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    Updated on Aug 30, 2020. Posted on Aug 26, 2020

    41 Skincare Basics You'll Probably Wish You Had Learned Sooner

    Yes, you should drink water. But there are other helpful things to know, too.

    We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    1. First things first: Be sure to regularly apply *and* reapply sunscreen. When spending the day indoors (like the office), you only need to apply in the morning and before you leave work. But if you'll mainly be outside, you should reapply every two to three hours. Luckily, this Etude House sunscreen is especially great for oily skin, offers a whopping SPF 50 protection, and is loved by reviewers for never leaving a white cast.

    The chart for how often to reapply sunscreen
    BuzzFeed

    Promising review: "Hands-down my favorite sunscreen! I had been on the hunt for a new facial sunscreen since most of the ones I could find at my local store would sting my face and eyes, break me out, and were super greasy. Did not have this issue at all with this sunscreen. I do wish they sold this in a bigger bottle but I love formula so much, how it's so NOT greasy, and how well it wears under my makeup that I will continue to repurchase. I will say, my complexion is on the light/medium range with yellow undertones and I do not like sunscreens that leave a white cast as that is very noticeable on my skin. I do not find that this sunscreen leaves a white cast. Just make sure to shake well and blend in quickly. Love this!!!" —mmm49

    Get it from Amazon for $9.

    To learn more important skincare basics, check out "Take BuzzFeed's 7-Day Better Skin Challenge."

    If you're *extra* worried about sunscreen disagreeing with your skin (or makeup), Tatcha SPF 35 sunscreen is your splurge-worthy pick. It doubles as a primer to blur pores and uneven skin tones and leaves your skin super soft thanks to Japanese wild rose and loquat leaf extract. Need proof for how well this bb works? Just see the difference below:

    BuzzFeed Shopping reviewer with sunburnt arm where different sunscreen was not used, and no sunburn on her face where Tatcha sunscreen was used
    Maitland Quitmeyer / BuzzFeed

    Its SPF 35 protection works for both UVA and UVB rays.

    Promising review: "I almost wish I hadn’t loved this just based on the price point, but it truly is so great. It has a fresh kind of minty smell and goes on very silky and matte. It leaves a look similar to regular primer, rather than an oily sunscreen. I use roughly a dime-sized amount over my regular moisturizer and it works perfectly. I've had no skin irritation that I’ve experienced thus far and I will definitely be purchasing another when this runs out." —callanbjornn

    Get it from Sephora for $65.

    To learn more about why my colleague on the BuzzFeed Shopping team loves this, check out "If You're Looking For An Everyday Sunscreen, Here Are 11 Glowing Recommendations."

    Or! Opt for a moisturizing, sweat-resistant SPF 30 sunscreen specifically designed not to leave a white cast on darker skin tones — it dries completely clear to leave your makeup undisturbed. It's even infused with avocado, jojoba, cacao, carrot juice, and sun flower oil to soothe and hydrate your skin on super hot days!

    Hands using the sunscreen
    Target

    Black Girl Sunscreen is a Black woman-owned business whose sunscreen is designed not to leave white residue on darker skin tones. It's ultra sheer, water-resistant, and super nourishing thanks to its all-natural ingredients. And it's cruelty-free! They also make sunscreen for kids, with SPF 50.

    Promising review: "I’ve tried many, many sunscreens that claim to blend and not leave a white cast when applied. This was so much better than I expected. A nickel-size amount goes a long way and blends into a smooth, dewy finish. I also didn’t notice a scent so there was no worries of walking around smelling like sunscreen." —Target Customer

    Get it from Target for $14.99 or from Black Girl Sunscreen for $18.99.

    2. Heal breakouts before you have time to give up by simply slapping on a Rael acne patch. They're gentler than acne cream, speed up recovery to practically overnight, and do all the ~heavy lifting~ for you.

    amazon.com

    Promising review: "I was really skeptical about this product because it seemed like a gimmick of sorts. But I definitely saw, and felt, results after a few hours. I’m not really sure how this sticky dot works but I only put two on for my worst pimples to test it out and it really drew everything out. I’ll definitely need more for when my monthly breakouts come. Will rebuy and recommend." —Lex

    Get a pack of 24 from Amazon for $6.99.

    3. Or! Turn to Avarelle acne cover patches to easily tackle every single breakout that dares to challenge your complexion. They're powered by tea tree oil and calendula oil (all of which are gentle on sensitive skin) to reduce inflammation and absorb pus ASAP. *And* extra-large patches are included for when you need defeat multiple pimples at once...good thing these do all the fighting for you.

    Reviewer holding the extra-large patch with pus on it
    amazon.com

    Promising review: "I had fallen in love with the round individual acne patches, but as someone with moderate acne it would take me awhile to put a bunch of the individual ones on before bed. Enter these patches: Slap a couple of these on and you're good to go. Wake up with clearer skin. Also these don't overdry my skin like a lot of other acne products. 10/10. Now they need to come out with a full face version." —Abby Skinner

    Get a pack of eight from Amazon for $8.50.

