My whole life I never really knew what kind of skin I had. In high school, I had super congested pores on my forehead. Not true pimples that ever really came to a head, but lots of bumps and clogged pores. I had the occasional breakouts too. But no one ever really sat me down and said “you have oily skin!”. Nothing in Seventeen magazine was helping me either. I used Proactiv for a few years in high school that kind of helped. But it wasn’t until my mid 20s that I finally saw an aesthetician and stopped listening to the dermatologist telling me to use Cetaphil. No hate to Cetaphil, but it’s not going to deal with this immense oil production in what I now call my bold T-zone.
Thanks to my aesthetician and finding great products for oily skin, I now have a morning and night time routine for glowing skin. This routine could also work with combination skin. You may just want to add in a more hydrating moisturizer and back off of exfoliating as much. Either way, everyone, no matter their skin type, should have 8 types of products in their skincare routine. But depending on your type of skin, you may reach for different products and ingredients in those steps. As a super duper oily person, this is my skincare routine for oily skin.
Best Skincare Routine For Oily Skin
For oily skin, a daily routine and night time routine are key for dealing with excess oil, preventing fine lines and everything in-between. There’s also most definitely a bare minimum I sometimes do for both morning and night. And may I add, sometimes I totally skip one or the other, and maybe both. It happens. No matter what, I always cleanse in the shower. And no matter what, I never go to bed with makeup on. But I don’t ALWAYS wear makeup, so you can see how that night time routine sometimes falls to the wayside.
Here’s each of my routines, the products I use, and the steps and order I apply each product. Adjust each of these accordingly. Listen to your skin (something I did not know how to do until I got older). If you’re getting dry skin in some spots, back off on the chemical exfoliants. If you need to control oil or breaking out more, maybe up the exfoliants and add in a mask.
Best Products For Oily Skin
Daily Morning Skincare Routine
Cleanse & Tone Your Skin
Every skincare routine should begin with a good cleanse (two minutes if you can), followed by toning. Any aesthetician will also say you should be cleansing for two whole minutes.
The daily cleanser I use in the shower is usually my Cosmedix Purity Clean Exfoliating Cleanser. I love this one for the summertime especially when I’m more oily. It’s an exfoliating cleanser that’s gentle enough to use daily. Shop it here →
In the winter when my skin isn’t AS oily, I’ll also use the Cosmedix Benefit Clean Gentle Cleanser. Definitely find myself switching between these two, just depends on how my skin is feeling that day. Shop it here →
After a cleanse in the shower, I follow up with toning. I use the Cosmedix Exfoliating Prep Toner. This is definitely my holy grail product and helps to exfoliate and remove oil from my skin. This product saved my face from maskne and also some dreaded chest acne after a very sweaty summer! An exfoliating toner for oily skin is ideal because it can help remove excess oil as well as dead skin cells and it preps the skin for all the serums you’ll be adding next. Shop it here →
Target Skincare Concerns With Serums
Once your skin is nice and clean and prepped, you’re then ready for targeting skincare concerns. Now is the time for serums to target any issues you’re having. I have a BIG post on serums here depending on your skincare concern. This is definitely when I add things depending on what my skin is telling me. If I’m feeling a bit more dry (rare) I may add a hyaluronic acid that helps to hydrate. I almost always am using a Vitamin C serum and have been loving this one. Universally, everyone can really use a vitamin C serum. And to target other concerns, I may sometimes use the Cosmedix Simply Brilliant serum too. You can also layer these and mix them. There’s usually no need to worry about mixing these active ingredients.
Hydrate & Protect
Now that you’ve cleansed, and treated any of your skincare concerns, next up is protecting. I am never NOT wearing SPF and the same goes for you too I hope. Even if you’re spending the whole day inside. SPF is the #1 tool you have against aging and if you do EVERYTHING above this and don’t add SPF, just throw it all out. It’s a complete waste. Straight from my aesthetician’s mouth, swear. All of the above steps are active ingredients and are telling your skin cells to turn over faster and your skin requires a good barrier. SPF is key. You could be doing more damage to your anti-aging routine if you do all the things, but skip this step.
For my daily moisturizer, I use the Cosmedix Peptide Rich Defense moisturizer with SPF 50. This is one of those, I can’t live without, products. Once I changed to this moisturizer (which was truly my first big step in investing in my skincare routine) I saw a true change in my skin. With SPF 50 I feel super protected against the sun and have already turned a few friends onto this particular product. This also does not have any oil in it so it’s great for us oily folks!
