For well over 15 years of my life, I used this very basic facial cleanser. It worked great on my skin! I only very rarely got any breakouts at all and it kept my face very clear. Anytime I tried switching to other products, even more expensive ones, my face would protest. So I stuck with it.
Unfortunately, when we moved to California, it started drying out my face quite a bit. Not to mention the fact that I should probably start using some better products for my skin. It took me a few years to actually do something about it! But finally about a year ago, I got tired of my face constantly feeling pulled taught and decided to try out some different products.
So I went through a few months of experimenting with some different skincare products. Some I heard about through word of mouth, others through online research, and some showed up in my FabFitFun box. (Which is wonderful for testing a variety of full-size, high quality products. You can use this link to get your first box completely FREE – here’s a post explaining how.)
My testing is 100% non-comprehensive; I’m sure there are lots of other great products out there. But these are some that I’ve super loved and though I’d share them with you, too!
My Favorite Facial Cleansers
A great cleanser was my number one priority. I wanted something that worked well to keep my face clear but was significantly less drying and harsh than my old cleanser. I tried out probably 10 different ones and here are my top 3 favorites:
- Dr. Brandt Pore Purifying Cleanser. This is my very most favorite cleanser and I’ve been using it 90% of the time. It’s gentle, soft, lathers nicely, and keeps my face perfectly clear. It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for, and I don’t feel like I absolutely must moisturize seconds later.
- Squalane Jelly Cleanser. I don’t feel like this cleanser goes quite as deep (and it doesn’t have the salicylic acid to keep my skin clear), BUT I really love it as a makeup remover. It’s great for getting off mascara and other makeup before washing my face, and it feels really nice.
- Tea Tree Cleansing Gel. This is the cleanser I use in the shower. It’s super gentle and really refreshing with the tea tree. I especially love it when I don’t need to remove makeup, but just want a refreshing wash of impurities or after a workout.
Wow, I super love this facial exfoliator. My old cheap cleanser was also an exfoliator, but it always made my skin feel really stiff. This one is gentle but makes my skin feel soooo soft. It’s amazing. It’s pricey but it only takes a tiny bit for my entire face so it lasts forever.
Moisturizer is another big one that I wanted to figure out, and is the one that varies the most based on time of day and how I’m feeling. As I mentioned, my skin tends to be pretty dry so I wanted something really moisturizing, but lighter for day and thicker for night. After trying 8 bazillion kinds, here’s what I settled on and love:
- Daytime moisturizer: Squalane + Omega Repair Cream. This stuff is amazing. It’s fairly lightweight but doesn’t disappear. Because I have dry skin, I like the feeling of something still being there a bit instead of disappearing like some gel moisturizers do. This is perfect.
- Nighttime moisturizer: Sunday Riley ICE Ceramide Moisturizing Cream. I searched for a long time for an intense nighttime moisturizing cream that wasn’t gloopy and made me break out. This stuff works SO well on my skin and smells nice, too.
- Facial oil: Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil. This stuff is my biggest splurge and an absolute dream. It lasts forever because you only need a few drops but WOW is it amazing. I love using it on top of my nighttime moisturizer to lock in the moisture and add a protective barrier and some extra vitamins to my skin. There’s a reason this stuff has a cult following.
- Facial melt: LXMI Pure Niloteca Melt. Sometimes I just need one step of something that’s quick and crazy moisturizing, and this is it. This stuff is intense. But when my face is feeling extra dry, it’s the perfect balm.
I started using this mattifying mineral sunscreen a couple years ago and absolutely love it (and it lasts forever – I still have the same tube!). It creates a great base if your face is feeling slick, and it’s perfect for summer when it’s hot and sweaty. It makes a really nice base for makeup to go on, too. And I love that it’s a zinc-based sunscreen.
I recently got this sunscreen in my FabFitFun box after hearing so many incredible things about it. It truly inspires obsession so I was curious if it was actually that good. Turns out, it really is. It’s not mattifying like the other sunscreen, so I use them with different purposes. This one really goes on like a primer, creating a perfect base for makeup to go on super smoothly. I’ve really loved it, especially when my skin is feeling more dry.
Other Facial Skincare Favorites
There are a few other things that I use fairly regularly that I love:
- Squalane + Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum. I put this night serum on right after washing my face, before my moisturizer and it is seriously the BEST for smoothing out skin. It works amazingly and my skin is so smooth when I wake up. It works to minimize pores and reveals smooth and glowy skin underneath. Love this stuff and I use it every night.
- Vitamin C Serum. While I love the Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil, it’s a bit more intensely moisturizing and better for night for me so that my makeup doesn’t slip right off. But I still want to put some vitamin C directly on my skin before anything else sometimes, especially in the morning as a protection. I love this serum that goes on smoothly.
- Squalane + Marine Algae Eye Cream. As I get older, eye cream is one of those things I have to remind myself to use to keep the skin around my eyes healthy. This one is smooth and rich and great for nighttime especially.
Here are my basic routines that I do every day. I would say each takes about 1 minute in the morning and about 4-5 at night, tops.
Morning Skincare Routine
- Tea Tree Cleansing Gel if I’ve worked out, otherwise I just rinse with water.
- Vitamin C Serum
- Squalane + Omega Repair Cream
- Sunscreen (this or this)
Nighttime Skincare Routine
- Squalane Jelly Cleanser if I want to remove mascara
- Dr. Brandt Pore Purifying Cleanser
- Facial exfoliator 1-2 times per week
- Squalane + Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum
- Squalane + Marine Algae Eye Cream
- Sunday Riley ICE Ceramide Moisturizing Cream OR LXMI Pure Niloteca Melt
- Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil
It’s been such a lovely routine to do a mini facial each night and to prep my face to be healthy each morning. I’ve noticed a big difference in how my skin feels and also looks – it’s so much more glowy and healthy. I basically never wear any sort of foundation anymore – just eye makeup and concealer under my eyes (since I need to sleep way more, lol).
I’d love to hear what your skincare routine is, and any favorite products you have!