11 Lightweight Skin Care Products To Add To Your Routine For Summer

I think I can speak for all of us when I say that this summer definitely hasn’t gone according to plan. With travel plans, romantic entanglements, and social lives mostly on pause for the foreseeable future, it can be hard to feel like you have control of anything. But amid this miserable roller coaster of a year, one small thing we can stay on top of is our skin care. Instead of focusing on how lame this summer is compared to years past, put that time and energy into getting your summer skin care routine on lock.

If you don’t normally put much thought into your skin care regimen, switching up your products every season might seem extra, but it makes a lot of sense. While you might spend the winter fighting dry skin with heavy creams and moisturizers, summer is a whole different ballgame. Of course, each person’s skin care needs differ based on location, climate, and skin type, but generally speaking, summer skin care is all about keeping it light and breezy. Here are some must-have products that will keep you glowing (not from sweat) all summer long.

Laneige Cream Skin Mist

If you know about Laneige’s Cream Skin line, you KNOW how exciting this launch is. I admittedly was never a huge mist person until my friends coerced me into keeping a spray in my bag at all times, and now I’m actually unsure how I survived without one. The Cream Skin Mist is great because it gives your skin a natural glow, with or without makeup. A product like this is particularly important in summer, especially during quarantine, when the chances of me wearing makeup are about the same as the odds of me shaving my legs in the winter. This final step makes any routine feel complete, and the mist itself is super hydrating, long lasting, and perfect to bring on the go. The formula is lightweight, and enriched with amino acids from White Leaf Tea water.

Caudalíe Pink Limited Edition Beauty Elixir

If you’re looking for a clean, natural mist, look no further. When I heard the Limited Edition of the cult-favorite Beauty Elixir is back in stock, I had ~a moment~. There is something about this pretty pink bottle that makes this already great product even better. If you can’t relate to my passion for packaging, that’s fine. This product is filled with natural plant extracts that help visibly smooth the skin and tighten the pores. As someone with pores the size of planet Earth itself, this is quite important to me. This product preps and sets makeup, which is extra important in the summer months, because as you can imagine, sweat + makeup = a dangerous combo.

Kiehl’s Calendula Serum-Infused Water Cream

I once won a giveaway for a year’s supply of Kiehl’s, and have since considered myself an expert on each and every one of their products. In winter months, my skin literally feels like sandpaper, so a heavy moisturizer is a MUST. But come summer, the Calendula Serum-Infused Water Cream is my number one. I’ll be honest, this little guy is on the pricier side. That being said, if you know me (or if you’ve read any of my articles) you know I am cheap AF and that me splurging on a product means it is the real deal. The water cream claims to boost radiance (I see this claim from all brands, IDK what it actually means, but I do know that my skin is dewier using this product), reduces redness (can confirm this is true) and helps improve dry skin by softening and hydrating (also can confirm this is true). This is the kind of product that makes me want to skip foundation because my skin is actually glowing, and despite being ultra-hydrating, it’s lightweight and breathable. As I reread this *passionate* rant, I hope Kiehl’s sponsors me. My DMs are open.

Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench® Cloud Cream Hydrating Moisturizer

I’ve got to say, this name is very overwhelming to type, but this Hyaluronic Cloud Cream is my other go-to in summer. Even if you’re into skin care at all, you still know hyaluronic acid is ~all~ the buzz right now, and for good reason. It’s hydrating, it’s not heavy, and it’s most definitely summer-approved. I love using this moisturizer after a beach day, because it’s cooling to the skin and helps calm any burning or peeling I may have obtained. It’s lightweight, super moisturizing, and wears well under makeup. This, like the previous cream, is worth the splurge.

Supergoop! Glowscreen (SPF 40)

If you don’t already know this, SPF is the most important thing in your skin care routine. As someone with textured skin (again, pores the size of planet Earth), I am very picky about my sunscreen. If sunscreen has any sort of white cast, it’s an instant horror show. If the sunscreen doesn’t agree with my skin type, my texture is exaggerated and it’s not a good look. And with that, I find myself reaching for my Supergoop! Glowscreen on the regular. It’s dewy and pearly (great for my dry skin pals) and allows for the true no-makeup makeup look (because you literally don’t need makeup). It’s hydrating, too, which is not always true for sunscreen.

TULA Protect + Glow (Daily Sunscreen Gel Broad Spectrum SPF 30)

Something that is not spoken about enough is the fact that SPF should be worn inside. Yes. Groundbreaking, I know. bUt ThE sUn DoEsN’t ShInE iNsIdE! Correct. However, now more than ever, our skin is exposed to harmful blue light. From scrolling for hours, to being glued to our computer screens on work days, and of course binging Netflix, I am excited and impressed to see that TULA has launched Protect + Glow to protect you from damaging pollution and blue light. If you’ve purchased blue light glasses, add this to your list of must-haves. Even if you haven’t, still add this to your list of must-haves.

Peachy Prescription Retinoids

Retinoids are the industry’s best kept secret if you ask me. Summer is fun, but sun exposure leads to skin damage and wrinkles, and I for one want neither of those. I never knew (or cared) what Retinoids were until I was introduced to a local NYC business, Peachy (support local!). Retinoids are the prescription version of Retinol—and clinical studies show that they both increase collagen production and prevent collagen degradation. Increasing collagen results in plumper, stronger skin and the minimization of fine lines and wrinkles. So, in less science-y words, Retinoids are the botox of skin care (without the needles). It’s important that you get the right prescription from a trusted dermatologist and still take care of your skin in the sun (USE SPF), but this product is my secret weapon.

Kosas Tinted Face Oil

“Foundation, but make it skincare” are the first words that can be read under Kosas’ Tinted Face Oil description, and it sums this product up flawlessly. During summer months, a cakey foundation is awful, to put it simply, and this has been my personal solution. The product does a great job of giving your skin the “blur effect” but doesn’t overdo it. Think “is she wearing makeup or does she just have amazing skin???” type vibes. Overall as a brand, Kosas has multiple products that dabble in both the skin care + makeup category, but this stands out above the rest for me.

Summer Fridays Lip Butter Balm

Summer Fridays is one of those brands that is actually worth the hype. Their products are great, their branding is great, their social media is great, their packaging is great, even their p-page images are great (few will understand, but those who do will appreciate this callout). Anyway, during summer months I often love replacing my lipstick with a clear balm and letting my lips go natural-ish. This Lip Butter Balm is actually considered a mask, and it’s created to soothe parched lips while sealing in moisture. I’m a big fan of this product because it’s not like other lip balms that feel amazing for the first 10 minutes and then leave your lips needing more soon after. This lasts what feels like hours, and it makes my lips look glowy like a gloss, but without the sticky feeling.

YSL Beauty Rouge Volupte Shine Oil-in-Stick

If you prefer a little color in your summer lip look, an oil lip color is a great way to go. YSL Beauty launched their new Milk Tea collection (I’m fittingly sipping on milk tea as I write this) and the colors are reaaalllyyy pretty. I feel like we’re all on the permanent hunt for the “perfect nude” and this just might be it. The hydrating formula drenches lips in moisture while leaving a high-shine finish. Think lipstick-meets-balm. All day color and comfort? Yes please.