    4. Try retinol, a fancy name for vitamin A, to balance your complexion, stimulate collagen, and fade hyper-pigmentation. If you've ever so much as sat in a dermatologist's chair you've probably heard of this — but there are a lot of topical over-the-counter options for a light treatment.

    Reviewer's before-and-after with acne on August 2018 and then clear face on November 2018
    amazon.com

    This particular retinol serum is combined with 10% hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, witch hazel, jojoba oil, and green tea to not only exfoliate but *nourish* your complexion. Meaning your skin will be balanced and hydrated, instead of over-exfoliated.

    Promising review: "My skin is so sensitive! I am 35 and have struggled with acne since I was a teen. I have been prescribed so many medications from the dermatologist. I had been using tretinoin, but it really dried my skin out. It was hard to wear makeup, because it would flake off. I decided to give this serum line a try and have been so impressed by the results. I have been using this for two months and my skin is beautiful. I get an occasional breakout, but it goes away quickly. My skin is so soft — no dryness at all! My blackheads have cleared up, too! I have had no adverse reactions and like I said, my skin is so sensitive. Give it a try!!!" —Amanda

    Get it from Amazon for $10.95.

    5. Keep in mind it'll take some time to see results from retinol, which is why it's so important to *keep* using it (the above is gentle enough for daily use). The stronger the formula, the more likely you'll see some initial redness and flaking if you have lighter skin so be sure to use a gentle moisturizer after using it. The overall payoff: clearer and smoother skin.

    Chart for retinol effects
    Wander Beauty

    This CeraVe fragrance-free cream ($15.95 on Amazon) is perfect for anyone adjusting to retinol. Its rich, creamy formula is designed with dry and sensitive skin in mind. It'll easily be absorbed in the skin, help you lock in moisture, and *keep* your skin hydrated.

    To learn more, check out Wander Beauty for "Here's Everything You Need To Know About Retinol."

    6. Don't dismiss old school acne solutions that are tried-and-true, including traditional spot treatments. Differin Acne Treatment Gel is essentially one of the formulas that you can get without a prescription — its *super* strong retinoid formula regulates skin cell turnover (aka reveals a new layer of skin) to reach inflammation deep within the breakout. Translation: there's nowhere for that darn pimple to hide.

    amazon.com

    This is *very* strong and reviewers say that while it works, it might make your skin sensitive and dry while it adjusts (much like Accutane). They recommend that you always moisturize after using this, and to use it at night while you're out of the sun.

    Promising review: "It definitely works. I was on a prescription retinoid and benzoyl peroxide combo cream (it’s double the price) + spironolactone pill for my hormonal acne before and it worked. I had to stop both for a while for personal reasons, after several months my hormones started acting up again. I had a really bad breakout, so I asked my doctor if I can at least get back on the cream, my doctor advised me to try this instead. Any active pimples heal very fast, scarring and texture is also improving. And I don’t even have to bother with prescriptions anymore." —LC

    Get it from Amazon for $11.69+ (available in two sizes).

    7. Know the difference between if your skin is *dry* or *dehydrated*. If your skin is flaky, red, and sensitive, you have dry skin (which you can treat with skin-soothing creams). If your skin is more on the dull side, it's most likely dehydrated (which you can help by layering moisturizing products).

    Glow Recipe

    Need a recommendation for dry skin? Glow Recipe's banana soufflé cream ($39 on Glow Recipe) is rich in magnesium and potassium, which helps to restore water depletion. Plus, its formula contains centella asiatica (aka cica), which can treat dry, irritated, and sensitive skin, AND tumeric to soothe and calm uneven skin tones.

    Want layering options? Start with Glow Recipe's watermelon moisturizer ($39 on Glow Recipe) that can double as a serum. Its combo of watermelon extract, hyaluronic acid, and jasmine and peony extract works together to both hydrate and brighten. Then! Apply their banana soufflé cream ($39 on Glow Recipe) for a thick layer of soothing moisture to fully calm irritated skin.

    To learn more, check out The Glow Edit for "What’s the Difference Between Dryness and Dehydration?"

    An easy dry vs. dehydrated test: pull at the back of your hand. If it bounces back right away, your skin is hydrated. If it takes a few seconds to settle back, your skin is probably dehydrated!

    Glow Recipe

    8. Soothe irritated, eczema-prone skin without splurging on the usual suspects by switching to a popular Aveeno moisturizing cream reviewers swear by for reducing redness, dryness, and itchiness. A few swipes of this > expensive sessions of trial-and-error.

    amazon.com

    Promising review: "I'm absolutely amazed at this stuff. I had a terrible allergic reaction and broke out with eczema all over my face (I have suffered with it for years, just never on my face). My eyes were completely swollen shut and red, and my face was peeling, in pain, inflamed, and DRY, DRY, DRY. I tried everything, and I mean everything. I ordered this and nearly instantly felt and saw results. These two pictures (above) are LESS THAN 24 HOURS APART. I've been using it now for three days and my face is 100% back to normal. I really like that this product is a cream versus a lotion, I feel like it helps soak in better and KEEPS the skin hydrated. I 100% recommend." —Kelsey Coultrip

    Get it from Amazon for $11.67+ (available in two sizes).

