Greasy Hair, Don’t Care

As I became more invested in makeup and skin care and other beauty, knowledge about hair care was (and continues to be) something that lacked. I’m lucky to have naturally wavy, beachy hair, so most of the time I can “style” my hair just by letting it down out of the messy bun it has undoubtedly been in all day, shake it out, and I’m good to go.

When I was a senior in high school, I decided to spice up my life, and my brunette locks, by falling slave to the then-current ombré trend. I was a brunette my whole life, and I fell in love with the new color and the change it brought. I wanted more. A lot more. The next time I got my hair done, I had my colorist bring the blonde up higher.

Coloring my hair required me to change my hair routine. And by routine, I mean whatever shampoo and conditioner was on sale at the drug store that day. I started researching the best hair care for people with colored hair, and although I’ve definitely made changes to the actual products I use, but probably the biggest thing I learned from this whole experience is the damage that over-washing your hair can cause. Coloring your hair dries it out enough, and too much washing doesn’t help.

For those of you with thicker hair cutting down on washing may seem like no big deal, but my hair is very fine (thanks, mom.) So, I was faced with a hair conundrum, if you will. If I continued washing my hair daily, I would risk making it extremely dry and brittle. If I didn’t, my hair would get greasy. And I don’t mean a slight slick to my hair, I mean limp, stringy and just plain gross.

I decided to start cutting down on the shampooing, and in its place, gained a new best friend: dry shampoo.

Over the past few years, I’ve tried tons of different dry shampoos, some I love and swear by, and others I could go without. No matter what, now, I seriously can’t live without a full can of dry shampoo on me at all times. I used to think dry shampoo was threatening, and that it would make my hair feel chalky, but the right one will do just the opposite. It’ll put the life back into my hair when there isn’t any left, and will get me through those second-day or third-day hair days.

(Before we get to the actual list, I must admit, I haven’t mastered the perfect way to apply my dry shampoo yet. Because my hair gets so greasy, I usually apply it to my roots close to the crown of my head, separating different sections without going too far down the scalp. I usually end it with flipping my hair over and applying a healthy amount in sections on the back of my head, which tends to get super greasy)

Without further ado, here are my favorite dry shampoos:

  1. Bumble and Bumble Prêt-á-Powder: This powder dry shampoo is probably the best one I have ever used. I am truly obsessed with it. I was wary at first; dumping white powder into my brunette roots seemed like a recipe for disaster, but with a little root scrunching (that phrase sounds like a medieval torture method!), it’s practically invisible. Also, am I the only one who enjoys seeing the white powder when you first apply dry shampoo? Only then do I feel like it’s actually doing something. Anyway, there’s a single, teeny hole at the top of the bottle so you can really control where the powder goes and how much you use. My favorite thing about this dry shampoo is that it’s also a style extender, and gives me way more volume than most other spray dry shampoos. I love using this even on days when I have clean hair just to give it some texture and grit, and I especially like using it on the ends of my hair and scrunching it up to add waves and volume.
  2. Dry Bar Detox Dry Shampoo is definitely my favorite spray dry shampoo. The reason I like it is because it does exactly what it says it will, and it does it well. It soaks up oil, adds volume, and is hardly noticeable. Some spray dry shampoos tend to weigh my hair down, but this one has such a light mist that I can hardly feel it. There’s not much else to say about it besides the fact that if I’m struggling to find a new dry shampoo, I always come back to this one.
  3. Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo: This dry shampoo intrigued me when I first heard about it. I was so interested because unlike most dry shampoos that basically mask the oil and grease in your hair, this one claimed to actually clean it. You’re supposed to wait 30 seconds once you apply the shampoo to let it clean your hair, and simply shake your hair out. Voila! Again, this dry shampoo is great because it does what it says without weighing your hair down. I don’t know if I believe the claim that it actually cleans your hair, but it’s enough to hold me over until my next wash, and that’s all I care about.
  4. Dry Bar Triple Sec 3-in-1: When this came out, everyone lost their shit. Like the name suggests, it’s a 3-in-1 volumizer, texturizer and dry shampoo, similar to the claims the the Bumble and Bumble one makes. A saleswoman at Sephora told me that unless I had super greasy hair, I could probably just use this as my regular dry shampoo. I will say, although this did the job, it was a much better texturizer than it was a dry shampoo. I did enjoy it, especially when I had clean hair and definitely needed a little extra oomph. I would recommend smelling this in the store first if you’re not the biggest fan of super sweet scents, or if you’re planning on living with people who aren’t the biggest fan of sweet scents. I got many an angry text message from my lovely roommates who became instantly nauseous at the smell.
  5. Herbal Essences Naked Dry Shampoo: This is honestly the only drugstore dry shampoo that works for me (although I’m dying to try Batiste). It’s also my favorite dry shampoo smell. I love using this on days where my hair doesn’t look too greasy. I’ve noticed that if I apply too much, it works against me by weighing my hair down, so this product does have its limits. But, it’s much less expensive than any other dry shampoo on this list and if your greasy hair days aren’t too bad, this should work great for you.
  6. Sally Hershberger 24K Supreme Stylist Voluminous Dry Shampoo: Stealing things from my mom must be a theme on this blog. Last time my mom and I went to Sephora, she ended up purchasing this dry shampoo at the recommendation of a salesperson. Obviously we share it now. I like this dry shampoo because it goes on clear and adds a lot of volume, but, similar to the Herbal Essences and Triple Sec, I feel like this product is much better as a styling and texturizing product than a dry shampoo. Let’s just say, if you haven’t showered in three days (guilty!) and are in desperate need of some assistance, I would check out the first three products in this list over this one.

