Oily Skin 101: What You Need to Know About Skin Care

cc: Christin Hume

cc: Christin Hume

Let’s chat skincare, shall we? It’s been a big topic on my brain since the beginning of the year. You see, that was when I vowed to really figure out what’s going on with my skin (I’ve been dealing with acne pretty much all my life). It’s been a long (and expensive) journey, as I have been trialing out different products that have been declared ‘holy grails’ by influencers, friends, family and others.

You see, I hate spending money on beauty and skin products. I’m not really sure why to be honest. I think it stems from like being a frugal person in general (thanks for the gene, mom!). But I really wanted to make a change, so I gave myself permission to splurge on a couple of products/services for my skin in the hopes of finding my own Holy Grail routine.

I’ve tried a lot of different products throughout my life to get rid of acne. You see, I have oily, sensitive skin. I’ve tried a lot of 3-step processes like Proactiv (didn’t work/too harsh on the skin) and Clinique 3-step program for oily-combination skin (the Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel is still one of my faves). I’ve also tried expensive products like Dr. Jart Cicapair Tiger Grass Serum (with this $62 price tag, I loved the smell and the feeling, but I don’t think it actually did anything to my skin) and Origins Zero Oil Pore Purifying Toner ($32). But to be honest, I’ve learned that spending a lot of money on a really fancy, well-known beauty brand isn’t always going to cut it. I realized (after using up the Dr. Jart Cicapair Tiger Grass Serum in a month and not wanting to be spend 60 bucks every 30 days on a product), that I needed to do real research into what my skin really needed.

Here’s what I learned:

I Have VERY Oily-Skin

According to New York City-based medical aesthetician Jordana Mattioli, there are two product categories you need to include in your routine if you have oily skin: an acid exfoliate and a lightweight hydrating serum (instead of a cream or lotion). This is because “all skin needs hydration, but oily skin doesn’t need the extra emollients in a thick moisturizer,” according to Mattioli.

Facewash is Important

Just because you have oily skin doesn’t mean you need to use an aggressive cleanser. Using a formula that is too harsh can over-dry your skin, which will then go into oil-production overdrive, and start a vicious cycle. Look for something that’s gentle yet effective and can be used morning and night!

Toners, the Misunderstood Step of Skincare

Toner is especially beneficial to oil skin because it can help remove that excess oil. Toner is applied after cleansing and exfoliating to bring skin back to its natural acidic state. Like a prep for your pores, it will help your skin better receive the other products.

Hydration is Key

Fact: All skin needs to be hydrated, even oily skin. They key to moisturizing oily skin is to use a formula that’s lightweight and non-greasy, because the last thing you want is extra sheen. Look for products that are oil-free and non-comedogenic, meaning they won’t clog your pores.  

Here is my current skin care routine:


WASH: La Roche Posay Effaclar Gel

TONER: La Roche Posay Effaclar Astringent Lotion

ACNE TREATMENT: La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo+

EYE TREATMENT: Clinique All About Eyes Rich Cream


DOUBLE CLEANSE: Clinque Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm +  La Roche Posay Effaclar Gel

TONER: Clean and Clear Essentials Deep Cleaning Astringent

ACNE TREATMENT: La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo+

EYE TREATMENT: Clinique All About Eyes Rich Cream

I think I really need to add in some hyaluronic acid for a moisturizer instead of going for a cream, and that will be my next step to slowly add into my routine.

So happy to share my journey with the HIH fam! This will be an ongoing thing for me, and I hope you will follow along and share some of your fave, Holy Grail products with us!