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Here's The Skin Care Routine That Actually Works For My Sensitive Skin

Do certain ingredients make you breakout? Does your skin get red from added fragrance? Do your pores cry when you put on The Notebook? If so, you should check out these products for sensitive skin!

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Hey there! My name is Maitland and I am one sensitive lady.

I'm allergic to basically all of nature (plus some random foods), and my skin is like, "You know what? I'm gonna hate a whole bunch of ingredients, too." In high school, my skin was pretty much middle-of-the-road teenager skin, not fabulous, but not super duper breakout-prone. Until I got to college. Then the problems started. You know that lie we're all told that acne is for teens? NOT TRUE. And you may have already noticed, but I am extremely pale (like I can bring a tub of vanilla yogurt to Sephora to get a color match for foundation), so any pimple redness or scarring loves to really make itself known. It didn't take me long to realize traditional acne-fighting ingredients (looking at your benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid) DO NOT work on my sensitive little skin, so I had to create a skin care routine that worked for me. Now I have it under control, and the current fight is to keep any acne as minimal as possible, while taking care of my skin in the long term.
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I'm allergic to basically all of nature (plus some random foods), and my skin is like, "You know what? I'm gonna hate a whole bunch of ingredients, too." In high school, my skin was pretty much middle-of-the-road teenager skin, not fabulous, but not super duper breakout-prone. Until I got to college. Then the problems started. You know that lie we're all told that acne is for teens? NOT TRUE.

And you may have already noticed, but I am extremely pale (like I can bring a tub of vanilla yogurt to Sephora to get a color match for foundation), so any pimple redness or scarring loves to really make itself known. It didn't take me long to realize traditional acne-fighting ingredients (looking at your benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid) DO NOT work on my sensitive little skin, so I had to create a skin care routine that worked for me. Now I have it under control, and the current fight is to keep any acne as minimal as possible, while taking care of my skin in the long term.

Basically between my very sensitive, acne-prone skin and large 'n' curly, frizz-prone hair, I try to live by this rule, h/t Ron Burgundy.

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But in addition to that rule, I do swear by a series of products that keep it all (relatively) calm, cool, and collected...even when I personally am feeling none of these things.

Let's take this from left to right:* Foreo Luna Mini 2 ($139 at Sephora, Amazon, or Ulta.)* Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask to Clear Pores ($28 at Sephora or Ulta.)* Neutrogena Oil-Free Liquid Eye Makeup Remover ($4.97 on Amazon)* Mario Badescu Aloe Vera Toner ($15 on Amazon or Nordstrom)* 100% Cotton Rounds ($3.99 on Amazon)* Roc Multi-Correxion 5-in-1 Eye Cream ($16.27 on Amazon)* Carmex Classic Lip Balm ($6.21 for a three-pack on Amazon)* Cosrx Acne Pimple Master Patches ($4.97 on Amazon)* GlamGlow Volcasmic Matte Glow Moisturizer ($49 at Sephora)* Neutrogena Naturals Multi-Vitamin Hydrating & Nourishing Facial Night Cream ($7.09 on Amazon)* Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 40 ($32 at Sephora)* Neutrogena Naturals Fresh Cleansing + Makeup Remover ($10.87 for a two-pack on Amazon)
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Let's take this from left to right:

* Foreo Luna Mini 2 ($139 at Sephora, Amazon, or Ulta.)

* Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask to Clear Pores ($28 at Sephora or Ulta.)

* Neutrogena Oil-Free Liquid Eye Makeup Remover ($4.97 on Amazon)

* Mario Badescu Aloe Vera Toner ($15 on Amazon or Nordstrom)

* 100% Cotton Rounds ($3.99 on Amazon)

* Roc Multi-Correxion 5-in-1 Eye Cream ($16.27 on Amazon)

* Carmex Classic Lip Balm ($6.21 for a three-pack on Amazon)

* Cosrx Acne Pimple Master Patches ($4.97 on Amazon)

* GlamGlow Volcasmic Matte Glow Moisturizer ($49 at Sephora)

* Neutrogena Naturals Multi-Vitamin Hydrating & Nourishing Facial Night Cream ($7.09 on Amazon)

* Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 40 ($32 at Sephora)

* Neutrogena Naturals Fresh Cleansing + Makeup Remover ($10.87 for a two-pack on Amazon)

Let's start out with my nighttime routine: I *love* makeup, so my skin care process needs to ensure that every atom of cosmetic product is removed from my skin before sleepytime.