Bored in Suburbia: The Solution

When I think about how almost every Friday night in high school was spent driving around aimlessly with a few friends in the backseat, I can’t believe I didn’t go completely insane. We had our routes, driving by houses belonging to older boys we thought were cute, huge mansions with lush front yards, sometimes stopping in a parking lot to people watch.

Reverting back to that way of life after two years in a big city seemed almost impossible, leaving my friends and me up to the impossible task of finding something exciting to do on the weekends.

When I heard about the new Pinterest-y, hip trend of decorating mugs with sharpies, and then baking them like you would another piece of pottery, I fell in love with the idea. It seemed like the perfect way to spend a summer evening, and obviously, decorating mugs wasn’t enough. I needed to turn this into an event. 

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I started out with the most important part of the craft, the mugs! Depending on how many you need, you can find tons of cheap ceramic mugs on Amazon. There were seven of us, so I ordered two packs of four for about $45.

Next came the markers! After doing my research, I found out that in order to do this craft correctly, you needed Sharpie oil-based paint pens. Which are expensive. So, I went for some regular old oil-based paint markers from Michael’s.

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I held what I deemed to be my “mug party” at 8 PM, so I didn’t need to worry about serving dinner. I did, however, make sure I had plenty of snacks. I made some cupcakes with vanilla buttercream which got rave reviews, and laid out some cheese, crackers, grapes, chips, and dip. I also made a simple wine spritzer, because who doesn’t like pretty drinks.

I made sure to have music playing and also printed out some designs I found on Pinterest and Etsy, and made sure to provide my WiFi password so everyone could find their own designs if they wanted.

Overall, the night was a great success. Things aren’t like they were in high school anymore. People are busier and it’s simply harder for everyone to get together and hang out, and it felt so good to finally spend some quality time together.

You can obviously go as far or as little as you want to with these kinds of nights. I decided I basically wanted to do a full-on food party, but what’s great about these crafts is you can build anything off of them. I can totally picture an outdoor picnic mid-afternoon, or a potluck where everyone comes and eats and crafts.

Coming home from college for the summer is difficult. We’re leaving our nonstop lives for quieter ones, and it’s easier to get hung up on the same old pizza and movie nights that we’re used to. And, I’m definitely not going back to driving around my town like a crazy person.

Directions I followed

Cupcake Recipe

Frosting Recipe

Wine Spritzer 

 

The “I Didn’t Land That Summer Internship” Post

Today I was at the grocery store when I ran into a family friend in the fruit and veggie section. We delved into the standard catch-up conversation: “How are the kids? How’s the dog? etc. etc.” And then, finally, the inevitable: “What are you doing for the summer?”

