A drugstore routine

by Arielle Colon, MPH

Arielle is a Public Health Analyst at the CDC who is obsessed with Harry Potter, cursing, and finding the perfect lipstick. She has a black cat named Riri, who stars in most of her Instagram photos. One day, she will adopt another black cat and name him Drake so he and Riri can finally be together forever.


When it comes to skincare, I refuse to buy anything that I can’t find at a drugstore or Amazon. I even go so far as to use generic store brands every once in a while. I’m the type of woman that can’t be bothered with an extensive or expensive routine. With that said, you would be wrong to think I don’t value caring for my skin. There are plenty of quality inexpensive options that are also recommended by professionals.  

If there was one lesson in vanity that my mother taught me, it was that I didn’t have to have wrinkles at 60 if I didn’t want to. And let’s be real; I don’t. Because of this, I have been using anti-wrinkle and anti-aging products since the sweet age of 20 to prevent my youthful skin from turning into leather. My mom swears by some Clinique shit that’s too expensive for my taste, while I, on the other hand, have used and love quite a few drugstore brands throughout the years: from L'Oreal Revitalift Anti-Wrinkle + Firming Day Cream to Ponds Age Miracle Cell Regen Day Cream to St. Ive’s Collagen Elastin Facial Moisturizer (my current favorite). L'Oreal and Ponds come with SPF protection, which is really nice, but I like the way St. Ive’s moisturizer smells and feels.  

Other products that I believe will keep my face youthful (even when the rest of my body no longer cooperates) are clay masks. Right now, the market is saturated with all sorts of clay masks that claim to have the elixir of youth, or at the very least, superb detoxification powers. I have combination skin: dry in some spots, oily in others. During the weeks that I feel extra oily, I go with my Aztec Secret Healing Indian Clay. This mask is 100% natural calcium bentonite clay so it's very powerful and works well when it's diluted with apple cider vinegar or water (see here). When I feel like I need more moisture, I go for my Origins Retexturizing Mask with Rose Clay. Although this brand isn't technically a drugstore purchase, it's still relatively inexpensive and offers all-natural ingredients that won't irritate my skin. 

Washing my face of daily crud is definitely at the bottom of my skincare priority list. I have to be honest, I still haven’t learned to wash my makeup off every night. I know, I know, I’m terrible. But after a night of going out, I really can’t be bothered. I try to keep face wipes (or baby wipes) around for this specific reason, but sometimes I can’t be bothered with those either. I’ve never been one to massively break out (thank you, good skin genes), but when I do it’s probably because I didn’t wash my face or I’ve been eating too much food that tastes better than it is for you (e.g. lemon bars* and pizza). When that happens I skip my regular face wash and go straight for SheaMoisture African Black Soap and that seems to clear my face right up. This soap is made of palm ash, tamarind extract, tar, and plantain peel to calm irritated and blemished skin, along with oats and shea butter to moisturize.

I realize my skincare routine is a bit devil-may-care, but it really has worked for me all these years. Just ask my mom.


*Creator's note: Once, Arielle ate a lemon bar every day for a week and did, in fact, break out. It was my fault for baking them. -KL