Step one: Take off eye makeup with Neutrogena's oil-free remover and a 100% cotton wipe.

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It's annoying to scrub off mascara when you're focusing on your skin (or end up with mascara raccoon eyes at the end), so I like to take it off first thing with this. I love it because it never leaves my delicate eye skin feeling tugged or irritated.

Plus, it's kind of fun, because you have to shake the bottle before dispensing it (hence the gif above).

Get the the Neutrogena makeup remover from Amazon for $4.97 or from Jet for $4.97. Get the 75-pack of cotton rounds from Amazon for $3.99.

Pro tip from me to you: cut your cotton rounds in half to save $$ and be a little more eco-friendly. I use one half for eye makeup remover and one half for my toner!

I've been meaning to try machine washable facial rounds (like these ones from Amazon) for my makeup remover and toner, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. If you've tried 'em, LMK how they work out in the comments!
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I've been meaning to try machine washable facial rounds (like these ones from Amazon) for my makeup remover and toner, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. If you've tried 'em, LMK how they work out in the comments!

Step two: Wash my whole dang face with a gentle Neutrogena Naturals Fresh Cleanser (with makeup remover built right in to get that longwear foundation alllll off) and my much-beloved Foreo Luna Mini 2.

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I've been using this cleanser for a few years now, and I really love it. It has a mild (but amaaaaazing) smell, and it always gets all the makeup off, especially when paired with my Foreo Luna Mini 2. And let's talk about Luna Mini 2 — a 100% waterproof silicone face cleanser and my actual BFF. It has straight up changed my face-washing game.

Quick summary: it vibrates and is covered with flexible silicone touch points that remove makeup, dirt, oil, etc from your skin — WITHOUT irritating it like normal bristles to. All you do is turn it on, and in 60 seconds (it times the process out for you), your whole dang face is sparkling clean.

Get the Neutrogena cleanser from Amazon for $10.23 or from Jet for $6.94. Get the Foreo Luna Mini 2 from Amazon, Sephora, or Ulta for $139 (available in six colors).

Learn more about the Luna Mini 2 in my full review!

You guys, I just love this device so much.

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Step three: I use the other half of my cotton round to swipe on Mario Badescu's aloe vera toner, which is nice and gentle for my easily-freaked out skin.

With no alcohol and no fragrance, it's specially designed for sensitive skin, and it helps remove any extra pore-clogging stuff from your skin that might still be hanging out. Plus it soothes any post-cleansing irritation and helps keep your skin from drying out between cleansing and actually, well... moisturizing. Get it from Amazon for $15+ or from Jet for $15. (available in two sizes, smaller size pictured above).@Mario Badescu: can you do some folks a solid and make a travel-size version of this PLEASE? Your girl doesn't always check a bag when flying, and I can't go on vacation without this!!
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With no alcohol and no fragrance, it's specially designed for sensitive skin, and it helps remove any extra pore-clogging stuff from your skin that might still be hanging out. Plus it soothes any post-cleansing irritation and helps keep your skin from drying out between cleansing and actually, well... moisturizing.

Get it from Amazon for $15+ or from Jet for $15. (available in two sizes, smaller size pictured above).

@Mario Badescu: can you do some folks a solid and make a travel-size version of this PLEASE? Your girl doesn't always check a bag when flying, and I can't go on vacation without this!!

Step four: Another LOVELY consequence of my ever-present allergies is serious dark circles under my eyes. Hence patting in (use your ring finger to tap it in and protect the delicate skin) Roc's five-in-one eye cream.

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When it comes to makeup, I color-correct (the orangey-peach NYX dark circle eraser cancels out the bluish purple) and conceal (honestly Nars radiant creamy concealer and its light-reflecting particles is so worth every cent I am so loyal to this concealer), by day.

