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Guess Who Has No Idea What He's Doing?

This guy! Hey, I've decided to start a skincare routine and downloaded this app, but I have no clue what I'm doing. I got a list of product types I need from a female friend but I was too intimidated to ask for more specific help because she kept implying that she thought I'm gay and made it pretty clear she's homophobic. Also apparently everything here has weird names and this whole thing is confusing. I am looking for budget friendly: 1. Cleanser 2. Toner 3. Serum 4. Moisturizer 5. Sunscreen 6. Treatments 7. Eye cream My specific concerns are pores, acne, blackheads, anti aging, redness, and uneven tone/texture. I do not wear make up.

RE: Guess Who Has No Idea What He's Doing?

Hi! I just got my boyfriend a full inkey list skincare routine because it’s so reasonably priced and easy to understand! The products all have very basic simple packaging with ingredients listed clearly and instructions on when to use the products and how on them! I cannot recommend the inkey list enough for anyone who is looking for easy to understand skincare or skincare on a budget!

This is a phenomenal suggestion btw - even if inkey list...

This is a phenomenal suggestion btw - even if inkey list isn't available in your country (my sadness in Canada we only get a partial line) it's pretty easy to find equivalent products once they've outlined the routine. They have a really easy skin quiz that will build a short or long am/PM routine for you.

Re: Guess Who Has No Idea What He's Doing?

Hi @LordKamiko ! Skincare can be overwhelming even for those of us who are extremely ingredient-driven and have researched lots of stuff. But my approach starts with knowing my skin type. I have combo skin: my oily zone is on and around my nose, which is where all my big visible pores are; my forehead's almost "normal"; everything else is dry with invisible pores. Do you know your skin type? You mentioned pores as a concern... do you have visible pores on your entire face, or just in one area? (You could have oily skin, or maybe combo skin with an oily zone.) 


I recommend starting with a very basic 5-step routine for AM and PM (well, 4 steps for PM): 


1. Wash - I can't recommend a specific cleanser without knowing your skin type but, generally speaking, CeraVe makes good cleansers. Paula's Choice also makes good ones; I use 2 of theirs regularly (one in the morning, the other at night). 


2. Exfoliate 1-3 times a week - look for a 2% salicylic acid/BHA exfoliant. BHA = beta hydroxy acid. Salicylic acid is a BHA. It gets down into your pores to clear out the gunk that makes them appear larger than they really are. No AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) can do that. Both AHA and BHA will remove dead skin cells from the surface of your face; this helps your complexion look less dull. My favorite BHA exfoliant is Paula's Choice CLEAR Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution (regular strength). Many folks love PC's Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant; that product has a cult following. 


You can also look at an AHA exfoliant, or perhaps one that combines both AHA and BHA. Just know that AHA alone will not degunk your pores. AHA exfoliants are great at treating uneven skin tone, though. Also, you can't really "shrink" your pores: they'll always be visible, and that's okay! But you can stop gunk from stretching them bigger. 


3. Treat uneven skin tone/texture and signs of aging - this is where serums come into play. I use various products in this category, but what's helped my uneven skin tone the most is niacinamide. For the issues you mentioned, you might like The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% 1 oz/ 30 mL . You can use this daily, AM and/or PM, and niacinamide plays nice with pretty much every other skincare ingredient. 


4. Moisturize - again, can't recommend a specific product without knowing your skin type. But there are plenty of good affordable options out there. I recently started occasionally using Paula's Choice CLEAR Oil-Free Moisturizer which contains niacinamide (hooray!) plus lots of great antioxidants. This moisturizer works well for my whole face—even my dry zones—in the current hot weather. (I normally use Youth To The People Superfood Air-Whip Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid AM and PM, year round.) I've tried 3 moisturizers by The Inkey List so far and the only one my skin likes is The INKEY List Vitamin B, C, and E Moisturizer . 


5. (AM only) Apply sunscreen (minimum SPF of 30) EVERY day, all year long - if you're gonna splurge on a skincare product, this is it. Sunscreen is the best preventative anti-aging skincare product. You have 2 options: chemical and physical/mineral. A chemical sunscreen works by penetrating into your skin and absorbing UV rays. A physical/mineral sunscreen sits on your skin surface and deflects UV rays. My favorite mineral sunscreen is Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Sheer Mineral Sun Spray SPF 50 : shake it up, spray it into your palm, rub it between your hands, and then apply it to your face for 100% invisible sunscreen coverage. Also, CoTZ makes good mineral sunscreens; you can find them at Ulta. My favorite chemical sunscreen is Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 . 


Whichever you choose, note that you must reapply sunscreen throughout the day, typically every 2-3 hours. It's not a one and done application product. 



By now, you've probably noticed different folks will give you different advice about skincare. 😂 If you can see a dermatologist (either in person or via video appointment), I recommend doing that for a pro's perspective and more personal suggestions. Plus, a derm can diagnose you with any skin issues you might have. I've known a few folks who thought their redness was just caused by acne, allergies, or rubbing their faces too much, until a derm diagnosed them with rosacea. 


