My Mostly Cheap Skincare Secrets For Dry, Oily, and Acne-Prone Skin

So I don’t know about you, but I’ve had skin issues for a really long time. It started in 9th grade when all of a sudden I turned into a self-described pizza face; a GREASY pizza face. It was so bad that my 3-year-old nephew actually asked me about the owies all over my face. I know he was just trying to show sympathy, but it had me in my room bawling my head off. I had all these friends who were so pretty and never got a zit and here I was, just one big zit. And not just on my face, but I had eventually got really bad body acne as well. I never wanted to get into a swimming suit and I got to the point where I would no longer wear tank tops, or low-cut shirts. I wore so much fabric to hide it that I felt like a boy. I would never be pretty. Never be sexy. Never be attractive. No matter what I tried (and I’m going to be honest and say I’m lazy when it comes to skincare), those dang zits just wouldn’t go away.

Just before I turned 16, I finally became a woman. Unfortunately, it also came with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I went from being a lanky, but muscular, girl to this whole other body what felt like practically overnight. And my hormones weren’t how they were supposed to be. I felt like it made my acne go kind of crazy, if it couldn’t be considered that already. I was just this shiny and zit-riddled face. The best oil blotter I could find was Post-It Notes. Literally. They were so good at getting rid of the saturation on my face. Other than that, it was tons of makeup to cover them as best as I could.

As for my zits, I’m a picker. Not just with zits. I have some Spidey sense for when there’s a piece of dry skin on my face. It drives me nuts. Makes me go crazy. I HAVE to get it off. I HAVE to pop that zit. Get rid of that pressure before I go insane. So I can’t keep my hands off my face, and we all know how bad that is for your skin. I tried going to a dermatologist and he put me on a body wash for the body acne. Then I started using the Neutrogena wash for body acne. It helped some, but not enough.

Silver lining was that for the PCOS, they put me on birth control. Suddenly my zits were better. They weren’t gone by any means, but they didn’t make me feel so embarrassed about myself. I stayed on birth control for a few years. But that, added to the PCOS, made me gain weight. Then more. Then more. Then, just from working minimum wage, I could no longer afford the birth control. So I stopped it. The zits came back, this time much worse. Now I didn’t just have tiny zits everywhere, I had cystic acne. These ginormous zits that hurt so much and yet nothing would ever squeeze out for days as well as makeup was pretty obvious over them since they’d get so crusty. There are years (about a decade) where I wouldn’t allow my picture to be taken at all because I was so ashamed.

Finally, it got so bad that I started actually trying to take care of my skin. I tried Proactiv, and that kind of helped. Mostly it was the sulfur mask that helped. But my skin is so sensitive that I couldn’t really handle any of the rest of it that often. It got better, but my skin lost its youth. It looked awful. It wasn’t really worth it. Not to mention that Proactiv isn’t cheap. Not expensive, but not cheap either.

When I finally made peace with what my skin was, I ended up getting diagnosed with this evil ear disease called Meniere’s. The treatment was a water pill to help keep too much fluid from building up in my inner ears. Man, did my skin become awful. It was dry and flaky and gray and just ugly. I’m someone who really loves a bit of dewiness to skin to make it look healthy so I avoided looking in the mirror. It was just something I was going to have to live with. Or so I thought. Then I went into Sephora one day and this sweet cast member was going to school to become an Aesthetician. She suggested I come see her for a chemical peel. Man, that thing was amazing. Though even the easist one on the skin would leave me red and peeling for days. But then after that my skin had a glow I hadn’t seen in years. It was expensive though. Not something that I could keep doing if I wanted to do anything else nice for myself.

Finally, for a different reason, I went to the dermatologist again. I was diagnosed with mild adult cystic acne (which was really bad on my jawlin) and drastically dry skin. Man, I went out of there with so many prescriptions. I had Atralin to work as sort of a daily exfoliant ($50 a tube after insurance) and then a cleanser for my face and body made out of 10% Benzoyl Peroxide (another $50 after insurance). Also, for the zits, clindamycin ($25 after insurance).

