Finishing up my ‘5 Days of Favorites’ I started a few weeks back (pre-Lola delivery!) with some of the best skincare I’ve had the pleasure of trying. You’ll see one category missing though and that’s for a traditional cream moisturizer. Instead, look into a serum which gives you more for your money because they don’t contain water or fillers, just oils and hard working ingredients that are more beneficial to the skin and often easier for it to absorb.
1. Favorite Toner for Normal or Dry Skin: Kat Burki Balancing Elixir $65
There was a time when I thought toners were only for those looking for squeaky clean skin so I didn’t at all understand the purpose of a toner you’d mist on. Now that my skin is changing and not breaking out, I’m starting to use things that are more gentle like this popular one from Kat Burki. It’s what I’ve been using to infuse my skin with Vitamin C , lavender, aloe, and cold pressed oils that hydrate, refreshen, and prep for my serums. I also spray it on my damp Beauty Blender when I’m applying foundation to help to blend and set the makeup giving it a more natural and even finish.
2. Favorite Peel for Acne Scars: Éminence Clear Skin Willow Bark Exfoliating Peel
While some peels are too harsh for acne-prone skin (and can actually make breakouts worse), Éminence has a new one that uses lactic, salicylic, azelaic, and fruit acids to lighten the appearance of scars while willow bark and biosulphur calm inflammation and redness to refine uneven skin. It’s a natural way to slough off damaged skin and get super bright and glowing results.
3. Favorite Peel for Radiance: Murad Intensive-C Radiance Peel $55
Most reviews of this peel will call it downright transformative for the skin. If your skin is looking sort of blah and dull, this Vitamin C and Glycolic rich formula gives results comparable to a spa peel. It tingles for the first few of the 10 minutes you leave it on, then you’ll feel a cooling freshness when it’s removed. Chances are you’ll see a difference after the first use, but by the 3rd time you’ll for sure be a convert.
4. Favorite Eye Treatment: Kiehl’s Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Eye-Brightening Concentrate $44
Are you seeing a pattern here? The most effective skincare has Vitamin C, and this treatment has just over 10%. That coupled with their patented Haloxyl that’s proven to strengthen skin’s capillaries, reduce inflammation, and increase skin’s density makes it a best seller in the line. I could see a difference within a week that my tired eyes looked less puffy and dull and it blends in perfectly for a smooth concealer application.
5. Favorite Moisturizer That Won’t Break the Bank: Desert Essence Moringa, Jojoba, & Rose Hip Oil $14
I did a DIY face oil a while back that was awesome, but I could’ve saved time and money just using this one. Jojoba oil closely mimics your skin’s own sebum so it absorbs quickly and won’t cause breakouts. This light oil feels awesome on the skin and has one of my fave skincare ingredients- Rosehip Oil popular for its omegas and skin brightening benefits. If you’re looking for something nourishing (not to mention chemical-free), this is a great one to try.
6. Favorite Eye Treatment for Immediate Results: Trish McEvoy Triangle of Light Eye Mask $68
These thin solution-soaked triangles that vaguely resemble a baby wipe work magically to make your eyes look more awake, puff-free, bright, firm, and smooth within minutes. I’m so mystified and amazed by these little patches and how they work because they literally take years off. Anyone who’s getting married or has a special event needs these, but I like to use them once a week when I’m masking for a special treatment on that delicate skin where age first starts to show.
7. Favorite Toner for Oily or Problem Skin: Aqua Glycolic $20
This was one of the few staples in my routine for more than 15 years. I’ve talked about ‘Aqua Gly’ so many times over the years both here and with everyone I know because it’s so easy to find (behind the counter at any pharmacy. No PX needed, it’s just where it’s kept), and because it has a high amount of glycolic acid which is one of the safer and better acids for cell turnover and exfoliation. It isn’t for those with sensitive skin, you can feel the tingle and maybe have some skin redness too but if you’re breaking out or have oily skin, it gives that complete clean you want picking up dirt and oil that cleansers can leave behind.
8. Favorite Mask for Oily or Problem Skin: Banish Activated Charcoal Clay Masque $29
Because I love a good charcoal mask I’ve been mixing up my own using charcoal capsules with a clay powder for a while now which is actually super messy and more work than I’d like to take on right now. Banish’s mask uses a clay and charcoal combo (along with zinc, vitamin c, algae, and tea tree) to suck out impurities in such a powerful way that my skin literally looks different right after I remove it. It’s one of my favorite treatments because of the difference it makes especially when a breakout hits.
9. Favorite Indie Line: Leahlani
When Leah, a holistic esthetician living in Hawaii, created signature skincare using island-sourced nutrients, all of Instagram took notice. Last week, after 2 years in development she launched a new lineup editors are already raving about. She’s crafting serums, elixirs, natural fragrances, body butters, and masks sold via her Etsy Store and a brand new website but the thing that put her on the map was her popular Mermaid Mask which earned itself a hashtag (#MermaidMask of course) for selfies of those wearing the spirulina green treatment. Her whimsical line uses good enough to eat ingredients completely unique to anything I’ve ever experienced (WTF is Black Fango?!) and I love the idea of supporting a woman who is so passionate about what she does.
10. Favorite All Around Cleanser: Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish $25
In the many years since I first experienced this UK born brand, I’ve yet to encounter a more perfect cleanser. It’s a cushy cream that gently melts away dirt and makeup formulated with eucalyptus and panthenol that leaves my skin with cool tingly feeling I love. It’s perfect for all skin types because it doesn’t foam or strip and it rinses away so invisibly that there isn’t a trace left behind. It’s so popular that they sell it in a 3 pack and a larger deluxe size which I actually ordered again a few weeks ago.