Embracing your beautiful complexion, skin tone, and all of your inimitable features is one of the best self-care methods you can practice. After all, acne doesn’t define you, dry patches aren’t the end of the world, and oily skin doesn’t have to last forever. You are, and always will be, more than your breakouts and problem areas; you’re perfectly you.
Everyone deals with skin problems; even celebrities fall into the trap of trying new hacks, tricks, and products to get perfectly polished skin, but unfortunately, there isn’t a shortcut when it comes to your skin. Building a skincare routine takes genuine care and fine-tuning, and The HBM is here to help you on your skincare journey.
But first, let’s offer a cheers to those who have established themselves a skincare regime that has changed their outlooks and perspective on their gorgeous skin.
I Found The Skincare Routine For Me
Nom Mtshali, a South African native, grew up with constant fear and loathing as she struggled to cope with her acne-prone skin. “My mom told me I was beautiful. She always made sure that I knew that,” Nom explains. “But when my acne was bad, I avoided mirrors. I was scared to see the reflection staring back at me.”
At the young age of 16, Nom began to experiment with makeup to cover up her problem areas and make herself feel more confident. “I was dealing with self-hate, and I struggled daily,” she says. “Makeup gave me an outlet, and it made me feel comfortable in my skin for once in my life.”
Nom continues to use makeup, crafting beautiful looks on TikTok that her viewers constantly rave about. However, she’s now incorporated a skincare regimen into her life that she worked on endlessly until she found the antidotes to her skin issues and confidence struggles.
The HBM sat down with Nom to discuss her journey through the skincare world and her success in finding a routine that works for her.
The HBM: Tell us about growing up. When did you notice your skin changing?
Nom: I’ve never had good skin. Ever since I can remember, I’ve constantly dealt with some kind of acne, especially on my chin. The acne was more prevalent in my teen years, though. The spots popped up regularly during those years, which was very hard to cope with.
Unlike most people, though, my skin got drastically worse as I got older. Instead of having acne mainly in my adolescence, mine would pop up well into adulthood with a vengeance. I would have a few months with no acne and then the next few months I’d struggle with inflamed and itchy acne. It was a never-ending cycle.
The HBM: Can you give us some insight into your skin type? (Normal, Oily, Dry, or Combination)
Nom: I have oily to combination skin, along with being acne-prone. I found out my skin type by testing products. When I used skincare products for dry skin only, I would breakout. I could see that my skin was really oily, so I felt like using products for dry skin would help me, but it just made my complexion worse.
I know this is an odd way of figuring out your skin type, but it’s what led me to become a lot more familiar with my skin. However, it was so frustrating, and I can remember feeling like I’d never find out what my skin needed.
The HBM: How did you cope with your skin changing throughout your adolescence and young adulthood?
Nom: I knew I had to deal with it one way or another, so I didn’t let my emotions take over. Everyone struggles with something, and mine happened to be my skin and acne. However, I was mostly at the point of no return when it came to my skin. I didn’t feel like trying to clear it up when I was younger because nothing ever worked.
When I graduated high school and began working, though, I started to take interest in how I could clear my skin. I researched ways in which I could bring down my skin’s inflammation fast. During this time, I did one or two Pinterest hacks for clear skin, but they ended up doing more damage than good.
The HBM: What were the Pinterest hacks that you found? How did they do more damage?
Nom: Trying skincare hacks became a cycle; I was always trying to find the new skincare “it” trend and hack to fix my complexion, but honestly, they rarely worked.
I remember trying tea tree oil for my acne, turmeric for hyperpigmentation, and clay to dry out my skin. While the others didn’t help me, the turmeric did. I used a turmeric face mask, and it did reduce my dark spots. On the other hand, the tea tree oil that I tried compromised my skin barrier.
The HBM: Did you see a dermatologist at any point to try and clear up your skin?
Nom: Around 25, my acne got even worse, and I was so over struggling with it. Plus, all of the fast skincare hacks that I was trying simply weren’t working. I felt like I was at a dead end. For me, seeing a dermatologist wasn’t an option due to money issues. I didn’t have nearly enough funds put back to make an appointment, and I was scared to find out how much treatments for my skin would end up costing me. This left me to figure out my skin with the help of Google and YouTube.
The HBM: What do you think had the greatest impact on clearing your skin– skincare? Diet? Lifestyle?
Nom: It was a bit of all three. I had hormonal acne, so when I would fast for weeks, my skin would improve a lot. I would eat more anti-inflammatory meals. Veggies and fruits became my best friends, while dairy became my enemy. I noticed that when I drank milk, my skin seemed to react horribly. Today, due to this, I’m a vegan, and this lifestyle change has drastically impacted my skin for the better.
The game-changer was using actives in my skincare routine. For those who may not be familiar with skincare, active ingredients have been proven in a lab by research to change the skin in some way; it’s an ingredient that has data behind it. Additionally, I found that simplifying my skincare routine was ideal for my skin. So I perfected my skincare routine by using only the ingredients that my skin craved.
The HBM: Can you give us a glimpse into your current skincare routine?
Nom: My skincare routine has changed a lot in the past few years. As I previously mentioned, I now like to keep my routine simple, but I didn’t always have this viewpoint. At the beginning of my skincare journey, I was using everything in the supermarket, but today I’ve gotten to where I only have a cleanser, serum, and an SPF product.
Here are my go-to’s for the regime that I’ve used for the past year:
- Cetaphil Oily Cleanser removes excess oil, dirt, and makeup without stripping or drying my skin
- Skin Functional Blemish Corrector Lite helps the suppression of sebum production and normalizes skin turnover.
- Skin Functional Powerful Vitamin A Serum unclogs blocked pores.
- Skin Functional Exfoliating Facial 1 improves dullness and uneven texture.
- Skin Functional Multi-Tasking Fixer is the game-changer for me because of its anti-inflammatory properties that soothe skin.
The HBM: What made you choose these current products? Was it trial and error?
Nom: I did go through a lot of trial and error, especially considering that I went through a Pinterest and Youtube hack phase. I felt as if I had tried everything on the market, so I was honestly scared to buy anything for my skin when I went to the store. Trying new things started to become horrifying for me.
My sister is the one that pulled me out of my funk when it came to my skin. She would bring me products to try, and honestly, she molded my routine for me. However, it was definitely trial and error until I found the right products.
The HBM: How long did it take for you to notice your skin clearing up?
Nom: It was very hard for me to show my skin and the new routine patience. I wanted fast results, but unfortunately, that’s not exactly how skincare works. There is no magic product or hack that changes your skin overnight. It takes time, and I found out that I had to work on being patient with my skin or I’d never see a difference.
It ended up being a month before I saw results, which for me, was quite a lot of time. The joy that I felt when I started to notice small changes in my skin, though, made the wait worth it. I felt empowered, and I had my new routine to thank.
The HBM: You have a pretty big presence on TikTok with 41.8K followers! Do you enjoy sharing videos providing insight into your skincare journey?
Nom: I actually don’t share my skincare journey too often. Mainly because it was a dark time for me. I struggled to get my bearings when it came to my skin. I did post one video, though, sharing my routine, and it blew up. People enjoyed seeing how I cleared up my skin, which shocked me and has caused me to rethink my content. I’m leaning towards posting more about my skincare journey.
Currently, though, I mostly post videos on makeup. Doing makeup is my passion, and I couldn’t imagine living without it. Creating makeup looks is my primary hobby, and now that my skin has cleared up, I love it even more. Plus, my viewers love seeing what new looks I post each week.
The HBM: Your makeup is always flawless in your videos. Have you perfected a makeup routine that mixes well with your skincare regime?
Nom: Yes, but like with skincare, you have to be careful. Finding products that work for your skin can seem like a task, but you can do it! Early on, I did learn that if my skin was flared up, then I should avoid applying makeup. If my skin wasn’t healthy or feeling its best, then the makeup didn’t do it any favors.
I do make sure my skin speaks to my makeup routine. To maintain my healthy skin, I’ve concluded that properly removing makeup daily and exfoliating twice a week is key. If I do these two things regularly, then my skin will remain healthy and I can continue playing with new makeup looks.
The HBM: Are there any tips or tricks you can tell us to keep our skin clear?
Nom: Of course! As I mentioned previously, make sure to always remove your makeup properly. A little tip that I’ve taken to heart when it comes to cleansing your face is the double cleansing method. It works like a charm for me! Plus, make sure to utilize your favorite exfoliator at least once a week. I tend to exfoliate twice a week, but my skin can handle it.
Make sure to always wash your hands before and after your skincare routine. You don’t want excess product ending up everywhere, especially in terms of an exfoliator. Apply SPF products even on cloudy days. Everyone needs SPF!
This one was a hard one for me, but try to not touch your face or pick at your pimples. You may see breakouts and immediately want to pop the pimples, but don’t. This can cause your skin to get irritated, which will make the inflammation that much worse.