    9. Know your different types of acne — they're like snowflakes, except so much more unwelcome. Whether yours is more of a whitehead (which needs salicylic acid) or the hormonal type (usually a cyst which needs sulfur-based products), the first step to treating acne is knowing what the heck they are!

    Chart for identifying acne
    Birchbox

    Need suggestions? We've got you ~covered~:

    Salicylic-acid-based products are best for inflammatory and comedonal acne (aka whiteheads, blackheads, and red bumps). Murad Clarifying Cleanser ($32 on Murad) makes fighting breakouts its number one mission. It removes dirt and oil, then *continues* to treat acne for hours after you've rinsed it off.

    Zinc-and-sulfur-based products work well for treating cystic or nodule acne (aka deep infections that don't come to a head). Kate Somerville Acne Treatment ($26 on Birchbox) works overnight to help minimize pimples and calm oily skin — both factors that those of us with hormonal acne are all too familiar with.

    To learn more, check out Birchbox for "Your Guide To Different Types Of Acne".

    10. Master the art of ~dewy~, clear skin by incorporating a serum into your routine. Radha Beauty Rosehip Oil requires merely a few drops to tackle redness, scarring, pimples, and everything in-between. Reviewers use this before bed and wake up to ✨glowing✨, healing complexion!

    Reviewer's before-and-after of broken-out cheek and then clear cheek with caption that says "just wow"
    amazon.com

    Promising review: "This stuff is life-changing! I have incredibly oily skin that is acne-prone. Although it seems counterintuitive to put oil on my oily skin, it does wonders for keeping my skin clear and refreshed and gives it a healthy glow! I apply two to three drops each night after washing my face and sometimes use it as my moisturizer during the daytime as well." —RC

    Get it from Amazon for $13.95.

    To learn more, check out "This Facial Oil Will Solve All Your Skin’s Problems".

    11. Discover the benefits of your three basic acid groups: alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), beta hydroxy acid (BHA), and polyhydroxy acid (PHA). Glossier Solution uses all three to clear dead skin cells and leave your complexion soft and glowing. Reviewers l-o-v-e this for fading acne scars and treating breakouts.

    Glossier

    Promising review: "In my thirties I started to get hormonal cystic acne. I have been on everything under the sun that dermatologists can prescribe. My acne got under control with spiralactone and prescription topicals in my forties, but I was able to get off all of those with Glossier Solution. I have not had a breakout in over a year! I haven't even needed to see my dermatologist for acne. Thank you, Glossier!" —Thankful

    Get it from Glossier for $24.

    To learn more about this, check out "Here's Why The Mega-Popular Glossier Solution Is Totally Worth Your Money."

    Want to study up more on acids? Here's a full breakdown:

    Chart with acid definitions
    American Academy of Dermatology

    To get more helpful charts and tips, check out "16 Skincare Cheat Sheets That Are Actually Useful."

    12. Adjust your routine to the season — your skin needs it! When summer and spring approaches, apply more sunscreen and regularly cleanse with a gentle face wash (there's more sweat in your life, sorry). As colder weather hits, moisturize, moisturize, and moisturize with a heavy face cream!

    instagram.com, instagram.com

    This face wash may be gentle, but it effectively removes excess oil while maintaining your skin's natural pH levels (aka it won't dry you out). *And* it quickly removes makeup, dirt, and excess oil — so important during the summer. Come winter, this heavy face cream will use three essential ceramides and hyaluronic acid to drastically restore hydration.

    Promising review (for the face cleanser): "This has the same milky, nonfoaming texture as Cetaphil, but is visibly better and faster at dissolving makeup and dirt. It's clean-rinsing, there's no need to 'tissue off,' and there's no need for 'double cleansing.' It takes literally just a few rubs to break down makeup, vs. the longer emulsifying time of other brands, both of which don't take off mascara very well. But this does the job! My face is left sparkling clean with no residual, but not feeling tight or dry." —nycgirl

    Get them from Amazon: La Roche-Posay cleanser (left) for $13.49 and Cerave face cream (right) for $15.95.

    13. Treat your blackheads without the pain of strips by using a pore vacuum. It's just as effective as it sounds — it suctions buildup hidden in clogged pores, exfoliates dead skin cells, and removes excess oil (so they can't come back). Talk about productive.

    Reviewer's before-and-after with nose blackheads and then clear nose
    amazon.com

    This is pretty powerful — reviewers say not to keep it on one spot for too long.

    Promising review: "I bought this blackhead remover for my T-zone, because I have blackheads on my nose a lot. It really works and I love it!!! I used my facial steamer for about five minutes before using this blackhead remover. It removed so much gunk! It has great suction and gets the tiny blackheads in a pinch! And you can see the oily bits come out stick to the machine heads, but not painfully or with any discomfort." —Viola

    Get it from Amazon for $25.99.

