Hello my friends,
Adeline here. I know I have promised this for a long time….but I am finally breaking down my favorite skincare products. Better late than never, right? I have dabbled in a pretty astonishing amount of products in my day (you get fairly desperate when you suffer from unrelenting adult acne) and I’m here to give you the scoop on what’s worth it when it comes to stocking your skincare arsenal.
As I’ve mentioned in my when discussing my journey with acne & clearing my skin : I believe skincare starts from the inside out. You have to first and foremost figure out what your body is trying to tell you by displaying these skin ailments externally. For me, I believe it was certain foods that triggered my hormones and cystic acne, and after experimenting with cutting different things out (especially processed junk, sugar, conventionally produced dairy & gluten etc.) I was able to find what calmed my skin down and stopped my cystic acne from reappearing.
With that said, once you start to get your skin under control, there are certainly topical skincare products that can assist with the process of cellular turnover, hydration, pigment issues, even tone and more; to help speed up the healing of acne marks and scars. These products I will discuss below have all been super helpful in the removal of my acne marks/scarring. Now, some of my acne scars are far too deep to be eliminated via skincare products alone, and I will eventually look into more heavy duty treatments like lasers or microdermabrasion to minimize scarring.
Disclaimer Part 2:
As with everything I discuss, I do not feel comfortable touting any wellness, food, or beauty product as a one size fits all cure/miracle product…because *say it with me* everyone is different! These are simply products that work for me. Also, not every single thing I use is 100% clean/green etc. I like to practice the 80/20 rule in my life. You don’t have to use any of these products if you don’t feel comfortable, I’m just here to let you know my personal favorites.
OKAY, now that we got all of that out of the way, let’s get into it. I will organize this list by type of product: cleansers, acids + exfoliants, masks, oils + moisturizers, SPF, toners/facial mists & miscellaneous .
This is my absolute favorite cleanser. It smells like you are frolicking through a field of strawberries (but not in a gross-fake smelling- overly sweet- strawberry -chapstick -kind -of- way) in the most subtle and intoxicating way. This cleanser is gentle, it gets the job done, and it’s a joy to use. It’s hard to tell if this one product has brightened my skin because I use numerous brightening products, but it definitely contributes to the cause! It’s never made my skin upset or broken me out, so this is a must have, in my opinion.
I first heard about True Botanicals when Olivia Wilde touted them as the savior of her skin on Watch What Happens Live (hi, fellow bravo fans), so I obviously had to investigate. This entire line lives up to the hype. It is entirely natural and honestly feels like a warm hug for your skin. All of the products smell like a spa day and they invigorate your nostrils, subtly enveloping you with fresh herbal scents (invigorate your nostrils is not something I ever thought i’d be typing, yet here we are….) The facial mist smells like jasmine and neroli, it’s absolutely amazing…but more on that later, back to the product at hand. This cleanser feels like a slightly viscous and creamy liquid, and it is truly so hydrating- you will never have that “squeaky clean” stripped feeling after washing.
ACIDS + EXFOLIATORS:
I linked to Sephora, that’s where I’ve always purchased from. Be on the lookout, because occasionally they’ll offer the full sized serum in a gift box with additional products for the same price as the serum on it’s own. It’s pricy, so why not get more bang for your buck?
Okay, this might be my holy grail product. This product is kind of a unicorn in the world of Vitamin C products…they are often super sticky, irritating, sour smelling etc. Not C Firma. Vitamin C products help to brighten your skin tone and even it out, perfect for textured acne scar laden skin. This is a product I will re order over and over again.
This is my retinol product of choice. I’ve gone through probably 10+ bottles at this point (FYI it’s under 10 dollars…) Retinol is the miracle ingredient that helps with acne + wrinkles, perfect for an acne prone 28 year old like myself. When I feel a breakout coming on and I use this product at night, and I find it almost disappeared by morning. That’s how it’s worked for me, so until I find a better retinol product at a similar price point, this will be my go-to.
If you google this product, countless articles will pop up with expressions like “CULT BEAUTY PRODUCT”. I had seen so many people talk about this product that I finally had to try it for myself. It really is a pretty miraculous product, there’s not much it doesn’t do in the way of improving your skin. I love it, and I always have a bottle in my possession. I used to use the Lotion p50 1970 which contains phenol…sort of a problematic ingredient that’s banned in Europe. I’m not an expert on the topic but I was a little freaked out so I decided to start ordering the regular version without phenol, and I’m very happy with it. This is not really a lotion at all, it’s more like an exfoliating toner- you simply add few drops to a cotton pad, then swipe across the face.
