I've always had bad skin. As soon as I hit about 10, my hair went curly and greasy, and my skin wasn't far behind in breaking out all over the place.
I had no idea what to do, and neither did my mum, who has always had naturally straight hair and healthy skin. I was also pretty lazy and hated all the faff that went into cleaning your face "properly", insisted any soap stung my eyes, and didn't like drinking water. Also, I picked. Pick, pick, pick. In short, I was a nightmare.
As I got older, I didn't really do much to fix this. My family would buy me toiletries full of teatree (which I detested), witch hazel (which was quite nice but sticky), and various other lotions and potions that either didn't work, or I was too lazy to use regularly enough for them to work. Combined with what I now know is probably dermatillomania my skin was far from perfect.
Over the years the spots seemed to slide down my face, congregating on my chin, neck and chest, rather than the nose and temples of my younger years. But the damage was done, and like exercise the longer you leave it and ignore it, the harder it is to do anything about it.
Enter Etude House. My knight in shining armour and cute, frilly princess packaging. I discovered the brand via this very helpful journal entry by BehindInfinity, one of my absolute favourite cosplayers (along with the rest of TuxTeam) and general internet angel. I learnt a lot about skincare from that one post and it inspired me to actually try and do something for once.
I went to buy some of the products mentioned, and had to turn to the internet because they were all Asian brands that for some reason don't get sold in the UK. Ugh. Thankfully, Cosmetic Love are a pretty reputable online store specialising in Korean cosmetics, and actually have pretty decent prices for that matter. Rather than risk anything cheaper on eBay, I went for it, picking up a few extra pieces that I thought were cute or sounded good.
(side note: Cosmetic Love were great. They shipped everything out really quickly in as small a box as possible, and also crammed any gaps left full of samples. My eternal shopping love goes out to them and I would definitely recommend trying them if you're in the UK wanting to try some Korean brands.)
So, here's my current (and rapidly expanding) stock of things-I-use-on-my-face:
In the back row, that's Etude House AC Clinic Daily Foam Cleanser, Moistfull toner and moisturiser, Wonder Pore Treatment, AC Clinic bubble cleanser, and St Ives Daily Facial Scrub.
Next row is Etude House CC cream, Baby Pudding compact, and Happy Tea Time Cleansing Cream.
Finally, Body Shop Tea Tree moisturisers (night and day), and AC Clinic spot treatment dabber.
I've also got make-up wipes. From Daiso. Shhhhh don't tell anyone. At home I also have the Etude House Mascara Remover, I've got no idea why I left that in the UK. Sometimes if I'm feeling a bit dead behind the eyes, I'll use the Etude House CC cream to get a bit of brightness, although I feel like it's a bit too pale for me.
I actually had a fortnight where I was so busy and tired I frequently forgot to do anything in the way of cleaning for my face, so I had an opportunity to get some nice "gross face" photos. You're welcome.
So there you go. Behold my totally naked, uncared-for face. Not the nicest texture, looks a bit dull, a nice breakout around the chin area (I blame the fact I constantly rest my chin in my hand) and some scabs and dark patches where some spots had already started going. I'm sorry to do the typical "I have bad skin in the 'before' photo therefore I must have a miserable expression" but as I said I was tired and a bit ill.
What do I do to fight this? Usually I'm in too much of a rush in the mornings to do anything more than use the AC bubble cleanser, then whichever moisturiser I feel like I'll benefit from most that day. If the weather's pretty nippy I'll use the Moistfull moisturiser, because it's really thick and keeps my skin soft all day. On the other hand, if it's gross and humid like it has been recently, I'll use the toner, because it's thin and watery but helps keep my skin hydrated (necessary, because I definitely don't drink enough water in hot weather). If I've got a bit of a bad patch I'll use the tea tree, but either way I like to have some moisturiser. Especially now that I live in a big city, I feel like I need at least some layer of protection from all that pollution.
In the evenings it's a bit more intense. Firstly, if I'm wearing makeup I'll get the bulk off with a cleansing wipe, finish up with the lemon tea cream cleanser because I feel like it gets rid of all my waterproof makeup without drying my skin. But because it's oily I'll also get THAT off with some more of the bubble cleanser. If I'm not wearing makeup (more likely) I'll just skip to this step and use the Wonder Pore toner instead.
Due to the fact there's an awful lot of cleansing going on there, I'll moisturise twice. Usually first on is the Moistfull toner because, again, it's very light. Usually I'll then put the Body Shop night time tea tree moisturiser, especially on any problem areas like my chin and cheeks, but occasionally I'll just use the other Moistfull stuff.
Once or twice a week I'll use the St Ives for a good scrub, which I quite often need, but I'm starting to run out and I'm worried I won't find anything as gentle or effective for that sort of price. I'd imagine I can actually get it over here, but for an import price tag.
After all that, within a few days I'll start to see results, and in a couple of weeks I end up something like this:
I know the lighting's different, but hey at least I look similarly miserable! My skin's actually less oily-looking, and a bit brighter. Most noticeable is the fact it's a LOT smoother and softer.
|Hey, those pesky chin and neck spots are going!|
|Here's the above face with a dusting of a matte powder and maybe some CC or BB cream in some dark patches.|
So there. I've fixed my skin, stroked my ego, and shared with you some of my favourite toiletries until I'm old enough and rich enough to indulge in things like Guerlain and Clinique, haha.