Unfortunately, I wasn't one of those girls lucky enough to breeze through their teenage years without breakouts. Once puberty hit, blackheads and pimples did too—with a vengeance. While Accutane helped for a few years in college, once the real stressors hit, my face broke out as if I had traveled back in time to visit my 16-year-old-self.
Fast-forward five years and my skin was in the same, sad shape. There were months when I saw barely-there blemishes, and others when I felt like craters took up mad real-estate on my face (attractive visual, I know). Tired of being a 20-something who had the skin of a pubescent teen, I enlisted the help of our beauty director, Heather Muir. She's an encyclopedia of beauty knowledge, and after a quick chat about my skin-care regimen, I went home with new products to try and a facial appointment at the spa-to-the-stars Mario Badescu.
It's been a few months since I started a new routine, and I'm happy to report nothing but glowing reviews! My skin will always need TLC, but it's worth the work: I no longer need makeup to leave my apartment. Here's what's worked for me:
I rinse with Clinique Acne Solutions Cleansing Foam ($20, clinique.com) for a refreshing wakeup call. In the hot summer months, BB cream is my go-to coverup; I like Garnier BB Cream Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector ($13, drugstores). If extra coverage is necessary, Clinique Acne Solutions Liquid Makeup ($27, clinique.com) does the trick. To treat flare-ups and dim redness, I’m obsessed with Almay Clear Complexion Concealer + Treatment Gel ($10, drugstores).
It's critical that the makeup comes off before a killer sweat session. When I’m at SoulCycle, I use Clean and Clear Morning Burst Facial Cleanser ($4, drugstores).
I grab Neutrogena Oil-Free Cleansing Wipes ($8, drugstores) from my gym bag. I'm obsessed with the pink grapefruit scent!
If I'm taking a shower at night, I love having Mario Badescu's Enzyme Cleansing Gel ($12, mariobadescu.com). The thick consistency makes me feel like I'm really getting out the gunk. If I'm not showering, I take the lazy-girl route and simply swipe with a wipe. Lucky for me, that's totally OK: derms say that's all I need. A quick dab of Mario Badescu Drying Lotion ($17, mariobadescu.com) after and I’m ready for a good dose of beauty sleep.
If I'm having a breakout, I immediately slap on Origins Out of Trouble 10-Minute Mask ($23, origins.com). If it's general upkeep, I like Origins Clear Improvement ($23, origins.com) to open up my pores. Every Sunday, I use the Clarisonic Mia Sonic Skin Cleansing Brush ($119, clarisonic.com), to take my skin straight to exfoliating heaven.
Monthly: Facials! Justifying them to my no-frills boyfriend was a stretch at first, but having a professional do the painful-but-necessary extractions then smooth with specialized treatments has been the pore perfector I needed. But if the budget is too tight one month, my esthetician from Mario Badescu gave me these quick tips and product suggestions for an at-home spa session.
- Cleanse. Wash face and neck using a cleanser to clear skin and rid oil from the surface of the skin.
- Steam. Boil a pot of water. Remove from heat and pour into a wide bowl. Lean over the bowl so face is about 10 inches from the water. Hold for 3-5 minutes to relax pores and soften skin.
- Exfoliate. Apply a gentle face scrub to damp skin. Use fingertips to massage face in circular motions for 30 seconds. Rinse with warm water.
- Mask. Choose a mask that is appropriate for your skin type. Leave on for 15-20 minutes.
- Moisturize. Lightly apply eye cream, face and lip moisturizer.
Do you have any tried and true solutions that have changed your skin? Do tell!
—Samantha Shelton, assistant web editor