This is my *GLOW TO* product….get it? go-to/glow-to?? I’ll be here all night, guys! All jokes aside, this lactic acid treatment does it all. When my skin is feeling meh, dull, lack luster, just not feelin’ it…I use one pump of good genes, and honestly within 30 minutes my skin has a slight flush to it, it’s truly glowing, and it looks alive and dewey again. It is expensive, but so worth it to me. Also, my bottle has lasted me such a long time; you only need one pump at a time.
This product is so cool. It is a powdered form of vitamin C + ferulic acid in its most potent form and you can mix it in with mists, serums or even water to apply to your face. It brightens dark spots, smooths and firms…plus it made it onto ITG (intothegloss.com) top 25 list last year. This is a game changer!
This is an AHA/BHA mask (25% AHA + 2% BHA) mask that has a lot of hype- for good reason. I use this mask once a week, and it makes such a difference. Every time you use it, you feel like you have new, “baby” skin. Drunk Elephant is such a trustworthy brand, in my opinion, they formulate all their products with integrity, plus optimal PH balance, the perfect combination of acids so that you’re not left sensitive and irritated + loads of nourishing antioxidants. Big fan of this product- and I’ve had one bottle for almost a year a now, it lasts a long time and is worth the price.
This Tata Harper mask is an amazing exfoliating BHA mask for those with super sensitive skin. It is such a gentle (and completely synthetic free) mask but it really does its job. I love slathering on this jelly like rose-scented mask when my skin needs perking up.
This product + this brand has a special place in my heart. The owner had a similar skincare journey to mine, and she is just about the sweetest human on the planet (along with everyone that works for the company). All of their products feel like they are part of a sacred ritual. Luxurious scents and pigments that feel completely connected to the earth. I love the mermaid mask, it leaves your skin super soft and refreshed, plus it’s just so fun to put on the spirulina filled dark green mask and feel like a mermaid.
This, along with all of herbivore botanicals products, smell like a dream. They are completely natural- every ingredient is organic, plant based and food grade, aka you could probably eat this mask if you wanted to…but I’d recommend using it on your skin. This is another great BHA mask option for those with super sensitive skin who want a completely clean product. This mask always leaves my skin feeling amazing and never stiff or dry.
OILS + MOISTURIZERS:
I almost solely use oils as my method of moisturizing. My favorite non-comedogenic face oils are marula oil, rosehip oil, jojoba oil and then a few that are a combination of a few fabulous oils + some other beneficial ingredients.
For Marula Oil + Rosehip Oil I use:
Acure Organics (can get at whole foods)
These are both 10-12 dollars, and I find they work just as well as something like Drunk Elephant Marula oil which is upwards of $70. I think certain products are worth spending on, and others you can get very similar results for a much lower price point.
I buy this at Trader Joes- I love using it to remove my eye makeup!
This facial oil is a freaking dream. I don’t know what it is about it specifically, but it moisturizes my skin like no other. It also smells like orange peel and every time I put it on before bed my boyfriend says I smell like a popsicle (big compliment in my book). This is in my top 5 must have products.
You’ve probably seen someone raving about this oil at this point, I know I have. It is one of their best sellers for a reason and it’s really quite magical. This is not a one trick pony face oil, this is more like a serum + moisturizer all in one, in my opinion. My skin absolutely loves it and it lives up to its radiant promises.
I started using this fairly recently, but I’m already obsessed. (honorable mention: I also love their plant stem cell booster serum) This carrot seed oil has a number of other beneficial oils in it as well, and it’s a cocktail of oils that my skin drinks up and thrives on. Cannot recommend this one enough.
I feel like I’ve used the word luxurious 100 times already, but the word serious applies with this oil. I’ll just quote the brand because they describe it in the most fitting and magical of ways: “Mahina is our moonlight magic, and she is what skincare dreams are made of. Her luxurious and rich coalescence of organic and cold pressed moringa, marula, prickly pear and chia seed oils will work in harmony with youth enhancing Co-Enzyme Q10 to deeply nourish, soften, plump and replenish each cell on your precious face while you get your beauty sleep. Sealed with a kiss of soft vanilla and sweet citrus, your skin will drink in every last drop of this treasured potion as she breathes youth into your pores, leaving you with a supple, dewy and gorgeous radiance.” Need I explain more???
