The Sephora Spring Savings Event is live, from April 1-11!
I just shared my recommendations on YouTube (in partnership with Sephora!) across all categories: makeup, skincare, haircare, body care, and fragrance – with swatches, close-ups, & demo of the products.
20% off for Rouge: 4/1-4/11
15% off for VIB: 4/5-4/11
10% off for Insiders: 4/7-4/11
All Beauty Insider Members: 30% Off all Sephora Collection. No code needed.
Check out my makeup recommendations, too!
Paula’s Choice Cleansing Balm – A great cleansing balm option for sensitive skins, this is a buttery, fragrance-free cleansing balm that comes in a tube. Melts away makeup and SPF and rinses away beautifully without stripping the skin.
Youth to the People Superberry Dream Cleansing Balm — This cleansing balm starts as a slightly stiffer consistency in the jar, then melts beautifully into a rich butter texture on contact with the skin. Emulsifies beautifully and breaks down even waterproof makeup, rinses clean and leaves skin hydrated. Has a slight YTTP Dream smell which comes from natural ingredients, no added synthetic fragrance.
Skinfix Barrier+ Foaming Oil Hydrating Cleanser — Such a unique creamy cleanser. Though this is called a foaming cleanser, the foaming quality is very light. It’s more like a cream cleanser with a lightly sudsy effect once worked onto the skin. On no makeup days, this melts away SPF and cleanses beautifully and is sufficient as my only cleanser. I think dry and sensitive skin types will love this. Fragrance and essential oil-free.
Fresh Soy Face Cleanser — A gel cleanser that I’ve used for 12, 13 years? A very long time. It’s gentle, lightweight, and smells lightly of cucumbers. Refreshing without stripping the skin. I’ve gotten many friends hooked on this. I like to pick this up in the jumbo or value size because the cost per ounce is so much better than the standard size.
Youth to the People Superfood Antioxidant Cleanser — A bit more foaming than the Fresh Soy Cleanser. I especially enjoy this in the summer when I am very oily. I think it would be best enjoyed by normal to oily skin types. Comes with a jumbo refill with an excellent value and always comes in a glass jar.
Korres Greek Yoghurt Foaming Cream Cleanser — Despite being called a foaming cleanser, this is more of a cream cleanser. It’s a lightweight cream texture that feels comforting and soothing on the skin. Sometimes you need something a bit richer: when your skin barrier is compromised, in cooler weather, if you have dry skin. That’s when I turn to the Korres cleanser.
Dr. Jart Cicapair Mist — Part of the Cicapair line, which is meant to soothe inflammation and calm the skin, this is a very lightweight hydrating mist. My favorite thing about this mist is the component: it creates the most fine mist of any mister component I’ve tried, maybe ever. No large water droplets on the face, just a super fine, even mist.
Laneige Cream Skin Mist — If you’ve ever used the Laneige Cream Skin toner, this is the same formula in a mist component. A milky, hydrating, delicious mist that is uber hydrating and slightly richer than a watery mist. No added fragrance. If you have dry or sensitive skin, you’ll love this.
HYDRATORS (toners, essences, serums)
Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum — Sulwhasoo is a luxury Korean skincare brand that centers hanbang, or traditional Korean herbs and herbal practices, in their formulations. Meant to be used as the first step after cleansing to prep the skin for other products to come, the FCTA is a hydrating gel-like serum that contains the iconic hanbang fragrance. When it’s in my routine, my skin is more radiant, plump, and glowy.
Laneige Cream Skin — This purports to contain the equivalent of a jar of cream in liquid form. It’s uber hydrating, soothing, and comforting, with no added fragrance. A beautiful hydrating option for all, but will be especially appreciated by dry and sensitive skins.
Youth to the People Triple Peptide + Cactus Hydrating + Firming Oasis Serum — A recent addition to my skincare routine, this is a beautiful fluid hydrating serum. In addition to hyaluronic acid, this contains three different peptides, which aid in anti-aging. Lightweight yet very hydrating, this plumps up the skin beautifully.
Summer Fridays Dream Oasis Deep Hydration Serum — The texture of this serum is almost like a lightweight gel cream. It’s richly hydrating but also sinks into the skin quickly. With the addition of colloidal oatmeal and squalene, this would be a great option for sensitive skin types. This would be a great step as a hydrating layer for normal to dry skins, and a moisturizer for oilier skin types.
Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewal Serum — A jelly-like serum that richly hydrates and brightens the skin. Packed with antioxidants from ginseng and other botanicals, this serum also has the signature Sulwhasoo hanbang scent.
ACTIVES AND TREATMENTS
Paula’s Choice C15 Super Booster — A 15% l-ascorbic acid vitamin C serum with vitamin E and ferulic acid. For me, this helps brighten pigmentation and lighten post-acne marks, provides antioxidant protection, and brightens my skin overall. It’s a watery texture that sinks in quickly and plays well with other skincare. I’ve gone through a dozen bottles of this at least over the years.
Summer Fridays CC Me Vitamin C + Niacinamide Serum — This is a great vitamin C option for more sensitive skin types because this contains vitamin C derivatives, rather than l-ascorbic acid. It also contains niacinamide which helps to brighten skin tone, a great partner ingredient for vitamin C.
Rose Inc. Skin Resolution Clean Exfoliating Acid Toner — This is a recent hit in my skincare routine. I was surprised by how gentle yet effective this formula is, considering the blend of mandelic, lactic, glycolic, tartaric, and pyretic acids. I noticed immediate brightening and retexturizing with this overnight.
Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Daily Peel — This is a two-step pre-soaked, pre-packaged peel pads. The first step includes a blend of acids to exfoliate, and the second step is a formula to neutralize the actives. A cocktail of glycolic and salicylic, this is on the slightly stronger end of exfoliants for me, but it really delivers results. I always wake up with glowier, more even skin. That said, it is potent, so I wouldn’t use it more than once a week. It’s great to travel with because it is pre-packaged. Also comes in gentle and extra-strength formulas, as well as value sets.
Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant — A must-have for my combo/oily skin to keep congested pores, excessive oils, and breakouts at bay. Unlike other SA treatments, I find this one to be surprisingly hydrating. I swipe this over my cheeks and focus on my t-zone 1-2 times a week to help control congestion, oiliness, and skin texture overall.
Paula’s Choice 1% Retinol Treatment — A lotion texture that’s a great one and done step for an evening routine. With 1% retinol, peptides, and vitamin C, this is a powerhouse treatment for anti-aging. While it’s on the stronger side of retinol, I find this to be balanced by moisturizing and emollient products that help buffer its effects. Paula’s Choice do retinoids so well.
Skinfix Barrier+ Skin Barrier Restoring Gel Cream — This is one of the most deeply hydrating and nourishing gel creams I’ve ever tried. The texture is a bouncy, creamy gel that leaves long-term moisture behind. The formula also contains niacin amide to brighten and even skin tone, a blend of peptides, squalene, and zinc PCA, which helps support barrier strength. A home run of a formula.
Farmacy Honey Halo — This rich cream is is full of ceramides, which are so necessary to maintain a healthy skin barrier. I turn to this for straight up rich moisture to cocoon the skin. It’s the texture of butter with the slight scent of honey. Even though it is emollient, it’s not too heavy for my skin type. Also, the cap of the jar is magnetic, so the metal spatula sticks to the jar. Brilliant.
Fresh Floral Recovery Redness Reducing Overnight Calming Mask — Newish to my routine, this is a creamy overnight mask that’s on the lighter side. I find that I wake up with calmer, plumped-up, more even-toned skin when I use this. Does contain fragrance, but far less fragranced than many other Fresh products I’ve tried.
La Mer The Hydrating Infused Emulsion — Technically an emulsion, which you can think of as a fluid, milky moisturizer. It’s hard to describe just how moisturizing this is. I can use this as a moisturizing step on its own, or layered under a thicker moisturizer for deep nourishment. I think mature and dry skin types will especially enjoy this.
Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum — A lightweight eye serum that contains retinol that is formulated specifically for the gentle eye area, where the skin is thinner. You could use this on its own, or top it with a richer eye cream for an extra moisturizing eye cream sandwich.
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Eye Rescue — The newest eye cream to my routine, this a rich, emollient texture that contains a touch of retinol to aid with anti-aging around the delicate eye area. I also love that this jar is refillable, so you can continue to buy refill pods for the beautiful jar packaging.
Kate Somerville Kateceuticals Lifting Eye Cream — I’m so mad that I love this. It’s a luxury price point, but I’m hooked on it. It contains vitamin C and peptides, and I don’t know what it is that does the “lifting” in this, but I do find that it helps depuff, smooth, and lightly lift the eye. It comes in a pump with an elegant formula that is super creamy yet wears beautifully under makeup.
