Like pretty much every other woman in the world, I have a many, many skin woes to deal with. Instead of being simply oily or simply dry, my skin type is combination; add to that the fact that it’s fairly sensitive and prone to breakouts, no matter how careful I am about lifestyle and dietary choices. The result is that there have been far too many days when I’ve woken up in the morning, looked at myself in the mirror and wailed: “Whyyyy?” And here’s the thing, while I love shopping, I really do prefer spending my money on clothes and accessories rather than a whole host of super expensive beauty products just to get my skin to behave itself. So finally, after many, many years of trial and error, I’ve finally arrived at a bunch of things that help (and are pocket-friendly!) - here’s presenting them to you...
1. The daily moisturizer
The miracle product is Johnson’s Baby Lotion! It’s light, gets absorbed super quickly, and keeps my skin nicely moisturized all day long. And since it’s a baby product, it’s very gentle and not loaded with a bunch of chemicals that many creams and lotions meant for adults tend to be. The best part is that it’s multi-functional - I can use it on both my face and body and don’t have to invest in different things. For dicey skin occasions - read breakouts/ rashes - JBL isn’t strong enough to handle it all; what I use then is the Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion since it’s medicated and meant specifically for sensitive skin. Another great option is Apollo’s Aloe Vera Gel - it’s a cooling daily use moisturizer that’s especially effective in keeping pimple scars at bay.
I absolutely adore Neutrogena’s Oil-Free Acne Wash - it’s pretty much the best thing to happen to a girl who’s worried about her skin and the only thing I’ve used to clean my face in the longest time. But, of course, the world being what it is, and determined to aggravate you in whatever way possible, there’s no avoiding those horrid breakouts - Cetaphil comes to the rescue on those days with its medicated cleansing lotion for sensitive skin.
I used to ignore the Cleanse-Tone-Moisturize commandment - until I realized that using a toner actually does make my skin feel smoother and firmer. Fabindia’s Rose Water is great to use as a toner after cleansing, and also pretty great to spritz your face with during the day for a quick burst of freshness especially in summer. I sometimes also use Boroline Suthol instead of rose water, since it’s neem-based and anti-bacterial - and makes me worry a little less about sprouting horrid zits.
I tend to use soap during the summer months (scrubbing sweatiness off is just so satisfying) and a shower gel in winter since I'm better covered up against dust and grime and can afford to go gentler on my skin. Khadi’s Mint Soap is an absolute blessing since it's super cooling and your shower feels air-conditioned. And I love Fabindia’s Mandarin Vanilla Body Wash - it smells amazing and leaves your skin feeling incredibly fresh.
The Fabindia Neem Tulsi Gel Scrub is a great option to get rid of the inevitable build-up of dead cells on your skin. Besides, it's a seriously able ally when it comes to fighting the battle against ingrown hair and bumpy follicles and keeps your skin soft and smooth. Also, don't forget that your face needs exfoliation too since you want to keep those blackheads and whiteheads and other acne problems as far away as possible - the Neutrogena Deep Clean Blackhead Eliminating Daily Scrub can easily become a girl’s best friend.
When you're heading into winter, and your skin feels like it can't do without that extra shot of moisture, turn to oil to keep your skin feeling soft and comfortable. Actually, turn to Johnson's Baby Oil - it's olive oil enhanced with Vitamin E, and it's perfect for glowing skin without any chip-chip. Bonus: you can use it on your face too! No greasiness, I promise.
I'm not a big fan of slathering on sunscreen every day. But then again, I'm not a fan of wrinkles and pigmentation caused by exposure to the harsh rays of the sun either. Which is why I have (albeit reluctantly) embraced the Neutrogena UltraSheer Dry-Touch Sunblock. It's SPF 50+ and great protection against what the sun can do to your skin. Plus it's lightly moisturizing, so you can skip the lotion when you're using it.
8. Because you need to remove makeup every time you apply it…
Don't ruin your skin by being too lazy to take off your makeup. No matter how tired you are at the end of the day, you can definitely afford to spend 60 seconds to get rid of the products coating your skin, else you risk clogging your pores and - the horror! - breakouts. Enter the Himalaya Herbals Refreshing Cleansing Milk. Just dab a tiny amount on your skin and then wipe off using cotton pads. For stubborn eyeliner and mascara that refuse to be removed, opt for the L’Oréal Paris Dermo Expertise Makeup Remover.
… When your skin feels lifeless and you know that you need something extra. A multani mitti pack is gentle on the skin, tightens it and leaves my complexion feeling fresh and bright. All you need to do is apply it, leave it on for 20-25 minutes (or until it dries completely) - and tada! Instant glow! And if you've been skipping too many parlour visits and dodging those facial appointments (because, seriously, who has all that time or money?), cheat a bit with the Everyuth Golden Glow Peel-Off Mask. It's not as good as being given a facial by a trained beautician for sure, but sometimes a girl’s allowed to do the best that she can manage. :-)