My Skincare Routine

A few weeks ago my buddy Sam over at the blog Pretty Thoughtful posted her skincare routine and I was shocked. Somehow she really only uses 4 or 5 products to keep her skin nice! But I’m sure it could go both ways, and she’ll wind up shocked by the extensive list I’m about to detail below. But first, let’s have a little chat about my skin and its history.

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This is my skin, plain and clean. It’s not perfect (check out that red mark on my cheek from where I picked at a zit!) but lately I’ve honestly been having the best skin I’ve had since I hit puberty. Ever since my lovely female hormones first kicked into gear when I was in middle school, I’ve struggled with oily skin and breakouts. For contrast/reference, here’s a photo of me from summer 2009, just after graduating high school. It’s pretty representative of my most common acne locations over my life, although now the breakouts mostly just hangout around my chin.


At this point in my life I had at least some vague concept of skincare — I do recall using an actual acne facewash from the drugstore and not just plain soap, but I didn’t moisturize yet, and when I did start doing that, I just used body lotion, which surely did not help either the acne or oil situations. But even once I started to get my head on straight when it came to my skin, it was still often a battle (although I know there are people with waaay bigger acne struggles than me).

However, this past year my skin has been SO well behaved (although still oilier than I’d like). I know this is partly because of some good habits I’ve developed, like drinking more water or washing my pillowcase when I wash clothes every week since I only change my sheets about once a month. But I know those two little things probably can’t have done it on their own, so I have a few other ideas how this might have happened:

  1. I’ll be 27 in January so maybe I’m finally aging out? (Please, please, please.)
  2. I take a hormonal birth control pill, and this spring I switched to a new one because the one I was on had been giving me problems. After my doctor put me on Apri, I looked up reviews, and saw people saying it had really helped their skin, so maybe that’s happened here?
  3. Or have I finally put together a skincare routine that actually works?

So now after that very long preamble, let’s actually get into the nitty gritty of what I’ve been doing for my skin!


Let’s start with washing! I wash my face twice a day — once when I first get up, and again at some point in the evening. If I’ve been wearing makeup, I do a two step cleanse, first with the Dissolve Gel to Oil Cleanser from Sonia Kashuk. It comes out of the tube as a gel,  then when you rub it onto your skin it turns into an oil, and then when you add water, it emulsifies and washes everything away. I can hear you all now saying, “But Krys, you just said you have oily skin? And yet you put an oil on it?” Yes, but I also put a lot of waterproof makeup on my eyes, and heavy powder to keep my makeup matte, and this stuff breaks it down way more gently than makeup wipes do. Although try not to open your eyes if you’re using it, because it will sting a bit. (Clinique’s Take the Day Off Balm is also just as nice for makeup removal, and doesn’t sting the eyes, but it’s twice as expensive as this Sonia Kashuk gel. So.)

My general cleanser is the Noxzema Classic Clean (and this is also the second step of my two step makeup removal cleanse). Whenever I’d complained about my acne over the years my aunt said, “Well have you tried Noxzema?” and I kind of brushed her off. But finally last October I said fuck it, and gave it a try, and I quite like it! It doesn’t make my skin feel tight afterwards like other cleansers I’ve tried, and it’s got menthol so it feels refreshing and tingly. I like that you can apply it to a wet or dry face — I’ll usually start rubbing it into my face while I’m waiting for the sink water to get warm. And it’s kind of solid, so it’s easy to put into a little travel pot and bring on a trip without worrying about it spilling everywhere. I found out this summer that it does kind of break down and get more liquid-y in the heat, but it doesn’t ruin the cleansing power.

Garnier’s Micellar Water is my “lazy” cleanser (and also great on a q-tip for fixing little makeup mistakes). I most frequently use this if I come home very late on a no makeup day, and know that I should wash my face before going to bed, but don’t have the energy. I’ll put some on a cotton pad and apply it to my face. It’s amazing how much stuff it picks up off of a bare face! Also, make sure you shake this before you use it or only the oil on top will come out. When I first bought it, I didn’t like it because I thought it was more oily than the only other micellar water I’d tried, but it grew on me once I realized it needed to be shaken.


