My Oily Skincare routine!

Ok, so it’s been a while since I shared my skincare routine, I share alot of products I use on social media and from that comes alot of questions so I thought I would share with you today what products I use in my oily skincare routine and talk about what they do and how they have performed for my oily skin.

I think when I was younger, I just accepted that I had oily skin and used everything I could to mattify my skin without really thinking about how dry I was making it. Basically that didn’t matter as long as my skin wasn’t oily. As I have gotten older, I have realised that I have to add moisture and oil to my skin. My skincare routine now has a good mix of products to help with the oil and also products which hydrate.

So as a starting point, there is an amazing app on my phone called Skincare Routine – this is it on the Google Play store – that has helped me so much. You can add any Deciem product and also add your own custom products. It does warn you if things clash and if you are using too many serums etc. It also layers your steps and products in the recommended order for you to make things a bit easier.

So I’m going to talk about each product I use, when I use it and also talk a little bit about what it does.


Emma Ellis, The Plus Size of Life, oily skincare routine, cleansers

Carbon Theory Cleansing Bar – I use this every morning to clean and refresh my skin, it’s a bar of soap which you lather up and it leaves my skin feeling lovely and fresh for the day. The only thing that’s annoying me about this product is that at the moment they are wrapping it in plastic packaging again due to Covid-19, so I’m hoping the paper packaging is back by the time I need some more.

Simple Oil Cleanser – I use this to remove my makeup and in the first step of my PM double cleanse. It’s a really affordable and nice choice for a makeup remover.

G9 Skin White In Milk Whipping foam –  I use this cleanser every night after as the second step in my double cleanse. It smells lovely! It leaves my skin feeling extra clean after my oil cleanse.


Emma Ellis, The Plus Size of Life, oily skincare routine, toners

I currently have three different toners in my routine.

Holika Holika AC Mild Clear Toner –  This is my morning toner. I use it every morning after cleansing and before anything else. I like the smell and it leaves my skin feeling matt which is a must in the morning before makeup. I find this one a little too drying to use on an evening.

The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution – I love this toner. It is a mild AHA exfoliant and helps to boost radiance. Because I do have other direct acids in my routine, I use this twice a week on a Monday and Friday PM, when I am not using any other acids.

Berrisom Aqua Moist Toner Ultra Waterfull – This is my regular PM toner, I use it on the days I’m not using the Glycolic one. It’s such a great toner because it is a gel texture and adds so much moisture. Its not drying at all like most toners can be!


Emma Ellis, The Plus Size of Life, oily skincare routine, serums

So serum wise, I use 4 different ones everyday and split them between my AM and PM routines. In an oily skincare routine it’s important to choose the right ones, so this has been a process.

The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% +EGCG – I use this is my AM and PM routine every day. It’s a serum to help reduce puffiness and dark circles around the eyes.

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 – Another one that I use everyday in both my AM and PM routines. Hyaluronic acid is everywhere at the moment and helps promote moisture in the skin. I use it in both the morning and evening because my skin can become really dry so this helps to keep it from getting that way.

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% – This serum is amazing for oily skin. I use it every morning and it helps to minimise visible pores and clears congestion. Perfect for problem skin and can be applied every morning and evening if you wish. It took a little while for my skin to get used to this one, so I added it gradually over time and now I can use it every morning without problem.

The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA – This is one of my favourite serums from The Ordinary it has done so much for my skin. It helps to reduce dark patches and spots. I use it every evening only and it has really helped with discoloration on my face! I used to have these really dark patches around my cheeks which have been reduced A LOT! I hate if I run out of this one. You can use this in both your AM and PM routines, I only don’t because I use Niacinamide in a morning instead.

Direct Acids

Emma Ellis, The Plus Size of Life, oils skincare routine, Direct Acids

So I’m going to be mentioning AHA’s and BHA’s when talking about these acids, for more information on this, see this article. These types of acids are good in an oily skincare routine because they help clear out the pores and exfoliate under the skins surface.

The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution – A cult product for many skincare lovers and one that really does what it is supposed to. AHA’s exfoliate the top layer of your skin while BHA’s unclog blocked pores to really clear out your skin. It is a really concentrated formula so don’t go in regularly. The Ordinary recommend only using this 1-2 times per week for ten minutes. I like to use it once a week now on a Sunday, but I built up to this from using it once every two weeks.

