Skincare is… hard. There are a million and seven guides online – whether via magazines, YouTube, TikTok or elsewhere – ripe with advice on what products to use to achieve flawless skin, how much of them to use and in what order. Yet when tested out IRL, the concepts just never seem simple enough. Other times, they may even feel over-simplified, neglecting to underscore the varying factors from human to human that all but ensure that no one skincare routine will perform the same across the board. Needless to say, as someone with incredibly sensitive skin, I found myself terrified of diving headfirst into skincare for a long, long time, keeping only to the basics with a cleanser and the occasional moisturizer (most of which almost always irritated my skin). Finally, I’ve landed on a skincare routine that has changed my skin so vastly – think increased elasticity, an evened and brightened tone, and most of all eliminated texture – that I hardly bother with makeup when headed for a night out anymore, let alone on a daily basis. And for me, that’s saying a lot.
As mentioned, you’d be hard pressed to come across a skincare routine from start to finish that’s as perfectly fit for someone else as it is you, but the better understanding you have of your own skin, the easier for you to pick out the gems and nuggets that may work for you best. That said, for reference, my skin would, at this point, be considered acne prone and combination (it would have once been considered oily, but a few years of oil-cleansing helped balance out overproduction issues). With that in mind, I’ve found over time that more gentle products, such as those found in Korean skincare, often get the job done best for me, with the exception of a few potent exfoliation staples.
I’m not one to make many strong claims when it comes to beauty products, but I can say that when employed consistently, the skincare products below have transformed my skin in a way I can’t help but rave about. Even when I’ve been inconsistent, just a week or two of sticking to the program is all that’s needed to bring my skin to the right place. Ahead, here are the products that I virtually can’t live without at this point. Consider me a fan of each and every one of these for life – and you may be, too.