I Tried the Holy-Grail Skin Routine Rosie HW Said Finally Helped Clear Her Acne

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and I don't have much in common. I'm not a world-known supermodel, I haven't been in any of the Transformers films, I haven't founded a glittering digital beauty destination called Rose Inc., and, perhaps most sadly, I'm not married to Jason Statham. However, Rosie and I do share a couple of very important traits; we're fanatical about beauty (and trying gorgeous new products, in particular), and we've both struggled with acne for most of our adulthood. 

I follow and look up to Rosie for multiple reasons. I admire her prowess as a hugely successful businesswoman, I dote on her makeup and beauty aesthetic, and I appreciate how open and candid she's been in regard to having imperfect, acne-prone skin amid an industry that demands 24/7 flawlessness.

Recently, I stumbled across a video she created for her namesake beauty website Rose Inc. in which she opened up about her ongoing skin struggles. Not only did she discuss the mental toll stubborn acne has wielded on her self-esteem over the years, but she also divulged frustration with our product-saturated industry. As I watched and listened, I found myself nodding and agreeing with every word, vehemently. 


(Image credit: @rosiehw)

So many skincare formulas are labeled as oil-free or safe for acne-prone and sensitive skin, but as Rosie points out, few of said products are able to walk the walk that their labels so boastfully talk. As someone who has also dealt with belligerent adult acne, I've had similar frustrations and lost track of the number of times I've tried a new "miracle" skincare product that claims it will clear my perpetually bump-prone skin once and for all. All too often, however, I'm hugely disappointed, and my complexion emerges more inflamed than it was to begin with.

In the video, Rosie explains that while her skin had actually been on good behavior while pregnant a few years ago, after she gave birth, she dealt with a wave of congestion—persistent bumpy skin texture and closed comedones (which kind of look like whiteheads) largely located along her chin and jawline. Following the often prescribed protocol for this type of acne (it's exactly what I struggle with), she'd see a facialist and get everything extracted only to find herself back in the same boat of congestion just days later. 


(Image credit: @erin_jahns)

Importantly, Rosie provides a disclaimer right away in the video that she's not an expert on the topic of skincare, but on a quest to better her skin, she's done a lot of her own research and leaned into the expertise of top facialists like Biba de Sousa to help educate her on noncomedogenic skincare products, or, translated into English, skincare products that won't clog your pores.

"Comedogenic ingredients are essentially pore-aggravating ingredients," Rosie explains. "Even if a product says it's noncomedogenic or oil-free, it might not actually be that." So first and foremost when researching new products, she shares that she discovered a helpful website called Acne Clinic NYC, which has a very cool feature where you can input the full ingredient label of a product you're currently using or want to use, and after clicking "check," it will tell you whether or not the product is truly noncomedogenic and therefore whether or not it's likely to aggravate your pores or propensity to break out. (So handy.) 

In addition to schooling herself on ingredients and some of the other root causes of acne (she references this book called Acne Rx by James E. Fulton as superbly helpful), Rosie mentions a friend also recommended she see Los Angeles–based celebrity esthetician Biba de Sousa, who is a kind-of acne whisperer. Not only does she give amazing A-list-approved facials, but she also sends her clients home with a helpful little tablet listing any and all products known to be comedogenic. Thanks to all of these helpful factors, Rosie shares that in the past 10 months or so, she's cultivated an acne-busting skincare routine that's finally helped heal and prevent breakouts. 

Now, I know more than anyone that just because one product or regimen works for someone else's skin or type of acne doesn't necessarily mean it will work for my skin or type of acne. (Even if Rosie and I do seem to share similar breakout patterns and types of pimples!) That said, as I've been doing my own research and am working to hone my own acne-prone skincare routine, I thought it would be interesting to try out and review Rosie's newfound skin-clearing regimen to see if it might prove effective for me (and possibly anyone else struggling to find the right products) as well. Keep scrolling for all of the products Rosie currently keeps stocked on her vanity and both of our testimonials. 

The Morning Lineup


(Image credit: @rosiehw)





The Evening Lineup


(Image credit: @rosiehw)


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Beauty Director

Erin has been writing a mix of beauty and wellness content for Who What Wear for over four years. Prior to that, she spent two and half years writing for Byrdie. She now calls Santa Monica home but grew up in Minnetonka, Minnesota, and studied writing, rhetoric, and communication at University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. She studied abroad in Galway, Ireland, and spent a summer in L.A. interning with the Byrdie and Who What Wear family. After graduating from UW, she spent one year in San Francisco, where she worked as a writer for Pottery Barn Kids and PBteen before moving down to L.A. to begin her career as a beauty editor. She considers her day-to-day beauty aesthetic very low-maintenance and relies on staples like clear brow serum (from Kimiko!), Lawless's Lip Plumping Mask in Cherry Vanilla, and an eyelash curler. For special occasions or days when she's taking more meetings or has an event, she'll wear anything and everything from Charlotte Tilbury (the foundations are game-changing), some shimmer on her lids (Stila and Róen do it best), and a few coats of the best mascara-type product on earth, Surratt's Noir Lash Tint.