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Like millions of other people, I spent my early teenage years trying to combat the embarrassing outbreak known notoriously as acne. Over the past five or six years, I’ve (nearly) perfected a skincare routine that works great for both my skin and my budget. Do I still experience breakouts and bouts of redness in my skin? Absolutely. Ultimately, however, the condition of my skin is brighter, healthier, and smoother than ever. Obviously, what works for me may not work for you, but I’m happy to share my routine nonetheless. Many of these products are extremely affordable and easy to find at any drugstore, so enjoy!


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The first step of my routine is to completely remove my makeup from the day. As you can see, I’m wearing some pretty thick full-coverage products on my face, so it’s important to me that I let my skin breathe and refresh as thoroughly as possible. To remove my makeup, I’m using the Beauty 360 fragrance-free makeup remover towelettes. I find these wipes to be very easy and soothing on the skin, making them ideal for me. My skin is both very sensitive and oily, so it’s crucial that I don’t scrub my face with anything that’s too harsh.


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Next, I’m exfoliating my skin with a berry mud mask by Formula 10.0.6. I don’t use face masks every day of the week, but I try to use them at least twice a week to boost my skincare routine and practice some quality self-care. This particular mask smells delightful and has a smooth, creamy texture once applied. I really dislike face masks that dry too intensely on the skin, so I’m happy to report that this one actually feels quite comfortable! I leave this mask on for 10-15 minutes, then wash it off gently with warm water.


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After I remove my mud mask, I’ll go in with the Bioré pore unclogging scrub. As I previously said, my skin tends to get quite oily by the end of the day, so I like to keep my skin as clean as possible. This cleanser also contains tiny scrubbing beads that give your face a nice, delicate massage, in addition to providing extra exfoliation. This cleanser also carries a cool, almost minty aroma, making it ideal for waking my skin up on early morning starts.


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This cream is a benzoyl peroxide acne gel that I acquired through my dermatologist, which means that it might be a bit more difficult to find and probably a lot more expensive than the other products on this list. That being said, any benzoyl peroxide product can be a great solution for anybody that suffers from blemishes and breakouts. Because benzoyl peroxide is such a strong formula, I usually only apply this cream once a day. It’s fragrance-free, light, and goes on completely clear, making it ideal for my sensitive skin.


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Finally, I am using the CeraVe moisturizing lotion all over my face and neck. I SWEAR by this product to everybody looking for a moisturizer- the formula is perfectly restoring and smooth. Ever since I started using this moisturizer years ago, I haven’t been able to part with it or find anything that tops it. After smoothing it all over, my skin feels rejuvenated and completely hydrated. I apply this product twice a day, but feel free to apply as much as you want.


With my skin now totally pampered, I’m finally ready to catch some Zzz’s. I hope this article was (in some capacity) helpful to you, and I’ll see you again on Friday!

Coming up next: My favorite conspiracy theories about The Shining!

 

Spring has sprung, and so has the hunt for the best new cosmetic products. For me, the month of May is all about new beginnings and hasty changes in the weather- though I’m not too excited about the latter!

It’s true. I, the sunshiney retro gal, am not the biggest fan of summer. I like my face a lot better when it’s not sunburnt and dripping with sweat, if I do say so myself. Nonetheless, these are the top five beauty products I’ve been using this month to keep my skin clean, moisturized, and as bright as it can be.

Ebb & Flow “Fire on the Mountain” Herbal Detox Clay Mask. I picked up this treasure at a local shop a few months back, but had neglected to try it out until recently. And boy, I had been missing out. Not only is this product 100% organic and cruelty-free, it’s also highly effective and carries a light, lovely, lavender scent. It’s also quite efficient for removing blemishes and blackheads when used twice weekly- something I’ll certainly need help with as the humid weather rolls in. To apply, mix a couple tablespoons of the mask with water until you achieve a sticky mixture, then apply all over the face. Bonus points: this product is VEGAN! Find it here for $16.00: https://www.ebbandflowbyty.com/shop/fire-on-the-mountain

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Valjean Labs “Restore” Facial Serum. Though traditionally found through the very boujee Urban Outfitters, I purchased this serum at my local Marshalls (for notably less than the original price, I might add.) For the days when my skin is feeling tired and uneven, this serum is perfect for brightening things up and truly tightening your pores. Traditionally, I use it before bed to give my skin a little bit of extra nourishment. This product is cruelty-free, and can be ordered either online or from the Urban Outfitters store. Find it here for $15.00: https://www.urbanoutfitters.com/shop/valjean-labs-facial-serum?category=SHOPBYBRAND&color=050