SheaMoisture African Black Soap

Summer brings an excess of oil and enlarged pores (sorry, I know you’re sick of hearing about my pores). SheaMoisture African Black Soap is THAT product that will help you maintain your natural glow while conquering oil and sweat (we all have it, so don’t pretend you’re better than me). More importantly, the soap won’t dehydrate your skin, which for obvious reasons is important here. This face and body bar is super affordable ($4.99) and is specially formulated with organic Shea Butter, Oats and Aloe to cleanse, moisturize and comfort irritated skin.

Sol de Janeiro Bum Bum Body Scrub

LAST BUT NOT LEAST. I used to think body scrubs were a myth, but then I tried one and realized it wasn’t. Thrilling, I know. I’m a big fan of Sol de Janeiro’s OG Bum Bum Cream because it smells like vacation—even after being trapped inside for 100 days. The Bum Bum Body Scrub texture is soft yet gritty, and literally leaves my skin glowing. I think it’s important to be careful with body scrubs, because while you do want to exfoliate the skin, you don’t want the product to be abrasive. I think that BBBS (I’ve made up this abbreviation because Bum Bum Body Scrub is a mouthful) is the perfect happy medium, and the scent alone is enough to keep me coming back for more. WOULD recommend for *summer smooth* skin.

And there you have it, summer skin care, head to toe. Check back in winter for my 100-step routine.

Images: Margot Pandone / Unsplash; Provided by Laneige; Caudalie; Kiehls; Peter Thomas Roth; Supergoop; TULA; Provided by Peachy; Provided by Kosas; Summer Fridays; Provided by YSL Beauty; Provided by SheaMoisture; Provided by Sol de Janeiro

Betches may receive a portion of revenue if you click a link and purchase a product or service. The links are independently placed and do not influence editorial content.

7 Common Skin Care Myths & What The Truth Is

In a world where beauty bloggers act like they have a medical degree and influencers promote facial cleansing brushes on their Insta stories, basically anyone can call themselves a skin care expert. While it’s great that we can learn everything we need to know about toners and exfoliators from just a quick Google search, it also means that a lot of us have based our skin care routine on information that might not be accurate. Don’t panic and throw out all of your favorite beauty products just yet, though! Take a look at these busted skin care myths to get all of the facts on how to achieve the glowing skin you’ve always dreamed of.

Myth #1: Anti-Aging Products Are Only For People With Wrinkles

You might think that anti-aging products are for “older” people who have wrinkled skin. What many of those people will tell you is that they’ve had no luck getting their skin to look baby-smooth again like it once did. The truth is, once your skin has wrinkles, there’s no magic cream that can take them away permanently. The most effective way to be wrinkle-free is to start taking preventative measures when you’re young (in your 20s and 30s). That means using moisturizer and sunscreen or another SPF face lotion every day to prevent the development of dark spots and/or other signs of premature aging.

Myth #2: You Only Need Sunscreen If You’re Going To Be In Direct Sunlight

This brings us to our next point: it seems that the only time most of us remember to put on sunscreen is when we are going to the beach, or doing some kind of outdoor activity in the sunny summer months. While it is incredibly important that you use sun protection regularly when you plan to go out in direct sunlight, it’s equally as important to wear sunscreen on a daily basis, regardless of how sunny or cloudy it may seem.  Especially when it comes to preserving and protecting your complexion, a daily broad-spectrum SPF is essential. Whether you realize it or not, even the smallest amount of sun exposure—whether that be through a window, sitting outside, or even through cloud cover—puts your skin at risk for negative effects from sun exposure. We know that getting a sunburn is very bad for your skin, but the sun can also penetrate the layers of your skin and cause damage deeper down, potentially leading to skin cancer, the most common cancer in the United States.

Myth #3: A Set Skin Care Routine Will Work For Everyone

You may be thinking, “everyone with perfect skin is following the same skin care routine, and I need to use exactly what they use if I want to have great skin too.” Yeah, that just isn’t the case. Each person has unique skin needs based on their skin type. A person with oily skin will need to use different products to cater to their needs as opposed to someone with dry skin. The same goes for people with mature skin, or sensitive skin, and so on. Just because one product worked amazingly for one person, doesn’t mean it will have the same effects for you. Take the time to research your skin type, or visit a dermatologist to find out what your skin type is, and the best way to care for it. The good news is there are so many products available that you’re bound to find the right ones for you.

Myth #4: Once Your Skin Reaches Maturity You’ll No Longer Break Out

You’d think that once you make it past your teens, you’ll never have to deal with acne again. Sorry, but we have some bad news. As it turns out, acne doesn’t seem to magically remove itself from your existence once you turn 20. Actually, your skin doesn’t fully mature until you’re about 30 to 35 years old, and even once you’ve reached that age range, you may still find yourself dealing with those pesky zits. But why? The most probable cause of your adult acne is your hormones. Your hormones change a lot over the course of your life, but factors like birth control, menopause, and even just your menstrual cycle can cause your hormones to fluctuate and create acne on your skin. Ughhh, we can’t have any nice things.

Myth #5: A Skin Care Routine Is Only For Your Face

Finally, you’ve perfected your skin care routine and your complexion looks the best it ever has. While achieving that sought-after facial glow does qualify for a well-deserved pat on the back, you may be forgetting about the big picture: the rest of the skin on your body! 

You can’t forget to invest just as much time and energy into the skin on your body as you do for your face. Though your routine won’t be the same—our body skin is much thicker, which is why you wouldn’t use the same products on your face that you would on your body (and vice versa). TG, because facial products are expensive. 

When it comes to skin care on your body, keep it simple. Wash your skin well with a soap or shower gel to remove the daily dirt, sweat, and other sh*t that collect on your skin. Next, exfoliate your clean skin. Whether you use a dry brush or a scrub to exfoliate while in the shower, it’s important to remove dead skin cells from your body to reveal the healthy skin underneath. Finally, moisturize. Once you’ve finished cleansing and exfoliating your skin, finishing off with a moisturizer is arguably one of the most important steps, as moisturizing serves to replenish your skin barrier, helping to improve its overall tone and texture.

Myth #6: A Skin Care Routine Is Only Effective If You Use A Multitude Of Targeted Products

With the thousands of skin care products available on the market, you may think that your routine will need to consist of 10 products minimum. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that complicated (or expensive). If you want to create a perfectly effective skin care regimen, keep it limited to these three steps: cleanse, exfoliate, and moisturize. Cleaning your skin of makeup and dirt, exfoliating off the dead skin cells built up on your face, and moisturizing the new and healthy skin underneath is the simplest way to care for your skin on a daily basis and maintain a clean, clear, and healthy complexion. 

However, if you have any unique skin concerns—like acne, for example—you may want to consider incorporating a specialized treatment product into your skin care regimen, as this will work to effectively target and address these areas. An acne cream containing tretinoin, for instance, is great for increasing skin cell renewal, which helps to prevent acne from the inside-out. On the other hand, if you’re concerned about dryness or wrinkles, applying a serum for overnight recovery can help penetrate the skin at a deeper level for better results. 

At the most basic level, keep your skin care routine short and simple, and only incorporate more targeted treatments if and when necessary. Make sure to apply these treatments only to the particular areas of your skin that need some additional TLC.