Now, those all worked, but all together, you can see that they weren’t cheap and, again, I’m going to reiterate that I’m lazy with my skin care. I don’t want 80 things to put on my face. I want only a couple. That led me to start doing research. I wanted an exfoliant that didn’t leave my skin red and burning, or my skin peeling for days. I wanted to get control of the oil production on my nose and forehead without drying it out. I wanted something that would keep the zits at bay without drying out spots on my face.

I didn’t think I’d find those things, but I did. I found products that work for me. Products that have turned my dry and oily skin, my cystic acne, into problems of the past. And best of all, most of them are cheap and don’t require daily application.

The first thing I found was a good homemade mask that ate dead skin as well as was an anti-bacterial to keep zits from forming. I like to do it once a week. All it contains is you pour honey into your palm (I like to use organic). Then sprinkle enough cinnamon so you can make a paste. Then I like to add a tiny bit of nutmeg. The cinnamon and nutmeg can burn if you’re too rough with your skin. You don’t really spread it on hard. You do it softly. It usually takes a couple mixtures to make enough for the whole face though. I leave it on 20-30 minutes and then I like to put it under running water in the shower. Again, so I don’t rub the cinnamon really deeply into the pores, which can kind of sting. My sensitive skin is a little red for an hour maybe (only when I’m too rough or use a washcloth), but then the skin looks so amazing. It glows. Zits don’t form as much. It’s amazing. And the hardest part about it is not eating it!

Another thing I like to do is I found this really cool exfoliant that is really gentle on the face. Believe it or not, I found it at the mall. But it was expensive there. But recently I found it on Amazon for $8! Seriously. I bought a whole bunch because I’m really obsessed with it. It’s from the Vivo White Collection. It’s their Facial Peeling gel with Dead Sea minerals. I use it once a week (usually Sundays so my skin will look awesome for the new week). You just dip your finger in the gel and then put it to your face and rub in circles. If you have dead skin or oil or residue or anything, it comes off in huge chunks. I’ve noticed that if I do it more often than once a week, nothing really comes off. Afterwards, my skin feels soft and looks younger.

But even with all that, I could tell my face was missing some crucial ingredient. That’s when I discovered oils. At first I thought what most people think, “Why would I put oils on my oily skin? How could that not make it worse?” Well, I was wrong. I read an article about Argan Oil and decided to try it out. It wasn’t cheap. I’d suggest eBay if you want to find it cheap. I would also suggest you get Josie Maran’s oil since it’s purer. A lot of other ones are watered down, which is why they’re cheaper. But good thing is that you don’t have to use much so a bottle lasts quite a while. I like to put it on before bed. Maybe an hour before so it can really get into the skin since I’m a stomach sleeper and I don’t want the pillowcase to steal it from me.

Man, I’m telling you, I’m obsessed with this stuff. It helps with so many things. Wrinkles, dry skin, oily skin, and so much more. It does a lot of this by restoring your natural balance of oil. See, most things you put on your skin strip it of its natural oils and then the oil glands respond by creating more. But not this. I haven’t noticed oil on my face since I started it. At least not unless I miss putting it on one night. Then I notice my nose gets oily again. And even though it’s an oil, it soaks right in and doesn’t leave an oily residue or anything. What it leaves is a nice glow like that of a celebrity’s. Massaging it in, and just watching my skin get better, always makes me happy. It’s one of the favorite parts of my day because I feel so beautiful with it on my face.

My skin doesn’t even need an Instagram filter! I’m almost 32 and, minus the zits, it looks young again. If you ever only buy one product, I suggest it be that oil. It’s life changing. Even for my sensitive, acne-prone skin. See, the oil isn’t thick enough to block the pores and create acne. I went from bumpy skin to smooth skin. Skin that’s complimented all the time. On Instagram, I never even have to wear makeup because my skin is so dewy and clear, nothing else is needed. And not just there, I don’t have to wear concealer or foundation or powder in my every day life either. What people see is the real me now. I’m no longer hiding.

