What ended up helping her manage her acne is getting to the root of her unique skin type. “I didn’t know that I wasn’t supposed to use the products that people with dry skin would use,” she says. “I wanted to use everything, so I’d just use all the products, not knowing I was going to have a reaction. Now I know I have combination skin, which is oily in some parts and dry in some parts, and that’s what leads to the breakouts.”
She has simplified her elaborate skin-care routine to a few crucial steps and worked with a trusted esthetician to find products that work for her. She is also working from the inside out, cutting dairy—as much as she can while still enjoying her life—and working on her gut health to help her skin heal.
While these steps have helped level out her skin, the biggest adjustment has been her mindset. “I think I’ve just accepted that I’ll deal with breakouts my whole life,” she says. “It’s also important for all of us to realize that skin has texture. Skin has pores. Skin has zits. We don’t see that as much anymore because we’re all on our phones, and we’re seeing all these filters and gorgeous people, and so it’s hard for us to remember that it’s okay to have skin that looks like skin.
“I’m 32 now, I definitely have just in general let go of expectations,” she continues. “I think I’ll always care to some extent, but I think I have way more compassion for myself. And if I have a breakout instead of being like, ‘Oh, God, what am I doing wrong?’ I’ll say, ‘Oh, wow, I must be stressed,’ or ‘I must be not having enough water.’ I try to find a solution as opposed blaming myself. I’ve definitely lightened up a lot more.”
Below, Hale shares what’s currently keeping her skin happy.
If I have a breakout, or just if I have to wear makeup in general, I panic because I’m like, “Oh, God, my skin’s going to get clogged,” and I truly have a physical reaction to knowing I’m going to be in makeup. That’s why I love Almay products in general. [Editor’s note: Hale is an ambassador for the brand.] I really stand behind the products, what they do for your skin and the messaging behind them. They’re hypoallergenic; they’re tested by a dermatologist. The man who created Almay actually made it for his wife who had troubled skin, which I thought was so romantic.
The Clear Complexion Foundation and Concealer just got a formula upgrade. There’s salicylic acid in the products, which is medicine for zits, basically. My anxiety about makeup is eased a little bit when I know I can put these on. I love them.
My favorite ingredient
I used to have a 20-step skin-care routine, and I loved that. But now, simple and consistent is the way to go. I have a very, very, very simple routine. It’s just about letting my skin breathe when I can. I used to think because I would break out that I shouldn’t add more moisture, but when your skin’s dry, it’s going to try to take care of you and produce more oil, and that’s what leads to breakouts.