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA – An AHA, one I use only once a week on a Wednesday evening. This has really improved my skin texture and helps to reduce acne scars and age spots. It can’t magically get rid of acne scars, nothing can, but I think it has definitely helped reduce the look of them.  There is also a milder 5% formulation too if you are new to this product. It also contains Tasmanian Pepperberry to help reduce signs of inflammation.

The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% –  Not an AHA or BHA but I included it in this section because it’s an acid. This is another one of my favourites. It helps to improve uneven texture and tone. It’s a favourite of many and not always in stock which is super annoying because I love it. Again I use it once a week on a Thursday in my evening routine.

The Ordinary Salycilic Acid 2% Solution – This BHA exfolient is really good for helping to reduce the look of spots and blemishes. The Ordinary have recently changed the usage guidance on this, it used to be you could apply it all over the face, but now they recommend just using it as an on the spot solution, so that’s what I do. If I have a spot I need gone, I add a bit of this and sleep on it. If I will be doing that I remove any other acid or retinoid from my routine* that evening.

*This is where the app I mentioned earlier comes in handy. If i select this to say I am using it that evening, the app automatically crosses out products I should avoid with this making it easy for me to distinguish



Emma Ellis, The plus Size of Life, oily skincare routine, retinoids

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion – I use this product twice a week on a Tuesday and Saturday evening, followed by an overnight hydrating mask because I find retinoid can be quite drying. I use it on the days where I am not using an AHA exfoliant.  I was previously using the Retinol in Squalene and had built up to the next strength, but I just found it to be too oily for my skin if applied without mixing it with a heavier cream. This emulsion is a good choice because you can just apply it directly to the skin. Retinoids are good for anti aging and now I am 30, I definitely need it!

Moisturisers/ Masks

Emma Ellis, The Plus Size of Life, oily skincare routine, sheet masks

Boots Tea Tree and Witch Hazel Shine Control Daily Moisturiser –  Boots skincare gets alot of hate but I love this gel moisturiser for use in the morning. It doesn’t add any oil to my skin at all and helps keep my moisturised while keeping shine at bay. It’s not too drying like some oil free moisturisers I have tried.

Boots Tea Tree and Witch Hazel Night Treatment Gel – The same as above, I use this 3 nights a week and it’s really nice on the skin because of the formula. It can turn watery very quickly, but overall a nice hydrating overnight treatment.

Revolution Skincare Hyaluronic Acid Overnight Hydrating Mask – I use this twice a week after applying the Retinoid as a moisture boost and boy does it work. I wake up the next day and my skin feels smooth and plump. I love it and I hope they never stop making it because I don’t know what I would do without it!

K- Beauty Sheet Masks – I use a sheet mask twice a week, on a Monday and a Friday, where I would normally use a moisturiser, unless I am using one of the clay ones and then I do it after toning. K Beauty masks are full of concentrated ingredients that will work wonders for your skin. I have a post on my favourite ones here

So that’s it, all the products I currently use. I have a few rules that I followed when I decided when to use products in my oily skincare routine, so I thought I would share them with you:

  1. Add new products to your routine 1 at a time to see how your skin copes.
  2. Patch test before using ANYTHING just in case you are sensitive
  3. DO NOT use more than one direct Acid (AHA or BHA) in one day
  4. DO NOT use Retinoids/Retinol on the same day as a direct acid (AHA/BHA)
  5. Try to leave a day between each direct acid (AHA/BHA) you use
  6. You should wear an SPF anyway, but if you decide to use a direct acid in the morning (I don’t) just be aware that it could make your skin alot more sensitive to the sun.

Everything I use I have added gradually to my routine. Start with one direct acid (AHA/BHA) and then add more as your skin gets used to them. Adding too many products at once can be really bad for your skin. My routine has been built up over time. I started with a cleanser, toner and one serum!!

I do use alot of The Ordinary products in my oily skincare routine, but there are plenty of brands with similar products containing the same ingredients so the world is your oyster. I use these products because I find them affordable and because they work for my skin. Remember, just because something works for me it might not work for you. Getting to this routine has been a process and I am finally at the point where I am happy with everything I am using at the moment. I am looking to add something that will help with redness, as I have a lot of it around my cheeks, but I haven’t found anything yet. If you have any suggestions make sure you leave them in the comments.








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