I’m a huge fan of exfoliation. It’s one of the easiest things to incorporate into your skincare routine that has really big effects, and pretty much anyone with any skin type can benefit from some form of exfoliation. I made a free Essential Guide to Exfoliation (click to download) all about exfoliating, and I’m giving an overview of the key points in this video – check it out here.
The PDF guide also has suggested routines for different skin types and conditions (dry, oily, aging, sensitive etc.) and some more product recommendations. I’ve also added some short reviews of some of the exfoliants I’ve been enjoying lately to this video.
My skin is oily / combo and I complain about it quite a lot, so I often get asked for my best tips for controlling the inevitable flood of oil. I also sweat easily which apparently means I’m fit, but this adds to the oil and I end up a bigger mess. I’ve spent a long time trying to get the right balance of products and routines to combat the oil – here are my best skincare and make-up tips!Check out the video here – keep scrolling for the text version.
Is Your Skin Actually Oily?
Oily skin is genetic, but you can accidentally give yourself oily or oilier skin with the wrong routine. You can also have dehydrated but oily skin. Before you start doing everything to deal with oil, make sure you’re not in either situation.
Overcleansing can make oily skin worse via dehydration and irritation. There are a lot of things that go into gentle cleansing, but the two most important factors are avoiding sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and true soaps, and minimising your skin’s exposure to cleanser in general.
Oily skin can need moisturiser if it’s dehydration prone (like mine). Natural sebum doesn’t moisturise your skin that well unfortunately! For dehydrated skin, humectants and occlusives are the way to go, but if your skin is oily keep the occlusives to nighttime use.
I’ve mentioned before that I love my netting-sponge-on-a-stick – it’s great for washing conditioner off your back, and for reaching your feet when you’re too sore to bend over (thanks, dance comp training). I’ve been using a sponge on a plastic handle from Daiso (which cost a whole $2.80) but recently it looks like they’ve decided to discontinue it, with no good replacement.
So I grabbed one from Chemist Warehouse… but alas, the stick is made of wood, and the mesh sponge is super dense, which mean it’s not going to dry out properly, which is pretty much THE biggest issue for me.
Why Do Shower Sponges Need to Dry?
We tend to think of soap as clean, but bacteria can still thrive even with regular soaping of your sponge!
The number one thing that makes bacteria grow is water. That’s why there’s a robust preservative system in every properly formulated water-based beauty product.
As I discuss in my upcoming eBook, The Lab Muffin Guide to Basic Skincare, it’s important to keep a record of your skincare routine and skin condition. It’s a fantastic way to help you figure out what’s actually working for your skin, and track the products and ingredients that your skin reacts to. One really useful tool that you can use for this is Instagram.
There are a lot of ways you can utilise Instagram as a skin diary – here are some suggestions.
This is the most public and straightforward way, if you want to share your routine with other skincare addicts! There’s a huge community of skincare addicts out there who share their routines daily, and skincare product reviews too.
You can use hashtags to find other people’s skincare routines, and help them find yours. Some hashtags you can use are #365inskincare, #skincareroutine, #skincarecommunity, and #skincareaddict. Just stick these in the caption, and your post will show up when people search for that hashtag.
You can also set up a private Instagram account – Instagram supports switching between multiple accounts, which is convenient if you already have a personal Instagram profile and want a separate skincare diary so you don’t freak out your friends.
Getting line breaks in Instagram captions is a little hit-and-miss – I use one of these spaces [⠀] in the “empty lines” which usually works.
Instagram Stories are an increasingly popular way to share routines. They’re more flexible than posts, with lots of inbuilt tools to customise them within the app.
If you’re a stickler for having a certain “look” in the photos in your Instagram profile, stories also let you post less-than-perfect shots without worrying about styling and lighting.
I’ve recently discovered that templates are a brilliant way to track my skincare routine. They’re much more versatile than regular Instagram posts – there are text editing and drawing tools within Instagram’s stories feature, and you can choose to share the final product in a few different ways:
If I had to work out how much time I spent on things each week, it’d be something like:
10 hours actively researching (this is higher than most bloggers since I read journal articles and textbooks for my style of content)
15 hours passively researching (beauty forums, other people’s blog posts and feeds)
5 hours actually writing and formatting
2 hours for photography and photo editing
3 hours answering emails
1 hour replying to blog comments
7 hours making content for social media and replying to comments
This seems like an overestimation, but I assure you it isn’t – I had to track this for my accountant recently! Of course, a lot of this is enjoyable and doesn’t actually feel like work, and the vast majority fits in around other things. This is partly why I spend so much time on it even though it doesn’t make financial sense, as my accountant often points out. I’m working on making myself more efficient and more accountable for my time. With the addition of my YouTube channel, I’ve stolen some time from each of these for writing scripts, and filming and editing. I’ve also been writing an eBook guide to Basic Skincare Guide as well. It’s full-on!