Myth #7: “A Little Dab Will Do Ya”

Most skin care products will say to only apply a pea-sized amount of the product to your face, and this is true when using a product like an eye cream, where a little can go a long way. In reality, however, the suggested amount of product for proper use with most skin care products isn’t enough to give complete results for your skin. If you’re going to cleanse, exfoliate, or moisturize, don’t be afraid to apply a little bit extra. The lighter products like a cleanser or moisturizer can’t really hurt your skin, so if you want to get your complexion extra clean and smooth, you can add a little more than the bottle suggests. 

If you do choose to use more of a product than suggested, keep your skin type in mind. For instance, those with dry skin shouldn’t over-cleanse, as their skin will dry out easily, and for those with oily skin, there’s no need to go overboard on the moisturizer or facial oils. 

For products like a serum, a chemical exfoliator, or a targeted treatment, you’ll want to stick to the directions on the label, as these products are stronger and can cause damage to your skin if not used improperly or too frequently. 

Images: Retha Ferguson / Pexels

12 Common Sunscreen Myths Debunked

You’ve heard it from your mother, your dermatologist, your first-grade teacher, and even Baz Luhrmann: Wear sunscreen. With the wealth of knowledge we now have on sunscreen’s ability to reduce our risk of skin cancer and to protect against sun damage like wrinkles, dark spots, and sagginess, it seems wild to think that some still skip this crucial step in their daily skin care routines. But in reality, the increasingly oversaturated sunscreen market and the onslaught of information, studies, and data surrounding it can often have a detrimental effect on consumers, leaving them unsure of what to believe and whom to trust. Over the years, certain myths about sunscreen have permeated our culture, and even the wisest of skin experts have fallen victim to them. With a scorching summer already upon us, it’s more important than ever to not only debunk these misconceptions but also to understand why they’re inaccurate.

Myth #1: Sunscreen Is Not Necessary Indoors, On Cloudy Days, Or Inside A Car

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“False, false, false!” says Dr. Shereene Idriss, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. “Yes, clouds do reduce some of the harmful UV rays, but they don’t block them all, particularly in areas where the ozone layer is dramatically reduced.” It’s also important to realize that UV light is not alone in its ability to cause harm. Outdoors, UV light, in the forms of UVA and UVB, can impact skin aging and increase the risk of skin cancer. Some of that light can travel indoors through windows, but we’re also exposed to other types of light indoors, including visible light and blue light, which can also impact the skin. For that reason, it’s crucial that sunscreen be worn daily, and it should not be skipped just because you’re inside.

Myth #2: One Application Of Sunscreen Will Last All Day

“If you have discovered the sunscreen that lasts up to 24 hours, please let us all in on that secret!” Dr. Idriss jokes. In fact, not only will one application of sunscreen not last all day, but it will last just a couple of hours. “Most sunscreens are tested for a specific amount of time, and that’s on average two hours,” explains Dr. Caroline Robinson, a Chicago-based board-certified dermatologist and founder of TONE Dermatology. “After two hours, the SPF protection goes down significantly, so you do need to reapply to maintain that initial level of protection.” If you are in the sun, reapplication every two hours is imperative, but if you’re mostly indoors, you can be slightly more lenient in reapplying so long as you apply before stepping outside again. “I tell people to bring a sunscreen brush, like ISDIN’s, with them wherever they go and quickly apply that to their arms and face and any exposed skin before going back outside,” Dr. Robinson notes.

Myth #3: The Higher The SPF, The Better The Protection

While this is not totally true, there is some logic behind the belief. “The SPF number does not reflect the duration of efficacy of the sunscreen; it indicates how long it would take for your skin to redden when using the product,” Dr. Idriss says. “So, for example, if you are using an SPF of 30, it would take 30 times longer for you to burn while using the sunscreen versus if you didn’t use it all.” There is also proof that the higher the SPF, the more protected you will be—but only to a certain point. “SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB, whereas SPF 30 blocks 97%, and SPF 50 blocks 98%,” the New York dermatologist explains. “This may seem like a negligible gain in protection, but if you are prone to sunburns or skin cancers, that little gain can make a world of a difference.”

Once you go above SPF 50, though, the difference in protection is quite small. Dr. Robinson says a nickel-sized amount of sunscreen is required to cover the whole face and about a shot-glass full is necessary to cover the whole body. “But if you know that you’re not going to follow those recommended amounts—and most don’t—then you can actually benefit from a higher SPF,” she advises. “In doing so, you can get a similar protection to an SPF 30, which is what those measurements are based on, but you can get it with less than the nickel- and shot-glass-sized amounts.” Essentially, it will be more thinly spread than the recommended amounts would, but because it’s a higher SPF, it will be roughly as powerful.

Myth #4: People With Darker Skin Tones Don’t Need To Wear Sunscreen

“This is a misconception I’ve been fighting for a very long time,” says Dr. Robinson. “While people with darker skin tones are indeed less likely to burn, they aren’t immune from sun damage, and oftentimes, it will develop in the form of hyperpigmentation—potentially even more dramatically than sun damage would manifest on lighter skin tones.” Additionally, certain conditions, including post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (dark spots that result from acne or irritation to the skin) and melasma, can be worsened by sun exposure, especially in people of color. So, even if your sun damage doesn’t come in the form of the traditional sunburn or freckles, it’s still important to wear sunscreen in order to protect your skin from other damage.

Myth #5: If You’re Not Prone To Burning, You Don’t Need To Wear Sunscreen

Much like the belief that those with darker skin tones don’t need sunscreen, there’s a misconception that if you don’t burn, you similarly don’t need SPF. “There’s this idea that just because you tan, you’re fine, but tanning can actually be a system of sun damage,” Dr. Robinson explains. “You can have enough exposure to the point where you no longer burn; your skin just goes straight to tan, and that’s not a good thing.” Immediate tanning can be an indication that your skin has skipped the warning response of burning entirely, and that’s actually a sign that your skin is damaged.

Myth #6: If You Wear Sunscreen, You Won’t Get A Tan

Many refrain from wearing sunscreen because they claim it will keep them from achieving that oh-so-coveted sun-kissed glow. But, as Dr. Idriss says, this is once again false. “Sunscreen makes your skin slower to react to UV rays,” she notes, “but it doesn’t prevent it from reacting altogether.” You can definitely still get a tan while safely protecting your skin with sunscreen.

Myth #7: Wearing Makeup That Has SPF In It Is Enough

Absolutely not! “Most makeups that include an SPF are not tested to the extent that sunscreens are, especially compared to the sunscreens that carry extra credentials, like an endorsement from the Skin Cancer Foundation, or anything like that,” Dr. Robinson explains. In order to reap the full benefits of the SPF listed on your makeup, you would need to use a hefty amount, up to the size of a nickel, and unless you’re a Kardashian, you’re probably not equipped to wear that much makeup. You also likely won’t be putting makeup on your ears, neck, chest, or any of the many regions of the body that are not the face but are equally susceptible to sun damage, and you won’t be reapplying makeup every two hours as you would sunscreen.