Nighttime Routine For Oily Skin
I am guilty of not cleansing my face every night. But that is only when I don’t have makeup on and have had a bare face all day. It happens. But if I do have makeup on, you bet I’m doing the full routine!
Not only am I washing my face for two whole minutes at night, but I use TWO cleansers. These two cleansers help to tackle the day of makeup, dirt and oil.
Cleanser 1 – Cosmedix Purity Solution – When I first got this I was confused because it’s an oil. But my aesthetician told me, you can’t remove oil with water as they don’t mix, only oil with oil. My mind is blown. This goes on a dry face then I rub it in for about 30 seconds, then wet my hands and do another 30 seconds to create a bit of a lather.. Then I rinse. I remove this with a washcloth. A washcloth is your best friend when washing your face!
Cleanser 2 – Cosmedix Purity Detox Scrub – An incredible scrub with salicylic acid. I pour about a tablespoon of this loose formula into my hand and then do about 1 pump of the above Purity Solution and rub it all together to create a paste. This scrub has chunks of poppy and date seeds and has an awesome smell to it. I always feel insanely clean after I use this product. This step I will do a couple of times a week as it’s a bit more stripping and exfoliating. If I’m not using my scrub, I’ll use one of the cleansers from my morning routine as my second cleanser.
Target Skincare Concerns
Just like in my morning routine, I also treat and protect my skin at night. But the products differ. Nighttime is designed for those more active ingredients that shouldn’t be used in the sun. Think your powerhouse anti-aging products like Retinol. These are best for being used in the evening before bed.
Serums – If using a retinol, I might skip this step except for hyaluronic acid as this can help with hydration from the drying effects of vitamin A. If I do not use retinol, I’ll use a firming serum like this one from Follain that has Bakuchiol and Niacinamide, or a brightening serum before bed.
Eye Cream – Cosmedix Elite Eye Doctor – if you are unable to get this (as it’s a professional-grade one you get through your aesthetician only) I also use the OptiCrystals. I have severe dark circles under my eyes and it’s just something I’m always going to have to deal with.
Retinol – Cosmedix Define – This product doesn’t require you to moisturize in addition which is great as the formula also hydrates your skin. It’s not straight retinol which tends to be super drying. I use it almost every night and have not experienced any redness. Definitely test this out though as everyone reacts differently to retinol. Everyone should be using retinol by the way. It’s the answer to anti-aging and helps to encourage cell growth. You can learn more about retinol and even plant based versions of this antiaging powerhouse here.
Other Anti-Aging Products – Depending on what my mood is, I may switch up my retinol and use something else. Rotating things out is a great way to give your skin a rest too as retinol can be a very harsh exfoliant. I also love my Beautycounter Overnight Resurfacing Peel for my nighttime anti-aging step.
Protect & Moisturize
This is actually a step I typically skip thanks to being oily. If you’re oily and find yourself waking up still very oily, skip the moisturizer. Just because everyone else is using a nighttime cream doesn’t mean you do too. I rarely use one. I typically just do whatever anti-aging product I’m using and head to bed. Every so often, depending on how frequent my retinol use is, or how dry the weather might be, I may add in a moisturizer on top of everything. But it is RARE.
The best way to up your skincare game is to add in a weekly mask. Masks can help seriously target your skincare concerns and make sure you’re seeing results. To get the most out of your mask, check out this post for the key steps to have a spa-like facial at home. Because throwing a mask on to a dirty face is a big waste of money! With lots of oil production, you may want to do a mask twice a week instead of just once. Listen to your skin! More stripping masks will be harsh even on oily skin.
Exfoliating Weekly Mask – CosMedix Pure Enzymes – This cranberry mask helps to clean out pores and is a stimulating chemical exfoliation. As in, you’ll feel the burn! Your face will be red afterward but it makes you feel like it’s for sure working.
Charcoal Weekly Mask – A charcoal mask is great for oily skin tones. I love the Beautycounter one and also the Detox Cosmedix mask. They help to pull out oil from your pores and make a world of difference. you can also layer these two with the above Pure Enzyme mask. Do the Pure Enzyme for 10 minutes, then add on the charcoal one. Then you’ve got one serious facial!