    14. Study up on beauty ingredient definitions so you can have a better time building a routine that you want to stick with (and see overall results) once you can fully understand ingredient lists — and when you recognize formulas that *won't* work for you.

    Chart with different skincare definitions
    The Klog

    Basically once you know and remember certain ingredients, you'll have an easier time assigning products to certain skincare goals. For example, BHAs (Beta Hydroxy Acids, most commonly known as salicylic acid) are great for clearing blackheads and minimizing large pores — so this Paula's Choice Regular Strength Exfoliator with 2% salicylic acid is something you can use daily.

    To learn more, check out The Klog for "The ABCs of Skin Care Ingredients: A Complete Glossary".

    15. Take your usual routine up a level by using a microneedle roller at the end of the day. When combined with a serum, it essentially accelerates the product's usual benefits to exfoliate, brighten, and repair irritated skin so that you're left with a dewy glow. Plus, you get to end the day with a soothing yet effective ritual.

    amazon.com

    Basically this is just a much more effective way of applying serum than just with your fingers. It only takes five minutes!

    Promising review: "I've been seeing a lot of positive changes as soon as I started using this. Using with a good topical product is a must. I had a few scars around the cheek area which are now mostly gone. I've also noticed a reduction in my pores which gives my skin a very smooth feel and look. It only takes me ten minutes a day to carry out the treatments (which are painless by the way) and it has benefited me more than I ever thought it would. If you're a beginner like me, I would really recommend this one." —Mark Smith

    Get it from Amazon for $14.97.

    Need a serum? This highly-rated — we're talking 4,412 5-star reviews — vitamin C serum ($19.99 on Amazon) is packed with hyaluronic acid and vitamin E to improve clarity and brighten skin. It promotes collagen production, while the vitamin C synergistically blends with hyaluronic acid, and vitamin E targets fine lines, firmness, dark spots, and most importantly, ACNE.

    16. Unleash the power of the snail! Yes, really. This Seoul Ceuticals moisturizer has 97.5% ~snail mucin extract~, along with shea butter, vitamin E, and jojoba oil to make brightening and smoothing your complexion extremely fast and easy. I guess this means even snails are less lazy than we are.

    Hand holding the moisturizer
    instagram.com

    FYI, the snail mucin is collected in a cruelty-free environment 🐌🐰.

    Promising review: "I am in love with this snail repair cream! It has my skin looking and feeling amazing. In addition to hydrating my face, it has helped make a noticeable difference in the fine lines across my forehead and around the corners of my eyes. My skin is also noticeably smoother and is so much softer than it was before I started using this. I am very satisfied with the results I’ve experienced so far and will continue to use this cream." —Aimee Weldon

    Get it from Amazon for $16.90.

    17. Plan out your routine by product — there's a proper order for everything (your face can tell, even if you can't). For example, applying toner *after* your face wash but *before* moisturizing is the only way your complexion can benefit from that step. It doesn't matter HOW long you use it — if it's in the wrong order, you'll never see proper results.

    Chart for how to layer skincare products
    Birchbox

    This set of Pixi toning pads ($18 on Birchbox) has almost 3,000 positive reviews for their ability to leave your skin ~glowing~ thanks to 5% glycolic acid. All you need to do is flick your wrist to brighten skin and remove dead skin cells.

    Check out more from Birchbox for "In What Order Do I Apply My Skin Care Products?"

    18. Discover the benefits of washing your face with oils by using a Kose cleansing oil that'll bring you all the benefits of (usually expensive) double oil cleansing even if you use this alone. It'll work overtime to remove stubborn makeup, unclog pores, and get you squeaky clean without the need of a second cleanser.

    amazon.com, amazon.com

    Promising review: "They say that you really don't know the true value of most things in life until you no longer have them. This is one of those items for me! A full bottle of this cleansing oil lasted me about a little over seven months. For reference, I have super oily (oily on the outside, but dry on the inside) skin and very sensitive and acne-prone skin. I was able to lightly rub the oil onto my entire face and gently take off all of my makeup at once! It emulsifies into a milky-ish liquid upon contact with water. It miraculously lifts and pulls on the dirt and debris trapped inside my (huge) pores and made my blackheads nearly invisible for most of the time after cleansing. This is an amazing pore-shrinker; my friends have been curious as to what new facial I've been getting, because I can go outside without makeup on. I just tell them it's this cleansing oil." —SAPfan

    Get it from Amazon for $10.99.

    19. Take little (and very manageable, I promise) steps to improve your overall skincare routine. It doesn't have to take over your life obviously, but even small changes will make a big difference for your overall clarity and health. An easy start: using a lavender spray that kills acne-causing pillow bacteria *and* helps to lull you to sleep.

    Chart saying to swap out pillowcase, disinfect your phone, and use a separate towel to dry and clean your face
    BuzzFeed

    More sleep = less stress = no more stress-induced acne.

    Promising review: "I have tried several lavender linen and room sprays. This one is perfect. Perfect amount of scent. It smells like lavender, not something that is mixed with something else or diluted. I use it especially in the bedroom and on our pillows. I love it so much that I sent one to my niece and she has problems falling asleep; she fell right asleep after she used this product." —Ron Will

    Get it from Amazon for $12.99.

