Dorothy had Glinda. Luke had Yoda. I had a dermatologist. All heroines have their helpers — mine just so happened to have an MD attached to his name.
The year before I entered high school, the skin on my face decided to do this thing where it covered every inch of itself with acne. To convey that this was not what I wanted, I spent all the birthday money I saved on drugstore products that promised to rescue me from my own skin. Though my bathroom ended up looking like an aisle straight out of CVS, my epidermis was not on board. To let me know, the acne (and my insecurities) grew with vengeance.
Right before I was set to enter high school, I couldn’t take it any longer and broke down in front of my mom, begging her to take me and my hormones to a professional. At this point, she mercifully agreed that it was time to bring in backup.
Though I was nervous for my first dermatology appointment, the doctor was incredible. With a gloved hand, he gently touched my chin and, moving my face from side-to-side, said, “It will heal. But we need to simplify your skin care routine.” This resulted in a prescription for three products — a cleanser, nighttime gel, and morning lotion — and I was out the door. The appointment lasted a total of 10 minutes, but those 10 minutes were a blessing.
After using only those three products for several months, my acne cleared up and I learned a very important lesson. I have really sensitive skin and the less products I use, the better. I’d also like to note that I don’t wear a day-to-day, full face of makeup (and never have).
Morning: 8:30 a.m.
I am not a morning person, so getting up in the morning involves a lot of moaning and cursing. I feel that this is an essential part of my routine. Once that’s done, I rise from the Spasilk Hair Beauty Pillowcase ($8.99) I bought because my bed-head got bad, apply my favorite Bunny Butt Apothecary The Pits Veggie Deodorant ($15) in “Antique Lace,” get dressed, and make my way into the bathroom. After thoroughly washing my hands, I clean my face with just water, spritz it with some of Mullein & Sparrow’s Organic Rose Hydrosol ($22), and finish things off with Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30 ($7.10). I was sent the Rose Hydrosol in a Goddess Provisions’ subscription box, but ended up purchasing it again because I love it that much.
Because I leave myself little time for simple pleasures in the morning, I tend to apply Treat Beauty’s Jumbo Soft Candy Vanilla Buttercream Organic Lip Balm ($13.99) while stuck in standstill traffic. If traffic is extra intense, I may even add a lip color — just for funsies! Today, I chose Beauty Bakerie’s “Versailles” Lip Whip ($20), which was sent to my editor and graciously gifted to me.
Midday: 2 p.m.
Around this time, I will apply a travel-size version of Aveda’s Stress-Fix Body Lotion ($12) to my tired, typing hands. If my forehead develops a sheen of oil, I will head to the bathroom, grab a thin sheet of toilet paper, and blot my face.
I’d also like to note that drinking plenty of water is a significant part of my beauty routine and my CamelBak water bottle ($13.99) helps me accomplish this.
Night: 8 p.m.
My favorite time of day is upon us, in which I basically crawl into a hot shower and envision my anxieties flowing down the drain. While this key part of my beauty routine is in play, I clean my hair with Maple Holistics’ Shampoo for Oily Hair & Oily Scalp ($11.95), wash my bod with a loofah and a Yardley London Soap Bath Bar ($11.29 for a pack of 8) in “Oatmeal and Almond,” and then shave with my trusty Aveeno Skin Relief Shave Gel ($3.08) and Bic Flex4 razors ($5.99).
Post-shower, I treat myself to the superstar Origins Original Skin Retexturing Mask with Rose Clay ($14.99). Post-mask and pre-blow dry, I massage the ends of my hair with Aveda’s Phomollient Styling Foam ($21). I use whatever dryer was cheapest at the drugstore at the time (the name has rubbed off).
Up next is my nighttime skin routine, which means I’m one step closer to sleep! Woo! To kick things off, I wash my face with water. If need be, I’ll use Thayers Alcohol-free Rose Petal Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera ($10.52) to spot-treat any problem areas. I then spray Mullein & Sparrow’s Organic Lavender Hydrofoil ($22) all over my face. If I remember that I do indeed have bags under my eyes, I’ll use some of the Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado Oil my roommate kindly gifted me ($48).
Lastly, before reuniting with my beloved bed, I will apply some of the Aveda Stress-Fix Body Creme ($16, travel-size) to my hands and arms. It has the same scent as the lotion I used earlier, but has a more luxurious texture. It also helps me fall asleep!
Now that we’ve reached the end, I’d like to emphasize that I am working toward a completely cruelty-free routine. I’m not there yet, but I’m hoping to get there soon. In other words, to those of you who’ve made it this far: Send me your recommendations!
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