A Breakdown Of Every Thought Catalog Writer’s Skincare Routine

Kendra Syrdal

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I’ve been pretty open about my temperamental skin and how I made 2017 the ~year of skincare~ as my resolution. My skin is by no means perfect, but it’s improved drastically since I started really paying attention to what I use on it and making skincare a priority.

In the morning I wash my face with something really gentle like the Soy Cleanser from Fresh or First Aid Beauty’s cleanser. Nothing too crazy, nothing medicated. Just something to clean my skin and wake it up. Next I’ll apply Good Genes by Sunday Riley because lactic acid is amazing and it’s literally completely changed my skin. After that sets in (usually give it a minute or two) I’ll apply a serum. Lately I’ve been loving the Super Bounce by Glossier because it’s insanely hydrating and the formula is awesome—it sets right in and it’s not too oily. Last is moisturizer and I alternate between either the Rose Hydration Face Cream from Fresh or the Priming Moisturizer from Glossier. I’m prone to dry patches and eczema so I really want my moisturizer to be thick and creamy and hydrate my face all day.

At night it’s similar but with a few different products. First I’ll remove all my makeup with a makeup remover like Take The Day Off by Clinique. Then with my Clarisonic (I use the sensitive skin brush-head) I’ll wash my face with either Checks and Balances by Origins or the Milky Jelly Cleanser from Glossier. Checks and Balances is thicker and better when my skin is freaking out a little bit, like during my period or after I’ve been traveling. And Milky Jelly is what I reach for when my skin is in a good mood, but might need a little bit more moisture and hydration. After that I use a toner to calm my skin down a little bit and target any bacteria that might be lingering under the surface. Lately I’ve been all about the Green Tea Balancing Toner from Herbivore. But if it’s one of those ~moody skin times~ I’ll use the Martian Gel Toner from Sunday Riley. I feel like it’s a little stronger and it targets acne more than something on the lighter side. Next is my favorite thing in the world, face oil! I am capital O Obsessed with the Lapis Oil from Herbivore. I swear I used it for two days and the texture of my skin and my breakouts completely changed. It’s a game changer. And I finally got my hands on the Watermelon Sleeping Mask from Glow Recipe which once or twice a week is exactly what I need for bouncy, glowing, amazing skin.

Bianca Sparacino


Morning

Step 1: Cleanse dry skin with Glossier Milk Jelly Cleanser. This cleanser leaves my skin feeling clean, and hydrated.

Step 2: Tone with La Roche-Posay Serozinc Spray. This is a special zinc based spray that helps to reduce redness. This toner is perfect for anyone who deals with hormonal acne, blemishes, or skin that seems a little angry at times.

Step 3: Spot treat with Hexomedine Transcutanee. This is an antiseptic that cost me around 10 dollars, and I use it on any hormonal acne I see popping up. This product gets deep into the skin, and helps to heal the pimple from the inside out. I soak a q-tip in it, dab it on the problem area, and let dry. Within hours, the pimple is reduced, and it is completely gone within 1-2 days. No popping necessary.

Step 4: I moisturize with the Bioderma Cicabio Crème. This cream helps to really bring moisture into the skin, and it is made with other properties that aid in epidermal restoration — dullness, redness, and cracked skin are completely and utterly smoothed out and refined.

Step 5: I never forget the sunscreen. Because I use a Retin-A product on my skin at night, I am very diligent with using sunscreen during the day. I use La Roche-Posay Antethlios 60 Ultra Light Sunscreen.

Night

Makeup remover: Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water (light pink bottle)

Steps 1, 2, 3, and 4 are similar.

Step 5: I use the Avéne TriAcnéal Expert moisturizing lotion at night. This moisturizer helps to kick imperfections, hyperpigmentation, blemishes, and redness to the curb. It always leaves my skin feeling baby soft, and hydrated.

Two to three times a week, I will use the A313 Pure Vitamin A cream all over my face, and let it work it’s magic. Seriously — look this stuff up. You will be convinced after reading a few reviews. Retin-A products are life savers, but because my skin isn’t considered mature yet, I do not need to use it every single day.

