Skincare Routine - Fighting Acne and Acne Scars with Affordable Products

 At the end of January and beginning of February, I was using a cleanser that caused me to break out pretty badly. Here we are at the end of March and I'm still dealing with a couple left over pimples and of course, the residual acne scarring. This prompted me to tweak my skincare routine just a little. Most products have stayed the same, but the changes I've made are worth mentioning. Anyway, here's what I've been using for the last six or seven weeks.

Before I tell you about the products I use, let me explain my skin type real quick. I have normal, non-sensitive skin that gets just a little oily in the t zone, with large pores and mild redness in the same area. I'm prone to small breakouts on my chin and near my eyebrows.

Cleansing: Right now I'm using two cleansers. In the morning, I wash my face with Olay's Pore Minimizing Cleanser+Scrub ($7), which provides gentle exfoliation while it thoroughly cleanses. This product's been an on-and-off part of my skincare routine for about three years. It seems to prevent blackheads and does a general good job at keeping my skin clear. In the evening, after removing my makeup, I squirt a bit of Nip+Fab's Glycolic Fix Cleanser ($8) onto an EcoTools Konjac Sponge ($6). While this cleanser is effective, but it isn't too special. I like to think the little extra shot of glycolic acid is helpful (though its probably just wishful thinking).
Makeup Remover: I've come to believe that Garnier makes the best makeup removers! They're cheap and they work so well! On heavy makeup days, I pre-cleanse with Garnier's Nourishing Cleansing Oil ($7.99), but most days I take my makeup off with God's gift to skincare - Garnier's Micellar Cleansing Water ($12). This stuff is amazing, it removes every trace of makeup. I really hope they start carrying this product in the States soon! 
Toner: I've been using Olay's Oil Minimizing Toner ($4) for about ten years. It really helps to prevent breakouts and remove excess oil without stripping. I can tell when I've skipped this toner. I used to use Olay's toner twice a day, but I recently replaced it's night time use with one of Nip+Fab's Glycolic Fix Exfoliating Pads ($12.99), and wow, the results are great! These chemical exfoliating pads have worked wonders on evening out my skin tone and diminishing my acne scars.
Eye Care: I went without an eye cream for a while (I'm still not 100% sure they're necessary), but I decided to try The Body Shop's Vitamin E Eye Cream ($18), which is lightly moisturizing, but doesn't seem to be offering any long term benefits. I also use Bliss' Baggage Handler Eye Gel ($28) to depuff on early mornings. I believe this product is being phased out of Bliss' line, but there are budget options like Hard Candy's Eye'm Tired ($5) that work just as well.
Moisturizing: I've been using L'Oreal's Age Perfect Cell Renewal Day Cream ($25*), day and night (but I usually use an Olay moisturizer). This rich, thick moisturizer offers SPF 15 sun protection. I add a drop or two of Pura D'Or's Argan Oil ($48*) at night, to really seal the moisture in. I've been using Nivea's Kiss of Olive Oil&Lemon Lip Balm ($3) as needed.
Masks: I use two masks once a week. If I'm honest, neither of them are really doing much for me. I use Freeman's Golden Grain Brightening Mask ($4) on Tuesdays, and its mildly brightening, but the effects aren't too exciting. Friday nights, I apply Laneige's Water Sleeping Mask ($23), an overnight hydrating gel mask.
I also want to touch on a few other vaguely skincare related questions I've been asked:

How do I care for my piercings?
My piercing are all pretty old; my ears and nose have been pierced for about 8 years, and my monroe is coming up on five years, so they don't require a ton of maintenance to keep clean and infection free. I change my jewelry roughly once a week, cleaning both the jewelry and piercing with rubbing alcohol. I can touch more on fresh piercing care if any readers have more questions.

How do I remove facial hair?
I pluck my brows with Revlon tweezers, once or twice a week. 

What toothpaste do I use?
Sensodyne Pronamel (why?)

I'll be switching to the Rodan+Fields Redefine Acute Care skincare system for the month of April, then coming back to these products after I'm done testing Rodan+Fields' products. Feel free to ask any questions, or share your experience with any of these products in the comments. 

products marked with an asterisk (*) are press samples.  Their inclusion was not influenced by any third parties.

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