Skincare/Facial care had not always been much of a concern for me until I became overly aware of the gazillion acne on my face. Then I started my journey and I’m gonna be sharing that from the onset as well as products I used to get started. I currently use some different products and you can check them out on this post.
DISCLAIMER: This is a personal opinion, I’m in no way a skincare expert. I just use products and review their effects on MY skin. If you have oily, acne-prone skin, this post might be more suited for you. Please note the “After” pictures on this post were not achieved through the starter routine, I have a post on the current routine I’ve been following since January 2019.
MY SKINCARE JOURNEY
I used to have really healthy skin pre-2015, so I never had to worry about anything. Fast-forward to 1st year of university and 15-year-old me decided to try out fake makeup products (definitely didn’t know they were fake at that time!). I only used powder but I didn’t realize makeup came with basic skincare rules like WIPING OFF THAT GOO BEFORE YOU SLEEP AT NIGHT!! So yeah, I accumulated a whole lot of dirt, pores got blocked and acne became a norm on my face. I wasn’t even bothered about it, it felt “normal” to me. It wasn’t the severe ones and I actually used to think acne spots made me look cool because they gave me “freckles”. Boy, I was really naive and just continued my life like that.
Fast forward a year or two, I was starting to notice it more. My friend/roommate had really healthy skin AND she still had a routine. I remember thinking of why she needed to do all those things, “she didn’t have pimples”. But she wore makeup and it only made sense for her to take care of her skin, I know that now. Anyways, I lived a life of weird scattered pimples, some painful ones, whiteheads, blackheads, you name it. To top it all, I have an oily skin AND wore no sunscreen, so excess sebum production and major hijab tan (the horror!).
In summary, my face was a disaster. Facetuning and taking selfies with Snapchat filters was how I got my skin to look decent.
My big intervention came when my sister (Queen of Bookstagram Nigeria, @thatothernigeriangirl) took her skincare seriously and her face began to show tremendous progress. I remember always thinking of how much she spent on skincare and didn’t really see the point to it until she started “glowing”. I don’t know but there’s something about being proud of one’s progress and achievements (no matter how negligible) that gives you confidence. That was exactly what was causing my sister’s glow: her routine was paying off and she was getting more comfortable in her own skin.
I WANTED THAT. I wanted to be comfortable in my own skin too, have and maintain a relatively pimple-free face (the hormonal ones are harder to control).
So I outlined the basic problems I had: pimples, blackheads, whiteheads and too much face oil. I had several more issues and they’re better outlined on my other skin routine post.
I asked my sister for help and she recommended a few things to get started. I’m recommending the same to you because it “worked”, at least until I got better and more effective products. It’s great for anyone who wants to start “taking care of their skin” but cannot afford more products from the onset.
ACNE STARTER KIT
You can find a video of this starter routine here on my Instagram.
Always wash your face
NO, I don’t mean wash your face 10 times a day, that’ll do even more harm. Wash your face like twice a day: start your day fresh and clean off those dirts later at night. I started by using Dudu Osun as my face wash. I know some complain about it making them “darker” but it works for me. It’s a better option than the medicated soaps and I still use it in my current routine.
Get a cleanser
You almost always still have dirt on your face after washing and that’s what the cleanser targets, a better cleaning. I got Apple Cider Vinegar and to be honest, I think this really worked for me. It was my cleanser and toner combined (a toner is for evening out skin color, I believe). It didn’t do much of toning and it’s not even a cleanser but it was like my magic solution for new pimples. Its effects make sense now that I know some acids are used for acne treatments. I picked on my pimples a lot and that did more harm. It’s responsible for most of my scars and spots and they are much harder to take care of.
P.S If you must pick a pimple, make sure it’s “ready for extraction” and it’s literally sticking out. I used to apply the vinegar on a cotton ball and gently clean it out. However, you can check out better ways to clean out a pimple online. DO NOT PICK AT IT ANYMORE, doing that only causes either scars or spots like mine.
I also used glycerin, recommended by my friend to “smoothen” the skin but it couldn’t exactly have effects since it was several steps too soon. It however made my face feel a bit smooth even though it actually wasn’t AND it made me look shinier. Not sure it was a good idea so I no longer use it.
Get a moisturizer
This was the part I skipped and it’s very essential. It balances the moisture on your face as well as a whole lot of other things. EVERY skin type needs a moisturizer. I didn’t have a moisturizer but I had an Olay day cream which played the role of my moisturizer plus it had SPF too, for sun protection. You can find my current choice of moisturizer on the current routine post.
This is soooo important. Africans DO need sunscreens, it protects against harmful UV rays which could cause skin cancer. I got a random sunscreen from my sister but she warned that it contained a questionable ingredient and adviced me to get a better one. It however, saved me from those days in the sun that darkens complexion. It’s worse when you’re a student so you ALWAYS HAVE TO PROTECT YOURSELF UNDER THE SUN.
I’m actually currently looking for effective and affordable sunscreens around 5K. If you have suggestions, kindly leave them in the comments.
And that’s basically all!! The post is getting too long, so head over to this post to read more on how I currently deal with my face. You should watch the Instagram video of my former routine here too.
Roughly 1 year later and I’m quite happy with my face. I still have skin issues to combat and it’s a continuous journey but it pays off eventually. It takes effort to stay dedicated and consistent to a routine but definitely not impossible. I don’t have smooth or evenly-textured skin yet, heck I’m still dealing with my hijab tan and hyperpigmentation. But the goal was never to have perfect skin, it was to BE COMFORTABLE IN MY OWN FACE and I’m hella proud of it.
Did you finish reading this post? What do you think of my ‘skin growth’? Any replies on sunscreens you can recommend? Let’s discuss in the comments!!