    To get your new routine down pat, check out "Take BuzzFeed's 7-Day Better Skin Challenge" for easy changes that are all under 10 minutes!

    20. Determine your skin type so you can minimize your routine to things that actually WORK. This is super important when it comes to choosing toners: Foxbrim's orange blossom toner treats oily complexions ~head on~ by balancing your pH levels and providing the level of hydration your skin needs. But! Mario Badescu's aloe vera toner works wonders for dry skin by soothing irritated complexions with its mild formula.

    A chart to determine your skin type
    The Klog

    Both help to minimize pores, even out skin tones, and smooth your skin!

    Promising review (for the Mario Badescu toner): "This stuff is wonderful! I started having redness in my skin and I researched what works well. This was one of the products. It has definitely decreased the redness in my skin. My skin is very dry — I use this nightly after washing my face. My skin looks great in the morning! I definitely recommend." —Brittany Schnitker

    Get them from Amazon: Foxbrim toner for $17.95 and Mario Badescu toner for $15.

    To learn more, check out The Klog for "Cheat Sheet: How to Determine Your Skin Type."

    21. STOP picking at your skin, for Pete's sake!! I know it's hard! I did it yesterday! But we need to stop! I don't think I really need to explain why. If you have a pimple you can't stop staring at, cover it with this Ebanel drying lotion, because this'll kill 👏 that 👏 zit while you sleep, even if it's not a whitehead yet.

    amazon.com

    Period pimple...you've met your match.

    Promising review: "Wow! I am seriously amazed by how much better this works than my more expensive drying lotion. I got one of the worst breakouts in my life all around my jawline and forehead, and this stuff has been clearing it up in one application. I’m on my third day and they’re almost gone. This definitely works!" —Mimicakes

    Get it from Amazon for $14.95.

    22. Treat consistent acne with a tried-and-true ingredient: African black soap. This Bomb'd Aesthetics foaming face wash lets you reap all the benefits of the popular soap bar formula, but streamlines the process to an easy-to-use pump. Not only will this be faster to use if you just want it for your face, but its shea butter will *also* leave your skin smoother. Clearer, softer skin with less effort? Yes. Please.

    The face wash
    Bomb'd Aesthetics

    In case you don't know, Bomb'd Aesthetics is a fantastic Black woman-owned brand that makes handcrafted, all-natural beauty products. Everything is vegan, cruelty-free, and made with sensitive skin in mind.

    Promising review: "It is very hard to find something that 'works' on my skin. I have eczema as well as oily areas on my face. This wash is gentle enough for eczema while also keeping me free of breakouts." —Denesha

    Get it from Bomb'd Aesthetics for $15.99.

    23. Keep things *super* simple if you have sensitive skin to avoid unnecessary irritation/breakouts. This mild Neutrogena cleanser is fragrance- and oil-free, plus it's hypoallergenic! Its main ingredient, glycerin, successfully removes excess oil and deep-cleans pores without ever harshing your vibe. And as we all know, the more basic the routine, the better.

    The face wash
    instagram.com

    Fewer steps = the sooner we're back on the couch.

    Promising review: "I have pretty troubled skin because of PCOS. I would get rashes, I'm oily, but I would also have very bad flaking and dryness around my mouth and laugh lines. One month of this and I basically never think about my skin anymore. I use it daily and just put on any lotion I have after cleansing, and my skin's texture and tone is SO much better. The only thing I hate is that I didn't use this 10 years ago!" —Mother Confessor

    Get it from Amazon for $6.62.

    24. Drink 👏 water 👏. Aim for eight glasses a day. Sure, you're peeing more (like....a lot more), but you're also flushing out daily toxins, increasing your skin's elasticity, and brightening your overall complexion.

    BuzzFeed

    Need proof? Check out some before-and-afters in "We Tried The 30 Day Water Challenge."

    Don't worry, this motivational water bottle is here to help. Its design will keep you on track by marking your progress throughout the day — along with some motivation for when the finish line feels too far away.

    The large water bottle with time markings and encouragement
    Amazon

    Promising review: "Finally I am assured that I am getting my full 64 oz of water per day. I fill it up in the morning and carry this bottle around and can drink the water I need throughout the day at even periods rather than spurts, and don't forget. It keeps me on track and feels great." —Slyguy

    Get it from Amazon for $16.99+ (available in four colors).

    25. Nourish the heck out of your skin with a little help from a vitamin C serum — in case you don't know, this ingredient can reduce pores and breakouts, target discoloration, and make your overall complexion ~brighter~ faster than you can think of a rhyme for orange.

    amazon.com, instagram.com

    Promising review: "My dermatologist has had me on the nearly $200 Skinceuticals for a couple of years and I have bought it several times. I have tried to get off of it, but it does do something to my skin. So imagine when I find out about this product, Seoul Ceuticals? First I felt like a total chump — I can't believe I had paid so much in the past. Then I thought, it won't possibly work? Then I thought, hey, what do I have to lose? I've had it for about a week now and it is wonderful! I seriously think it might work better than the other product. My skin felt more smooth within just a couple of days." —M. B. Shaw

    Get it from Amazon for $16.99.

