My Skincare Routine & How I Changed my Skin

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Since I was 16 years old, facial acne has been the norm. 

It was an up and down kind of battle – picking at my skin at night until I felt fully satisfied with myself (so entertaining, yet so terrible for your skin; take it from me — don’t do it!), or dousing my skin in as much cover-up until my face had the consistency of a birthday cake (gag – high school, anyone?), being too self-conscious to show my face on snapchat as a blogger…yada yada yada. One week it would go away, and within 3 days it was back (*sigh*).

BUT– you guessed right–we’re going uphill from here: I’ve been acne free for most of 2017 — which, let me tell you: feels like facial f-r-e-e-d-o-m. I’m sure my skin problems weren’t as terrible as others but, we are our own worst critics (aren’t we?) and waking up to blemishes on the daily just simply doesn’t feel good. 

Every person’s skin is different. Every woman’s hormones are different. Stress levels are different – and eating habits are different. But since so many of you girls asked — I thought I’d put together a post describing my journey to successfully squash acne by tackling it in 3 areas of my life. This may not work for everyone, but after years of trial and error, dermatologist and natural practitioner visits, topical skin products, and more — I’ve conquered the blemish game. (PS – still dealing with scarring but we count our blessings right?)  I’m going to break this post into 3 parts: 1. What you’re putting on your skin, 2. What you’re putting in your body, and 3. What’s going through your head.


Rewind back to college and all I was putting on my skin was drugstore buys. I have nothing against grocery store buys, especially because, hey – they fit the budget quite nicely – but I honestly never saw a difference when switching from product to product – just blemish consistency. I also felt the same about topical solutions the dermatologist would prescribe for acne – no change, nada, nothing. I want to preface this with, if you have a routine that is working for you — stick to what is best for your skin because every person’s skin type, lifestyle, and hormonal balance is different.

Enter TULA: I know it’s all the rage right now in the blogger world and you probably think that all that talk could be sponsored — but let me tell you –  with me, this is real (and I’m sure it is with the rest of the girls too). In my case,  this probiotic-based line changed my skin game completely — there’re a lot of products I could link from their site but I’m going to make it simple and show you guys my absolute favorites. While we’re on the subject of linking, I’m also going to link the two lightweight foundations I use every single day – that have also allowed my skin to breathe freely. Here’s the DL:

Morning & Night Routine: for all TULA products, use code: JESSI for 20% off orders 

  1. Purifying Face Cleanser – this probiotic-filled facial cleanser has a “soft” feeling when you wash your face, causing me to be absolutely addicted morning and night.
  2. Pro-glycolic Resurfacing Gel – a probiotic take on a toner, this has been by far one of the best topical products I’ve ever used. I haven’t broken out since I started using this.
  3. Hydrating Day & Night Cream – this moisturizer is addictive — with a cooling sensation, say bye bye to dry skin.

***If you want all 3 (I’m swear by all three day and night!), try the The Complete Package – a package of the purifying facial cleanser, resurfacing gel, hydrating day and night cream, and probiotics but discounted. use code: JESSI for 20% off orders 

Daily Foundation:

  1. First, I apply  Cane + Austin Mattifying Primer, both of which offer lightweight coverage. (cc: @courtney_shields)
  2. Then I apply bareMinerals Matte Fountain
  3. If I’m in need of an all-day-wear, I swear by Estee Lauder Stay In Place Double Wear Makeup (it even stays through a spin class!).



Your skin is a reflection of what you’re putting in your body.

The day my sneakers touched down in Paris, France last fall — I hit my turning point. Big shout-out to mes amies en France – the mostly bread- + dairy-filled diet in Paris hit me with a rude awakening. My skin? Torn up – worst ever. Acne everywhere – matted cover-up, not working. Jessi’s self-conscious. You get the point. After getting home from Europe, I decided something was seriously up with my skin and stomach and it was time to figure it out. One week after my trip, I worked with my first food allergy specialist (also known as a holistic practitioner) — who taught me that gluten, dairy, and sugar were inflammatory food groups (for every human ever) but each person reacts differently or more or less dramatically. For me, acne is a form of inflammation and those 2% lattes were making their big debut front and center on my face. Nice.

