There is no doubt that I am 100% jinxing myself by even daring to talk about the fact that my skin has improved significantly in the last month. But I simply must share with you, my dear readers and fellow acne-stricken and/or adjusting-to-aging friends, the skincare I’ve found that actually seems to be working!!! One product is the latest beauty trend, another brand has seemingly eliminated my acne (for now) and the final item is an anti-aging impulse purchase that I’m admitting to with full disclosure. Read on!
The ‘glotion’ craze has taken over Sephora’s advertising campaigns for good reason this summer. I was skeptical, but IT IS AMAZING. This is a daily moisturizer that gives you a major dose of hydration and contains brightening ingredients that make you appear to glow from within and from beneath your makeup. This particular brand contains hyaluronic acid – a notorious skin-saver, and Glam Glow’s TEAOXI Golden Root for brightness. It smells amazing and, aside from a bit of concealer and foundation on my acne scars and dark under-eye circles, I’m able to wear this on its own this summer. I freakin’ sparkle like a crystal when I’m wearing it! Glam Glow is known for their mud masks first and foremost (I’m a huge fan of this one), but this product has really taken my love for the brand to a whole new level. It retails at ~$49, and you can click here to check it out for yourself on the Sephora website!
COSRX (Multiple Products):
This is the South Korean acne-fighting brand that has absolutely, hands-down saved the day. I discovered it via my favorite K-beauty site and blog, SoKoGlam. South Korean skincare is lightyears ahead of us in terms of ingredients (snail mucin!), a religious routine (10 steps!) and technology (little patches that zap your zits!). I have been using several CosRx products for three months, and have really focused on using them in a dedicated manner twice a day for the last 3 weeks. I truly can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m finally seeing real results and actually look forward to my skincare routine because I know it’s working. Each item is quite affordable, is not jam-packed with oils, and ranges from about $11-$25. SERIOUSLY!! Quick note before I delve into the products themselves – AHA is Alpha Hydroxy acid, and BHA is Beta Hydroxy acid. They are exfoliants that are really good for your skin, especially when you are acne-ridden. Alright – here are the things I’ve tried and love, in order of daily use:
- Low Ph Morning Gel Cleanser (~$11): Part of my ‘double-cleanse’ that doesn’t strip my skin. I use a cleansing oil first to break down impurities, then this gel to wash away all the gross stuff without leeching out the moisture. It’s light and simple and you get A LOT for $11. Link to purchase Morning Gel Cleanser on sale here!
- Natural BHA Skin Returning A-Sol (~$18): I follow up the cleanse with this Beta hydroxy acid based toner which I pat all over my face. It returns anything that was stripped from my cleanse while still exfoliating gross stuff. Link to purchase the Skin Returning A-Sol toner on sale here!
- Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence (~$19): Snail mucin (no kidding – slime. From snails.) is a wonder product that has healing properties, especially for those of us with acne in need of some serious healing! This is my favorite of all the products and I use it religiously twice a day – it’s disgusting and viscous and gooey and it feels awesome. Link to purchase Snail Mucin Power Essence on sale here!
- Centella Blemish Ampoule (~$24): I use this as a serum in my acne-prone areas, especially when I feel a break out coming on or during my time of the month when my acne is at its worst. It’s a concentrated healing ampoule (which seems to be the same thing-ish as a serum but I’ve noticed people trying to sell them as different – I don’t think you need to spend money on a serum + an ampoule). Link to purchase the Blemish Ampoule on sale here!
- AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid (~$18): I always try to use a serum twice a day of some sort, so this is a good one that will last a really long time. Unlike the above ampoule which is for the big-ass zits, I use this Alpha hydroxy acid liquid as a more everyday serum all over my face with the hopes of fostering a non-acne-welcoming environment on my skin. Link to purchase the Whitehead Power Liquid on sale here!
- Natural BHA Skin Returning Emulsion (~$19): After I’ve toned and serumed, I’ve got to put the moisture back on, so I add 3 pumps of this emulsion. It’s lighter than a moisturizer and seems to prep the skin for the thicker moisturizer and all my makeup that will follow. I’ve used this the most actually, but I wonder if that’s because it is so light and therefore I need more to feel like the balance on my skin is restored. Link to purchase the CosRx Skin Returning Emulsion here!
- Oil-Free Ultra Moisturizing Lotion with Birch Sap (~$20): This. is. the. stuff! Are you a sensitive-skinned lady who can’t use oil products on your face and are in constant need of moisture?? This is your jam. It has birch sap in it so it is very thick yet light, adding a tremendous layer of moisture under your makeup without letting it all slip off your face – I love it. Link to purchase the Oil-Free Ultra Moisturizing Lotion on sale here!
- Acne Pimple Master Patches (~$6 per 24-pack): OMG these are little invisible patches that stick to your zits then break down and pull out the disgusting stuff overnight. They are supposed to eliminate infection and bacteria so I don’t worry about wearing them for extended periods of time. I like to pretend I am invisible while I wear these at home and that my fiancé can’t see them nor does he ever notice my zit-covered face. Link to purchase Pimple Master Patches here or to purchase a 10 pack for half price!
I don’t expect you to buy everything I’m touting here, but I will say for the price of one jar of designer face cream, I got ALL of this stuff. It did take a couple months to work, but I did stick with it and I have seen results. If I have to recommend the things I love the absolute most and believe really work, it’s the Snail Mucin Essence, the Pimple Master Patches, the Skin Returning A-Sol toner and the Oil-Free Ultra-Moisturizing Lotion. Together, they will cost you about $65 full price!
My purchase of this is a touch embarrassing because I bought it in both a moment of freak-out over the wrinkles I’ve seen develop on my neck and in a moment of impulsivity when I found it in the TJ Maxx discounted skincare shelf for only $29 (it normally retails around $95!). This is a trusted brand that is best known for its power to work on healing stretch marks, so I felt comfortable giving it a go. Here’s why – all the lotions, products, peels and injections in the world can make your facial skin look like a baby’s butt but if you don’t attend to the care of your neck, décolletage and hands, unwanted signs of aging and over-exposure to the sun can reveal themselves below your chin in the form of dark spots, dryness, deep lines and other unwelcome things. In other words, I’ve been slathering this on my neck, chest and hands twice a day. A little goes a long way, and you get a bit of tightening on the skin when you use it so you can feel it ‘working’.
Do you have to buy a neck cream? No I don’t think so. But at the very least, make sure you are slathering your regular moisturizer below the chin and on your hands morning and night to keep these areas hydrated and youthful. If you do buy a neck cream, here’s a link to a much cheaper version (only ~$19 on Amazon!).
Here are some other factors that are likely to be helping my current skin improvement situation – I am taking a much-needed, months-long break from my highly stressful day job and have cut back on dairy to almost none. The thing is, leaving work has been surprisingly stressful in different ways (mostly linked to the identity crisis of figuring out what I will do next), and I didn’t eat that much dairy prior to the ‘cut back’, so I have to believe that the skincare really is working. My next goal will be to up my water intake significantly so that I’m also hydrating from within!
What new skincare brands do you love? Have you ever tried any of these products before? Let me know what you think in the comments below!
P.S. Here’s a glimpse at how my skin is looking in makeup now that it seems to be under control (for now)!