Something I’ve recently been delving into is the world of skincare. Obviously taking care of your skin is important, even more-so when you wear the amount of makeup that I do (my vanity is my happy place!). For many years, I was a hot water, St Ives Apricot Scrub and some random moisturizer kind of girl. I had near-perfect skin all through high school and into my 20’s. It wasn’t until I was about 25 years old that my skin starting turning on me. My relatively normal, clear and happy skin was suddenly rebelling. I was noticing dry spots, but also started getting super oily. I suddenly started having adverse reactions to some makeup products. Worst of all, I had gradual acne that at its peak, was a deep cystic breakout that I’m still seeing reminders of now, 2 years later.

During this time, I developed this habit where every time I saw a new breakout or noticed some weird issue, I panicked and ran out to buy some new magical product to treat it. Obviously this did not work out well, but it did lead me to find a ton of products that I probably would never have tried if I wasn’t desperate. The best part is that almost all of the products that have worked out best for me have been super affordable! So today I want to talk about some of the products that have been the most helpful to me – my own personal all-star lineup.

If you consider yourself to be a skincare aficionado, you probably cringed at my earlier mention of the St Ives Apricot Scrub. For years, I believed that it couldn’t be a bad as everyone online said, because my skin always felt great after using it. I loved the sandpaper-like effect of this stuff, and always rolled my eyes when someone warned me about micro tears or irritation, but eventually I figured this many people couldn’t be wrong, so I explored other options.

While I don’t understand much of the science behind it, I was super interested in the idea of chemical exfoliation, and the NIP + FAB Glycolic Acid Pads came pretty highly recommended on r/skincareaddition, so I wanted to give them a shot. I use this as an alternative to physical exfoliation about 3-4 times a week, and to my surprise, it really does help to keep away the buildup of dead skin, especially around my nostrils. Plus I love the brightening effect it gives my skin.

…But ya girl couldn’t move away from physical exfoliation altogether, so I also use the L’Oreal Pure Sugar Scrub once a week. It definitely doesn’t feel like sandpaper but I’m still left with soft, fresh and polished feeling skin.

So, I got married in September, and about two weeks before the big day, I had massive breakout. Of freaking course I did. Obviously I didn’t want to be dealing with zits on my wedding day, so I fully panicked and started trying anything I could get my hands on. With about 5 day to go, I picked up the Dickinson’s Deep Cleaning Astringent out of pure desperation. It has Witch Hazel so it does it’s duty without being too harsh on your skin. After one use, my breakout was reduced by about 80% overnight. I was shocked, it felt like my own personal miracle, and I can honestly say I don’t think I will ever go without this toner. It was a life saver.

Once I found the toner of my dreams, I couldn’t stop using it. I was obsessively applying it multiple times a day in an attempt to kill my breakout before the wedding. In doing so, I didn’t realize how much my skin was drying out. My usual Garnier Skin-Activ gel moisturizer couldn’t keep up. I was at the point where I was counting hours and not days, so I needed something to work in a big way, and quickly. I picked up the Pixi H20 SkinDrink, and while it wasn’t an overnight miracle like the toner, it improved the condition of my skin massively in the short amount of time it had to do so. By the time my wedding rolled around, I no longer had flaky, rough skin and my makeup was able to go on flawlessly. While I don’t use this product as often as I prefer the Garnier gel moisturizer for day-to-day use, I like having it on hand for days when my skin really needs something special. I live in a super cold climate and winter can be harsh, so it’s nice to have something a little more nourishing on hand for those rough days.

I’ve also found that listening to your skin is just as important a the products you use, if not more. I know a lot of people talk about their super strict and regimented skincare routines and if that’s what works best for you then that’s great! But sometimes I notice that when I’m super regimented and using every product every day, my skin gets wise to my tricks and the products stop having any effect. In order to combat this, I try to mix it up and see what my skin needs to be it’s best self.

Anyway, that’s enough out of me! Did I mention any of your must-haves? What products have been game-changers for you?


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