    26. Stick to a skincare routine for both morning *and* night — your skin l o v e s consistency so you should try to use the same products, with a couple exceptions. The biggest difference for morning and night routines: you need sunscreen in the morning, while your skin could probably use a replenishing mask come evening.

    Chart for how to use skincare in order
    SkinStore

    EltaMD SPF 46 Moisturizing Facial Sunscreen ($35 on SkinStore) has probably already been recommended to you by your derm, and for good reason. Not only does it protect you without clogging pores, but its niacin and hyaluronic acid actually promote healthier-looking skin. AND it can easily be worn under makeup. Finally remembering sunscreen feels rewarding.

    First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Instant Oatmeal Mask ($24 on SkinStore) needs only 10 minutes to rehydrate and soothe tired, dry skin. Its formula of oatmeal and oat bran, as well as a blend of antioxidants help repair and nourish irritated complexions so you're left saying "ahhhhh" every time you apply this.

    To learn more, check out SkinStore for "How to Build a Skin Care Routine: The Ultimate Guide".

    27. Wash your face before bed! Every night, people! Luckily, this Versed cleansing balm literally dissolves your day's worth of makeup and buildup so even us lazy folk can manage this necessary step (all while enjoying its heavenly eucalyptus and clove leaf oil fragrance). Plus its light, gentle milk formula will leave your face so. darn. soft. every single time.

    Model's hand holding a jar of the cleansing balm
    instagram.com

    Promising review: "This is hands-down the BEST makeup remover I've ever used. I use it in the morning to get any greasiness off my face and at night to take my makeup off before my cleanser. The smell is amazing and my face has never been SO soft. I think this balm is so much better than all of the 'higher-end' ones I've used. It's well worth the price because a little goes a long way. This is definitely a must-have." —DC

    Get it from Versed for $17.99.

    28. Conquer the scars of backne-past with an exfoliating towel. This basically removes layers and layers of dead skin, a.k.a. what's keeping your scars present. It's also great for anyone who just wants healthier-looking skin!

    Amazon, Emma McAnaw / BuzzFeed

    All ya do is hop in the shower (or bath), make sure your skin is soaked (IMPORTANT) and scrub dub a dub. I find the easiest (and recommended) method is to wrap both ends around your hands and scrub. It should be noted that I have EXTREMELY sensitive skin and this still worked wonders for me!

    Promising review: "I showered with very hot water in the beginning to loosen up dirt and skin. Seriously, I had huge rolls coming off me!!! My tub floor was covered in excess dead skin! I always exfoliated before and thought I was very clean but this little scrub made me realize otherwise." —shelly nelly

    Get a set of eight from Amazon for $13.99.

    To learn more about why I swear by this, check out "Your Skin Will Thank You For Using This Amazing Korean Exfoliating Towel."

    29. Be patient when it comes to skincare products — some are going to take time to work (like salicylic acne face washes), and that's OK! But there are other times when it's just not doing the trick, and it's important to know the difference. For example, Dr. Jart's ceramide cream only needs a few minutes to ~sink in~.

    The chart about how long skincare takes to work
    Birchbox

    Promising review (for Dr. Jart+ cream): "This is exactly what my skin needed for the ultra-dry Wisconsin winter. My face was so dry, and my regular moisturizer wasn’t cutting it. I tried this and bam — no more cracking, dry skin. It plumped back up." —Bethann

    Get the Murad salicylic acid face wash from Murad for $30 and the Dr. Jart+ ceramide cream from Birchbox for $48.

    Check out more from Birchbox for "How Long Skincare Really Takes To Work".

    30. Vacuum out clogged pores and tough breakouts with a ridiculously-popular Aztec Secret clay mask. A little of this and apple cider vinegar has conquered thousands of breakouts so there's a good chance that this + an hour of watching TV = an easy solution for you.

    amazon.com

    Promising review: "I saw everyone on Tik Tok saying how good this product was so I had to try it myself. I love it! I have acne-prone skin. After using this product one time, I could tell my acne wasn't as red as before I used it. I woke up the next morning and they were smaller! All in all, I love this product and will for sure buy again when I run out!" —Alice Hall

    Get them from Amazon: the Aztec Clay mask for $9.99 and the apple cider vinegar for $9.

    To learn more, check out "This Clay Mask Basically Vacuums Out Your Pores, And BRB I'm Going To Bathe In It".

    31. Understand whether your skin is breaking out or "purging" when trying new products. Purging means retinoid or acid is causing accelerated skin cell turnover, which can bring up dormant pimples that were underneath your skin surface and lead to breakouts that last a few weeks. It's usually in the form of small, red, tender bumps on the skin, so if you have cystic bumps, it's probably a regular breakout.

