I Tried My Mom's Skincare Routine For A Week & Here's What Happened

My mom is one of those lucky people who is blessed with soft, blemish-free skin, while I on the other hand suffer pesky combination skin. I wondered if my unpredictable skin had anything to do with genetics or my routine, so I decided to try my mom's skincare routine to attempt to get to the bottom of my plight.

It's worth mentioning at this point that from my observations, my dad has seemingly oily skin; his face never appears to be dry. I understand that your skin can age similarly to your parents', but if your skin type is also inherited (in terms of oily, dry, or combination skin rather than pigmentation), I'm not sure who passed their combination skin down to me. My complexion is slightly oily in certain areas, yet dry in others, which makes it a bit of a pain to tame.

For as long as I can remember, my mom's skin has been smooth, soft, and lovely. She may have suffered with acne in her youth, as many of us do, but there are no pictures to show any evidence of this. She has a pimple only once in a blue moon, and I've never seen her with dry, flaky skin. I asked her what her skincare secrets were, to see if by following her routine, my skin might improve. This is what happened when I followed my mom's skincare routine for a week.

My Mom's Skincare Routine

I grilled my mom on the ins and outs of her skincare routine and she happily divulged her secrets. She informed me that each morning she washes her face with water, and uses E45 cream every other day as a moisturizer, while also using it to take her makeup off each day. I don't wear makeup every day, so I thought, as my mom basically uses E45 cream every day (whether it be for removing her makeup or moisturizing her skin) I would too. My plan was to wash my face with water every morning and use E45 cream each evening, to remove my makeup (if I'd worn any) or to moisturize.

I wasn't really sure what E45 cream was, although I'd heard it was good for a number of skin conditions. When I got my hands on a pot, I discovered that E45 cream was a "White Soft Paraffin." According to the label, "E45 cream is an unperfumed and non-greasy emollient cream. It has been clinically proven to treat and soothe dry, itching, flaking, chapped, rough and calloused skin, sunburn and detergent hands. It is also for more serious dry skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, ichthyosis and certain dry cases of psoriasis." This cream was serious stuff! It's no wonder that my mom's skin was always looking flawless. I was ready to begin the week and looking forward to having kitten-soft skin.

Day 1: Monday

At the beginning of the week, my skin was pretty clear, aside from a few little pimples and blackheads. My skin has a mind of its own, so one day it can appear dry in patches and the next I can have a mini breakout.

I normally use Nivea to moisturize my skin and Lush skincare products to take my makeup off when I do wear it. I wondered if my mom's skincare routine would work for me as someone half her age and with quite different skin.

I began by washing my face with water. I was super tempted to use soap (as I normally do) because I had been swimming and I wanted to thoroughly remove the chlorine, but I held strong and resisted the urge. At the end of the day, I applied E45 cream all over my face as per my mom's instructions.

Day 2: Tuesday

On Tuesday I washed my face with water in the shower. I was enjoying this routine so far, because it was super simple and it felt quite natural. However, when I came to wash my face, I noticed my skin felt a little slimy and I wondered if it hadn't absorbed all of the cream from the previous night, or perhaps I'd applied way too much. I washed off the residue and made sure to use slightly less cream when it came to my evening application.

Day 3: Wednesday

During my morning wash, my skin felt slime-free, which was a relief: I'd cracked the amount of cream that I needed to apply. My skin was looking and feeling surprisingly clear, and I began to question whether E45 cream really was a miracle lotion or whether it was just a placebo effect. I still had slightly dry cheeks (an area that I usually suffer with), but aside from that, everything else was peachy!

Day 4: Thursday

Thursday came along and my skin was still going strong! By this point, my mom's skincare routine seemed second nature, especially considering it was so low maintenance. I still had my fingers crossed that perhaps I'd found the perfect routine for my skin.

Day 5: Friday

The weekend was approaching and I was hoping my luck with this new routine would hold out, so that I'd have relatively clear skin for the weekend. However, as you can see, I had some small pimples beginning to form on my forehead and my right cheek. I wondered if I was just having an "off" day, so I didn't worry myself too much.

Day 6: Saturday

Annoyingly, I woke up on Saturday and although my little pimples hadn't worsened overnight, they hadn't improved either. I went for a walk on my local beach, and I wondered if a blast of fresh air would sort my skin out and send my pimples into remission. Don't ask me why I thought that would work, we all have our tricks for getting rid of pimples that we imagine work perfectly, but in reality they're probably as useful as a chocolate teapot.

Day 7: Sunday

On the final day of following my mom's skincare routine for a week, I had originally expected to be left with gorgeous, soft, even skin with not a pimple in sight. How wrong I was! That's the beauty, or rather cruelty, of expectations; you're setting yourself up for a fall. I was not impressed, especially as it was Easter Sunday and I was going to a family get-together, followed by drinks in the evening with friends I hadn't seen for months. I was not a happy bunny.

So Will I Be Adopting My Mom's Skincare Routine?

The answer is a resounding hell no. As you can see, my skin went downhill between Day 1 and Day 7. Although my smattering of pimples hadn't worsened dramatically, my skin had noticeably changed, and not in a good way.

It appeared that the skin on both of my cheeks and my forehead had become more oily and had produced additional pimples. There could be a couple of reasons for this; the week I conducted the experiment, I had coincidentally stopped taking the birth control pill after about a decade. Therefore, my skin might have been having a rebellion while my hormones changed. In addition to this, my forehead is probably one of the most oily spots on my face, so it may not have been a good idea to continuously add cream to this area every day.

This experiment has shown that what works for one person, certainly doesn't work for all folks, especially when you have different skin types. Looking back, I had naïvely thought that E45 cream was some kind of miracle lotion (and I guess it is to people who suffer from skin conditions) that would solve all of my combination skin frustrations. I know my mom leads a healthy lifestyle, so this could also have a part to play in the condition of her skin. I'm not saying I don't look after myself, but I often stay up way too late and don't drink enough water. Age could also have a lot to do with how our skin reacted differently; a 20-something's skin needs different much different care than someone who is older, so it's not totally surprising that the routine didn't work out 100 percent in my favor.

My mom's skincare routine works for her, but it definitely doesn't work for me. I'll be adopting my old skincare routine again and in the meantime, I'll be experimenting with different ways to improve it, while secretly wishing I inherited my mom's complexion — sorry, Dad.

Images: Phoebe Waller