Meet Rachel and her eclectic routine that mixes DIY with off-the-shelf, and a lot of clean with a little dirty. She also blogs about clean beauty! Woot. (PS you guys, it’s supposed to be stars from the distant past, but these Canadian twins are pretty adorable so we’re letting it slide… :)
Hometown: St. Paul, MN
Weather: Winter. It’s mostly been below zero, but we’ve had a few warmer days. Mother Nature can’t make up her mind!
Hair: Shoulder length, henna-ed, limp and fine
Skin: Mostly clear, thanks to an 8-month round of low-dose Accutane I did about a year and a half ago (I know, I know… I hope you can trust me when I say I had previously tried everything and nothing helped. It truly was a last resort). After Accutane, my dermatologist put me on a prescription anti-acne topical cream to keep things clear. I stopped using it a few weeks ago, and I recently switched from the pill to a copper IUD, so I do have a few blemishes right now. Nothing serious. I do have some scarring and general sensitivity, and I blush easily (oh, the joys of being a fair-skinned redhead).
Favorite star: Tegan and Sara (sorry, I had to pick both, they’re kind of a package deal…)
In the shower…
I start out with a DIY sugar/argan oil/honey scrub and I tackle my face, pits, knees and elbows. I shampoo and condition with Acure (the mint version for fine/limp hair). While the conditioner works its magic, I exfoliate the rest of my body with a Shoba exfoliating cloth. I only use bar soap on my pits, feet, and nethers (right now it’s Shea Moisture Frankincense and Myrrh but I switch soaps after each bar). For shaving my pits, there’s usually enough oil leftover from the scrub for a smooth shave. Everywhere else, I just use soap.
I usually only shower every other day. On my off-days, I cleanse my pits and nethers with a hot washcloth, rinse my face with warm water, and use Acure dry shampoo in my hair. I really can’t get away with washing my hair less than every other day. It’s just too fine and it starts to look pretty greasy, especially in the bang area.
Outside the shower…
I moisturize my entire body with whatever carrier oil I’m in the mood for (I tend to rotate between grapeseed, apricot kernel, and just this week I started using coconut oil, which I LOVE). I make sure to moisturize my pits, either with coconut oil or a DIY cream I whipped up (made of shea butter, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, and essential oils). Using one of these each morning seems to boost the effectiveness of deodorant. I use Soapwalla cream deodorant most days, and on shaving days I use one of those salt crystals you wet down. On my face, I use Pangea Organics Rose/White tea eye cream and 3 drops of argan oil all over my face. I do need to start incorporating sunscreen into my daily routine; I’m not getting any younger, and besides, I burn pretty easily. That will be my next project!
This is where my routine takes a turn for the dirty. I can’t seem to give up perfume or make-up. I enjoy them too much! I have switched some of my make-up products to slightly cleaner brands, but I know I can probably do better.
I use Tarte for most of my make-up products (undereye concealer, powder, bronzer, blush, eyelid primer, eyeshadow, and mascara). For eyeliner, I tend to alternate between Physician’s Formula, Urban Decay (both pencil), and Eyeko (liquid). To fill in my brows I use Alima Pure loose eyeshadow. I use S.W. Basics of Brooklyn (formerly Sprout) lip balm like it’s going out of style — it is hands-down the best lip balm I’ve ever used.
I don’t put any other product in my hair, I just blow it dry and go. On days/nights when I plan on going out or looking fancier, I use a bit of hairspray and gentle teasing to try and boost volume at the roots.
At night I remove my make-up with S.W. Basics make-up remover and a cotton ball and I wash with local raw organic honey. I just started mixing coconut oil with the honey before applying it to my face (it smells so good!) and I find that is a very nice touch for winter. Then I use eye cream and argan oil and I call it a night.
There you have it!
In these parts we’ve long known that natural oils feed the skin—and they’ve even helped some of us with our breakouts, right? But a new group of natural oils have focused in on blemishes by including acne-fighting actives in the mix now too. Well+Good has reviewed some of their faves below. Has oil helped your acne?
It might sound contradictory (and maybe downright scary!), but one of the best things you can do for a bout of blemishes is to slick your skin with oils. Not with pore-clogging mineral oils, but with plant-based ones that can help balance and calm your adult skin.
“Treating oil with oil balances skin,” says Vered Back, an herbalist, facialist, and beauty-product formulator. “Drying it out with harsh ingredients just engages it in a battle.”
Back, who’s the founder of Vered Organic Botanicals, says her top seller is an acne treatment oil blend. “There are so many people with problem skin, and nobody really dared to think about making an oil for them.” But now, they are. Here are six oil blends for acne-prone skin we love…
1. Vered Therapeutic Balancing Face Oil
This handcrafted line is all about the love of oils. They’re handmade by organic-obsessed master herbologist and facialist, Vered Beck, who uses anti-inflammatory and anti-viral herbs (including rare ones like niaouli, chickweed, and speedwell) that vary with the available crops and promote deep healing.
2. Marie Veronique Organics Treatment Oil
This is a perfectly balanced acne-fighting cocktail. Argan oil controls surface sebum, borage oil fights inflammation (thanks to its gamma-linolenic acid), and tea tree oil helps banish acne-causing bacteria. Use it alone or as part of the company’s Acne Relief Kit for even clearer skin.