    Model with acne
    Glow Recipe

    If your skin is purging, stick to using the product for a few weeks to let your skin adjust (unless your skin is irritated, like rashes and hives). Keep the rest of your routine as normal — you only want to introduce *one* new product at a time, otherwise your skin will be overwhelmed and truly break out.

    To learn more, check out The Glow Edit for "How To Tell The Difference Between Skin Purging and A Breakout".

    32. Relieve extremely dry and irritated skin (including rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis) at long last with some Honeyskin Organics cream. Manuka honey, amino acids, and vitamins C and E work together to seriously soothe, hydrate, and restore your skin's pH levels. A nightly routine with this will put you on the fast track to a MUCH calmer complexion.

    Reviewer's dramatic before-and-after with irritated red acne and then almost totally clear skin
    amazon.com

    Promising review: "I don’t write many reviews, but I have to say this product right here is hands-down THE BEST face cream I’ve used! I’m in love! I have autoimmune disease (Hashimoto’s to be exact) and I suffer from all kinds of unpleasant things that come out on my face, like cystic acne, dark spots, large pores, redness, itchiness, etc. Just within a few days of using this, I saw a huge difference in the appearance of my skin. It’s never felt this amazing either! I even use it on my hands before I go to bed — totally hooked!" —KELLEY S

    Get it from Amazon for $14.97+ (available in four sizes).

    33. Research how certain ingredients can help with specific skin goals before building a new routine. For example, this Dr. Jart+ color-correcting cream is a holy grail moisturizer for people with redness and dryness. Why? Its main ingredient, Centella Asiatica, is especially great at reducing redness and healing sensitive skin.

    BuzzFeed Shopping reviewer with one half of her face red and the other half matte because of the face cream
    Elizabeth Lilly / BuzzFeed

    Here's what a BuzzFeed Shopping editor who swears by this has to say: "I use it daily as a moisturizer under my foundation and some reviewers even use it as a CC cream. It's *that* good. And it has SPF 30! To demonstrate just how well it works, I put it on half of my face in the pic (above) on the left. Seriously, the color-canceling prowess is impressive. Also it took me nearly a year to go through the full-size jar. So if the price has you feeling iffy, you can try out a travel version. Seriously, I'm forever indebted to this stuff."

    Get it from Sephora for $52 (available in two sizes).

    Check out her full review in "13 Skincare Products From Sephora That We Truly Love".

    34. Research what essential oils will work best for *your* skin. Everyone has their own goal so it makes sense that everyone needs a different formula. Two popular choices: tea tree oil (for acne-prone yet v sensitive skin) and rosehip oil (for dry, red, and irritated skin).

    The chart about different serums
    Loryn Brantz / BuzzFeed

    Promising review (for the rosehip oil): "This stuff is life-changing! I have incredibly oily skin that is acne-prone. Although it seems counterintuitive to put oil on my oily skin, it does wonders for keeping my skin clear and refreshed and gives it a healthy glow! I apply two to three drops each night after washing my face and sometimes use it as my moisturizer during the daytime as well." —RC

    Get them from Amazon: tea tree oil for $6.99+ (available in four sizes) and rosehip oil for $13.95.

    To learn more, check out "Here’s How I Got Rid Of My Acne Once And For All". And! Read up on "This Facial Oil Will Solve All Your Skin’s Problems" to learn more about the above rosehip oil.

    35. Swap out your spot treatment for some gentler tea tree oil if traditional acne creams feel too harsh (aka your skin is always left red and flaking). It's just as effective at reducing pimples, but won't leave any irritation for you to deal with. And! You can use it on your entire face to calm redness, minimize excess oil, and gently hydrate. Basically you'll want to keep this on hand all the time if you have sensitive skin.

    The tea tree oil
    Sephora

    Promising review: "Usually, anything that touches my skin makes me break out or peel. This gentle oil feels so nice, and my skin looks so clear and bright!" —Katie C.

    Get it from Biossance for $49.

    36. Don't get mad at me — but you also can't pop your zits. I KNOW. So satisfying. But it leaves scars that last for weeks! Instead, gently bring out the whitehead by holding down a warm washcloth while bingeing Schitt's Creek. In a few minutes you'll be able to slide the whitehead off with the cloth. No energy. No scabbing.

    Chart of model using warm washcloth to gently wipe away pimple's pus
    The Beauty Department

    If it doesn't work the first time, just repeat holding down the warm washcloth a few more times. As long as it's not a cystic pimple, this will work! Pro tip: use an extra-gentle washcloth to prevent further irritating the inflamed pimple. These bamboo washcloths ($13.47 on Amazon) are designed for both babies and people with sensitive skin so you'll be extra soothed as you press down and wipe your zit.

    Check out even more from The Beauty Department for "The Only Way To Pop: Blemish Magic Trick."

    37. Understand that not every mask is for you. In fact, most are designed with a very specific skin type in mind (i.e. dry, acne-prone, etc.). Take our quiz to match your concerns and complexion with the best mask for you!

    BuzzFeed

    Take this "Tell Us Your Skin Problems And We'll Recommend A Face Mask" quiz to find your match!

