My skin has been *awful* since the pandemic began. For the past couple years I’ve barely had any breakouts with just a few spots every once in a while. I thought I finally kicked my acne when I found a skincare routine (an old version about which I wrote here) that made my face soft and clear, but my skin suddenly and unfortunately returned to its congested high school state back in March. Around the same time, I ran out of my holy grail Glossier Super Pure Serum, which has been out of stock on the website from February until its relaunch in May, and my face was not happy without the product. I’m convinced that Super Pure combined with The Body Shop Vitamin E Gentle Face Wash, Pixi Glow Tonic, and Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel eradicated my acne since I paired them all together. In search of new healing options once my skin was severely broken out in April, I purchased this skincare duo that’s slowly worked to heal my face. The first product of my new favorite skincare duo is The Ordinary Niacinimide 10% + Zinc 1% (not the most exciting or fun name, I know), which the brand calls a High-Strength Vitamin and Mineral Blemish Formula. This serum is probably one of The Ordinary’s most popular products that most users have claimed calms redness and breakouts. I didn’t have as much success with it during the first couple months of use, but I think I was in the purging phase, so my skin broke out even more (a normal effect!). Now that I’ve been using the serum for three months, I finally see a difference in my complexion. Paired with a biweekly application of the Glossier Mega Greens Galaxy Pack Detoxifying Face Mask (the second of my star skincare duo), my skin is far less congested than it’s been the entirety of our quarantine period. Mega Greens is a thick and grainy clay mask I apply at least once every two weeks (or more often if my face is a little more spotty) and let harden for 20 minutes. It’s not like most clay masks that strip and tighten the skin, but it does draw out excess oil and impurities that cause breakouts. I always reach for this mask when I feel spots coming on and it calms them overnight. This skincare duo is affordable and effective and I’m grateful for their healing properties!