Chrissy Stockton

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I’m 32 so I’ve started to pay a lot of attention to skin aging and whether I think I look old and whether I should buy a bunch of products to help that. My working conclusion is that some people 10 years younger than me have the kind of deep face wrinkles because people’s faces are shaped differently. There isn’t really a correlation between the people I know who look older or younger than their age and the amount of effort or money they put into their skin, I think it’s mostly just genetic. Which is a nice thing to think because it means I don’t have to worry that much and my skin is mostly going to look how it looks.

THAT SAID.

The one thing that definitely changes across the energy/amount of money spent on skincare spectrum is how your skin feels. Some people’s faces feel kind of rough? But then if they start moisturizing and exfoliating it’s soft and looks a lot healthier. Those are my favorite things to do. I think there’s a spiritual quality to exfoliating. You can do a deep clean and imagine you are sloughing off everything you don’t need or want in your life and letting it rinse off down the sink.

My favorite beauty product is Modern Friction from Origins. It’s a really deep but really gentle exfoliator and it makes you feel totally new and bright and clean. I love the Nightamins Moisturizer from Origins too, it’s really thick and smells amazing. I also like the Korres Wild Rose Moisturizer because it feels and smells like you’re just rubbing ground up roses on your skin which seems very chic and luxurious. I use Origins Out of Trouble Mask and Peter Thomas Roth Invisible Dots if I’m having skin issues.

I don’t wash my face unless I’m in the shower, but I also get a ton of sleep, don’t wear foundation, and have generally always had good skin (again, genetics) so fortunately that works for me!

Katie Mather

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My skin is honestly incredibly disrespectful and rude and literally the second I do anything differently or don’t drink my weight in water, all hell will break loose. I don’t really do anything to my face in the morning because I am the person to hit snooze 400 times and don’t have time to deal with splotchiness and redness right when I wake up because I prioritize funneling coffee into my system. Sometimes I’ll put witch hazel on my face in the mornings though. It smells almost exactly like the cheap vodka I used to drink my freshman year of college, the kind out of a plastic handle. Mmmm. I have to put on sunscreen every day because the second I’m even exposed to, like, a bright lightbulb, I’ll turn red.

I slather a gallon of makeup remover (just the generic Neutrogena one in the blue bottle) onto my face the second I’m emotionally ready to end all social interactions for the day. I don’t wear a ton of makeup, but my eyes are very sensitive and will get weird if I don’t get all of the mascara off. One time my eye doctor told me I had “really dry eyelids” and I was like, k, more unrealistic beauty standards for women I guess. Perfectly moisturized eyelids? Impossible.

I wash my face with the Erno Laszlo black charcoal soap—yeah, bougie AF—and I’ve been using that since I was in high school, maybe? Smells good, comes in a little box that makes it easy to travel with. Sometimes I will use whatever Garnier facial scrub I have in my shower and try to wash my flesh off—feels great. I love doing sheet masks, although I don’t actually know if they do anything other than scare the shit out of my roommate. Then I smear CeraVe moisturizing lotion all over my face before doing my nightly ritual of screaming into the mirror for 30 minutes. Good for blood circulation.

Kim Quindlen

My main skin issue is dryness. On the one hand it’s nice because I don’t get acne, but the tradeoff is that my skin is so dry (especially during the winter) that my face feels like it will crumble into pieces if I don’t put lotion on it as soon as I get out of the shower. If you need a reference point, picture the scene in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 where Molly Weasley kills Bellatrix Lestrange. Rather than just ‘dying’ the way that the book has it, Bellatrix’s face crumbles and a billion cracks form all over it and then she just blows up like a pigeon in mid-air. The part where she has cracks all over her face is what my skin felt like EVERY DAY until I finally found the right lotion and skincare routine.

The products I use now are all from a skincare line called Skin Script. When I wake up in the morning, I rinse my face with water. Then I immediately put on a serum called Ageless Hydrating Serum. It’s the first time I’ve ever used a serum and man is it a game changer. If you have dry skin, get in on the serum action, you’ll thank me. Once that ‘sinks into my face’ as they say scientifically, I put on a hydrating moisturizer called Hydrating Moisturizer. Last but not least, I put on a little dab of something called Tri-Peptide Eye Cream that helps my under eyes look less puffy and purple (because they are always purple and puffy because I’m tired all the time and people tell me that exercise will help and I hate them).

