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My Current Skin Issues + EHD’s Favorite Skincare Essentials (Because I Need Some Help)


My skin is super unhappy and I have no idea why. I did a huge detox in January – like 19 days of protein, vegetables, no processed sugar or alcohol and so much exercise. It’s like my skin is just DONE with it all and I’m breaking out on my chin and forehead (curious if it’s masks and hats?). Or, am I trying too many products on it, in a desperate attempt to make it happier?? The only things I think could attribute it to are A. Chin acne is a possible side effect of intermittent fasting, B. My skin is so overly dry without a facial in over a year that nothing can really penetrate the skin and C. I’m getting older and just am not using the right products. Sure, I still love some of my products but NOTHING makes it feel as moisturized as it wants to be. While I am definitely looking for some answers I do have few ole’ trusties that I’ve been using and still love:

1. Supergoop! Glowscreen | 2. Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment | 3. Freck Beauty Lil Prick | 4. St. Tropez Self Tan Classic Bronzing Mousse | 5. Mitt

Supergoop! Glowscreen: We all know by now that sunscreen is an essential step in skincare and this one by Supergoop is so lightweight and easy to apply. Plus you know, the glow doesn’t hurt.

Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment: I’ve been using this for years as an exfoliating mask and it’s a noticeable difference when done with it. I think they call it the “10-minute facial” or something super catchy like that. Plus, it’s bright green so it feels like it MUST be healthy for my face.

Freck Beauty Lil Prick: This serum is SUPER hydrating and in the past has made my skin feel very soft (plus, the brand is owned by an EHD Alum which is so fun).

St. Tropez Self Tan Classic Bronzing Mousse with Mitt: I speak self-tanner fluently and this is my favorite at-home treatment (so far) that I’ve used for years. YOU MUST use that mitt, but if you apply it right, you look tan, not orange and it’s super even and lasts for 4 days (depending on how often you shower). I literally dreamt of this product when I was a teenager before it existed.

Like I said, my skin still needs help, so I asked my team to share their favorite products. Get ready, folks, because this might just be our biggest, most in-depth skincare post EVER. Let’s get to it.

From Jess

1. Shani Darden Cleansing Serum | 2. iS Clinical Super Serum Advance Plus | 3. Shani Darden’s Texture Reform | 4. Youth to the People’s Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream with Ashwagandha + Reishi | 5. Supergoop’s Unseen Sunscreen | 6. Supergoop CC cream | 7. Lipscreen | 8. Tatcha’s Silk Peony Melting Eye Cream | 9. Microneedling Tool | 10. hyaluronic acid | 11.  Naturopathica’s Sweet Cherry Brightening Enzyme Peel | 12. Humidifier

In the past, I kinda dreaded any sort of skincare post because I felt like I had nothing to contribute. My skin has always been dry but “good enough”. Not perfect but also not requiring any special attention… how naive younger Jess was. So while blemishes have always been manageable, guess what new friends have been claiming squatter’s rights?? If you guessed wrinkles and sunspots you are right! So this past year, in an effort to take better care of myself, skincare products and devices have become my new obsession. Like I literally just started listening to a skincare themed podcast. WHO AM I????? This is a girl who used to begrudgingly maybe washed her face once a day and frequently fell asleep in her makeup without a second thought. 

So this is where all of my money has been going and my guide/idol in this newfound journey is celebrity esthetician, Shani Darden. I listen to most everything she has to say because while she loves a good gadget, she has a “keep it simple” ethos that I really appreciate. Most of the products I am using are her recs and to be totally transparent are not cheap. But if I’m honest I’m a total sucker for a “fancy” product. I think it’s what helped me FINALLY commit to this routine that I genuinely look forward to twice a day. Is that good and/or necessary? No, but it’s what works for me. So with that in mind let’s dig in with my routine(s)/dissertation:

Shani Darden Cleansing Serum: One thing that I’ve learned from Shani is to be wary of face oils. They can work for some people but in her opinion they mainly just cause congestion. This really rang true for me because I was noticing way more blackheads around my nose. NO THANK YOU. So I switched my face wash to her Cleansing Serum because I was previously using an oil cleanser. I also got this headband because it’s cute and I wanted it. 

iS Clinical Super Serum Advance Plus: If it’s the morning the next thing I use is the iS Clinical Super Serum Advance Plus which I LOVE. It brightens my skin, gives it the vitamin C it needs plus helps with fine lines, uneven skin tone, and protects the skin from free radicals! So basically a superhero product. (Perviously I was using the C.E.O Glow Vitamin C + Turmeric Face Oil which I think was sadly attributing to the blackheads. So sad because it really made me glow!) 

Shani Darden’s Texture Reform: If it’s the evening, after cleansing I use my Texture Reform from Shani’s line. This is another superhero product and is made for sensitive skin. I’ve been using it for almost a year now and have totally noticed a difference in my skin. I actually just ordered her stronger award winning version called Retinol Reform because I think my skin is up for it. We will see! Retinol is the main thing (aside from sunscreen) that Shani swears by and thinks everyone should find and use the right one for them. 

Tatcha’s Silk Peony Melting Eye Cream: My next step is moisturizing my eye area. Currently I am using Tatcha’s Silk Peony which I really like. But as soon as I finish it up I am going to try Shani’s eye cream that she just launched (I promise I don’t work for her, I just love her products and advice so much). 

Youth to the People’s Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream with Ashwagandha + Reishi: Then for the all over my face, neck, and chest moisturizing, I use Youth to the People’s Deep Moisture Cream which is currently sold out at Sephora and Nordstrom if that says anything to you:) It’s light, highly moisturizing, and has some incredible plant-based ingredients that make you believe in magic. (I believe I recommended their eye cream in a Link Up once but for me and my sensitive skin, it sadly irritated it. Just an FYI for my sensitive skin peeps out there).

Sunscreen! If I could go back in time and quiet my mother’s voice in my head that said, “if you wear sunscreen you won’t tan” I would and freaking wear sunscreen every. damn. day. I love my mother but man that was some very bad advice. So now I put on sunscreen on my face, neck, arms, and hands every day even if I don’t actually go outside. So now I use Supergoop’s Unseen Sunscreen (my fav) for my face but also have their Glowscreen which I’m not 100% in love with anymore. I kinda feel like it enhances my lines and wrinkles with the shine. But that could be in my head. I did just order their CC cream and can’t wait to try it because some coverage sounds nice. I also throw on their Lipscreen for extra protection and shine. Lastly, finish off with Sun Bum’s body sunscreen (which makes me smell like summer:))

Ok let’s talk tools. I love love love at-home microneedling. I’ve now been at it for a month (twice a week) and I really feel like it’s making my skin come alive. This is the tool I have (there’s A TON of options out there), this is the rubbing alcohol I use (you must must keep your tool clean and DO NOT share it) and this is the hyaluronic acid I apply before and after I use my dermaroller. I do really like it but after it’s done I really want to try iS Clinical’s Hydro-Cool Serum. I want to keep exploring:) But before I stick a bunch of tiny needles in my face, I use Naturopathica’s Sweet Cherry Brightening Enzyme Peel. I’ve actually been using this mask for about 2 years and it’s absolutely wonderful. It’s brightens, smoothes and softens. I will probably use it forever. 

I also got a humidifier because Shani told me to. Especially in the winter months, when the air is so dry, she says that humidifiers are key to keep your skin moisturized. I bought this one and am super happy with it. It’s quiet, pretty and has a bunch of settings. To be honest I should have probably gotten the one that was $10 cheaper because “the warm” setting is well not warm at all. But this company has a bunch of options so there’s something for everyone. 

My next venture is my body’s skin. I don’t know about you but I want my arms to look as good as my face in the future (well, as good as I can make them!) So I haven’t tested these yet but they’ll probably just arrived when this post goes live. Here’s the list Ouai Body CremeHonest Organic Body Oil (both Shani Darden recs), and then what I am MOST excited about is Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare’s Alpha Beta® Exfoliating Body Treatment Peel. I was influenced hard by Stephanie Yeboah and now can’t wait to start getting rid of my little red bumps and get firmer, brighter skin all over!

Lastly, I am going to save up for at least one of these – Shani Darden Sculpting Wand, and LightStim for Wrinkles because this face obsession is full-blown. Also if anyone knows how I can get a Déesse Pro Mask Next Generation for free I will love you until the end of time.

From Albie

1. Now Foods Variety Moisturizing Oils Sampler | 2. Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Face Soy Moisturizer | 3. Cetaphil Normal to Oily Skin Daily Facial Cleanser | 4. Facial Massager Black Obsidian Roller | 5. CeraVe Eye Repair Cream for Dark Circles and Puffiness | 6. Glam Up Facial Sheet Masks | 7. Black Girl Sunscreen Broad Spectrum | 8. Mario Badescu Facial Spray With Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater

Now Foods Variety Moisturizing Oils Sampler: Sweet Almond, Avocado, and Jojoba Oils: I get very dry on my t-zone and around my mouth, so applying lightweight oils after moisturizing helps to seal in moisture and keep my skin feeling soft. These are a must-have in the winter when my skin gets extra dry but I love that I can still use em in the summer because they’re so lightweight & not greasy.

Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Face Soy Moisturizer: After washing my face, if I don’t moisturize, I feel incomplete…like I’m missing a layer of skin. I have been using this as my go-to moisturizer since college and it gets the job done without feeling heavy or watery. 

Cetaphil Normal to Oily Skin Daily Facial Cleanser: At the end of the day I look forward to washing my face because it’s like washing away the day & every time I use this, my face feels especially clean and fresh. 

Facial Massager Black Obsidian Roller: This is one of my favorite ways to sneak in 5 mins of easy self-care. Is it necessary? Nope. Does it help? Absolutely. After I moisturize, this helps waken my face, before applying my facial spray. I put it in the freezer before use and if feels so good on the skin, while also helping with any stress/fatigue induced puffiness. I chose black obsidian because of the stone’s protection properties.

CeraVe Eye Repair Cream for Dark Circles and Puffiness: I have always struggled with dark spots under my eyes and puffiness — when I need sleep, it shows! — and this cream has been the only one so far to make any bit of a difference. 

Glam Up Facial Sheet Masks: Another bit of self-care I try to treat myself to, at least once a week, is masking. A new to brand, I love the assortment of options, depending on what my skin needs that week. Each sheet feels so thick and soft on my skin… very decadent. 

Black Girl Sunscreen Broad Spectrum: Finally a sunscreen that doesn’t leave a heavy, white residue on my face…or any residue. It applies just like a moisturizer and days when I know I am going out, sometimes I apply it as my only moisturizer. 

Mario Badescu Facial Spray With Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater: Sometimes my face needs a pick me up — be it to start the day or just before bed — and I love the refreshing feeling on my skin with just a few sprays. It’s such a great way to punctuate my the rest of my skincare applications, whether it’s just one or all. 

From Arlyn

1. Squalane + Tea Tree Cleansing Gel | 2. Squalane Vitamin C Rose Oil | 3. Pore Clarifying Toner 10% Glycolic Acid

A little about my skin: My face is a very frustrating mix between oil-slick oily and dessert-dry dryness…there’s almost no happy medium. So when I get adult acne (can we just call it acne now? There’s something so demeaning about calling it “adult acne” as if I’ve failed as an adult for still getting breakouts), it’s greasy and flaky all at once…oh yeah, and texturally, it’s a bit rough around the edges. Hurrah! I tend to fare best with cream cleansers that really pick up the gunk from my pores, a light focus on blemish-stopping ingredients, and deep-down moisture. Haven’t ventured into the retinol arena just yet, but I’m curious. 

Squalane + Tea Tree Cleansing Gel: I started using this cleanser after months of reading good things about it but doing what I do best: avoiding it. Like I said, I prefer cream cleansers as I feel they do a better job on my face, and gel cleansers have always been very drying for me, but I LOVE this cleanser. It has really helped my maskne, does a pretty good job of removing makeup, and the tea tree oil is wonderful for my hormonal breakouts. I’ll probably be using this for quite some time. 

Squalane Vitamin C Rose Oil: Another love from Biossance. If you’ve never heard of this brand, WAKE UP. It’s your time. Clean, cruelty-free products that actually work. If I were to have only been able to include one thing in this roundup, it would have been this face oil. I’m not kidding, it has revitalized my skin. My forehead, which used to be quite bumpy, even when not broken out, is super smooth now. It has completely retexturized my skin. This is the kind of thing you use, and I promise, everyone will stop you on the streets and demand you tell them about your skincare routine. And you can quote me on that. 

Pore Clarifying Toner 10% Glycolic Acid: I’m pretty sure I’ve linked this toner up before, but it’s another true marvel. I have low expectations for beauty products because I feel like they are full of lies. BUNCH OF LIARS. But this, just like the other two things I’ve shared, is different. Products like this have reignited my trust in skincare. The glycolic acid in this toner is perfect if you’re trying to smooth out texture or looking to shrink your pores (at least visibly…not sure anything actually shrinks pores). Not drying in the least, either. 

From Rashida

1. Derma-E Cleanser | 2. Cetaphil Cream | 3. Lush Solid Serum | 4. Bobbi Brown Eye Cream | 5. Goddess Clay Mask

I first have to thank my parents or whoever in my genetic line up is responsible for the skin that I have. I’ve never had major problems with it, but there are a few things that I have to address daily in order to keep my skin free of blemishes, bright, and smooth. My skin, on a scale of dry to oily, definitely leans more dry especially in colder seasons, and it’s normal during spring and summer. It is very sensitive, so abrasive treatments send my skin into a frenzy. I tend to have a little bit of darkness around my mouth area and under my eyes, so a lot of the products I use have vitamin c to help brighten my skin and even out areas of hyperpigmentation.

Daily Cleansing Routine: My daily skincare routine is very simple. I love this daily cleanser by Derma-E. It’s a gentle face wash that doesn’t strip my skin of it’s natural oils. The activated charcoal removes toxins from the surface. I always say that this cleanser washes away “the day” from my skin. When I want a deeper clean I use another Derma-E product that has Vitamin C and ancient rice for a gentle exfoliation. This product is a paste and it doubles as a cleanser or can be used as a mask. I get both products at Whole Foods. I shop for food and my skincare all in one place. “WIN WIN WIN WIN!”

Daily Moisturizing Routine: I use only two products for moisturization: good ole Cetaphil or a solid serum from Lush. I’ve been using Cetaphil cream for years. I have a very mild case of eczema and it’s the only daily lotion that keeps me from itching all over like a mad woman. Funny story: I used to be the type of person to only put lotion on the areas that showed lol (I know I’m not the only one that does that.) I went to the dermatologist about 5 years ago because I was itching so much it was keeping me up at night. So I paid a $40 copay to see a specialist just for them to tell me I need to put on lotion EVERYWHERE (specifically Cetaphil). And guess what? The itching stopped. So it’s a part of my self care to lather up everyday. I actually enjoy it now. I buy my Cetaphil cream from Costco. It’s much cheaper that way! But another product that I use daily for my face is this solid serum from LUSH called “Full of Grace”. This is usually my night time moisturizer, or my moisturizer that I wear on my makeup free days. I usually lather the palms of my hands, and massage it into my face in an upward motion. This is important! Always moisturize upward and outward instead of downward. 

My Fancy Routine: Now to address the darkness under my eyes, I love love love Bobbi Brown’s Eye Cream. I take the pillow of my ring finger (the squishiest part) and massage the product from the inner corner to the outer corner of my eyes. And then whatever is left on my finger, I massage around my entire eye in a counterclockwise motion. I usually do this as part of my nighttime routine. And lastly, my favorite mask that gets my skin baby smooth is the Goddess Clay Mask by Charlotte Tilbury! It’s a bit of a splurge but it’s the best mask to apply before putting on makeup. It fills in pores, and it doesn’t dry the skin out like other clay masks do. 

From Ryann

1. Kate Sommerville Exfolikate Cleanser | 2. Vitamin C Serum | 3. Glossier Invisible Shield | 4. Glossier Priming Moisturizer| 5. Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment | 6. Mario Badesco Facial Sprays| 7. Hanacure Mask

My skin issues are pretty standard considering my lineage and fair skin. My forehead is seemingly always dry and flaky, I have some impressive fine lines for being 26 years old (apparently I am going to age in record time! woohoo!) and I constantly have redness on my cheeks and forehead. In short, I have bad skin and it’s really starting to rear its ugly head. My routine is still fairly new but these are the products in rotation right now that I really love and will continue using.

Kate Sommerville Exfolikate Cleanser: My latest cleanser is this by Kate Sommerville and I have to say I mostly love it because it smells like fresh Meyer lemons. There is something about a citrus-forward cleanser that makes me feel so fresh and clean and this one is no exception.

Vitamin C Serum: I use this vitamin C serum to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and for anti aging purposes. It’s funny, when I was younger I used to say that I would “age naturally” and “not care about wrinkles” but OH BOY does that sentiment go away fast when those lines start popping up. It’s unfortunate that I care about wrinkles but alas, I live in the year 2021. All that is to say that I actually do think this serum works and after I use it I can actually feel my skin tightening and becoming more firm.

Glossier Invisible Shield: Sunscreen is an absolute MUST for me and I apply it everyday even if I don’t plan on going outside. I love this one by Glossier because it is extremely lightweight and applies evenly and smoothly.

Glossier Priming Moisturizer: This is the moisturizer I am using right now and it’s nothing special but it is very hydrating. It’s fragrance free, does not irritate my skin and lasts a lot longer than my old favorite moisturizer by Origins.

Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment: I use this Color Correcting Treatment everyday to keep the redness on my cheeks and forehead down. It’s a bit of an investment but it lasts forever and it’s probably the most important step in my skincare routine. I also love that it’s multi-functional as it has spf, so I always feel my skin is extra protected from the sun.

Mario Badesco Facial Sprays: My life is not complete without these facial sprays. I mostly use them to cool myself down because my face can get flushed often especially when I am working (why is that by the way?? Is it the blue light from the laptop? Probably.). Other than that, they help keep moisture locked in to my skin and help me feel fresh and rejuvenated.

Hanacure Mask: I’ve only used this mask once but the results were pretty wild. If you google “Hanacure Mask” you’ll see what I mean and don’t be alarmed that it looks TERRIFYING once it activates.

From Sara

1. Versed Cleansing Balm | 2. PCA Toner | 3. Hyper Vitamin C Serum | 4. Living Libations Best Skin Ever Oil | 5. Supergoop’s Unseen Sunscreen

I’ve written posts about my skincare regime on here before. I’ve gone through phases where my routine has 12 different steps. But during quarantine I really pared back what I was doing (mostly because I got pretty lazy), and my skin actually seems really happy. Gotta find those silver linings where we can, I guess? Anyways, my core routine is still the same – wash, tone, serum, moisturize, SPF – and I’ve practically totally cut make-up out of it. I tried to put on a “full” face of make up the other day (which for me was always just a CC cream, blush, and mascara anyways), and I panicked. I ended up throwing some bronzer in which looked super fake tanned, did my eyebrows too heavy, and forgot how lightly I’m supposed to apply my blush. I walked out of the bathroom, looked in the mirror in the living room, and walked right back into the bathroom to wash it all off. I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M DOING ANYMORE. But I still feel really confident in my skincare, and I feel like it’s gotten more laid back than ever.

Step 1. Wash – I use a melting cleansing balm from Versed, which you can grab at Target. I’ve been using this balm for several years now, and I still keep coming back to it even after dabbling in other cleansing balms.

Step 2. Tone – I’ve been using PCA’s Nutrient Toner for several years now as well. It’s a perfect gentle exfoliant, it smells amazing (like a crisp fall day), and leaves my skin feeling really healthy. 

Step 3. Serum – During the day I use a Vitamin C serum from Hyper Clear. I was once told that, besides SPF, vitamin C was the best thing I could do for my skin, so I figure it’s worth throwing in there. At night, instead of a Vitamin C serum, I use PCA’s Clarifying Retinol. I really, truly feel like I’ve been seeing a difference in my skin since I started using this several months ago. Start your retinol early folks, constant vigilance.

Step 4. Moisturize – I’m still using Living Libations Best Skin Ever Sea Buckthorn Oil (same bottle!), and it’s still my favorite moisturizer. Putting it on feels like drinking a giant kale smoothie, but for my skin. I was trying to make a funny analogy, but I don’t think it will land, and what I really mean is it just feels really healthy.

Step 5. SPF – Supergoop’s Unseen Sunscreen is the last step, whether or not I’m leaving the house (not leaving the house still happens 90% of the time these days). Gotta protect my face from those computer screen UV rays or whatever harmful things are shooting at my face as a result of modern living. 

And that’s it! I know it still sounds like a lot, but I do this all in like 6 minutes.

From Mallory

1. Glossier Milk Jelly | 2. Keihl’s avocado eye cream | 3. Honest Vitamin C radiance serum | 4. Neutrogena hydro-boost moisturizer with spf | 5. Coola cucumber sunscreen | 6. The Ordinary retinol serum | 7. Aveeno moisturizer

Okay guys I am NOT a skincare expert whatsoever and I think I’ve been writing about starting my skincare routine on this blog for over a year now (that’s correct–I did not have one prior to this). So, I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve officially read one article from Good Housekeeping and decided to finally do it. Here’s the lowdown for what I’ll be doing for my FIRST EVER skincare routine:

Glossier Milk Jelly: I finally gave in and tried this cleanser and believe me: it’s worth the hype. All other cleansers now feel inferior.

Keihl’s Avocado Eye Cream: I got this in a sample (yes a sample!) and completely fell in love. Also the post I read about how to have a skincare regime said I need an eye cream and this guy fit the bill perfectly.

Honest Vitamin C Radiance Serum: Everyone has told me I need a vitamin c serum and I’ve been wanting to try this brand forever. This one makes my skin feel awesome in the day & I love their beauty resurfacing serum for nighttime.

Neutrogena Hydro-Boost Moisturizer with Spf: My sister turned me onto this and I’m not disappointed. It’s so moisturizing it’s insane! A little goes a loooong way.

Coola Cucumber Sunscreen: Do I really need to explain how good this is again? I will. Because it’s that good. I was so bad about wearing sunscreen consistently until I found this guy. It’s so light plus the cucumber smells so good that people compliment me on the smell of my face.

The Ordinary Retinol Serum: The Ordinary is the best brand if you’re just starting out because their stuff is great at an INSANELY good price.

Aveeno Moisturizer: I had been buying a bunch of different face moisturizers and then my boyfriend bought this one time and I realized it’s the best one for my face. Yes, I use it on my face even though it’s technically body lotion (it’s basic, I know but this stuff WORKS).

I’m skipping toner all together for now because I hear it’s optional and I’m trying to go as simple and approachable as possible because I know myself and I can get lazy about taking care of my skin other than wearing sunscreen. So THERE YOU HAVE IT. I’ve been doing this for a week and so far my skin is looking better than ever! It’s screaming at me like “why did you take 23 years to actually do this” but oh well better late than never!!

From Caitlin

1. Meltaway Cleansing Balm | 2. Exfoliating Cleanser | 3. Pore Control Complex | 4. Hyaluronic Acid Serum | 5. Hydrate Glow Oil | 6. Moisturizing Eye Bomb | 7. Triple Lipid-Peptide Cream | 8. Glowscreen | 9. Resurfacing Mask

My skin is very sensitive, but otherwise pretty normal and dry-leaning – I have been known to get some patches on my right cheek and on my forehead during the winter. My main concerns: I have some everlasting hormonal chin breakouts, I’d like to even out my skin tone a little bit (I can get red!), and there are some pretty deep early-onset smile wrinkles that I’m just trying to manage. I was never a skincare person until this year and even Cerave and Cetaphil turn me red, but for whatever reason, this is the routine that finally sticks and makes my skin happy. TBH I normally only do it once a day, but that’s mainly because I’m not really going anywhere. Otherwise, I’d use the same products day and night!

Meltaway Cleansing Balm: I don’t normally wear makeup (because like, pandemic, but also just lazy when it’s not a pandemic), so I generally use this first thing in the morning if I sleep in an overnight mask. The texture is AWESOME.

Exfoliating Cleanser: This guy has an awesome gritty texture that’s just right – I don’t feel like I’m stripping my skin, but it also feels like it’s pulling up residue and dead skin. I love it.

Pore Control Complex: I see that Arlyn also recommended this toner, so you know it’s good!!! I don’t use this all over – just on my breakouts and on places where I’m seeing a lot of open pores or redness – and it’s helped clear my skin up a lot.

Hyaluronic Acid Serum: I love, love, love this hyaluronic acid serum. My skin soaks it up so quickly (I normally brush my teeth after applying this and it’s totally absorbed by the time I rinse) and it does an awesome job of evening out the texture.

Hydrate + Glow Oil: My finishing piece! Once I’ve put on my moisturizer, I slap 5 drops of this glow oil (literally) all over my face to lock everything in. It smells A M A Z I N G.

Moisturizing Eye Bomb: This is technically for your eyes, but I use it in tiny quantities on my forehead and in my laugh lines, too.

Triple Lipid-Peptide Cream: This may be too thick for some folks, but it’s a dream for me. Most moisturizers turn me super red and make my skin feel tight, but this one just feels calming.

Glowscreen: WE ALL LOVE SUPERGOOP! I love the above division between the Unseen Sunscreen and the Glowscreen. Since I’ve historically had super dull skin, I lean towards this one. (I also think it looks SO GOOD whenever one of the above ladies wear it on Zoom).

Resurfacing Mask: Here’s another gem that I’ve talked about on the site before. CoJ described it as “a facial in a mask,” and I agree. When I slack off and things just get a little out of control, this is like pushing a reset button. My skin looks SO GOOD when I wipe this off. Love, love, love.