    38. Speaking of! Take a skin-identity quiz to learn what works best for your skin and nix any risky trial-and-error. It'll take things like your age, typical routine, stress levels, and even diet to figure out what your complexion will actually benefit from using.

    Soko Glam

    Because there's so much more to your skin type than just "oily" or "dry"!

    Take Soko Glam's "What's My Skin Type?" quiz to discover what your complexion is looking for!

    39. Learn the ever-popular Korean skincare routine to address e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g from healing tough breakouts (hello, clarifying toner) to brightening skin (and bonjour, illuminating sheet mask). It may seem like a lot of steps, but each one brings *results* that just face wash + moisturizer simply do not.

    The Korean skincare routine chart
    Zoë Burnett / BuzzFeed

    Too many steps? You can simplify it to just a few products and still benefit from this! Let's break it down to an easier routine:

    1. SkinFood Rice Brightening Cleansing Tissue ($12 on Soko Glam): streamlines makeup-removal to a few quick swipes. Each sheet is infused with nourishing rice bran water, vitamins, and minerals to not only leave your face free from makeup, but also brighter and refreshed.

    2. Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner ($22 on Soko Glam): acts as step two — your toner. Its vegan formula removes excess dirt and sebum, restores your pH balance, *and* deeply moisturizes thanks to amino acids. Basically this'll make sure your skin is super clean and hydrated.

    3. NeoGen Real Ferment Micro Serum ($38 on Soko Glam): gives your skin a major boost in nutrients and antioxidants. Its powerful, gel-like formula of betula alba juice and other fermented ingredients is designed to melt into your skin for major elasticity and brightness.

    4. Sheet Masks ($2.50+ on Soko Glam): a relaxing yet effective fourth step (that you can do as frequently/infrequently as you want). Every sheet mask from Soko Glam's collection serves a specific purpose. Looking to clear clogged pores and breakouts? This snail mucin and tea tree leaf oil mask is specifically designed to treat acne-prone complexions. Want to brighten your complexion? This bio-cellulose sheet mask made out of coconut gel will help ~illuminate~ your skin. Thirsty for hydrated skin? This Klairs ceramides sheet mask helps to strengthen your skin barrier while aloe vera and centella asiatica extract soothe dry, irritated skin.

    5. Benton Fermentation Eye Cream ($27 on Soko Glam): is a quick fifth step (you're almost done!). It comes ingredients like ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and aloe to deeply hydrate your under-eye area, as well as plump and smooth. Do this step as part of your nightly routine!

    6. Suntique I'm Safe For Sensitive Skin ($24 on Soko Glam): is an IMPORTANT last step for your daytime routine! Not only does it act as a physical blocker to harmful UV rays, but is designed with super sensitive skin in mind to prevent breakouts. Its soothing ingredients, centella asiatica and aloe leaf extracts help moisturize and calm irritated complexions — all without leaving behind a white cast.

    To learn more about the full routine, check out "I Tried A Korean Skin Care Routine For A Month And This Is What Happened."

    40. Cleanse your skin immediately post-workout (or if it's just impossibly hot outside) to easily prevent body acne. A few swipes with Goodwipes hygiene wipes will kill sweat-caused bacteria to keep backne away for GOOD.

    Model using a wipe
    instagram.com

    I will NOT be punished for following through on my annual workout. I did a pushup I don't deserve to break out. These soothing wipes feature tea tree oil and peppermint to help you feel refreshed even when you, well, weren't a couple minutes ago. Plus they're alcohol-free and hypoallergenic so they're great for sensitive skin!

    Promising review: "I wish I had a 'funny' review here, but B.O. is no joke! I work out hard and I sweat hard — and sweat stinks! I also run my own incredibly busy business and have two small kids. Every minute of my day counts...and showering early in the day is a luxury I don’t always get to indulge in! These wipes are a game-changer! Work out, sweat like a boss, wipe down, and voilà...no longer smelly! In fact, I actually smell and feel fresh! Big fan!" —Anna Palestis Frenkel

    Get a pack of 10 from Amazon for $9.99.

    41. Consider a professional facial, especially when your skin is looking a little stressed. Experts say you should shoot for once a month, but realistically every *few* months will still serve as a welcome fresh start for your face.

    instagram.com, instagram.com

    Editor's note: Obviously, we do not recommend getting a professional facial while we are practicing social-distancing and staying home. This is a *general* skincare tip to consider in the future.

    Why, you ask? According to Dermstore, it takes about a month for your facial cells to rise to the surface. In that time it's time to slough those suckers off because they're either dulling your skin or part of the problem with frequent breakouts. A good, professional aesthetician will analyze your skin type and choose treatments that best address what you need.

    Skincare specialist Face Haus offers 45 minute facials catered to your needs and goals (you can pick off a menu or choose solutions based off a prior consultation) that'll improve your glow, treat acne, and get you right back out the door ASAP. Or! Check out Groupon for helpful discounts on pro facials so you never have to pay full price.

    Your pimples when you finally learn how to fight back:

    NBC

    The reviews for this post have been edited for length and clarity.

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