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Beauty,  Life

My Skin Sucks: Developing a Beauty Routine

Guys, I don’t get it. I never have.

 

I’ve been dealing with acne since the moment I started growing tits, so I’ll say since I was about 10 or 11. It’s been diverse, too. All sorts of variations and locations and in different combinations for different reasons. Just fucking acne all the time. There have been some decent breaks, too. Well, sort of. I remember I went through a phase in my early 20s when I was hitting the tanning bed a lot. My skin felt better then. I’ve later learned that tanner skin just conceals reds better, so maybe not even? My skin was also a lot better when I lived in Europe. I’m continually convinced a lot of skin/weight/general health problems in the states are directly correlated with how we treat our food. I mean, science will confirm that. Ahhh that brings me to a hilarious story. When Dave and I went to Denver for Christmas, we bought some brand of bread called “Dave’s” because, well, the name. We didn’t finish it before leaving and left it at his grandparents. We first bought it mid-December. In January, Dave’s mom was at his grandparents and they said Dave left this bread here and jokingly said she should return it to us. Well, she did. She returned this bread to us last week. Over a month later and it was fine. Still edible and no mold. It looks great! We were shook. That’s when we decided to really dedicate some time to learning how to make our own bread because what the fuck??? The point is that there are a lot of factors playing into these problems. There’s shit in our food that shouldn’t be there, so we need to be very careful about what we eat. Certain foods can contribute, too. Dairy is meant to be a big cause, so I’m cutting that next week to test that out. It’s different for every person though and foods can play different roles depending on the person. Then there’s the shit that’s in our skincare products. So much of it is absolutely terrible for you. You have to learn what to look for and what to avoid. Then, there’s our goddamn atmosphere. That shit is bad. And dehydration! And stress! Omg stress!

 

In summary, a key to clear skin is unprocessed food, skincare products without questionable chemicals, sunblock, lots of water and a delicate life balance that is low stress. Oh yeah, you also need to get a good night’s sleep. Did I miss anything? I bet I did!

 

If you’re anything like me, that summary is mind-blowing. I mean, taking care of my skin already sounds like a full-time job. Who the fuck are these magical humans running around well-slept and doused in sunscreen who ate a well-balanced meal this morning and probably worked out already (oops, that helps too? Forgot that one. See?) I know at least one person who successfully does this. My friend Erin is the most balanced person I’ve ever met, and she still finds ways to sneak in cookies. She’s goals. You should just follow her so you can feel motivated and hate her at the same time because she defies the laws of nature.

 

Let’s be real though, it really gets to me because I’m literally surrounded by people with good skin, or at least I was when I was working as a fashion photographer. Actually, all of my closest industry friends basically glow. And they’ll tell you that it’s not all sunshine and rainbows and their skin has problems too, but I call bull shit. I’m not saying they never have problems, but I don’t see them running around with, like, 20 occurrences of cystic acne on their jawline and a pimple so big on the end of their nose that it actually looks like you’re Pinocchio. No, I swear I worked out this morning and didn’t eat cookie dough for breakfast!

 

Why is life so hard?

 

Ok, so, I’m super tired of this shit right now. The acne gots to go! I’ve been in and out of doctors’ offices my whole life, and after fighting it for ages, I’m finally starting on Acutane at the beginning of March. I just did my blood work and first pregnancy test, so next month after my second round I can waltz into the land of terrifying medications. I mean, you have to take pregnancy tests because this shit causes severe birth defects. You also always need proof you’re on birth control AND have to pledge to use a second form of birth control. That’s just wild! I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do though because this cystic acne is the pits.

 

However, this only solves one problem, if it actually solves anything. Hopefully a year on Acutane will mostly fix these breakouts, but that doesn’t guarantee nice skin. You know, the kind you see on bloggers that’s all dewy and even and shit. Before you say it’s instagram filters or retouching, I mean those people like Chriselle Lim or Camila Coelho or Aimee Song who you’ve seen no filter stories and you wonder why they even bother with makeup when they inherently look like that. How do I get to that point? Well, it does help to have money to spend on skincare routines and facials and all the skin goodies. I think money might actually buy happiness. Anyway, I’m actually happy to report that after two weeks of effort I’m starting to see some results with my new skin endeavors. Some time ago, I asked my good friend Erin (whom I mentioned before) for some skincare advice and rough guidelines for what I should be using. She knows her shit and was really spot on. The problem was that I bought a bunch of products and not all of them worked for me. Instead of really trying to figure out what worked and ditching the stuff I didn’t like, I stubbornly stuck to the whole routine and struggled through it. After a long while, things weren’t better, and I slowly threw in the towel. Then, as I started seeing my new dermatologist a few months ago, I went back to the routine, but even more involved. I dove into this Korean beauty routine with all the bells and whistles. There are so many steps. Honestly, it just feels ridiculous. I decided to try, but it still wasn’t fitting. It wasn’t until I finished Marie Kondo’s book and started the Konmari Method on my home that I started to realize something: I needed to assess my skincare products on what brings me joy!

