2019 was a huge year for skincare in my life. Part of the reason I started my blog was because I was obsessed with following these Instagrammers who posted beautiful photos of their skincare and makeup, and reading their reviews. I’ve always loved makeup, but I feel in the last year to year and a half I’ve become more interested in skincare as well.
I tried a lot of new products – many of which I bought, and a few of which I was lucky enough to have sent to me in PR or through Octoly (which I wholeheartedly recommend to any other creators out there!). These are my favorites.
I like to keep it simple when it comes to cleansers. More often than not, I find that it’s the products applied after cleanser that really matters. That being said, I did have a few tried-and-trues this year. As my skin has gotten more sensitive with age, I tend to use a mild cleanser like the Fresh Soy Face Cleanser. It doesn’t lather much, and that foamy lather can sometimes dry out the skin. I also recently started using Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser – another mild, non-foaming cleanser – which is gentle enough to rub over your eyes to help remove any makeup residue. I find that the CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser is a great dupe for either. When I run out of my more expensive ones, that’s the one I’ll keep buying.
For makeup removal prior to cleansing, I really fell in love with the Farmacy Green Clean cleansing balm. I’ve tried other brands like Clinique and Eve Lom and this is the only one that doesn’t leave a residue in my eyes. When I have heavier eye makeup on (or waterproof mascara), I like to use Glossier’s Milky Oil makeup remover – I just wish it came in a bigger container!
Since delving into the skincare world, I’ve learned so much about the benefits of chemical exfoliation. It’s rare that I’ll use a physical exfoliant (or scrub) on my face at all these days. Chemical exfoliants include acids in their formula to help with cell turnover, thus improving the appearance of acne, texture, pigmentation, pores, and more. The first one I tried was the Farmacy Honeymoon Glow AHA Resurfacing Night Serum. I love this stuff because it feels gentle on the skin but I always wake up glowing. I did also receive a deluxe sample size of Sunday Riley’s Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment and I have to say, I’ve never seen such fast results. After a night or two of use, the texture I had on my forehead was completely smoothed out. The only reason I didn’t repurchase was due to the hefty price tag. I recently picked up Drunk Elephant’s T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Resurfacing Night Serum to try, too.
For an easy-to-use, budget-friendly option, I love The Ordinary’s Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution. Just squirt a bit onto a cotton pad, sweep over the face after cleansing, and you’re good as gold. The bottle is huge and has lasted me all year, especially since I alternate with other products.
While we’re on the topic of exfoliation, the cult-favorite Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial mask is my top favorite exfoliating mask. After leaving it on my skin for 15-20 minutes, my skin feels baby soft and texture is greatly reduced. The brand is pricey, however, so I like to buy their products when I have a Sephora VIB Rouge discount or store credit.
My favorite moisturizing mask has to be the Summer Fridays Jetlag mask. It’s rich in texture and feels super soothing on the skin, but it’s also somehow lightweight enough to use as a heavy-duty moisturizer or makeup primer. I like to keep this in my new skincare fridge that I got for Christmas from my siblings – another favorite!
For pore cleansing masks, my favorites are the Glamglow Supermud mask and Ole Henricksen’s Cold Plunge Pore Mask. Both do a fantastic job of sucking up excess oils and gunk in the pores, but Ole Henricksen definitely gives you a lot more bang for your buck. I can’t believe Glamglow is still so expensive!
I don’t really have a solid favorite moisturizer, as I received SO many sample sizes throughout the year that I switched them up quite frequently. However, this Glow Recipe Watermelon one was a constant throughout the year and I am now almost completely out of it. It’s really lightweight and almost serum-like, so it’s perfect for the summer. On days when I’m drier than usual, I’ll reach for Drunk Elephant’s Protini Polypeptide Moisturizer.
For an extra moisturizing boost throughout the day, I’ve been loving the Youth to the People Adaptogen Soothe + Hydrate Activated Mist. It’s the only facial mist I’ve tried that actually seems to help hydrate skin.
To moisturize lips, there’s no surprise here – Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask is my all-time favorite. Somehow I’ve collected every flavor at this point (gotta catch ’em all!) and my full-size Vanilla is the one I use daily. However, I also really love the mint choco and sweet candy variations.
I’m not a huge serum girl, because so many that I’ve tried showed me zero results. However, my two Glossier serums are favorites of mine. Super Pure has been in my collection for years now, and the niacinamide in it really does help keep my skin clear. I actually notice fewer breakouts when using this. Super Bounce is new to my collection – it came in the set I got before the holidays – and it’s a really nice moisturizing serum. I use it prior to moisturizer to my skin can absorb the hyaluronic acid and vitamins to help me drink up more moisture. I love that there’s no residue and it seems to help my makeup go on smoother.
I have some seriously sensitive eyes. They’ll randomly become super puffy in reaction to different products (lash serums), environmental factors, or just because they feel like it. After the puffiness comes severe dry skin in that area. I rely on Glossier Bubblewrap Eye + Lip Cream to help soothe and hydrate the area as well as prep it for concealer and other makeup. I love that it comes in the little aluminum pump bottle – it just feels so much more sanitary than dipping your finger into a pot. That being said, I tried Tatcha’s The Silk Peony Melting Eye Cream in Sephora the other day and I’ll be ordering that soon. It has such an incredible texture that melts down into a beautiful, smoothing eye cream.
While I did recently have a bad reaction to it, GrandeLASH was an absolute savior for me this year. I went through about a bottle and a half before realizing it was causing me occasional reactions. However, it made my eyelashes so incredibly long. I highly suggest trying it for yourself despite my bad reaction. I’ve never had so many people compliment my lashes and ask if they were real. I’m trying out Lashfood next – even though it’s more expensive, it’s vegan, cruelty-free, dermatologist-tested, and apparently not one person suffered any kind of reaction to it during trials. I’m keeping my fingers crossed this one works as well as GrandeLASH did for me and doesn’t cause me any problems.
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, then you know I’m all about the self tan. My favorite St. Tropez mousse still reigns supreme, but I really like the Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Water for a quick and easy tan when I don’t feel like doing the mousse. It never comes out quite as perfect, but it’s definitely faster and feels more lightweight on the skin while you let it develop. For face, I still love my Tan Luxe drops, but I have found a new favorite with the Clarins Liquid Bronze Self Tanning at the recommendation of @reeceyberry on Instagram. It has a gorgeous milky texture that applies like a lightweight moisturizer or serum, and no mixing into moisturizer is required.
I’d love to know what skincare products you loved last year! Leave them in the comments below.