I’m often sent various beauty products to test out. From serums, to creams, to masks, I’m always looking to discover new things. To be completely honest though, because I’m so picky about what I put on my skin, I’ll usually end up using it once or twice and then giving it away. The items which I’ve highlighted below are the beauty products I can’t live without and buy on repeat. I’ve been using most of these for years, so I know they work.
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser. ($22) A facial cleanser needs to achieve three things in order for me to continue rebuying it. One, it has to get deep down below the surface, two; it has to remove any makeup residue, and three; it can’t clog my pores. Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser accomplishes all of these, while also being gentle on my skin. *Note: if I’m wearing makeup, I’ll remove the majority of it with Neutrogena wipes, and then I’ll double cleanse afterwards. (Use in the morning and evening.)
Asterwood Naturals Hyaluronic Acid Serum. ($17.90) A lot of the products I use are on the pricier side, so when I discover one that works but costs a fraction of the price, I buy it on repeat. This HA serum has been a game changer in terms of making my skin appear fuller and brighter. I spread a dime sized amount all over my face and neck and it leaves my skin smoother while helping it retain moisture. (Apply in the morning after you cleanse your face.)
Sunday Riley C.E.O. 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum. ($85) This Vitamin C serum has become a vital part to my morning skincare regimen. It brightens up dark circles, evens out my skin tone, and fades dark spots left over from a breakout. (Apply in the morning before using moisturizer.)
Moisturizers + Creams
Dermalogica Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF 50 Moisturizer. ($75) When I was in my teens and early 20s, I’d frequently lay out in the sun and use tanning beds without sunscreen. I honestly believe this moisturizer is one of the reasons my skin still looks youthful. I’ve been using it for about 12 years now and not only does it have SPF in it, it’s also made with a ton of antioxidants that help prevent fine lines and wrinkles. (Apply in the morning before makeup and prior to sun exposure.)
Aesop Immediate Moisture Facial Hydrosol. ($25) During the winter months (or when I’m flying), the air is dry and I need to take extra precautions. This rose petal-infused mist is a calming approach to keeping my skin moisturized throughout the day or on a flight. (Spritz whenever your skin is feeling dry.)
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream. ($22 – $55) This one is a bit thicker than my daytime moisturizer, which is what I need at night. I want something that’s going to lock in my elixirs and force them deep down into my pores. (Apply in the evening after serums.)
Aesop Camellia Nut Facial Hydrating Cream. ($50) Since the texture of my skin changes due to the climate, hormones, and outside elements, I need to adapt my regimen to reflect what my current issues are. When my skin is looking dull, I use this soothing Aesop hydrating cream. It’s all natural and it’s made with nuts and plants. I love how it reverses dryness without causing breakouts. *Note: mine is a travel size. (Apply in the evening if your skin is extra dry and after using serums.)
Derma E Microdermabrasion Scrub. ($29.99) For years now, I’ve been using this Derma E Microdermabrasion Scrub. I’ll apply it all over my face and neck (while avoiding my eye and lip area) and scrub in a circular motion. Then, I’ll use a cotton pad to wipe off the excess and rinse my face with warm water. I love how my skin feels so soft afterwards. It also acts as a prep before applying a mask. (Help once a week after cleansing and prior to applying a mask.)
Aesop Blue Chamomile Facial Hydrating Masque. ($55) I’ve come to know, love, and trust Aesop’s products and their Blue Chamomile mask does exactly what it’s designed to do. As I apply it, it rehydrates my skin and makes my complexion appear softer. It also feels amazing going on. *Note: mine is a travel size. (Use in the morning or evening after cleansing and exfoliating.)
No B.S. Charcoal Peel Off Mask. ($45) Recently I was introduced to the No B.S. brand and the first product I’ve tried is their charcoal peel off mask. I have to say that I’m obsessed. A lot of masks make my skin breakout and I haven’t had much luck with peel off masks, either. They feel like I’m ripping a giant bandaid off my face. This one is different. I apply it and let it sit on my skin for 20 minutes and then I painlessly peel it away. It’s made with niacinamide, squalane and activated charcoal, three key components in the fight against breakouts. (Use in the morning or evening after cleansing and exfoliating.)
Below are my three favorite night time serums and how I use them. For example, on Monday I’ll apply Good Genes, Tuesday I’ll use A+ Retinal, and Wednesday I’ll use Midnight Recovery, then I’ll repeat the cycle. This allows me to get the most out of the concentrates without drying out my skin.
Skin Gym Rose Quartz Facial Roller. ($28) After I apply a concentrate, I’ll use my rose quartz facial roller, which helps to lift, contour, and tone my skin. It also allows the concentrates to penetrate deeper. (Use in the morning or evening.)
Sunday Riley Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment. ($85) The Lactic Acid exfoliates my skin, makes my pores appear smaller, brightens dark spots, and targets fine lines. It also has an amazing ginger scent. (Apply in the evening after cleansing and before moisturizing.)
Sunday Riley A+ Retinol Serum. ($85) I’ve known for years that I should be using a Retinol serum, but every time I try one I either breakout or my skin becomes very dry. This one, however, is different. It’s made with honey, so it hydrates while also helping to smooth fine lines, firm, and brighten dark spots. (Apply in the evening after cleansing and before moisturizing.)
Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate. ($29 – $155) This anti-aging concentrate works while I’m asleep and I awake with glowing and refreshed skin. It’s made with squalane, lavender and evening primrose oil. The combination of these three ingredients hydrates and gives my face a healthy looking glow. (Apply in the evening after cleansing and before moisturizing.)
If I’m dealing with regular breakouts, I’ll take a break from applying the serums list above and instead I’ll use my favorite acne clearing and prevention products.
Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid-Toner. ($18) This glycolic acid toner helps to prevent breakouts, diminish fine lines, and brighten my skin while also toning it. I love how it’s gentle, but I can still feel it working. After I get out of the shower, I’ll splash cold water on my face to close my pores. Then, I dab the toner onto a cotton pad and press against my skin. (Apply in the evening after cleansing.)
Mario Badescu Anti-Acne Serum. ($20) I go through periods of time where it feels like I’m regularly dealing with breakouts, then I’ll go months with none. This gel doesn’t clear up my skin, instead, it acts as a preventive. I’ll apply it after my toner and within a few days my skin is crystal clear. (Apply in the evening.)
Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion. ($18) This zinc oxide and niacinamide solution is designed for under the surface breakouts. I’ll put a drop of the white lotion onto the tip of my finger and dab it on. When I wake up the following morning, the redness has usually disappeared, and the blemish has shrunk significantly. (Apply in the evening after toner and anti-acne gel.)
Mario Badescu Drying Lotion. ($17) This pink lotion dries up surface blemishes like no other. I dip a Q-Tip into the bottle and then I cover the blemish (the pink shade blends seamlessly with my skin tone so it helps camouflage any redness). It’s made with three acne fighting ingredients, salicylic acid, sulfur, and calamine. (Use in the morning and evening as a spot treatment.)
Shiseido Clear Sunscreen Stick 50+. ($29) If I’m going to be spending a lot of time outdoors I’ll use this sunscreen stick before I apply my SPF moisturizer. It doesn’t clog my pores, it’s fragrant-free, lightweight, and I can toss it in my beach bag without having to worry about it leaking or melting. (Apply 30 minutes before sun exposure.)
Sunday Riley Auto Correct Eye Cream. ($65) Since I began using this daily brightening and depuffing eye cream, I’ve noticed that the skin around my eyes looks smoother, thicker, and firmer. Twice a day I use about a pea-sized amount and gently dab on my eyelids, underneath, and on the sides. It’s made with Dark Circle Complex (a blend of essentials that reduces dark circles), Watermelon Extract, and antioxidant-rich lutein. (Apply in the morning and evening after applying serums.)
24K Gold Eye Mask. ($14.44) (20 count) These under eye masks are made with real 24K Gold, castor oil, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and collagen. The combination of ingredients helps improve fine lines, puffiness, and dark circles. They really come in handy when I want to fake a full eight hours of sleep. *Tip: I put them in the fridge for about an hour prior to using them. (Use in the morning or evening once a week or when your eyes look tired.)
Sol de Janerio Brazilian Bum Bum Cream. ($20) I’m obsessed with this skin tightening cream. The scent reminds me of going on a tropical vacation and sipping a piña colada by the pool (something I’d love to do right now). It’s made with caffeine so it firms my skin and makes it appear smoother and firmer. I’ll apply it from neck to toes as soon as I get out of the shower and the coconut aroma lasts throughout the day.
Teeth + Gums
Aesop Toothpaste. ($17) I was introduced to this toothpaste in Aesop’s Departure Kit. It’s made with sea buckthorn, cardamom, and Wasabia japonica. The combination of these three natural ingredients gives it a fresh licorice-like taste. As soon as I run out of the travel size, I’ll be purchasing a full size tube.
Aesop Mouthwash. ($25) I love how this mouthwash is alcohol free but still makes my teeth and gums feel super-clean. It’s made with clove bud, spearmint leaf, and anise—all natural ingredients.
Paper cups. ($10.49) (200 count) I use these disposable cups for when I brush my teeth. The small size is convenient as they don’t take up a lot of room. They’re also good quality and don’t disintegrate.
Neutrogena Eye Makeup Remover. ($5.82) About a year ago, I discovered Eyekos Beach Waterproof Mascara. I was excited to find one that actually curled my lashes and didn’t run or smudge when it was hot outside. Then it came time to remove it, but my old eye makeup remover didn’t do the trick. After testing a ton of products that claimed to remove waterproof mascara, I finally found one that works and is also gentle on my eyes. I’ll dip a Q-Tip into the oil-free solution and rub gently on my upper and lower lash line, and then I’ll double wash my face and eye area.
Degree Dry Motion 24 Hour Deodorant. ($13.41) (pack of 6) I’ve been using Degree deodorant (the shower clean scent) since I was in high school. It doesn’t matter if I’m doing a vigorous activity, or if it’s hot out—it’s long lasting and works all day and night.
Cliganic 100% Pure Cotton Rounds. ($7.99) (300 count) From applying toner to removing a face mask or exfoliator, I’m always reaching for these cotton rounds.
Cotton Swabs. ($10.47) Whether I’m removing my eye makeup or applying a spot treatment, I make sure that I always have Q-Tips stocked in my bathroom.
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