I’ve attached some of the worst photos of me in my life. And those were taken on the days when I felt pretty. And with tons of makeup to make my skin presentable (minus the oh so obvious bumps), so you can imagine how bad it was under all that. I vowed that these pictures would never see light. They’re awful and unflattering and make me feel, just by looking at them, the way that I felt back then. Just looking at them brings so much pain to the surface so please know that I’m trusting you so much to share those so you can see how much I’ve improved. How much my skin truly has changed by doing these things. (Oh, and please forgive the one with my huge scar and shaved head from a craniectomy I had, but it was such a good photo of my zits. And so unflattering in every way. I must be crazy to share that. Really, to share any of those).

(To see photos, go to the original post on Convozine at

I’m sorry the pictures of me now are only from Instagram but that’s where the pictures where I feel pretty end up and I’ve had an intense hip injury that makes me too lazy to even try to look for the originals in my millions of folders of pictures from my phone and I feel too crappy to take a picture. So sorry they’re not the best. And that most are black and white. I’m a sucker for a black and white portriat. I’m not photogenic so I feel like, in those, I look the way I look in real life. With the shadows in the right places. All the pictures from now, I’m not wearing any makeup at all. So you can really see the big difference. 🙂 (The pictures of the models are photos of the skin that epitomizes what I think of as perfect, even though they’re wearing makeup to get that “bare-faced” look).

Now, if you didn’t notice, I don’t have a cleanser listed here (and I would never, NEVER use a toner). That’s because I don’t really even wash my face. It no longer needs it. If it feels dirty, I merely use a make-up removing cleansing cloth. On the rare day that I do get a zit (usually around the evil time of the month we all dread), I do use something. I like to use PanOxyl 10% Benzoyl Peroxide foaming wash ($10 at the drugstore). But that’s maybe once a month, if that. For some reason, the other things all together have made washing my face with anything stronger than water in the shower a non-necessity. Which for someone like me is perfect. I have better skin than women who spend hours on it a week. And I feel it’s due to all these products because I definitely wasn’t born with it.

These things might not work for you, but they might. They worked for me when nothing else did. And again, they’re easy and cheap. They’re worth trying if you have any of these issues. I’d try the Argan Oil first. You can use it on your hair, nails, skin, whatever, and it works miracles without clogging the pores. I’ve tried tons of those “non-clogging” treatments and guess what, even those clogged my pores. But this doesn’t. This is AMAZING. It gave me my self-confidence back and I really hope it, and these other products, or products I don’t even know exist, can help do that for you. Because really, isn’t that the most important thing of all?

For more of a fashion fix, check out Fierce and Free Fashion on Facebook,, Tumblr,, Pinterest,, or my Instagram

© 2014 A.D. Seeley

All Photos From:,,,, my own personal awful pictures, pictures from my Instagram @adseeleyauthor

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Spring/Summer 2014 Fashion Trends At The 2014 Academy Awards: Let’s Go Nude! (Color, That Is)

Wow, so I knew the Academy Awards’ Red Carpet would be amazing, but I never foresaw that 22 women would end up in my “Love It” folder. There are so many that I’m going to have to divide this. Instead of doing the typical “Best Dressed” and “Worst Dressed” thing, I’m going to kill two birds with one stone and use the looks to show off Spring/Summer 2014 trends.

There were a few of the trends at the Oscars, but I think I’m going to start with my favorite, which was the whole nude (color, not birthday suit) trend that’s huge for spring. (And yeah, I realize that puts my title in very sketchy territory so I’m going to have to be pretty creative with that).

The nude trend has slowly been getting traction over the years until, this year, it’s begun to dominate. Sure, the normal springy colors will always be in, but this is a fresh way to celebrate the spring. Because what better to celebrate rebirth than to look like you’re wearing nothing at all while still being totally modest. See, that’s the key to this trend. It’s usually not about showing skin. It’s about making people think you’re showing skin. The best part, it’s super flattering! Especially if you can match it really closely to your skin tone.