Myth #8: Spray Or Powder Sunscreen Is Just As Effective As Lotion

As new agents of delivery have come to the sunscreen market over the years, they’ve often appeared to be solutions to the stickiness and getting-it-in-your-eye tendency of traditional lotion, and while that can be true, spray and powder sunscreens can also have their shortcomings. “They can definitely be as effective, but a lot more needs to be applied in order to reach the same level of effectiveness,” says Dr. Idriss. Unlike lotion sunscreens, applying a spray or powder means that some of its contents will not land on the actual skin, so you’ll need to as much as double the amount you’re using.

Myth #9: Sunscreen Can Lead To Cancer Or Other Health Problems

While an alarmingly common belief, the idea that sunscreen can cause cancer or any other health issue is founded in no truth. “I wish this myth would go away because it’s been disproven time and again,” Dr. Robinson says. “Sunscreen does not cause cancer, and there have been so many studies to show that, but they sadly don’t make the headlines as much.” And if you’re really worried, do as Dr. Idriss suggests and simply opt for a physical sunscreen instead of a chemical one.

Myth #10: There’s No Real Difference Between Chemical And Mineral/Physical Sunscreens

Although both types of sunscreen achieve the same goal, scientifically, they work very differently. “Mineral and physical are interchangeable terms, and the most common ingredient in those sunscreens is either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide,” explains Dr. Robinson. “Those are metals, and if you think about a sheet of metal, you know that it literally just reflects light; so, physical sunscreens sit on top of skin and reflect the UV rays and scatter light.” Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, absorb the UV light and put it through a chemical reaction (their namesake comes from this) that converts the light to heat. “Because the chemical sunscreens have to first absorb the light, they take a little longer to become active, so you can’t apply them while you’re outside or even right before,” the Chicago dermatologist notes. “You have to allow at least a few minutes, which the bottle will tell you.”

Some people can be more sensitive to the ingredients in chemical sunscreens, so for babies, children, and anyone with sensitive skin, a physical sunscreen is the way to go. Historically, some consumers have shied away from physical options because they can leave more of a white film, but some recent additions to the sunscreen market have gotten around that with advanced technologies. Dr. Robinson recommends SkinBetter’s SunBetter Stick, a physical SPF 56 sunscreen which uses a new technology to uniquely shape the zinc particles so that they sit atop the skin without leaving the familiar white cast. She also loves Eryfotona Actinica from ISDIN, another physical option that uses DNA Repairsomes to repair DNA damage that can come from sun exposure, and Revision Skincare’s IntelliShade TruPhysical, which has Vitamin C in it and effectively serves as two necessary products in one.

Myth #11: If You Didn’t Wear Sunscreen When You Were Younger And Already Have Sun Damange, There’s No Point In Wearing It Now

“Although most of the damage is actually accumulated while you’re younger (typically before the age of 18), it doesn’t make you immune to worsening damage,” Dr. Idriss says. Indeed, sunscreen protects from the visible signs of aging caused by sun exposure, but it also reduces your risk of skin cancer, and that alone is reason to start or continue wearing it even if you’ve already suffered some sun damage. “I recommend you adopt a ‘never give up’ attitude,” suggests Dr. Idriss. “You only have the skin you’re in, and hopefully your life will be long, so you might as well protect and enjoy it every step of the way.”

Myth #12: Sunscreen Never Expires

Of all the myths that exist about sunscreen, the notion that it doesn’t expire might be the most outlandish. “Sunscreen is doing a lot of work, so when you’re applying it, you want to be confident that you’re getting the coverage you think you are,” Dr. Robinson explains. Like everything in life, sunscreen has an expiration date, and you can find it by looking at the back or bottom of the bottle. As for any wiggle room when it comes to that expiration, like the “five-day rule” for milk, Dr. Robinson says, “we don’t take chances with sunscreen.”

Images: Retha Ferguson / Pexels; Maciej Serafinowicz / Unsplash; Antonio Gabola / Unsplash; Taylor Simpson / Unsplash

A Quick 5-Step Beauty Routine To Help You Not Look Dead In The Morning

By the time you get to college, you pretty much have your going-out makeup routine down to a science. However, I think most of us can agree that 8am is not the time to break out a contour palette and smoky eye. When it comes to looking like you aren’t literally the walking dead, less is often more. If you can wake up early enough to do a 12-step routine every morning, more power to you. Or, if you literally couldn’t give less of a f*ck how you look in class or at work, go you. 

I, however, am a Libra who craves attention and affirmation from strangers. Thus, I’ve spent the last three years of my college career perfecting an effortlessly “pretty” look so that I can sit in a dark lecture hall every morning. For all of the wisdom I have developed through three years of simultaneously being a hot mess and somehow not looking like sh*t at 8am, keep reading.

Serums

In the most advanced scientific terms, serums really are THAT b*tch. The best way to both feel and look alive in the morning is to start with a solid, hydrated canvas. (I’m talking about your face.) Dull, dry skin just does not look as good as hydrated skin, no matter how much makeup you put on it. With better hydrated skin comes easier application for the rest of your makeup—or at the very least, higher confidence as you roll out of bed and run to class/work.

I read a sh*t ton of Sephora reviews and also follow Dr. Shereene Idriss (my Glossier, Allure, and American Board of Dermatology-endorsed queen) on Insta, so I am legally allowed to say this: go out and buy yourself a f*cking vitamin C serum. It has done wonders for me in terms of brightening my skin, helping with texture problems, and recurring acne spots. For the best results that will help give your skin that “dewy and effortless” look, be sure to look for ascorbic acid, the most stable and effective form of vitamin C, according to dermatologists.

Pearlessence Radiance Perfecting Serum

My vitamin C serum of choice is the Pearlessence Radiance Perfecting Serum, because Jonathan Van Ness said to use it. This serum has both vitamin C and hyaluronic acid, another ingredient that aids in plumping and soothing the skin. The Ordinary is also a great place to shop for serums, as they use high-quality, pure ingredients but do not mark up their items as heavily as other companies—meaning most of their serums are around $10.

The thing to keep in mind is that the more you prep your skin for each day with various serums or concentrated ingredients, the more refreshed and hydrated you will both look and feel. 

Rollers

Is this 2018? No. But am I still jade rolling my face? Absolutely. I have terribly puffy under eyes, and this is often what makes you look the most tired after an all-nighter, or what can be a dead giveaway that you spent a few hours crying after an exam. The quickest and most effective way to help your eyes look a bit less puffy is to keep the jade roller in your fridge or freezer, and quickly roll upwards around the eye area and cheeks in the morning. The coolness helps eliminate swelling, and nothing really wakes you up quite like rubbing a cold rock on your face for a few minutes. 

herbivore Jade Facial Roller

Herbivore Jade Facial Roller

This is also a good hack to use on your neck when you get a little sore from studying or staring at a laptop for too long. Do not, however, let Gwyneth Paltrow scam you into spending a ton of money on one of these claiming it is “rose quartz” or whatever. 

Tinted Sunscreen (Or Moisturizer)

I know I sound like a mom telling you to put on sunscreen, but if you want to avoid looking like Yzma in 20 years, just f*cking use it! To kill two birds with one stone in the morning, buy a tinted one. Boom! You literally smear it all over your face for 20 seconds and have a slightly more uniform complexion, while also protecting yourself from sun damage.

