The 3 Skincare Products (And Numerous Good Habits) Responsible For My Complexion


Both Hannah and Mari have gone into to great detail about their skincare routines, so I probably shouldn't be surprised that I heard from a reader emphatically asking: "Alle! YOUR SKIN! Can you please please please write about your skincare routine?" Someone in the comments even said that I didn’t have any pores, which is sweet! Wrong, but sweet!

As far as products go, my skincare routine beyond basic.

I wash my face morning and night with CeraVe cleanser (exfoliating with a washcloth at night), then moisturise with CeraVe AM lotion (in the AM, duh) and PM (in the PM, duh again). I use the Mint Julep Queen Helene mask once a week to make my skin feel super-soft.

I have a few zit-care options, so bear with me:

  • If I have an angry red hormone zit, I put zinc--like the kind lifeguards use--on it to help clear it up quickly.
  • If I have a dumb under the skin invisa-zit, I put a 2.5% benzol peroxide cream on it. This helps move it to the surface more quickly so that it can get to healing up, but isn't so strong that it scorches my skin.
  • If the zit is one that maybe I’ve popped (I try not to do this much, but sometimes it happens), it’s an open wound and needs to be treated as such. I put Neosporin on it to facilitate healing without scarring.

I also wear sunscreen every day of my life, including in winter. I don’t smoke. I eat healthy food and drink heaps of water. Skin is an organ, and like all my organs, I want to do what I can to keep it healthy and in good working order for as long as possible.

However. The good condition of my skin has less to do with WHAT I use and more on HOW OFTEN I use it. Which is morning and night, every day without fail, no matter how tired/drunk/cold/sleepy/lazy I am, how early or late it is, or how much easier it would be just to pass out with the day’s makeup (and grime) on. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve gone to bed wearing makeup in my life, and I don’t even have to use all the fingers.

Please please please, guys: if you never listen to anything else I say, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STOP SLEEPING IN YOUR MAKEUP. WASH YOUR FACE BEFORE YOU GO TO BED.

Obviously you’re not going to die if you sleep in your makeup, and you’re not going to immediately wake up a resident of Hagsville. But it’s better for your skin in the long run if you don’t. Here is what mine looks like without makeup.

Per my doctor, who is getting really used to weird phone calls from me: Human skin secretes stuff called sebum, which helps keep our skin moisturised and protected, as well as removing dead skin cells and other gunk that clogs up our pores. If you sleep in your makeup, you’re blocking up those pores and making it harder for sebum to do it’s job. This can mean blackheads, whiteheads and non-hormonal acne. It's also an ideal environment for bacteria to grow in, which is gross in an entirely different way.

And sleeping in eye makeup? Also not great! I’ll never forget the doctor who told me not to EVER EVER FOR ANY REASON sleep in mascara or eyeliner, because I would get a TERRIBLE EYE INFECTION which could lead to SCARRING and BLINDNESS.

Horrifying. I was twelve when I got that lecture, and it STILL gives me the creepy shivers.

Anyway. I’m not saying that I’m morally superior because I always take my makeup off to sleep, and I’m not saying people who don’t are terrible garbage people. I AM saying that this is a good habit to get into. And since everyone’s skincare routine could use some improvement, here are some tips to help yours out:

  • Time your facewashing around other activities. Doing something like washing your face at the same time every day (for me, that’s as soon as I get out of bed, before I take my dog out to pee) helps establish it as a habit, not a random event.

  • Find a routine you can do in real life. A skin care routine that involves six billion products would send me running for the hills, and I would never do it. Meanwhile I know people who don’t feel like their faces are clean if they don’t use six billion products, and I would never throw shade on them. Find what works for you.
  • Don’t make excuses. Tough love time, guys! It takes two minutes to wash off your face. Nobody is ever too exhausted to not have 120 seconds to wash their face. Keep a packet of those makeup wipes near your bed if you absolutely positively cannot make it to the bathroom when you get home. Take it off every night, and soon you won’t even have to force yourself. Repetition builds habits! NO EXCUSES!
  • I already know what you’re going to say: “But Alle! I start falling asleep on the couch before I go to bed, and then I’m too tired to take my makeup off!” First, as someone who had some pretty intense problems with insomnia, that is REALLY BAD sleep hygiene! Second, take your makeup off BEFORE you flop down on the couch to watch Netflix. Then you can stumble off to dreamland whenever you like, and you’ll have a clean face in the morning.
  • Use a nice moisturiser that makes you feel fancy. If you enjoy your skincare routine, you’re more likely to keep it up.
  • Change (and wash) your pillowcases frequently. If you’re getting weird breakouts on one really specific part of your face, sometimes this is why. I got into the habit of changing out my pillowcases on Wednesdays and Sundays, and it really, really helped my skin.
  • Like how you look without makeup on. Say a sexy person is sleeping over and you’re all “OH NO! I can’t let them see me without makeup on, they’ll think I’m a hideous troll and brandish pitchforks at me!” NO, GUYS. That is not a valid excuse for sleeping with makeup on. If you want to have sex with makeup on, fine. Wash your face afterwards. If the other person--who is lucky enough to be spending time with you, by the way--is like “Ew, your face sans makeup is revolting,” then they are CLEARLY not good enough for you, and you should throw them out.
  • Have reasonable expectations for products. Creams can be--and many are!--really awesome for your skin and do good things for it. But anything that claims to Photoshop your face in real life is exaggerating. If those products really did every single thing that they claim, plastic surgeons and dermatologists would be out of business.
  • Keep at it. If you miss a day or conk out with your eyeliner on, don’t get discouraged and say “Well crap, may as well give this up now.” Do better the next day instead. It takes time to develop new habits, and everyone screws up sometimes. Don’t beat yourself up if you do, too.

And that’s all she wrote! What does your skincare routine look like?