If you have acne, you know how difficult it can be to find products to help manage it. But what if you also have an interest in keeping your products nontoxic and cruelty-free? Finding products that fit all your criteria can take tons of time, effort, and trial and error.
After struggling with acne for years, I’ve finally developed a skincare routine that:
- Doesn’t contain any toxins that will mess with my hormones
- Doesn’t contribute to the suffering of animals
- Is free from pore-clogging ingredients and fragrance
- Makes my skin look and feel ~beautiful~
So, if you’re wondering if it’s possible to fight acne while spending your money responsibly and caring for your overall health, keep reading!
You may notice this routine does not contain any serums (yet!). I’m still in the process of testing out skin serums and will update this post after I’ve found a good one. In the meantime, recommendations are welcome! Feel free to leave a comment below.
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MORNING SKINCARE RITUAL
My skincare philosophy is simplicity. I try to use as few products as possible, and I make sure every product contains quality ingredients. I’ve done all the research and vetted these products so you don’t have to!
Step 1 – Cleanse
Since my skin is on the drier side, all I use to cleanse my face in the morning is good old-fashioned water. I find this helps keep my skin balanced, and it’s a refreshing way to wake myself up.
Step 2 – Tone
I’ve been loving Indie Lee’s COQ-10 toner in the morning. It’s refreshing, hydrating, and super fun to apply. The toner comes in a beautiful, recyclable glass bottle, and it has a spray nozzle that makes application easy and waste-free.
I started using this about a year ago and was hooked instantly because of how soft it made my skin. It’s also cost-effective – I used to use this both morning and night, and one bottle lasted me about 5 months!
This toner is alcohol-free, so it won’t dry out your skin. It contains antioxidants, soothing aloe vera and chamomile, and my favorite ingredient – hyaluronic acid. I highly recommend it!
Step 3 – Moisturize
I’ve been loving using the Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask as a moisturizer for both morning and night. It might seem weird to use a mask as a moisturizer, but the texture of this product is like that of a cream; it absorbs into the skin completely. It’s ultra-moisturizing, but it doesn’t feel too thick on my skin. You can also wear this product under makeup for a smooth, hydrated finish. You can get $5 off by using my link!
Step 4 – Protect
The most important step in my skincare routine is sun protection. I’ve been using the EltaMD UV Clear and the EltaMD UV-Physical Broad Spectrum 41 sunscreens for years, and I love them both! They’re both slightly tinted, and they leave a beautiful, natural finish on the skin.
Neither of these products has ever caused me to break out, and they have a high enough SPF to protect your skin from the sun’s harsh rays. It’s pretty hard to find good chemical-free sunscreens, but this one’s a no-brainer. The brand comes recommended by the Skin Cancer Association for daily use, so you know it’s good!
EVENING SKINCARE RITUAL
My nighttime skin priorities are soothing and treating, and you’ll see this reflected in the ingredients I use. I like to use my evening skincare ritual as a time to unwind, reflect on the day, and relax before bed.
Step 1: Double Cleanse
Even if I haven’t worn makeup during the day, I’m always wearing SPF. I’ve recently started double-cleansing even when I’m makeup-free to remove all the sunscreen and build-up from my pores.
In case you’re unfamiliar with double-cleansing, it basically just means starting with a cleansing oil or balm to remove makeup and excess oil, then following up with a gentle cleanser to wash everything away.
My teenage self would be screaming if she saw me putting oil all over my face every night, but double-cleansing is based on science, and I’ve been seeing great results with it. There’s a rule in chemistry that says “Like attracts like,” and it applies to skincare too. Essentially, oil cleansers attract the excess oil in pores, drawing it out and preventing blockages and breakouts.
The oil cleanser I recommend is the Biossance Squalane + Antioxidant Cleansing Oil. It penetrates deep into pores, removing oil and impurities, and it contains antioxidants to target skin stress and signs of aging. I love that it’s EWG Verified, meaning it meets the Environmental Working Group’s strictest standards for health.
My second-step cleanser is the Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser. It’s a gentle gel cleanser that isn’t at all drying. It has a wonderful scent because of the strawberry oil it contains which also provides vitamins A, C, E, and Omega-3 to help protect, brighten, and hydrate the skin.
Step 2: Tone
At night, I reach for Krave’s Kale-lalu-yAHA toner. I can’t say enough good things about this product. It helped completely get rid of the breakout I was having when I first ordered it, and it’s greatly diminished the appearance of my acne scars and hyperpigmentation.
This toner contains Glycolic Acid, hyaluronic acid (my favorite!), and vitamin B5. Every single ingredient on its list does something beneficial for your skin which, in my book, qualifies it as an exceptional skincare product. While the Glycolic Acid acts as a chemical exfoliant, the other ingredients in the toner soothe and calm the skin, preventing irritation. I love it!
One thing I don’t love about most toners is that you typically have to apply them using cotton pads. I try to minimize the waste I produce, so I’m super grateful my sister introduced me to these reusable makeup remover pads. They’re affordable, gentle on skin, and easy to wash and reuse!
Step 3: Moisturize
Once again, I reach for a healthy dose of the Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask. I’m all about using the same skincare products morning and night when you can – who wants to spend more money on two of everything, and who wants to travel with twice the number of skincare bottles? Not me.
Step 4: Treat
Everyone gets breakouts – it’s normal. When pimples strike, I like to gently speed up the process and send them on their way as quickly as possible. I do that with one simple ingredient – tea tree oil. It’s been shown to be as effective as Benzoyl Peroxide, but you won’t have to worry about chemicals or about staining your towels if you go the natural route!
I apply a small amount of tea tree oil to my breakouts using a Q-tip, and I usually notice flatter, less inflamed pimples the next morning.
And there you have it! It’s entirely possible to create a skincare routine that soothes and treats your skin without harming animals or using questionable ingredients. Even if you don’t use these exact products, I hope this post has opened your eyes to the possibility of cultivating a more conscious routine for yourself.