Too scared to go full nude? Then a few accessories, especially pumps the same color as your skin, are a good way to try the trend. When heels are the same color as your legs, it elongates them; makes them appear as long as a supermodel’s. Okay, not quite that long, but you get the gist. If that’s still a little too daring for you, then nude makeup and nails are a fun way to try it out without being a little too crazy.

So now that I’ve given you some ideas, let’s go to the red carpet. Nude dresses have been showing up on red carpets for a while, but it wasn’t until this year where it kind of seemed to be theme. Especially for the Oscars which are usually more about playing it safe than trying something different.

Cate Blanchett wore an Armani Privé that literally melted into her skin. If it wasn’t for the beading with hanging round sequins, you would think she literally was wearing her birthday suit. I’ll admit that this dress really made me happy because I’ve felt so awful since the SAG Awards when I said that she looked like she was wearing Winnie the Pooh Couture. This dress helped me kind of get over that so I could adore her fashion sense once again.

Another nude dress I adored was Jenna Dewan-Tatum’s Reem Acra gown. It was classic with a ballroom dancer twist. Or perhaps figure skater. The top half was very similar to something the female skaters wore at the Olympics and then had such delicate ruffles at the bottom that it looked like feathers.

Giuliana Rancic wore a total princess dress by Paolo Sebastian. The nude part of it kind of had a different tint to it. It’s hard to tell exactly what since every camera it’s a little different, but it’s a pretty color. Not something you would really expect on the Oscars red carpet. What was the most incredible part about it was the floral beading on the top. It was perfectly paired with a high waist and one of the poufiest skirts ever.

On the opposite end of things was Cristin Milioti’s Reem Acra gown. I saw a lot of people give her crap for this dress. Saying that pale girls shouldn’t wear nude because it’s too close to their skin color. But I completely disagree. I think wearing a dress close to your skin color, no matter what your skin color, is really pretty. Besides, she made sure to wear dark lipstick so she didn’t disappear so much. And I LOVE that she decided to go sans necklace to really make the nude color work the way it’s supposed to work. I think the haters are just people who don’t understand and like this trend.

One of the coolest dresses of the night was Laura Dern’s Alberta Ferretti. It was a nude with a tiny bit of a blush tint to it. Well, it could have been all blush, but it was close enough to her skin tone to have that nude feel to it. What I liked the most about it was the structural feel to the bodice. She paired it perfectly with a clutch and a side-swept hairdo that kissed her shoulders. Everything about it was a do. Literally. There is nothing with her look that I’m not obsessed with. I haven’t seen her in anything for what feels like years, so I totally forgot about her, but she came out there in that look and I probably won’t forget about her again. It makes me want to watch Jurassic Park again even though I tend to have dreams about T-Rex trying to eat me every time I do.

Kristin Bell wore a Roberto Cavalli gown that kind of felt similar to Laura Dern’s. It was pretty similar in hue, though with a little less blush tint. She was really elegant in it, even though she admitted to not being able to sit down to the point where she had to pee in a mason jar instead. True story. And apparently she was hiding a burrito in her clutch. It’s nice to know that she knows her priorities. Anyways, even with all the chaos of the mason jar debacle, she looked effortless.

Now, Portia de Rossi’s Naeem Khan gown may or may not have been a shade of nude (more off-white, if you ask me). But the fact that was pretty much see-through kind of makes it nude in my eyes. I know she got on worst dressed lists for it, but I literally adored it. Somehow it managed to be elegant and edgy at the same time, which not many people can pull off. So props to her because it was amazing.

Last but not least was the feathery gown that Georgina Chapman donned. If you don’t know that name, she’s one of the founders of Marchesa. It was a lot lighter than her skin, which I liked because it shows another way to wear the trend. Especially for people who are darker than a nude color could ever be. It made her sun-kissed skin really stand out. It was almost an accessory in and of itself.

