Skin Care Diaries: Is 8 Face Products Too Many?

Skin care dominates my life. Which, like, totally sucks. It’s time consuming, expensive, and boring af. My skin is oily, acne-prone, and sensitive (thanks for the awesome genes, parents). If I do not treat my face like a finely tuned machine, it will rebel against me and I won’t even just get regular acne. No, no, friends. I will get cystic acne, which if you’ve never had, praise Jesus, because it is deep, painful, and hideous. I spent my teen years hiding my scabby, swollen meth face under a mountain of concealer. I didn’t even do meth. That’s how great my genes are. I’d also like to note that both my parents actually have perfect skin and yet this sh*t is genetic somehow, so whatever random distant relative decided to pass their recessive monster genes to me, f*ck you.

Thankfully, I found an amazing dermatologist and I’m now on two different prescription creams that keep this disaster under wraps. However, should I deter from my routine, my face decides to destroy my life. Since I have to be so careful with my skin, I’ve developed a routine that keeps my skin clear, and also has a little luxury, so that when my entire life is falling apart (which is like, weekly), at least my face isn’t. It makes the process more fun when I use products that I’m excited about, and when they keep my skin clear. You can’t even tell I spent a decade of my life looking like Wendy from Breaking Bad (but like, with better teeth).

My Routine

Makeup Remover: The Makeup Eraser. I talked about this recently in an another article, but let me express my undying love for it again. If your skin is sensitive or temperamental, or you are just sick of spending money on makeup remover, get The Makeup Eraser. It’s literally an overpriced washcloth, but it somehow has magic powers to remove even waterproof makeup with no tugging or residue. I use this to get my makeup off before washing my face.

Face Wash: Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel. Literally only bought this because it smells amazing. Aside from being heavily perfumed, it’s really gentle on my skin, and the bottle is huge, so if I get chestne, backne, or the ever-dreaded assne (Google it, I’m not explaining this to you, but for the love of God, don’t go to images), I also use it to wash my problem areas. If your skin is sensitive to perfumed products, I also recommend Cetaphil, which is what I used for years to get my skin under control. It’s totally boring but gets the job done.

Face Washer: Clarisonic. I attribute a lot of my clear skin to the Clarisonic. It helps scrub into my pores, which keeps oil from building up, thus preventing cystic acne. I also like it because when my skin isn’t oily, it’s peeling from the hardcore prescription creams I use. This is a gentle exfoliator so my skin isn’t raw, but I also don’t look like Freddy Krueger.

Toner: Mario Badescu Cucumber Cleansing Lotion. Guys, guess why I bought this one? If you guessed “SMELLS AMAZING”, you’re right! But it’s also gentle, cooling, and doesn’t dry out my skin too much. Plus, it looks pretty on my counter. And it matches the face wash. I also have the Rosewater Spray. Do I need it? No. But I do I love it? Yes.

Prescription (Am/Pm): Aczone in the morning, Tazorac at night. These are what keep my cystic acne under control right now, and they’re prescription only. You also have to change your prescriptions every couple years because your skin gets used to them. If you have horrible acne, def go see a doctor and just do what they recommend. A similar product that I was on during my teens is Differin, which used to be prescription only, but is now over-the-counter. But be warned, every one of these dries your skin out horrifically. I don’t use these every single day, as sometimes my skin is too dry to handle it.

Sunscreen (AM): COOLA Classic Face Sport SPF 50 — White Tea. You guys know I am a sunscreen snob, but with good reason. I have to use sunscreen year-round because I live in Los Angeles. I love Coola’s face sunscreen because it absorbs quickly, isn’t greasy, and feels exactly like a moisturizer. It also doesn’t have the horrible sunscreen smell and doesn’t make me break out. I use this as my AM moisturizer.

Moisturizer (PM): Mario Badescu Honey Moisturizer. Look guys, I bought this because it went with the face wash and toner. They look nice on my counter together. But it also smells great, is inexpensive, and it works really well as a nightly moisturizer to combat the Sahara Desert that is my skin after my prescription creams. Moisturizers, I rotate often, mostly because I like to get really expensive minis from Sephora using points, so they are technically free.

Sleep Mask: GLOW RECIPE Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask. This is my new favorite thing in the entire world. They also have a matching moisturizer that I’ll probably buy once I run out of my current one. This sleep mask is the most luxurious thing ever. It smells soooooo good and it’s a thick moisturizer so it fixes the damage from my acne treatments. It’s expensive, but you use the teeniest amount. I’ve had mine for several months and I use it a few times a week and my jar looks like it’s never been touched. It’s totally worth it. Plus, it’s the only sleep mask I’ve ever tried that instantly absorbs — there is no residue, so you don’t get it on your pillows or feel sticky all night.

