To keep my skin as happy as it is now, maybe even fade some of the faint leftover PIH and work on that healthy glow. I’m basically just maintaining what already is there and making an effort to stick to my routine.

Current skin state

As I said, I’m pretty happy with my skin at the moment, although there is some leftover PIH that I’d like to get rid of finally. I’ve noticed that my CCs can’t be seen in the morning right after I wake up, they only arrive about two hours later, but at the moment I’m just too busy to trace the source of evil.

(I’ll start with my PM routine because I think it’s more interesting that way.)


Cleansing & prepping
  • micellar water (from ~5€ for 200ml to ~5€ for 400ml)
  • Balea MED Ultra Sensitive Reinigungsmilch (3,95€ for 200ml)
  • [ SUQQU Gankin massage ]
  • Balea MED Ultra Sensitive Gesichtswasser (3,75€ for 200ml)

To take off sunscreen and (heavy) makeup I typically use three to five cotton pads soaked in micellar water. I don’t really believe in a »quick cleanse«, because considering the amount of sunscreen I wear on my face a quick cleanse means an insufficient cleanse. I’m still in the middle of my micellar water review odyssey, which is why I didn’t list any definitive product, but I really enjoyed Nivea and Diadermine so far; you might want to look into them (especially Diadermine, if you can get it!).

After having removed the bulk of sunscreen/makeup/sebum/dirt/etc. I always follow it up with the cream cleanser from Balea’s MED line. On days when I’m not running late I’ll also do a little Gankin massage with the cream; it doesn’t take longer than 5min once you’ve memorised the steps, and it’s basically the equivalent of a 30min morning run for your face. I strongly suggest you book an appoinment with a trained SUQQU staff, because they know exactly how much product to use and how much pressure to apply (spoiler alert — it’s a lot); I think that’s what I had been doing wrong the first couple of times. If you can’t afford the facial, or simply don’t have access to it, here are a few helpful links:

  • The massage, as performed by a regular consumer, with the individal steps from the visual guide cut in (I feel like she doesn’t apply enough pressure, though):
  • The massage, as performed by a trained SUQQU staff (starts at 0:13):
  • The massage, as performed by a trained SUQQU staff (you can see quite well how much pressure she applies):

After cleansing I use a pH-adjusting toner that conveniently also has a bunch of skin-conditioning ingredients (review to come). Further lowering of your skin’s pH is not really required if your cleanser is already at the right pH (~5,5), but it’s a nice extra that makes your acids work a little harder, especially if they’re formulated at a relatively high pH (4 is the maximum). (I’m already working on a post to explain the science behing pH-adjusting toners, don’t worry.)

  • Cosrx AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid (~17€ for 100ml)
    Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid (~15€ for 100ml)
    Skinoren 20%-Creme
  • 15-30min

I only do chemical exfoliation at night to minimise the risk of subsequent sun damage (although that wouldn’t be necessary with the BHA, as it’s, in fact, photoprotective, but I don’t have the time in the morning to wait for it to work), and I alternate between AHA and BHA, or I’ll to prescription PHA when I want to look really good the next day. (I’ll also skip this step sometimes if I’m too tired to wait 30min.)

  • [ Venus Aqua 24 Tissue Face Mask (1,95€ per piece) ]
  • Hadalabo Gokujyun Super Hyaluronic Acid Lotion (~10€ for 170ml)
  • Balea MED Ultra Sensitive Gesichtswasser (3,75€ for 200ml)
  • rosehip oil (~7€ for 100ml)
  • [ SUQQU Gankin massage ]
  • Balea MED Ultra Sensitive Q10 Anti-Falten Nachtcreme (4,95€ for 50ml)
    sebamed Clear Face Care Gel (6,29€ for 50ml)
  • Vaseline (1,45€ for 125ml)
    Balea Melkfett Ringelblume (1,25€ for 200ml)

After the 30min wait time, I usually go straight in with Hadalabo’s famous three-type hyaluronic serum (I’ll be upgrading to the five-type version soon!) and spritz a little bit of my pH-adjusting toner over it so that the hyaluronic acid draws water into my skin as opposed to drain it out (which it is known to do in hot and/or dry climates). On some days, I’ll also do a sheet mask, but they’re fucking expensive around here (2€ per mask, for shit’s sake!), so this is limited to days when I want to look really well-rested and fresh.

After humectants, I apply emollients, which, in my case, is rosehip oil. I’ve seen some studies that said it does help with PIH, and I’ve seen some that said it does not — it seems to work for me, so I’ll stick to it. If I’m in a rush to get into bed, I’ll only use about three drops on my face, neck, and décolletté, but when I have time, I like to use three drops, massage it in (maybe even do a second Gankin), use a little more, let it sink in, apply yet more, etc. Winter can get very cold and dry around here, and this method helps a lot against that drained feeling that I get from central heating.

I have a few moisturiser options to seal everything in — a heavy-ish MED cream with Q10, or the r/ScA-famed semabed Clear Face Care Gel, which I’ve been using ever since I discovered it a few months ago. I prefer the consistency and feel of the gel; however, it tends to be not moisturising enough for this time of the year (even though I’m combo-oily!). Once the moisturiser is absorbed, I usually top it off with a light layer of Vaseline or marigold milking grease to make sure that all the moisture I’ve added in the previous steps stays where it belongs — in my skin, that is. The science behind it is that petrolatum molecules are too big to penetrate into the skin; they just sit on top of it, not letting anything in nor out (that counts for moisture as well as for impurities, so make sure you’ve cleansed thoroughly before applying anything petrolatum-heavy).