Behold! My morning skincare! First up, we have toner — I’m not actually using Lush’s Tea Tree Toner right now (although I do like it a lot). That bottle’s actually filled with Thayer’s Witch Hazel toner in the Rose variety. I don’t have the actual bottle for it anymore, because I like using it better with this spray bottle. I just spray it on a cotton pad and swipe it over my skin. I haven’t tried too many toners, because the ones I had tried were really drying and I just assumed that’s how they all were (but it’s probably because I’d somehow only tried ones with alcohol in them, which is a big no-no for happy skin). But years ago Joseph Birdsong did a video about his skincare routine, and Thayer’s toner was in it. Joe has killer skin, so I figured it was worth a try, and even though I keep trying other things, I always come back to this. Witch Hazel is good for keeping skin clear, and Rose is soothing, so it’s a no brainer why this works. I definitely find my skin isn’t as good if I stop using toner.

Next we have my one single nod to the overly elaborate Korean skincare trend: Origins’ Original Skin Essence Lotion with Dual Ferment Complex. I’m pretty sure the whole essence lotion thing started with K-beauty and then migrated to Western brands. This product from Origins is supposed to hydrate the skin and help with pores and uneven texture. I think that this is one of the things that’s behind my acne clearing up faster than it used to once it’s appears. I’m not sure how much it’s actually doing all of the things it says it should be, but I like the way my skin is when I use this, versus when I use something else, or use nothing for this step, so you know, that’s good enough for me.

And then for my moisturizer — Garnier’s Moisture Bomb from their SkinActive range. I tend to stick to gel cream / water based moisturizers because using an oil based facial moisturizer is just asking for trouble with my oily skin. My go-to is the Ginzing moisturizer from Origins, but the last time I ran low, I picked this up because YouTuber Laura Lee suggested it. I’ve only been using it for a few weeks, but I’m not sure I’d repurchase it once I finish it because yes, it does make my skin feel nice and soft and isn’t overly moisturizing, but it’s got a fragrance I’m not too crazy about.

Also, if I apply too much by accident or rub too hard when I put it on, it kind of pills up like some silicone based makeup primers I’ve tried (Dr. Brandt’s Pores No More or Benefit’s Porefessional, for instance). I’ve just looked it up, because I was curious and had a hunch, and dimethicone (which is in the silicone family) is the third ingredient in it! So that explains why it does almost feel like I’ve applied one of those primers when I put it on, and why it acts like them. (Although for the record, I did just check on the ingredients of the Ginzing as well, and it’s got one of those pesky “-cone”s in it, but it doesn’t feel like it when I use it, and that’s what matters to me.)

At this point I can hear the record scratch to a halt in your head — “Again, I thought you had oily skin? Why are you going on about all this moisturizing stuff?” Well, there’s this weird thing with skin where if it thinks it’s not receiving enough moisture, it will produce more oil to kind of compensate for its dryness. So even if you have oily skin, you still have to moisturize! Very important thing to know and do!


And finally for this post, my evening skincare. At night instead of the rose toner, I use one of these Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Night Pads. I just swipe one of these bad boys over my face after I wash it at night. I’m awful at remembering to use physical exfoliators, so using a chemical/acidic one like this is very helpful to my skin. These pads have Alpha and Beta Hydroxy Acids in them (and salicylic, lactic, hyaluronic, and glycolic acids as well [Or are those the AHAs and BHAs? Not fully sure.]). Basically the acids weaken the bonds between your skin cells to speed up the natural exfoliation / renewal of the skin. I’m pretty sure these bad boys have been instrumental in my acne not sticking around as long as it used to, and also for the marks clearing up more quickly after I pick at them (which I know you shouldn’t do, but I often can’t help myself).

Since the pads are pretty well-saturated with product, when I use one I also swipe it over my upper chest area (aka, the decolletage) and also the backs of my arms (because I’ve got those pesky little bumps known as keratosis pilaris) to get the same benefits there. I’m not sure I should be using these every night, but nothing really bad has happened and I’ve been using them for months. So. These are kind of a pain for me to get my hands on — in my area I basically have to go out of my way to stop CVS or Ulta, neither of which are stores I go to often. So if I’m running low, and I’m making my weekly-ish trip to Target I’ll pick up a bottle of the Pixi Glow Tonic to use instead. But I don’t like it as much, mainly because of the scent. (I’m very particular about scents).