 

Bear with me here. I know these items serve a purpose, so maybe they’re not meant to bring you joy. However, I knew that I really didn’t like over half of the things I was using. It could be because of the feeling of a product on my skin or smell, but there were a bunch of things I hated. So, I started putting these things on my skin and really taking a moment to take it in and decide how I felt about it. What did it smell like? How did my skin feel after it dried? I really listened and let my body decide how it felt about a product and then I was ruthless. If it didn’t bring me joy, then I trashed it. Well, I thanked it, and then I trashed it. I then replaced everything with new products and carefully read reviews about feeling and texture and smell before making a decision. I came to a point where my routine didn’t make me angry anymore, and even though it took me a century to get through all those steps, I didn’t mind. I now get ready for bed and tidy up my house in between each step while I wait to make sure every product has properly soaked into my skin.

 

I have one other real problem though: cost. I don’t own any expensive skincare products. I think the most I’ve spent is $20 on a bottle of something. I would love to buy nicer products, but I’m just so afraid to try something new and potentially waste money. I mean, something like a Dior skin perfector costs $115! I can’t even wrap my head around it. Maybe someday my blog will grow and brands will just gift me shit like that, but for the time being I can’t do something like that. I mean, if I really shop around, I could fly somewhere cool for that same amount. Maybe once things start to level out, I’ll experiment with some high-end products one at a time, but for now I will be sticking with my budget-friendly Amazon finds.

 

So, I want to break down what I’m using and why I like it in case you’d like to try it. I also plan to do periodic updates on this topic to let everyone know how I’m progressing and what I’ve learned. I’ve included two photos from when I started 2 weeks ago (with the new, curated beauty routine) and what my skin looks like as of this morning. What I’m noticing is an overall difference in my skin, like more even tones and less puffiness. I think I’m also going to add a jade roller to the routine as everyone seems to use these. It’s subtle, I know, but I’m pretty intimately connected to my skin, so I know when there’s some good improvement. However, the cystic acne has barely budged. Hopefully the Acutane venture next month will start to inch toward improvement in that department.

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Please be mindful of that fact that I am only speaking from experience and my skincare routine was not curated by a professional. Also, all the products I use are environmentally friendly and not tested on animals and most are vegan. The ampoule is the exception, but the snails are meant to be treated very well.

 

Please know that this post contains affiliate links. Click to read my full disclaimer.

 

MORNING ROUTINE

 

Oil Cleanser – Burt’s Bees Cleansing Oil with Coconut & Argan Oils – $15.99

This has been a tried and true staple for me for a long time! I’m on my third bottle since I started to use it and I think beauty product empties are a rarity in this day and age. I was really hesitant to use an oil-based cleanser when I first started a more involved beauty routine. I tend to have suuuuuper oily skin, so the idea of putting anything oily on my skin seemed counterintuitive. I was wrong! It’s never made my skin oilier and I love how soft it makes my skin. It has that coconut oil soft feel, but smells more earthy.

 

Water Cleanser – Baebody Beauty Activated Charcoal Facial Cleanser – $13.95

Here’s a major plus: this one is vegan! Man, sometimes it’s surprising how hard that is to find that in a beauty product. You think they’d all be that way. I really need to educate myself. Hmm…something to think about as I recently went vegetarian and am trying to be more mindful about the products I use. This doesn’t smell like much. It’s just really smooth and simple. My only complaint is that it’s black, so you really need to clean out your sink afterward if you don’t want it to constantly look like you never clean your sink. A nice bonus was the cap that came with it. It has both a pump and a cap, so if you don’t want to use the pump or want to switch for travel, you have that option.

