I feel like I don’t need to write a long intro about how crazy the times are and all the unfortunate effects on our physical and mental well-being. We get it. We all have maskne.
Here’s what I’ve been doing about it. I know that soooo many (none) of you have been dying for me to drop my skincare routine. I get it. I’m flattered. But for real, running around a restaurant dripping sweat behind my mask in the AZ heat has forced me to put in a little more effort. Maybe it will help you! Maybe not.
Some disclaimers: I have very, very sensitive skin and have a hard time finding products that are gentle enough for me that actually do anything. I’m mostly dry with a T-zone that gets oily throughout the day. My nose is blackhead city. Pre-covid, I mostly dealt with a few hormonal pimples along my jaw each period. These products haven’t stopped me from getting small breakouts in my mask-covered areas, but they’re much less dramatic now and heal much faster. And the rest of my skin looks pretty great, not gonna lie!
Last disclaimer, I am (of course) not a dermatologist. What works for me may not work for you. Do your research.
I honestly started using this brand because I knew I desperately needed to get something new for my skin and didn’t want to spend much money just in case I hated it. Bonus: It’s sold at the ULTA right next door to the restaurant. Some customers were chatting about how the brand was on sale and showed me what they got. I went next door after work and discovered it wasn’t a sale after all. The products are actually that cheap.
Their whole schtick is that they use just the main ingredients. It is marketed as simple, pure, and scientific. Their website cites their motto as “Clinical formulations with integrity”. There’s no flashy packaging or bold claims for results. The part of me that knows deep down in my heart that skincare is a necessary but absolutely criminal scam appreciates this transparency.
But I’m also not a scientist. So I walked into ULTA, googled “The Ordinary for acne,” and bought my first product. (Note: The website has a helpful Regimen Guide page, but I didn’t know that yet).
I started with this serum because I was afraid of everything else and this had crazy good reviews. I feel like all of a sudden everyone is using this?! Every time someone online asks for acne recs and I stop to leave the name of this serum, someone has already done it before me. And it honestly is that good! Like, I said, I don’t not get pimples with this. But it keeps them under control and as a whole makes my skin feel super smooth.
I use this after cleansing and a facial spray (Mario Badescu because I’m basic) in the AM and PM when I’m breaking out or just the morning when my skin is clear. And it’s literally $6. If you buy anything on this list, make it this.
I was so happy with the serum that a week later, I went back for a moisturizer. Then I spent a stupid amount of time squatting in front of the display googling things because nowhere on this bottle does it call itself a cream or lotion. Alas, it is.
It’s a very thick, creamy formula. Super moisturizing, but not runny or greasy at all. I replaced the Neutrogena Hydroboost Moisturizer which I bought because I’d been influenced by YouTubers, which is super light and almost glossy. This is the exact opposite, but it moisturizes just as well and without leaving me shiny and clogging my pores. To be fair, I’m pretty dry aside from my T-zone and I live in the actual desert! Still, I think it’s worth it if you’re looking for a new, gentle moisturizer. I use it after the serum but before my sunscreen.
This is my newest purchase, so I don’t have long term results just yet. I went to ULTA to replace my other two products and decided to try it on a whim. I exfoliated first and then left this masque on for 10 minutes. It tingled just a bit, but there was no pain or redness afterwards so I think that’s normal! It went away after a minute. My skin was extra soft and moisturized the next day and the huge lingering pimple from the week I ran out of my serum instantly looked smaller and less red. By the following day, my face had cleared up completely! I’ll probably use this once a week in the PM. Definitely moisturize well after this one!
Anyway, this is what’s helped me get a little control over my skin. I’m super impressed that these products have been so effective and yet so gentle. I definitely recommend spending a little time on The Ordinary.’s website and trying something new that seems well suited to whatever your problem areas are! It’s cheap enough to experience with little risk. Plus, ULTA accepts opened returns if the product doesn’t agree with you!