And by night, I use this Roc Multi-Correxion 5-in-1 Eye Cream to treat the dark circles over time. And unless I am really susceptible to the placebo effect, it really does help my under eye circles. Plus, it's supposed to moisturize, fight puffiness, and (eventually) minimize fine lines.

Get it from Amazon for $16.27 or from Jet for $17.03.

Step five: Like the Lady Cassandra in Doctor Who, I then need to be moisturized. And I am all about this Neutrogena Naturals night cream. It's 97% naturally derived and packed with vitamins and antioxidants to banish rough or dull skin.

It absorbs super quickly without making my face greasy at all, smells so good, and feels like a really high-end cream. And it's under $10, like what?? I've been using it for years, and any time I try a different one, I don't like it as much.Get it from Amazon for $7.09 or from Jet for $7.28.
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It absorbs super quickly without making my face greasy at all, smells so good, and feels like a really high-end cream. And it's under $10, like what?? I've been using it for years, and any time I try a different one, I don't like it as much.

Get it from Amazon for $7.09 or from Jet for $7.28.

Step six: Slather on some Carmex! I wear lipstick every day, so my lips need some TLC before bed. A classic tube of the good stuff provides that while 👏 I 👏 sleep 👏!

Get a three-pack from Amazon for $6.70 or a pack of three from Jet for $3.39.
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Get a three-pack from Amazon for $6.70 or a pack of three from Jet for $3.39.

By the end of all that, I am ready to go to sleep!

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Morning routine: I am not a morning person (like, at all), so my morning routine is more pared down than my evening one, and features many of the same products:

Step one: I wash my face with a small dab of the same Neutrogena cleanser, but this time I don't use the Foreo cleansing device; just a quick splish splash with my hands.

Step two: Time to get toned; I use the same cotton rounds and toner to balance the skin and remove any residue or sebum that's appeared overnight and prep my skin for my daytime moisturizer.

Step three: Return of the eye cream. Same tapping, blah blah blah. You get the picture.

Step four: Spoiler alert: I do not use my night cream in the morning (duh!). Instead, I opt for Glamglow's mattifying moisturizer, which also happens to double as a primer for applying makeup. Yay being lazy! Yay for moisturizing skin!

It's solid, almost like a butter, but when you glide your warm finger over it, juuuust the right amount of product comes off. It melts perfectly into your skin, never turning greasy and always creating a perfectly matte base for your makeup. Hydrated without feeling greasy or tacky. Plus, my forehead always gets shiny throughout the day, but with this, it definitely stays oil-free for far longer.The ONLY thing I do not like about it is the smell. At most I like a light, clean, green kind of scent. And this bb smells like a lit'ral Creamsicle. Orange and vanilla sweetness — it's a bit much first thing in the morning. But frankly the other benefits far outweigh the annoying smell. As for me, I like my desserts IRL, not in odor form only. Get Glamglow Volcasmic Matte Glow moisturizer from Sephora for $49 or from Jet for $37.Fellow sensitive skin people: Got an affordable moisturizer you swear by (without a creamsicle smell)? Hit me up in the comments! 🙏
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It's solid, almost like a butter, but when you glide your warm finger over it, juuuust the right amount of product comes off. It melts perfectly into your skin, never turning greasy and always creating a perfectly matte base for your makeup. Hydrated without feeling greasy or tacky. Plus, my forehead always gets shiny throughout the day, but with this, it definitely stays oil-free for far longer.

The ONLY thing I do not like about it is the smell. At most I like a light, clean, green kind of scent. And this bb smells like a lit'ral Creamsicle. Orange and vanilla sweetness — it's a bit much first thing in the morning. But frankly the other benefits far outweigh the annoying smell. As for me, I like my desserts IRL, not in odor form only.

Get Glamglow Volcasmic Matte Glow moisturizer from Sephora for $49 or from Jet for $37.

Fellow sensitive skin people: Got an affordable moisturizer you swear by (without a creamsicle smell)? Hit me up in the comments! 🙏

Step five: SPF! SPF! SPF! SPF! This is my favorite chant. Once again: very very pale, very sensitive skin, need SPF on the daily (tbh no matter what, you need to add some SPF to your skin care routine, guys!) I dab on Supergoop's Unseen sunscreen to pack on a dose of SPF 40 before any of my makeup goes on.

