Two years ago, the Strategist posted an edited version of my Google doc — the hastily typed-up list of skin-care products I sent to friends who were curious about the routine that transformed my skin from pimply and irritated to smooth and acne-free. There were 16 items on that list: Every single one was something I’d used for months and truly believed changed my skin for the better. Since my skin changes so much year to year, and since I test products almost constantly, I now use the Google doc’s anniversary as a chance to break down my current daily routine. This isn’t the stuff I like fine or would consider repurchasing; these are the products I force those near and dear to me to buy, the ones I sprint to repurchase the second I run out.
My routine has changed drastically in the last year because my skin has changed drastically. On the bright side, my eczema has improved enormously. On the not-so-bright-side, my hormonal acne came back with a vengeance around Christmas. Breakouts led to picking, which then led to scarring. It was a mess. And for whatever reason, my old tried-and-true go-to’s (like Biologique’s P50 and Acne Barrier Protect Spots) just wasn’t doing the trick.
Instead of throwing in the towel or sticking with my old products and hoping they would kick in eventually, I set out to create a new routine that would get my skin back on track. I scavenged the shelves of oo35mm for products that were equal parts healing and anti-inflammatory in the hopes of combating my pesky zits without further irritating my skin. I searched on Reddit threads and K-beauty blogs. Then I integrated each new product slowly and one by one to gauge exactly how my skin responded to every single one.
It’s been about six months since Pimplegate, and I’ve never been so happy with the way my skin looks. I’m still healing from a few of my self-inflicted wounds, but overall I’ve been able to bring my skin back from the brink. Some of the products listed below you’ll recognize from previous Google Docs articles; some of them are newfound loves.
Then I Met You Living Cleansing Balm
There is nothing, and I mean nothing, more satisfying than coming home from a long day and rubbing this beautiful cleansing balm all over your (dry) face, sudsing it up with some warm water, then rinsing it off, and watching as your makeup melts off of your eyes, skin, and lips. This is as good at removing makeup as Banila Clean It Zero, which I’ve long loved for its ability to quickly and easily melt off all my day’s makeup. Still, it doesn’t leave your skin feeling plastic-like and doesn’t have that candy-sweet, headache-inducing smell. Then I Met You contains antioxidants, fatty acids, and vitamin E to ensure your skin is left soothed, nourished, and moisturized. It’s a dream, and I freak out when I run out.