Elta MD tinted sunscreen SPF 46

My go-to is the Elta MD tinted sunscreen SPF 46 because I read once that Kendall Jenner uses it and it also has a full five stars on Ulta’s website. As you can see, the standards for what I put on my face are really high. My favorite part about this sunscreen is the tint, as adding a light coloration really quickly in the morning can do wonders for making your complexion look a little smoother and glowy. You also don’t have to worry about harsh lines or patchy spots as you rush to put it on. A lighter, more transparent coat of color will not create the caked-on or streaky look that foundation often does if not applied carefully. 

Cream blush

When my idiot sister tried to show me this trick, I thought she was legit insane, but now I absolutely swear by it. In the morning, after applying your tinted moisturizer/sunscreen, take a cream blush, and LIGHTLY dab it above the apples of your cheeks and then down and on the tip of your nose. By applying it slightly above the apples of your cheeks, you draw the eyes up, which can provide a nice contrast to the exhausted eye bags almost all college students and people over the age of 23 are cursed with. 

Glossier Cloud Paint

The key word here, however, is “lightly.” If you try and recreate this with too much blush you will look like an absolute clown. I recommend using Glossier’s Cloud Paint for this. It is super lightweight, comes in a bunch of beautiful shades, and you only need to use a tiny bit for max effectiveness, making your $18 investment last ages. 

Natural Highlighter

Taking five seconds to dab on a bit of highlighter can give you a natural glow. The Wet n’ Wild MegaGlo Highlighting Powder is literally $6, and surprisingly good quality for a product you can find in a drugstore. Put it at the top of the cheekbones, the top of the nose, and a little on the center of your eyelid. Keep in mind that if you aren’t wearing a lot of other makeup, too much highlighter will look crazy. It’ll likely look less like a glow and more like you were snorting glitter. Remember the highlighter craze à la Jeffree Star? The one about blinding the nearest driver with the reflection coming off of the side of your face? Yeah, this is not that. 

wet n wild highlighting powder

Wet n’ Wild MegaGlo Highlighting Powder

I live and die by these products. However, you need to research various products to find what works for you. Seriously, I can’t stress this enough. Not every product will work the same on everyone. Regardless, these products should take you less than 10-15 minutes to apply in the morning before class. Hopefully, you’ll feel more confident as you integrate them into your morning routine. Now when you show up 20 minutes late to class with an iced coffee, you’ll look good doing it. 

Images: @iyunmai / Unsplash; Wet n’ Wild; Glossier; Dermstore; Amazon; Sephora

Betches may receive a portion of revenue if you click a link and purchase a product or service. The links are independently placed and do not influence editorial content.

5 Dangerous Mistakes You’re Making With Sunscreen

As a very pale person living in Southern California, where we get 360 days of sunshine a year, I am very well-versed on skin care, particularly sunscreen. I’m already for sure going to die of skin cancer due to my teen beach bum years. I didn’t use sunscreen at all, went in tanning beds on the reg, and burnt my skin so badly it peeled several times a year. It is now my life’s mission to not make it worse. With the sun coming out in those other, bad weather parts of the world (why do you people live there?), it’s time you all step up your sunscreen game. Do you want to be wrinkled and sad as you get older? Do you want to be skin cancer buddies with me?

Your skin if you don’t wear sunscreen:

Here are the sunscreen myths and mistakes you didn’t even know you were making.

1. Not Using On Cloudy Days

You should be putting sunscreen on your face and hands (we’ll get to that) every. single. day. even if it is cloudy. Your skin is exposed to so much just from being outdoors at all, walking, driving, etc. even on cloudy days. The sun can reflect through clouds and even if you don’t see a “burn”, you will still get skin damage and increase your risk of cancer. Even just driving, the windows filter out UVB but not UVA rays. Always, always use sunscreen as your base under your makeup. Just use a nice face sunscreen as your day moisturizer, and boom! Two in one taken care of. This one is my new fav:

Supergoop! - Glow Stick Sunscreen SPF 50 1 oz/ 28 g Clean at Sephora

SUPERGOOP! Glow Stick Sunscreen SPF 50

2. Forgetting Your Hands

Hands are the biggest giveaway of someone’s age. Just look at celebrities. They have baby soft face skin of someone 20 years younger and the hands of the Crypt Keeper. It’s because of sun damage. Next to your face, your hands get the most sun exposure and people don’t think to care of them. Unless you’re like, a hand model. In which case, they wear gloves everywhere anyway. So when you apply your sunscreen to your face, just rub it into your hand skin as well. There is no Botox to fix old lady hands. (I mean, I think?)

3. Thinking SPF Is Strength

Most people think SPF is the strength of the sunscreen. Like as in, “Oooh, I won’t use your SPF 70 Holly, because I don’t want some scary sun shield ruining my tan.” Good, I didn’t want to share my sunscreen with you anyway, asshole. Why is everyone always mooching off my sunscreen? Anyway. SPF actually means the length of time that you’re protected from the sun. So the higher the SPF, the less often you need to reapply. Also? That SPF 4 that your tanning oil has? Basically stops working the second you put it on. My dermatologist told me anything less than 15 is bullsh*t and you should wear a minimum of 30 on your face/hands daily.

4. Not Reapplying

So SPF is the length of time your sunscreen will work for. However, most idiots think they can apply sunscreen once and then be good indefinitely. That’s just not how it works. You need to reapply every few hours and more frequently if it’s a lower SPF. You also need to reapply if you get wet or sweat at all. It’s pretty easy when you’re at the beach to reapply on your body, but most people don’t reapply their face if they have makeup on. I get it! You’re not redoing all that sh*t and your foundation is expensive. Also, it probably creates a force field hiding your face skin, right? Not necessarily. Unless you really cake on your foundation like a Kardashian, you should reapply. Enter: SPF Setting Spray! This is one of my holy grail products. I keep it in my purse always. A few spritzes and your sunscreen is reapplied and actually preserves your makeup instead of melting it!

Supergoop! - Supergoop! x Milly Defense Refresh Setting Mist Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 50 3.4 oz/ 100 mL Clean at Sephora

Supergoop! x Rebecca Taylor Defense Refresh Setting Mist Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 50

5. You Don’t Need It If You’re Already Tan

Just because you may not see a burn as clearly does not mean you aren’t absorbing sun damage. Having a “base tan” is a complete myth. You’ll receive the same amount of sun damage as a ghost person like me, even if it is less obvious (or painful, for that matter). However, I’m out here with my SPF 70, so I’m good. It doesn’t matter what your pigmentation is, or if you “never burn”, the sun damages your tissue and you’re just as likely to get cancer or old lady hands. I don’t even know which is worse. So SPF up.

Images: Drew Dau / Unsplash; Giphy (3); Sephora (2)
Betches may receive a portion of revenue if you click a link and purchase a product or service. The links are independently placed and do not influence editorial content.

I Actually Believe In Day And Night Creams Now—Here’s Why

As someone who reads and writes about skincare on a daily basis, I find myself hitting something I call “skincare fatigue.” Just when I’d mastered toner (kind of), I start hearing about serums, retinol creams, and whatever the f*ck an “essence” is. Thankfully, the concept of day cream vs. night cream isn’t new to me—but actually using a different moisturizer for morning and evening is. I’d always kind of figured that “needing” two different moisturizers was just a way for companies to sell you more products. But three weeks in to my new regime, I’m sold. Here’s why.