 

Toner – Insta Natural vitamin C toner – $14.97

Ahhh this is my new favorite part of my beauty routine. For a long time, I was using a Sephora brand toner and I hated it. It always left my skin feeling sticky. This is the polar opposite.This product is rather simple. It contains witch hazel, lavender oil, geranium oil and MSM and is in a spray bottle. I always love anything that’s applied as a mist. It’s, like, extra refreshing. To me, this smells like the Colorado renaissance festival, which makes me love it all the more. I think it’s the witch hazel. When I worked there as a kid, there was a spice/incense/candle/all things natural shop thing a few booths down and it always smelled like this. It’s a happy memory. The ladies there always gave me samples and were so friendly, so this is like a bottle of happiness for me. I like to spritz myself anytime I need a refresher and I’ll surely be putting this into a smaller bottle for flights going forward.

 

Essence – Seoul Ceuticals Marine Mineral Plump & Glow Essence – $19.49

This is another spray bottle, which I love. The main ingredients are tamarind extract, cucumber extract, green tea, aloe leaf juice and marine minerals. It’s very light and the scent that comes through most is cucumber, so it’s another refreshing product. It feels a bit similar in that capacity to the toner, but a Korean beauty routine mandates you use both. This is also meant to help tighten pores. The jury is still out on the pore front, but I still find this product very enjoyable.

 

Serum – TruSkin Vitamin C Serum – $19.99

I never used a Vitamin C serum until my friend Erin told me that every beauty routine needs one. It’s means to brighten the skin, protect against pollution and UV rays, and promotes collagen synthesis. This is sort of a goop and smells a little funny, but I like the way it feels on my skin.

 

Ampoule – Mizon Multi-Function Formula Snail Repaid Intensive Ampoule – $12.52

Yep, I’m putting snail mucin on my face and I’m not hating it. This ampoule is on the slimy side, as it should be, and it smells like mud and rain water. Also, I read quite a few articles about the snails and if they were hurt in the process. Evidently, they’re treated very well and they even get long breaks after collecting the mucin so they can generate more, so they’re treated well.

 

Eye Cream – Kiss Red E Kissable Brightening Anti-Aging Eye Cream – $19.99

They list this adorably pink eye cream as organic, wholesome and vegan. What a bundle of joy! It’s a light cream, goes on very smooth, doesn’t smell like anything and is slowly helping the bags under my eyes. It really is making an improvement. Time will only tell how much work it can really do. I’ve only been using this particular product for two weeks now.

 

Moisturizer – Caudalie Vinosource Moisutizing Matifying Fluid – $28.31

I love everything Caudalie! After reading The French Beauty Solution by Mathilde Thomas, I went on a serious Caudalie kick. Every part of my skin and hair routine was Caudalie there for a hot minute. Well, I can’t really afford for that to be my lifestyle long-term. However, I kept using my favorite products, and this was one of them. It’s hydrating, but it manages to keep my skin from being overly oily, which so important. It’s just easy.

 

Lip Moisturizer: Somaluxe Lip Rescue – $14.99

I really struggle with chapped lips, so a simple day and night treatment is really important for me. This has 3 types of lip collagen and is sort of the constancy of Vicks vapor rub. It works great, though! A heavy coat lasts through the nights.

 

SPF – Benefit Dream Screen SPF 45 – $35.06

This every day SPF is meant to be silky matte, but I do think it sticks a bit oilier than expected given that it’s meant to be oil free. I love this pre-makeup though. The little extra moisture mixed with my primer really makes for a great makeup base. I’m still looking for an every day SPF that dries matte, so if you have any suggestions, I’m all ears!

 

 

EVENING ROUTINE

 

Oil Cleanser – Burt’s Bees Cleansing Oil with Coconut & Argan Oils – $15.99

This has been a tried and true staple for me for a long time! I’m on my third bottle since I started to use it and I think beauty product empties are a rarity in this day and age. I was really hesitant to use an oil-based cleanser when I first started a more involved beauty routine. I tend to have suuuuuper oily skin, so the idea of putting anything oily on my skin seemed counterintuitive. I was wrong! It’s never made my skin oilier and I love how soft it makes my skin. It has that coconut oil soft feel, but smells more earthy.

 

Water Cleanser – Baebody Beauty Activated Charcoal Facial Cleanser – $13.95

Here’s a major plus: this one is vegan! Man, sometimes it’s surprising how hard that is to find that in a beauty product. You think they’d all be that way. I really need to educate myself. Hmm…something to think about as I recently went vegetarian and am trying to be more mindful about the products I use. This doesn’t smell like much. It’s just really smooth and simple. My only complaint is that it’s black, so you really need to clean out your sink afterward if you don’t want it to constantly look like you never clean your sink. A nice bonus was the cap that came with it. It has both a pump and a cap, so if you don’t want to use the pump or want to switch for travel, you have that option.

