The all-star, pro-bowl, MVP skincare routine

My skin has spent the last, oh, 22 years or so trying to make my life miserable. There has never been a time I don’t remember it being oily, and as a teenager is was constantly red and broken out, a lovely contrast to my otherwise Snow White complexion. During spring break of my sophomore year of college my mom offered to buy me ProActiv. Before accepting her offer, I did a little research on my own. I stumbled upon the regimen and thought I’d give it a shot; it was cheap and I had a suitable cleanser and moisturizer anyway. I am not exaggerating when I say it changed my life. For the rest of college I hardly wore foundation and was comfortable going nearly bare-faced almost all the time.

Well that all changed about three weeks ago. I wasn’t using the regimen anymore, I was trying a bunch of different cleansers, and God only knows what else I did, but my skin punished me. It looked worse than in high school, and I was running out of ideas. Again I stumbled on, and after getting my breakouts under control, I modified it into my perfect skincare routine.


  • Wash with Aquanil cleanser. Aquanil is Cetaphil’s cousin in that it is super-gentle, but it actually cleans the skin. You can get it behind the counter at any pharmacy. I bought a 16-ounce bottle for about $12.
  • Treat with Paula’s Choice 2% BHA liquid and Blemish Fighting Solution. I keep the BHA in a small spray bottle and 3-4 squirts is enough for my face. Rub that in, then apply a generous amount of the Blemish Fighting Solution. It has 2.5% benzoyl peroxide, which is the key ingredient in the regimen. I have the crazy belief that no matter what you put on your skin, you won’t break out if you use BP. These products are a little pricey but they are very carefully formulated to be gentle on the skin, so I think they’re worth it.
  • Moisturize with original Nivea creme or Nivea Soft creme. I usually use the Soft creme in the daytime because it’s lighter but still does a great job moisturizing. I never would have thought to put this on my face until last weekend while I was staying with the fauxsister. My skin was super dry and flaky from the BP, and dousing my face in chlorine while swimming with the baby that morning hadn’t helped things. “I’ve got something for you,” said fauxsister when we left the gym, and when we got home she pulled out her little blue tin of Nivea. I was hesitant (I had only used the creme on my hands and body), but she’s got beautiful, glowing skin so I slathered it on. Best thing ever, and I feel so budget-savvy with a one ounce tin ringing in at 99 cents.

How cute are these?!


  • Cleanse with Aquanil. If I’m wearing heavy makeup I’ll use MAC Cleanse-off Oil or just add some olive oil to the Aquanil (it really helps moisturize too). I LOVED the Cleanse-off Oil when my skin was more oily because it really deep-cleans without stripping the skin. I still like it but it dries out my skin a bit.
  • Treat with Paula’s Choice BFS and RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle serum. Don’t be fooled, retinol does so much more than improve the look of wrinkles. I use it to treat current breakouts and blackheads, fade old acne scars, and improve my skin’s texture. Just a pump covers my whole face. I’m looking at trying some other retinol serums, namely DERMAdoctor’s Poetry in Lotion or Philosophy’s Help Me during Sephora’s upcoming Friends & Family event.
  • Moisturize with Nivea creme. If my skin is really dry, I’ll reverse the order and moisturize before I treat. It doesn’t seem to affect the absorption of the treatments, but I’m not a scientist so I don’t know.

I also use the Oil Cleansing Method two times a week at night in lieu of regular cleansing. I LOVE IT. I can really feel it unclogging my pores and it feels so good to use natural ingredients on my face. You can read more about it here. I use a mixture of castor and jojoba oils.

My skin is looking so good these days I’m going without foundation, and my family and friends are commenting on how it looks. I’m almost to the point that I don’t need any “face” makeup, and that’s really exciting! I’m waiting on a Pretika sonic skincare brush in the mail, and I hope that will just put me over the top. I’m also taking a daily multivitamin with iron, vitamin B-complex, and extended-release fish oil. I think the fish oil is doing great things from the inside out!

What are your skincare secrets? Share in the comments!


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