I have struggled since middle school with acne. I have combination skin that is sensitive to everything, I’m even allergic to sunscreen and perfume. So coming along a routine that clears my skin up, and I don’t have to change up every few months has become a life saver. I used Proactive for years, although it never completely cleared my acne. I finally switched away from it when I was going cruelty free, I couldn’t find a definite answer if they tested on animals or not. After almost 2 years of searching for face wash that worked for me, I’ve come across an easy, vegan and cruelty free, cheap routine that has completely cleared my skin.
So here I’ll list my current routine and at the bottom of the post you can find other products that have worked for me in the past.
Get confused with whats cruelty free or not? Check out this helpful guide on the different logos you may see.
Incase you never noticed, oils are attracted to other oils, SO a.k.a using coconut oil or olive oil on your skin will “remove” all the oils in your makeup! This is way cheaper than using makeup removing pads everyday, and a lot less waste. And in my opinion it works a lot better, without feeling harsh. You can also use it as a body moisturizer, to help clean your makeup brushes, or in your cooking. This brand (from Publix for those of you from Florida) runs at about $8.85 for a 14 oz jar. I like using this because it comes in a glass jar, so when I run out I can keep the packaging.
How to use:
Dab a bit on each area of your face with makeup on, rub in until all your makeup is rubbed away. Wipe off with a cloth and proceed to wash.
Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is amazing for many reasons, but it’s antibacterial properties do wonders for your skin. It can help soak up excess oils throughout your day, and it restores your skin’s natural pH. It also reduces the appearance of acne scars. Right now you can buy a 32 oz. bottle at Walmart for about $6 (can range from $5-$8). I only actually use 1/2-2 tsp every time I wash my face, but I also use it for cooking every now and then. I’ve had this bottle for 4 months and I’m maybe 1/2 way through it.
How to use it:
Mix 1 tsp ACV to 4 tsp water (OR you can boil fresh rosemary in water and use that, for extra skin strengthening properties), you can add more or less water depending on how sensitive your skin is. As your skin gets more used to the acidity, you can gradually up the ACV content. Dampen your face with warm water, dip a washcloth into the ACV mixture and gently massage into your skin. For the first week or so your skin may sting a bit, but this is normal while you are getting used to it. I massage for 1-2 minutes and try to use the whole mixture. I also spend extra time on any areas with breakouts. Rinse skin thoroughly after. If you break out randomly throughout the day you can dab a little bit of ACV directly onto pimples to help dry them up.
Sunflower Sweets Serum
This serum is from a small online company called Bahi Cosmetics, that I actually found on twitter. I know that sounds sketchy, and I waited a long time before purchasing this product. But very constantly people are posting about how this helped clear their skin or get rid of scars, so eventually I had to try it. Let me tell you, I would bet my life on this serum. It cures all my problems. Even stress acne, or cystic acne, I just dab this on my skin and I’m a new woman. It’s really hard to find something moisturizing that works on my combination skin, but this helps balance the oily side of me. Any time I have a breakout this gets rid of it in less than 2 days. Right now a 1 oz. bottle is selling for $16.50 (compared to usual $22), but just this much lasts me at least 2 months, if not 3. It also comes in 2 oz and 4 oz bottles, but I would suggest trying the smallest size first. Pro tip: when you run out of the actual serum, use the flower petals at the bottom. They are still covered in the product!
How to use:
After washing your face, use the dropper to apply 3-5 drops onto your face. Rub in with your hands and voila. You want to make sure it is all rubbed in, and not extra oily in spots. You’re welcome.
Shea butter is extremely hydrating, as well as healing. I use this once every couple days on my skin, seeing as how the SSS is already moisturizing, but I also use this all over my body after showers. On top of that, when I got my tattoos I used this instead of the (not cruelty free) lotion that my artist suggested, and it worked like a charm! This has helped reduce my cellulite and stretch marks on my upper thighs over the last 6 months as well. Along with fresh aloe, if I get sunburned I dab some of this over the burn to keep from peeling. I have also mixed it with coconut oil and used as a hair mask before. I have used this at least once a day on some part of me for the last almost 7 months, and I still have more than half of the 10.5 oz jar left. A little goes a long way with this. Currently on Target, this sells for $10.99 for the 10.5 oz jar.
How to use:
Every couple days after washing your face and applying serum, use a pea sized amount to moisturize your skin. Rub the Shea butter in the palm of your hand to melt it down a bit, then rub into your face. Wipe away any excess with a wash cloth.
These products will last you anywhere between 3- 6+ months, making it about $5 for your whole skincare routine per month. If any of the products don’t work for your skin, there are many other ways you can use them!
Other suggested products:
Witch Hazel- This is an awesome toner and helps dry out acne. I used it for 3 months religiously and still have a little less than half a bottle left. I still use it every now and then, just squeeze some onto a wash cloth when your skin is feeling drab or when you think you’re about to break out. A 12 oz cucumber bottle sells for $10 at target.
LUSH Herbalism wash– This is one of my all time favorite face washes. It’s intense exfoliation really helps with blackhead control. I especially love that I can have an exfoliating wash without micro-beads (small pieces of plastic commonly found in face washes that are detrimental to ecosystems and small organisms such as plankton, who mistake them for food) and without harmful chemicals. It works really well with washing off my makeup too, as well as dealing with body acne. A 3.5 oz jar will last you about 2 months and costs $16.95. Don’t forget you can bring in 5 used LUSH jars into any store to redeem for a free face mask!
LUSH Cup O Coffee scrub/ mask– This is the best mask out there (probs). It’s two in one, first a deep cleansing mask, then an exfoliating scrub. Not to mention how great it smells. The scrub is a bit intense, so be careful with your first few uses, but this will do your skin reallllll good. A 5.2 oz jar sells for $11.95, and I use it about 1-2 times a week.