A year ago, I had really bad skin.

My face was irritated and inflamed, with red pulsing cystic acne all over my cheeks. I could barely leave the house and my self-esteem took a serious hit.

To fix my skin, I did three things:

  • Drop chemical exfoliants and other potential irritants like retinol
  • Switch to a thick, reparative balm like La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5
  • Get regular laser treatments and facials to speed up skin decongestion and acne mark reduction

Without these three steps, I never could have gotten my skin back to a healthy default, and I most definitely would not be getting away with the minimal skin care routine I have right now.

I’m telling you this because I want to be realistic. I don’t want to be that bitch who credits her good skin to just 8 glasses of water and a moisturizer, because that would be a straight up lie.

I can’t drop this 4-step skin care routine without context, you know? It just wouldn’t be right.

With that lengthy introduction out of the way, let’s get to it.

Heimish All Clean Balm

If you still don’t know by now, let me tell you: double-cleansing is a game changer.

Your facial wash isn’t enough, especially if you’re coming home with a full face of grimy makeup. An entire day of oils, dirt, pollution, etc and you expect your cleanser to get that all off with one wash? Delusional.

There are many options to choose from for your first cleanse. You’ve got wipes, micellar water, oils, and more. I prefer oils and balms because I find them a lot gentler (no tugging) and easier to use.

Heimish All Clean Balm is a boring little thing, but boring can be good when it comes to skin care. It gets the job done, and that’s all there is to it.


Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

I don’t care what people say: Cetaphil works great and I will use it till the end of time. It’s cheap, it’s gentle, and it’s effective — I have nothing else to ask for.

I know people don’t like Cetaphil’s cleansers for a myriad reasons, but it works for me and I’m not about to mess up a good thing.

(Besides, I’m a serious Cetaphil groupie.)

Weleda Calendula Face Cream

As with most beauty-related things in my life, I discovered Weleda through Into the Gloss.

I started out with the infamous Skin Food but it was just a tad bit too thick for me. I use a tiny bit on my arms if I’m feeling a little extra dry and I can still use it as a sleeping mask if I want to, but it just isn’t the everyday moisturizer I was looking for.

So I switched to the Calendula Face Cream. Yes, the one from the baby line.

Let me start off by saying that yes, it contains alcohol, and yes, it has fragrance — two things that I’ve always been wary of. The good news is that this moisturizer doesn’t irritate my skin at all, and I have to concede that the calendula scent is at least nice and calming.

Weleda Calendula Face Cream spreads easily and absorbs quickly, isn’t sticky, and doesn’t leave me looking weirdly shiny. It makes me look all healthy and glowy, which is all I really want in a moisturizer.

Wink Laser Studio SPF50 Sunscreen

I spent a long time without sunscreen because I simply couldn’t find one that agreed with my skin. Most of the sunscreens I’ve come across are either too oily or too white, and more often than not they straight up refused to play ball with makeup.

When I went in for laser treatments at Wink Laser Studio, they made it clear that sunscreen was a non-negotiable. You could seriously mess up your skin if you go in for laser treatments then spend the next day under the sun with zero protection.

So I picked up their store-brand sunscreen (the same one they use on all clients) and it was fine. It wasn’t anything spectacular and smelled a little weird, but it didn’t clog my pores or break me out, so I stuck with it.

But then. This month they came out with a new version — one with SPF50 coverage. It goes on super smooth, has no weird smell, and dries down to a semi-matte powder finish. On really good days I can get away with just this and no base makeup.

I swear, this sunscreen is so good I simply cannot imagine anything better. I use a lot all the time (all the way down my neck, of course) and my greatest fear is that Wink will run out or discontinue it and I’ll never find anything as good ever again.

Maybe I should head out and get a couple of backups, just in case.

And that’s pretty much how I feel about all of the products in my current skin care routine. I don’t want to run out, I don’t want to switch, and I can see myself sticking to them for a long time.

I guess that’s when you know it’s real, right?

The best part is that all of these things are relatively affordable, especially when compared to the stuff I used to buy. SK-II, anyone?

I’m gonna try and keep this happy equilibrium going for as long as I can, but it would be super fun to check in about 6 months from now to see if I still have the same routine. Stay tuned.