I only started using this a few months ago, but so far I really like it. It's sunscreen is clear, with the texture of a primer, so it doesn't feel like you're slathering your face in... well, goop. It melts right into the skin, creating a perfect canvas for any makeup to go on top of it. Aaaand it hasn't made me break out *at all*, which is basically a little miracle. AAAAAND it helps my makeup look even better. That's what we call a win/win.Get it from Sephora for $32.
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I only started using this a few months ago, but so far I really like it. It's sunscreen is clear, with the texture of a primer, so it doesn't feel like you're slathering your face in... well, goop. It melts right into the skin, creating a perfect canvas for any makeup to go on top of it. Aaaand it hasn't made me break out *at all*, which is basically a little miracle. AAAAAND it helps my makeup look even better. That's what we call a win/win.

Get it from Sephora for $32.

Then I'm free to go about my daily business, WITHOUT worrying about the sun's rays — AND while helping my foundation stay on lock.

In case you're wondering, I wear Fenty Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation (in shade 110) — thank you Rihanna for this magical range of shades.
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In case you're wondering, I wear Fenty Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation (in shade 110) — thank you Rihanna for this magical range of shades.

In addition to the daily routine, I use Origin's active charcoal mask about once a week, which clears out my pores, rids my skin of pollutants from the air, removes excess oil, and squashes any burgeoning pimples in their tracks.

It keeps my skin SO clear without drying it out or irritating it. PLUS you can use it as a spot treatment for acne. And I don't feel it necessary for most of my skin care routine (because my hair is unruly AF, so getting the very top slightly wet is NBD), but when I do this charcoal mask, I always pop on this comfy terrycloth headband ($7.99 on Amazon) to keep my teeniest hairs out of the mask (it looks ridick and I love it). It really helps keep even the most rebellious hairs out of the way, without squashing my at-the-roots volume for the next day's hairstyle.Get the Origins mask from Sephora for $27 or Ulta for $27.
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It keeps my skin SO clear without drying it out or irritating it. PLUS you can use it as a spot treatment for acne.

And I don't feel it necessary for most of my skin care routine (because my hair is unruly AF, so getting the very top slightly wet is NBD), but when I do this charcoal mask, I always pop on this comfy terrycloth headband ($7.99 on Amazon) to keep my teeniest hairs out of the mask (it looks ridick and I love it). It really helps keep even the most rebellious hairs out of the way, without squashing my at-the-roots volume for the next day's hairstyle.

Get the Origins mask from Sephora for $27 or Ulta for $27.

And then when ~something inevitably happens~ to throw my skin out of whack — like stepping foot onto a dry-ass airplane or being super stressed out — I keep a stash of Cosrx pimple patches handy.

We've written about them so often, but that's because they really effing work.I haven't had a breakout worthy of ~breaking these out~ in weeeeeks (🙌) so I don't have a pic of the aftermath of using one. But peep those Amazon reviews to see how they actually absorb gunk from your pimple — it's gross, but so helpful! And you're INCAPABLE of picking at your skin when these are on! True little miracles, these are.Get a 24-pack of Cosrx Acne Pimple Master Patches from Amazon for $4.97, from Jet for $5.06, or Ulta for $6.
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We've written about them so often, but that's because they really effing work.

I haven't had a breakout worthy of ~breaking these out~ in weeeeeks (🙌) so I don't have a pic of the aftermath of using one. But peep those Amazon reviews to see how they actually absorb gunk from your pimple — it's gross, but so helpful! And you're INCAPABLE of picking at your skin when these are on! True little miracles, these are.

Get a 24-pack of Cosrx Acne Pimple Master Patches from Amazon for $4.97, from Jet for $5.06, or Ulta for $6.

Now that I've finally found my holy grail products, my skin feels hydrated and not stripped of moisture, I break out less than ever, and I feel like a damn adult taking good care of my skin.

Warner Bros.

Buttttt when part of your job is writing about beauty products, you want to try All The Things, so LMK in the comments what you've tried or loved — or any products my fellow sensitive babes are curious about!

The best things at three price points