I love skincare, and at nearly 40, my skin looks better than it ever has. But for years, skincare overwhelmed me. I didn’t know what products were the best or even what type of products to buy. For years, I struggled with persistent breakouts. It got so bad that there were a few times I even called in sick to work. I finally got a facial out of desperation (which was very tough on my budget at the time). The esthetician told me that my breakouts were being caused by a lack of hydration.
She said I had very dry skin. So, by treating it like oily skin, I was making my breakouts worse. I was doing everything I possibly could to dry out my pores so they wouldn’t create oil and breakout. However, since I had dry skin, that was leading to my skin overproducing oil. (Believe it or not, hydration is one of the most underrated habits for clear skin.) Using products that are too harsh on dry skin is a recipe for breakouts and can disrupt a healthy moisture barrier, which is key for glowing, clear skin.
Around that same time 8 years ago, I started using Beautycounter skincare products, which also changed the game for me. As I started using more gentle and hydrating products, my skin transformed. I also firmly believe that changing the type of product (i.e. designed for dry skin rather than oily skin) was only half of the solution. I also switched from low-quality, cheap drugstore products to high-quality products that were made with cleaner ingredients. Now, I almost never have breakouts – maybe 1-2x a year I’ll have a spot of two pop up.
Beautycounter has been a lifesaver in my routine and their line completely changed my skin texture. They’re committed to clean and non-toxic formulas. They have a huge Never List, with over 2,800 ingredients that they do not use in their products. If you’re passionate about using non-toxic skincare, Beautycounter takes the guesswork out of building your routine. They have a variety of products for different skin concerns. So you can mix and match your skincare regimen to fit your needs. My hope is that I can help you find the right products for your skin type so today I’m sharing an acne treatment routine using Beautycounter products!
Beautycounter’s Counter Control Collection is made specifically for acne-prone skin. The main thing people notice about this line vs. other acne lines is that it’s much more gentle than other acne lines. Most people won’t experience the tightness, redness, or peeling that they’re used to with other drying, harsh acne treatment products. It’s much more comfortable and works better. My husband has super oily, breakout prone skin and had tried multiple brands – he was even on Accutane at one point. Nothing was working until he tried the Countercontrol line, and his skin has never looked better.
Beautycounter also has other skincare lines like Countertime for dry, aging skin and Countermatch for normal to dry skin. (I wrote a full review of Countertime since it’s what I use.) But, how do you know what’s best for you?
If your skin feels tight after you wash it or if there’s no visible oil by the end of the day, you likely have normal to dry skin. Using products that are too harsh will strip the oils and create more issues, which is what I ran into. That’s why I’d recommend more hydrating skincare routine and adding in this Beautycounter acne spot treatment and/or their charcoal mask to treat breakouts rather than a full-one acne routine. But, if you do feel like you have truly, oily skin, here’s the skincare routine I’d recommend.
This is the step most people know they need but typically only wash once a day. I’d recommend washing both morning and night. Washing your face in the morning preps it for treatments and also removes any sweat and oils that built up over night while sleeping. And washing at night removes dirt, makeup, and pollution that builds up throughout the day. At night, I’d definitely use a washcloth to remove the cleanser vs. just rinsing. It provides gentle exfoliation and ensures all residual dirt, makeup, etc. are removed.
This cleanser has little exfoliating beads, which is why a lot of people like it. It uses a SkinBalance Complex (wintergreen and rosebay willow which help mattify, purify and reduce redness) and aloe vera, which work together to deep clean and soothe, while jojoba beads exfoliate dead skin cells. It’s super refreshing, and if you don’t have oily skin, this shouldn’t be too drying for you.
Note: it does contain salicylic acid but the levels used are far below what’s safe for pregnancy, so yes, you can use this acne line while pregnant. (I used all Beautycounter products while pregnant with no concerns.)
