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While it’s fun to read about the beauty habits of celebrities, I find it most helpful to learn about the beauty habits of women who have lifestyles, ages, or budgets similar to mine. In this series, I’ve asked amazing women I know to share their beauty routines. These are women from across the country, different ages, lifestyles, professions, and beauty/skincare priorities. I'm bringing back this series to share my assistant Amanda!
Age: 36 (37 in February)
Location: Philadelphia ‘burbs
Profession: Freelance Writer/Social Media Assistant + Fashion Reseller on the Poshmark app
Tell me a bit about your skincare and/or routine.
I have struggled with acne for most of my adult life. Most people look at me and act surprised! It’s just that I got really good at doing my makeup, I think, and always, always wearing makeup. Finally, last year, I did a round of Accutane, which really helped but didn’t cure it completely. I tend to break out from hormones (once a month) and stress (all the time). Because I have been trying to balance my hormones naturally, I recently started replacing all of the toxic beauty products, soaps, etc. that contained hormone disrupters or other potentially hazardous substances. Because I always wear makeup, and it has sunscreen built in, I have been very good about sun protection, but I do have some redness and acne scarring even when my skin is relatively clear.
My routine in the morning: I splash cold water on my face to wake me up, and then follow that with face oil or my favorite tinted moisturizer. Once that settles in, I add my primer and Bare Minerals. I used to love the Original, because I want more of a bare-faced look, but the matte has more coverage and I add highlighter so I still have a glow and don’t look like a pancake.
At night, I do an oil cleanse to remove my makeup: I just started using castor oil, which smells a bit medicinal, but has a nice thickness, more like a gel cleanser, and I rub it all over my face and then remove with a warm, damp washcloth. If I have a breakout, I also sometimes use a bit of Dr. Bronner’s Baby Castile Soap (unscented) on those spots, so a double cleanse. Then I put on my Rosehip Seed Oil and a bit of Skin Food on any dry or irritated patches. And in the winter when dry, cracked lips are a problem, I love BITE Beauty’s Agave Lip Mask (it may seem a little pricey, but you only need a tiny bit, so it lasts a long time).
Has your skincare of beauty routine changed due to age, lifestyle, career, etc.?
I mentioned the Accutane, which no dermatologist ever recommended to me in 18 years because of the harshness, but my acne got worse after I had kids, so I don’t regret taking it. But I also had to use hormonal birth control the whole time, which isn’t great for my mental health. So once I was done, I got off all medications, and again, started adjusting to all natural beauty products (my deodorant and soaps and shampoos and cleaning products too!). I also started to adjust my diet more seriously, not to lose weight, but to see what affected my skin. My favorite foods are sweets, but they also exacerbate my acne, I learned. So I try to eat almost no processed sugar, and that helps. I used to be a yo-yo dieter, but now I’m trying to think of eating positively for my health and my skin. I also work from home, so I don’t always have to see people, which means I can have some semi makeup-free days, which is nice and also helps my skin clear up faster.
What is the best skincare or beauty advice you ever got and from whom?
This is just a fairly common Makeup YouTuber tip, but highlighter on the tip of the nose, corners of the eyes, and on the cupid’s bow. Game changer.
What is you must-have holy grail beauty of skincare product?
Can’t live without my Skin Food and my highlighter (Bare Minerals Radiance –gold and pure are my two favorites).
What is your biggest beauty regret or embarrassment?
I pick at my skin when I break out–still. I have fewer breakouts now, but it did cause scarring. And related to that, I regret not asking for Accutane earlier. It might have helped me cope with my college years in a healthier way.
What nugget of skincare of beauty wisdom do you wish you could give to your younger self?
Acne isn’t the end of the world, and you don’t have to look perfect to be loved.
Anything else you’d like to share?
As a body positive feminist, I always have to keep in mind the idea that I don’t owe the world beauty (I believe the quote is something like “You don’t owe prettiness to anyone…prettiness is not a rent you pay to occupy the space marked female”). But for me, good skincare is a form of self care that allows me to feel more confident showing up in the world–for myself and others.
Amanda! So nice to see you here, Miskabelle used to be one of my favorite blogs to follow <3
I'm curious about the Herbivore blue tansy product in the photos – I have many of the same skin issues as you and am always looking for new products to try, especially for redness and acne scarring.
I remember, hello old friend!! Are you still selling vintage somewhere??
And the Blue Tansy, I see an immediate difference in redness and if a pore or blemish is inflamed or raised, it really help open it to release the yuck (gross, I know, but). I think you can find a smaller sample size maybe to try, since it is pricey! But honestly it does last a long time if you just use it on trouble spots! <3
Thanks for the info – yep, totally gross but that’s life/skincare, I guess! Now that I’m at the point where I’m starting to see aging in my own skin PLUS I have a preteen daughter who’s getting her first zits, it’s great to see how much more is out there in terms of products and brands than there was in my own spotty teen days, andI really appreciate advice and guidance from people with a little more know-how than me!
And yes, I am still selling vintage on Etsy – I’ve slowed down with it a little in the last year or so as I started a Master of Library Science grad school program, though. How about you? And I’d love to follow you elsewhere if you’re on instagram or twitter or something (I’m @thestrangerbird on Twitter and @strangerbird on insta).
LC Bat says
Okay, but I must know about this blush, though! It’s looking totally ace in your photos. Inquiring minds would love to know more!
Ahhhh, thank you so much! In this photo it’s the bareMinerals READY blush in shade The Aphrodisiac (and very much reminds me of NARS Orgasm, which I was also devoted to!)
Love this. I struggle with adult acne too. My deep, maybe cystic, pimples are driven by hormones so less of a problem now due to using Mirena. But my skins is still super good at holding on to sebum and keratin so Iy tend to have a lot of black heads and clogged pores that get a little comedone just on the top skin layer. BHA products like salicylic acid are the bomb for me, but a lot of brands put in things that also irritate or break out my skin. I ended up trying Paula’s Choice skincare and loving it for what is not in it just as much as what is in it. Not as “natural” as some I have used in past, but the no side effects and the less waste stream since I I use the stuff up instead of trying, it failing and then deciding what to do with the leftover 1/2 bottle are worth it to me.
I have heard really good things about Paula’s Choice too but have never tried it! I also have combo skin where it is still oily in some areas, but then dry because of winter, so anything with acne medicine in it seems to exacerbate the issues instead of help! Do you use multiple PC products or is there a holy grail one you’d recommend trying?