 

Exfoliator – St. Ives Fresh skin Apricot Scrub – $14.67

I love anything apricot in life, whether it’s food or scents to scrubs, so this is an easy favorite for me. It’s very gentle, so it doesn’t irritate my skin, and it smells great. I’ve been using this for many moons.

 

Toner – Insta Natural vitamin C toner – $14.97

Ahhh this is my new favorite part of my beauty routine. For a long time, I was using a Sephora brand toner and I hated it. It always left my skin feeling sticky. This is the polar opposite.This product is rather simple. It contains witch hazel, lavender oil, geranium oil and MSM and is in a spray bottle. I always love anything that’s applied as a mist. It’s, like, extra refreshing. To me, this smells like the Colorado renaissance festival, which makes me love it all the more. I think it’s the witch hazel. When I worked there as a kid, there was a spice/incense/candle/all things natural shop thing a few booths down and it always smelled like this. It’s a happy memory. The ladies there always gave me samples and were so friendly, so this is like a bottle of happiness for me. I like to spritz myself anytime I need a refresher and I’ll surely be putting this into a smaller bottle for flights going forward.

 

Essence – Seoul Ceuticals Marine Mineral Plump & Glow Essence – $19.49

This is another spray bottle, which I love. The main ingredients are tamarind extract, cucumber extract, green tea, aloe leaf juice and marine minerals. It’s very light and the scent that comes through most is cucumber, so it’s another refreshing product. It feels a bit similar in that capacity to the toner, but a Korean beauty routine mandates you use both. This is also meant to help tighten pores. The jury is still out on the pore front, but I still find this product very enjoyable.

 

Acid Treatment – This is actually a gap in my beauty routine as I haven’t found something I like, so please recommend if you have a favorite! I have something I’m using, but I’m lukewarm on the product and don’t feel comfortable recommending it.

 

Spot Treatment – Drmtlgy 24 Hour Acne Serum – $19.97

This has visibly helped to lessen my breakouts, although I don’t think there’s anything on God’s green earth that can truly just fix this problem. It sure helps, though! What I like about it is the fact that it dries breakouts without irritating your skin. A lot of acne serums comes with some bad side effects and this just doesn’t do that. Or maybe the rest of my beauty routine counteracts that? I can’t be sure, but it seems to be slowly working.

 

Retinol – Tree of Life Retinol Serum – $10.95

This is another important step for safekeeping collage and is meant to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. I don’t have too much of this to deal with yet, but I’m all for preventative treatments! I can actually feel my skin tighten a bit when using this, so I’m taking that as a sign it’s doing what it’s meant to do!

 

Eye Cream – Kiss Red E Kissable Brightening Anti-Aging Eye Cream – $19.99

They list this adorably pink eye cream as organic, wholesome and vegan. What a bundle of joy! It’s a light cream, goes on very smooth, doesn’t smell like anything and is slowly helping the bags under my eyes. It really is making an improvement. Time will only tell how much work it can really do. I’ve only been using this particular product for two weeks now.

 

Moisturizer – L’oreal Skin Age Perfect Night Cream – $10.97

This is one of my happiest steps! I’ve been using this product for almost a year now. It’s so exciting when you can find such a quality product at such a low price point. If I close my eyes while I massage this into my face, I feel like I’m at the spa. It smells like heaven and is very cooling.

 

Lip Moisturizer: Somaluxe Lip Rescue – $14.99

I really struggle with chapped lips, so a simple day and night treatment is really important for me. This has 3 types of lip collagen and is sort of the constancy of Vicks vapor rub. It works great, though! A heavy coat lasts through the nights.

 

Sleeping Mask – Dermal Collagen Essence Mask – $14.95 for a pack of 24

The variety pack comes with all sorts of options like aloe, Q10, charcoal, green tea, etc. It’s a surprise every time you use it, which is a lot of fun! So far, my favorite was the green tea. I’ve been doing a mask twice a week. My skin tends to be on the oily side, so I don’t usually need extra moisturizing, but I’m developing a theory. I’ve wondered if I’ve been overly oily my entire life because I’ve neglected to properly moisturize and my skin is trying to compensate, so I’m going to try to moisturize extra for a while. I mean, what’s the worst that can happen?

