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There are two trends in women’s magazine articles — diets and skin care routines. We’re obsessed the latest celebrity-endorsed regimen that often fails to work in real-life settings unless you have a chef, makeup artist, and a hefty budget at your disposal.

People ask me what products I use, or if I have recommendations. I’m always hesitant. Skincare is a peculiar and personalized ritual. Everyone’s skin is different.

My skin is super oily, although hormones appear to be working at odds with my skin and drying it out between the eyes. I have a medical condition that make my skin prone to the occasional bought of cystic acne, which leaves behind hyperpigmentation.

That’s the bad. Here’s the good. I’m — wait for it — turning 39 in a few months. My students like to play the guess-how-old-she-is game once a semester. My mother is 65. She looks 45. I have great genes. Most people think I am 10-15 years younger than I am, depending on the context.

I have luminous skin when I’m healthy. I do receive compliments on my complexion.

Without further ado, here’s my skincare routine for what it’s worth. Most of the products I use are relatively cost-effective, although some are definitely an investment. Frugal doesn’t mean cheap, remember. Your skin lasts you for life. Buy good quality products.

[I purchased all the products with my hard-earned money. This post is not sponsored in any way. These are products I love with a great degree of success. Your results may vary.]

Side note: I have Celiac and a wheat allergy to boot. Everything I use is gluten free, wheat free, and Celiac safe. Most products are vegan. All products are cruelty free.

Cleansing from the inside out

I don’t care what products you use externally, your lifestyle is written all over your face. The research on foods and acne is spotty at best, so to speak. We can agree that processed foods loaded in fat and sugar are not the best options.

There are foods that calm inflammation, promote anti-aging, and illuminate the skin naturally:

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Omega 3 fatty acids: almonds, flax, chia seeds, fatty fish, walnuts
  • Berries
  • Avocado

There are ways to incorporate this list of foods into your diet. One easy way to do so is drinking smoothies each morning. Invest in a decent blender and experiment.

Avocado is a great base for a smoothie. I swear you can’t even taste it. It’s easy to add chia or flax to your smoothies, and it’s relatively cost-effective.

Omega 3 fatty acids have anti-aging properties. You can take a pill, but consuming your nutrients is better.

If you’re not one to eat your vegetables, there are alternatives. You can buy green or protein powder mixes (I use Amazing Grass). I started using powders for other reasons. I can’t eat most whole grains, and fiber supplements are disgusting. Most of these mixes have probiotics and other healthful properties. I add honey and banana to add sweetness. The protein shakes are better than the green mixes, personally. Green drinks will tastes green unless you doctor it with sweetener and fruit.

Smoothies are customizable. You can make it vegetarian or vegan, according to your preference. If I’m having a particularly bad week, I’ll add banana and rice milk to soothe my tummy. It’s the great thing about smoothies. You can make it however you want. There are no rules despite what elaborately-designed charts on Pinterest will tell you. Have fun with it.

Sun Care

The sun is evil. That’s why God created bronzers and tinted moisturizers. As a pale person, I come in two shades — ghostly and flambe. Tanning is not an option.

I wear sunscreen all the time. I wear products that contain sun protection. I won’t lecture you about the dangers of skin cancer and aging. I’ll leave that to the professionals.

Pale and proud.

Morning Routine

I love masques. I own several different types. There’s nothing like a mini facial on a Monday as the week starts.

I use this Freeman’s Beauty masque twice a week. It doesn’t take long to dry. It’s honestly the cheapest part of my routine. I found a full-size bottle at Ulta for less than $5.

This masque is good for acne-prone skin. It evens out skin tone and clears pores. I use primarily this to prevent stress breakouts.

After using the masque, I follow up with my normal routine.

I recently discovered the Tulasara line from Aveda. My friend Whitney invited me to a spa event at the salon. I liked how my skin looked after one facial. My skin wasn’t doing very well that day either. I used a few samples over the next couple of weeks.

My skin was transformed!

I know everyone says that.

My mother and husband even noted the difference.

Not gonna lie. Tulasara is pricey. However, the amount you use is minimal. The oil (the pricey part) looks barely used after six weeks of daily use.

I use the Botantical Kinetics gel cleanser. I love a good gel cleanser. If you have oily skin, the gel makes your skin feel refreshed and soft. I follow up with the spray skin firming toner.

The spray nozzle is not my favorite. I tend to spray it, and then use my clean fingers to rub it into my skin.

Aveda products have the most amazing smell. That said, if you are terribly sensitive to aromatherapy, it might not be the best choice.

I apply two drops of the Calm oil and massage it into my skin. I know it seems counterintuitive to add oil onto oily skin. Trust me when I say that it actually reduces the amount of oil on my face during the day and helps with breakouts.

Must be voodoo. It’s the only explanation.

The Tulasara line carries three types of facial oil. Calm is the only one that doesn’t contain barley.

After the oil absorbs into my skin, I continue with my normal makeup routine.

Evening Routine

After I remove my makeup, I apply the Tulasara eye wedding masque and the facial wedding masque. Both have tumeric as a main ingredient, which is an anti-inflammatory. The photo depicts the sample sizes. As with the other products, a little goes a long way. When I run out, I intend to buy the full-size product.

I hate eye creams. My eyes are so sensitive. The eye masque stays put for the most part. I use it underneath the eye and in the crows-feet development area. I age around my eyes and mouth. I also started developing a little darkness under the eye. The masque cleared up both issues. Instead of yellow concealer, foundation, and a light reflective concealer, I reduced my makeup routine to a thin layer of foundation mixed with a cream highlighter to prevent shadow from my glasses.

The face masque makes the skin glow. I love glowy skin. For years, I had yellowish dull skin. My health read on my face. Anytime I can have healthy glowing skin, I’m thrilled.

While the products are pricey, most anti-aging lines are expensive. I weigh results with product usage and refill frequency before buying. Look for samples to try out the product before committing.

By the way, it takes 6-8 weeks to see results with most skincare products. If you use it three times and break out, don’t throw away the product. Your skin doesn’t improve overnight. Some products require up to 12 weeks of use.

No matter what you use, if you don’t change your lifestyle or dietary habits, the results will be limited.

So add a little patience to your routine.

Unless you have an allergic reaction. Then all bets are off.

A Final Note

While there is nothing wrong with pursuing younger, healthier skin, it shouldn’t be an obsession. Life happens. Stress, hormones, disease — all impact your skin in less-than-desirable ways. I use a fair amount of product, because illness creates skin maladies. I can reduce the effects with products, but at the end of the day, I have to be comfortable with the image in the mirror.

I love the artistry of makeup, but I’m not the biggest fan of wearing it constantly. It’s great to rely less on makeup. I stopped wearing concealer unless I will be on camera. It’s too much of a pain in the morning.

I mean, it’s acne. Everyone has it. C’est la vie! It’s all about perspective.

Embrace body-positive thinking. Otherwise, you’re throwing money into a well.

Until next time.

Happy shopping!