This rich, black bar is made with Binchotan charcoal powder and like all charcoal products, helps to detoxify, clean out pores and absorb impurities. But the Binchotan is also great. It doesn’t dry your skin out, so your complexion is still smooth and bright. It uses a palm-free soap base so it’s gentle enough for daily use on your face. (However, I wouldn’t use it daily cleanser on dry skin.) This bar is so versatile – I use it as a body soap and it’s especially great for back breakouts. I also use it to wash my makeup brushes.
If your skin is normal to dry, this is a great option. (Again, think through if your skin feels tight after washing. If so, you have normal to dry! It uses squalane, plum oil, and phytic acid to hydrate while reducing the appearance of pores. It’s a creamy, foaming cleanser that cleanses gently but doesn’t contain the same ingredients as the CounterControl cleanser, that are designed to reduce oil production.
Picking the right toner for your skin will help to balance hydration, combat specific issues like fine lines, pores, or skin spots, and help you see better results from the rest of your products. Most people skip this step because they don’t know what toner is supposed to do, but I find that it’s an impactful part of a skincare regimen when you’re using the right one.
This is the product that I think is misused the most from Beautycounter. It can be really drying if your skin isn’t truly oily. If you do have oily skin, this stuff is amazing for mattifying your face and minimizing the appearance of pores without stripping the oils that your skin does need.
It’s alcohol-free and made with the same SkinBalance Complex I mentioned above to purify skin for a balanced complexion. I only recommend this toner if you know for a fact that you have oily skin. If you do use this product, I’d suggest starting by using it just once a day before jumping in to use it both morning and night. Once a day may be enough for you.
The Countertime line contains Retinatural Complex, which is plant-derived, using Bakuchiol and Swiss Alpine Rose. These two ingredients are safer alternatives to retinol and help to renew and balance the skin. This essence acts like a toner. However, it has higher levels of active ingredients to increase moisture, reduce the appearance of pores, and leave skin looking more radiant. It’s clinically proven to improve your skin’s barrier function after one use. I can feel a difference in my skin’s hydration right after applying it! This one you just pat into skin – you don’t need to use a cotton round to apply.
Note: The Countermatch line also has a toner – the Countermatch Hydra-Gel Radiance Toner – but I hate the way it dispenses; it kind of shoots everywhere. But if you have combination skin, it will likely be a better option for you than the Countertime Essence, which is designed for normal to dry skin. I just hate to recommend the Countermatch product since the packaging is so obnoxious but the product itself is good. If you buy it, cup your hand and dispense the product into there, to minimize the mess, and then use a cotton round to get the product from your hand to your face.
Serums, acne treatments, and masks can be super helpful for clearing up breakouts. Picking the right formula for your skin’s specific needs is so important to prevent overdrying your skin and making it freak out. Apply treatments, masks, and serums after cleansing and toning your skin and before moisturizing.
If you have oily, blemish-prone skin with breakouts all over your face, this is a good option for you. You’ll use it just like a serum (which is the third step in a skincare routine.) This treatment helps to clear acne and prevent new breakouts from forming using their SkinBalance Complex and salicylic acid. You can also layer other serums on top of it. For daytime, you could layer Beautycounter All Bright C Serum on top, and for nighttime, you could go for the Overnight Resurfacing Peel. This can be used twice a day, but if you find that to be too drying, you can use it just once a day to still get the benefits while preserving moisture. A lot of people like to use the Overnight Resurfacing Peel at night and the All Over Acne Treatment in the morning.
If you have dry skin with breakouts or only sporadic, localized breakouts (e.g. just your chin or forehead), this acne treatment will be too intense for you. Try the Overnight Resurfacing peel, charcoal mask and SOS spot treatment.
This is what I typically recommend to people if they have some breakouts but their skin isn’t truly oily. It’s an invisible, lightweight spot treatment gel made with the SkinBalance Complex and maximum-strength salicylic acid. It’s perfect for drier skin types because it treats a specific spot and won’t dry out a large facial area. It’s clinically proven to reduce the size and redness of blemishes after three days. And I can vouch for that. It’s legit. I think everyone should have this since we all know giant zits always pop up before big events, like family photos or weddings. You can layer this on top of the the All Over Acne Treatment.
