The Best Skincare Product in Every Category
If I Could Only Have One
My friends and family consistently ask me what are my favorite products, and so I'm making the ultimate guide so I can stop rewriting the same message to each individual and just send everyone here. So if I sent you here, you're in luck because you're getting my thoughts in a coherent organized way in this post (rather than a rushed DM.) These are my absolute favorite in each respective category. My favorite cleanser, my favorite mist, my favorite mask, etc. Some are expensive, but they are worth it. You must trust me to some extent if you're here, so trust me when I say these are the creme de la creme.
In the mornings, if my skin is feeling dry I will just splash water on the skin. When it gets a bit more oily (my skin changes consistently so I adapt as needed) I will use a cleanser to make sure to get that extra sebum and grease off from the night before. If I'm looking for a cleanser to first break apart makeup, I will go in with a cleansing balm. The one I've finished time and time again is Drunk Elephant's Slaai™ Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser. For a day with no makeup, I would use January Labs Pure & Gentle Cleansing Gel. This can be the only cleanser in your routine. It is the best one I've tried in a long time, so I can't recommend it enough and this is a clean brand with minimal ingredients that are high quality.
The best mask that money can buy. Agent Nateur h o l i ( b r i g h t ) Natural Resurfacing Glass Face Mask is pegged as the "botox mask" and for good reason. It literally tightens the skin, and give you that incredibly glassy tight and bright skin (after one use). This is my mask before events, or if I have a photo shoot. A hefty price tag, but it lasts me several months and Aaron uses it too. This is one of those things I almost want to hide from him completely, but it's inevitable he finds it and sees me applying. He knows the good stuff is usually hidden.
Exfoliator and Toner
There is no product on the planet like my Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta® Extra Strength Daily Peel, and anyone who knows me (like at all) knows this is my holy grail product. I did find out that if you are currently pregnant or breastfeeding, you can use a milder version throughout that time. There is a Universal version, which I recommend to most people (do not start with the Extra Strength if you haven't been using any other chemical peel pads or chemical peel ingredients) and there is a Gentle one too. The Gentle one does not have Vitamin A (retinol) so it is safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding, but always consult with your medical professional.
I use the peel pads three to four times a week in a normal timeframe. When I do this consistently, I'm not also reaching for a toner because I find it's duplicating the efforts and truthfully drying out the skin unnecessarily. However if I'm not consistent with the peel pads, and instead want a toner my favorite one has been the Biologique Recherche P50. It's a hefty price tag, but this is a toner that really takes things to the next level.
I've become an essence girl, and I find that most skinthusiasts love essence for a slew of reasons but the main being it gives you more bang for your buck when it comes to your serums. Why? Essence is used to prepare your skin for the rest of your routine, and the hydrating elements of its formulation allow the serums to get deeper into the epidermis. After trying many (most come from Asian skincare brands) the JIN JUNG SUNG Soothing Face Moisturizer Essence Serum is the one, plus it is so affordable you literally do not have an excuse. Just add it to your Amazon cart, and thank me later. Seriously, just do it.
Listen when I tell you this eye serum is the best thing I've ever used on my under eye area, and it makes an immediate difference. It is literally insane. Agent Nateur does a lot of things well, but their holi(glow) Ageless Eye Serum is an absolute must. I'm also of the mindset that you want to apply eye cream or eye serum before all the other serums. This way this formulation is getting on this sensitive area, and you're not placing it on top of the other serums depending on how you spread each one.
Depending on what you're working on in particular, you may use a combination of these, all of them, or just one of them. This can be saved for another post, but here are my favorite of each.
There is no mistaking which serum runs the Vitamin C game. The Skinceuticals C E Ferulic with 15% L-Abscorbic Acid is the GOAT. It's also really pricey, so I understand if this isn't a feasible option. I have a more cost effective option for you but it doesn't compare to Skinceuticals (nothing on the market does ok!) but the TruSkin Vitamin C Serum is excellent for its low price point. It's most important to apply vitamin C in the morning, so throw into your AM routine.
Hyaluronic acid certainly got a major boost over the last five (5) years. To the point where everyone knows this helps you retain more moisture and hydration. However keep it mind that the moisture and hydration has to come from somewhere, aka a super hydrating moisturizer or oil. Otherwise just hyaluronic acid on its own is not going to work and will have the opposite effect on your skin. There is no better hyaluronic acid serum than the PCA Skin Hyaluronic Acid Boosting Serum.
Next we want to discuss Vitamin A, also known as retinol. There's many forms of it, depending on the dilution from the original chemical, its strength, what else it's mixed with, etc. For me, when it comes to the serums doing the work, I always like to go with profesional and medical grade options and PCA Skin just knows what they're doing. The PCA Skin Intensive Age Refining Treatment 0.5 Pure Retinol Night is it. Pricey, but do you want results?
Now as an alternative to retinol (if pure vitamin A is too intense for you or you're pregnant or breastfeeding) you have the option to use bakuchiol which is a plant based derivative that has similar effects as retinol. The Medik8 Bakuchiol Peptides Serum is the best option. Since vitamin A can be a bit dehydrating, this alternative is the opposite and perfect for sensitive skin.
There is one moisturizer that takes the cake because it almost combines all the serums and everything you could need, into one step. I hope you're sitting down because the price point is steep but nothing compares to it in my opinion. The Augustinus Bader Rich Cream with TFC8® Face Moisturizer. I mean it makes sense why every beauty editor raves and hides this moisturizer in their beauty cabinet. No matter what my skin has been going through, this is definitely the one I have on hand that will fix anything and everything (oiliness, dryness, lack of plumpness, etc.) Best money spent in my opinion.
From the moment I tried The Golden Secrets brand, I knew the formulas they created were special. The Heal All Oil is simply incredible, and I opt for it when I'm dealing with serious dryness. Most importantly I use a few drops, spread between my fingertips and gently press into the skin.