Since I was a teenager in upstate NY spending my weekends poring through beauty magazines, fervently ripping out pages to refer to later… “How to shrink your pores forever!” “How to never get a pimple again!” “How to wake up with glowing skin, EVERY DAY!”…
I’ve been obsessed with skincare. All aspects of it.
To me, life is all about feeling your best, and therefore being your best. Every part of your life is related to the next. When you look incredible, you feel incredible, and therefore you are able to be your most kickass, incredible self every single day.
Along with wellness, beauty and aesthetics are super important to me. They’re just parts of life that I LOVE. In my world, taking care of myself in ways that make me feel my best is an act of self love.
I can think of few things that make me feel as good as giving myself the luxurious gift of taking time out of every single day to indulge in the ritual of a fabulous skincare routine.
I’ll pass on boozy brunch, but a spa day? I’ll take it any damn time, please and thank you.
And, I will also add, that skincare is not gender-specific. I recently did a live stream on Instagram sharing skincare tips and got a handful of responses that “Guys don’t need skincare tips.”
I SERIOUSLY beg to differ.
Personal opinion here, but I am absofuckinglutely going to be attracted to a guy who clearly takes care of his skin. Like, when I look at a guy and he’s got 27 layers of oily slick-ness on his face, clogged pores and ashy undereyes, I’m not gonna be attracted to him.
Some may call this shallow, but the fact is, human beings are visual creatures. I mean, there’s a reason why Instagram is so wildly popular.
Your appearance is the first thing that people notice about you before they get to know you.
Personal appearance is also a direct reflection of self. So it’s like, if I’m JUST meeting a guy for the very first time and he hasn’t spoken one word to me yet, I’m going to base my initial assessment of him off of what I see, physically, right in front of me.
Everyone does this.
I’m not saying guys have to go through a 48-step beauty and skincare process (unless that’s your jam, and you KNOW I am here for it!).
I’m saying that, as a female, I appreciate a man who puts a little bit of effort into taking care of himself. OK, more than a little bit. Let’s be real. It’s attractive to me.
Plus, like I said. When you feel your best, it translates to every area of your life. It helps you project a true sense of confidence and self-assurance to the world.
It elevates the energy you put out.
And people pick up on that energy, even on a subconscious level. Vibes don’t lie!
And look. There are some people who truly don’t give a singular FUCK about any of this stuff. And if that’s a part of who you genuinely are, that’s OK too.
As long as you’re being true to yourself and you’re comfortable and confident in your own skin, that’s what matters (just, for the love of God at least please take a shower and brush your teeth).
BUT I will also say that I’ve met very, very few people in life in which even the tiniest little tweak, like, getting a fresh haircut or good teeth whitening session, doesn’t put a little extra pep in their step.
Now, on to the dirty details. Here are all the skincare products I’m currently using and obsessed with, and a breakdown of how to use them.
About a year ago there wasn’t a beauty website in sight that I could visit without seeing this one particular face peel (Drunk Elephant Babyfacial) and its raving reviews for baby-smooth, glowing skin literally everywhere.
Like, it was haunting my dreams everywhere.
At first I was hesitant because $80 is usually a LOT for me to spend on one product. I’m ALL for luxury, but only if it’s well worth the investment. After a couple weeks obsessing over whether or not I would give it a shot, I finally took the plunge and placed my order for this so-called miracle product.
Lo and behold, the reviews were ON. POINT. My skin had never felt THIS soft and smooth. And it was G L O W I N G at a level I didn’t know could exist. I became beyond obsessed with this product and used it up to the very last drop.
Now, being the curious soul I am, I decided to do some further investigating into this peel before I ordered another one.
Because again, $80.
And also, I’m very well-versed in the outrageously high markups on retail products, as well as the power of marketing and branding. So I’m well aware that this product likely cost 1/25 of what I paid for it to manufacture.
So naturally I did my research on the ingredients that made this peel so fabulous and discovered the key ingredients: AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) and BHA (beta hydroxy acid) which, in English, are gentle exfoliants that basically dissolve a layer off of your skin, getting rid of dead skin cells to unveil the baby smooth, even layer of brand new skin underneath.
My next step was to do a good ol’ Google search on similar products that use the same combination of these ingredients. And discovered The Ordinary Peeling Solution.
So naturally I had to give this a whirl. And let me tell you, it does NOT disappoint.
In fact, it gave me the SAME EXACT RESULTS as the $80 Babyfacial product.
Of course, I’m obsessed. And it’s SUPER duper easy to use. All you do is take a few tiny drops and rub a light layer over your face (avoid the eye area) as well as your neck (I go all the way down to my chest), let it sit for 10 minutes (it IS a peel so don’t leave it on any longer) then wash off, unveiling your SOFT AF BABY SKIN.
It does burn a teeny tiny bit, but on a scale of 1-10, it’s a 1.5. It’s nothing.
I like to use it once a week during one of my pre-bedtime skincare rituals. I wouldn’t use it any more often than this because you’ll just end up irritating your skin and drying it the f out.
2. Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Line Smoothing Exfoliator.
This is a super gentle face exfoliator that I use daily (except on days when I use the peel) to even out my skin, moisturize and protect against fine lines and wrinkles.