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ArtNaturals Brightening Vitamin C Serum. I learned about this product through WhispersRed ASMR, who mentioned it in her skincare routine video. She described the product as being excellent for brightening skin, tightening pores, and giving the skin a naturally radiant glow. Upon hearing of its clearly fantastic abilities, I had to purchase it myself, and I wasn’t disappointed in the least. Made in the USA and completely cruelty-free, this is another fantastic serum for daily use. I pat a generous amount of this serum on my face right after my morning shower, when I know my pores are the most open, and follow it up with a light moisturizer.   Find it here for $13.00: https://artnaturals.com/artnaturals-vitamin-c-serum-fights-free-radicals-and-reduces-wrinkles-1-fl-oz-30-ml-16-00.html

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Pukka Tea: “Revitalize.” Arguably, tea probably can’t be considered a “beauty product.” From my perspective, however, it is the products we put in our body that reflect how our skin looks on the outside. This vigorating and energizing tea will keep you feeling fresh and awake on both the inside and out. With ingredients like cinnamon and ginger, you’ll notice your eyes looking brighter and your skin looking clearer.  Find it here for £2.99: https://www.pukkaherbs.com/teas-supplements/pukka-organic-teas/revitalise/

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Lush “Mask of Magnaminty” Face and Body Mask. I must confess, this is a product I have been purchasing regularly since first trying it back in July. On those sticky, humid summer days, this stuff works magic for cooling off your skin and scrubbing out all the oily impurities from the day. This mask is also extremely moisturizing and soothing, both on the body and face.  Find it here for $14.95: https://www.lushusa.com/face/masks/mask-of-magnaminty/02129.html

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I’ve yet to find my holy-grail makeup routine, but I’d like to think I’m on the right path. I’ve exercised a majority of looks in my lifetime, and the metamorphosis has been…a journey.

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Thankfully, with my horrendous goth phase in the past, I’d love to share the products I use now to give my face a classic vintage semblance!

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(Preface: As I am becoming more aware of animal cruelty in the cosmetic industry, I am in the process of transitioning all of my products to ones that are cruelty-free. I can safely say that 95% of my products are now at least cruelty-free, and some of them are vegan as well. I’ll be sure to clarify under each product I use whether or not it is cruelty-free. If you have any suggestions for new makeup brands I can try, please let me know in the comments!)

(Another preface: I am by no means a makeup guru. Take everything I suggest with a grain of salt.)

After moisturizing, I officially begin my day with the Laura Mercier Radiance Primer. I purchased this primer at a Sephora pop-up shop about seven months ago, and have been using it (almost) on the daily since. The slits in the side of the tube are attributed to me cutting open the package to get every last drop of product, as this primer was very, veeeery expensive. Laura Mercier claims to be a cruelty-free company company, and their products are not sold in China. While this product seemed like a nice little spurge at the time, I don’t see myself purchasing it again. It gives me skin a rather shiny appearance, and didn’t prove to have any remarkable results. In the future, I intend on stocking up on ELF for my cruelty-free primer needs.

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Laura Mercier Radiance Primer

On to foundation! I have been using the Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation in the shade 1.0 for about five or six months now. It is a little bit lighter than my natural skin tone, but doesn’t look chalky or ghostly once applied. If anything, it gives the pale, matte glow that my inner pinup soul has been dreaming of. I apply 1-2 coats of this all over my face and neck with the Aesthetica Cosmetics Beauty Sponge Blender- which is latex-free and vegan. The only criticism I have for this foundation is that it can look a bit drying and patchy unless you really get in there and moisturize your skin. Urban Decay is proudly a cruelty-free company, and received a pat on the back from PETA for their cosmetics.

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Urban Decay Foundation

For brows, I use the Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade in the color “Granite.” When doing my makeup, I prefer for my eyebrows to be quite dark, and my eyeshadow to be soft and warm-colored. This pomade is perfectly pigmented and stays all day, without being over-powerfully dark on my otherwise pale frame. And, fun fact, this brow pomade is both cruelty-free AND vegan!

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Eyebrow Pomade

I haven’t applied an eyelid primer since last summer, as the last one I tried by Urban Decay gave me a somewhat hilarious allergic reaction (think Admiral Ackbar from Star Wars). To prime my eyelids, I instead just coat them with my foundation and allow the formula to dry. My eyeshadow is a little bit different every day, but primarily, my favorite palettes are the Too Faced Peach Eyeshadow Palette and the BH Cosmetics Carli Bybel Palette. I start by applying a light, shimmery shade on my entire lid, and then go back in with a darker and warmer shade to buff out the crease. Occasionally, I’ll also add a little bit of black eyeshadow to make my eyes more dramatic, but it truly depends on the day. For my lower line, I’ll go back in with a medium-dark shade and brush it over my waterline, winging it out slightly to create an illusion of an eyelash shadow (a trick Marilyn Monroe did herself.) All of my eyeshadows are cruelty-free as well.

