If I take a closer look over the past ten years, my complexion had not been doing well for some time. My chin was covered in breakouts that I would cover with foundation and concealer, further clogging my pores and aggravating my skin. The skin on my nose was filled with clogged pores. I just didn’t think about my skin other than to quickly cover it up with makeup and move on with my day.
I’d practiced nearly the same skin routine since my teens, even though my mid-30’s skin is a lot different now. I would vigorously wash my entire face (including eyes) with Clinique Mild Facial Cleanser, then swipe Clinique Take the Day Off Makeup Remover for Lids, Lashes, and Lids over my eyes with a cotton ball to remove any remaining mascara. After washing, my face often felt tight and dry, so I would slick on a thick coat of Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizer.
After totally breaking out over Christmas, I was desperate for a change. I took to my latest obsession- YouTube makeup tutorials- to see if any of my favorite beauty gurus offered any product or technique recommendations. I stumbled upon two videos that I’ve adapted to fit my needs.
First, this video from Teni Panosian of MissMaven.com gave me a great eye makeup removal technique. At night, I gently hold a cotton ball soaked with the Clinique Take the Day Off Makeup Remover over each closed eye, then gently rub the lash line with my fingers to loosen the mascara. Then, I soak a washcloth with very warm (not hot) water and hold it over my face for a minute before gently rubbing the makeup off. Note my repeated use of the word gentle- I was being way too rough with my skin.
Then, the real breakthrough for me- this video from the amazing and insanely popular Michelle Phan. I highly recommend this video, and Michelle’s channel in general.
To clean the face, Phan recommends using a cleansing oil. Lightbulb moment for me. Over the summer, I wrote about using oils to soothe eczema, but I never thought to use them on my face. Although she recommends a particular cleanser available online, Phan says you can even use good old extra virgin olive oil. I thought, “Hey, I have some in my pantry, it won’t cost me anything and it’s worth a try.” I have been pleasantly surprised with how well this works. It really does remove my makeup and my skin feels clean and moisturized, not tight and dry.
Next, she recommends treating the skin with a clay mask. Per Phan’s tip, I picked up a mask containing bentonite clay at my local Whole Foods for about $10. While there, I also picked up some raw organic honey for another type of mask. (Head’s up: manuka honey, which Phan recommends, can be pretty expensive.) I tried the honey mask once and found it to be inconvenient to apply with my fingers, but I’d like to try it again with one of those silicone brush gadgets. I apply the clay mask 2-3 times a week and leave it on for about 10 minutes, then gently rinse with water.
Then, to tone the skin, Phan recommends swiping a cotton ball soaked with raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar, and following it with a cotton ball soaked in water. Needless to say, I’d been using Clinique Clarifying Lotion #2 as a toner and it was totally stripping my dry skin. After using both the oil and the vinegar, I do kind of smell like salad dressing, but hey, that’s a small price to pay for these positive results.
To finish, I smooth more extra virgin olive oil on my skin with a cotton ball and my fingers, gently massaging it into my face.
Over the past month, my complexion has improved dramatically. My chin breakouts have cleared significantly and the pores on my nose have started to clear, resulting in fewer blackheads. I still have some dark spots and acne scarring, but that will be my next project. This technique works for me because my skin type is dry, especially in the winter, and the harsh soaps I was using were stripping away my skin’s natural oils. I’ve also been paying more attention to my skin, adjusting my routine to how I feel each day, instead of blindly scrubbing away no matter what.
Please note that I’m not hating on Clinique. I think they’re a great company that makes quality products, but I wasn’t using them correctly and my skin was suffering.
Also, please be aware of your own sensitivities when trying anything new. Do your own research and read any labels to make sure you’re not using something that might cause a reaction for you. You can also check out our friend Adina Grigore’s new book, Skin Cleanse, for awesome tips on keeping your skin care simple.
If you’re unhappy with your current routine or even if you’re not, I’d suggest giving natural skin care a try. You might be pleasantly surprised with the results.
Have you tried any all natural skin care techniques? Made any masks or all natural spa treatments at home? Let me know in the comments.