Anyway, so after I use a Nip + Fab pad, I use the Origins Essence Lotion from my morning routine. And then instead of my moisturizer, we have the pièce de résistance, my one item of truly luxury skincare, the Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask. I spotted this one day in the K-beauty section of Sephora, and what drew me to it at first was the scent — it straight up smells like watermelon candy. And the gel texture was kind of cool and fun. But it’s $45 so instead of buying it right off the bat, I went home and did research and when I still wanted it, I splurged. I knew I’d made a good pick / felt super validated in my life choices when one of the Sephora employees spotted me picking it off the shelf to buy it and told me how much she loved it.

Its main ingredients are watermelon extract, hyaluronic acid, and AHAs, so it gently chemically exfoliates the skin while you sleep and also provide hydration. And yes, it is a little pricey, but they give you a tiny little spoon in the box it comes in, and you’re only supposed to use one or two scoops at a time, so one jar really lasts quite awhile. I bought my first jar sometime in late spring and only bought my second jar in October. This is another one that I’m not sure I’m meant to be using every night but that, again, hasn’t hurt me yet.

So that’s the end of this post! Thanks for sticking along to the end! I was going to include face scrubs as well, but then this post got quite out of control because I felt the need to explain each item in such detail, so I’ll do another post of scrubs (and also masks!) at some point in the future.

Tell me about your skincare routines in the comments! I always get super curious and nosy about that kind of stuff. I’d love to hear what you do.




I had planned to write a post about something else this week, but then I remembered that Thursday, the day I usually set my posts to go live, is Thanksgiving here in America. I knew it was coming, and yet at the same time completely forgot that it was anything other than a few free days off of work. I think I kind of forgot about Thanksgiving in the sense of it being a holiday spent with family because while I know I have many many things to be thankful for, I feel pretty bitter about how this year has gone and haven’t felt fully positive and optimistic in months. I’ll go into more detail later, in an “end of year wrap-up” post in December maybe, or around my birthday in January. But right now all you need to know is that I feel like if this year was a big, sports-arena type scoreboard, it would read something like “2017: a bajillion, Krys: 0.”


I’ve tried writing this post from several different approaches, and all of them feel kind of strange and stilted and forced to me, so let me just leave it at this: happy Thanksgiving to you if you’re in the US like I am. And if you’re not, I hope you’re enjoying your holiday season so far.

Let us all do our best to keep in mind the blessings the universe has seen fit to give us, even when that is difficult because we are not feeling mentally or physically well. After all, I firmly believe we get what we give, so if we put positivity out into the world, even if it’s just in the form of inwardly appreciating the good things we have, hopefully we will be rewarded with more of the good things we want and/or need. That’s my two cents anyway.




“When are you due?”

It was Saturday afternoon, and I was stuck at the car dealership, as not only was my regular maintenance being done, they were also dealing with a flat tire that had turned up on my car the day before. One other woman was waiting at the same time as me and, as happens sometimes, small talk sprouted.

I misheard her at first. “I’m a receptionist,” I replied, thinking she’d asked, “What do you do?” And then she repeated herself.

“No, I asked, when are you due?”

I felt blood rush to my face. “Oh, no, I’m not pregnant,” I told her.

The woman I shared the car dealership waiting room with turned into a fountain of apologies, which I in my shocked state quickly accepted, eager to end the interaction.

In my surprise I didn’t have it in me to be offended or mad at her. I carry a lot of my weight in my stomach and when I sit/slouch it kind of gets all pushed together and forward in a way that could perhaps look like there’s a baby inside, especially in certain clothes. This is what I was wearing at the time (the picture is from last year).


This dress used to be a favorite of mine, before some shit happened this spring and the happy memories attached to it became painful. I still bust it out from time to time, because it’s still cute, and also work appropriate. But that empire waist cuts me off under the bust and emphasizes my stomach, again, especially when I’m sitting down.

Thankfully, I wasn’t trapped in waiting room purgatory with that woman for much longer. When I left the dealership, the first thing I did was park in the lot of the Home Depot next door to return a phone call from my mom. And then when I got off the phone I was hit with a wave of emotion, now that I no longer had to put on composed front for strangers. I’m not too proud to say that I started crying in my car.