Powder: LAURA MERCIER Translucent Loose Setting Powder. Translucent powder is my holy grail product for keeping oiliness under control. If I had a time machine, I would go back to myself in high school to give me this powder. It’s a life saver and it’s super light. With my arsenal of products, my skin is really clear now, so I don’t use foundation or concealer unless I’m exceptionally broken out. I definitely feel that limiting makeup products helps prevent my acne.

Me applying translucent powder:


I’m laziest about skin care in the morning, so I just washed my face and used sunscreen, but I probably should have used my prescription cream because my chin was already totally broken out. Since I usually work from home, I don’t really bother putting on makeup unless I’m meeting up with friends or have somewhere to be. Most days I just look like a homeless person. But today I was looking at apartments since I’m moving soon so I actually got my sh*t together and put on a little makeup. I spent half the day walking around in the 95-degree heat, so I used toner when I got home to cool me down and make me feel less greasy.

At night, I used The Makeup Eraser to remove my makeup and washed my face. I was still breaking out a little on my chin so I let my prescription creams soak in for a few minutes and then applied my regular moisturizer instead of using the sleep mask.


I work out today, so I have to plan carefully when I’m going to wash my face. If I’m going to work out in the morning, I just use toner (and of course sunscreen) and then do a good wash with the cleanser after my workout. If I’m working out at night, and I’m not going out after, I keep to my normal routine and wash my face am and pm and do my nightly stuff right after. I can’t wash my face three a day or it makes me way too dry.

I work from home so I literally don’t leave the house except to go to the gym, so I don’t wear makeup. Also, the prescription cream from last night is making me peel (awesome), so I use the sleep mask to fix it.


I woke up with beautiful glowing skin and barely any sign of Monday’s breakout. I’m telling you, the Glow Sleeping Mask is a MIRACLE CURE. I have to workout again today (noooo), so I just use toner and sunscreen, then hit the gym. I’m so pleased with my perfect skin that when I get home I do the whole routine and I cleanse, tone, prescription, sunscreen to perfection.

At night I totally drop the ball and I’m too tired to give any f*cks. I didn’t wear makeup again today, so I just used toner before bed and moisturized. Don’t do this. This is bad.

Me tomorrow probably:


I expected the worst, but my skin forgave my indiscretion because it is still perfect. I’m extra diligent with my morning skincare to make up for it. I wash my face, tone, use Aczone, sunscreen, powder. I actually put on a little makeup today (brows, mascara, blush, highlight). Ironically, I have to take my dog to her dermatologist appointment where she has perfect skin. And she doesn’t even moisturize. My nighttime routine goes without incident.


Another day, another workout, this one in the morning. By morning, I mean 1pm, but like, that’s basically morning. I toned before, did my whole routine afterwards. I had a weirdly crazy work week, so at night I take a bubble bath to destress. I also use a sheet mask from the Sephora Collection. I’ve had the A/C on blast in my apartment since it’s literal hell outside, and I swear it’s making my skin extra dry. I used “Rose”, which is ultra-moisturizing. These masks are fairly cheap, but they’re only one use. I do like that you don’t need to wash anything off, just rub in the excess moisture when you’re done.


By now, Monday’s breakout is long gone, so of course I have to mess up my skin by sleeping late and being late to brunch. So I just like toned really quick, sunscreen-ed, powdered, and added minimal makeup. Then I drank ~3 mimosas. Unclear because they kept refilling it before it was finished so it was probably three, could have been seven. Anyway.

I then looked at apartments in the neighborhood where I sweated to death and wanted to kill myself. I did find an amazing apartment, so there’s that. But then I had to take a quick shower, do my whole morning routine at like 4pm by this point, and then get ready.

I went to dinner and drinks with some friends and came home totally exhausted so I cheated my nighttime routine by putting my toner on my Makeup Eraser and using it as an all-in-one deal. TBH, it totally works, and it’s better than sleeping in your makeup.


By some miracle, I am *STILL* okay on the skin front, so I do my morning and nighttime routine without fail. I also drink a million ounces of water to makeup for all the drinking yesterday. Also, because I was hungover and dying. I finished the night with the watermelon sleep mask and feel like I kind of have my life together. A little bit.

Images: Giphy (5)

Holly Hammond
Holly Hammond
Holly is an ex-sorority girl with the personality of Elle Woods meets Wednesday Addams. She is an artist, writer, animator, and part-time magician. Her parents are v proud but also like to ask her when she's going to get a real job. Buy art from her so she can pay for her bulldog's dermatologist.