The surprising change that got my skin looking better than ever.

My skin has always been an issue for me.  As a teen I had horrible acne, which made me feel really self conscious about the way I looked.  I had expected that my skin would magically clear up once I hit my twenties, but sadly, that wasn’t the case.  In addition to the breakouts, my skin became quite red and irritated.  I had patches of dry, flaking skin and other areas that were insanely oily.  It was a nightmare.

I tried everything I could think of to get my skin into shape.  I trialled a bunch of different cleansers, toners and moisurizers.  I switched to a mineral makeup.  I upped my exfoliation routine and started giving myself weekly facials.  I used every skin serum, cream, lotion and potion on the market.  But still my skin was misbehaving.

Then, about a year ago, I had a fascinating conversation with a makeup artist.  She started talking to me about something called ‘skin stress’.  Basically, skin stress occurs when a person uses products that are too harsh for their skin, or chops and changes their skin care routine often.  The skin becomes stressed out because it’s being bombarded with chemicals and products, and it becomes dry, oily, pimply, rashy and downright unpredictable.  This is apparently a common irritation among beauty bloggers and beauty editors, because they are constantly trying loads of different skincare products.

This conversation really resonated with me.  This makeup artist had just described exactly the problems I was having with my skin.  I hadn’t even realised that by trialling so many different products, I was actually irritating my skin and making the problem worse.

I started to think about how I could simplify my beauty routine to give my stressed-out skin a break.  I pared down the number of products I was using overall, and began to use just a few key items.  I chose some simple, fairly bland products to use, and have been using these same products for five months.

This is what my skincare routine now looks like:


-Cleanse skin with QV wash soap-free cleanser ($18)

– Tone face with Dickinson’s Witch Hazel toner ($6.45)

– Apply eye gel from Lacura ($12)

– Apply Keihl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer ($22)

– Apply Nivea Light Feel sun lotion to face ($11)


-Cleanse face with QV wash cleanser

– Tone face with Dickinson’s Witch Hazel Toner

– Apply Lacura Eye Gel

– Apply Nivea Creme moisturizer ($7)

As you can see, I use a lot of the same products for morning and night.  Most of the products I use are supermarket brands and are very cheap.  I am pretty happy with all the products that I’ve been using, but I am looking for a more hydrating eye cream.  I’ve also been doing a once-weekly exfoliation.  I will apply a skin masque as an occasional treat.

Since I simplified my skin routine, my skin has been in the best shape ever.  I still get the occasional pimple, but I haven’t had any nasty breakouts.  My skin is still on the oily side, but I don’t think that anything will change that completely.  I haven’t had any dryness or flaking over winter, which is practically unheard of for me.  My skin is a much more even shade and is smoother to touch.

Choosing simpler, gentler skin products has really given my skin a break.  I feel as though sticking to a couple of key products has allowed my skin to recover from all the years I spent bombarding it with an array of different potions.  I’ve also saved a lot of money, because the products I’ve been using are cheap and I’m not switching between lots of different products.

I never thought I’d say it, but I no longer believe that there is a miracle product that will morph your skin into perfection.  Many of the high-end or complicated products I was using actually seemed to do more harm than good.  It’s the most basic, everyday products that have had the biggest impact on my skin’s condition and appearance, and now that I’ve found my perfect collection of products, I plan to stick with them.

What does your skincare routine look like?  Do you switch-and-change between products or do you stick to a few favourites?


  1. I swear by Cetaphil cleanser, I think it’s similar to the QV cleanser, plus it also comes in jumbo bottles which works out cheaper. I’ve got the kids using it too as it’s so gentle but gets every bit of muck off. I don’t use a toner, but I’m using BioOil at night and Vitamin E cream both morning and night. It’s really interesting to hear about beauty bloggers and editors battling with breakouts, your beautician friend makes perfect sense. Your skin looks super happy with the gentle treatment you’re giving it:).

    • Cetaphil’s a good one too. I’ve tried it before and I was really happy with it.

      I’ve completely changed my outlook on skincare. I’m now totally advocating the ‘gently gently’ approach.

    • It might be that your skincare regime is perfectly adequate. Keep in mind though that your skin’s condition can sometimes reflect your overall health, so if you’re stressed, or tired, or not eating well or exercising regularly then your skin can sometimes be a bit lacklustre. I’d recommend taking a look at your sleeping, eating and exercise habits before you re-assess your skincare.

      • It would make sense. You’d be surprised how much something as simple as sleeping for an hour less than you normally would impacts your skin. Sleep is your body’s repair time, so if you aren’t getting enough shut-eye, your body won’t be able to renew cells or repair damage as readily.
        Try taking a bit of de-stress time each day (I know that’s sometimes easier said than done). It will probably make a difference.

  2. I definitely agree. I see some of the girls, they have 10-15 step routines! I can’t do it. I’m too lazy for all that.

    I’m constantly told that my clear complexion is a blessing and that I was just blessed with good skin. I don’t believe so. I think it’s just that I simply don’t use that many products on it.

    I don’t wear makeup everyday, I don’t even put moisturizer on everyday. My face is oily anyways, so I think letting it have some time off chemical help and letting nature do its own thing benefits us greatly.

    • I think if you’re onto a good thing, you should stick to it. I try to have at least one makeup free day each week to give my skin a bit of a rest.

      I can’t fathom the idea of a 15-step skincare routine. Who has time for that in the morning?

  3. I use Galderma benzoyl peroxide wash and Simple light moisturiser, but the thing I’ve found makes the most difference to my skin is exercise. Nothing makes my face smoother than getting good and sweaty three times a week (and showering afterwards, of course).

  4. Great post! It makes complete sense too! I end up chopping and changing way too much in a bid to try fix my skin after chopping and changing!
    I’ve recently reverted back to simpler products and it seems to be helping too 🙂 Your skin looks great btw!

    • Thankyou. When you think about it, it’s really pretty logical, and yet it’s the opposite of what most of us do when we start to have problems with our skin. I guess the moral of the story is: treat your skin kindly.

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