My Secrets to a Great Complexion (+ Skincare Routine)

My Secrets to a Great Complexion | The products I use and rituals I follow | College with Caitlyn

One of the compliments that has followed me for years is, “You have such a nice complexion!

Some people think it’s a genetic thing, that it all came easy and I was born with great skin and never gets a blemish. Yeah no. You’d just have to take a look at me in middle school and early high school to see that isn’t true.

However, over the years, I learned what helped keep my skin clear and fresh and today I’m going to share those tips with you along with all the products I use regularly!


up and up morning facial moisturizing lotion and boscia cactus water hydrating cream

Face Lotion

My ride or die face lotion is the one from Simple with SPF. It’s a bit pricey, so I didn’t buy it the last time I ran out because at the time I was balling on a tiny budget. Instead, I got the Up & Up morning facial moisturizing lotion with sunscreen for normal to dry skin. Which is basically a knockoff of the Simple one. I like it just the same, however, this one smells more like sunscreen than the Simple one. But you also need to use less of the Up and Up one to cover your entire face than you do with the Simple brand.

I’m also a fan of the Bosica cactus water hydrating cream (*I received this product from Influenster to review back in June*). I tried that out this summer and my only complaint was that it didn’t have SPF in it. It also has a very different texture and smell than other lotions. It’s literally made out of cacti so if you don’t like the smell of plants, I wouldn’t recommend it, but that also means it’s super gentle and good for sensitive skin.

tarte maracuja oil, maracuja c- brightener eye cream, tarte drink of h20

Another favorite of mine is the Tarte drink of h20. I’ve only ever had the travel sizes of this, but I want to get a full size at some point! It’s definitely the most hydrating face lotion I have ever used.

I also recently started to use the Tarte Maracuja oil as well. I’ll apply some of this on the drier parts of my face at night and then put lotion on over it. No idea if that’s how it’s supposed to be

Eye Cream

I started using eye creams when I got the one that came in the travel size Tarte kit. The kit came with the Tarte maracuja c-brightener eye treatmentI’m not sure if it actually works, but I would say my eyes are definitely not purple underneath?

pur-lisse blue lotus 4 in 1 eye adore serum

Sometime I’ll use the Pur-lisse blue lotus eye adore serum instead of the Tarte one though. This one is much more hydrating and soothing feeling. If I had to repurchase one, it would definitely be this one over the Tarte one.

Makeup Remover

After I somehow left my makeup wipes in a Cafe Nero bathroom in London, I decided makeup remover wipes were too much of a hassle and I’ve only been using micellar water since. I started out using the Simple Micellar Cleansing Water, but right now I’m using the Garnier Skin Active Micellar Cleansing Water (*I received this product from Influenster to review in August*).

The Garnier one definitely works a lot better, but it has a strange smell and taste when removing lipstick.

Face Wash

Biore charcoal deep pore charcoal cleanser

I’ve been using the Biore Charcol Face Cleanser for almost four years now. It is definitely my ride or die and what I always come back to after trying new products.

Some other face washes I’ve used and will rave about are the Nubian Heritage African Black Bar Soap (I received this product from Influenster in fall of 2016 for review*). I use this as my travel face wash so that I don’t have to worry about bringing yet another liquid with me on a plane. The one thing I want to say about this is that it smells so freaking good!!!

Dermalogica precleanse balm

And then there’s the Dermalogica Precleanse balm and Dermalogica Cleanser (*I received these products from Influenster for review in January*). It was Dermalogica that got me on the trend of using a mitt to wash my face. That little pink one pictured up with the Biore face wash is from a Tarte travel kit!

As soon as I’m actually a young professional and have a good budget I do want to permanently switch over the Dermalogica since their products are pricey and not in the budget now.

Face Masks

Freeman peel-off and wash off masks

The only facemasks I have that aren’t samples, or one use are the Freeman Dead Sea Minerals Anti-Stress Mask, Freeman Revitalizing Pomegranate Peel-off Maskand the Health & Beauty Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay.

I love peel-off masks, they are such easy clean-up, but this freeman one can take forever to dry and doesn’t always peel off in one big chunk. It gets stuck in my baby hairs and eyebrows easily, too. (And no, I’m not putting it in my eyebrows on purpose). So I prefer the blue wash off mask over the pink.

aztec secret clay mask

The Aztec Clay one was actually a Christmas gift from Abigail. This mask is intense, so I use it very rarely. It’s a powder that you have to mix with apple cider vinegar and then cake on your face. It should be super thick and then you let it dry. And when I say dry I mean it cracks and you look like a lizard. After I wash it off, my face is always red and you can tell where it cracked while I was wearing it. But you face does feel softer afterward so I’ll give it that.

I also have quite the collections of random samples of face masks. A few of them I got for Christmas and haven’t used up yet, and other’s my aunt gave me when I got back from Scotland. The Sephora Pink Clay mask is really nice and smells great! Plus, it’s not as drying as the Freeman dead sea one I have. And the Callyssee Perk Up Your Eyes Caffeine Dermis Masks feel super nice under your eyes.

face mask samples

Lifestyle Tips

Stop eating dairy

I’m not saying this because I’m a vegetarian who tries to eat vegan and believe humans shouldn’t be consuming animal milk. I’m saying this because as soon as I stopped consuming it, I noticed my skin was so much clearer.

Related: Why I Went Vegetarian (+ Commonly Asked Questions)

Cutting out dairy is hard. I still use normal coffee creamer and eat cheese when I go out and buy ice cream on occasion. I’m just not using cow’s milk in my cereal or eating cheese and yogurt every day. Try cutting back on your dairy intake and see if that helps clear up your skin!

Always remove makeup

I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times, but I’m here to tell you again: always, always, always remove your makeup before you go to bed!!!! This is so ingrained in me that even if I come home after a long night drinking with my pals, I’ll still rush to the bathroom to wipe it all off my face before falling into bed. It’s worth the extra couple minutes.

It’s also smart to not workout in makeup. I certainly do it every once in a while, we all have days where our makeup looks so good that we never want to take it off. Just be sure to take it off right after working out. Don’t wear a full face to the gym, then go back to class without washing your face. You’re just asking for a breakout.

Wash Your Makeup Brushes Regularly

real techniques brush cleaner

Technically, you’re supposed to wash your brushes like once a week. But ain’t nobody got time for that.

I wash mine about once a month. I use the RealTechniques Deep Cleansing Gel to wash my brushes. I bought this bottle in the fall of 2016 and I still have plenty left!! So worth the money to buy a brush cleaner, you guys!

Don’t Pick Your Skin

Last but not least, do not pick at your blemishes. If you can’t help but do it, just don’t use fingernails or push together to pop a zit. Instead, pull the skin apart so it pops on its own and then clean it. That way your finger oil doesn’t get inside it as well.

Now we can all have great skin! Hopefully, you found a new product or piece of advice to help you out if you struggle with skin problems.

What are your favorite skin care products?

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