For as long as I can remember, people have always asked me why I have such great skin, with a slightly accusatory tone. And I understand why -- I mean, I do party like an 18-year-old, curse like a sailor, drink like a (ladylike) fish, snack like a bona fide porker, travel like a vagabond and sleep never ever, so it's actually easy for them to believe me when I give them my short answer: "It's genetic."
Neither of my parents were ever afflicted with acne, so the "great skin" odds were ever in my favor to begin with. With that said, I do understand and totally empathize with how debilitating skin issues can be, which is part of the reason why I love my job as a beauty editor. To be able to share effective beauty tips and tricks with women who can benefit from my advice is my therapy of sorts. And it's good for me -- but better for you.
I guess I should mention that I'm also super strict with my routine. I wash my face twice daily religiously, and remove my makeup the instant I walk through the door. (I typically soak cotton pads in rose absolute toner, but I'll use a simple baby wipe if I'm shitfaced.)
Here's the first part of my morning primping process:
Know Your Skin:
Whether you're dry, oily, normal, combination, or sensitive, being fully aware of your particular skin type matters more than you'll ever know. Washing with a product designated for another can cause undesirable (read: pimply) results that can take several months to get under control. (If you can't get to a dermatologist to determine yours for you, here's an amazing at-home DIY test.)
Take Your Time:
FYI, you should be washing your face for at least TWO full minutes. It doesn't matter if you're using a Clarisonic (which I do) or your bare hands.
Side note: Never ever, ever, ever, ever use a wash cloth unless you're using a brand new one ever single day. If you're addicted to wash cloths, use a baby wipe with your cleanser instead. (Disposable!)
But I digress. I know two minutes seems like a long, long, long time, but that's minor in exchange for skin that's actually clean, right? Watch the clock, manually count it down, or turn on the radio and scrub up for a full song -- whatever your method, just make sure you're at it for at least 120 seconds.
Tighten Up Your Technique:
Be sure to really get in there. Stimulate your skin by using your fingertips to massage it in grand sweeping circles, and kneading it with your knuckles. Very gently scratch at it with your freshly filed fingernails. Trust me -- this may sound harrowing, but you'd be surprised to see how much gunk will end up underneath your fingernails. If you want to dredge up acne-causing excess sebum, dirt and makeup residue, adopt my favorite Malcom X theory: By any means necessary.
Move From Hot to Cold:
Warm water encourages foaming and lathering, so use it when washing. However, when it's time to remove it, know this: Anything below a tepid temperature helps clear the skin of cleanser, so rinse your face with cool-to-cold water. Cup it in your hands; a few splashes should do it.
Always, always, always follow up with a swipe of toner -- use a moisturizing variation if you have normal or dry skin, and astringent if your skin type is oily or combination. As much as I hate to say this, I guarantee you'll pull up even more grimy residue (or leftover cleanser). How much is entirely dependent on how well you've washed your face.
Annnnnnnnnnnnnnd you're welcome.
Feel free to follow bona fide beauty addict India-Jewel on Twitter at @IndiaJewelJax.