Night Cream Needs Time To Sink In

The purchase that kicked off this whole venture is Tatcha’s Dewy Skin Cream, a moisturizer I feel confident in calling pure magic. From the moment I got my hands on all that silky lavender goodness, I loved it so much I wanted to take a bath in it. This moisturizer has brought my skin back to life after a night out, scared burgeoning pimples back into hiding, and—praise be—NOT activated my rosacea, which just about every other celeb-approved moisturizer does. (Looking at you, La Mer. I wanted so badly to love you.)

Tatcha The Dewy Skin Cream

Now that my shameless Tatcha evangelizing is out of the way, on to the real point. Because I was so excited about this moisturizer, I was using it morning and night—and quickly realized my mistake. I have a four-step routine I stick to: cleanser, toner, treatment, moisturizer. Because the sun exists, and because my skin is so dry that sunscreen alone does not moisturize it, I have to follow up that four-step routine with an SPF cream in the morning—all before adding any makeup.

Now, anyone who’s tried to quickly apply five different face products and then add foundation on top will immediately see the problem here. My beloved Tatcha moisturizer is on the thicker side, which is perfect for my dry skin—but it takes a solid 15-20 minutes to be completely absorbed. That would be fine if it were my only morning skincare step, but I also have to give my toner and treatment steps 5-10 minutes each to sink in. That gets us up to 30 minutes on pre-make-up skincare, minimum. In my week of trying to use the Dewy Skin Cream as a day cream, I don’t think I managed to put foundation on once. Since I never had enough time to let the moisturizer sink in all the way, even my sunscreen was barely getting absorbed—which means I was going out looking like a greasy, white-tinged mess.

Note: Dewy Skin Cream isn’t advertised specifically as a night cream—there’s a different night cream from that product line—but that’s how it works best for me. As a rule, night creams will be thicker than day creams, and are formulated to moisturize while you sleep.

Me, waking up post-Tatcha moisturizer:

Day Cream Protects; Night Cream Repairs

Day cream, I learned, has one major job: to protect your face from the sun, so basically to contain as much SPF as you can stand. (For reference, I use SPF 46—do not come at me with your SPF 15 liquid foundation). Like I said before, I have a special breed of lizard skin that requires me to pair said SPF 46 lotion with a second day cream—but if you have the option of combining these steps, I strongly recommend you do. I love this one from Origins (so brightening), or this SPF 50 IT Cosmetics CC cream. (No, I don’t know what a CC cream is, and my head will explode if I research further.) I own this cream, and would refer to it as somewhere between light coverage foundation and tinted moisturizer.

Scott Disick knows what’s up, a sentence I never thought I’d utter.

If you are like me, and SPF products aren’t moisturizing enough on their own, I recommend a super lightweight cream that sinks in quickly. My personal fave for this is Cerave, which makes both a day cream and a night cream.

While day cream bears the brunt of sun protection, your night cream can and should have active ingredients too. We’ve already discussed the benefit of adding retinol to your daily routine, and 2019 is heading toward being the year of glycolic acid. These ingredients are both great, because they help speed up cell turnover, AKA get rid of the dead skin and bring in the new, better skin. Very scientific, I know. However, both of these ingredients also make your skin more sensitive to the sun. I can personally attest to this—this past December, I used a retinol oil and then went out for a day of skiing. Within 24 hours, I developed dark, rough patches of sunburn on my face like I’d never seen before, and they lasted well through New Year’s Eve. Happy 2019 to me!

So, while retinol and AHAs are a good addition to night creams, they should absolutely be avoided in your day creams. On the flip side, you’re welcome to put on SPF at night—but unless you’re sleeping at a campsite, I’m not sure why you would.

Ultimately, you could just say f*ck it and use the same lightweight moisturizer with zero active ingredients for both day and night (plus sunscreen, obv). But if you have skin that’s on the dryer side, I highly recommend investing in a thicker night cream—and not making the mistake I did of piling it on in the morning, too.

Images: Tatcha; Giphy (2)

7 Beauty Resolutions You Should Make For 2019

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been personally victimized at the start of a new year by your own ambitions. You know, those resolutions you’ve set for yourself saying you’re going to cut back on ordering from UberEats, slow down on the booze, or finally start using your gym membership? (Same, same.) While those resolutions tend to be forgotten by February (or like… the second week of January), I’ve rounded up some not-so annoying beauty resolutions that are pretty easy to stick to in the new year. Your hair and skin will thank you, and then you’ll thank me, so it works out for everyone.

Finally, beauty resolutions that will make you like, really pretty (and healthy), and don’t require working out every day or cutting daily weekly happy hours out of your schedule.

via Giphy

1. Remove Your Makeup Every Night Before Bed

… Yes, even when you’re drunk. I know, the last thing you want to do when you get in from a long day (or long night) is remove your makeup before you lay down for your beauty rest, but the truth is you really should. You see, your makeup can trap dirt and toxic environmental pollutants and lead to a number of concerns like clogged pores, acne, dry skin, and the degradation of collagen (which eventually leads to premature aging). Just do it, ok? You know what’ll make it a hell of a lot easier to stick to? Makeup wipes.

For wipes that will take off all of your makeup (yes, even pesky mascara), no face wash or sink needed, grab La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar Cleansing Towelettes and take “lazy but efficient” to the next level. You can even use them while you’re in bed if you’re willing to be that pathetic strategic.

via La Roche-Posay

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Clarifying Oil-Free Cleansing Towelettes

2. Use A Mask Multiple Times A Week

If you’re super lazy, adding another step to your beauty routine may seem like an impossible task. But let me tell you, I swear there is plenty of time for them and they will do wonders for your hair and skin. First off, as far as hair masks go, there are plenty of masks that you can massage into your locks overnight and wash them out in the morning. For face masks, opt for one that targets your main skin concerns. Plaster it on while you’re binge-watching Netflix, in the morning when you’re checking all of your social media platforms before you get out of bed, or while you’re waiting for your shower to warm up. The key is to use it 2-3 times a week. That way, you’re actively addressing your skin issues but you’re not over-using it so it won’t dry out or otherwise irritate your skin.