Youth to the People Dream Eye Cream — This is the night mask of eye creams. It’s very rich, luscious, thick, and emollient. Something I love for evenings, especially when paired with the DDG Retinol Eye Serum. I always wake up with smooth, supple under eyes when I use this.
Paula’s Choice Youth-Extending Daily Hydrating Fluid SPF 50 — This is also a fluid, milky texture that sinks in quickly and contains all chemical filters. This one also sells out very quickly during the Sephora sale. It’s very hydrating, and creates a slightly luminous finish, but wears beautifully under makeup without getting greasy.
Dr. Jart Every Day Sun Fluid SPF 50 — One of my favorite SPFs at Sephora, this is a chemical SPF with a lightweight lotion texture. It sinks in quickly, hydrates the skin over time, but maintains a natural finish. Also a great value; you get a lot of product in this bottle. This SPF sold out really quickly last year, so if you want it, I’d act quickly. Also comes in a mineral version, if physical filters are more your thing.
Josie Maran Get Even Sun Milk SPF 33 — I can’t believe this is a mineral SPF. Clearly, I prefer chemical filters for their cosmetic elegance, so the fact that this sunscreen is impressing me says a lot. A lightweight lotion texture that sinks in quickly and leaves white cast for a mineral SPF. Has a lovely fruity scent.
Fresh Sugar Hydrating Lip Balm — A potted lip balm that is just so satisfying and pleasant to use. It’s thinner than a lip mask, but still comforting and moisturizing on the lips. My favorite scents are Mango, Peach, and Watermelon — fruity and delicious.
Fresh Sugar Recovery Lip Mask Advanced Therapy Lip Mask — To my delight, Fresh came out with a lip mask version of their iconic Sugar Advanced Therapy Lip Balm (another favorite). This is a thick, uber balmy, rich lip mask with their iconic lemony-sugar fragrance. It’s a stiffer formula in the tub than, say, the but it melts with the heat of your lips and really coats and moisturizes the lips.
Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask — I have used this lip sleeping mask every night for 6+ years. It does everything I need. It’s a thick balm in a pot that contains .7 oz of product, meaning it will last forever. You only need a small amount. It coats the lips and feels super cushiony. I wake up every morning with smooth, hydrated lips. It comes with a cute little spatula for hygienic application, which I appreciate but always lose. My favorite scent is Vanilla.
I’m prefacing this section by saying that skincare devices are expensive and only worth the investment if you use them consistently. I encourage you to be very honest with yourself about whether you will use them seriously before taking the plunge. That said, the two devices below are both excellent and give noticeable results.
NuFace Trinity or Mini— The NuFace is a micro-current device that helps tone the face, smooth out fine lines, and create an overall lift to the face. I’m not super familiar with the science of micro-current devices, but I can speak to the results. It does, indeed, tone and lift the face. I notice especially that it contours my cheekbones and jawlines. But it only works with consistent use; its results are not permanent.That said, it’s handy to have around before a big event.
I have the Trinity, which has removable attachments that you can swap out for, say, the Eye and Lip Enhancer Attachment. The Mini is a great place to start, and there’s also a NuBODY for body sculpting.
NuFACE also has conductive primers in Hydrating and Silk, which contain skincare benefits. You do need a conductive gel to use this device.
Dr. Dennis Gross SpectraLite FaceWare Pro (linking the gift set, which includes full-size products for the same price as the mask alone!) — This is a hard shell LED mask that provides both red and blue light therapy in 3-minute cycles. I have used this mask for about 2-3 years, so I think I can speak to its results. Overall, my skin health is more consistent and predictable. It calms redness or sensitivity in the skin, and it has reduced the frequency of cystic acne. I only get cystic spots a couple of times a year now, and they are always hormonal.
The science for LED therapy is there. Red light helps to boost skin healing and collagen, diminish wrinkles, and address inflammation. Blue light helps to kill bacteria that causes acne. The Spectralite mask utilizes both; you can use red and blue light separately or together. It is a pricey investment, but it's a way to get low-level LED treatments at home if you can't make it to a derm or esthetician office.
The one caveat to this is that the hard shell mask may not fit everyone’s face. My cheekbones are a little tight in the mask (I have high cheekbones). If you want a soft silicone mask, I also love the CurrentBody LED mask, but that one does not provide blue light. So if you want both red and blue light, go with this.
I’d go for this Spectralite set, which includes the mask and several full size products for the price of the mask alone. It always sells out, so check out early.