I was talking with my best friend about skincare the other day. We do that now, you know. Talk about skincare. Flu shots. Parent teacher conferences. Children’s Tylenol. Under eye bags and dry skin. We no longer recap who did what when we went out last night, because we didn’t go out last night. We stayed home and watched Netflix and we’re not sad. 

As I have gotten older, my skin has changed. I don’t consider 35 old at all, but the circles are darker, the bags are bigger, and the struggles are just different. I got some really good advice on my skin that has made a big difference this year. I remember when everything I thought I knew changed. I had just gone through my miscarriage and my skin looked like a mess. I went into grab a product totally unrelated to skincare and talked to a very nice lady I’d gotten a facial from before. She’s a licensed esthetician and studied under a French woman who taught her everything she knew about their methods of skincare. Let’s be honest, if anyone knows something about looking good without trying, it’s the French. She took one look at my face and said “You’re not oily.” Ehhhh, excuse me? Are you nuts, lady? I have the most oily skin. Everyone knows that. But she visited with me a little bit and took a good look at my skin and said “You’re not oily. Those fine lines in your forehead aren’t wrinkles. You’re dehydrated.” Well, I’ll be damned.

Cut to me with complete skepticism, hesitantly asking how much it was going to cost to deal with dehydration rather than an oil slick. Luckily she was not interested in trying to sell me a complicated set of products that would pay my light bill twice over. Bless her. Admittedly, I haven’t done every single thing her way. I took the parts that I knew would work for me and put them into action immediately, and some of the things I do now are based on what I personally feel like my skin needs or what I can realistically commit to. By no means do I have super dry skin. But I was creating so much excess oil by overly drying my skin, that it’s no wonder I couldn’t keep it under control. Now I have a much better grasp on what my skin actually needs and how to give it moisture without overdoing it.  Read on to see what I have been using and loving! 

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1. Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel. This is not the original cleanser she set me up with. I like the one she had me try originally, but I stumbled across a video series on YouTube by Nerida Joy, a well known esthetician who works on celebrities and generally beautiful people. She strongly recommended not using a foaming cleanser. She only uses gel based cleansers as she feels foaming cleansers contribute to surface dryness. I saw someone else talk about how much they enjoyed this Mario Badescu cleanser so I decided to give it a try because Ulta has a travel size for $7 (travel size is what’s linked here). I just repurchased it in the larger size which will last me forever and it was only $14. You really can’t beat that price for a good cleanser. It was weird to have a cleanser that didn’t suds up at first, but now I’m used to it and I’m really happy with how this one works. 

2. Kora Organics Noni Glow Face Oil. So this is where all my money goes when it comes to skincare. This is the most expensive product I use. I didn’t want to love this. In fact, it was so hard to imagine putting oil all over my face. When I saw the price tag I was like “Never mind, I’m good with being a mess. That’s a hard no from me.” I was able to get a sample of this to take home and try before making a commitment. That sample lasted me forever by the way (as has my regular bottle). I was sold. When the oil is combined with the facial spray I’m going to talk about, it leaves my skin feeling hydrated, fresh, and soft but NEVER like it’s oily and gross. Before I swiped that card at the register, I read reviews and they were all outstanding so I’m not the only one who is willing to pay the price for this gem. On days when I don’t use it, I miss it. I’ve said that about coffee creamer before, but never a skincare product. There’s a first time for everything. 

3. First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads. I discovered these little gems on my own. I can’t even remember how I first ran across them, but they are delightful. I often feel like the texture and tone of my skin is uneven and just not living its best life. These little pads go to work on gently getting the dead stuff off the surface and making my mug look fresher and brighter. They can’t fix everything, but they sure do make a lot of things better. If you’re in the market for something that makes your skin look and feel a bit brighter and refreshed, give these a try. 

4. Caudalie Grape Water. I know what you’re thinking. Water in a can? How gullible can I be? But there’s something about this stuff that just makes me never want to be without it. In fact, I just ran out of it a few days ago and I’m feeling real twitchy about it. I need to go get another can ASAP. The super sweet lady who helped me recommended I use this after cleansing in place of a toner and then apply the oil while my face was still wet. You know how you probably used a blue bottle of toner that burned like fire when you were 13? Yeah, this isn’t that. In fact, it’s made to do the exact opposite. It has an extremely calming effect on the skin and I think that’s why I love it so much. One minute you’re Ursula, and the next you’re Ariel. It’s magic. 

5. ELF Lip Exfoliator. For such a small $3 item, this does wonders on my lips in the winter. I always have dry skin on my lips no matter how hydrated I try to keep them. This is such a simple thing, but it works quickly and costs next to nothing. What more could you want? They also make this in a few yummy flavors now. I have the coconut and it’s fabulous.

I imagine as time goes on, my skin will just keep changing. I totally don’t mind that. Wrinkles and lines are reminders of a life well lived, don’t you think? If you decide to try any of these products, please let me know! I’d love to hear your opinion. And if there’s something you love that I should try, send me the deets! I love finding new skincare gems. Talk to you soon, friends!

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