actual products deep within our pores, making it harder to remove.

Two: Wash your pillowcases every week. This tip is especially important if you don’t wash your hair every day. The dirt/oils from your hair rub off onto the pillowcase and transfer onto your skin as you toss and turn.

As you expected, I’m also gonna hit you with the whole drink your 2 liters of water per day, starting yourself on a healthier diet, blah blah blah. We’ve all heard that before, but I ignored both of those things and ended up with a pizza face for 6 months. Since then, I’ve cleaned up my diet quite a bit and I’ve started to feel lighter and cleaner, not only with my skin but my body as a whole. Of course I still get a few breakouts here and there and eat the occasional Big Mac… I’m still a human! But following this strange skin care system has aided in keeping them to a minimum, and hopefully it’ll do the same for you. But if you feel like your skin needs a bit more attention, contact a local dermatologist to find the right elixir for your skin.


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Featured photo via Glossier

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