The very first thing I did was learn to cut out dairy – and I saw an immediate/overnight change in my skin. Gluten followed dairy, and lastly I learned to shy away from adding sugars or sugar-y products. Now – I want to emphasize, this may not be applicable for everyone — but I encourage girls to try it if they’ve tried all other means. Simply cutting back can help reduce areas of inflammation which can show up anywhere. This isn’t a blog post dedicated to slamming gluten and dairy – but being aware that what you put into your body is key. Disclaimer 1.18.17: After one year of cleansing went by, I’m able to eat some inflammatory foods once and awhile (a girl just wants some pizza!) however, I do notice slight headaches or small bumps in my skin.

Next step was building up what I had been tearing down for 24 years:

  1. Try Collagen Peptides — Blend it in your smoothie, froth it into your latte — these peptides help build up your stomach linings and are *exceptional* for healthy skin and nails.
  2. Fish Oil Pill Supplements — Another easy and quick fix for glowing skin, hair and nails. The best part is how quickly they make your hair grow. Find the ones I take here.
  3. Water. Water. Water. — Hydrating is good for your entire body. Dehydration is the enemy. I’ve really up’d my water intake in the last 2 years and I feel all over better.
  4. Exercise is Key — This is just important as what you’re putting on your skin. Get outside, get active, up your cardio, and give you body a chance to breathe. This is also something major I’ve changed in the last few years.
  5. Test for allergies — If you’re interested in figuring out food allergies, I would try a local natural practitioner (if you’re in Austin, feel free to comment on the post and I’ll send you mine), or you can try EverlyWell tests — which is an Austin-based company that sends you tests you can take at home. They have an “inflammation test”  here.
  6. Hormones — Hormones can be a big cause of acne. This is tough because it’s different for everyone. My holistic doctor was able to prescribe me supplements that got my hormones back on track.


Stress makes me stressed. The word stress is simply just stressful, isn’t it? I’ve learned that stress is one of the biggest causes of health issues – and stress in and of itself can be one of the main reasons for birthing blemishes (ew). Part of my skin journey boiled down to inner-healing and mindfulness. Okay woah, Jessi, this a lot. I know – it is. But this is more of a lifestyle and mindset change, and it takes time, practice, awareness and lots of patience. But it’s most definitely worth it. I’ve written a lot of posts on working on mindfulness, finding peace, trusting the journey, etc. You can find them here:

My skincare routine isn’t just an overnight step-by-step process; it’s a journey to mind and body health. What has worked for you? Please comment below! XOXO 

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  1. Kat

    I love your openness and willingness to share this with your followers. I will definitely look into what you are suggesting, and agree that we all need to invest in our health and reduce stress in our lives. You are a wonderful role model! XOXO

  2. Tabitha

    Thanks for this post! This hits me on a personal level. Having PCOS, my skin (plus other issues) went crazy with breakouts for a very long time. I was like the before picture for Proactive! These breakouts led to some terrible scarring, but I’m pretty much doing what you mentioned (no sugar, dairy, and gluten) and it has dramatically changed my face and symptoms. It’s still a battle in terms of what I eat and mentally but I’ve discovered that leaning away from harsh chemicals and sticking with natural oils and soaps helped dramatically. I feel your pain though!


    1. Girl – that’s amazing; glad to hear you’ve made headway! But also so sorry you had to deal with that, I don’t think anyone blessed with naturally glowy skin understand how hard it is to wake up to that. PS – I’ve heard that facials really help with scarring and redness. Have you tried that? They’re so expensive but I’m trying to do them more.
      Best of luck to you on your journey my dear!! XO Jessi

  3. Mary-Katherine

    Okay I absolutely love your candidness and this post offers so much inspiration that there is hope for clear skin! That said, I desperately need your advice: I have always struggled with acne-prone skin and have tried just about everything (even Accutane) and it has gotten better but never went away. I tried Tula a year and a half ago after hearing people rave about it, and gave it a solid 5 weeks because I am well aware that it usually gets worse before it gets better and I wanted to give it a fair chance. Well, it definitely got worse, but it NEVER got better! My skin was the worst it has EVER looked and it literally had me in tears. I ended up back in the dermatologist’s office for the first time in years and it was devastating. My skin finally looks pretty good with just a topical and a newly dairy-free diet ad tons of water, and I am wondering: do I need to just give it another chance??? I really want to love the line and I feel like it should help based on the science behind it, but at the same time don’t want to mess with a good thing if it’s going to end the same way.

