I have oily, acne-prone skin that’s also sensitive and I’ve struggled a lot in the past to find the products that wouldn’t clog my pores, turn my face into a greasier mess or trigger a reaction. Now that I have most of it decoded, I thought I should help others save some time and finally get healthy skin.
And as much as I love doing my multiple-step skincare routine when I’m stressed, a minimal 3-5 step skincare routine is what I go for on a daily basis when it comes to taking care of my oily, acne-prone skin.
Importance of Having a Skincare Routine
People with acne-prone skin struggle a lot and are mostly looking for one miracle product that takes care of everything. But that never works.
It’s extremely important to follow a basic skincare routine to make your skin barrier healthy and to protect your skin from external acne-triggers. My trick is to stick to the basics and give your skin exactly what it needs.
Why I love The Ordinary?
- Affordable yet effective.
- Fragrance & Essential Oil-Free.
- Cruelty-free and Vegan-friendly.
- You can try each ingredient to understand what works for your skin before moving on to products that have a mixture of multiple actives.
The Ordinary offers a lot of skincare products, more than I can keep a count of! That’s what makes it confusing for beginners who think they need it all.
In this post, I’ll simplify the products and suggest a simple yet effective skincare routine for oily, acne-prone skin.
You can always combine products from different brands, in fact, that’s what I always do but when you’re just starting out with skincare, you possibly don’t have a clue on how to mix different things or even the will to go through multiple brands and see what they offer.
There’s a million skincare brands and products available around you which makes buying skincare an overwhelming experience. This brand is affordable, easily available and avoids some common irritating ingredients, so I feel a skincare routine using The Ordinary should be perfect for someone who’s just starting out.
Common concerns this routine can help with:
- Dull skin
- Dehydrated skin
- Uneven skin tone
If you have any or all of these concerns along with oily-acne prone skin, you will still benefit from following this routine. This would even work for people with normal to combination skin.
All the products used in this routine by The Ordinary are Vegan.
Morning Skincare Routine with The Ordinary
Disclosure: Contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission for purchases made via them.
Step 1: Cleanse
The Ordinary doesn’t have a gel or foaming cleanser at the moment so wash your face with a gentle pH-balanced gel or foaming cleanser of your choice to get rid of oils. Take a shot if you also wake up with a sticky, greasy face!
Here are some of my favourite cleansers (with review) that you can try:
- By Wishtrend Acid-Duo 2% Cleanser
- Pixi Glow Tonic Cleansing Gel
- Drunk Elephant Beste No.9 Jelly Cleanser
- Sebamed Clear Face Cleansing Foam
- Vilvah Honey Fix Face Cleanser
Step 2: Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Solution
Price: $7 for 30ml
After you cleanse your face, wipe off the water and apply 2 drops of this serum on the face. Applying it on wet skin and/or using more quantity makes it foam a little so please keep that in mind.
This is one of my favourite products from The Ordinary. Niacinamide is a great ingredient for dull/uneven skin and it also helps to strengthen your skin’s barrier, thereby reducing the effects of environmental damage.
Definitely a good anti-oxidant to include in your routine. I have personally noticed that my pores appeared to be smaller with regular usage of this product.
With 1% Zinc, this serum also mattifies the skin which is a dream come true for all oily skin types.
Step 3: Sunscreen
Now you can go ahead and use The Ordinary’s Mineral UV Filters SPF 30 with Antioxidants. It costs $12 for 50ml with a pH between 7.5-8.0. But it does have a white cast.
My personal favourite when it comes to sunscreen is the Purito Unscented Centella SPF 50+ which is moisturising so you can skip moisturiser, has no white cast and never irritated my sensitive skin.
A broad-spectrum sunscreen is a must-have in every skincare routine. Not only will it protect you from ageing and skin cancer, using enough sunscreen will help minimise the post acne scars and also prevent dull skin.
If you’re doubtful about how much to use, this small Instagram video of mine will come handy:
Please note that I just demonstrated on my face for the video but protecting your nape, neck, ears and other exposed body parts is also important.