3. Susan Ciminelli Oil Control Formula
This word-of-mouth wonder helps clear pimples and blackheads. It contains thyme, which you want because it was found to be more effective against acne than benzoyl peroxide (the controversial main ingredient in Proactiv). And a trio of anti-bacterial extracts—lemongrass, lavender, and cajeput bark—gives it a sinus-clearing scent. This simple blend of oils is actually super active, so it’s probably not a fit for super sensitive, inflamed skin.
4. In Fiore Pur Face Oil Concentré
Sometimes the best solution comes from old-world practices. Like this apothecary-style blend of wild-crafted oils. It’s a beautiful skin-balancer powered by neroli, nature’s stress-buster. On breakout-prone skin it brings down redness, eases congestion, and slows the pimple-making process to a halt. And a dash of rosehip-seed oil helps give skin back it’s healthy, even glow.
(Because mine is having sleepover parties with my girlfriends and doing cucumber eye masks, naturally.)
Actually, and this should come as a surprise to no one, our skincare strategies are completely holistic. We’re not really the spot-treating type, even if we do love us some Stark green-tea clay. And that new mask from Acure is, indeed, awesome. But if you’ve read our acne coverage in the past, then you know we are much more about prevention, root medical/hormonal causes, and the psychological toll that bad skin days can exact on one’s sense of one’s, well, prettiness. Which is ugly.
With that in mind, below is all our strategy for clean skin—plus all our best content on adult acne. Be sure, when you’re checking out the old stuff, to read the comments because our readers are way smarter than we are.
To recap, here is my strategy. We’d like to hear yours in the comments.
1. Stress and sleep are the biggest determining factors for me, bar none. When I’m happy and rested, I feel like I can eat anything, drink anything, put anything on my face and nothing will happen. Of course that’s not totally true, but I exaggerate to make a point: Literally nothing wreaks havoc on my skin more than missing zzzs and being a stressball. Meditation, yoga, therapy, awesome friends, and sufficient rest help with this.
2. I take omega 3s. I take three 1,000 mg capsules per day, and I never skip. More on why below.
3. I don’t switch products a lot. I have highly reactive skin, so if something works fine, I stick with it for months, even years.
4. I avoid dairy, other than parmesan, which has very low lactose. I’m not sure I have a lactose issue, but when I eat dairy, I get weird tiny bumps on my chin that drive me completely bonkers. Avoiding dairy means avoiding these bumps.
5. I see an endocrinologist semiannually and an acupuncturist regularly to keep tabs on any underlying issues that might make my skin suck.
Now, here’s the best of NMDL adult acne coverage…..
What to do when things have already gone awry:
How to avoid big breakouts in the first place:
Okey smokey, your turn. Share your favorites, and your own skincare strategy, in the comments.
Acne sufferers, rejoice! We have a new mask to share!
Current hometown: New Orleans
Product name that I made up: Caroline’s Serious Acne-Busting Mask
Ingredients list: bentonite clay, 1 MSM capsule, spirulina powder, ACV or lemon juice
How I made it: Combine one teaspoon of bentonite clay, 1/4 teaspoon of spirulina powder, and the contents of one MSM capsule in a small bowl. Add enough ACV or lemon juice to make a paste. The acid reacts with the clay to make a beautiful fluffy texture so you don’t have to mix as much. Stir as needed. Apply to a clean face for 20-30 minutes and rinse off with warm water. Be sure not to rub the mask off until you have softened it up with water, or it can irritate your skin.
How it smelled, felt, worked: This mask smells like spirulina. It gives the mask a really gorgeous forest green color and protective antioxidants, but you can leave it out if the smell bothers you or add some essential oils to cover it up. As the mask dries it gets pretty tight. My skin is not the least bit sensitive, so if your skin is sensitive you could try making the mask with water instead of acid or washing it off sooner.
Why I will or won’t do this again: I have been using this mask for two or so weeks. I will do it once or twice a week to clear up any residual acne before school starts! That being said, this is a serious mask that might not work for more sensitive or mature skin types.
Sounds intense but great. Next time we break out, you can believe we’ll be trying this one. Anyone have a go-t0 acne mask?
We are dying to try this genius, simple recipe from Audie. We’ve talked a lot about honey in these parts: It’s naturally antibacterial, and manuka honey in particular has been studied for its usefulness in treating and healing acne. Lemon, we’ve also learned, can work well to fade scars—which anyone with acne knows is 50% of the problem with problem-prone skin: Your skin finally clears up, and you’re stuck using concealer on your scar, which is annoying and may cause even more problems, depending on what you’re using. Here’s her recipe! Will you be trying it?
Current hometown: Boise
Product name that I made up: Manuka Honey & Lemon Elixir
Ingredients list: Manuka honey and pure lemon juice
How I made It: I measured 1/4 tsp. of honey and a little less than 1/4 tsp of lemon juice. A little goes a long way since I just apply it to my face.
How it smelled, felt, worked: After using this mixture a few times a week for the last 2 weeks…
I have noticed my acne spots are lighter and any existing acne heals a lot quicker. My congested skin is also clearing up!
Why I will or won’t do this again: I have already seen improvement in my skin and I know with continued use I am going to see greater results.