    I recently just tried BareMinerals’ newest liquid foundation and it is AMAZING. So if you are looking for a liquid counterpart for certain occasions I highly recommend their new BarePro product!

    xo Mary-Katherine

    1. Hi Mary-Katherine!
      I’m so sorry to hear that – I can’t even imagine how hard that’s been on you and I understand what it feels like to wake up to that on the daily. I think you should absolutely stick to your skincare routine and not switch back. I have heard of one other case where TULA made them break out! Every single person’s skin and body has different allergic reactions and it sounds to me it doesn’t jive with yours. Now that you’ve decreased your acne issues, I suggest really working on things like collagen, fish oil pills, exercise, stress reduction, etc. 🙂
      I Hope this helps!!! Best of luck to you my love. I’m so sorry you had to go through all this 🙁 XO Jessi

      1. Mary-Katherine

        Okay that is actually nice to hear that it didn’t work for at least one other person, I thought I must be some anomoly! I just actually ordered collagen peptides and put those in my lemon water this morning, super excited for those!! Thanks for the advice, I do really appreciate it!

    2. Kelly C

      Mary Katherine,
      I completely felt your pain! I have SUPER sensitive skin (and probably terrible luck)… I had taken accutane in the past, but it turns out that it was wayyy too low of a dose to clear me up! I just finished taking it again at a much higher dose (4 pills per day at the end vs 1-2) and it was a MIRACLE! Add in that I finally realized I have rosacea and started using a prescription lotion for that and FINALLY fixed! I know it’s not the answer for everyone, but as someone who tried changing my diet, skin care routine, and about everything else with no luck, I asked my (very amazing) new derm what she would do if she were me. When she explained how I’d been dosed wrong and that most people are, I figured why not try it? Best decision! Hope this helps you!!!! Xoxo 😘 Kelly

  4. Laura

    This post is super helpful, thank you! I’m the past you had recommended Vital Farms Collagen. Do you still like that one as well or would you suggest this one j stead? Thanks so much in advance!

    1. Hey love! Sorry about that – I think they are equal! I love the Vital Farms because the packaging is pretty lol – but both blend nicely and don’t have a bad smell. I’m going to replace this link so I don’t confuse people 🙂

      1. Laura

        Thank you! Always happy to try a better option so thank you for confirming!!

  5. Rachel Spross

    Loved, loved, loved reading about this! I’m so glad that you’ve found a system that works for you 🙂


  6. Taylor C

    I needed this!! I’m moving to Austin next month and would LOVE to meet with the allergy specialist you saw. I’ve actually never heard of TULA so this was brand new info for me. I’m definitely going to check it out. I too have tried everything under the sun. I’ve cut out gluten, refined sugar and dairy for 6 weeks, hoping I’d see an improvement. It was noticeable but not completely eradicated. Would love to talk to a professional about this – but one who’s committed to a natural method. Thanks so much, girl!!

    1. Hey babe! Yes – that’s a great idea! I think if you’ve already done the above, she can get you to the final step! Her name is Eleanor McCully at Austin 3D Health. She’s expensive but totally worth it. Keep me updated on your journey also welcome to the greatest city ever!!! 🙂
      XO Jessi

      1. Taylor C

        Thank you! I actually started following you and a few other Austin bloggers once we found out we were moving. All your geotags and recs are getting me even more excited to move! Xoxo

  7. Nicole

    Love this post lady! I can totes relate! Thanks for sharing your tips! I would lovvvve the contact of your natural practitioner if possible. I have been needing one for a couple years and keep putting it off. Would so much appreciate it! Thanks again. Love your posts always! Xoxo

  8. Sarah munoz

    I loved this post, and it couldn’t have come at a better time, Jessi! I recently got tired of my old skincare regimen, because 1) it involved taking a pill that was throwing off my gut flora and hurting my stomach
    2) it wasn’t clearing my skin all the way, or preventing my hormonal cystic acne, and it really didn’t feel good for my skin. So after 4 years of that, I’m exhausted. I tossed out the pills, but now my skin is freaking out, since it was dependent on that harsh pill for 4 years. Since I’m in Austin, would you mind emailing me the name of your holistic allergy specialist? I think my acne is related to my gut and probiotics and stuff, but I have no idea what to do, and I’d like to have a professional’s advice!

  9. Nasreen

    This was such a great post and I’ve been interested in trying Tula products and now I’m gonna do it! Great to hear it’s worked for you, your skin looks gorgeous! Thanks so much for sharing!!

  10. Shannon Jenkins

    This is such a great post! I used to struggle with acne but luckily grew out of it but still get the occasional flare ups. Tula is sooo amazing!