 

Body Routine:

Daily Moisturizer –  Caudalie Nourishing Body Lotion – $24

It’s just a great go-to body lotion. I use it all the time and have even got Dave hooked. That’s how you know when a product is really good: when the man in your life asks you to buy more.

Body Cream – The Ritual of Sakura Magic Touch Body Cream – $33

This was a discovery thanks to Dave! The bought me selection of their products as a surprise one day and I just fell in love with their body cream. I love the smell so much! I used it when I’m feeling extra indulgent.

After Shower Moisturizer – Cococare Coconut Dry Oil Body Spray – $10.73

When I was in Mexico in October, I got sunburned really bad. I was looking for some pain relief at a little shop in Playa del Carmen and bought a coconut spray. I had remembered how great it was for a sunburn I once had and decided to go the natural route. Dave and my friend Jess went with medicated ointments. Guess who won? I did! Ha ha ha! After taking a cold shower and applying my coconut oil spray, my burn turned to tan the next day and the pain went away. Look, guys, I don’t know if the science is there, but it worked for me. Now I use coconut oil all the time because I love the smell and the way it hydrates. And, again, I love anything that comes in a spray bottle.

Hand Cream – Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream – $12.50 for a mini lotion and lip condition duo <– this is the perfect Caudalie starter!

This is probably the most important for me of my entire beauty routine. You see, I have contact dermatitis. It used to be so bad on my hands when I was a kid, that I used to live in gloves. I was in and out of the doctor my whole life trying to figure out this problem. For a while, doctors were convinced I was allergic to paper, hence the gloves in school. My skin would break out, get totally dry and then start to crack and bleed. It was terrible and painful, and I ran around grade school looking like Minnie Mouse. As an adult, this became a more sparsely occurring problem, but when it came back it was bad. It’s happened less and less as I got older and almost never since I started to use this. I don’t know why, but this stuff has worked for me like nothing else has in my life. When I have a bad breakout, I still need to stick to my ointments prescribed by my doctor, but in between I use this, and it’s been instrumental in keeping the breakouts at bay.

Chapstick – Burt’s Bees Moisturizing Lip Balm – $8.88 for a pack of 4

I don’t go anywhere without chapstick because, like I said, my lips are just dry! I think these are just super hydrating and they don’t worsen my condition, like a lot of shitty lip balms do. I love their variety packs with different flavors! When my lips really have a flare, I switch to the Caudalie lip conditioner ($6.81) for some extra moisture. I also use the Caudalie to condition before doing my makeup. I put it on at the beginning of my makeup process, so it’s soaked a bit by the time I get to my lipstick.

And there you have it! That is my entire skin process. Please keep in mind what works for me may not work for you and every person’s skin is entirely unique. However, I did want to share my recent loves and successes as I’ve cycled through a lot of products I didn’t like as of late. Let me know your thoughts in the comment and I would love to hear recommendations from everyone on your favorite go-to products!

 

Side note: The flower headpieces in this main image are available here. They’re just so cute!

 

 

7 Comments

  • Brittney Cee

    Love, love, love the realness of your posts. I also had the EXACT same skin problems for my entire life, since the age of 15. I tried literally everything. Last year, I stumbled upon Natural Acne Clinic in the Denver area. (They offer web appointments too!) They for real changed my life–and I SWEAR I’m not a spokesperson! Haha. Their skin clearing program emphasizes diet, pore clogging chemicals/ingredients, and stress management, along with the Face Reality and Clove Hill line of products. I haven’t had a breakout in almost a YEAR now. I am interested to see your progress with your current plan! Keep us updated. If you feel lost at any point, check out the clinic for real. It’s not cheap, but it seriously works wonders. Xoxo -Brittney

    • Lynzi Judish

      I’m so happy to hear you found a solution. I’m so happy for you! I wonder if there’s something similar where I am. I’m sure there is! I’m just not in Colorado enough to be able to do that. I’m probably back two times a year tops. I’ll look them up though. Maybe they could recommend a clinic in New York!

    • Lynzi Judish

      I missed the part before about having online appointments. Lol. Since my current regimen seems to be slowly trending in the right direction, I’m going to stick with it for a bit. But if it stops or starts to get worse I’ll look into this more. Thank you again!

  • Britttney Cee

    Haha yes– web appts, girl! One thing I forgot to mention is they also look at hormonal imbalances and vitamin deficiencies. It’s all-emcompassing. I wish you the best of luck in your search for what works for your skin! Sending happy vibes. -Brittney

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