When I came home from school in early May, I had no idea what I was doing for the summer. I had applied to about 10 internships starting that past December and would end up applying for 4 more before the month was over. I was internship-crazy. Every time I saw a posting somewhere that relatively resembled what I was looking to do (I’m a Journalism major, BTW), I sent over a cover letter and résumé. I heard from only 2 of the them, and both of those responses essentially said “Thanks, but no thanks.”

Like many other things in life, people always seem to think they have the right answer, strategy and approach to college student summers.

“You need to follow up with the company at least 3 times.”

“Only follow up ONCE at most.”

“Write your cover letter like this. No one likes a boring cover letter.”

“Don’t go crazy with your cover letter. Keep it traditional.”

“What you really need to do is talk to your local newspapers and magazines.” “I did that.” “Oh, well, I don’t know what to tell you.”

After I realized I wasn’t going to be participating in an internship this summer, I was the most nervous about facing this peanut gallery when I came home. In my mind, saying you have an in internship for the summer means you’ve won. You’re doing everything you’re supposed to be doing and you’re going to be awarded with success and happiness for the rest of your life. Saying you didn’t have an internship implied the opposite.

My learning to accept my internship-less summer did not happen all at once. It wasn’t an “aha” moment in the middle of the night that made me realize how silly I had been acting and how personally I took everything. I never had an existential realization that life was so much bigger and purposeful than one tiny summer. I never suddenly felt good about myself that I didn’t have to deal with traditional internship woes like getting coffee and making copies.

I found my comfort and my reassurance through my friends from both at school and home; from my peers who were waitressing at two different restaurants, nannying kids, working in offices. I knew deep down that they were incredibly intelligent people, people with genuine souls and people who I had no doubt would someday be successful. They didn’t have internships. They couldn’t get them either.

I gradually felt better knowing that instead of moping, I was filling my summer with things that made me fulfilled and satisfied. I’m volunteering, I’m writing, I’m doing everything I can to stay active and to pursue what eventually I want to do when I’m a real grownup.

At the beginning of the summer, when someone would ask me what my plans were, I would feel ashamed and embarrassed that interning wasn’t my response. I don’t feel so bad about it anymore.

I am 20 years old. I am a novice at best in the field of journalism. This coming year alone I will continue to learn more than what I’ve ever learned before and will expand my perspective and enhance my skills. I allowed myself to accept that I have time. I am not going to be un-hirable because I didn’t intern the summer before my junior year.

I don’t want this post to sound preachy, or to make it seem like I’m above the struggle of getting an internship. There’s no chance I’m not going to start this whole process over again in a few months for next summer. And I truly believe it’ll work out. Next year I’ll be more mentally and emotionally prepared for the workforce than I am now. I’m no longer stressed, but excited to see what next year and the following years will bring me.

Fragrance Favorites

Ever since my nana bought me my first perfume (Mary Kate and Ashley’s Coast to Coast) from our neighborhood Claire’s, fragrance has always been a huge part of my life. For me, fragrance could possibly be my favorite of the 5 senses. It can take me back to a memory, a place or a moment in ways that other senses can’t. The woody smell of a fire on a cold night in winter, the clean scent of sunscreen and saltwater, or the aroma of freshly baked pie on Thanksgiving morning all carry such fond, happy memories for me. Over the years, I’ve tried to get my own scents and what perfumes I wear to carry the same effect.

My mom passed down her love of perfume to me. We both have a hard time picking one we love (never get stuck with me when I go perfume shopping), but when we do, we become obsessed. Even the act of picking out perfumes brings back times where I would lose my mom in Macy’s after she made a beeline to the fragrance section, or how she once found a perfume she liked just as much as her beloved D&G Light Blue only to find they discontinued it after she finished her first bottle (RIP DKNY Be Delicious).

So, instead of just listing off my favorite perfumes, I thought I’d tell you why exactly I love them so much. Perfume is a strong component of my daily routine, and I struggle between picking up a new one every time I enter the mall or wearing the same perfume forever and ever and have it be my iconic scent. Wouldn’t it be nice one day to have a friend smell some kind of fragrance somewhere far away and immediately think of you? Or am I the only one who thinks about weird stuff like that.

I definitely tend to rotate my perfumes between seasons because as you can imagine, I like stronger fragrances during the winter and fresher ones during the summer.