See? I told you this would be A HUGE skincare post and I don’t know about you, but I learned a ton and may have added an inappropriate amount of products to my cart. Do you have any all time faves we should be aware of?? Are you also having breakouts for seemingly no reason? Let me/us know in the comments. xx

Opener Image Credit: Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp | From: Portland Reveal: How the Bathroom I Was Most Nervous About Turned Out to Be My Favorite

Fin Mark


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Renee Swanson

One Love Organics Skin Savior Multi-tasking balm!!! I live in Minnesota and commute/get around by bike and foot for most everything I do, even in the winter. This has been my miracle product. In the morning I wash my face, apply sunscreen/vitamin C from super goop, then skin savior, a primer and the super goop CC cream (still need sunscreen even in MN winter). Skin Savior is amazing. I see it as my buffer layer between my skin and the extreme temps and dry air. You only need a tiny bit, honestly one jar lasts me two winters. I typically use it only in the morning unless it’s really cold. I don’t need it in the summer. It goes on smooth and absorbs into your skin within minutes. I can’t recommend it enough. It is even the one product I am sure to take with me on our winter camping excursions and I feel confident enough in the ingredients to use on my kids as a protective skin/wind layer when they’re out skiing and having winter fun.


I only use One Love Organics anymore. Everything they make is amazing! My must haves are the Vitamin B cleanser, Vitamin D spray, Vitamin C serum, and Skin Dew moisturizer. When my skin is very dry, I supplement with Skin Savior. I don’t even look at any different lines anymore!


Emily, I think your skin is probably reacting to being in a much different climate than LA, in addition to the hat and mask wearing like you mentioned. I’ve heard someone refer to it as mask-ne. I’ve heard for the mask-ne, make sure you wash your masks (and hats) frequently, and you may need to make sure you have a thick lotion under the mask if you’re going to wear it for a long time. Second, winter weather is super drying. I always make sure I use a thick cream on my face overnight (I just use a Cerave night cream.) Lastly, I was talking to my dermatologist about some rosacea issues I was having and she recommended two things that I’ve had a lot of success with. Ordinary brand skincare is cheap and effective. I use the niacinamide + zinc morning and night and it’s helped a lot. They have a bunch of products geared towards blemish control. Also my Dr. highly recommends that you use sunscreen that is zinc and mineral based (yes the white stuff.) Glowscreen looks nice but she said the heavy duty sunscreen really is best, especially given how much time you spend outside. Good… Read more »


Hi Sara, you can buy “invisible” zinc sunscreen in Australia. You guys must have it too?


New sunscreen active ingredients haven’t been approved in America for ages and ages — we have very poor sunscreen technology and very few options are available here. It’s really bad, but most people don’t realize it because it’s all we’ve ever known. What we do have isn’t even regulated particularly well, which is how we end up with laughably meaningless “SPF 300!!!!” nonsense. (I buy Japanese sunscreen. My favorite is Biore’s watery essence, which is just endlessly MIND-BLOWING after growing up with the goopy, smelly, thickly white options here.) I recommend absolutely no American sunscreens to anyone. What’s allowed to be sold here is just flat-out inferior.


You are so right about how poorly regulated sunscreen is here in the USA.

The chemical ones get into your bloodstream and there’s no “safe limits” set by the FDA for those.

I would love to find a zinc sunscreen.

Interesting recommendation for your sunscreen. I wonder if some of the Japanese markets here in the Bay Area sell that.

I despise sunscreen with a passion because it’s so grimey and nasty. I only wear it when I’m doing outdoors sports. Then I only use the Neutragena stuff because it’s the least nasty.


This is all you need — especially good for rosacea sufferers, since it’s zinc and highly moisturizing. I wore it for years, and kept trying different possible replacements but I’m done experimenting. Nothing is as good.


I’d rec a specific sunscreen, but I know the exact one I’ve been using got reformulated a bit since I last bought it, so I don’t know how much it has changed. For the past decade or so I’ve gotten my best sunscreen recs from k-beauty bloggers. (I haven’t kept up with much k-beauty blogging because it has gotten so absorbed into mainstream and now it’s hard to find the genuine, science-driven real people blogger content that made it great in the 2010s versus pay to promote content.) Off the top of my head my favs have been Jude Chao (AKA Fiddy Snails), Tracy from Fanserviced-B, and Lab Muffin Beauty Science — the last of whom does INCREDIBLE posts about the actual science behind sunscreen. I think it’s definitely worth researching through some various older kbeauty posts on sunscreen if you’ve never used non-American sunscreen so that you can get a good idea of the differences because they’re MAJOR. There are a lot of product roundups out there, but my favorite products have personally been the ones that reviews say can double as primers. I don’t even use primers since I don’t wear makeup anymore, but the texture is just… Read more »


This is a great explanation as to why I prefer Japanese sunscreens above all others, although there are some good Korean options and French can be sort of okay in a pinch.


Yes, nano zinc oxide! 🙂 Also, titanium dioxide is another physical sunscreen ingredient used as an alternative to chemical sunscreens. Just make sure your sunscreen is Reef Safe as some nano (i.e. clear) zinc oxide versions are not safe for our oceans and fresh water sources…but neither is any of 99% of the mass marketed chemical sunscreens out there. 🙁 I am a huge fan of MyChelle sunscreens founded in Colorado.


To clarify: **non-nano** zinc oxide is the go-to physical sunscreen (a.k.a. mineral sunscreen) ingredient along with titanium dioxide. They are both good choices. However, you CAN find clear zinc oxide known as nano zinc oxide. However, this form is often–if not always–toxic to both you and the environment…as in the bodies of water we might swim in when using said sunscreen. The very nature of what makes the compound micro (and thus clear) makes the sunscreen more absorbable into our skin and also renders it less effective as a physical sunscreen. This is ironic and frustrating because, of course, it is one of the very reasons physical sunscreens are preferable in the first place: they are typically superior in both their UVA and UVB blocking capabilities. All this said, *remember* choose: Non-nano zinc oxide And/or titanium dioxide Look for Reef Safe Here is my favorite for everyday use on my face: It gets an Environmental Working Group Skin Deep score of #2 and is Clean Label Project Certified! 👌 You can find it at most health food stores and even at my local grocery store here in Lake Tahoe. I have used it every day for maybe 10 or… Read more »

Hi five for all that info! Completely agree, and so appreciate you sharing the research. I also love the Honu sunscreen ( and the Pratima Skincare sunscreen ( Both rub in well, and give good protection without the hazard to us and the enviro.


Yeah, maybe I missed it in the piece but it seems like Emily is not seeing a derm? I would highly recommend that to anyone who has access to one. I see people spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on creams and serums to try and self-diagnose when they could get a $15 prescription from the dermatologist that is three times as powerful as anything you can buy over the counter. My prescriptions get mailed to my apartment so it’s super easy to refill. I have two prescriptions, including tret, so all I need to buy on my own is SPF and whatever moisturizers I prefer. Plus, everyone should be visiting the derm at least once a year to get checked for skin changes and observe/document any moles or spots – even if you have to pay out of pocket, it’s cheaper than surgery or cancer down the road.


100% agree with this. I have even been able to see my dermatologist virtually during the pandemic. She’s been able to give specific and inexpensive solutions.


i agree. derms are life changing. if you suspect it is hormonal acne, you might try Spironolactone – it changed my life!


Jess! You are not wrong that the glow screen seems to enhance wrinkles. Try the zinc screen – it has a much more subtle sheen IMHO. The PPD factor is decent.

Thanks for the tip!!


Totally agree! I like the tint but the sheen totally accentuates my wrinkles. Back in the before times I would wear skinceuticals tinted sunscreen which is light and amazing, but now wear unseen sunscreen exclusively because I’m grossed out by tinted anything staining my mask. I kind of want to try matte screen or the Ilia tinted sunscreen but feel like there’s no immediate need for me until the pandemic is over.


I have and love some of the products you posted. I have been using some organic products from whole foods these days ro avoid heavy metals and other unhealthy substances. Same goes for shampoo and conditiomer. I don’t think having a lot of products helps. A gentle face cleaner, some gentle moisturizer in spray and a face cream is all I use. I don’t always use spf creams, but I’d change my routine slightly if I needed it every morning. I loved clinique products before, but I was pretty unhappy when they changed the formulas or discontinued what I used. Retinol in products might be a good idea too. But in general, fewer and simple is better


As a 40-year-old woman in cold VT, with very fair, so-quick-to-wrinkle skin, I hear what you’re saying about feeling like no moisturizer is enough, and I have a huge recommendation for you (that I finally bought a few years ago after I was developing patches of eczema on my mid-winter face!)
Tata Harper’s Creme Riche.
Yes, it has a big price tag, but I have honestly stopped buying eye creams and serums and just use this morning and night, September-May and then once a day (at night) in the summer. They have a few annual sales where you can buy it at a discount. After a few years, you can still hear me sighing happily every time I apply it. It’s like a steamy washcloth after a long flight. So good. So, so good. Not greasy, smells lovely, totally luscious on your skin.
PS – I always order straight from the company, so that I get the freshest batch!


Hello from another 40 year old woman in cold VT!


