A long, long time ago when I first published Finding Emma, a reader asked me if the blog Emma writes in that book “Northern Chic” was actually a thing and if any of the products I’d mentioned were ones I’ve actually used and enjoyed. Since then, I’ve always wanted to write a series of beauty-related blog posts, but just never really got around to it.
Now that I feel like the craziness that was the last few months (new job, engagement, the holidays, etc.) has finally settled down, I’d like to start adding some more lifestyle and beauty posts–I’m planning on posting about my wedding planning too!
I should preface the below details by first saying my skin is really strange and reactive. Things like lavender oil, in particular, make me breakout like crazy, and I’ve discovered that certain hair products give me those pesky little bumps around my hairline and cheeks. Because of these issues, I’m a firm believer that you get what you pay for, and while some of these products are on the pricey side, they’re worth every penny to me because they work. So, through serious trial and massive error, I’ve finally nailed down a skincare routine that solves most of my problems.
Everyone’s skin is different, so what works for me might not necessarily work for you. These are just my personal heroes 😉
- Kate Somerville Anti Bac Lotion. This stuff works. I don’t use it all over my face because it can be pretty drying if you do it that way, but the 5% benzoyl peroxide, combined with whatever other magic ingredients are in this, is just enough to clear up my adult acne without causing nasty flakes or irritation. I’ve used other products similar to this, like La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo, but I always come back to this one.
- Clinique Clarifying Toner 2. My mom has used this for years and swears by it, but I’d always been terrified because it has menthol in it. I’ve used other products with menthol (ahem, Origins Checks and Balances) with disastrous results, so I think my terror was warranted. She finally talked me into trying it, and I’ve never looked back. It tingles, sure, but it actually feels nice, and it’s never irritated me. In fact, since I started using this in December, combined with the cleansing balm below, my skin has never looked better. It’s clearer, smoother, softer…all the things you want in a toner.
- Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm. I’ve had a love-hate relationship with cleansing balms. I want to love them, but end up hating them. This one, though, checks all my boxes for what a cleansing balm is supposed to do: takes off all my makeup, gets rid of the oil and grease, softens, and clarifies. It has a nice, gentle cocoa butter smell that helps, too.
- Josie Maran 100 Percent Pure Argan Oil. Liquid gold. That’s all I really need to say. During these crazy Wisconsin winters, I tend to get some painful dry spots, and this oil zaps it away. I also use this under my eyes at night. Crow’s feet? What crow’s feet? 😉
- Philosophy Fresh Cream. I’m a sucker for anything vanilla-scented, and this smells like heaven in a bottle.
- Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Face Cream. I’ve used, and loved, this brand’s Lotus cream before, but as I’ve gotten a little older (sigh) this one is just more moisturizing, still packed with anti-aging benefits, and smells better, too. Win-win.
- & 8. Drunk Elephant C-Firma Serum and T.L.C. Glycolic Night Serum. I got this brand’s AHA kit for Christmas (you can find it at Sephora), and oh. my. God. The hype is real. It’s insanely-expensive, at least for me, but when I run out of either of these, I’ll be buying them, that’s for sure. I wish they smelled a little better, but that’s a small price to pay for products that do what they say they will. Let’s just say that I used to have tiny little lines in my forehead. Used to.
I’m sure you’ve noticed I didn’t include a traditional face wash on here (I’m not counting the cleansing balm because that’s functions a little differently), and that’s because I’m a fickle bitch when it comes to cleansers. I get bored so easily. I’ve basically tried everything at Sephora, and none of them are anything to write home about. And honestly, face wash literally just goes down the drain. As long as it doesn’t aggravate your issues and takes your makeup off, I think it’s more important to invest in the products that stay on your skin for longer.
So, that’s it for now. I’m planning a post on the hair products that have and haven’t worked for me, so keep an eye out for that next. Which skincare products are your personal heroes? Leave me a comment below–I’d love to chat!
*I purchased all the products I mentioned and none of the brands are sponsoring me in any way*