I also like to use hyaluronic acid which boasts a different type of skin hydration. I will link to both a pricier option + a cheaper option, both of which I have used and enjoyed. I just depends what you’re in the market for:
FACIAL MISTS + TONERS
I never really used facial mists up until the past year, and while they never used to seem entirely necessary, they are a new favorite and such a welcomed bonus in my skincare routine. When my skin feels dry or blah, I grab one of my favorite facial mists and spray away, and I instantly feel dewey and refreshed.
Some facial mists are simply a nice refreshment + bonus like I mentioned above; this one is different. This mist truly does more than just refresh my skin. The name has the word nutrient in it, and good nutrition for the skin is just what it delivers. This feels like more of a treatment + refreshment to me. It’s packed with beneficial antioxidants and smells HEAVENLY. Seriously, I just ran out of my bottle and I’m experiencing withdrawal.
Again, I’m just going to quote Leahlani, because they say it better than I ever could:
“If you have dry and sensitive skin, Bohemian Ruby is your girl. She will gently nurture the skin, providing ample hydration and moisture to your delicate complexion. Her combination of pure aloe water, organic floral hydrosols, and mineral rich Hawaiian sea silt will tenderly kiss the skin- leaving your sweet skin calm, balanced, and nourished.
Each bottle houses a Rose Quartz gemstone that has been purified in the Hawaiian sea and sun. Rose Quartz emits a strong vibration of unconditional love, healing, and warmth. Mist often, and may each spray envelop you with pure aloha.”
This stuff is some healing magic in a bottle. Absolutely love the product itself and the care and thoughtfulness of the bottle + addition of actual rose quartz.
I’ve used up multiple bottles of this beauty. Including the time I had a brand new bottle and the entire thing leaked in my suitcase and I almost cried…but I digress. This toner is not akin to the traditional toner we think of. When I used to use toner back in the day, it was a burning and stripping experience and this experience could not be further in the opposite direction. Its is a hydrating, alocohol free and antioxidant rich toner featuring CoQ10, soothing plant extracts and hyaluronic acid. I love this in the morning or in the afternoon when my skin feels a little greasy and needs rebalancing.
Okay, sunscreen is of the utmost importance to maintaining the health of our skin and preventing premature aging; we all know this… (I think). This is why it’s rather aggravating that finding an SPF for your face that doesn’t cause it to spiral into a deep dark place seems nearly impossible. I’ve hesitantly tried so many facial sunscreens and these are the only two that have worked on my face. The funny part is, neither of these products are necessarily marketed as a sunscreen, one is a color correcting treatment and one is a primer.
This is actually a color correcting redness reducing treatment that happens to boast SPF 30. It’s a bit pricey at $52 a pop, but a jar of this stuff lasts for what feels like forever. You don’t need much, and it works effectively at protecting my skin from the sun, plus it reduces redness (and the appearance of my acne marks) so this a product that started helping me to feel comfortable going makeup free in public.
This stuff is amazing- it goes perfectly under makeup as it is meant to be a primer, and it is SPF 50. It is for sale at Sephora (linked) but I occasionally find it at places like TJ Maxx + Marshalls for way less (you can often find amazing and super discounted skincare products there, FYI).
Honorable mention** I also love COOLA sunscreen products
Guys, this might truly be my #1 holy grail product:
This is the ONLY, I repeat ONLY, lip balm/chapstick that actually works for me. My boyfriend and I are both obsessed- we have this lip balm in every single scent, and we have one one us at all times…nightstand, bathroom, car, purse…you name it. If they ever stop making this, I don’t know what I’ll do. Is there a name for the phenomenon of being terrified that your favorite products will be discontinued? Because it’s a very real thing.
** I believe I have a discount code, but I’m not 100% sure it’s still active. ‘VIBRANTANDPURE’ should give you something off at checkout so I’d give it a try!
100% my favorite new deodorant. My boyfriend and I both use it and we’ve already run out and they’re out of stock currently, so it’s quite a predicament. This stuff actually works and smells amazing. I used to use Schmidt’s natural deodorant, which I still occasionally use when I have nothing else but it often irritates my armpits. Kopari deodorant I love you please come back!
Okay, I think that’s all I’ve got for now. This is the type of breakdown I would’ve loved when I was confused and had no idea what kind of products to use, so I truly hope this is a helpful resource for you. Please let me know if you have any questions and I’ll keep you updated on new products I’m loving down the line.