    <3 Shannon 
    Upbeat Soles

  11. Colleen slagen

    Hey Jessi! Thanks for sharing- I can definitely relate! Any tips of eliminating dairy from your diet? Hard to give up my lattes! Do you use almond milk? Did you completely give up cheese? Thanks so much for being so transparent!

    1. Hey Colleen! Aw you’re so sweet! Gosh it was hard – almond milk was key for me. It took awhile to get used to the after taste but now I’m obsessed and won’t ever go back even if I had the choice. SILK has vanilla almond milk and chocolate almond milk which is nice for making coffee at home. I gave up cheese – but I can eat Manchego which is sheep cheese lol. Giving up cheese was easy because I just order guacamole instead of queso, and use avocados/refried beans as a substitute on tacos or bowls, etc. It takes time – but honestly i don’t miss it! I miss pizza though – haha! Hope this helps! XO Jessi

      1. Colleen

        It does! Thank you! Guac is a great idea to substitute for cheese, love it!

  12. Christy

    Thanks for this post! Im wanting to try Tula but I was also wondering if you wear sunscreen over the day/night cream? If so which one?

    1. Hey girl! So the Cane + Austin primer that I use has SPF 50 in it! It’s linked on this post 🙂 I hope this helps!! XO Jessi

  13. Lindsay

    Hi Jessi,
    Thank you so much for sharing your tips with us! I too have suffered from acne for a really long time. I feel like I’ve somewhat got it under control nowadays (still have breakouts often though). You mentioned you’re now focusing on the scarring leftover from your blemishes. Do you have anything that you’ve tried for scarring that has helped? I have scars too, and would love to start working on them.

    1. I’ve heard facials really help – you can get facials directed at reducing redness. I keep forgetting to schedule them though lol – let me know if you find anything! XO Jessi

  14. JMW

    Love this post! I struggle with similiar issues and still trying to find the right products. Where are your jeans from in the picture at the top with the white shirt? Thank you!

    1. Hey babe! They’re by FRAME but I can’t seem to find them in stock. Maybe check their website, they have a gold zipper on the ankle 🙂 XO

  15. Caitlin Melvin

    It’s true – although drug store products are more accessible and cheaper, I think the high end stuff is so much better for your skin. I’ve seen amazing results when I switched to high end and started investing in my skin.

  16. Rach

    I really want to try out the Tula products! But all the other lifestyle changes definitely worked for me too! My skin is not perfect but when I made these changes, I noticed a difference!

  17. Amy Arnold

    It is amazing how what we put in our bodies affects how they function on the inside AND out. So glad you’ve found a good routine both food and product wise! Thanks for sharing.

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

  18. Marisa

    Totally! I need to start working more on what I put in my body. As an influencer, when my Tula time came around It changed everything for me too. They day and night cream I still try to figure out how I made it this far with out.

  19. Blair Staky

    Absolutely LOVE this post Jessi! I’ve dealt with the same thing most of my life (being pregnant now is a new battle), but I agree, cutting back or cutting out dairy and gluten is hugely helpful in clearing my skin. Don’t you wish we’d known that when we were younger?! Haha! The stress bit is bad too and bad skin always stresses me out-it can be such an endess cycle. Anyway, thanks for sharing, love hearing what you’re using and what’s working for you!

  20. Jennifer

    Tula does make great products! And I feel you with the acne front. I was on Accutane about 6 years ago and it helped my skin a lot. But of course now, my already sensitive skin is even more sensitive.
    Effortlessly Sophisticated

  21. Kristen

    Thank you so much for this post! It’s always so helpful and comforting to know others have similar struggles as you. I also recently cut out dairy because I noticed a correlation between that and my breakouts. I’m also going to a specialist today to get help with balancing my gut. I’m so glad to hear you were happy with yours, because I was a little worried I might be wasting my money! Thanks for all the tips!

  22. PAM

    I️ have only lived in Austin a couple of years. Can you give me the name of your holistic doctor. U need to find one here.

    1. HI Pam! Her name is Eleanor McCully at Austin 3D Health! XOOX Jessi

  23. Jenny

    This post found my just in time! In my early 30’s and a mother of two under two and my skin has just taken a beating these last few years! Thank you so much for sharing! Ordered some TULA and collagen Peptides today! Drinking water is sooooo tough for me. Trying to get better 🙂 thank you again for the post! Love your style too! New follower here! ❤️

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