Not everyone was a slam dunk to me. Jessica Biel wore a gorgeous Chanel gown, but the whole look kind of lacked the oomph I want to see at the Oscars. Maybe it was that she dressed it up with so much jewelry, but then kept the lipstick so low-key. I know  a lot of the other ladies didn’t wear intense lipstick, but they were working the dress and nude color more than the jewelry so the minimalism worked. But if you’re going to fight the dress by adding a billion diamonds, then natural-colored lips kind of look like you forgot to put something on.

Then there was the Valentino gown that Sally Hawkins wore. The dress was beautiful, but from the neck up, Sally just looked like she was going to the mall. It was just really bizarre to me. It was like, when I was a teenager, and some of my friends would cut pictures out of magazines and then put their own faces on it. Or like those things at fairs with the hole for you head so you can be some crazy something. I just really wish she’d tried more to look congruent.

If you think that was harsh, I haven’t even started with the ones that majorly made me cringe. Sarah Paulson wore a beautiful Elie Saab gown, but again, the head up just drove me crazy, but enough to make me hate instead of just wish for something better. I think, had she done a smoky eye and a lipstick that didn’t match her dress, then the hair could have worked. But again, it’s the Oscars. It’s not supposed to be casual!

But hey, it was better than Julie Delpy’s Jenny Packham gown. It’s this weird starburst thing that made her have to stick her arms out all night so you could see the vision of the gown. Problem is, it wasn’t that great. Okay, it had a vintage feel to it, and I like vintage, though I’d never wear it because I’m more a rock and roll girl, but there was something so off about it that it made me cringe. I think it was just the balance. The balance felt so weird and off.

But not as off as the Elie Saab gown that Angelina Jolie wore. The color of it was fine. It was a darker nude with some gray undertones to it. But what really got me was the way that it fit her. It fit like something a grandma would wear. It was just so, well, so frumpy. Is it really bad that it made me think of the plum at the beginning of Candy Land? Well, other than the color of course (and I don’t mean that mean because I always adored Plumpy. He was my favorite character in that game). But Angelina is so absolutely thin, so for her to look like Plumpy, that’s kind of scary to me. Unless that was what she was trying to do. Get people to stop picking on her about her weight, because they sure are jerks about it. On the plus side, her makeup was flawless. So, even in that awful dress, she still looked gorgeous. But really, it’s Angelina Jolie. I don’t think she could ever look anything but.

For pictures, click this link to go to the original post:

So I’m not sure what trend I’ll with for next week, but I do know you won’t want to miss it because there are some amazing dresses, and some amazingly awful dresses, that you’ve got to see. Sure, you can look somewhere else for them, but then you’d miss my smashing wit. And hey, I injured myself and have been living off pain meds until I get surgery so you never know what those suckers are going to make me think and say. They gave me a dream where my body was made out of bread dough and someone was chopping me up so I’m pretty sure there are no limits to my insanity at the moment. It might entertain you a little. It sure has been entertaining me. Of course, we all know now that I am literally insane so it doesn’t take much to entertain me. Until then,  check out Fierce and Free Fashion on Facebook,, Tumblr,, Pinterest,, or my Instagram

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Why Real Women Don’t Always Have Curves

Okay, is anyone as tired as I am about the whole “real women have curves” movement? Does this mean that, even if you have lady parts, if you’re skinny, you’re not a real woman? Because I’m sorry, but I think this is ridiculous. Haven’t we already done way too much over the course of history to feel beautiful? (If you don’t know how much, check out my article “Beauty Through the Ages”). But now, instead of doing something dangerous for our outside, we do something dangerous for our inside by putting down others to feel better about ourselves. I’m sorry, but plain and simple, this is another form of bullying. Unfortunately, it’s everywhere.

