So you survived your first week of the #GlowIn6 Challenge. Last week focused on hydration only. Think of it as giving your skin a bit of a reset. Based on the routines I saw you all posting prior to the challenge starting, very many of you were overusing exfoliants and/or using the wrong products for your skin type. Now that we’ve taken some time to level set, we can get started with the real routines to address acne and hyperpigmentation.
Last week, you may have experienced some “purging”. I’m putting that in quotes because it’s not a true purge but more so your skin adjusting to the right products and hydration in the skin. This means that if you are an oily-acne skin type, you may have noticed oil production levels were maybe a bit crazy at the start of the week before balancing out. However, some of you have been tweeting about experiencing some sensitivities and more breakouts than normal. Honesty hour: this is exactly why I was hesitant to provide drugstore recommendations. The results vary too widely for my liking. If you experienced any breakouts using CeraVe SA Renewing Cleanser, I’d recommend switching to a professional salicylic acid based cleanser. Yes, it may cost more but at least I’ll know your skin will be in tact. Other important considerations that I’ve noticed people haven’t paid attention to: allergies and contraindications. Salicylic acid should not be used if you are allergic to aspirin. Additionally, if you had taken any prescription medicines for acne within the last two months, this challenge isn’t for you. Curology counts as a prescription treatment. Lastly, these weekly routines are very specific on which ingredients can be included each week. If you have added any extra ingredients into the routine that are NOT listed out by name each week, then you aren’t doing the challenge.
#GlowIn6 Routines Week Two: What to Expect
This week, you can expect to see less inflammation (acne) and a visibly brighter complexion (hyperpigmentation). We’re slightly remixing the routines and adding in our first targeted exfoliant. You will also notice options for those who experienced any kind of sensitivity last week. Read on for your complete routine remix walkthrough below. If you have questions, please feel free to ask in the comments below this post (I’ve turned on comments). As always, I’ll be on Instagram live (@fairyglowMUVA) later today and throughout the weekend to explain things in more detail.
I’ve bolded and underlined the new items/differences in the routines. Some steps will only be utilized on certain days which has also been emphasized.
Acne I: Week Two
If you experienced some sensitivities to the salicylic acid cleanser last week and you think it was the ingredient and not the brand you were using, or if you are allergic to salicylic acid, switch to a sulfur cleanser. Really, really good sulfur face cleansers are actually hard to find (don’t worry, I’m working on it!). And if you do find it, there’s a chance that it will contain salicylic acid. The hack is to find a sulfur mask (both PTR and GlyMed make an excellent one). Apply a thin layer of the mask and allow it to sit for no more than 5 minutes. To make removal much easier, apply a dime-sized amount of a gentle cleanser on top to help break up the mask and rinse away cleanly.
Why sulfur? Sulfur is a conditioning agent that naturally inhibits p. acnes (the bacteria that causes acne) from forming. It is really effective for all stages of acne and is also pregnancy-safe! If you go the sulfur route, please note that it may smell a bit stinky… that’s just how sulfur smells. If you can’t stand it, do the sulfur mask cleanse hack at night only.
The other difference this week is the addition of a BHA Exfoliating Toner. Notice you will only use that one day per week. On all the other nights, use the hydrating toner from last week. If you have a sensitivity to BHA, you can use an AHA exfoliating toner instead.
Acne II: Week Two
If you experienced sensitivities last week, you can use the sulfur hack detailed above or switch to a cleanser with a lesser percentage of mandelic acid (the Face Reality cleanser has 1%). If you went straight from CeraVe SA Renewing Cleanser to Vivant 3-in-1 Exfoliating Wash, your skin may currently be looking at you like WTF?! Reminder: the Acne II routine is for people who were already using those ingredients (BPO/Mandelic Acid). If you jumped straight into this routine without having used these ingredients prior, you likely purged a lot this past week. Unfortunately, that’s what happens when you go head first into the world of BPO but you should be seeing clearer days ahead in about a week or so.
This week, we’re adding THREE new things to your routines.
