Things I've been using on my face skin

I've been cracking down on my skincare routine over the past month. There has been a lot of obsessive (more so than usual) reading of the /r/skincareaddiction subreddit and extensive googling of ingredients. I wanted to get it written down mainly for my benefit, but thought it might help others with a similar skintype. Plus I know at least some of you like reading about this stuff as much as I do. (For the rest of you, I promise I have some actual makeup posts coming! Just don't make me regret putting my face on the internet.)

I have combination skin -- it's pretty oily through the t-zone with really noticeable pores, slightly dry on the chin with a tendency towards blocked pores, and normal-ish everywhere else. I have a lot of post-inflammation hyperpigmentation (PIH) on my cheeks and jawline, and I'm still dealing with the aftermath of a giant pimple on my left cheek which I've just about stopped picking at. 

Fun fact: these photos were taken on top of my toilet seat.

April-May AM routine

April-May AM routine

AM (although more like 12-2 pm, due to nightowlish activities of late; ah, the life of an end-stage grad student. That sounds like a disease):

  • Previously I was using the Olay face brush with random cleansers. Then I was sent the Neutrogena Pore Refining Solutions Exfoliating Cleanser, which contains salicylic acid (BHA), to trial by Beauty Review (I'm going to be writing about this website later; it's pretty great). It seems to be causing some flaking on my nose but no dryness. I like it! No SLSs either. 
  • Several times a week I squeeze out my nose pores. I know, I probably shouldn't be doing this. I also probably rub a bit too hard with the face towel to get flakies off. I'm trying hard not to!
  • Olay Complete All Day UV Moisturizer for Combination/Oily Skin -- my skin seems to be liking this, and it works well under makeup. 
  • Makeup if I'm wearing it. I should probably look into the ingredients! Base-wise, it's mostly the Rimmel Wake Me Up and/or Estée Lauder Doublewear concealers, set with BYS HD silica powder.
April-May PM routine

April-May PM routine


  • Makeup removal with Garnier Clean Detox wipes, or Environ water based eye makeup remover, which is terrible at removing eye makeup but ok for the rest of the face -- I'm only using it up because I got it as a gift with purchase. I've also got jojoba, castor and camellia oils on hand, but have only been using these occasionally.
  • Cleanse with Plantae cleansing gel, sometimes mixed with a bit of Freeman Clay mask with lemon and mint. I've just finished up the Plantae cleansing cream (review here). If I'm in the shower I tend to use the Neutrogena mentioned above instead.
  • Chemically exfoliate 4-5 times a week using the First Aid Beauty Radiance pads. I'm almost out of these, so have also started using Neutrogena Pore Refining Solutions Toner. I got this after I tried out the cleanser in the range for a bit, and also reading this review by Lab Muffin. I really like it, apart from the fact that it's super high in alcohol and the fumes are, quite literally, intoxicating. It also stings if you accidentally get it in your eyes. 
  • Spot treat with Neutrogena Tone Correcting Targeted Treatment which apparently has been discontinued. I'm pretty sad about this. I use this on any PIH, active pimples, and on my chin where I seem to be prone to blocked pores. Most of my PIH is on my chin and jawline. In the past I've used Ultraceuticals Even Skintone serum (both mild and normal formulations), and have been thinking about going back to it.
  • Moisturise with either Plantae Balance day cream or Olay Total Effects Night Cream. In the past I've used Environ AVST 1, which I may go back to if I can't find a more affordable retinoid option. Sometimes I'll layer on a bit of jojoba or camellia oil underneath.

Most of these products have been working pretty well for me. I currently have zero active pimples, which is a bit of a novelty! My skin's feeling pretty smooth and my pores are looking clean. I'm not 100% on some of the ingredients in the products, though, and have been thinking about moving onto Paula's Choice products after some of these are finished -- in fact I just purchased the 2% BHA lotion because there's a 15% off sale, plus I got a referral code (mine's here). The Ultraceuticals serum also worked well for me, but it's a tad pricey at the moment -- I feel like the PC range is better value for money. If you have any recommendations, please throw them my way!