My Skincare Routine: From a Wannabe Dermatologist

It’s been a year and a half since I started seriously whipping my skincare routine into shape. I read every article I could find, listened to this amazing podcast, went off dairy for months, tried more products than I care to remember, and finally visited a real dermatologist. Am I finally doing it right? For today, yes. And as my dermatologist reminded me, it’s all trial and error. So in a way we’re all wannabe dermatologists testing out products and ultimately seeing how our skin reacts.

And you know what? For me, I think it all comes down to routine. Letting the products do what they are made to do and sticking with it long enough to actually see results. Follow along to see the key to my skincare routine, consistency and experimentation.

 skincare routine diagram

I like to stay with a strict cleanse, treat, serum, and moisturize routine. In the mornings I’ll throw in a exfoliate and in the evening a mask once a week.

skincare products

To preface, I have combination skin with an oily t-zone while my cheeks and cheekbones can be quite dry. My skin is prone to breakouts and I can never skip a night of washing or I’ll be seeing the damage for weeks.



Benzoyl Peroxide 5% Wash

  • Benzoyl Peroxide is a great wash to use if you’re prone to breakouts. I use it in the shower since it has a tendency to bleach any fabric it comes in contact with. Works best if you wash and leave on for a few minutes. Perfect for while you’re shaving your legs. Right now I’m liking this one from Replenix but often switch to whichever Amazon is shipping via Prime.
  • If you’ve ever assumed that there is no difference between benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid (they both treat acne, right?) listen to this podcast; Science Vs Acne. Spoiler- There is no scientific proof that salicylic acid does anything for acne!


Glossier Solution

  • Glossier’s Solution is a huge step up from my previous exfoliate- think coarse scrub that you have to manually slough off all your dead skin. Solution is a chemical exfoliant that is a blend of AHA/BHA/PHA to shed all the dead skin. I’ve used it for three weeks now and I can already tell a difference. While it’s helped my face, I really purchased it to use on my shoulders and chest since I’m prone to tiny whiteheads which appear right under my sports bra after working out. Huge bummer. Solution has helped a ton with the breakouts and they are almost completely gone. This is something I definitely only use on my oily t-zone and chest and shoulders. This would be too drying for my cheeks.

glossier solution before and after


Clear & Clear Persa-Gel 10 

  • If I have any breakouts I treat with a little dollap of persa-gel. Love this one because it’s basic and gets the job done.


Glossier Super Pure

  • Super Pure is a niacinamide serum with zinc. Niacinamide calms breakouts and soothes redness. Perfect for my skin following up morning workouts and exfoliation. I like the Glossier version but will be trying the Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% serum for a more affordable option next.

Glossier Super Bounce

  • Super Bounce is a moisturizing hyaluronic acid serum. We’re clearly fans of Glossier here, and I already raved about this when Southern California was having wildfires and the air was incredibly dry. While I was applying to my entire face when it was really dry, I still spot treat on my cheeks or more dry areas when needed. The Ordinary offers a Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 serum which could be a more affordable alternative.


CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion

  • This is hands down my favorite beauty bargain. This moisturizer has an SPF 30 (obviously a must have for daytime use) and is just enough moisture even for my oily t-zone.

Mario Badescu Facial Spray

  • This is a cult favorite for a reason. Spray it on when you need a little more moisture or even after you apply your makeup for a more dewy look.



Innisfree Golden Olive Cleansing Oil

  • Since the evening cleanse is really concentrated on removing makeup, I like to start with this cleansing oil to really strip off all the waterproof mascara. Michelle also loved this one in her Korean beauty routine. On really dry days this is great since it won’t dry out my skin.

Almay Makeup Remover + Foaming Lotion Cleanser

  • Most days I’ll follow up the cleansing oil with this Almay Makeup Remover. While it does remove makeup, it is also a super gentle and lightly foaming cleanser that is easy on your skin and not too drying. Perfect for my sensitive cheek areas.


Dermalogica Sebum Clearing Masque

  • Once a week or so I try to remember to mask. This is my go-to clay mask which draws out all the acne causing sebum. Apply only to t-zone or acne prone areas. If I’m already feeling too dry, I’ll pick up an inexpensive sheet mask to add moisture.


Retinol Cream

  • Retinol has hands down been the biggest impact on my skincare routine. Not only is it great at fighting acne, it is also a great anti aging product. Use at night since your skin will be very sensitive to the sun (hence the importance of SPF during the day).  I use a generic retinol prescribed by my dermatologist but there are many great over the counter options. Some over the counter options are Skin Ceuticals Retinol Cream and RoC Retinol Correction Deep Wrinkle Night Cream as a great affordable option.


Glossier Super Glow

  • Super Glow is Glossier’s vitamin C serum. While I like it, I have yet to find the vitamin C serum of my dreams. Any great recommendations, hit us up below. Vitamin C is my favorite serum to use and if you currently don’t use any, a great place to start. With extended use, you’ll see more glow to your skin. Who doesn’t want that?


Neutrogena Naturals Multi-Vitamin Hydrating & Nourishing Facial Night Cream

  • I like all the products in the Neutrogena Naturals line but this night cream is a clear winner for me. It’s thick and moisturizing and great for winter. Just wait a few minutes after applying your retinol before adding moisturizer.

The other huge difference I’ve had in my skin care game was adding a humidifier when I sleep. It has been a game changer and kept my skin super soft. I can’t recommend it enough.


What are your go-to skincare products? Any tips or tricks you can’t live without? Share with us below.

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skincare routine


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