I have problem skin. And dermatological fixes have only been temporary. Why? For starters, there are only so many times I will put my body through courses of Accutane and antibiotics. Second, harsh prescription products only frustrate me because of waiting through a dry and red phase (almost seems not worth it). And last, these products aren’t fun, so I usually stop using them for something beauty-oriented.
Ordinarily, I don’t spend a huge amount on skin care either because it’s been covered by insurance, or I’ve just reverted to drugstore basics. But, against my intuition, I recently decided to spend big. After consulting a few beauty industry friends, I compiled a list of top-quality must-haves. The results have been great. While I’d like to say the benefits have been due to superior ingredients, I’m almost more inclined to think that it’s simple mathematics. I spent a lot on these products, therefore I’ve wanted to get my money’s worth, and used them diligently and created a routine. Keep in mind: Yes, buying all these products at once costs a lot. Sephora staffers are happy to give you samples, so you can think on it before committing.
Read on to find out what’s worked!
1. Clairisonic Electric Brush: When a friend who works for a big beauty retailer advised that I look into this, I almost cried at the price — $119 and up for what seemed like a glorified washcloth? (Or, now, to all boys who visit my bathroom — “Is that a vibrator?”) But the investment here is worth it. I’ve long known that I don’t always manage to remove all my makeup, but have maybe ignored this fact because after three swipes with a makeup remover, I’m over it. But this gentle, rotating bristle manages to get skin squeaky clean, all in a minute, which is conveniently pre-timed. [Clairisonic Mia Skin Cleansing System, $119, Sephora]
2. Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Collagen Booster: “Like a daily vitamin for your face,” claims this company. Yes, for $48 for a tiny bottle, it seems pretty ridiculous, but you need only a pinky-sized amount to cover your whole face. This vitamin C-centric serum brightens and tightens skin. I’ve been using this under moisturizer, and finding I look fresher. [$48, Ole Henriksen]
3. DDF Weightless Defense UV Moisturizer SPF 45: I’m fair, so I’ve always been concerned about sun protection, but after living in California for a year, I’ve noticed that SPF 15 isn’t cutting it. The damage is subtle, but there are a few sun spots that weren’t there before. In the search for a moisturizer, I was also looking for something that wouldn’t clog pores and leave a thick residue on my skin. The answer? DDF’s Weightless Defense UV Moisturizer SPF 45. The name pretty much says it all. [$52, Sephora]
4. Fresh Soy Face Cleanser: This one came to me as a recommendation from a style journalist who wears foundation daily and has sensitive skin. After using this product, I’ve completely abandoned the idea of using a cleanser with salicylic acid. Fresh’s Soy Face Cleanser is uncomplicated. Extra-gentle, I find it effectively removes my makeup and never dries out my skin. [$38, Fresh]
5. Skyn Icelandic Relief Eye Cream: I don’t have visible wrinkles yet (knock on wood), but I can see where they will begin to come in. Preventative care, my friends! In the past, I’ve found it hard to invest in an eye cream when you don’t actually have a problem (and thus can’t see results), but I’ve found a few visible benefits to Skyn’s super-soothing formula, which feels different from anything else I’ve tried. Moisturizing the eye area nighty has offered some visible change in my face, but know what’s better? Apply this before bed after a night of drinking to minimize hangover face. [$45, Sephora]