Say hello to my current anti-aging skincare routine. My goal is to update this post quarterly so it continues to reflect what I am currently using and loving—so be sure to check back! Here’s what’s giving my skin its glow in January 2021.
This post is beneficial in a couple of ways. First, let’s be honest—I get to try A LOT of product. Some things I try once or twice and others take up residency in my skincare routine. Some products I enjoy, but I wouldn’t purchase again; others I rave about and would purchase a million times over.
To help paint a picture of what you are seeing here, let’s create a TOG skincare-usage taxonomy, or hierarchy, if you will.
2 | Loved it while it lasted and would repurchase. Gorgeous products that offer skincare benefits, work and have a beautiful sensory experience. This category is robust!
3 | Enjoyed it while it lasted but won’t repurchase. There is definitely a category of products that are “fine” but just don’t stand out in any special way for me. This category is also robust.
4 | Liked it, but probably wouldn’t recommend it. This category is reserved for items I enjoyed but I would not recommend because maybe the scent profile is too specific, the packaging is off in some way or it didn’t deliver consistent enough results.
5 | Didn’t like it, wouldn’t recommend it. This category is reserved for items I personally didn’t enjoy or that just didn’t work for me.
What you see in this post is what I would classify as a level 2. Loved it and would repurchase. It’s items that are currently taking up residency and most likely what I will use to the end. I hope that sharing my current skincare routine will help demystify what an effective skincare routine can look like and hopefully inspire yours.
MORNING SKINCARE ROUTINE
1. Cleanser: Pai Skincare Light Work Rosehip Cleansing Oil| $49
First, I cleanse with Pai Skincare’s Light Work Cleansing Oil. I love this viscous oil because it has a great grip and really loosens up any dirt, debris, sweat, excess oiliness…fill in the blank. I also love that it rinses clean with water so you don’t necessary have to drag a washcloth across your face if you don’t want to. It’s also great for sensitive skin. I use this day and night as my first cleansing step (see more about that below).
2. Mist: LILFOX Bitter Orange Toning Mist | $45
Um, really there’s only one thing to say; neroli anyone?! Gosh, this refreshing and hydrating mist made from bitter orange (neroli) hydrosol has got me wrapped around it’s little finger just from the scent alone. It’s also especially great for congested or oily skin.
3. Serum: Biophile’s Bio-Shroom Rejuvenating Serum | $148
One of my most unique discoveries (thanks to Beauty Heroes) of 2020, which I’m carrying into 2021, is the Biophile Bio-Shroom Rejuvenating Serum. It’s soothing, calming, great for stressed-out skin and majorly hydrating thanks to the adaptogenic properties of the brand’s nutrient-dense Shroom Biotic Broth.
4. Oil: Essentialist Daily Renewal Face Oil | $88
A new love of mine, this medium-weight, organic, silky face oil is hardy enough to retain moisture plus versatile enough to wear both day and night (say goodbye to parched winter skin!). Consider this oil a one-size-fits-all moisturizer for winter. Love its vibrant orange color and mild natural scent. It also contains Bakuchiol, one of better beauty’s highly touted, plant-based, skin-changing ingredients of 2020. And, the company from which The Essentialist sources this ingredient has a rigorous program which encompasses ethical sourcing and fair trade. Win-win.
5. Sunscreen (occasionally): Honua Skincare MALU Protecting Day Cream + SPF 30 | $42
In the elusive hunt for the best face SPF, MALU Protecting Day Cream + SPF 30 comes out on top again and again and again. This formula is so good it’s also included in my (soon-to-come) TOP 10 2020 list. It soaks in beautifully without feeling too heavy for everyday wear—and it’s even (dare I say) moisturizing.
RELATED: How to Read Sunscreen Labels
NIGHT SKINCARE ROUTINE
1. Cleanser, Step 1: Pai Skincare Light Work Rosehip Cleansing Oil | $49
I use this as a first step in my nighttime routine as a cleanser to take off my makeup. One full pump or two is plenty to loosen makeup, sunscreen, environmental pollution, daily grime and more. After rubbing this in circular motions over my face and eyes, I finish by rinsing with water or wiping clean with a warm cloth. This formula is just so easy and effective to use. Truth be told, I’m kinda obsessed. This is my third bottle!