Yay! Brrrrr…


I liked Tata oil cleanser but wish they didn’t use so much fragrance in their products. I now prefer Marie Veronique which is based in Berkeley.


I suffered from increased acne after going keto for a number of months. I learned that a keto diet can really mess up hormones for some women. When I realized that my acne was hormonal (lots of swelling, inflammation), I realized I needed to change my skin care approach. I used Drmtlgy’ 24 Hour Acne Serum and had absolutely clear skin in under a month. I’ve kept using it since I’m of an age where hormones are in flux again and I think my skin is just more sensitive to hormones than average.


Have you heard of slugging? I tried it this winter and it helps my skin. It is when you add a layer of Aquafor over your moisturizer at night. I use Cerave cream (a giant tub is about $9) and then slather on the Aquafor. I also sleep with a humidifier in the room and sometimes I even steam my face over the humidifier for a few minutes before i use my creams. I am 45 so i have plenty of laugh lines around my eyes, but my skin feels super soft and looks hydrated.


I use Cetaphil, not Cerave.


Did you recently switch to a silk pillowcase? I tried one for a couple months and my chin broke out so badly! I washed the case frequently, but it just didn’t let my skin breathe enough. Going back to cotton quickly cleared my skin back up. I’ve also found all sunscreens and most powdered makeup make me breakout. Switching to a sunscreen-free foundation made a huge difference. I still wear sunscreen, but only when and where I need it. I’ve tried tons of sunscreens that are supposed to be good for breakout-prone skin and they all still made me breakout. The best I’ve found is Neutrogena’s Clear Face Oil-Free Sunscreen. I have to use it sparingly on my chin, but it clogs my pores less than any of the others. My two favorite products right now are Herbibore’s PRISM 12% AHA + 3% BHA Exfoliating Glow Serum and Lapis Blue Tansy Face Oil – For Oily & Acne-Prone Skin. Prism is lightweight and works noticeably better than other exfoliators I’ve tried. I was never a big oil fan, being prone to breakouts, but Lapis oil doesn’t make me breakout and it reduces redness in my fair skin so noticeably, I… Read more »


Cetaphil, not Cedaphil. My bad.


Jen – do you know if your pillowcase was silk or satin (ie looks like silk but polyester fibre) a lot are marketed as silk but are polyester.


My skin freaked out at the beginning of the pandemic and I found Curology. It’s basically an online dermatologist at a reasonable price. They make a custom prescription for you. It saved me! Emily you should definitely check it out. We have very similar complexions and similar age, I think it would save you the guessing.


Switch to K beauty products. We pay ridiculous amounts for overpriced skin care products on this country. I started using their double cleanse and essences, my skin has never looked better. I’m 63 and live in the northeast with dry, sensitive skin. I do second the Curology recommendation. I also bought a red light mask and saw a difference in the first week. K beauty products have so many more ingredients and their technology is so cutting edge compared to ours. In Korea and Asia in general skin care is treated as a necessity just like going to the dentist, in our country it is treated as more of a luxury which is why our products are stupidly expensive.


Check out Paula’s Choice. Reasonably priced, researched-based products that address a wide range of skin care needs.


I have used PC products for years. Unscented, no parabens, much better packaging than many of the expensive products featured above (i.e. your fingers can’t contaminate the contents). Way better price point. Read Paula’s books too!


I love Paula’s Choice BHA toner, it’s so great for unclogging skin while being gentle. 10/10 recommend for my adult acne friends

During my pregnancy I’ve switched to her azalaic acid and niacinamide, and those have also been great for my skin.

I buy cheap, gentle cleansers and moisturizers (cetaphil, cera ve, etc) because I haven’t found fancy ones to do anything special.


YES, Paula’s Choice BHA is so good! People noticed when I started using it.


A nutritionist recently told me that all the intermittent fasting studies were done on men, and that a 16 hour fast can mess with womens’ hormones. She recommends women do 12 hour fasts, which she says are still effective and gentler. Breakouts are so frustrating!


This is true of a lot of studies, due to ideas that women’s hormones will affect the results… because of course they will! Which obviously means that using women in studies should have been even more important so that there would data, but. Anyhow. The point is that even a lot of studies done on medications and such specifically for women have historically been done on men. It’s something to keep in mind about all medical studies. So much of it is truly horrifying once you begin researching things.


AND news flash… men have hormones too. And they also fluctuate. The whole “women have hormones” schtick is just lazy researchers who don’t want to have to analyze the data.


You should probably give yourself a skin detox. I would start with eliminating the products you are using and then slowly reintroducing them one at a time. Then you won’t waste fully throw away things that are perfectly good. If you are concerned that the mask is the culprit, you should also try changing those out as well. My daughter plays sports and running two hours up and down the court or field in a mask has killed her skin. We have six different kinds of masks now. The quick/thinner ones that you wear to go get the mail or when people stop by, under armor sport ones, n95s in case we ever have to travel, thicker ones for cold weather, cute ones for going out to the grocery store or Target runs, disposable ones for when people forget theirs, ones with washable filters. My daughter has acne prone skin anyway plus she’s 15. She found that only wearing makeup above her mask was helpful (a trick I learned from me ER colleagues). I wear makeup only on special occasions (family pictures). So I would also look at other culprits such as any makeup you’re using. Water intake should be… Read more »


Susan, your points are great and make a LOT of sense. x


I hate to suggest it but sweaty workouts make me break out like crazy. Lower impact stuff (weight-training, pilates—still effortful, less sweat-streaming-down-my-face) works better for me.

Also, maskne is real and it sucks.


I love these round ups! I am a total sucker for wanting to try new products and find the most magical formula in the prettiest packaging. BUT! So many of these mention the lovely smell and fragrance is the biggest/obvious irritant you can slap on your skin on a daily basis. If you’re having any issues- breakouts, drying, redness, wrinkles- cut out the obvious possibilities first! Always go for fragrance-free, as boring and unfun as it is- it’s one less thing to irritate and age your skin. I do get that it may be the hill you’re willing to die on, because hey, little pleasures might be worth it to you- omg does anyone remember The Body Shop’s dewberry scent? And their passionfruit cleanser? Teenage acne’d me cried when told they were harming rather than helping cos lordy those smells made me swoon. And while I’m killing joy, I might as well mention jar packaging is not ideal- it allows a lot of air to be introduced to the product which breaks down active ingredients like antioxidants way quicker than other packaging, plus bacteria is mixed in every time you dip your fingers in. Manufacturers know jars are equated with… Read more »


Some good points.
Not sure about the jat theory though if you’re using it with vlea hsnds and not double-dipping. As in, get what you need out of the jar with a clean finger/s and close the jar(?).


My skin gets pretty bad in winter weather, I find exfoliating daily helps more that’s pretty much anything else. I use reusable cotton rounds with apple cider vinegar to wash my face in the morning and at night, and currently the rubbing with cotton rounds exfoliates enough. It’s great and zero waste! 👍🏻👍🏻 Sometimes I use chemical exfoliants from the ordinary if I need more. Then I moisturizer with the Buffett from the ordinary. I love it so much! When it’s extra dry I use a little coconut oil on my skins before bed. For my skin, using so many chemicals and ingredients just clogs pores and makes me break out more. Try the all natural stuff first!


Oooh, Kelsie, thank you for reminding me about apple cider vinegar!
Yesss!!! It’s a great once-in-a-while thing for me. x


Hi Kelsie- ACV is often used for oily skin after cleansing to return the skin to its normal pH, so I’m assuming your skin is on the oily side? Buffet is a peptide serum, not a moisturizer, you should use something on top of the serum to “lock” it in. I would never recommend coconut oil on the face as it’s known to be comedogenic (blocks pores, could lead to clogs). Instead, try jojoba, it’s as close to skin’s sebum as you can get.


Came here to also say, please don’t put ACV on your face! Exfoliating daily with something so harsh, especially if you’re prone to being dry and flaky, can really wreck your skin’s barrier, and a vicious cycle of dryness will inevitably continue until the barrier is healed and protected. If you insist on using ACV, dilute it with plenty of water and use a good hydrating step or two afterward. As Elle mentioned, buffet is a peptide serum, not a moisturizer. Try moisturizing with a moisturizer formulated for facial skin. Pro tip: dampen your skin a bit with water before applying moisturizer.


I recommend Skin Biology products that are made with copper for anti aging, oils for moisturizing and exfoliants and cleanser that is based on science, PH levels and are truly effective over time. Check out their website for info on how to use .The only thing that calms my redness too.


Paula’s Choice 2% BHA has been a life changer for me. Improves texture. Gets those stubborn plugged pores. Be patient, it doesn’t happen immediately, but you’ll be very pleased with the long term results


I second this. it’s an incredible product. It’s the only product I use aside from cleanser and moisturizer, and my skin got much, much better when I switched to that simplified routine.


