The English Major With A Drugstore Acne Routine

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The #ITGTopShelfie interview series focuses on the beauty routines of Into The Gloss' lovely, accomplished, and loyal community of readers. Submit your own on Instagram—post your Top Shelfie (tag us @intothegloss!) and include the hashtag #ITGTopShelfie for a chance to be featured on ITG.

"Hi! I’m Pauliina Kääriäinen (@pauliinakiero) and I'm an English major from Finland. When I’m not desperately trying to keep up with essay deadlines, I like watching bad reality TV and going to indie rock gigs. I also co-host a True Crime podcast called Huorapuutarha. Right now I’m on Erasmus exchange in Dublin, Ireland. Moving to another country for four months forced me to strip down my beauty routine, which was stressful, but also helped me realize which products I actually use and love.

For skincare, I've tried almost everything from a multi-step routine inspired by Korean skincare to just water and moisturizer... My bathroom cabinet is basically a cemetery for last decade’s skincare fads. I've struggled with acne since I was a teenager and finally went on Accutane last spring. Luckily it worked for me and now I can get by with a simple routine—cleansing with Biotherm Biosource Softening Cleansing Milk, then applying prescription Differin and moisturizing with La Roche-Posay Effaclar H Soothing Moisturizer. I like trying out different night masks, and my favorite so far is Yves Rocher Hydra Végétal Intense Hydrating Mask, which is meant to be a wash off mask but my skin just drinks it all up. I use it once or twice a week. In the morning, I cleanse with just water, use Rohto Melano CC Essence, which helps to fade dark spots and acne marks, and then moisturize with the same La Roche-Posay moisturizer.

In terms of make up, I’m into glowy skin and big lashes. I mix Lumene Bright Now Vitamin C BB cream with Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream and a couple of drops of jojoba oil—something that was a must when Accutane was wreaking havoc on my skin but that I continue to use because I like how glowy and natural it makes the make up base look!). For concealer, I use LA Girl, which is just really good and really, really cheap. I like RCMA No-Color Powder, but I hate the container it comes in so I’ve started moving it to another empty powder container I had laying around.

Next, I apply L'Oréal Glam Bronze La Terra bronzer with a super fluffy brush to the sides of my face to give it some warmth. Then I like Wet N Wild Bronzer in Reserve Your Cabana as an overall finishing powder and subtle highlight. If I’m going out I’ll go with Thebalm’s Mary-Lou Manizer for a stronger highlight.

The best eyeliner I’ve ever used is from a Korean brand called It’s Skin. Their Babyface Waterproof Eyeliner is the only one that actually stays on my waterline. I’m still searching for my holy grail liquid eyeliner, though. Yves Rocher’s Sexy Pulp Mascara is, despite the ridiculous name, the greatest mascara of all time. On most days the only thing I have on my lips is Aquaphor. I also love Rêve de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm—that stuff is pure magic in a jar.

I’m trying to grow my hair out because I’ve never really had long hair before. I usually co-wash with a silicone-free conditioner. Tresemmé Botanique Conditioner is nice and affordable, and it smells like coconuts! Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum is something I need to always have with me. During the summer I love using John Frieda’s Beach Blonde Sea Waves Salt Spray for a surfer girl look. Not that I’ve ever tried surfing. Dry shampoo is my life saver and Batiste the only brand I use—the unscented one is the best.

For a while, I used to bleach my hair and dye it fun pastel colors, but last year I got tired of it and went back to my natural shade. Even though I’m following a very streamlined philosophy when it comes to beauty right now, I feel like my past as an early 2000s emo kid will come back to haunt me and I might just dye my hair back to black and start rocking the super dark, super thick black eyeliner look again some day. Who knows?"

—as told to ITG

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