I had occasionally joked to myself and others about the chance that someone might mistake me for a pregnant person. But now that such a thing had happened to me, embarrassment and shame overrode my “crack a joke to lighten the mood” reflex. I texted my friends about it and they reassured me, but I still felt pretty terrible.

I’m not a fucking idiot. I know I’m fat, but very rarely do I feel bad about it. I’ve reached a place in my life where I feel good about my body just the way it is, and think that anyone who has anything negative to say about all 240-ish pounds of me can fuck right the fuck off. (Although I do keep health concerns in the back of my head and try to make good choices as best I can, naturally, because while I love my body, I know obesity is not healthy.)

But somehow this one woman’s inquiry about a baby that doesn’t (and hopefully will never) exist turned my self-esteem on its ear. I felt incredibly self-conscious. I wondered how many other people had ever looked at me and though the same thing she did. I thought about how there were probably a number of people out there who had probably talked smack about me, at least in their own heads, because of how much space I take up.

I felt fat, in the most disgusting way.

I don’t know why people feel the right to ask about the bodies of people that are strangers, or who they don’t really know well personally. I have one coworker who will occasionally ask me if I’ve lost weight, phrasing it in a kindly “you’re looking really great” kind of way. I know that I haven’t; whatever I happen to be wearing on the days that she asks must just be particularly flattering. It just makes me feel kind of awkward, because I’m receiving praise for something I haven’t even done or really have any serious plan for pursuing.

And it seems that with pregnant people it’s twofold. The coworker I’m closest to is pregnant with her second child right now, and she was showing me pictures from the baby shower the office threw for her first child and in one of them basically all the other secretaries were crowded around touching her stomach. From my outside perspective watching her pregnancy, it feels like once you’ve got a baby in you everyone is so excited that you’re continuing the human race that they feel entitled to ask you invasive questions.

What if I had been pregnant but I’d miscarried? Or I’d recently carried to term, but then the baby was stillborn, or born with medical issues? Or if I was just fat, but trying desperately to conceive without success? She’s lucky she asked me if I was expecting, someone who’s only overweight and not interested in starting a ruckus, instead of someone who might’ve had a larger reaction.

But anyway, I digress. Let’s just discuss the rest of my day.

I had originally planned to grab an early dinner from one of the restaurants up by the dealership, but considering crying had made my face all red and awful that was out of the question, even at the shitty diner, because what if I ran into someone I knew? And besides I was suddenly torn between two competing urges: order and eat a whole pizza or not eat anything for the whole rest of the night.

I settled on something in between. I drove home, crying on and off along the way. I changed my clothes and washed my face, browsed the internet a little bit to calm myself down. And then I went to my favorite local burrito place and got my usual shrimp burrito, which is only just slightly too much food for me. I still felt emotionally wrecked, but not as emotionally wrecked as I knew I would’ve been if I’d just stayed home and dwelled on my thoughts.

After dinner, I had a really specific craving for rice pudding, so I went to the nearest grocery store, feeling every feeling from Sabrina Benaim’s poem “The Loneliest Sweet Potato” as I wandered the aisles.


The trouble with rice pudding is that only one brand really makes it, and they only sell it in a giant tub, or in packets of 6 pudding cups, which really is more rice pudding than I ever want during my weird, occasional rice pudding craving times. Basically after I eat a little, then I’m good, and then I’m left with way too much extra. But then I spotted it.


Single serving rice pudding. It wasn’t great, to be honest. The grains were bigger and harder than I would’ve liked. But it was good enough for what I needed in that moment.

I don’t really have a good moral or anything to wrap this up with. Just…please think before you speak. Don’t ask people weird questions that aren’t any of your business. That’s all.


Halloween 2017!

I know I’m a few days (almost a week!) late on this, but I wanted to do a write-up on my Halloween anyway, because this one was a good one!

The Saturday before Halloween, I hosted a little Halloween party for my friends at my house — I affectionately titled this “Friendoween.” My friend T was going to host, but our friend S has cat allergies, and T has two cats and a small apartment. S’s allergies aren’t too severe, but it’s still more comfortable for her to not be around cats, so since my mom was going to be away, I volunteered to play host. My friends brought the food, and I was in charge of decorating / general supplies like cups and plates.