Out of all the people’s products, Albie’s would be most like mine. I used to use all kinds of expensive lotions n potions, but the more simple and natural, the better my skin. I used to have amazing skin and people always commented on it, even strangers (it was a bit weird, but, hey!). Now, as I get older, my skin is sensitive. I used to just wash my face with soap or body wash in the shower. Now have to use a face cleanser that’s super gentle. I have all kinds of allergic reactions to products as a result of chemo, I’m told. I’d use the Dr Weill products I used to use, but can no longer afford them. I’ve done a tonne of research into product ingredients of cheaper products that strive in Weill’s direction … and … SUKIN comes super-close! Even then, I buy it on special and buy 2 or 3 at a time. I save lotsa $! Sukin works for me. It’s all about what’s NOT IN IT. It’s gentle, smells yummy, but doesn’t upset my skin (crazy as, but I’m allergic to the ingredient called “perfume”, according to the 60 patch allergy test my… Read more »


Omg Rusty I am with you on the “anti aging” marketing!! It makes me so mad! I agree with everything in your comment!


Yup. Drives me crazy. The hot minute we accept that aging is inevitable and something to embrace, the mental health goes up a notch or ten!😊


Try some thing other than Supergoop. I know I know it’s a cult fave. I keep trying it, and the day after I use it I have welts on my skin. I put it away for months and then try it again and bam! my skin reacts. I did a little bit of research and it has silicone in it which is problematic for sensitive skin. Sorry Supergoop lovers!

For deep hydration, I have been using first aid beauty repair cream for years. I have dry skin and I don’t think I will ever stop using this product!


“Cult fav” re: supergoop! Ooooh, yeeeeeeah!
The power of pushing a product.


Yes! So many people rave about it, I want to and feel like I should like it. I just don’t think it works for my skin…


The power of marketing, making us feel like we “SHOULD”.
Things that make me go hhhmmm…


Supergoop doesn’t work for me either – it breaks me out after a couple days of wearing it. EltaMD is my go-to daily sunscreen instead.

I’m looking forward to trying that First Aid product! Just waiting until my Cerave in a tub (which I do like a lot) runs out.


Hope you live First Aid Beauty!




I love first aid beauty, try unseen unscreen! It’s dry and not heavy! It lives up to the hype!


Since Emily is soon to be a Portlander again, I’d like to recommend Skin by Marywynn, an aesthetician in NW Portland. I went there for microdemabrasion when we lived there and now, 3 years into living in Lake Tahoe (dry, dry, dry), I still order and use their in-house products daily. In my opinion, an oil based cleanser is a must. My lineup is Circadia Vitamin Veil Cleanser, Skin by Marywynn Calming Bio-Lipid Repair Creme mixed with a few drops of her Nutriment Blue Oil. Weekly I use the Crystal Clarity Microdemabrasion Cream. I cannot use products with ANY scent and they helped me figure out this combo. It’s been perfect for me and I like supporting a small business.

Samantha Deitch

A few years ago, Cup of Joe did a thing that turned me onto Caroline Hirons and that was the beginning of my skincare education. I suggest – nay, URGE you go to her site and read her cheat sheets. They are funny and really helpful.

I’m not an expert, but it seems like your skin barrier is suffering which I think is common in the winter. Whenever this happens to me, I first double down on all my acid toners and retinol because I am an idiot, and then eventually I recognize what’s happening and focus on just gentle cleaning and moisturizing for a while until my skin barrier is restored.

Also colloid patches are great.

Good luck Emily! Thanks for all the good recs EHD team!


I second giving Caroline Hirons a follow, she is a skincare queen!


Less is more w/ what Emily has previously referred to as “ thin white lady skin,” which I have. In Winter (I live in NY), I barely wash my face. I use Glossier’s rose water face mist like a toner with a cotton swab to clean face. BEFORE I shower, which I do not do daily, I put Egyptian Magic on my face (rubbing the leftover into my delicate armpits!), then during the shower at the end I wash face (and thus the Egyptian Magic off) with a mixture of Tata Harper Regenerating cleanser cut w/ Tata Harper Refreshing cleanser. That’s in Winter. In Summer months my face can handle the heavier exfoliation of the Regenerating without cutting it. The Egyptian Magic provides some sort of…magical…moisture barrier. It has lots of bee product (honey, royal jelly) in it. Out of the shower I pat my face dry w/ a paper towel. (I know, that plus the cotton swabs are wasteful.) Then I slather my face (but not my neck, it gets oily there) with Boiron Calendula CREAM (NOT the lotion or ointment versions). If going out, I’ll use Glossier’s very light skin tint and concealer if needed. Basically, less less… Read more »


What else can you use instead of paper towels?
Small face cloths? x7 little things to add to the machine each week.

Ideas, people?🧐


I’m wondering if the paper towels are used because they’re soft? If so, maybe try a turkish hand towel. They are SO soft and gentle and absorbent. I think if you bought one or two you they would quickly save you money from all those paper towels too! And they’re beautiful! Win win!

Search etsy for them, they’re maybe 8$?

I agree with less is more. I’ve had rosacea also and for me only washing my face with water and moisturizing in the morning with coconut oil works.

Ash W.

I didn’t have any skin problems with Supergoop, but let’s please get real about the price and size of those wee-bitty tubes. I remember being so excited after placing a Supergoop order. Then the thing arrived and I felt mega sheepish about my purchase. Friends, you DO know that sunscreen has to be applied every two hours, right? Doesn’t say it on their website (notice no online images of their boxes or backs of bottles–sneaky), but it sure does on the bottle itself! If you truly want to protect your skin throughout the day, you actually have to apply sunscreen over and over again. If you do that with Supergoop (1.7 oz), you’re gonna be out of a bottle in approximately one week.

Fortunately Kroger (yes!) has made a supergoop dupe: Kroger Sunscreen Invisible Gel SPF40. It is real and it is fabulous. This is a copy of Unscreen (and hey, they’re even honest about it, encouraging shoppers to compare with SG). Don’t tell me there’s no Kroger near you: those muthas will SHIP this to your door.

EHD, I know y’all love Supergoop, but Kroger’s bringing their milkshake to the yard, and well–you know the rest.


Ash, I LOVE your comment!
🧚‍♂️Truth Fairy🧚‍♀️


I had a situation where my skin kept flaring up but I couldn’t pin point what was doing it. Finally got to a good dermatologist that recommended me to contact dermatologist who tested me for skin contact allergies. I ended up with over 30 allergies and my skin finally cleared up!!! It was shocking the years of damage I did not knowing that the expensive so called natural products caused my issue. I use SkinSafe app now and put in my allergies it was best thing I ever did it is shocking how many chemicals we put on our skin. Just because it says organic or natural doesn’t mean it is, just fragrance as ingredient can have hundred different chemicals covered by this one ingredient. It is now time that we as women ask for transparency with what we put on our skin…#1 fragrance can not be allowed


I found out about things I had no idea I was allergic to, from the 60 patch test.
OMG! The havoc played out in and on my body from Nickel! And perfume (the chemical ingredient, somehow my actual perfume is fine?!)!


So happy you found your relief too!! The skin test was the best thing that has happened to my skin. I am allergic to nickel too, did you give up Nickel in your diet? I wish I knew all of this earlier as a melanoma patient I think there is so many dangerous chemicals, procedures pushed on to us by the beauty industry. And even well meaning celebrities with their products lines don’t realize how toxic their products are to our skin. The hypocrisy that we are so concerned about what we ingest but never give our largest organ the same attention is mind blowing. I personally believe if you have a break out then your skin is trying to send you a message. There is so many dermatologist out there that are not equipped to really help you. If they specialize in Botox etc then it is time to find someone new. I spent years with the wrong derm who just kept prescribing antibiotics or steroids. System is so broken. Sorry if I sound all preachy it is not directed at you Rusty at all, so nice to hear from an ally! And find others who have had the… Read more »


I enthusiastically recommend dermatologist @draegeanchan and PhD chemist @labmuffinbeautyscience on Instagram. And @drjoshuawolrich – to alleviate some diet guilt!

You will learn so much and spare yourself from wasting money on things that don’t help you.

Acne is really mentally hard…especially if it doesn’t improve for a while. After 15 years of acne, I find retinol (OTC or prescribed) and a moisturizer (Cerave or similar) to be the MOST effective. Occasionally use an AHA.


Yes yes, I LOVE Lab Muffin! Understanding ingredients really is the best possible thing to do before throwing money at skincare.


I highly recommend Farmacy’s Honeymoon Glow- the glycolic acid in this is intense and it keeps my pores clear. I am 47 with pre-menopausal hormone fluctuations that were causing breakouts. I started using this and they stopped. I use this every other night alternating with Retin-A, and a vitamin c serum at 20% every morning.