See by Chloé – This perfume was really the first one I fell head-over-heels for and wore religiously. I’m talking every single day, whether I was going out on the town or laying in bed. I seriously must have gone through 3 bottles.

I wore this fragrance the entire first semester of my freshman year of college. I absolutely love how fruity it is without being too sweet. It has notes of apple in it which was a completely unique scent for me an it’s why I chose it to be my Fall fragrance that year. Now whenver my wear it, my friends say that it “smells like fresman year in here” because whenever I put it on it brings us straight back to that time in our lives.

Light Blue by Dolce and Gabbana – This is a little bit of a cheat for me. I actually don’t wear Light Blue, but for about 5 years, it was all my mom would wear, and when I say “wear,” I mean she would practically bathe in it. Somehow though, it never was overpowering on her and just smelled like, well, her. Light Blue has become such an iconic scent for so many women and it’s not hard to see why. It’s a deep scent but it also has a little bit of fruitiness going on and wherever she went, my mom would always get compliments.

Beautiful by Esteé Lauder – Sorry, I’m cheating again. I’ve never personally worn Beautiful, but it’s what my mom wore when my parents got married, just like the commercial! Even she said, “I did it because there was a bride in the commercial!” Because I’m insane and am already planning out my wedding, I want to wear this perfume as my “something borrowed.” Cute, right?

Beautiful is kind of spicy but also sweet and fresh and not overpowering at all.

 

Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel – This is my go-to perfume and probably will be for a long time because no matter how much I wear it, I never get sick of it. Unlike other Chanel perfumes like No. 5 or Coco which I sometimes feel like smell like my grandmother, Coco Mademoiselle is fresh and light and citrusy. And, it’s the only perfume to last all day for me.

Daisy Eau So Fresh by Marc Jacobs – Everyone and their mother is obsessed with Daisy Eau So Fresh, and for good reason. First of all, the bottle itself is absolutely beautiful. Second of all, it smells absolutely delicious. It’s fruity and fun and it’s definitely a “young” scent, but everyone, no matter what age, can wear it. My favorite thing about this perfume is just how easy it is to wear on a daily basis, and how much it reminds me of springtime and sunshine. Plus, I can’t count the times I’ve recognized the scent on someone and started a conversation about it or how many times that’s happened to me. It’s surely on its way to becoming an iconic fragrance.

Wood Sage and Sea Salt by Jo Malone – Everyone went bananas when the famed Jo Malone released Wood Sage and Sea Salt as a scent, and LORD it smells good. Similar to Daisy Eau So Fresh, this scent is young and joyful, but the thing about Jo Malone is that she creates scent combinations that we didn’t even know could exist, and this is one of them. Wood Sage and Sea Salt sounds like it would be woody and deep, but it’s fresh and sweet and not too heavy. Jo is pricey, but next time you pass a kiosk in a department store, smell this perfume. You might accidentally end up reaching for your wallet.

 English Pear and Freesia by Jo Malone  – I call this perfume my “big girl perfume” because when I wear it, I feel like a mature and classy woman. Again, this perfume has such a unique scent. It’s fruity from the pear but has some sweetness from the freesia, and almost has spicy undertones.`The first time I smelled it in the Bloomingdales on 59th Street with my mom, I was obsessed. She was too. In fact, I just tried to go find it in my room to remind myself of its scent and discovered that she used up my remaining half a bottle while I was at school.

I decided not to add any pictures to this post because the only bottle of perfume I have at home that’s on this list is See, and as much as I love it, I don’t think I could find a way to make one picture of the same bottle work more than once.

I hope everyone has a fantastic smelling day!

The Most Difficult Avocado Toast I’ve Ever Made

wowLast week, my mom and I went to the grocery store and picked up some avocados. They weren’t ripe yet, but we weren’t worried. A few days in a brown paper bag left to their own devices and they would surely turn into beautiful, soft, dark avocados just begging to be cut open.

All but one avocado became ripe within the week, and I decided to use the last one, when it also ripened, to make avocado toast. Well, on Friday, when I was originally going to make the creamy treat, it was still hard as a rock.

No big deal, I thought to myself, It’ll be ripe by Sunday for SURE.