Also: if your friend's reaction to your skincare help request was homophobic—whether or not you're gay—then she's probably not truly your friend. You deserve better. 

Re: Guess Who Has No Idea What He's Doing?

Hopefully you're not feeling super overwhelmed by all the feedback but to give you a different view I'd look at the ingredients you are using in your products.


For your ingredients I'd look at niacinamide, an AHA or BHA (that'll help with blackheads and tone/texture but start LOW so your skin doesn't get irritated).Vitamin C is another great ingredient for fine lines and brightening but tends to make products a bit more expensive. 


Brand wise - The Ordinary has a great price point at Sephora but is a little intimidating to sort through.  I think a routine would look something like this.


  • Cleanser: Cerave Foaming Facial Wash has got phenom reviews, is not expensive and you can get on Amazon or your local drug store. 
  • Chemical Exfoliant: Start using this only once a week! The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA is a great starter thats not super expensive and you can work up to 10% 
  • Serum: The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% 1 oz/ 30 mL will help with pores and reducing redness
  • Moisturizer: This is where it can get expensive - I'd check out k-beauty moisturizers here, they tend to be a bit cheaper. I'm personally using the Cosrx Hydrium line. 
  • Sunscreen: My sunscreen of choice is Purito because they have a mineral and physical and use centella/niacinamide in them so they will reduce redness and calm down any irritation as well.

Honestly, as someone who uses a toner every day (and enjoys it) I don'tthink its absolutely necessary, same with additional treatments and eye cream. You really just want a great cleanser, moisturizer and sunscreen and everything else is a nice to have.

thank you so much!

thank you so much!

Re: Guess Who Has No Idea What He's Doing?

Hi, @LordKamiko ! I'm so happy you're starting a more involved skincare routine, and I'm so sorry your friend wasn't more supportive. If more men put more effort into their appearance, the world would be a more beautiful place!


Sephora isn't the best place for super-affordable products, of course 😛 But there are some things I get at the drugstore that I think are just as good as anything on this site. They are:


1) Toner - Clean and Clear Lemon Juice Toner

2) Sunscreen - Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel SPF 50

3) Serum (Vitamin C) - L'Oreal Revitalift 10% Vitamin C Serum


In terms of cleansers, my favorite right now is belif Aqua Bomb Jelly Cleanser.


Best of luck, keep the BIC posted!

thank you I really appreciate the feedback!

thank you I really appreciate the feedback!

Re: Guess Who Has No Idea What He's Doing?

Hi @LordKamiko!


I think everyone should have great skincare, not just women!  And who doesn't like to have beautiful, youthful skin?

Based on your skin concerns, I'm guessing you have oily skin but correct me if I'm wrong.

I have some similar skin concerns like acne, large pores, black heads, and aging.


The cleanser I use is the Cetaphil cleanser for oily skin which can be found at Target for cheap.  I also like the Youth To The People Superfood Antioxidant Cleanser 8 oz/ 237 mL.

I wash my face with cold water to shrink my pores.  You can also rub an ice cube over your face!


Exfoliator is good for getting rid of black heads and dead skin cells.  I use the CLINIQUE Blackhead Solutions 7 Day Deep Pore Cleanse & Scrub .  This exfoliator is ok to use everyday but others may not be.


Some toners are for both day and night while others are only for night so look out for that.  I currently use one for dark spots but I'm super interested in the OLEHENRIKSEN Balancing Force™ Oil Control Toner since it's supposed to be good for oily skin, pores, and acne.


I use a retinol cream that I got prescribed by my dermatologist.  I use it after toner.  Retinol is great for treating acne.


The night serum I use is Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos™ Glycolic Resurfacing Night Serum 1 oz/ 30 mL for pores and uneven skin tones/ texture.  If you want a bit of a cheaper option, OLEHENRIKSEN Glow Cycle Retin-ALT Power Serum is a good day and night serum for pores and uneven skin tones/ texture.


My favorite moisturizer is the Youth To The People Superfood Air-Whip Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid for wrinkles/fine lines.  It's a lightweight moisturizer so it doesn't feel heavy on my oily face.


I'm still looking for a good treatment.  But I've had my eye on the Peter Thomas Roth Therapeutic Sulfur Acne Treatment Mask.


For eye cream, I use the OLEHENRIKSEN Banana Bright Eye Crème.


After all my serums and moisturizers, etc. are done, I use a cold jade roller so the products can really penetrate my skin.  I leave mine in the fridge or freezer and clean it after every use.


My holy grail sunscreen is the Japanese Kose Suncut Sunscreen.  I use the one in the hard yellow bottle.  It's waterproof, has SPF 50+, UV Protection and PA++++!  You can find it online or at a Japanese/ Asian store for about $15 for 100g.  Another popular option is the Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40.  Sunscreen is a must, especially with all those products you'll be using.  Some of the products may cause sunburns which could become hyperpigmentation.


These are some other products I'll be buying soon:

SUNDAY RILEY U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil 1.18 oz/ 35 mL   Salicylic Acid is great for acne.

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% 2 oz/ 60 mL


I hope this helps!

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