First up is a BHA serum for the day time. Something like the PCA Skin acne gel is just fine for this. You will use a q-tip to apply it over the acne lesions ONLY. This will not go all over the face. A little goes a long way. Next, you will utilize a BHA Exfoliating Toner two nights only. Please use the hydrating toner from last week on all other days. If you have sensitivities to BHA, you can use an AHA exfoliating toner instead. Lastly, you will use a spot treatment every other night. Majority of spot treatments contain some amount of Benzoyl Peroxide but some can be salicylic acid based. Use a q-tip to apply the spot treatment over just the acne lesions ONLY. It does not go all over your face. If you find the spot treatment irritating, just leave it on for 10 minutes and then wash it off before completing the rest of your routine.
WASH YOUR HANDS AFTER COMPLETING THIS ROUTINE. Transfer can lead to more irritation.
Hyperpigmentation I: Week Two
This routine is still super simple. The only addition is a Vitamin C serum and AHA Exfoliating Toner. Start low + slow with the Vitamin C. I recommend a serum at 8-10% for beginners. Anything else might feel “spicy”.
If you had sensitivities to your cleanser last week, I recommend switching to a gentle, milky lactic acid cleanser. Also, pay attention to the order you’ll layer your serums. Sensitive skin can be more reactive to Vitamin C, so I advise applying hyaluronic acid first to help buffer.
You will only utilize the AHA Exfoliating Toner one night ONLY. Please use the hydrating toner from last week all other nights.
Hyperpigmentation II: Week Two
If you had any sensitivities last week, you can substitute your cleanser for a gentle, milky lactic cleanser or find a cleanser with a lower percentage of glycolic or mandelic acid.
During the day, you’ll utilize a Vitamin C serum. If you already used one in your routine prior to starting this challenge then you can continue using what you had. If you’ve never used a Vitamin C serum, I recommend you start with one between 8%-10% concentration. Please pay attention to the suggested layering of serums based on your skin sensitivity.
You will utilize an AHA exfoliating toner two nights this week. Please use the hydrating toner from last week on all other nights.
Lastly, you will utilize a hyperpigmentation spot treatment nightly. It is rare to see spot treatments specifically for hyperpigmentation so using a hyperpigmentation serum as a spot treatment is totally fine. Use a q-tip to apply the hyperpigmentation serum over the hyperpigmented areas of your face ONLY. It does not go all over the face. Alternatively, you can use your fingertips and press into the skin. Do not “rub” or apply like a lotion.
If your skin has been a bit more reactive in the past week, skip the hyperpigmentation spot treatment and stick to the Vitamin C routine at night.
Leave a question in the comments below. I’m answering all weekend!
This is great! My only question is for the PCA skin acne gel, I want to get it in time to use for week 2 and not sure that Dermstore will have it ready. I saw that Walmart has it online and get it to me by Monday. Is that safe?
If Walmart is listed as an official retailer then that should be fine.
I was just put on a 2 week course of doxycycline (not specifically for acne), does this mean I shouldn’t finish the challenge?
I would suggest following the instructions given to you by your dermatologist. If there are any products they suggest you don’t use, then you may have to stop the challenge.
I fall under the Acne 1 category but I’m experiencing breakouts/purging and I wanted to try a spot treatment. I knows it’s not part of the routine. Should I wait until Wednesday and see if the BHA helps?
If you’re not following the routines as directed, then you aren’t taking the challenge.
I’m doing the acne 1 routine and I’ve just bought Neutrogena Blackhead Eliminating toner for the salicylic toner. I checked the ingredients and salicylic is the sixth ingredient in the list, I was wondering if this is ok to use or will I need to buy another one? Any help is greatly appreciated and thank you so much for taking the time out to make these routines for us!!
That should be fine.
What do you recommend as a hyperpigmentation spot treatment?
Can I substitute the Aha toner for an AHA serum? I’m trying to do the challenge but also trying not to make unnecessary purchases 🤷🏾♀️
For specific product recommendations, you’d need to book an appointment 🙂
You can’t substitute anything in the challenge unless you have a sensitivity and an alternative has been provided.
Hi! I’ve been loving this challenge so far. Is the Biologique Recherche P50 considered an AHA toner? Thank you!
There are about 4 different P50’s but I’m assuming you mean the original 1970? It is lactic acid based so yes.
Is the Paulas Choice SKIN PERFECTING 2% BHA Liquid Salicylic Acid Exfoliant considered a serum or exfoliant?
It’s an exfoliating toner, despite what they say on their website. I also wouldn’t recommend anyone use it as directed on their website. Do not put this over your eyes please.
After the challenge, will we continue this routine of alternating products each week every 6 weeks? Also, is there new chemicals and products to avoid this week? Thank you! Acne 2 btw
By the end of this challenge, you should learn what works for your skin type and what doesn’t. You should not continue alternating products week by week. This challenges assumes two things:
1) You don’t know WTF you’re doing with your skin and;
2) You have never properly used any skin care products
When this is all over with, you should have a solid routine, know what products your skin can/can’t tolerate, and also learn how to incorporate new products when a new skin care issue arises. Week three will be the last week we’re incorporating new items (unless you have sensitivities).
What is an example of a spot treatment for HPI routine?
I don’t provide specific product recommendations. Please look for the ingredients mentioned. You can also find a wealth of information on this very blog in the older posts.
I’m a little confused for acne 2! I bought stuff before the challenge of all the stuff you listed on the first page of the #glowin6 challenge but I’m not sure if listed a BHA serum? Maybe it did but I just didn’t recognize it? I have the Effaclar Duo Acne Treatment stuff that comes in the pack of three with the cleanser and toner. Could I use that for the BHA serum and the Adaplene Gel as my spot treatment?
That kit doesn’t have a BHA serum. I wouldn’t recommend using Duo during the day and the challenge doesn’t include adapalene gel at this time.
I’m sorry I’m still so confused! What do you recommend using then? Cause I was following what was listed on the first blog post for Acne 2: Grape seed oil > PCA Skin BPO 5% > La Roche-Posay Effaclar Clarifying Solution > La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo (Day)/CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol -OR- Differin (Night) > Hyaluronic Acid + Bliss Pore Patrol > Elta MD AM/PM Facial Moisturizer > Supergoop Everyday SPF 50 (Daytime)/Aquaphor/CeraVe Healing Ointment/Vaseline (night)
I just took some stuff out for the week one routine like you suggested. So I shouldn’t use duo for the day? What BHA serum do you suggest? Sorry, I hope I’m not coming off aggressive, I just want to make sure what I’m doing is right!!
You should follow the ingredients week by week. The initial blog post gave EXAMPLES of ALL products one might use for the entire challenge.
I am doing the Acne II routine, but had a hard time finding a bha serum. I went to target and bought the Versed Clarifying Serum because in the ingredient list it contains salicylic acid. You mentioned you preferred less than 2%. I’m assuming since its not a highlighted ingredient in the product I should be safe with the SA being <2% ?
Typically brands may list the amount of salicylic acid if it’s an active treatment. It’s usually labeled under “Active Ingredients”. If it doesn’t have that and you’re really particular about the percentage/amount, you can reach out the manufacturer. However, most OTC products contain 2% SA.
Thank you for all the info you give, you have been so so helpful for my skin. Sorry if this is a stupid question but I was wondering if you go to the gym at like 11 (after a class for example) would it best to just put sunscreen on first thing in the morning and do the full routine after the gym or do the full routine first thing and then just cleanse and moisture after the gym.
Thank you again!
You probably should do the full routine first thing in the morning.
I have participated in week one of the challenge for HP 2, my skin is plump and hydrated however my tzone has been oily AF. These are the products used. Im in South Africa so I wouldn’t have got the recommended products in time so I didnt bother ordering. I used :
1. DermaFix Mandeli cleanser (I can send you image of ingredients list)
2. Pyunkang Yul Mist
3. TO Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
4. CosRx Hyaluronic Acid Serum
5. Neutrogena Hydroboost Water Gel (to Moisturize)
6. Eucerin Oil Control SPF 50
In the evening eucerin Aquaphor instead of SPF
Im ready to start week 2 with addition of TO Glycolic Toner and Klairs vitamin C. However this oily tzone us bothering me. Shall I proceed or invest in different products and wait until they ship. I have experienced NO sensitivity and NO breakouts.
As mentioned in the post above, the oiliness you’re experiencing is likely your skin adjusting to the right products and hydration.
Can PAULA’S CHOICE BOOST 10% AZELAIC ACID BOOSTER be used as spot treatment for HP2? If not can you recommend at least 3 other options. I’m based in South Africa so sometimes it’s hard getting some products / brands.
Azelaic acid works really slowly by itself and it would take much longer than 6 weeks to see results when used alone. For this reason, I suggest looking for a serum that specifically targets “hyperpigmentation” and “dark spots”. These types of serums will likely include azelaic acid alongside other alpha-hydroxy acids and tyrosinase inhibitors such as kojic acid, arbutin, and vanillin.
Hi! I’m sensitive to salicylic acid, so I’m going to start the challenge from week one using a sulfur cleanser. Would you recommend the cleanser by Kate Somerville? It seems to be the only one I can find that contains sulfur but no salicylic acid.
Let us know how you like that cleanser!
I am using the HP 2 routine, Can I use TO Alpha Arbutin as a hyperpigmentation spot treatment?
Thanks so much for putting this challenge together. It’s really helped me stay more consistent with my routine.
Yes, that should be fine.
do you offer personalized online consultations? i would be interested in purchasing if you do 🙂
I don’t currently but it is something I *might* offer for one month sometime this year. Haven’t decided yet. All first-time facials come with personalized recommendations and a custom routine though. You can book at fairyglowmother.com/book.
My skin has had no bad reaction to TO niacinamide but I want to upgrade to a better formula that has hyaluronic acid. Can I switch to PCA Skin Hyaluronic Acid Boosting Serum or PCA Skin Vit B3 Serum without starting week 1 from stratch for HP2? I know you don’t do product recommendations but of these two which do you like best and which will work best with PCA 0.5 retinol as a spot treatment for week 2. Thanks. V
Retinol isn’t in the regimen this week.
But I saw PCA Skin 0.5 retinol intensive brightening in your hyperpigmentation treatment thread on twitter and you adviced to use it as spot treatment on those areas. There were 4 options pca pigment gel HQ Free, the pca 0.5 retion brightening, the dermaquest one and another one. Please clarify as I used PCA 0.5 Brightening as spot treatment on HPII week 2. Was I wrong?
Yes, because Retinol wasn’t listed as an ingredient for use. This challenge goes by INGREDIENTS not products.
Good morning. Thank you so much for this challenge! I noticed that the oil cleanser is gone from the HPl night routine. As far as makeup removal goes, is starting off with just the Cerave SA (which is what I use) ok or do I need to remove my makeup another way then start the routine? Thank you again for your valuable time and great tips!
You should definitely use an oil or balm cleanser to remove your makeup.
Hiii, been doing the HPII routine last week, I was having doubts about the hyperpigmentation spot treatment. Can I use Differin for that, as it contains adapalene? Or should it be like an AHA serum?
Can I use an AHA serum in place of the BHA serum? I have adverse reactions to salicylic acid
No. If you’re allergic to BHA please use Sulfur as an alternative for the same results.
Hi, why is there no oil cleanser/ oil in HPll is okay if I add it in? Thank you!
Oil cleansing isn’t as imperative for those who don’t have acne and there aren’t significantly better results one may get by oil cleansing for lifting hyperpigmentation. However, if one is wearing makeup or working out/sweating heavily, I definitely recommend oil cleansing. So if either of those are the case for you, yes please add it in! And if neither applies, congrats! You can skip a step!
Why do you need a gel moisturizer and then another light moisturizer for mild acne?
It’s wintertime in the US. A gel moisturizer by itself is just fine for the summer months when it’s more warm and the air is moist. During the winter, using a gel moisturizer only can actually make your skin more dehydrated. So you want to be sure you use a slightly heavier moisturizer on top to prevent dehydration. In general, oily skin types benefit greatly from gel moisturizers as they help with balancing oil production.
I am a little late to the party here, but I recently started the Acne 1 (week 1) routine on Sunday. I usually don’t experience breakouts, but for a couple of weeks I had been. I think that it was mainly related to the foods that I had been eating, and hormonal acne. My acne has cleared since then, but it has left some dark spots on my skin. Is there a safe way to transition to the HP1 routine, or would you even recommend it?
I wouldn’t recommend it.
Hello. First of all thank you for being kind enough to share your knowledge with us🥺💖 I was wanting to book a facial with you. It would be my first time ever getting a facial and I was just wondering like if I get a facial would you be able to provide maybe product suggestions? I work at Sephora so idk if it’s possible for them to be sold at store based but if I need professional grade products I’m totally open to the idea. Preferably I’d like to save money if possible. Again thank you! 🙂
Yes, all facials come with product suggestions as part of the customized routine you receive.