At night, I just do the same thing. If I was less lazy that day and happened to put on lipstick and mascara, I wipe the lipstick off by eating everything I can find in my kitchen, and then I wash the mascara off using whatever Aveeno face wash is in my medicine cabinet. I don’t have a specific one that I always use – I just buy whatever Aveeno face wash Walgreens has in stock that day as long as it says “gentle” somewhere on the packaging because my face is a dainty lil betch. So, once the mascara is washed off, I put the serum on instantly, then the moisturizer, then some more eye cream. Finally, I insert my retainer and then say good night to my husband, with a retainer-lisp, and remind him how lucky he is. The end.

Nicole Tarkoff

I have really oily skin. By the end of the day I’ll be super shiny, and if I have makeup on it’s even worse. My skin is also SUPER sensitive. So combine oily and sensitive, and my go to line for skin care products is “Simple.” Their moisturizer is really light and keeps my skin feeling hydrated the perfect amount without feeling all thick and sticky. It also has SPF in it, and doesn’t smell at all. Sometimes the fragrances in certain skincare products make my sensitive skin FREAK out, but Simple is I guess made with very *simple* ingredients, and it’s not expensive at the drug store. Their makeup remover wipes are really gentle too. I also really like to use Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay as a mask about twice a month just to prevent breakouts and give my skin a bit of refresher. It leaves your skin feeling super soft and makes your pores feel like they were just vacuumed of any zits that were about to surface on your skin. It makes you feel like you’ll break your face if you smile or raise an eyebrow while you have it on, but once you wash it off your skin is as soft and free as can be. Oh and oil blotting wipes are my savior. I ALWAYS have them in my purse.

Holly Riordan

I use plain old water to wash my face in the morning and before bed. The only product I’m using right now is a Mario Badescu Super Collagen Mask (2 or 3 times a week for 20 minutes apiece) which hydrates my skin and is meant to get rid of my acne scars.

Marisa Donnelly

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The lighting was nice, so, naturally. 🙃

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Honestly, my skincare routine has went from obsessing to accepting that sometimes you’re just going to have yucky skin days, and that’s okay. In the past, I would apply strong astringents to dry my face, and then, to counteract and help moisturize, I’d use lotion — it was a mess! My skin didn’t know what the heck was going on!

Now, I just use a simple cleanser every night (I take showers at night). My preferred brand is Biore, but I’m not picky. Just nothing that completely dries me out. In the morning, I typically don’t wash my face unless I feel greasy/oily etc. And I don’t apply lotion unless my skin is extremely dry. I think that the ‘less is more’ approach works for me because it’s given my skin a break to be natural and not have so much product being put on. That being said, I’m out in the sun a lot and I always, always wear sunscreen (45 spf minimum) that, even if it’s lotion-y, is essential in my opinion.

Mélanie Berliet

I have THE most embarrassingly unsophisticated skincare routine. The truth is that I know shit about beauty products and I haven’t prioritized figuring that space out over the years—partly because my skin isn’t very problematic, and partly because I’m too cheap. As I type this, I’m imagining how sad I will be when my skin starts sagging or wrinkling or melting prematurely due to neglect. In any case, I will share my skincare regimen and then maybe read all the other entries and change mine up entirely.

It’s simple, really: I wash my face twice a day with this apricot exfoliating scrub by St. Ives, which I procure at my local CVS in bulk when I have a 30%-off-your-entire-purchase coupon. I like it because it feels like it’s working. After each wash, I moisturize with Burt’s Bees Natural Acne Solutions Daily Moisturizing Lotion, which I buy via Amazon because it is NEVER in stock at the pharmacy for some reason. I love this lotion because it’s super lightweight and I am VERY sensitive to feeling over-oily. When I get my nails done, I always instruct the manicurist not to slather too much lotion on my hands because I loathe few things more than feeling over-oily anywhere on my person. But back to my face. If at any point I start to sense the imminent arrival of a zit, I dab a little of this On-the-Spot Neutrogena Acne Treatment cream on the affected area. When I’m feeling particularly rigorous (which occurs maybe 10 times a year), I will use this Burt’s Bees clarifying toner as well. Oh, and I’m really into these fun hydrating animal masks, but my enthusiasm has much more to do with terrifying my boyfriend than commitment to facial care. The only other thing to note is that I own some kind of off-brand makeup remover but I never ever use it because it seems like an extra step and I’d rather not bother.