Nighttime Skincare Routine with The Ordinary
Step 1: Squalane Cleanser
Price: $10 for 50ml
If you wear makeup, using a wet wipe is the worst thing you can do to your skin. And with acne-prone skin, it’s like an invitation to all the future acne to come attack you at once. I am an advocate of double cleansing because my oily, acne-prone has seen tremendous results with it.
Start off with the Squalane Cleanser that gently takes off all the makeup and impurities. Firstly, you have to warm it up for 20-30 seconds between your palms so it breaks down into an oily texture. Then massage it on the face and skin to make sure you get it all off or at least most of it.
Step 2: Second Cleanse
Use the same gel/foam cleanser that you used in the morning for a final cleanse. This would ensure that the residue makeup or dirt is completely off the skin.
Not cleansing your skin properly results in skin congestion as a result of which you notice acne/ whiteheads/ blackheads. So make sure you always take it all off!
Step 3: Exfoliate
The Ordinary has multiple exfoliating acids that’d work for oily, acne-prone skin so I’ll list down a few and mention who should use what along with the frequency.
Salicylic Acid 2% Solution
Price: $7 for 30ml
Another holygrail of mine from the brand is their salicylic acid solution. If you have congestion and blackheads, this product would penetrate deep into the skin and unclog the pores. It also helps with oil-control!
In my opinion, every oily skin person should have at least one product that has salicylic acid. You should use it on alternate nights, no more than 3 times a week to avoid overexfoliation.
Two drops are enough and make sure you apply this after your skin has completely dried up after cleansing.
I also use this as a spot treatment and it WORKS! You can read my review on The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution where I talk about this product in detail.
Price: $8 for 30ml
Lactic acid is an AHA that gently exfoliates the skin and gives a smoother and clearer complexion. If dullness and whiteheads are your biggest concern then choose this.
If you’re a beginner with sensitive skin, start with their 5% variant but if you don’t have sensitive skin go for 10%.
How to choose between Lactic Acid and Salicylic Acid?
Many of you might be facing all the issues combined like blackheads, whiteheads, dullness, acne and are confused between lactic acid and salicylic acid. My suggestion would be to use both.
- Sunday & Friday (2x a week) – Lactic Acid
- Tuesday – Salicylic Acid
See which acid covers the majority of your concerns and use that twice. The overall exfoliation count shouldn’t cross 3x a week to be on a safer side.
If you’re someone who has already used exfoliating acids in the past then go for their Glycolic Acid Toner and use that in place of lactic acid.
You can read my review of The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution to know more about this product.
Step 4: Marine Hyaluronics
Price: $8 for 30ml
On days you don’t exfoliate, use the Marine Hyaluronics directly after cleansing. Otherwise, apply it after you’ve applied your exfoliating acid.
Marine Hyaluronics is a lightweight hydrating serum that has skin-friendly marine bacteria, algae and amino acids that would hydrate and strengthen your skin. What’s great about this product is that it doesn’t feel viscous or tacky unlike their hyaluronic acid serum and is perfect for oily skin.
I prefer to keep my routine as minimal as it can be especially in the morning but if you want you can use it serum in the morning skincare routine too to get extra hydration.
Step 5: Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA
Price: $7 for 30ml
The last step of your skincare would be to finish it off with lightweight water-based moisturiser that will moisturise your skin without feeling greasy or clogging your pores.
Our skin already has Natural Moisturizing Factors (NMF) that keep the outer layer of the skin protected and well-hydrated. This moisturiser by The Ordinary gives your skin additional NMF and has multiple amino acids, glycerin, ceramide precursors, urea, hyaluronic acid, etc to make sure your skin is well-moisturised and healthy.
Shop The Entire Routine!
Quick Recap for The Ordinary Skincare Routine
1. Cleanse with any gel/foaming cleanser
2. Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
3. Sunscreen (The Ordinary Mineral UV Filters SPF 30 or Purito Unscented Centella SPF 50)
1. Squalane Cleanser
2. Second Cleanse with gel/foaming cleanser
3. Salicylic Acid / Lactic Acid/ Glycolic Acid (3x a week)
4. Marine Hyaluronics
5. Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA
I hope you found this post useful! Please take exfoliation slowly and introduce one active at a time. This would help you find the culprit in case you face an allergic reaction. If you are suffering from painful cystic acne then My Retinoid Skincare Routine might be of some help!