2. Cleanser, Step 2: Odacite’s Blue Aura Cleansing Water | $39
This step is in place of my usual double cleansing (learn how to double cleanse here). It’s a natural version of micellar water, which was all.the.rage. a few years ago. Micelles are tiny balls of cleansing oil that attract to dirt and oil, helping to cleanse away impurities without drying out the skin.
But here’s where the obsession status hits; with the addition of salicylic acid, this formula is reminiscent of old school astringent pads where you can wipe and see the dirt come off onto the pad and also get that super fresh feeling. I know. I KNOW! *Sees reader faint from wonder and disbelief.*
This is technically a no-rinse formula, but I do prefer to rinse my skin after applying.
3. Mist: LILFOX Bitter Orange Toning Mist | $45
A spritz of this heaven-on-earth refreshing mist helps prep and hydrate my skin before applying my serum.
4. Serum: African Botanics Resurrection Cell Recovery Serum | $160
The gel-like texture of this potent serum makes it a great layering product. To know me is to know that I am typically using a bit of retinol in my skincare routine at all times. I love this one because it’s gentle enough for everyday wear and because it’s a serum, I can still layer my favorite moisturizers over it. It’s killer for all seasons including winter and will help brighten, even skin tone and hydrate. Oh, and it smells amazing too.
4. Oil: Essentialist Daily Renewal Face Oil | $88
This oil has been a highlight for morning and evening. I love layering it between a serum and a heavier cream moisturizer for night although it has a good amount of weight to it on it’s own and you can totally wear it as your solo night moisturizer. I also love that it’s formulated to the organic nines. *Swoon*.
5. Cream: Ayuna Terra Bella | $455
Okay, yep, that price tag is a WHOPPER. But let’s break it down. This is a totally creamy, ultra-rich, uber-hydrating moisturizer that utilizes the first-ever topical application of cannabis sativa cell cultures. According to Ayuna, these cells “unlock [y]our skin’s endocannabinoid receptors to stimulate the epidermal neuroendocrine cascade, increasing oxytocin in the skin.” Aka, applying this can help replicate feel-good vibes from the inside out.
It’s also really good at moisturizing.
This is a limited-edition experience, in a keepsake clay jar, and if you’re interested in a very special splurge, I recommend giving it a go.
AS NEEDED (1-2x per week)
1. Mukti 2-in-1 Resurfacing Exfoliant
Kinda obsessed is an understatement when it comes to Mukti’s 2-in-1 Resurfacing Exfoliant. I use this as needed; sometimes once a week, sometimes 5 days a week. On a day that I want to exfoliate, I will remove my makeup with an oil and then go in for my second cleanse with this.
This is actually an acid + manual exfoliator (my favorite kind) meaning it exfoliates in two ways; fruit acids dissolve intercellular bonds while particles gently eliminate dead cells. But it doesn’t stop there…the smell, the color, the after-glow…it’s like SOMEBODY STOP ME!
2. Mask with Manuka Honey
Anyone can “make” this mask with minimal to no effort AND if you happen to feel your inner Martha knocking, it’s easy and fun to customize by adding spirulina, clay, maca, vitamin c, oatmeal, wild mushrooms (!?). Read more about this homemade skincare experience here (which was featured in Better Homes and Gardens too!). But basically, I apply honey on my face, let it work it’s magic and rinse it off in a few minutes. Everybody’s got time for that.
3. Facial Cupping
I’m a convert, ever since I tried this facial cupping set from Province Apothecary. IT’S SO EASY AND SO AMAZING FOR FACIAL TENSION, REDUCING FINE LINES INCREASING CIRCULATION AND PLUMPING SKIN. Here’s how I use it, but I’m a long way from being an expert. Guess I’ll just have to keep it up…One thing I can say is that the results are INSTANT. Take a look here.
RELATED: Kinda Obsessed – Facial Tools
What are you loving right now?