My cruelty-free skincare routine is easily one of the best things that has ever happened to me. It's gentle on my wallet, gentle on my sensitive, acne-prone skin, and gentle on my mind: knowing that no animals suffer so that I can get rid of some zits is a load off of my shoulders. 

May 2016 

bacon, beer
Olivia Clifton

Here's my skin at the height of its darker days, before my cruelty-free skincare routine. I had a full face of zits at any given time. They were hot to the touch, wildly painful, and took anywhere from three to five weeks to come to a head. I don't have pictures of my skin from before these days—because I wouldn't take any. 

As you can see in the background, I'd already turned to some more natural products to take care of my skin. Both of the pictured products are from Alba Botanica: Acnedote Deep Pore Wash in the bottle, and Good & Clean Toxic Release Scrub in the tube.

October 2016

Olivia Clifton

In this photo: two layers of full-coverage foundation, concealer, and a setting powder. I was a coverage master at this point, but you can see that every pore in my forehead had something going on—I wish I was exaggerating. Also, note the clusters of scars on my cheek and chin. So chic. 

By this time, I'd discovered the product line that was going to save my face: Shea Moisture's African Black Soap line. God bless. I wasn't using it as consistently as I should have, which was just laziness at its finest. 

December 2016

coffee, cake, tea, pizza, beer
Olivia Clifton

Here's my mom and I. (Notice her blemish-free skin? Acne does NOT run in my family. It's just me.) 

I didn't have makeup on here, and my cheek and chin scarring had cleared up with the Shea Moisture Black Soap line. My forehead, which was always the worst, had no new acne—just scars. December was the first time in years I'd felt okay without makeup in public. I'd finally gotten my ish together and started using the Shea Moisture stuff on the daily. 

February/March 2017

beer, tea, coffee
Olivia Clifton

Okay, internet! Here we are: no makeup, sitting in direct sunlight. (Shea Moisture didn't help my under-eye bags, but soap can't make more room in my schedule for sleep, y'know?)

I use the Shea Moisture bar every night in the shower, then follow with the Toner and Moisturizer after I get out. In the mornings, I use Trader Joe's Enrich Face Lotion, since it has an SPF of 15 and protecting against the sun is key for minimizing scarring on your face.  

Now, I'm not saying that it was bad Karma from using products tested on animals that was making my face break out so badly... but I'm not saying it wasn't, either. Even more reason to try out a cruelty-free skincare routine for yourself.