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The Cut’s Instagram editor Nana Agyemang wasn’t always into skin care. “I was the type to occasionally fall asleep with makeup on and eat late at night, thinking all that harm would never catch up to me, and it did,” she says. Fast forward four months into freshman year of college, and she was breaking out all over her forehead and cheeks.
It took a complete overhaul of her skin care routine and self-care habits to truly see a difference. Agyemang advises, “Put your health first, your skin will thank you later. I stopped eating Cheetos Puffs late at night and saw a noticeable difference in my skin.” From there, the social media editor turned to acne-focused products like SheaMoisture’s black soap. “It was a quick way to treat acne breakouts, but it stopped working on me. It was really drying to my skin, and I started getting flaky.” These days, her mainstays include Ole Henriksen, Fresh, and Glossier.
Below, a look at the “essential” face mask she recommends for acne-prone skin, the $6 vitamin C oil she purchases for a natural glow, and her homemade toner.
“I wear makeup almost every day, which can easily clog up my pores, but after a few facial wipes and this cleanser, I feel refreshed and revived. I have combination skin, but in the warmer seasons, it can oil up pretty fast. It cleans out the oils and dirt built-up from the day. I’ve been using it for about six months now, paired with my Clarisonic, and I scrub for 60 seconds then rinse off with warm water.
I use this to take off anything that’s left after using the face wipes. The texture is gooey but not sticky — it feels really soft and lightweight when you apply it. The smell is refreshing, almost minty.”
The Face Mask
“This product is essential to your routine if you have acne-prone skin. After you have cleansed your face, leave it damp and apply the mask to your face and neck or use it to spot treat. I usually spot treat with it every night, and I leave it on until it hardens (10–15 minutes), then I wash my face or sometimes I sleep with it on. The next day, my blemishes minimize and my skin feels a lot smoother.
My girlfriend works at Fresh and she sent it over to me. She said it helps diminish blemishes overnight, and I didn’t believe her at first. Now it is my go-to breakout mask and spot treatment. I love how multi-faceted it is, which is rare for a face mask.”
“I’m pretty frugal when it comes to my skin-care products because I feel like it’s not about the price of the product, it’s about the quality. Apple cider vinegar to me is no different than any other toner. Trust me, I’ve tried toners for $50 but I always come back to this. It’s antiseptic and antibacterial, which is good for dealing with acne, it exfoliates and cleans pores. If the smell of it freaks you out, just add a little lavender or tea tree oil to your ACV and some water and ta-dah, you just made a homemade toner.”
“I started using this as a serum a few weeks ago and from what I’ve experienced so far, it has a pretty moisturizing effect. I heard that it also helps fades dark spots, but its too early for me to tell. It really helps my skin cool off after the apple cider vinegar and makes it feel refreshed.”
“Before I started using this, I struggled to keep my skin lightly moisturized during the day and at night. I was worried that using a heavy night cream would clog up my pores overnight but this cream is light and helps to rejuvenate my skin while I sleep. I don’t wake up feeling oily and my skin feels tight. I’ve been applying it in an upward motion on my face every day and it’s been leaving my face feeling dewy and refreshed. I highly recommend it for anyone who wears makeup as well, it makes for a good primer and keeps makeup intact on your face,”
The Face Oil
“After my moisturizer, I finish off my routine with face oil. My good friend told me about how vitamin C serum helps give a natural glow and reduces dark spots. She wasn’t lying. After three weeks, my face started to brighten up, and it began to feel smoother. It’s another affordable product that has a lot of value. This oil is 100 percent natural, which is my goal with my oils. I look for oils that also help with anti-aging and rejuvenating my skin. I use this sometimes along with a vitamin E oil that I get at my local beauty supplier.”
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