How do I fit all this in? A massive amount of organisation (and not having much of a life). I’ve managed to take the whole thing more seriously over the past year and have developed a bunch of systems that work well for me.
My Organisational Style
I’m more of an aspirational organiser than someone who’s actually a natural. When I start any system I’m meticulous and everything looks gorgeous, but after a few weeks things start to slip up. I am not one of those people with a beautiful planner with washi tape and stamps and perfect handwriting and appointments that never change. I burn through organisational methods unless they’re foolproof! I also tend to forget things unless they’re right in front of me, and I’m easily demotivated and turn into a procrastination puddle.
So my criteria are:
Reminds me of current tasks
Make me feel like I’m getting shit done so I stay motivated
I have a physical notebook that I use to organise my life. I carry it around everywhere. It’s like a bullet journal but more focused on tasks and getting stuff done, rather than a keepsake.
It has my to-do lists, blog post ideas, video workflow, and meeting notes, which I index using plastic sticky flags. I’ve also been using it for random things like food shopping lists, eBook formatting notes, and planning big tasks like Christmas lunch.
I’m currently using a spiral-bound notebook with a grid format, similar to this one. I’ve found that spiral notebooks are the best for me.
Ticking things off makes me feel achievement-y (Criterion 4)
I can rip out pages once they’re done so I feel a sense of accomplishment with the physical act of ripping stuff out (Criterion 4)
This also stops old things distracting me from current things (Criterion 2)
If I’m almost done with a page of tasks I’ll copy the last few tasks onto a new page, which refreshes them in my mind (Criterion 2 again).
It isn’t all that aesthetically pleasing, but that also makes it pretty low effort (Criterion 1) because I don’t worry about making it look pretty.
Here’s a photo of an actual page from my notebook – I considered writing a new page for it and making it look neat, but that would defeat the purpose of this post…
I’ve tried digital lists and apps like Google Keep but I lost track of things easily, and I’d ignore stuff for months.
Like most people with long hair, I have a million hair ties and bobby pins that end up strewn all over the bathroom. I’ve tried organising them with jars and hooks, but it never seems to stick.
I recently saw two life hacks for how to keep everything neat: a magnetic strip for bobby pins, and carabiner clips for holding hair ties. Why not combine the two into a not-entirely-ugly organiser and stick it to the wall? Yeah, that’s what I did. I’m a low-key genius.
To put hair ties into the holder, you can just press the hair tie in and it’ll click into place. Taking the hair ties out is slightly more effort but much less than scrambling around trying to dig one out of who-knows-where.
You want one too? You’re in luck, I have instructions!
DIY Hair Tie Organiser
What you need
A5 piece of perspex (Amazon, eBay): You can go larger or smaller depending on your hair accessory holding requirements, but this works great for me. Shiny works best with the suction cups. I went for opaque because I didn’t want to see the cups, and black because everything matches it.
Double sided suction cups (Amazon, eBay): This is what I’m using to fix the perspex to my wall. I like this because it doesn’t leave any marks on the wall or the perspex, but unfortunately the quality of these is pretty variable so in the pack of 10 I received I had 2 deformed ones. I also considered using a double-sided pad covered in tiny suction cups but it didn’t work at all.
Adhesive magnetic strips (Amazon, eBay): I got the 15 mm wide strip with adhesive already attached.
Carabiners (Amazon, eBay): I used carabiners that were around 4 cm (1.5 inches) long. I bought these specifically because the non-clip side was completely flat, so it would have a larger contact area when I stuck it to the perspex. The number will depend on the size of your perspex but I found that placing them around 6 cm (2.5 inches) apart was perfect.
Gorilla glue (Amazon, eBay): I’m sure other glues will work, but this is what the guy at the hardware store recommended and he knows more than me. I suspect that a slightly less brittle glue might actually be better. (Edit: I’ve since replaced it with silicone glue and yes, it does work better!)
I bought everything except the glue off eBay, but it took weeks to get to me. If you aren’t rushed, at current eBay prices it works out to be less than $15 AUD. Bargain!