No matter where I look (Facebook has a page dedicated solely to making curvy girls feel like they’re more beautiful than skinny girls and I literally just read a comment in a beauty magazine about how it was so nice to have Kim Kardashian on the cover because her curves of a “real woman” were a good role model for the commenter’s daughter), there are people putting down the thin to talk up the “natural” beauty. And when they say natural, they mean not thin. Because yeah, a thin girl of course isn’t natural. Cue eye roll here.

Okay, so I can totally understand the beginning of this movement. Since the ‘60s, the thinner you are, almost the more beautiful you supposedly are. The silhouettes of Marilyn Monroe were replaced with those of Twiggy, and then Kate Moss came onto the scene in the ‘90s and all of a sudden it was all about looking like a heroin addict. With the average woman becoming larger, but the average model becoming thinner, women just didn’t feel beautiful. But that’s not because of the other women. That’s what most people don’t seem to get. If you have healthy body confidence, then you won’t see yourself as less than when you come upon one of these smaller girls. Instead you see them for beautiful, as well as you see yourself that way. So if you have body issues, no matter what type of body you look at, you’re going to see it in a skewed way.

Of course, since so many people seem to have body issues, they blamed looking at models for their problems. That’s when “real” women started being put in magazines. I remember the first real picture in Glamour that began this. Instead of the typical thin model, there was this girl (Lizzie Miller) who was a size 12 or so. She was nude with only a tiny pair of panties on, and she had this gut that hung over the waistband of it. I’ll admit that, at the time, I had my own body issues. So to see this woman who was the same size as me, if not bigger than me, and see her fat rolls and everything, and the way that, despite them, I still saw her as beautiful, really was the turning point into realizing that I was beautiful despite what I felt was a flaw. So many people responded to that picture that Glamour started adding “real” women to their magazine every once in a while.

Okay, so as I said, this began as a positive movement. The “average” woman was able to see herself in the pages of the magazines and see that she was beautiful. But then it got out of control. Instead of just being the average woman, or the curvy woman, it became the “real” woman.

I myself am not a skinny girl. I’m about 5 lbs overweight, all of which is on my belly as my legs, butt, and back are solid muscle. But I don’t think that gives me a right to tear down skinny girls. Instead, I look at them and wonder what they don’t like about their bodies, because “perfect” or not, everyone has something they hate about their bodies, and hopefully something they love. I’ve even heard of skinny girls who try so hard to gain weight, but they can’t. They’re crying about their weight just as much as girls trying to lose it do. And comments like, “Only dogs like bones, men like meat” only add to this hatred of skinny girls’ small frames.

I have this friend who always makes you turn your negative comments into a positive. Don’t like your huge calves? Well, they make it so you can run faster. Don’t like your jiggly belly, well, it means you have food storage if you ever get stuck somewhere. Don’t like your enormous butt, well, it shows your heritage. Or your huge biceps. Well, they mean that you can do more push-ups then the men. These are my things. The parts of my body that I’ve had issues with and the things that I told myself to make them into positives. And when I have a “fat” day, my friend will make me look at a picture of Queen Latifah and admit how absolutely beautiful she is. It’s changed my whole outlook. Now I can see a skinny girl and I don’t think anything other than what makes her beautiful. I do the same when I see a “curvy” woman. When we can change how we see others, only then can we change the way we see ourselves. Because if we’re looking at women and degrading them to make ourselves feel better, what we’re really doing is putting our minds in a negative frame of mind until that’s all it will see: the negative.

So let’s do this together. Whenever we see a man, or a woman, anyone, if we think a negative thought about their looks, let’s make an effort to find something positive. Because we’re all beautiful in our own way. And please, PLEASE, never ever talk about what body makes a woman real because the fact is, the skinny girls are just as real as the bigger girls. So let’s show the love and solidarity that make us decent human beings who aren’t defined by their size.

I’ve attached some of these anti-skinny girl memes so you can see sort of what I’m talking about. To see them, click this link to go to Fierce and Free Fashion’s Convozine page:

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