You might think that having similar genetic makeup to your relatives could result in similar beauty routines. But when I adopted my sister's beauty routine for a week, I realized that's not exactly the case. Despite sharing basically everything in life — from our interests in clothes to our dispositions — my sister and I have vastly different approaches to beauty. Even though we grew up hearing that we look like twins, we couldn't be any more different when strictly speaking of our makeup, hair, and skincare routines.
For as long as I can remember — from smudging mom's lipstick on our faces when we were young to sending each other Snapchats of our matching zits (yes, it's a thing) — my sister and I have always shared an endless fascination of beauty. But our shared interests don't correlate to identical beauty routines. We are two peas in a pod, but the ways we take care of our hair and skin and do our makeup are worlds apart. So much for twinning, I guess.
Because I couldn't stop wondering just how different our routines actually are, I decided to adopt my sister's skin, hair, and beauty practices for a week. It went a little something like this.
The Sister Breakdown
Before we get started, here's a breakdown of my skin and hair routines compare to my sis's, along with some revealing #nofilter #nomakeup selfies.
Name: Esra Erdogan
Skin: Combination skin that's oily in some areas and dry in others. Hormonal and stress-related acne is common.
Makeup: Doesn't wear makeup on a daily basis, but will apply mostly face products (foundation, concealer, blush) if in the mood.
Hair: Very thick, almost-black hair with a naturally wavy/frizzy texture. Occasionally treats with heat from blow dryer or straightener.
Daily Beauty Routine: "First thing in the morning, I'll chug a bottle of water. Then, I'll use the Rodan & Fields acne line, a four-product process, complete with cleanser, toner, spot cream, and a moisturizer. At night, I'll remove makeup with a DHC cleansing oil, which I'll massage into my skin, before using the Rodan & Fields products again."
And here's how I compare.
Name: Melodi Erdogan
Skin: Oily skin with hormonal and clogged pore-caused acne. Lots of whiteheads, as well as scarring from popped zits.
Makeup: I wear eye makeup on a regular basis (eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara), as well as face powder and concealer. But I avoid heavy or cakey products.
Hair: Medium thick, dark brown hair that's extremely frizzy. Regularly treated with heat from blow dryer and curler. Naturally dries wavy.
Daily Beauty Routine: My skin solely depends on oil cleansing with natural jojoba oil, morning and night. Hair is treated with some argan oil and then blow dried. Powder and mascara used for face.
The swap started out on the right foot with a big glass of water first thing in the morning. I never realized how dehydrated I felt upon waking up, and the water was refreshing and invigorating. No complaints so far.
But that quickly changed when I gave my sister's Rodan & Fields Acne four-step program a shot. While I used to be a fan of three or four-step acne kits, I eventually realized that my skin wasn't improving. My sister's kit dried out my skin and left it feeling tight and flaky. While most kits require use for at least a few weeks before seeing results, I knew my skin wasn't going to appreciate going from all-natural jojoba oil to a harsher, acne-treating kit.
I didn't do much for the rest of the day, but considering my skin felt so dried out, I was glad to just sit at home and ignore it while binge watching Broad City.
I started off Day No. 2 with another tall glass of water and used the acne kit before taking a shower. Once again, my skin felt tight and dry afterwards. Even though my sister swears by it, I wasn't a fan.
After taking a shower, I followed my sister's hair routine of mostly letting it dry naturally and then blow drying the ends. My sister's thick, shorter hair typically looks great in this style, but I was afraid mine would just frizz. To my surprise, after letting my hair dry naturally for 20 minutes and blow drying the rest, it looked very beach-kissed.
While my skin was still recuperating from the acne kit, my fabulous hair made Day 2 a success.
My hair still looked fabulous on Day 3, so after waking up to a bottle of water and then using the acne kit, I went straight for my sister's makeup routine for a day of shopping. While neither my sister nor I wear lots of makeup, we do wear different kinds. She focuses on skin. I focus on eyes. So I expected that layering on face makeup for someone who barely wears any would be less than fun.
And that was turned out to be true. I tried out my sister's aqua foundation and concealer to see how they would fare on my own skin. Her face always looks flawless with this combination, but my skin felt heavy and cakey within the first hour of application. While I didn't mind the light pink blush or the cream eyeshadow from her makeup bag, it was the heavy face cosmetics that brought me down throughout the week, made me break out, and had my oily skin sweating like crazy.
To remove the makeup later that night, I used my sister's DHC Deep Cleansing Oil. Although it didn't feel quite as refreshing as my jojoba oil (can you tell I was having separation anxiety?), it was nice to massage the oil into my skin to wash off all the thick heavy makeup I was wearing.
Day 4 was actually Christmas, so I took it as an opportunity to take my sister's full look for a whirl. I drank water and got through the acne kit with no flukes. Then I showered and opted for my sister's done-up hair look requiring a full blow-out and some heat via a curling iron. This look was much more along the lines of my own personal hair stylings, so I could appreciate the voluminous locks and wavy but loose curls.
After my hair was finished, I tried out her beauty look once more. Even though the foundation, concealer, and blush still felt a little too heavy on my face for my liking, there was no doubt that the eyeshadow and light mascara combination was giving me a nice glow against the twinkling lights.
On this day, my family had some relatives over for a post-Christmas, pre-New Year's lunch. After going through my morning routine of drinking water and applying the acne kit, I once again applied my sister's makeup and styled my hair like hers. Our relatives couldn't stop talking about how much we looked alike at lunch. Other than that, as you could probably tell from my face above that Day 5 went on swimmingly.
On the sixth day, I think my skin was finally getting used to the acne kit. It didn't feel as tight and dry as it did on Day 1, but I was still breaking out on my cheeks and forehead. I didn't fully expect the kit to have amazing results after only using it for a week, but I secretly hoped it might.
I went out to run errands today and applied my sister's makeup routine. I still felt confident and cute in the eyeshadow and the blush, but the foundation and the concealer were still too much for me.
Once again, I stayed in all day and watched Broad City in my pajamas. But I chugged water in the morning and applied the acne kit and my sister's makeup for the last time. While I was convinced the acne kit wasn't doing me any favors, I noticed that my skin wasn't getting as oily as it usually did on a normal day. My typically oil-slick skin was surprisingly tame by the last day of the experiment.
Because I was chugging a bottle of water first thing in the morning, I became much more aware of my H20 intake and how it relates to my skin as well. And clearly, my regular consumption of water during the week made my skin bright, hydrated, and not as oily as it typically is. Starting my day off with H2O was officially something I wanted to make a part of my own routine.
What Did I Learn?
I love my sister, but I'm not a huge fan of her beauty routine. At least, not for me personally. While I definitely learned a few good tips from swapping beauty routines with her — from regularly drinking water to embracing my natural hair — the main thing I took away from this experiment was the importance of having respect and appreciation for everyone's personal, unique routine.
Everyone on this planet is different and has their own individual process. My sister is the closest person in my life — both emotionally and genetically — but our beauty routines differ immensely. At the end of the day, we likely developed those routines in order to feel the utmost confidence. So what one person might do to make themselves feel good might not be true for the next (no matter how similar those two people may be). And that's OK!
So even though I don't see myself trying out my sister's beauty routine again, I did learn that doing what feels best to you is always the way to go. And her tips on staying hydrated definitely made this worth it.
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Images: Melodi Erdogan