The avocado was STILL rock-solid this morning so I scoured the internet in desperation to find quick ways to ripen avocados. I tried baking it in the oven covering it with tin foil. I tried cutting it in half and microwaving it to soften it. All it did was make the avocado hot and even more rubbery than it was to begin with. Cue the avocado breakdown.

After dragging my feet to put normal clothes on (I was still in pajamas at this point, of course), I dragged myself to my car and braced myself for the grocery store on a Sunday morning. I was going to have this avocado toast if my life depended on it. After getting caught behind a never-ending train, I managed to pick up soft, ripe avocados from the grocery store and made it home in one piece.

Although my avocado toast breakfast ended up being an avocado toast lunch, it was still delicious and satisfying and is still one of my favorite ways to use an avocado. I’m an avocado toast purist; for me, the perfect avocado toast shouldn’t have fancy things like poached eggs or shaved cheese. It should be simple bread with a TON of avocado on top. Simple and the most delicious.

This avocado toast is inspired by the avocado toast at JUGOS in Boston, which is easily one of the best things I’ve ever tasted and has ruined all future avocado toasts for me. If you’re in the area, make sure you stop by this teeny indoor juice stand that’s attached to Back Bay Station. It’ll blow your mind.Processed with VSCO with m3 presetProcessed with VSCO with c1 presetProcessed with VSCO with m3 preset

Avocado Toast

  • One ripe avocado
  • One slice of toasted multigrain bread
  • Extra virgin olive oil to taste
  • Fresh lemon slices to taste
  • Salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste
  1. Toast the bread! Duh
  2. Halve the avocado and remove the flesh from both sides with a spoon. Mash the flesh with a spoon or fork in a mug or a small bowl. I like my avocado to be pretty chunky, but you can go as far with the mashing as you please. I do prefer mashing to leaving the avocado in slices, because I think you get more out of it.
  3. Take your avocado and spread it all over your toast. That’s right. The whole avocado. One piece of toast. Your avocado:toast ratio should be about 1.5:1 or 2:1.  Mmmm.
  4. Top with your desired amount of fresh lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and pepper flakes. Personally, I like a lot of everything, so there a little pools of lemon juice and olive oil in the craters of avocado. Is your mouth watering yet?
  5. Slice as you desire and enjoy!

 

Scheduling Issues and Summer Makeup

It’s a rainy, tornado-y day today in New Jersey; the perfect setting to write a blog post and make some homemade tortilla chips (maybe you’ll see a post on that in the future?)

Obviously after committing myself to a consistent posting schedule of Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, I missed the first Thursday. But, I promise I have a good reason. I got the chance to see Arthur Miller’s The Crucible on Broadway with one of my good friends, and it was absolutely wonderful.

When today’s post was still destined for yesterday, my plan was to  post about one of my favorite ways to prepare my one of my favorite (and apparently many other people’s favorite ) ingredient: avocado. But my avocados aren’t ripe yet, so you’ll just have to wait till Sunday to see that.

Instead, I decided to continue this week’s beauty theme with my favorite way to do my makeup this summer. Everyday makeup for me has always been simple and light. During the school year, I simply don’t have the time for a full face of complex makeup every single day, and because I like to stay in bed until the very last minute, I’ve been able to contain my makeup doing to a 7-10 minute time bracket (I’ve tried for 5 minutes, but that darn mascara application always ruins it!)

I’ve carried my quick and easy makeup skills to the summer with me, and it’s exactly what I need for everyday. Summer is the perfect time to experiment with lighter makeup, as I always end up feeling generally better about my skin. I don’t know why; maybe it’s the relaxing or the sun or the laid-back feel that every day brings.

If you peruse makeup blogs or YouTube channels even just a little bit, you’ll know that everyone and their mother is into glowy makeup right now. Whether its killer highlighters, glittery eyes, or dewy skin, everyone’s out to get that glow, and for good reason.

I love glowy makeup for summer, because I feel like it’s such a nice way to show off your skin. It’s simple, easy, and doesn’t require a lot of maintenance, and you can take it as far or as limited as you want it to. Some days (especially if I have a little color from the sun), I basically leave my skin alone, fill in my eyebrows, and apply just the tiniest bit of mascara and I’m good to go.

Ahh summertime, when the living is easy.

