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My Budget-Friendly "Bad to Good Skin" Skincare Routine

Updated: Dec 12, 2023

I struggled with temperamental, sensitive, acne-prone skin from my teens well into adulthood - when I thought my problem skin would go away, but it never did. So I began my journey to better skin and learned so much. My skin isn't 100% flawless, but it's healthy and it's got that glow. I LOVE the results-based knowledge I've gained through trial and error, patience, and TIME. I tried many different products - from acne treatment systems to natural skincare lines. They worked until they didn't. Here's what I do now that took my skin from "bad to good" in less than 1 year.

The most important thing I did was heal my skin from the inside. The only thing that has had long-term results was using African Black Soap. This is where patience came in. Results will not happen as quickly as you want when treating acne-prone skin with natural ingredients. My skin cleared up around month 6 with consistent use.

Benefits of African Black Soap:

  • helps obliterate acne-causing bacteria living deep below your skin's surface that cause acne and inflammation

  • exfoliates skin to help improve its surface for that GLOW

  • help improve the appearance of dark spots (and wrinkles)

I still use African Black Soap even after I saw great results. But I also sample other cleansers with natural key ingredients best for my acne-prone, mature skin. Another cleanser I found fabulous for clearing acne, inflammation, and scarring on the face, chest, and back is plant-based Alba Botanica AnceDote Deep Pore Wash. The entire line is efficacious for helping improve acne-prone skin. And the price point is right on point. Products are available at Walmart, but check out the website for the full line of cleansers, treatments, and moisturizers.

My MORNING skincare routine (in this order):



  • Fenty Pre-show Glow Instant Retexturizing 10% AHA fast tracks skincare goals. I am a forever fan of this serum. Ri says glowy skin in 1 minute. Experience this serum and you'll say, "Where's the lie?" And over time, my skin has become smoother, glowier, brighter, and plumper. This a beautiful serum I highly recommend. I use it 2-3 times a week in the shower after cleansing to save time. I am all about saving time.

  • Rose Water Choose a quality formula that fits your budget.

  • Supersmooth 4% AHA Toner by e.l.f. - toner & exfoliant to help brighten skin.

  • Hyaluronic Acid Choose a serum that fits your budget.

  • Fenty Skin Fat Water is everything for hydrating, brightening, toning, reducing oil, and refining pores. Whatever my routine, sun or snow, day or night...this!


  • Holy Hydration Face Cream by e.l.f. - formulated with hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and peptides. The formula is all extra and stuff because it has an SPF 30. Protecting all skin from the sun's harsh rays is a must - in every season of daylight. Choose a moisturizer for your face - like this one - that's sheer and non-greasy. But packs ingredients that promote bouncy, supple, radiant skin.

  • Me being extra: Hydra Vizor Invisible Moisturizer by Fenty Skin with broad spectrum SPF 30. I love love love the scent, the feel, and the lux of it. BTW, many of the Fenty Skin formulas are available fragrance-free.

My NIGHTIME skincare routine (in this order):


  • Micellar Cleansing Water Because I HATE cleaning my face at night when I just want to go to bed! I swipe with cotton rounds until all traces of makeup and dirt are gone. Cotton balls work better for removing mascara. I chose a formula according to the nourishment my skin needs.


  • SuperGlow AHA Peel Pads I use this "sister" to the e.l.f. toner because the pads remove any dirt left behind.

  • Youth Boosting Advanced Night Retinoid Serum by e.l.f. If your skin is maturing with your fabulous self, you should be using a retinal serum in your nighttime routine. It helps renew and regenerate your skin cells while you sleep to help prevent and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

  • Fenty Skin Fat Water is everything for hydrating, brightening, toning, reducing oil, and refining pores. Whatever my routine, sun or snow, day or night...this!

  • Face Oil by e.l.f. - I love this one because of its unreal price point and it's been a major player in reversing my dull, rough, acne-prone skin. Any oil-based formulas should be used at night only. BONUS: e.l.f. has the whole beauty line.


Glow Getter Pressed Serum Moisturizer by Shea Moisture. I used this at night for extra skin hydration and moisture. It regenerates my dull, saggy, acne-prone skin. This formula should be used at night because of its high-shine moisture that gives skin a beautiful morning glow. The glow be glowin'!

GOOD SKIN TIP: The key to turning around skin that has been damaged by the environment, acne, and aging is proper hydration. My skin was in a state of emergency. Remember the KEY-3: Cleanse + Treat + Hydrate.

This is the routine that took me from "bad to good". I love wearing less makeup - or none at all. I love the way my skin glows. I have a smooth, bright, plump canvas just by understanding what my skin needs and carefully adding and subtracting key ingredients to discover what's best for my skin, time, and budget.

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