Cleansing & prepping
  • Balea MED Ultra Sensitive Reinigungsmilch (3,95€ for 200ml)
  • [ SUQQU Gankin massage ]
  • Balea MED Ultra Sensitive Gesichtswasser (3,75€ for 200ml)

Cleansing is basically the same as PM, only that I’m not using micellar water, as I don’t have any sunscreen and/or makeup to take off. I recently started to make an effort to do the massage every morning to help me wake up (I’m definitely not a morning person), and it really does help to get me going. As always, I finish this stage off with a quick »spritz ‘n’ pat« of my pH-adjusting toner to lower my skin’s pH for the actives to come.

  • Maritime Naturals Vitamin C Serum (~20€ for 60ml)
  • 15min

In between this step and the next I usually get the other products ready, take my supplements, have breakfast, take a quick shower, moisturise my body, and pack my bag for university. Waiting 15min for a product to sink in seems like a lot of lost time in the morning, but it’s necessary for the ingredients to work properly, and you can easily utilise the time for stuff that you would have had to do afterwards anyway. Just don’t forget to finish your routine, and everything’s fine.

A quick note on why I’m not using my vitamin C serum twice a day: According to a study (the print-out of which I apparently lost during moving — *smashes head against the wall* —; if one of you knows which one I mean, please send me the citation!), the effects of topically applied vitamin C remain in the skin for 24-48h. I have my serum shipped in from Canada, and at ~20€ + shipping it’s probably the most expensive skincare item in my stash. My budget is pretty limited anyway, so using it only AM is in reality more about stretching the product to at least three months than following any scientific guidelines. Sorry to disappoint you, but this practice has no other basis than my own personal greed.

  • Hadalabo Gokujyun Super Hyaluronic Acid Lotion (~10€ for 170ml)
  • Balea MED Ultra Sensitive Gesichtswasser (3,75€ for 200ml)
  • Balea MED Ultra Sensitive Intensivcreme (4,95€ for 50ml)
    sebamed Clear Face Care Gel (6,29€ for 50ml)

As usual, hyaluronic acid, a spritz of toner, and a lightly occlusive moisturiser. In winter, I like to use a different MED cream that’s heavy but not as oily as the Q10 one, or the sebamed gel for when I want a light feel and finish.

Sunscreen & makeup
  • Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel SPF50+ PA++++ (~8€ for 90ml)
    SUNDANCE Mattierendes Sonnenfluid LSF30 (2,95€ for 50ml)
  • 15-30min
  • [ Vichy Idéalia BB Cream SPF25 in Teinte Claire (18,95€ for 40ml) ]
  • [ Catrice Liquid Camouflage High Coverage Concealer in 010 Porcelain and 020 Light Beige (2x 3,45€ for 5ml) ]
  • essence Mattifying Compact Powder in 10 Light Beige (2,75€ for 12g)
    CadeaVera YOUNG Anti-Shine Mattierende Tücher (0,99€ for 50 pieces)
  • The Body Shop Honey Bronze Highlighting Dome in 01 Golden (11€ for 6,5g)
  • Bourjois Little Round Pot Blush in 95 Rose De Jaspe (~10€ for 2,5g)
  • Maybelline Baby Lips in Peach Kiss (2,45€ for 24ml)
  • Maybelline Browdrama Sculpting Brow Mascara in Medium Brown (8,95€ 7,6ml)
  • Max Factor Voluptuous False Lash Effect in Black Brown (14,95€ for 13,1ml)

Sunscreen is my favourite and most important step; if I had to ditch everything but three products, those three would probably be cleanser, sunscreen, and red lipstick. I apply it in a fashion that some might describe as »flamboyant«, but believe me when I say that ¼ tsp ≅ 1,25ml is the bare minimum you need for your face alone. Since my sunscreens are mainly chemical, I have to wait at least 15min for the filters to penetrate before I can put on anything on top, so I usually do my brows, curl my lashes, put on brown mascara (I only really use black one in the evening or for special occasions), and get dressed.

The SUNDANCE sunscreen also has a really horrid white cast that only dissipates about an hour later, so I carefully (!) blot off unwanted shine, put on a little bit of the Vichy BB cream, conceal my dark circles, powder if needed, and give back a bit of life to my face with blush and highlighter. I like my blushes to look like pinched cheeks, so I learned to apply them mainly on the apples of the cheeks, sweeping in a sort of tilted λ shape over the nose and the cheekbones, taking it down to the corners of the mouth — with the right colour and pigmentation, it looks amazingly cute and natural. In summer, I wore the NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams a lot, especially Morocco and Amsterdam, but matte lips require a lot of maintenance, and I’m not really into that right now; I just put on a bit of the peach Baby Lips balm, which is quite moisturising, and has a strange way of making the face looking very awake and eclair. And that’s it!

total: 190,43€
time: Ø 90min per routine

It should be added that this sum is calculated based on the regular price of one single item; some I use twice daily, some I use once weekly, and most of them last me from at least three months to a few years, so this is the sum that I will spend bi-annually on all of my skincare and makeup. I may use additional steps like masks, more makeup, etc. from time to time, but this is basically my »capsule wardrobe« that sees me out of the door looking fresh and as awake as is humanly possible with those dark circles of mine.

Now, that was fun! Let me know if you want posts like this to become permanent, or if I should break it up in smaller portions, like separate skincare and makeup routines, maybe add body and nail routine, etc. Until next week!


This post doesn’t contain any affiliate links. Affiliate links and PR samples on PALE AS F∗CK are always marked with one (∗) and two (∗∗) asterisks, respectively.



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