It has taken multiple rude awakenings in the form of flaky skin and breakouts and a lot of disappointed lectures by beauty blogger friends for me to finally edit my beauty arsenal. If you asked me a year ago if I had a beauty ritual I probably would’ve blurted a bunch of products I have but don’t use. I do like buying products but back then I didn’t even regularly wash my face to remove my makeup after a long day. Disgusting, I know.

Luckily, the blogosphere is dynamic. I’ve made a couple of beauty expert friends along the way and have been constantly bugging them about what products to use. I’ve also been fortunate enough to be invited to a few events here and there that have taught me a lot more about the beauty industry which is huge and apparently very technical. The clincher, I learned, is that there is no one route or single go-to solution for everyone’s problems. I guess you can compare it to dressing for your body type- you have to find the right products to address your very specific skin concerns. See, the first rule is to know your skin. Observe how your skin fares throughout the day – does it become oily early? does it flake easily? Also observe how you absorb makeup – does it stay throughout or does the makeup lighten easily? Do you break out when you use a certain product? Always be observant of how your face reacts to what you put on it.

I used to make the most basic beauty mistakes like thinking rubbery skin after cleaning was good and using whatever was sent to me or whatever I saw on compelling ads completely disregarding the products’ specific uses and formulations. Don’t worry, I’m still not an expert. I don’t know what percentage of peroxide would work best, or what acids to avoid. (I’m not even sure if peroxide is used in beauty products – I think it’s just for hair?) Anyway, point is, I still don’t know much but I’ve started to care more about how products affect my face. So without further ado, here are the products that I use and swear by which you can test for yourself especially if we have the same skin type: dry, through and through.

1. Fresh Soy Face Cleanser – On a regular day I use this gentle cleanser. It doesn’t foam that much and has no beads (which I know some people specifically look for) but it’s so gentle on your skin. I’ve been using it for years since I discovered it from Sephora and I haven’t looked back since.

2. Bobbi Brown Beads – Because my skin is dry, I try to avoid using this too often but I do make it a point to exfoliate once a week. I use the beads with just water or with my cleanser. I love how I feel like I’m removing layers of dirt. This is also especially good when it’s cold and your skin starts to flake. My forehead usually flakes when I travel or when it’s cold. So this is my travel must.

3. Origins Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask – This one actually got me into trouble: scolding via whatsapp as it merited a “Why did you buy that, isn’t your skin dry?” question. I know I should’ve gotten Origins’ moisturizing mask instead but I personally zone in on blackheads a lot. I could literally pluck blackheads for an hour armed with a magnifying mirror, a flashlight and the right tweezers. So, knowing that this mask clears pores I try to use this it even just once in two weeks to minimize pesky blackheads. Plus, masks make me feel so glamorous. Despite ironically  looking like there’s mud on my face.

4. Bobbi Brown Extra Brightening Toner – To be honest, I have no idea what toner really does. I think it evens out skin tones? Anyway, I use it after washing and before sunscreen and this is what I use. #beautybloggerinprogress.

5. Neutrogena Ultra Clear UV Lotion – I bought this a couple weeks ago because I finally gave in to the fact that I need sunscreen. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I easily get dark spots on my face and that is not a good look- on anyone. Plus, it’s always smart to protect yourself from sun damage. It’s light and has no fragrance and I put it right before I start piling on makeup. Next thing I need to religiously do is put sunblock on my body.

6. Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion – I don’t use this daily although I should but I use it on days when I’m feeling extra scaly. Sometimes the skin on my nose just breaks from dryness and this is the fastest way I know how to hide it without leaving too much unnecessary oil on my face. It’s also a favorite when I travel or when it’s cold and I make sure to transfer a small amount in a hand-carry-approved container.

7. Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate – I’ve had this product for more than a year now but haven’t really had the chance to use it until recently. It’s now my absolute favorite and a product I swear by. Every time I use it (I use just two drops at night), I feel like my face is rejuvenated by the time I wake up. This oil does wonders and it definitely stays true to its name. I even make my mom use it.

8. L’Oreal Revitalift Laser X3 Night Cream Mask – I have to admit, I didn’t know whether I was worried or offended when this product was sent to me. I just turned 25 when I got this and I didn’t think I needed anti-aging products as soon as I hit my quarter life. It turned out to be a perfect gift because, as mentioned, my skin is unbelievably dry. So when I use this night cream my face is really moisturized by morning to the point that a certain makeup artist thought my skin is actually oily. #truestory. It’s that effective.

9. Bioderma Sensibio H2O – This was given to me by a beauty blogger friend I usually bug for beauty advice, Angela. She knows that I get lazy to wash my face so her expert solution was to give me a product that removes makeup effectively minus the hassle of washing. I love it – and not just because it enables my sloth. It’s able to remove the clammiest of lipsticks and the clingiest of liners. Even my mascara is easily swiped off. I get styes often because of mascara or the rare glue for falsies so having a product that effectively removes oil and the staining black pigments is a chemical miracle.

Sound off below if you have beauty advice or if we’re twinning on products. Beauty conversations engage me. Am currently working a post on Beauty Tricks For The Beauty Noob so watch out for that special compilation of mistakes I’ve made so you don’t have to commit the same beauty faux pas.