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My eyeshadow palettes

I use the Urban Decay Cream Eyeliner in the shade “Jet” to apply my winged eyeliner, though I generally prefer to use a liquid eyeliner if I have one on hand. This UD eyeliner gets an A+ for ease of use, but a B for longevity. Even with setting spray, I do find my eyeliner to be bit oily and faded once I reach the five-hour mark. I apply my eyeliner with a small angled brush that I purchased at an Ulta quite a while ago.

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Cream Eyeliner

For mascara, I’ve been really hooked on Tarte’s Lights, Camera, Lashes. Ideally, I would like to wear a pair of false eyelashes every day to make my hooded eyes pop, but who really has the patience to sit and apply those every morning? Tarte claims to be cruelty-free, and the products are not sold in China, but consumers should still be aware that Tarte’s money goes to KOSE, which does test on animals.

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Tarte Mascara

My favorite blush right now is another Tarte product- the Amazonian Clay 12-hour blush in the shades “Paaarty” and “Seduce.” My face ends up looking like a nightmare whenever I try to apply contour, so I chisel out my cheeks with a popping pink blush instead. I’d like to add that I didn’t purchase these blushes myself- they were handed down to me by someone else. I wouldn’t spend more than ten dollars on a blush, let alone $29.99.

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Tarte Blush

Before I apply my lipstick, I use a sweep of the Ulta brand setting spray, which I purchased in the store for ten dollars. Ulta brand cosmetics claim to be cruelty-free, but I’m going to need to do some additional research on this…

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Ulta Setting Spray

Lastly, I almost always finish off my makeup look with either a Kat Von D Studded Kiss lipstick, or one of my sixteen Froomer Liquid Lipsticks. Before I go any further, let me make it loud and clear that the Froomer lipsticks are almost definitely NOT cruelty-free. I purchased them off of Amazon a while ago, and the shipping label says they were manufactured in Hong Kong. These liquid lipsticks are designed to be exact dupes of the Kylie Jenner lip kits, and despite my ethical problems with the brand, the lipsticks actually perform quite impressively. That being said, I don’t intend on purchasing them again in the future.

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Froomer Lip Kits & a Kat Von D lipstick

Though my makeup routine may seem extensive from what you’ve just read above, the reality is, it only takes me about thirty minutes to complete my entire routine. I am also extremely open to other makeup brand suggestions, especially since I am going to need an ethical replacement for my Froomer lip kits oncetheyrun dry. Drop me a comment below!

Where to buy these products:

 

PRIMER: https://www.sephora.com/product/foundation-primer-radiance-P299223?skuId=1382670&icid2=products%20grid:p299223

FOUNDATION: https://www.urbandecay.com/all-nighter-liquid-foundation-by-urban-decay/ud778.html
EYEBROW POMADE: http://www.anastasiabeverlyhills.com/dipbrow-pomade-waterproof-color-brow-sculpt/dipbrow-pomade.html

EYESHADOW PALETTES: https://www.bhcosmetics.com/carli-bybel-deluxe-edition-21-color-eyeshadow-highlighter-palette / https://www.toofaced.com/eye-makeup/eye-shadow-palettes/sweet-peach-eye-palette/41025.html / https://www.urbandecay.com/naked-3-palette-by-urban-decay/409.html

EYELINER: http://www.anastasiabeverlyhills.com/waterproof-creme-color/waterproof-creme-color.html
MASCARA: https://tartecosmetics.com/en_US/makeup/eyes/mascara/lights-camera-lashes-4-in-1-mascara/6.html?cgid=makeup-eyes-mascara&dwvar_6_color=black#start=3

SETTING SPRAY: https://www.ulta.com/matte-makeup-setting-spray?productId=xlsImpprod10141284&sku=2271525&cmpid=PS_Non!google!Product_Listing_Ads&cagpspn=pla&CATCI=pla-195115267710&CAAGID=39172131008&CAWELAID=330000200000136900&catargetid=330000200000921473&cadevice=c&gclid=CjwKCAjwlIvXBRBjEiwATWAQIvHzTS8WSTbc4uU1D3ufsQhV08ecC28WNi_xOVUz4K4aKsrAeSomgBoCSRYQAvD_BwE

BLUSH: https://tartecosmetics.com/en_US/makeup/cheeks/blush-cheek-stain/amazonian-clay-12-hour-blush/236.html

FROOMER LIPSTICKS: https://www.amazon.com/Froomer-Colors-Waterproof-Lasting-Lipstick/dp/B01N8YWE0V/ref=sr_1_1_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1524834874&sr=8-1&keywords=froomer%2B16%2Bcolors%2Bwaterproof%2Blong%2Blasting%2Bmatte%2Bliquid%2Blipstick&th=1

KAT VON D LIPSTICK: https://www.katvondbeauty.com/lip/lipstick/studded-kiss-creme-lipstick/40006.html?gclid=CjwKCAjwlIvXBRBjEiwATWAQIotAsVVhm69ZZoWlgiM44aoOgKVIN5RLrRQeQBS6P6Ds3-C4Q_U34xoCnYoQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds