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Cleansing Routine (I have no idea what I'm doing)

So I'm trying to invest in skin care products because I'm tired of having breakouts all the time. My skin type is acne prone and mildly dry maybe combo? I have no idea. I've purchased some skin products but after doing more research I don't know if they'll all work together or if I ned more things. This is what I have

Cleanser: Tatcha - The Deep Cleanse Exfoliating Cleanser

Toner: Witch hazel 

Acne treatment: Differin adapalene 0.1% gel

Face oil/serum?: The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid* 2% Emulsion

Eye cream: Olehenriksen banana bright eye creme

Moisturizer: Belif moisture bomb


Is it okay to use the tatcha cleanser morning and night? Which of these should I only be using once a day? If anybody can help or knows anything about this stuff, your input would be GREATLY appreciated! Thanks so much!!

Re: Cleansing Routine (I have no idea what I'm doing)

If your acne prone @amandadawnj you really need to be slow introducing new products into your routine. (That way if you have a breakout-youll know product was new to you.) I would REALLY make use of Sephoras sample system (if you have a store near you) & try out products that work for you that way. I'm oily, acne prone & I rotate between 2 cleansers: tatcha deep c & amore Pacific c. foam, & go between 3 moisturizers tatcha water, AP creme fluid & was belif aqua bomb but I'm debating that one since it has alcohol denat- there are bad & good alcohols, the bad ones-this one- will dry out your skin & even break it down. I'm getting older not younger 😉dont need to break down my skin more. But that's all I have on a regular basis but I like to keep it simple, & i like to play with samples & stuff. My suggestion-start simple & work your way out from there. 😁 wish I could help more!

Re: Cleansing Routine (I have no idea what I'm doing)

@amandadawnj direct from Differin:


Avoid products containing salicylic acid, alpha hydroxy acid or glycolic acid which may dry out your skin and worsen irritation.


Do not use with other retinoids, you're asking for trouble.


Apply only a small, thin layer to entire face, using more won't help, it's not a spot treatment. Also no waxing, skin will literally be ripped off, if you don't take a good break beforehand.


It may get worse before it just gets better, which is expected.


Use at night *only*, on completely dry skin (dampness allows product to enter skin faster and irritation more likely) ease into usage - not nightly from the start. Standalone spf daily is a must, side effect of Differin sun sensitivity.


Skip the witch hazel and exfoliation for now. Witch hazel can be drying, Differin side effect is drying. Start with the basics, smooth cleanser, Differin, moisturizer/eye, spf. Less is more with acne.


I'm currently using the prescription version of Differin. My routine is simple - La Roche Posay hydrating cleanser and double repair moisturizer, spf 50.

Re: Cleansing Routine (I have no idea what I'm doing)

Thank you! I only got the differin because my aunt that works in a dermatology office recommended it but I also didn't tell her what other products I have.

Re: Cleansing Routine (I have no idea what I'm doing)

@amandadawnj Differin is the proven retinoid (adapalene) for acne. If you have constant acne, make a derm appointment. There are other ingredients and pills to treat. The prescription strength, of Differin, may work better for you, you'll see.


The worst thing that can happen with retinol is having skin actually peel off in chunks..glad you asked, but remember to tell anyone who advises every single product you're using.

Re: Cleansing Routine (I have no idea what I'm doing)

Hi @amandadawnj ! I don’t think you need 2 retinoid products (Differin and The Ordinary serum). In fact, The Ordinary warns against using that serum with any other retinoid: 


Screenshot from The Ordinary’s product page for Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion.Screenshot from The Ordinary’s product page for Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion.

If you’re starting Differin, you may want to switch to a non-exfoliating cleanser—something that’s not a physical exfoliant—to reduce the risk of skin irritation, especially if your skin’s on the dry side. 


I have dry skin. Technically combo skin, since my nose is very oily. I use a cleanser (Origins Plantscription™ Anti-Aging Cleanser 5 oz/ 150 mL) only at night, after removing any makeup. I don’t use that cleanser in the morning; I just water rinse my face. If I really need to wash my face in the morning, I use an oil cleanser, usually only on the part(s) of my face that need washing. I find that overwashing my face causes more dryness. Then again, I’m in my late 40s... your mileage may vary. 


Witch hazel is probably okay as a toner, as long as it doesn’t contain alcohol. I used to use witch hazel as a toner and it was fine, but I dropped it from my skincare routine once I started doing chemical (AHA/BHA) exfoliation on a regular basis. I haven’t done enough research lately to find out if witch hazel’s okay or even necessary with something like Differin. 


Do you have a sunscreen that’s at least 30 SPF? You absolutely need one if you’re using any retinoid. I mean you should use sunscreen regardless of what else you put on your skin (we all should :)), but especially with Differin. Even if you only use Differin at night (which is the recommended usage), you’ll need to apply sunscreen as your last skincare step in the morning. Retinoid increases your skin’s chance of sun damage. 


I’m sure others around here can chime in with better advice. 🙂 But from what I’ve heard about Differin—including friends who’ve used it—you’ll want a gentle non-exfoliating cleanser and a very good moisturizer. (The Belif one you picked should work.) Moisturization, sunscreen, and no exfoliating/scrubbing are key with Differin. 

Re: Cleansing Routine (I have no idea what I'm doing)

This helped A LOT! I was trying to find out all of this stuff online but I just got super overwhelmed with all of the info. With some of the products that I shouldn’t be using together I think I’ll use one for a while then switch to the other so I can see which works best for my skin. Thanks so much!

Re: Cleansing Routine (I have no idea what I'm doing)

@amandadawnj  You’re welcome! If you plan to alternate Differin and The Ordinary serum, note that Differin is a long term usage product. It’s meant to be used consistently for a long time. Otherwise you won’t see any benefits from it. 


What are you trying to achieve with each product you bought? I think Differin and that TO serum target different issues. 

Re: Cleansing Routine (I have no idea what I'm doing)

I've always had consistent breakouts so I'm trying to use products that will actually help me get rid of my acne and to help with acne scars, I've only used drug store up until very recently.

RE: Cleansing Routine (I have no idea what I'm doing)

I have combo skin (sometimes dry, and sometimes shiny) and I just started using the Fresh soy face cleanser and rose deep hydration cream. The cleanser doesn’t strip my skin and leaves it feeling plump and refreshed! The moisturizer is super hydrating without making you feel greasy!
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  • Screenshot from The Ordinary’s product page for Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion.