My skin is far from perfect. It's quite fair, and can easily burn without SPF. My eyelids have this very
gorgeous unsightly purple hue. The circles under my eyes seem to get darker each day. My overall completion is pretty uneven and I have a very visible red undertone. Oh, and I'm acne-prone. That alone is enough to make all my other Mean Girls "my nail beds suck!" woes seem insignificant. Anyone past the age of 21 who deals with regular acne breakouts knows that the struggle is real...
When it comes addressing my acne-ish skin, I've done my share of product trial and error. These have ranged from one extreme (oral prescription from a dermatologist and Proactiv) to the next (using nothing but Apple Cider Vinegar and Coconut Oil) and everything in between (drug store brands, fancy department store lines). I have tired products that claim to perform miracles and they have done very nice things for my complexion, texture, etc. but the spots (a nicer word for "pimples), blemishes, and breakouts just kept coming. We're not talking about cute "once a month" hormonal flair ups either. This is around the clock, no-area-is-off-limits, stuff.
Can you sense some frustration? No one knows my broken record of complaints better than Sally. And after she got on board with True Botanicals for added moisture benefits and fell in love with several of their "Renew" products, she suggested I test drive their "Clear" line. I decided to do just that.
If you’re not familiar with True Botanicals you can get better aquatinted with the brand by reading Sally’s post about her experience with the Renew line. Or I can summarize: True Botanicals is a line luxury anti-aging skincare that’s made safe; all products are highly concentrated, made with bio-active formulas, and free of all toxins. Three are three skin categories (Renew, Clear, Calm) each with the same assortment of products but specially formulated (so that, for example, the Clear Pure Radiance Oil is different from the Renew Pure Radiance Oil is different from the Calm Pure Radiance Oil). But no matter which skin category you fall under (and there’s an easy quiz you can take to help determine that) all the products are formulated to have high performing anti-aging benefits. Each category and each product contains specific ingredients that will help address the causes of aging!
I did not need a quiz to tell me that I would most definitely benefit most from the Clear category. If there’s one good thing about getting consistent breakouts, it’s that you know where you stand on a skin spectrum! Lol, jokes aside, I was really, really excited to try the core Clear products and see how my skin did. Full disclosure: I started using everything below on December 8th (2016, obvi). I even took before and after photos – but the lighting for both (because I was trying to be a good girl and take them in the same spot) is so horrible that even with magic editing you, dear readers, wouldn’t really be able to see the true difference. But I think this is a-okay. Because you still have me and all my writing to take you through the month+ skin journey.
As far as routines and steps go, this one was pretty easy. Cleanse, tone, pat in oil, layer over serum, swipe on eye balm, done. I did this twice a day, every day, for the past month. I didn’t stray to other products or change anything (aside from using SPF during the day and an added heavy balm at night when I was at home for Christmas and the cold was killin me). I wanted to really see if I could notice a difference if I made a true switch…and I’m excited to share (spoiler alert!) that I did.
- Hydrating Cleanser, Clear: I admit, I used to think that cleansers were kind of BS. Don’t they all do the same thing? Take off your makeup then it all gets washed off? Well, yes. But your skin is an organ and super absorbent so you can’t just put anything on it, because though you rinse, the ingredients in the cleanser are affecting your skin. Moisturizing is the #1 tip True Botanicals has for treating acne. This cleanser is, as its name suggests, very hydrating. It’s creamy – doesn’t really lather but does spread well and can be massaged in really well – but once you rinse your skin isn’t striped. It feels clean (and is clean) but it doesn’t feel like you’ve washed with hand sanitizer or something equally harsh. It smells nice – nothing super strong – just a light, botanical scent and I had no issues using it each morning and every night (after removing my eye makeup first). The most special part about the cleanser, besides all the stuff that makes it hydrating and work for anti-aging, is that it has ingredients that are antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory. All three are so beneficial to poor souls with acne-prone skin! This sets the base to keep breakouts at bay, helps heal existing issues, and works to soothe old scars.
- Nutrient Toner, Clear: I loooove using toner. Ever since I read that using oils and serums without first using toner makes the products less effective I was hooked on the process of using a cotton pad to tone then following up immediately with an oil, serum, or both. I figured that the True Botanicals Nutrient Toner could possibly be life changing and it seems that I was correct. he Nutrient Toner doesn’t sting or burn (both side effects that should make you question what you’re using asap) and deeply moisturizes better than anything I’ve previously tried. Not only that, but the specific ingredients in the Clear formula get to the cell layer to eliminate bacteria while also stimulating cell turnover. I put didn’t do any extra exfoliation during the past month (acne-prone skin tip #3 from True Botanicals) because I knew that this toner was gently exfoliating without causing irritation or sensitivity.
- Pure Radiance Oil, Clear: The Pure Radiance Oil is True Botanicals best selling product. No mater which of the three categories you get in the Pure Radiance Oil, its main function is to strengthen the skin barrier function. Barrier? Let me attempt to break it down: a strong barrier is essential to defending your skin from the outside world (bacteria, infection, pollutions, sun, etc.); if you have a damaged or weak barrier, you likely have skin problems and probably some skin sensitivity. The super concentrated and active ingredients in the Pure Radiance Oils add strength to the barrier, making it easier for your skin to protect itself from outside gunk. Pretty cool, right? The Clear Pure Radiance Oil doesn’t just repair a weakened barrier and get it back to strength, but is formulated to balance acne-prone skin with anti-bacterials, antioxidants and bio-active marine ingredients. The oil has a yellow/orange tint and just a few drops is enough to be fully massaged into skin after toning. It’s not a dry oil – in that it doesn’t seep in right away – but it’s not overly oily either. The glow it gives is pretty unreal and I have no problem using it alone then following with SPF and makeup for the day or following with serum and jumping into bed at night.
- Cellular Repair Serum, Clear: So if you’re using an oil, you don’t need a serum, right? Wrong. At least when it comes to the True Botanicals Cellular Repair Serum. What the Cellular Repair Serum does is different depending on what category you need. The Pure Radiance Oil works its magic on your skin barrier and maintaining balance and the Cellular Repair Serum adds even more strength to the barrier (so essential if you have acne) and has targeted ingredients for fighting adult acne (!). Because as I mentioned earlier, more is more is more when it comes to making your skin barrier as strong as it can possibly be. I layer two pumps of this goodness on at night so it can be the last layer on my skin and really work uninhibited.
- Smoothing Eye & Lip Balm: Eyes and lips don’t usually get acne (can you imagine!?) so the Soothing Eye & Lip Balm can be used by anyone. And as I have become an addict of it, I think that everyone should use it. Sally spoke so highly of the balm and the moisture it added to her under eyes that I didn’t question whether or not I needed it. Covering up acne is one thing but flaky under eyes are nearly impossible to deal with. I dip my ring finger into the little pot, then dot and pat into my dark under eye areas till they glisten and shine. Sounds counterintuitive to do this in the morning before I apply concealer but let me tell you, it doesn’t mess with the concealer, just keeps my skin super moisturized. No flaking or dullness, just hydration and plumped up lines (I can attest to this). And of course, I really slather the balm on at night.
Here is what I can say about my one month of devotion to True Botanicals Clear. I 100% love all the products. Individually they are great but I can see how when used together they make the biggest impact. I 100% noticed a difference in my skin. I’m not currently completely free of spots (just really practiced at covering them up in photos, wink) but I wasn’t expecting that. However, the spots have become – dare I say – less frequent. They now have a shorter life span and usually start heal within 24 hours (which is huge because this means the bacteria and infection is out!). I see the most recent and red scars from previous breakouts becoming less noticeable and overall, my complexion is more even and less irritated. And hydrated! OMG my skin has never felt more moisturized, soft, and well cared for. I can easily deal with a spot or two at a time because I’m so pleased with how healthy my skin looks and feels overall.
You can see from the photos that I’ve gone through about half the amount of each product during my month trial. My plan is to do another month of the True Botanicals – or until everything is gone – and revaluate again. If I’ve learned anything with this little test, it’s that patience is earned and discipline is rewarded. I have a feeling that with three months of using just the Clear products that I would be over my acne hump and that I could continue using everything to maintain the balance and antibacterial, antifungal ingredients my skin so clearly needs.
So was I wowed? Yes! Am I 100% cured of acne? No. But again, I don’t really think instant skin miracles are a reality…I’m happy to be patient and use True Botanicals’ beautiful, natural products because I know they will make a difference in my skin health and beauty for the long term!
Whether you have acne-prone skin like me, normal skin like Sally, or Rosacea-prone skin – I suggest giving True Botanicals a go. They even have adorable trial kits for anyone wanting to test the products before committing to full size qualities. Win!