Just take a couple pea-sized dollops onto your fingers and gently rub them in circular motions from the center of your face outwards (again, avoid the delicate eye area), and then rinse!
3. Dermalogica Active Clay Cleanser.
This was another one of those “it got stellar reviews across all boards so I GOTTA try it for myself” situations and it does NOT disappoint.
It’s a prebiotic cleanser which means it helps protect the skin’s microbiome (a community of living microorganisms on your skin that protects its barrier).
It removes excess oil, and the clay helps remove impurities from day to day environmental factors like pollution. And as an added bonus, it doubles as a fabulous clay face mask!
I use this AFTER the exfoliating cleanser just like a regular face wash. As a mask, just leave it on for 15 minutes before washing off. Hello, soft and smooth skin!
4. Eva Naturals Vitamin C Plus Skin Clearing Serum.
I am a HUGE fan of all-in-one products and cannot get enough of this stuff. It’s like a tiny miracle potion when, used consistently, can help your skin reap some SERIOUS rewards.
The combination of Vitamin C (MEGA anti-aging component packed with antioxidants), Salicylic Acid (a gentle exfoliant), Hyaluronic Acid (hydrating AF), Niacinamide (reduces redness and inflammation), Retinol (deep cleans pores and increases cell turnover rates) and MSM (strengthens keratin and reduces inflammation) altogether pack a MEAN punch.
Plus, it’s packed with organic ingredients and essential oils.
This stuff is a teeeeeny bit sticky, but not on a level that makes me uncomfortable. I pat this on gently after I wash my face at night and wake up glowing 🙂
5. The Ordinary Caffeine Solution.
You know how sometimes you just DON’T get a good night’s sleep? Like for me, the other night when I decided to browse on my phone for future homes on the Zillow app RIGHT before bedtime and all that blue light exposure from my phone left me wired until the wee hours.
I got about 6 hours of tossing and turning “sleep” that night and needless to say, was NOT looking my best. I’m the type where I NEED 8 hours or my functioning levels are not optimal the following day.
And aside from feeling like a total sloth, my eyes were puffy AF. Cute! Fortunately, I had this handy little bottle with me.
I put a little dollop on my finger for each eye, gently massaged it in and an hour later, the puffiness was lessened by a whole lot.
My only qualm with this lil guy is that wearing makeup over it gives it an odd, pill-y consistency when combined with concealer. BUT if makeup is not in your cards for the day, it’s a nice add-on to your emergency skincare arsenal for less than $7.
6. The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane.
If I had to pick ONE product that I’m extra jazzed about right this very moment, this is it. Not only is it cruelty-free and vegan, but HELLO HYDRATION.
Squalane is a hydrocarbon already found naturally in your skin. This stuff AMPS up your skin’s hydration levels. When I put it on, my skin is GLOWING. Like, just radiant AF.
And the hydration lasts ALL DAY LONG.
I use a couple drops of this stuff right after I wash my face in the morning. Sometimes if I’m feeling extra adventurous, I’ll use it before bed, too.
7. RoC Multi Correxion 5-in-1 Eye Cream.
Like I mentioned earlier, I’m a huge fan of combination products. I like convenient and I like easy. This little guy is both.
It helps get rid of dark circles, diminishes puffy undereyes, is SUPER hydrating, helps smooth out fine lines and wrinkles and makes you RADIANT AF.
All you have to do is put a couple dollops onto your fingers and gently pat all over your undereye area (DON’T RUB AS THIS TUGS AT YOUR DELICATE SKIN). I may or may not really love slathering this all over my face sometimes because of this. Don’t tell the beauty police!
But seriously, it’s that good. Your eyes are the first part of your face that show aging, so taking care of this sensitive area is crucial if you want to preserve your youthful appearance.
8. LaRoche Posay Double Repair Face Moisturizer with SPF.
When it comes to skincare, SPF is QUEEN. You can partake in a rigorous skincare routine every single day, but if you’re not protecting your skin from the sun’s dangerous UV rays, none of it will matter.
I am SUPER particular about using SPF every single day. Even when I’m not going outside, but I’m sitting next to a window. Even when it’s cloudy out. Even when I’m barely going outside but I’m still driving somewhere.
I use SPF EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I’ll give you guys the details on body SPF stuff a different time, but just know that SPF should be a part of your daily routine as much as brushing your teeth. It’s THAT important.
UV rays not only cause premature aging, but they cause irreversible damage. At a CELLULAR level.
So basically, unprotected exposure to the sun is not a gamble you wanna make.
I’ll pass on wrinkles, age spots and skin cancer, thank you very much.
I’m an SPF snob. I’ve tried a lot of different face moisturizers and this is by far my favorite. I put this on after my squalane, and apply it to not only my face but my ears, neck and chest. I’ll rub a little extra into my hands, too (but I still use body SPF on top of that).
I love this particular product because, unlike a boat load of others I’ve tried, it lays on with just the right amount of thickness. It’s not TOO heavy and it’s not watery, it’s affordable (around $20) and the brand has a classy French vibe to it that I heavily fuck with.
If you’re not going to use ANY other skincare product aside from face wash, at LEAST use an SPF. You’ll thank me in ten years when you look like you haven’t aged a bit.
Got a hot skincare rec, tip or question? Drop ’em below!
Stay fabulous, dahlings.
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