Most days, I start out with Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturizer. This part takes the shortest amount of time, because I simply squeeze some into my palms and slap it on my face. Well, not literally, but you get the gist. It blends beautifully and doesn’t look cakey even if you use a little too much. It’s been one of my favorites for years because of how foolproof and quick it is. It is a tinted moisturizer, so you won’t get the most coverage out of it, but you can build it up slightly. It may not totally conceal any blemishes, but it does take the edge off of them.  Plus, it has SPF and comes in an oil-free version as well. I use the shade “Nude.”

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If I have spots I want to conceal, I tap on Benefit’s Erase Paste with my finger until blended. If my dark circles are bad (which they always are TBH), I tap on some Erase Paste with my finger under my eye just to conceal the darkness. I always end with L’Oreal’s Magic Lumi Highlighter Pen under my eye. I apply it in an upside-down triangle shape under my eye so it hits the side of my nose. I tap that in with my finger as well. As you can see from the picture below, the L’oreal concealer is very well-used and well-loved.This concealer is great for brightening up your under-eye area, but it doesn’t have great coverage, so pairing it with a concealer like Erase Paste helps to both conceal and brighten.  I use the shade #1 for Erase Paste and “Light” for the Lumi Concealer.

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I usually just powder my T-Zone and under my eyes, because that’s usually where my makeup slides off first. I’ve been into translucent powders lately, like this one from Revlon because I feel like they look less cakey and, well, powdery. For powder, I use a big fluffy powder brush from Real Techniques.

For my every day eyebrows, I usually just stick to tinted brow gel to keep things easy. I loooovve the Maybelline Brow Drama Gel in Deep Brown to keep things looking natural but put-together. Again, it’s very foolproof and easy to kinda just slap on and go. Are we noticing a trend here?

My eyeshadow can vary from day to day. Sometimes I don’t do anything and leave my lids bare, sometimes I use a cream eyeshadow and sometimes I experiment with different palettes. But during the summer, I actually love using a bronzer on the lid for eyeshadow. One of my favorite products to do this with is Nars Laguna Bronzer (which as you see, I have to get more of). I just take it on a fluffy brush and blend it across the whole lid. Then, I’ll pop some powder highlighter (this one from E.L.F. is great for this, and super cheap) on the center of the lid to give it some dimension. I always use an eyeshadow primer before putting anything on my eyelids because they get super oily, especially during the summer. These days, I’ve been using the Urban Decay Primer Potion.

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I curl my lashes (damn my depressingly average straight lashes that can’t hold a curl) and apply mascara. Now I’m using Benefit’s Roller Lash, which I really love. It isn’t too heavy or clumpy but lengthens my lashes and holds a curl quite well. I usually only apply one coat on an everyday basis, but I do like building it up and applying more if I’m doing something special. I wiggle the wand in the roots of my lashes and go straight up, and then I roll the wand through the lashes to hold the curl.

Side note: I’ve been applying makeup regularly for probably 7 years now and yet I still manage to get mascara on my lid every single time. Explain.

To finish up my face I pop some bronzer on a big fluffy brush and apply it to my cheeks, chin, and edge of my forehead. Unless I’m going out, I usually don’t bother with contouring.

For blush, I’ve been using the classic Nars Orgasm on the apples of my cheeks. I then go in with a highlighter on my cheekbones. I love Benefit’s Watt’s Up (ignore my chipped polish in the photo below) because it’s super creamy and takes almost no time to blend.

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I finish off with one of my favorite products ever; Pixi’s Glow Mist. Every time I wear it, I get compliments on my skin, and it’s a perfect, easy way to make your skin look beautiful. I always finish with this spray, even if I’m only wearing foundation.

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And there we go! Easy, shimmery, glowy summer makeup that’s so fun and simple to customize and make your own.

Happy summer!

 

Everyday Morning Skincare Routine

For about 3 years now, I’ve been wholly obsessed with beauty (which to me, includes makeup and skincare. Sometimes hair, but who has time for that?). I have no idea where this desire to learn anything and everything about beauty comes from, but I think it has to do with the neurotic capricorn in me who loves to have control of a situation. For example, if I encounter a problem with my skin, I use a combination of skincare and makeup to conceal it and eventually, get rid of it. Frankly, it makes me feel like I have my shit together.