Rania Naim


I don’t have a specific one. I just try to use a good acne cleanser (Clinique is my go to brand) and a good moisturizer (Olay is my favorite). Lately I’ve been getting into the habit of doing coffee scrubs on my face and body. I just make it at home. You mix coffee grounds with either olive oil or coconut oil and add some sugar. Mix it well until it forms a paste. Massage it on your body and leave it on for about 20 to 30 mins and wash it off with lukewarm water. I usually do it in the shower because it can be a bit messy so you have to make sure you don’t ruin any furniture or your clothes. It really helps tighten and rejuvenate the skin and gives it a nice glow!

Callie Byrnes

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I have been at war with my skin for the entirety of my life and I’m still pretty terrible at handling it tbh.

In the morning, I wash my face with Cetaphil face cleanser (this is not a paid promotion) and use Murad Acne Cleaning Solution (my saving grace), though sometimes I switch that out with various spot treatments when I’m on my period and my hormones make a mess of my face (I’ve been using Z Skin and it’s 10/10). Once that’s all dealt with, I use Garnier’s Skin Active moisturizer. My skin is a really bizarre mix of dry and oily, but this moisturizer seems to be able to handle both, and also it’s cheap enough that I don’t feel guilty buying it!

My nightly routine is somehow even more unreliable than my morning one. First, I scrub off my makeup with Neutrogena makeup wipes I use my face cleanser again. What happens next kind of depends on the day/my mood/my general feeling of apathy — sometimes I’ll do a mud mask (I’m into Jor’el Parker’s Fango Mud Therapy rn) or a face peel (Real Chemistry has a pretty good one) or if I’m feeling ~hip~ and ~new age~ I’ll make my own face masks out of ingredients I have lying around my house. Why? I don’t know!!! I’m terrible at skincare!!! Anyway, after that’s all said and done, I use my clinically-prescribed acne medicine because I was #blessed with horrendous skin.

Please DM me if you’re horrified by my routine and would like to send me better products as your weekly act of charity.

Lauren Jarvis-Gibson

My skin starts freaking out whenever the weather changes, so I try to pay much more attention to what products I use. I have incredibly sensitive skin, so I also make sure all the products I use are gentle.

In the morning, I use Bare Minerals purifying facial cleanser. I got hooked on it college because it’s incredibly soothing and gentle, perfect the morning. It doesn’t dry out your skin whatsoever and just leaves you feeling nice and awake. Next, I apply my favorite moisturizer in the universe, Moisture Surge Extra Thirsty Skin Relief by Clinique. This stuff is worth the price tag and makes your face feels like a baby’s bottom. A cheaper alternative I also like is Ponds Dry Skin Cream.

Since I work remotely, I normally don’t apply makeup even when I go out for errands or to a cafe close by. I like to keep my face makeup free the majority of the week, to not clog it with unnecessary oils and products. For a pick me up, I adore the Mario Badescu Facial Spray. It smells like roses and bonus — it won’t break you out!

At night, I hop in the shower and like to exfoliate the crap out of my face. I find that as long as it’s a gentle exfoliator, it won’t irritate my skin and it leaves it glowing afterwards. My all time favorite exfoliators are St. Ives Green Tea Scrub, and Enlite Super Face Scrub. Both are relatively inexpensive and can be found at any drugstore. The Enlite one especially is so finely milled and soothing, it makes you feel brand new afterwards.

If it’s my time of the month or if I’m super stressed, I use my Origins Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask. This stuff will significantly decrease the size of any pimples or scars. It’s my secret weapon for when I have an event or a date the next day. Seriously, it’s worth every penny!

Last but not least, I make sure to moisturize my skin at night with a relatively heavy night cream. Especially as the days are getting colder, my skin gets zapped of all moisture. To make sure I look like a normal, alive, human being, I like to use my Ponds Cold Cream which is brilliant because it removes all traces of makeup as well as providing a ton of hydration. I always try to remember to put an eye cream on as well, but honestly, that’s the step that I forget the most! However, if you are in need of an awesome eye cream, my favorite is GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream by Origins. TC mark

Kendra Syrdal

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