My skin journey has gone through hell and back. Growing up, I had terrible acne and never put on sunscreen (I don’t think I even owned face sunscreen), so as I hit my late teens and early 20’s I was left with acne scars, sun damage, enlarged pores, and combination skin. Naively, I figured covering my face with makeup would hide my skin issues which actually made it worse. No one told me that the secret to flawless makeup was healthy skin. It wasn’t until I was turned 21 when I finally learned about the basics along with the best skincare products you need to form a solid skincare routine: cleanser, retinol, vitamin C, and moisturizer/SPF.
There’s no denying, our 20’s can be an awkward time for skin. A lot of us during this age (myself included) still suffer from regular acne while also trying to correct sun damage and prevent signs of aging—it’s a lot! The retinol and vitamin C combo is a great option because it covers both prevention and correction—just be sure to seal it in with a moisturizer and, of course, wear sunscreen! For me, starting with a small skincare routine felt like an achievable overtaking the 14-step approach that was popular then. As someone who thought St. Ives was skincare, the four must-haves helped me create the right foundation, and give my skin what it actually needed. After integrating those four key products into my skincare routine, I began to layer in toners, exfoliants, boosters, and hydrators.
If you have acne-prone skin, toners and exfoliants are amazing for keeping your oil levels balanced while reducing the appearance of pores. I will also say that one of the biggest game-changers for my skin came from a lifestyle change. After cutting out gluten, dairy, limiting my alcohol, raising my water intake, and ensuring I had enough sleep, my acne disappeared and my skin looked much more youthful and bouncy. (*editors note: please consult with your health physician or doctor before making any major dietary changes but this is what worked for me.)
At 28, I’m finally feeling good in my skin and my goal is still the same: to correct and prevent while improving texture and tone. Thanks to the nature of my job, I’ve tested 1000s of skincare brands and products so I decided to curate the best of the best (in my opinion!). So, keep reading to discover the skincare products that I squeeze and scrape until the very last drop.
*Please note, that while I list all of these products here that I use, you certainly don’t need to buy all of them. When it comes to skincare, all you really need is a quality cleanser, toner/serum, moisturizer, and sunscreen—that’s it! And for me, it’s all about investing in quality over quantity.