Let’s talk skin care. Everyone has their own unique skin care routine and half of it is honestly crap. Lotions, serums, emulsions, are all one large gimmick. That facial lotion containing some random plant extract has such a minute amount that the plant extract is simply there to sound cool. Oh this is organic with less preservatives? There are still similar chemical components and more microbes. I can go on, but that’s for another time.

Now the question is, how did I find a skincare routine that works? In high school I was diagnosed with Acne Vulgaris. I wouldn’t say it was a mild case, as my face, shoulders, and chest were littered with angry red bumps. My dermatologist recommended Epiduo. My holy grail. Sadly, my insurance did not cover much and the little bottle of topical medication was $75+. Ah, the cost of good skin.

What made Epiduo so amazing? I’d like to thank the retinoid, Adapalene. This amazing naphthoic acid was created by the company, Galderma. Adapalene is amazing as it is effective with benzyl peroxide, unlike other retinoids, to combat acne. Finally, Galderma came out with their over-the-counter, OTC, product, Differin. Differin comes with a benzyl peroxide daily cleanser and an adapalene gel that I use religiously. Let’s break down my skin care routine.

At night I like to take my showers so I am squeaky clean before bed. I wash my face with Differin Daily Deep Facial Cleanser and use a pea size amount of Differin Gel all over my face. Afterwards, I like to moisturize with Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion for Body & Face. I opt for Cetaphil since they are a brand owned by Galderma and goes hand in hand with their products. Finally, I dot my active pimples with Mario Badescu Drying Lotion. The pink sediment at the bottom of the drying lotion bottle is a mixture of salicylic acid, sulfur, and calamine that dries out my acne like none other.

In the mornings, I will wash my face with the Differin Daily Deep Facial Cleanser and I’ll use Garnier SkinActive Balancing 3-in-1 Face Moisturizer with Green Tea since the formulation dries faster and my face is matte after use. In terms of lip products, I have yet to find the perfect balm. Lately, I’ve favored Mario Badescu Lip Balm since there is little taste and smell to this product. Though, I noticed a small container of Vaseline seems to do the trick just as well and is less than half the price.

When it comes down to finding your best routine, I say the less you use, the better. Ignore the 10-steps Korean Beauty Routine or over-priced products pushed by influencers. Talk to an actual professional in the field and always look at the ingredients list. The active ingredients are the most important and the rest are just fillers. Your skin will tell you what’s best at the end of the day.

Products Listed:

Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion

Garnier SkinActive Balancing 3-in-1 Face Moisturizer with Green Tea

Differin Daily Deep Facial Cleanser

Differin Gel

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion

Mario Badescu Lip Balm




Ever since I was 14, I knew my signature scent. Twilight Woods from Bath and Body Works. For years I adorned myself with this woody scent, bathing everything I owned with a diluted fragrance mist. Around the time I was 18, the scent was retired. My life was never the same. Vanilla Birch had the faintest whisper of my old scent UNTIL they retired that scent too. I lost my identity.

I don’t care what people say, knowing your signature scent is important. You can’t be wishy-washy with different mists and perfumes. For the sadists, spritz your ex’s hoodie with your perfume before returning it to them. They’ll long for you soon after getting a whiff. Even the bottles are beautiful and can be used as decor after. The real question is, how do you figure out your signature scent?

According to there are eight major perfume categories:

  • Citrus
  • Floral
  • Fruity
  • Green
  • Oceanic
  • Oriental
  • Spicy
  • Woody

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m obsessed with Woody smells. Stores are great as they offer test strips to smell your perfume with, however for the best results, warm up the perfume on your wrists and leave the scent to linger there for a while. Your own natural scent will fuse with the perfume and give you a better idea on your taste. Also, if you’re in a relationship, bring your partner shopping with you. They might as well be suffocated by a smell they enjoy rather than suffer silently. I suffer silently in my grandmother’s Chanel No. 5. I don’t care if that’s Blair Waldorf’s favorite scent, it’s way too  much for me.

Another important aspect is the type of medium you choose. Fragrance mists fade faster as they are more diluted with less alcohol. Perfumes or Eau de Parfums, last longer as they are more concentrated fragrances. Rollerballs are typically the same as perfumes but  are applied to the skin with direct contact. Certain companies, especially Victoria’s Secret has branched out in their fragrances with Perfume Paint Brush-On Fragrance or Pop Gel fragrances. Whatever the medium, choose what’s easiest for you. I never go wrong with a rollerball dabbed on to my wrists, neck, and back of ears. Those pulse points are key.

Here are some other fragrances I’m partial to at the moment:

  • Victoria’s Secret Very Sexy Eau De Parfum
  • Victoria’s Secret Bombshell Seduction Eau De Parfum
  • Chanel Coco Mademoiselle Eau De Parfum
  • Acqua di Gioia Giorgio Armani – because the commercial for this was amazing