Lab to Beauty’s The Green Cure Mask contains matcha, french green clay, lavender, and the ever-trendy CBD oil to detoxify the skin, calm redness, and revitalize for a healthy, glowing complexion.

via Lab To Beauty

Lab To Beauty The Green Cure Mask

On wet hair, apply this overnight hair mask to calm frizz, provide nourishment and just make your strands smell so much better. Just be sure to rinse out in the morning and then style as usual.

via Matrix

Matrix Biolage 3-Butter Control System Overnight Mask, $25

3. Stop Self-Medicating With Sex And Alcohol

So this one is a little more for your brain and emotional well-being. But regardless, if your anxiety is at an all-time high, your skin is freaking out, your bank account is drained, and you’ve been ghosted by too many f*ckboys to keep track of in 2018 (I swear, I’m not writing an autobiography here), odds are you should probably stop self-medicating by getting drunk and hooking up with even more f*ckboys. Instead, clear your head, ease your anxieties, and get focused using natural supplements. These vitamins contain mood-enhancing ingredients like organic St. John’s wort, organic gingko leaf, vitamin B6, and GABA. They literally just lighten your mood and clear your thoughts to help you focus and get back on track (whatever track that is).

via Love Wellness

Love Wellness Mood Pills, $18.74

4. Drink Your Collagen

Ingestible collagen became like, really trendy in 2018—and for good reason. It works from the inside out for a more effective outcome compared to topical collagen products. And in case you weren’t aware, your collagen production begins to slow down in your mid to late 20’s. So odds are, if you’re reading this and you’d like to maintain a smooth, youthful complexion, then start chugging collagen every morning ASAP. Skinade is part of my daily morning routine, and not only does it taste good, but I honestly notice such a difference in my skin. The peach and mangosteen drink combats the signs of aging by preventing the breakdown of collagen and improving moisture and hydration. Basically? Your skin will appear smooth, supple (ew but true), and hydrated in less than 30 days.

via Skinade

Skinade 30-Day Pack

5. Get Into A Consistent Skincare Routine

I’m sure you’ve heard all sorts of conflicting things about what your skincare routine should and shouldn’t include. Let me put it plainly for you: getting into any consistent routine should help keep your skin issues at bay. What I’m trying to say is, do you keep randomly trying all sorts of different products and you keep experiencing breakouts? If the answer is yes, then consistency is key. Try getting into a routine using the same products and the same steps everyday and watch as your skin beings to glow. My recommendation? Try cleansing, using a serum, and then a moisturizer every morning and every night.

via Giphy

6. Stay Out Of The Sun And Start Using SPF

In case you still hit the tanning beds or go into the sun without SPF on your face, I’m not going to flat-out tell you to stop because well, I used to be the same way. But what I will tell you is that UV rays really do f*ck with the texture of your skin, especially as you enter your late twenties when your collagen naturally starts to deplete. Protect your face in the sun. And if you’re anything like me and crave a bronze glow, try a self-tanner for your face. If you want an effective SPF that doesn’t just protect but also moisturizes and feels good on your skin, Glossier’s invisible shield doesn’t disappoint.

Glossier Invisible Shield SPF 35

But when you still need that glow so that you don’t look absurdly pale, sickly, and all around ghost-like, Tan-Luxe’s The Face Self Tan Drops can be dropped in with your daily facial moisturizer and then develop in two to four hours for an amazing bronzy glow. Just remember, though, just like with any other self tanner, you’re going to want to stay away from getting your face wet while the color develops (aka no bathing, swimming, sweating, pouring champagne in your mouth/all over your face, etc.)

via Tan-Luxe

Tan-Luxe The Face Illuminating Self Tan Drops

7. Use Sulfate-Free Shampoos And Conditioners

Sulfates in your shampoos can cause build-up, strip your color (if you have color-treated hair), and basically make it gross, dry, brittle, and hard to style. Sulfates are the chemicals that we associate with a rich, foamy lather, but guess what: You don’t actually need that sh*t for shampoo to work. Take my word for it and opt for a sulfate-free option.

via SheaMoisture

SheaMoisture Manuka Honey & Yogurt Hydrate Repair Shampoo & Conditioner

Betches may receive a portion of revenue if you click a link and purchase a product or service. The links are independently placed and do not influence editorial content.
Header photo by kevin laminto on Unsplash

Skin Care Diaries: My Four-Step Routine For Highly Sensitive Skin

As you can probably tell from the title, this skin care diary entry will be less sexy than others we’ve published. Welcome to the world of sensitive skin. I graduated college a little over two years ago, and it’s been an absolute whirlwind watching my skin and metabolism compete over who can deteriorate faster. I’ve never suffered from serious acne (*knocks on every piece of wood in the tri-state area*), but my post-grad skin has offered up plenty of dullness, dryness, and increasingly visible pores. I also developed what I refer to as “my problem cheek,” and my dermatologist refers to as “rosacea.” Basically, one stubborn patch on my face is perpetually red with some bumps—not quite pimples but just not smooth.

Before I finally caved and saw a dermatologist about it, I was convinced I had chronically dry skin and was layering on fancy oil-based serums and thick moisturizers every night. I genuinely believed that the more I spent on a skin care product, the better it was for me. But here’s the honest, tragic truth about my (highly sensitive) skin. Just about anything I do to it beyond doctor-recommended cleanser, treatment, and moisturizer only makes it worse. As my dermatologist explained, the rosacea means that my skin barrier is damaged. So any products I’m applying don’t actually soak in. They just settle in the top layer, creating that fun bumpy texture I was describing.

Long story short, many of the fun, bougie skin care products I’d love to try are off-limits to me. All those “intensely moisturizing” products I used to swear by? They make my oil-prone areas worse, and ultimately clog my pores. Any physical exfoliants just activate my redness-prone rosacea patches. And forget about face makeup. Any time I go for a full face of foundation, or—God forbid—highlighter, which I seem to be allergic to in every brand, I accept that my skin’s overall appearance will take a hit for the next three days. So, I’ve worked very hard to assemble a routine that keeps my sensitive AF skin smooth, even, and pimple-free. If your skin is more dramatic about a change in routine than you are when asked to attend a 9am meeting, read on. Here are the products I’ve found really work.

My sensitive skin every time I try to introduce a new product:

My Routine

Face Wash: I wash my face morning and night with CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser. My dermatologist recommended it, and it makes my face feel crazy soft. I’ll double cleanse on days when I bothered to put on make-up, or if I skipped my routine the night before. And while I’m sure that a Clarisonic or the equivalent would make it even more effective, I frankly just do not have the time or patience to use one. Plus, I kind of hate reusable skin care accessories because I’m a germophobe and convinced they’re growing bacteria. This is a problem I imagine could be alleviated by like, cleaning it, but once again I am lazy/perpetually short on time.

Toner: I follow (most) cleanses with Belif Witch Hazel Herbal Extract toner. In the words of my dermatologist, it’s “not really doing anything,” but she graciously invited me to finish the bottle I’d just purchased. Despite her (rude) commentary, I like the idea of an additional cleansing step while living in the cesspool of dirt known as New York City. Also, it smells refreshing and makes me feel fancy. As I mentioned before, most products that fit that description give me some kind of weird reaction, so I really appreciate the ones that don’t.

Prescription: Once my doc determined that problem cheek = rosacea, I was given a prescription for an azelaic acid called Finacea Foam. It treats the redness and bumps caused by rosacea, and I use it twice a day after cleansing and before moisturizing. While it hasn’t 100% cleared up the problem, I’ve gone from having bumps spread across both cheeks to one small patch (damn you, problem cheek!). The overall texture has also greatly improved, and what was once a weird blotchy redness now shows up as more of a flush after hot showers/working out. Highly recommend.

Spot Treatment: This is not dermatologist-approved behavior, but if I see a pimple coming on I’ll dab some spot treatment with salicylic acid on the area before locking it all in with moisturizer. It’s a little annoying because I have to wait for an additional layer to dry, but fully worth it if you can stop a burgeoning zit in its tracks. If I go a little too nuts and start using it daily I end up getting dry and triggering some redness, but in moderation I find this kind of product to work wonders. My two faves are Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment and Neutrogena Rapid Clear Acne Eliminating Spot Gel.

