What Happened When I Followed My BF's Skin Routine

My partner and I have totally different schedules, and I was curious about what beauty tips and tricks he uses on a daily basis. Instead of just asking what he does, I decided to follow my boyfriend's skin care routine. Obviously I am aware he showers and shaves, but I wanted to discover the nitty gritty about his facial skincare habits.

My fiancé has remarkably flawless skin. By that I mean he rarely suffers from breakouts or dry skin on his face, other than an occasional small rash from shaving. In comparison, my combination skin can be clear one week and pimple-spotted and oily the next. Therefore, I was eager to learn the secrets of my partner's skin care routine.

I told him about my experiment and he told me the secret to his skin success. His answer was simple: He washes his face with water. I couldn't believe his skin could be in such good condition from using plain old H2O. He explained that as he gets up at 5.30 a.m. every morning, and quickly splashes his face with water, only using shower gel to wash his face on the weekend when he has more time. I tried his basic routine for a week, and here's what happened.

Day 1

Once I'd gotten over the mental hurdle of the idea of posting so many no makeup "selfies," I reaffirmed my self-love and respect, and realized that I was in for quite the week. As a cisgender lady who likes to wear makeup every now and again, I realized that I might struggle to remove it with plain old water. But, a challenge is a challenge, so I wasn't about to break the rules anytime soon.

As you can see, at the start of this experiment, I had quite a few pimples on my right cheek. They weren't monster zits, but they were a little annoying.

My left cheek had a few pimples too, but not quite as many. These photos were taken after I had washed my face solely with water in the shower. It felt very odd not to follow my usual routine, which includes washing my face during my morning shower with soap. When I wear makeup (on average, 2-4 times per week), I apply Lush's 9 to 5 Cleansing Lotion all over my face, and then remove it with cotton wool pads sprayed with one of Lush's liquid toners. I change it up with the toner waters depending on what kind of scent I am feeling at the time of purchase.

After Day 1, I was feeling a little nervous as to the days to come, especially because I went swimming in the morning, washed my face with water afterwards, and still felt like my face was harboring a bit of chlorine.

Day 2

On Day 2, I was enjoying how refreshing it was to just use water on my face. I had yet to wear makeup, so I hadn't needed to worry about makeup removal yet. By this day, my worries of the lingering chlorine from the day before were gone.

Day 3

Roughly halfway through my experiment I was fighting the urge to wash my face with soap. It may have been a placebo effect, but I felt like I really needed to give my face a good scrub. This photo was taken at the start of my day, after washing my face with water, and I was planning on wearing makeup later in the day. I was concerned about whether just using water to remove my makeup would be bad for my skin, or if it would even work. Despite my fears, I did it anyway.

Day 4

Luckily, on the previous day I was wearing my makeup for so long in adverse, rainy weather conditions, that by the time I got home, a lot of it had been removed. I washed my face with water as soon as I got home and then again on the morning of Day 4, right before this picture was taken. I used cotton wool pads with water to remove the tougher areas of makeup such as my mascara, but in all honesty, it wasn't very hard to get my face looking clean again. I did have to really resist using my cleanser and toner, though, because even though my face looked clean, it didn't feel totally clean.

Day 5

Day 5 was an improvement on the previous day, as with another face wash under my belt, my skin felt much cleaner again. It appeared that my pimples were fading slightly, too. I worked out in the morning, too and after a shower and water face washing session, and I couldn't stop thinking about whether the sweat on my face would have been sufficiently removed with water alone.

Day 6

I had been inwardly dreading Day 6, because I knew it was the day which I would wear the most makeup. I am part of a vintage girl band and we were recording our music in a local studio, so we dressed up a little to get into character. We didn't wear as much makeup as we normally would, however I still wore foundation, blush, eyebrow pencil, mascara, and bright red lipstick. There was one saving grace, however: It was Saturday, which meant that as per my fiance's routine, I could use shower gel to wash my face. Hallelujah!

Nivea Cool Kick Body Wash, $4, Jet

To keep my experiment authentic, I used my partner's shower gel to wash my face during my morning shower. It was so wonderful to finally use some kind of soapy substance on my face. Plus, the scent was strong and traditionally masculine, which added to the refreshing vibe. After our recording session, my friend and I visited the gym, where a fair amount of my makeup sweated off. However, I was still left with a full face of makeup after that I wanted to remove.

This photo was taken just before I had my second shower of the day, when I was going to wash my face again with shower gel. As you can see I had residual blush, mascara, a little foundation, and lots of lipstick left on my face, even after my sweaty session at the gym.

This was the post-shower result. My mascara, blush, and foundation appeared to have come off rather well, yet there was still residual lipstick left on my lips. I decided not to worry about it too much, as I thought once I'd eaten, brushed my teeth, and slept, it may have gone completely by the morning.

Day 7

I awoke to find the lipstick was still hanging on. I reckoned the situation wasn't helped by my very dry lips, which seemed to have — rather grossly — caught the lipstick amidst the cracks. I washed my face right away with my partner's shower gel in an attempt to banish the lipstick.

After not seeing much improvement I even used a cotton wool pad with water on it to try and scrub the wretched rouge from my lips.

As you might have guessed, it didn't work. So I had to spend the day sporting slight patches of red lipstick from the previous day and looking like I had sore lips or cold sores.


Although my skin doesn't look to have changed much, it did feel slightly purer and less oily on the days when I wasn't flaunting residual makeup from the day before. However, on the days that I didn't wear makeup — and didn't prep my skin with moisturizer — my skin felt quite dry in the patches where it is usually prone to dryness.

Needless to say, I didn't enjoy the feeling of having residual makeup on my face. I also didn't like the thought of having chlorine and sweat on my face, which may not have been properly removed with water alone. Although this may have been a placebo effect, I still wasn't a fan of the idea of having chemicals and sweat on my face, even after washing it.

I think there's definitely something to be said for the benefits of just using water to wash your face, but if you're a person who wears makeup, I would definitely not recommend it. I was left feeling unclean for at least a couple of days. It was an absolute relief to use my Lush cleanser and toner at the end of Day 7; I finally felt fully clean again. Having said that, I found that this experiment actually encouraged me to wear makeup less, and I think this ties back to my boyfriend's flawless skin — he doesn't wear any makeup. Perhaps using water to wash my face was indeed good for my skin, but having makeup clogging my pores from previous days was not.

Even though I now I know the secrets of my partner's skincare routine, I probably won't be trying any of his other beauty routines anytime soon. Next time I'll just ask him about his routines, instead of trying them for myself because what works for one person, doesn't always work for everyone.

Images: Phoebe Waller