Two images of Brette Bliss side by side with the title "my simple skin care routine"
Habits,  Simple Life Series

My Simple Skin Care Routine

My skin care routine has evolved over the years from only using bar soap, to using bar soap and a moisturizer, using a facial cleanser and moisturizers, the 10 step korean skin care regimen, to now: using bar soap again but with a facial oil, a surum, and a moisturizer. My skin care routine has changed so much but I ultimately found that keeping it simple is what works best for me.

My Skin Care Routine Evolution

I didn’t get my first “real” zit until I was about 16 years old.  There are a few things I think contributed to this phenomena, but in the end its because it was about damn time for it to happen. When it happened, a friend asked me how I washed my face. I told her I only use bar soap. That was the wrong answer.

I had used bar soap for so long. I used it exclusively when I showered until middle school. Then I washed my face with bar soap twice a day and used a moisturizer (a body lotion, I know, I was uninformed) in the morning. I don’t remember if I actually used a facial moisturizer until after I switched to a facial cleanser.

When I was convinced to not use bar soap to wash my face anymore it was four years before I ever had clear skin again. I tried so many different skin cleansers, they were all too drying, made me breakout, gave me eczema, or were just expensive for the sake of being expensive. I think I tried all drugstore facial cleanser brands. The only one that really worked for me was cetaphil.

When I was 20 I thought “why did I stop using bar soap when it was working just fine?” After I decided to go back to bar soap, my face cleared up quickly. When I moved to the high desert, I added cetaphil into my routine and just used it in the morning for added moisture.

Then I was double cleansing and following an eight to ten step Korean skincare routine. I did this for almost seven months until I realized I was layering products I really didn’t need. I just needed a facial oil and a cream moisturizer. I even gave up facial washes other than my trusty bar soap.

My Current Skin Care Routine

Recently I started making a move to cruelty free and sustainable products. My rule is if the product is not both, it has to be one or the other. Cetaphil is neither cruelty free or packaged sustainably so I decided it was time to try to find alternatives. I tried the Bliss cleanser and after going through 75% of a bottle, I realized that I probably didn’t need this cleanser in my routine and my face had become a massive pimply mess. So I cut this step out of my skincare routine.

Last night I washed my face with a bar of charcoal soap, slapped on a small bit of moisturizer and went to bed. This morning, I rinsed my face with some water, ran a reusable cotton wipe with micellar water over my face, massaged a few drops of facial oil on, followed by a serum, and the same moisturizing cream from last night. I follow the lightest to heaviest formula rule, where I started with the thinnest formula first when layering products. My skin is happy and recovering from the experiment with jelly cleansers.

I have the “Yes to Cucumbers” sunscreen stick but I don’t like the way it smells and it makes my face ashy when I use the recommended amount of sunscreen. I may add it back in now that I have abandoned the Bliss cleanser, but I haven’t decided.

I still get pimples and I use pimple patches at night and the elf acne fighting gel during the day to clear those up. I exfoliate one to two times a week and use masks when I feel like it. When I have overnight masks, I use those about three times a week but I haven’t found any that I am interested in that are cruelty free. I also avoid wearing makeups like fondations or concealers. I have a concealer for those days I feel like covering something up, but very rarely do I actually do that.

I also loosely tie or braid my hair back for bed to keep it out of my face. Other than that, my skin care routine is very simple.

My current skin care routine is fairly minimalist compared to what I used to do and I like it that way. I even consider it part of my move to a more minimalist and simple lifestyle. Why have a complicated skin care routine when you really only need a few effective products?  Below are the products I use daily, I do not include images of the products I use every now and then.

The Amazon listing for the Yes to Tomatoes activated charcoal bar soap
I didn’t include an actual image of my soap, because it’s just a bar of black soap. Here is the Amazon listing for the Yes to Tomatoes Activated Charcoal Bar Soap. I use this at night to wash my face.
A jar of reusable cotton rounds, a bottle of botanics all bright with hibiscus micellar cleansing solution, the physician's formula bright booster oil elixer, the progenex collagen instant plumping serum, and a tub of shea moisture peace rose oil complex sensitive skin facial moisturizer
I use the washable cotton rounds with the micellar water in the morning and follow with the physician’s formula bright booster facial oil, then the progenex collagen serum, and finish up with the Shea Moisture sensitive skin facial moisturizer.

Note: this is only in my daily skin care routine, not my full beauty routine.

The products I use very now and then:

  • Burt’s Bees Peach and Willow Bark Deep Pore Scrub for exfoliating. Clorox, Burt’s Bees parent company, is not cruelty free, but many of Burt’s Bees products are packaged sustainably. I am willing to switch if anyone has suggestions.
  • Yes To face masks when I’m in the mood for them
  • Love Beauty and Planet Coconut water and mimosa flower body moisturizer when I get out of the shower while my skin is still wet.
  • e.l.f. acne fighting gel for small pimples
  • CorsX acne pimple master patches for nasty zits. CorsX is not sustainably packed or cruelty free but these little suckers are amazing and I can’t bring myself to give them up just yet.

The products that I’m currently using are not what I may be using next month. I’m still experimenting with oils and serums and brands. I really like physician’s formula, but I’m willing to change.

Know Your Skin and Be Critical of Skin Care Advice on the Internet

I realize as I’m writing this, that my skin is very important to me and the evolutions of my skin care routine reflects that. When I decided I wanted to know about skin care, I started reading everything. I was not particularly critical of the advice I received initially and that could have been a lot worse than the acne breakouts I had as consequences.

There are conflicting reports from bloggers and influencers about what you should and shouldn’t use, and what you should and shouldn’t do. Don’t make any drastic changes to your skin care routine based on what a blogger or influencer says. Do not do it. What you should do is take their advice into consideration, and weigh it against other sources as well as what you know works for you. Be critical of everything not coming from an unbiased medical professional.

If you really want to know about your skin, you should see a dermatologist. I haven’t done this, but I’ve never had problem skin. I’m lucky in that I just need to drink water, wash my face, and moisturize to keep my skin clear. This isn’t true for everyone.

If you can’t see a dermatologist for any reason (there aren’t any in your area, you can’t afford it, etc) just read as much as you can, be critical of all information you read, learn about layering and which products shouldn’t be layered, don’t pick at your skin (I don’t always follow this advice) and know your skin type.

Our skin is our largest organ and it can be our first indicator that something is wrong with our health. If you aren’t taking the best care of your skin, you aren’t taking the best care of your body. Self love isn’t about treating yourself every now and then, it’s knowing what you and your body needs to be healthy.

An unedited image of Brette Bliss
My skin isn’t perfect, but it’s finally clearing up again and I’m really happy with it. I’m only wearing mascara, blush, and chapstick in this photo and its unedited.


I am a writer and like all writers, I love stories. Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, blog and social posts, pictures, music; they all tell stories. My favorite stories are based in experiences. The human experience is truly magnificent and we all experience it differently. "Brette's Bliss" is a play on my name. I've spent most of my life worrying about whether I am happy or will be happy, and wondering if the meaning of my last name was something that would define my life or if I was simply overthinking it.  As I record my experiences, I learn more about myself and realize happiness is now, not in the past or in the future. This blog is where I share my experiences one story at a time to relive my joyful moments twice and encourage others to do the same. 

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