I’ve hosted two of our friend parties before, and in the past my decorations have been kind of elaborate (balloons taped everywhere, tons of streamers and other odds and ends), but this time I went a little more subtle. When I saw what decorations and supplies were still available at Target, the theme I settled on was “sort of witchy.”


I pulled one of my family’s tablecloths onto the table, and covered our dining chairs with fake spiderweb. From the doorways I just hung gentle, graceful loops of streamers. This was more difficult than you’d think because I am short, lol.

halloween copy.jpg

(Don’t mind the black boxes, just covered up my family’s faces for privacy’s sake!)

This area was kind of my piece de resistance. This party happened during a weird period of time where we had two sofas in the living room. This one had a funny little stain on the cushions, so to make it nicer, I took this starry curtain that I used to use to cover the scarred ugly top of my old desk and tucked it over the cushions. We had that owl and spider in a box of Halloween decorations, so I set them out and then twisted some little lights around a length of streamer to make a garland over the fireplace.


Once everyone arrived, we wound up with quite a varied spread. And we also ordered pizza to have a “proper” dinner. It was so. much. food. But all so good! And then once we’d chatted and snacked a little, we went out in my backyard to photograph our costumes!


In September I was casually browsing Torrid’s website and noticed they had their Halloween section up, and that this dress was in it. Ariel is my favorite Disney princess, and I’d wanted to cosplay her for awhile, but I have no skill with sewing and it can be hard to find the right clothing to build a costume when you’re plus size. So this dress was an exciting find! It’s nice and soft and holds up well in the washing machine. I wish I had got it a size smaller, but it’s really not that big a deal.

Torrid doesn’t have it up on their website anymore, but you can still grab it at Hot Topic, in straight sizes as well! (Pro-tip for my fellow plus size girls: Torrid and Hot Topic have the same parent company, and sometimes carry the same merchandise, so if something you want is sold out on Torrid, check Hot Topic!)


My wig is the Ferrari Classic from Arda Wigs in Apple Red. A lot of people told me it looked really good on me, but it was kind of frustrating. I’d like to trim the bangs so I don’t have to pin them back, but I’m also terrified of ruining this nice wig, so pinning it is! My bow came from Tita’s Hiding Place on Etsy.


All in all, I’m super pleased with how this came out, and now I have a solid cosplay for any future cons I go to!

My friends did some good costumes too, so I asked permission to post pictures of them and they said yes!


L’s costume is an homage to Gerard Way from My Chemical Romance. She was listening to them a lot to get in the right mindset for drawing one of her characters, and the costume was originally going to be kind of a joke on the stereotype of an emo kid, but then she researched a bit about Gerard and MCR and grew to respect them a lot. I think she did really well with this!


T dressed as the extreme stereotype of a disgruntled art student. T knows all about this because they commuted to college at one of the big famous art schools in the city. This costume meant lots of plaid, fingerless gloves, scarves and beanies, and large amounts of Starbucks coffee.


Since I graduated a semester early, I was home while T was working on their last projects for school and I can attest to the accuracy of this portrayal, lol.


S and her girlfriend M both dressed as Rey from Star Wars. M (not pictured in this post) was Force Awakens Rey and S was Last Jedi Rey.


Didn’t you know a lightsaber makes a great guitar?


Then we went back inside and watched this Japanese horror movie that is nowhere near as scary as its box. House (sometimes known as Hausu) is a movie from the 70’s that’s mainly known for being kind of goofy, kitschy, and somewhat surreal. Maybe I’ll do a write-up in a blog post sometime! I found a trailer for it on YouTube, and it makes the movie look scarier than it really is. And I hope you like that song at the start of the trailer, because different versions of it are basically the entire soundtrack of the movie, lol.

Then after the movie we played some spooky video games for awhile until gradually everyone started to fall asleep on the couches and we decided to call it a night. Everyone had a great time, and I couldn’t have asked to have more fun, or better company. I’m very glad to have the friends that I do.

What did you guys do for Halloween? Did you dress up?

— Krys