The HBM: Do you have any advice for individuals dealing with problematic skin?
Nom: When it comes to my skin, I’ve had a lot of struggles and I went through periods that I felt like there was nothing I could do to get the radiant complexion I strived for. The dead-end doesn’t last, though. Pick yourself back up and give your skin time.
Your skin is a part of you, and to truly understand it, you have to listen to it. Figure out its quirks and what it needs. When you manage to befriend your skin, you’ll figure out the products that your skin will love. There are no shortcuts when it comes to clearing your skin.
Ana de Armas Shares Her Skincare Routine
Ana de Armas, an actress known for her roles in Knives Out, War Dogs, Blade Runner 2049, and The Informer, is constantly working behind the camera and bright lights, which means that she’s had to perfect her skincare routine to meet the stresses of her career.
For Allure and Who What Wear, Ana touches on her skincare routine and why she believes finding your own regimen is incredibly important. Like Nom, she’s spent time testing products that her skin loves, and she knows that what works for her may not work for everyone.
What’s your earliest beauty memory?
Ana: Oh my gosh, I remember using homemade exfoliators and masks with my mom — we invented them using sugar and oils. I must have been 9 or 10 years old at the time. Growing up in Cuba, I was always outside and on the beach. So I had lots of sun on my face, and the freckles would come out.
But as a teenager, you don’t think about that too much. I also didn’t really have products to put on, because in Cuba that’s not something you usually have. My awareness about taking care of my skin and protecting it happened as I got older.
What does your skin-care routine look like today?
Ana: I’ve learned to enjoy the time I spend applying my products and slow down a little bit. It hadn’t been my priority. And I felt like I spent too much time in the bathroom! But now, I make sure that after I wake up, I wash my face. I put on all my serums and sunscreen in the morning.
And then at night, if I put makeup on that day, I take the makeup off. I wash my face again and I put on all of the serums plus eye cream… the whole thing! I’ve become very protective of my little creams. So all of a sudden, I find myself buying everyone else their own so they don’t touch mine!
If you had to leave the house in five minutes, what are a few staple beauty products you’d apply?
Ana: Okay. I think I would go with Estée Lauder’s Double Wear Stay-in-Place Flawless Wear Concealer. It’s incredible, and it’s pretty much all I need on my face. But the Sumptuous Extreme Lash Multiplying Volume Mascara is also heaven. I love the color— it’s a really deep black. I love the brush, the texture, the consistency, everything. And then I would maybe just add the Pure Color Envy Color Replenish Lip Balm. It’s just perfect, and I would probably put a little bit of that on my cheeks, as well, and then I’m ready to go.
Do you do anything differently if you’re filming or have a photoshoot?
Ana: I have very sensitive skin, and it can be very reactive to all the makeup I have to put on every day when I’m shooting. The day before I try not to get a facial or exfoliate or do anything too crazy. I just let it be, and do my usual routine. I try not to think about it because I swear to God, if I stress too much, I get a pimple. It never fails.
What about on days when you’re not working or you’re just staying in—what does your morning routine look like?
Ana: Well, I wake up every morning, I take the dogs out, I take a shower, and then I love to go to my mini-fridge and get my rose quartz gua sha and my Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum. The combination feels so cool and nice, and then with the serum on, I just massage my face for as long as I can until it isn’t cold anymore.
You can really feel the serum penetrate your skin— it gets nice and pink, the blood and circulation are flowing, and it’s really, really nice. It helps me wake up! And then I’ll put some sunscreen on, get a coffee, and just enjoy the rest of my morning if I don’t have anything else to do. Which is rare.
What’s your beauty philosophy in seven words or less?
Ana: Less is more. This is going to be way more than seven words, so I apologize, but I think we oftentimes feel pressure to follow whatever is trending or use what other people use, and that just doesn’t have to be what works for you.
Honestly, sometimes I hesitate to give beauty advice because whatever it is that I’m saying is what works for me. I have tried so many different products that are super expensive or have a super cool and fancy reputation but they just don’t go with me. I think everyone should try to find their own way of feeling beautiful without following the crowd and what everyone else out there is telling us we need or should be doing.
Our skin problems are as unique as our skin type. We are all different, and there is no one miracle ingredient or universally effective self-care practice. You have the power to pave your own path, learning what makes you and your skin feel its most beautiful.
And remember, everyone deals with skin issues, and you are more than what you deem an “imperfection.” You are flawless, you are gorgeous, you are you.