Sunscreen: I use EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 every morning, at my dear dermatologist’s behest. Apparently rosacea can be triggered by sun exposure, so I guess this plays a role in calming it down. Honestly, I struggle to get excited about any product from which I don’t see immediate effects, but I know it’s good for me and I feel lightly smug for using it for that reason. Also, it sinks in quickly enough and replaces my moisturizer in the morning.

Moisturizer: I use CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion every night and some mornings, depending on how dry my skin is feeling. I love it because it’s lightweight, has the same silky feel as their cleanser, and doesn’t sit on top of my skin like all those fancy jar moisturizers I was buying for years did. Does it make me feel rich and chic? No, but it also doesn’t cost me $50 every six weeks, and my skin is way softer. I’ll take it.

Serum: Eminence Facial Recovery Oil. My dermatologist all but begged me to throw this out (in her words, “I don’t think more oil is what you need right now”). But I’ll still dab a little on my forehead every now and then because I can’t help myself. Nose, chin, and cheeks are off-limits for this riskier product, but I’ll mix a little in with my moisturizer and apply to my forehead a few times a week. It smells amazing and my sister swears it’s improved her fine lines.

Wednesday

Morning: Cleanser, toner, Finacea, sunscreen. I have a week-old pimple on my cheek, and last night I put on a bunch of spot treatment and extra Tretinoin on the area, plus Neosporin since I keep picking it open. (Don’t @ me, it works.) The pimple is finally fading from view, but I see two to three more bumps lurking below the surface. Problem Cheek, will you ever set me free??? I’ve tried changing pillowcases, changing what side I sleep on, never holding my phone to that side of my face… nothing works. I take a few pictures in hopes of taking you on a visual journey, but I’m on week 7 of a 10-week shoot and the bags under my eyes/general lifeless demeanor are a little much to take.

Evening: Cleanser, Finacea, moisturizer. No spot cream or toner because I just worked 14 hours. Moisturizer I applied lying down maybe three seconds before passing out. I manage to apply more Neosporin to my cheek spot, though, because at this point I’ve been wrangling it for nearly 10 days and it’s all I can think about. To anyone reading this: do not pick your face until it bleeds, no matter how fun and genuinely helpful it seems in the moment! I fall asleep praying it will heal overnight.

My poor, picked-at skin:

Thursday

Thursday morning I don’t have to be at work until 9am. This would be better news if it didn’t mean I’ll be there until 11pm. However, the extra time in the morning means I can cleanse, tone, apply Finacea, and put on sunscreen all in the comfort of my home. I’m sad to admit I sometimes apply sunscreen on the subway, which I am aware makes me gross. I have a thing about layering products too quickly. I worry I’m just diluting one product with another if I don’t give them time to dry. If I’m totally wrong on this, PLEASE call me out in the comments. I would love to stop putting on sunscreen with hands that just touched subway poles.

I’m not home until 11:40pm, as expected. As I dutifully cleanse, tone, Finacea, and moisturize, I realize something miraculous. Cheek pimple is, if not totally invisible, highly faded. Neosporin saves the day again. I stare at my nearly clear cheek and think about how I definitely would have skipped washing my face tonight if I weren’t writing this diary. This makes me think I should start journaling my food, too. Then I eat four bite-size candy bars I stole from work and fall asleep.

Friday

Today is an exciting skincare day for you all! I’m working from home until 6:30, so I don’t get out of bed until 11. I don’t do anything to my face because I want to work out first, a dream it takes me two hours and 15 minutes of yoga to give up on. I wash my face in the shower, then put on Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque. It’s my go-to for all generalist, make-my-skin-look better needs. It’s great for calming down redness and inflammation, improves overall tone, and just makes your skin look clear.

After, my skin is looking the best it has all week. The cheek pimple is totally gone, and those bumps I was complaining about on Wednesday seem to have died down too. I add toner, Finacea, and sunscreen. After sunscreen, I add my new favorite no-makeup makeup product: Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer. This is the closest thing to foundation I can wear without triggering a breakout, and despite being sheer, I swear to God it visibly blurs away my flaws. Friday night, I cleanse/Finacea/maybe moisturize? I spent my evening getting high and watching Vanderpump Rules, so I honestly don’t remember. I do remember eating a Twix bar at 1am and thinking the single greatest thing I could do for my health is cut down on sugar, so take that as you will.

Me: I should cut down on sugar!
Also me every time I go out:

Saturday/Sunday

Saturday morning, I cleanse and tone, and get dressed in a rush waiting for toner to dry. Then I add Finacea and try to find my insurance card for a doctor’s appointment for 10 minutes. Two hours later, I remember to moisturize—hope it still counts for something. No sunscreen today, oops. Saturday night I make a genuine attempt to go out. But I still end up asleep on the couch before midnight. At least I manage to wash my face before crashing. I tell myself I’ll put on Finacea and moisturizer in bed. I don’t.

Sunday morning I’ve slept for an annoyingly long time. I cleanse, tone, Finacea, and moisturize—no sunscreen. My skin’s feeling dry since I fell asleep without moisturizing the night before, and I don’t really plan on spending time outside anyway. I go to the movies, where I realize the junk food and half-hearted skin care Saturday has resulted in two new bumps rearing their heads on Problem Cheek. I tell myself I’ll do a mask and spot treatments that night. Instead, I drink two margaritas at 5pm, and barely manage to cleanse/tone/Finacea/moisturize. I suck.

Monday

I wake up at 4:30am, regretting Sunday’s margaritas with every bone in my body. I seriously consider quitting my job for five minutes, then get out of bed and cleanse, tone, Finacea, sunscreen. Monday night, I get home “early” (7pm), and treat myself to some salicylic acid spot treatment following my cleanse/Finacea/moisturizer routine. No toner because I’m already tired at the prospect of the spot treatment, but the bumps I saw at the movie theater Sunday don’t seem to be going anywhere on their own.

Tuesday

Tuesday morning I cleanse, tone, Finacea, and liberally apply sunscreen to try and make up for the fact that I don’t have time to apply moisturizer (and wait for it to dry). At work, I read a different skin care diary in which someone who clearly has more money and better skin than me also swears by salicylic acid for clearing breakouts. Even though the salicylic acid product is the only one in her routine I can remotely afford, I allow myself a brief moment of smugness. I also remind myself that fancy $100 skincare items have never done anything but made me break out.

Tuesday night, I cleanse/tone/Finacea, and add more spot gel (Clean & Clear) to those bumps on my cheek. I can’t be sure if they’re actually pimples or just rosacea bumps, but I feel hopeless if I can’t even pretend I’m treating it. I tell myself I’ll moisturize in bed, and as I’m sure you can guess, I do not. At 3am, I wake up, realize my mistake and moisturize. It’s terrible.

All in all, the moral of my not-so-exciting skin care routine is that I’ve (reluctantly) stopped chasing Instagram-perfect skin. And both my wallet and face are a lot happier for it. I don’t use drugstore products because I’m low-maintenance and don’t GAF. I use them because the alternative is spending $78 on a moisturizer that sits on top of my broken skin barrier and makes me break out. So if you have sensitive skin like me, remember that the #1 investment you can make is a dermatologist, and when you’re rich, biannual microneedling and injections. Can’t wait.

Images: Giphy (4)