This is another product that should be in everyone’s skincare routine. While it’s designed for anti-aging, it also works wonders for breakouts. It’s a leave-on AHA/BHA chemical peel that helps to increase skin turnover, giving you brighter, tighter skin after two weeks. (I noticed a difference after ONE use!) Skin turnover is part of what helps with breakouts since it will help clear pores and tighten them. It uses a proprietary multi-acid complex to improve skin tone and boost clarity without irritating or over-drying your skin.
Glycolic, malic, and plant-derived lactic acids remove dullness while arginine and essential fatty acids soothe and nourish. Use it a few times per week at night after toner in place of your regular serum. After using the Overnight Resrufacing Peel consistently, I’ve noticed that my acne scars and sun spots have faded. My skin is more even, brighter, and soft. (This is a great alternative to retinol if you can’t use that, whether because you’re pregnant or have very sensitive skin.)
This mask is made with kaolin clay and activated charcoal to purify, balance, absorb excess oil, and draw out impurities. Salicylic and lactic acids help gently exfoliate your skin, so it feels balanced and clear and pores are minimized. It’s good for any skin type. It can be used once a week for normal or dry skin or 2-3x a week for oily skin. I also recommend trying this as a spot treatment for blemishes; if you already have it at home. I prefer the SOS spot treatment. It applies clear but this works well and saves you money if you already have it! Also, I have a blog post with all my favorite face masks, and this is on the list! ’m always shocked by how much better my skin looks when I use it.)
Skipping moisturizer is one of the worst things you can do for your skin (no matter how oily it is). A lot of people skip this step because they don’t want to add moisture to already oily skin, which makes breakouts worse –especially when you’re adding acne treatments to the mix. Your skin will overproduce oil and break out even more. No skin type should skip moisturizer!
This is a perfect moisturizer for oily skin types. It helps hydrate your skin without making it feel greasy and doesn’t clog pores. It has a really unique cream-to-gel texture and it’s super lightweight. Also, it uses that special SkinBalance Complex along with non-GMO cornstarch to mattify, reduce redness, and minimize the appearance of pores after one week. My husband loves this!
If you have combination or sensitive skin, this moisturizer is super lightweight and nourishing without feeling too greasy. It uses squalane, phytic acid, plum oil, and shea butter for brighter, healthier, more hydrated skin. The cool thing about Countermatch products is that they adapt to your skin and adjust hydration levels throughout the day to keep your skin feeling soft and smooth (hence the name, CounterMATCH). This is what I recommend to anyone with “normal” skin since it’s a great option for almost all skin types that aren’t on the extreme ends of the oily or dry spectrum. You can use this both morning and night, or you can get a night cream for a little more hydration over night.
If your skin is dry and breaking out because it craves moisture, hydration is key. This night cream is great for intense overnight nourishment. It uses two forms of hyaluronic acid, squalane, plum oil, and phytic acid to shield skin from moisture loss during sleep and replenish hydration. It’s thicker and more hydrating than the Adaptive Moisture Lotion but not quite as heavy as the Countertime Supreme Cream (which is what I use).
For irritated and dry skin, a face oil is a great option for boosting hydration since it can be added to any skincare routine and also mixed with a moisturizer. This one is made with vitamin C, black currant oil, and avocado oil for brightening and intense hydration. It makes your skin look and feel more radiant, hydrated, and smooth almost immediately, but the results get even better with consistent use. .
If you’re super oily, I’d pick a different face oil that suits your skin type better, but for most skin types this oil helps so much with dull and uneven skin. Beautycounter used to have a facial oil designed for oily skin, but they discontinued it unfortunately. Blue Tansy Oils are great for oily skin, and I’ve tried and liked the Dime Beauty Blue Facial Oil (use code TERILYN20 for 20% off). I’ve also liked the Primally Pure Clarifying Serum (use code TERLYN10 for 10% off) which is great for breakout prone skin.
I hope this post was helpful! If you have questions, feel free to leave a comment or fill out my skincare questionnaire and I’ll get back to you with some additional thoughts!
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