I finally just went to a dermatologist who made me cut out ALL skin products except cera ve. Cera ve cleanser, moisturizer and sunscreen, and then adapalene (retinol for skin cell turnover) at night. She then told me it takes 6 to 8 weeks and up to 3 months of being very gentle yet extremely consistent for your face to fully recover from a cycle of bad breakouts and skin problems. No cleaning pads or scrubbers or anything but washing gently with the product and your DOES work for my skin if I’m consistent. If I skip it for a few days I get breakouts and I’m 46. Well past the age I ever thought I would have acne.

I’m not knocking this post or all of these wonderful products, but I would think throwing all sorts of different things at our skin would make it hard for us to know what is working and what is causing the problem.


Yes. Yes, and yes!☺


Yes, such good advice!! If you are having an acne flare up you should do an elimination diet for your skin! And always patch test any new product before putting it on your skin. So crazy we are ok with putting anything on our skin. I use only certain products from cerave, Avene, Vichy, vanicream, amlactin.


I’m a skincare junkie, but the biggest thing is that everyone’s skin is very different AND you’re own skin changes in the season, with what you’re eating and drinking, how much time you’re spending outside, where you live, STRESS levels, etc. Sadly, there’s no magic algorithm, although beauty companies love to push a miracle product! Em, I’d start with making sure you’re plenty hydrated; I have noticed I drink less when weak a mask (I guess I’m too lazy to move it??) unless I make a real effort. Then par back to cleansing and hydration. This isn’t a time for retinol, exfoliation, or harsh treatments. You may want to add something with ceramides to help the skin barrier with properly absorbing. But you don’t need fancy for this — CeraVe has it in all their products and Beauty Pie has a capsule you can put on before moisturizer. And then just a good moisturizer — again, CeraVe or even Aquaphor on top of whatever you’re currently using. There’s a Japanese product called Yu-be that is cheap and beloved and super moisturizing, if you can get past the camphor smell. But that skin barrier has to be in good shape! And… Read more »

Roberta Davis

I often put Aquaphor on my hands and feet right before bedtime. It heals those cracks on my hands from too much washing in dry weather, and softens my feet so I don’t get those hard callouses that can crack. It will heal the cracks if I do get any.


Last spring my face started breaking out like crazy. I was blaming heavier than usual sunscreen use (because of sitting on my porch as much as humanly possible due to staying home/stir CRAZY). I was blaming higher sugar and comfort food consumption as well as not keeping up with my usual skincare routine etc etc. (again, because Covid)
I started addressing all these possible culprits without results.
Then I read about too much of some vitamins (esp B) causing acne. I had started taking multivitamins with extra B a couple of weeks before the problems started. I stopped them and voila! (Then I got back on track with my skincare routine to get back to being good to my skin).
As far as hydrating super dry skin, btw, I’ve found Lancome Absolue night cream and precious oil are the best.


This is my routine-
Retinol every 2 or 3 days at night before your night cream and oil.
Niacinamide drops on the rest of the nights before night cream and oil. (Btw, I mix a drop or 2 of the oil into my cream)
Vitamin C serum (or vitamin c drops into your daytime serum) every morning before your day cream.
I’m all for some of the less expensive vitamin c drops or niacinamide drops or retinol, but somehow nothing moisturizes as well as the (pricey) Absolue.


I’m suspicious of the skin care industry as a whole (and I’m also lazy and cheap), so I tend to stick with things that I have around anyways. I wash my face with solid raw honey (like this stuff: but I just get it at the grocery store) which, because it’s crystallized, also works nicely as an exfoliant. (Here’s more info about honey face washing, which has it’s own kind of cult following: Then I wipe off makeup with olive oil (and use it as a serum/moisturizer too). Then use rosewater toner from Thayers bc I love the smell of rose more than anything. And I make my own heavy duty face cream for the east coast winters with shea butter, honey, olive oil, and beeswax (which sounds laborious but it lasts me for a long time so I don’t have to do it often). It works for me, but to each their own! No glam-shaming from me, haha 🙂 Why is hearing about routines endlessly interesting? It’s like a whole genre of women’s literature that I am completely obsessed with. I will say, Emily, it sounds like your skin is detoxing along with you! I would give… Read more »


Amanda, I love this! It’s amazing how effective natural products that we can find in our pantry are in our skincare. I have some crystallized honey sitting there now that I’m going to use as a cleanser. Thanks for the suggestions!






I can’t see how it could be intermittent fasting. I’ve consistently done 16/8 IF since spring of 2013 and have never had skin or any other issue from it. Good luck finding a solution tho, that’s frustrating.


Big fan of dermatologists here! My derm always recommends:
– a gentle non foaming cleanser
– an antioxidant (vitamin C!) in the am
– prescription vitamin A (retinol) in the pm : literally the only topical agent that is ACTUALLY anti aging and the best for acne as well. 100% worth a derm visit to get a prescription. I think you can do online derm visits with some places
– a humectant (hyaluronic acid)
– a moisturizer with Ceramides

My faves are:
– Kiehls cleanser
– Mad hippy vitamin C
– obagi .5% retinol
– the ordinary hyaluronic acid
– Dr Jart Ceramidin cream
– supergoop spf

I’ve also been a big fan of the Dr Dennis Gross daily facial wipes but I don’t do them while using retinol. But they are definitely a glow booster!


YES! I used to spend a lot of money and have tried alllll the products, but once I really researched what works I stick with 1) sunscreen 2) vitamin C and 3) prescription strength retinoid. (I use Curology which is all online, not that expensive and so simple!) Moisturizer in winter and the occasional scrub or mask are bonuses.

It always BLOWS MY MIND when people who are into skincare aren’t using prescription retinoids. It’s one of the only (or THE only?) thing that the science backs up. Get yourself a retinoid!


I’ve been using generic Retin-A every night for years, but I want to add in vitamin C. Do you apply it at night or in the morning? I keep seeing conflicting information about when is best.


I use tret at night and vit C in the morning under my sunscreen.


Right?! I thought I would be seeing wayyyyy more comments on here talking about dermatologists and tret. I think tret isn’t as popular as it should be because it’s not a sexy overnight solution. But long term, SPF and retinol are the best things you can do for your skin and they actually truly work – supported by science, as you said! I use tretinoin, a few different japanese sunscreens (usually biore), vit C, and various moisturizers depending on how my skin feels – essence, serum, or cream/oil. Other than that I double cleanse and use the occasional sheet mask. My skin looks and feels great.

For anyone like me who is extremely chemically and fragrance/scent sensitive, this is what I use:
Face, body, hand soap (i legit hoard this when i see it at the store in case they ever stop making it):
Dr. Bronner’s All-One Baby Hemp Unscented Pure-Castile Bar Soap
I’m also planning on trying it as a shampoo bar as well, but haven’t yet.
Moisturizer for face and body: organic jojoba oil; i’ve been using this for years as my sole moisturizer, but now found a new option for body moisturizer: Kate McLeod Mama Stone
These are literally my only products and they work great. If you have kids/babies with sensitive skin, allergies, or eczema, these are great options.

Oh, and so far, for shampoo, i’ve been using Whole Food’s 365 brand fragrance-free shampoo. But I want to switch to bar shampoo because I’ve slowly been cutting plastic out of my life as much as possible.
And I don’t use conditioner.


Yaaay! For reducing plastic 🌏🤗


Anything with a “glow” or shimmer definitely only enhances my wrinkles and places where my skin is uneven. I don’t have any scarring on my face (like from acne), but when my skin gets dry it looks like I do. Glowy products make this look happen too so I know to avoid those no matter how many ppl swear by them.

Jess, how do you use the humidifier? Like a few min every day or longer less often? I bet this would be so helpful for winter dryness. Do tell!

And for those of you with redness or the super annoying problem of skin flaking from dryness while also appearing oily, it could be rosacea. Hate to be the bearer of bad news because I hate having it, but you are better off knowing so you can treat it properly.


Molly, I’ve had one bout of Rosacea and it felt and looked like my cheeks and nose were aggressively peeling off my face!
Thankful it was medication induced and (so far) a one-off!


For me, my skin really started not to like stuff with silicones (dimethicone is the big culprit). Once I got rid of those, my face started doing much better. A lot of this products you listed have that as one of the main ingredients. Just a thought!


Which Supergoop has…


Yesss!!! 🧐
It’s about what’s NOT in the product equally to what is in it.
Keep it simple, stupid KISS principle.


