I have plenty of years of experience dealing with and concealing acne-prone skin. I had serious cystic acne as a teenager and beyond.
I still get hormonal breakouts every month. 😣 Though I am not at all thrilled at how scarred my face is due to acne, I’ve learned a lot due to this experience that I can pass on to you if you’re dealing with the same same or similar issues.
You’re not alone!
Here is my daily skin care routine for keeping acne, excess oil, and clogged pores at bay. I’m no expert or esthetician, but what I’ve learned is through personal experience and I’ve sure a accumulated enough of it to know what does and doesn’t work.
Neutrogena Facial Cleansing Bar. $3.94 at Target.
Here’s the thing, no matter what companies tell you and would like to have you believe, products alone will not solve your acne problems. Many times, they are caused by hormones. Like my doctor told me when I started breaking out, you cannot wash acne away, which actually sucks.
I’m sorry, but that’s a fact. You may need to try birth control or other methods to get rid of acne for good, especially if it’s cystic in nature. Nonetheless, keeping oil and sebum to a minimum is a necessary part of your routine as there’s no point in inviting more acne to the party. You don’t have to spend a lot; Simple cleansers like Neutrogena’s original facial cleansing bar are good enough. This one has no harsh ingredients and cuts through pore clogging residue.
Shea Moisture’s African Black Soap. 3.97 at Target. 5.99 at Ulta.
Another great one is Shea Moisture’s African Black Soap Acne Prone Face & Body Bar, above. Its natural ingredients both cut through oil an acne causing bacteria and moisturize the skin, which believe it or not, you need, despite acneic skin. It is possible to wash your face too much and dry it out beyond what is necessary. Be careful! Only wash your skin two times a day, max.
Mario Badescu’s Glycolic Acid Toner. $18 on Amazon.
If you’re dealing with extreme excess sebum, I’d say definitely use a toner. If not, you can skip it and just cleansing should be enough. The one by Mario Badescu, above, is very well loved and performs amazingly to reduce signs of acne scarring and discoloration due to grapefruit extract and glycolic acid.
3. Moisturizing & SPF
As I mentioned, you DO need to moisturize despite acne and oily skin. Concentrate it on your under eyes and avoid pimples, of course. The one above, by St. Ives is great for your under eyes and any dry patches or fine lines like smile lines because it contains collagen. You can also use a BB cream, with SPF, preferably, if you’re not wearing foundation, or a serum if your skin is extremely oily.
If you don’t feel like wearing foundation, you can just use this BB Cream by Elf. $5.99 at Target.
The BB Cream above by ELF, is a great moisturizer and replacement for foundation if you’re having a low key type of day. It’s infused with cucumber, aloe, jojoba, and Vitamin E which are all awesome for the skin.
Clinique’s Moisture Surge Hydrating Supercharged Concentrate Mini. $13.50.
The serum above delivers intense moisture and prevents the cycle of aging without aggravating pimples an problem areas. It’s water-gel based so it won’t clog pores either.
Don’t forget to slather on a non Comodogenic sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or above, like the one above. Aside from protecting you from the damaging rays of the sun, it contains healing ingredients like jojoba seed oil and aloe.
Too Faced’s Primed & Poreless Face Primer. The hype is for good reason. $30 at Ulta.
A good blurring and pore filling primer, like Too Faced’s Primed & Poreles Face Primer, above, is absolutely necessary if you want your foundation to look flawless and last all day and cover scars and texture as much as possible. Too Faced’s Primed & Poreless contains a slew of ingredients like retinol and mulberry extract to prevent aging, soothe inflamed skin, blur and minimize pores and imperfections, fight free radicals, and more. All in all almost a magic potion and well worth the price.
You don’t have to spend a ton, but in terms of longevity, you do get what you pay for. You can get away with Elf’s Poreless Primer though, for only 6.00, below. It does a great job of masking pores and texture and it’s infused with tea tree so it provides a cooling and soothing effect.
ELF’s Poreless Primer. $4.99 at
Kat Von D’s Lock-it Foundation. $35. Sephora.
Before applying a matte foundation like Kat Von D’s Lock-it Foundation, make sure you have a good tool on hand. The original Beauty Blender is hyped for good reason, but there are so many dupes available for less than $20, that you really don’t have to spend that much.
The original Beauty Blender. $20.
Nonetheless, if you do, you probably won’t be sorry. For deeply pitted skin, and any kind of scars, sponges are best in my opinion as you almost want to pounce foundation into those imperfections to even skin texture.
EcoTools’ EcoFoam Facial Sponge Duo Set. $9.99 at Target.
The sponges by EcoTools, above, and Real Techniques, below, are both excellent dupes. More on the best dupes in this influentser.com article.
Real Techniques’ Miracle Complexion Sponge. $5.99 at Target.
Right now I’m very into the Real Techniques sponge. Make sure to wet your sponge, squeeze water out, smooth foundation of your choice over skin, and pound it gently. (That’s why it’s called ‘beating’ your face) Concentrate product on pitted areas and hyper pigmentation.
Matte and high coverage foundations like Kat Von D’s are best to give the appearance of clear and even skin.
Urban Decay’s All Nighter Liquid Foundation. $40 at
Other great options are Urban Decay’s All Nighter Liquid Foundation, above, and L’Oreal’s Infallible 24 Hour Pro Matte Foundation, below.
L’Oreal’s 24 Hour Pro Matte. $13.
Another utterly awesome drugstore matte foundation is Wet n Wild’s Photofocus Foundation, below. It’s my current favorite, and for the price, the flawless matte finish and high coverage is unreal.
My favorite at the moment, Wet n Wild’s Photofocus Foundation. $4.69 at Target.
Tarte’s Shape Tape. $27. Ulta.
Just about everyone’s holy grail concealer product, Tarte’s Shape Tape is that good. For long wearing, creaseless, intense coverage, Shape Tape never fails. It’s particularly great for under eye area and highlighting the face. You don’t need to spend this much however to cover zits seamlessly.
Neutrogena’s Skin Clearing Concealer. $6.89.
Neutrogena has amazing products to deal with serious acne breakouts. If you’re breaking out and need major help covering problem areas, yet don’t want to aggravate them, go for Neutrogena’s Skin Clearing Concealer. Their foundation and powder with acne fighting ingredients are great too. You can use your beauty blender for understand eye areas and larger textured spots, as well as anywhere else you highlight with concealer, but for zits I’d stick to your fingertips for more control.
Maybelline’s Fit Me Matte and Poreless Powder. $5.99. Target.
To set all of your hard work, go for something that will keep you matte and help it last all day. Maybelline’s Matte and Poreless Powder does a superb job of doing so.
It Cosmetics’ Bye Bye Pores Silk HD Anti Aging Micro-Powder. $24. Ulta.
It Cosmetics’ Bye Bye Pores Silk HD Anti-Aging Micro Powder is probably my favorite for blurring texture. Since it’s so finely milled, it truly blurs pores. It’s anti-aging properties are such a cool bonus.
7. Express Yourself
Whether you like a full beat, the natural look, or both, depending on the day, express yourself with your eye makeup, lipstick, etc. Though I would stay away from intense highlighters if you have intense texture, it’s entirely up to you. If you liked this post, I will totally do a daily routine for dry skin, eczema, whatever, I’ll do it for your benefit!
Love you all and just know that you are beautiful no matter what kind of skin you have!
I have been battling cystic acne for years and will happily do a post on that as well! (By the way, I have taken accutane, birth contol, and just about everything else for acne)
Comment on your routine below!