Today, I’m sharing with you the skincare regimen I’ve been using for the past year or so. Sometimes the products changed, but they mostly remained the same, and the process was always consistent. Relative to other skincare experts, my knowledge about skincare is probably at the 101 level at best, but I’ve figured out what works for me. Obviously, I’m not a dermatologist or have extensive experience in cosmetology, so don’t take what I say as your only textbook. Finding what works for your skin isn’t easy and may take a lot of time and a lot of research. Don’t be afraid to consult dermatologists or skincare experts if you feel lost and overwhelmed.

Up until my freshman year of college, my skin was typical oily teenage skin. I had regular breakouts that wouldn’t let up no matter how much money I spent on products in CVS trying to clear my acne. Soon enough, they started to get painful. When I had to start using cold aloe vera gel on my breakouts to provide some relief, I knew it was time to research and employ other options.

I visited a dermatologist who prescribed me two topical lotions and an oral antibiotic, and after about 3 months, I started to see a real difference. As my freshman year ended, my skin had made a complete turnaround, and in the process, changed types completely. While I still get oily in my T-zone, I truly think the combination of the acne medication and one of the harshest winter in Boston’s history dried out my skin, and well, it never went back. Now, instead of oily skin, I’m definitely dealing with combination/dry so I’ve had to alter my skincare products to fit that change.

I start out by washing my face with Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser. I discovered the Ultra Facial line after giving into the hype and buying the Kiehl’s avocado eye cream which is JUST as amazing as everyone says. The cleanser has a gel consistency that foams up just a teeny bit when you use it, but it doesn’t strip your skin, which is important because my skin needs all the hydration it can get. It’s also lasted me so long because you really don’t have to use a lot; I probably use slightly less than a dime’s size amount each time. I take off the leftover cleanser with a warm washcloth.

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Then, I go in with a toner. The queen of skincare blogs, Caroline Hirons, introduced me to a toner’s importance and now I can’t imagine my skincare without it. I prefer a strong toner that really gives your skin a zing. It’s so satisfying! I use the Clinique Clarifying Lotion 2 on a cotton round and put that baby all over my face.

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After, if I have any breakouts or spots, I apply the LaRoche-Posay Effaclar Duo. It absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave a residue, and it’s not too drying.

Once that dries, I spray the Vichy Thermal Spa Water all over my face. I introduced a hydrating water spray into my regimen because I really felt like I needed another layer of hydration. This product really preps my skin for my moisturizer, and doesn’t feel heavy or sticky at all! I also use this over my makeup if I need to touch up the middle of the day, just to amp it up.

Then, I apply my eye cream. I read once that you should always apply eye cream before moisturizer so it can go straight on your under-eye area, instead of laying on top of your moisturizer. My eye area is usually one of the driest, sensitive places on my face, so I like an eye cream that’s hydrating and usually unscented. I just started using Clinique’s All About Eyes. It’s thick, but not goopy and feels refreshing on the skin.

I usually apply a few squirts of a sample of Ole Henriksen’s Truth Serum Collagen Booster. At 20, I probably don’t need to be using products with collage in them, but I really enjoy this step. I don’t know why, but its scent reminds me of a nice hotel’s smell. It smells kind of orangey and helps to wake me up in the morning. Plus, more hydration!

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I finish (finally) with moisturizer. If I know I’m going out in the sun, I like to use a moisturizer with SPF in it, like the daytime CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion which has SPF 30 in it. I usually top that off with a teeny pump of Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion for, you got it, more hydration.

And that’s it! It seems like a lot, but from start to finish, it takes me maybe 7 minutes. For my skin, I feel like a more extensive routine is worth it and really makes a difference. If you’re looking for something more simple, I recommend sticking with the holy trinity of skincare: Cleanser, Toner, and Moisturizer.

I found that having a consistent skincare routine is truly important. When I do break out, I notice that if I continue with my routine without changing it up too much, it helps to clear everything up faster. My skin (much like me) doesn’t like change, so if yours is sensitive or you break out easily, try to find what works for you and stick to it. Find the brands that you trust and that work (for me, Kiehl’s and Clinique are always bae) and start building a routine from there. You only get one face, and taking care of it now will make it much easier to maintain in the future.

Good luck on your skincare journey!