Find a board certified dermatologist in your area. Have a full-body skin check (for cancer) and work with her/him for your skin care needs. This is a sample of recommended skin care products from one (sorry for the long list but maybe it will help someone who isn’t able, financially, to meet with a dermatologist right now): Make-Up Remover (start on dry skin & use regular cleanser after): Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar, Garnier SkinActive Miceller Cleansing, Drunk Elephant Slaai Make-up Melting Butter, Farmacy Green Clean Dry Skin Cleanser: CeraVe Hydrating, Cetaphil, CLn, La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hyrdating Oily Skin Cleanser: CeraVe Foaming, La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Foam Gel Acne Cleanser: CLn Acne Cleanser, Cerave Renewing SA, La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicate Gel Acne Exfoliation (after cleanser, before moisturizer): Krave Beauty Kale-Lalu-yAHA, Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant, Some by Mi AHA-BHA-PHA 30 Days Miracle Toner Dry Skin Moisturizer: La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face, Illiyoon Ceramide Ato Cream, Krave Beauty Great Barrier Relier Acne Moisturizer: CeraVe PM Facial Lotion, Illiyoon Ceramide Ato Lotion Redness Moisturizer: La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face, Purito Centalla Unscented Recovery Cream, iUNIK Centall Calming Gel Cream Mineral Sunblock: SkinMedica Mineral Shield, Purito Comfy Water Unscented,… Read more »

Love reading skincare posts! At age 45, I’ve only recently started wearing makeup (and still, just mascara from a “clean beauty” brand). I swear my no makeup life seems to have done wonders for my skin and how it’s aging.

I’ve also kept skincare products minimal, using water to wash my face and other than that just oils since my 20s. I try to keep anything that goes on my skin super natural, seeing as it become systemic in a matter of weeks. That said, I love Living Libations and use the same one as Sara plus some of their other products – the founder is an amazing resource and has a wonderful book on clean beauty remedies. I also love OSEA, a clean beauty brand run by fantastic women out of Malibu. Thank you for a fun post!!

Oh, one more thing: I eat mostly vegetarian keto (yes – that’s possible!) and intermittent fast. I don’t consume grains, sugar or alcohol. For me, all that does wonders my skin. My morning coffee, however, is super unhelpful.


Along with gluten, sugar & alcohol which can cause skin issues, add dairy to the list. Check out Dr. Mark Hyman’s site. As he says, it’s what you put IN your body; heal your body from the inside out!

Absolutely! I actually eat grass-fed, full-fat, plain, local yoghurt because it’s a main protein source for me and doesn’t affect my skin. I also do okay with grass-fed butter. If I were eating meat, I’d like omit the dairy and as a Chinese Medicine doctor and primal health coach, it’s one of the first places I look when folks come to me with skin issues.

*likely omit 🙂


That’s great! I’ve been doing a lot of research around health issues lately (gut-brain connection, diet, quality sleep, mental health, alternatives to meds, etc) and would love to find more local, holistic experts to guide some family members and folks to better health.


That’s a worthwhile journey!


Don’t get me started on the thickeners, etc. put in yoghurt!😫
BUT … be mindful of choosing non-animal renett in cheese. The animal one comes from days-old male calves taken from their mothers and plastic-wrapped, called “veal.”

I actually did not request advice, Rusty. Nor do I eat cheese. Please stay in your lane. Thank you.


That was unnecessarily snippy!




I’m with you on this! 👍


Hey guys! Love your blog! Have you ever tried Beautycounter? I use their Countertime line, and it’s incredibly moisturizing and effective. I have noticed a huge difference in my skin! I use the Countertime hydrating facial oil to wash, then use the Countertime hydrating Essence (awesome toner), Tripeptide radiance serum, and tetrapeptide supreme cream at night, and antioxidant soft cream for daytime. My skin is always hydrated…even my husband has noticed a difference. I love that their products are cleaner than most!


Dr. Jart Cicapair Color Correcting Treatment — YESSSSSSSSSSSSS! If I could only have a single skincare product for the rest of my life I would give everything up for this magical tub of green goodness. I quit using makeup once I got hooked on this stuff, long before the pandemic. For me it both evens redness and helps to lessen it long term (same for my rosacea breakouts!) while also giving that sweet, sweet spf coverage. This is a product that actually does more than it promises and I cannot praise it enough. The other green goop I love endlessly is Sunday Riley’s Saturn mask — that’s what did the really heavy lifting that finally got rid of my rosacea acne for good. (My rosacea was so bad that my face was just in a default state of pain. I never took pictures at the time because I avoided cameras at all costs, but my before and after was dramatic commercial worthy. It was a solid 1-2 years of recovery, but now my skin is completely clear.) It’s expensive, but the key ingredient with this one is sulfur, which is also available in far more affordable products but is rarely… Read more »


Also: I would strongly recommend AVOIDING Clinique’s Pep Start line and any other products containing caffeine! While the instant skin tightening is absolutely satisfying, studies have shown that long term use of skincare containing caffeine can actually degrade collagen over time and cause skin to thin and wrinkle sooner and more severely. It can also cause other more short term rebound effects, like increasing certain causes of redness and such.

Rinda Healey

You could be having a perfect storm of issues: winter+age+different location/water. The hardness/softness of your water supply can make a big difference in your skin. Your detox right at the time that winter was settling in probably had an effect also. You need to be consuming some of the right kinds of naturally occurring oil (like olive or avocado, or that from seeds) along with skin-supporting vitamins like vitamin ADE&K. These vitamins are fat-soluble, so if you were not eating enough healthy fat, your skin could suffer. Be sure you are eating orange vegetables and dark leafy greens, along with a little bit of healthy fat. Working from the inside out instead of treating from the outside in will bring you big, long-term rewards.


Y e s s s !!!


Jess’s routine and products are really impressive! Not that anyone asked me BUT 😆 My only tip would be to use up that HA serum for $100+ and then try a couple that are a fraction of the cost and just as good. I’ve tried a couple expensive ones and have found CosdeBaha and Isntree just as good and they’re around $20!

Also, I love a good watery essence or facial mist but with those Mario B facial sprays, try something with more actual skincare benefits like a fermented, rice water or green tea spray. Best I’ve used is Niod Superoxide Dismutase spray but it’s pricey and often sells out so a few other great ones are SecretKey, Missha, Isntree Green Tea toner, Neogen real ferment micro essence, or Acwell. Most of those don’t have a sprayer but you can always keep your MB bottles and keep filling them up!

Obviously I love this topic 😆 Hope it’s ok to give my 2 cents for whatever they’re worth! 🤗

Lori Jackson

The only thing that works on my 53 year old acne is Glass Bottle Drying Lotion. This is a miracle product that clears up a breakout overnight. A little goes a long way.


Seriously read Caroline Hirons’ new book Skincare. It is amazing.


Thank you everyone for the suggestions – I have taken notes. More than once I have read that chin acne is common in older women – still don’t know why but I have it. In my case it is often associated with the hair follicles. Also, I want to know what Nancy Pelosi uses – she always has glowing skin.


Hahaha 😹
She probably uses truckloads of money! $$$$$


My dermatologist said “save your money” when I comes to most of the products listed. She said use a basic skin care cleanser, moisturizer and sunscreen. Eat a balanced diet, drink water and use common sense. I wait 2 months just for an appointment with her.
Tracy n Seattle!


I. Am. With. You!😊


Emily we are the same age and my skin is drying as we speak, which is odd cause I had oily skin up til mid 30s. TBH I always had break outs til getting on birth control for other health issues around 35, so that was a major skin clear-er. If anyone else is having dry skin issues, Tatcha Dewy Skin Moisturizer is really the cure! It is SO good and even though it’s expensive I can’t help myself because it’s so lush. I now want everything they have. I use the Rice Cleanser too and while it is a luxury item I probably won’t need to have on hand forever, it’s a pleasure and feels SO thick and creamy. My cheapie is the Acure Brightening Cleanser, also works well, doesn’t dry my skin. I use serums from Drunk Elephant for anti aging and love their ease and clear results. Weleda Light Skin Food for body and Reg Skin Food for hands in winter. Skin care has been fun during quarantine — something, anything we can do that feels under our control! I’m obsessed.


Is there anyone who has oily skin but no acne? What products do you use? I have extremely oily skin, most likely genetic as my dad’s skin is the same, but never breakout. All the oily products seem to be geared towards acne and they irritate my skin. Also, the recommendation to use oils for oily skin does not work for me. Any ideas?


Best “problem skin” products I use – Arcona Tabula Rasa (lactic acid exfoliation), Arcona The Solution (glycolic acid exfoliation), Arcona Herbal Compound (apply directly on blemishes, they even dry up and bring cystic acne to a head which is almost impossible). With the first two products, I prefer not to wash my face before using them because I find they dry my skin out if I do (I don’t wear makeup but if I did I would at least remove that before using).
Arcona products are natural and powerful for the blemishes and cystic acne I started getting again at 30. My aesthetician and dermatologist told me to expect a recurrence about every ten years which means I am about three years from another one…yay I guess.
Regarding chin acne – I’ve been told that chin acne is often hormone based, so it could be some hormonal adjustments. Mask wearing has been an adjustment for my chin which was never really a problem zone for me before (my theory – too much exfoliation from the mask rubbing the skin there).

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