For the past five years (or so) my boyfriend and I have gotten way more into skincare. Partially because it’s fun to try new things, but also because we’re getting older and it’s … well … necessary! However, because we’ve tried new things over the years, we’ve now narrowed in on some of our favorite brands and favorite products that we always keep stocked even if we add in one or two here and there to keep testing.
I’ve broken out below what skincare products I rotate specifically in both my morning and bedtime routines. Keep in mind, each day I’ll use a different set of products depending on how my skin is feeling that day (oily, dry, etc.). What’s great about having some go-to products is that over time you’ll start to get a sense for what your skin needs and what products will work best to help you accomplish that goal.
I’ve also included below some notes about what I like about various products and how often I use them. Again, your skin will be different and react differently too, but my skin tends to run on the normal to normal/oily side, and my balance of products has helped to keep my skin moisturized, but not make it so that my skin feels too greasy or heavy.
- The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% | I use this one several times a week, normally if I’m not putting on any of the other moisturizers or products.
- The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% | I really like this one. It leaves my face feeling fresh and light and this has ended up being one of my go-to’s that I use most days.
- Kiehl’s Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturizing Serum Concentrate | This is a daily lifesaver. The serum provides a ton of moisture that can last you throughout the day. I like to put this on first thing after I get out of the shower.
- Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal Extract Alcohol Free Toner | To be honest, I need to get better about using the toner more frequently before I put on the rest of my products. This ends up being the one that I forget to use most often because I like to let it dry before putting anything else on and if I’m in a rush, I end up skipping this step.
- Kiehl’s Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate 12.5% Vitamin C | My boyfriend and I started using this one a couple years ago and it’s one of our all-time favorites. It’s a little bit more expensive but completely worth it. I love the way it makes my skin feel, and it does feel like over time it has helped my overall complexion and skin balance.
- Kiehl’s Age Defender Moisturizer | This cream is a little heavier so if my skin is feeling extra dry, this ends up being one I turn to most often. This one is still light, but leaves my face feeling just a tiny bit greasy so if your skin is greasy to begin with I wouldn’t recommend this one personally.
- Kiehl’s Age Defender Eye Repair | This isn’t a must-have, but it’s a nice to have. I put this as part of my morning routine because that’s when I use it most, but it also is great to use at night before bed.
- The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution | Must must MUST get this. You only want to use this 1 or 2 times per week, but my face always feels so good after using it. It can sting a little, but it’s not painful and to be honest, the sting really makes me feel like it’s doing something (for what that’s worth!). This also goes out of stock a lot so when it’s available we normally buy several to keep them on hand.
- The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA | This product was new for me this year, but it’s an evening go-to, especially if my skin is already feeling fairly moisturized.
- The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid* 2% Emulsion | This is my favorite for overnight. It goes on a little heavy and leaves my face oily, so I only put this on right before going to bed. Though you won’t want to put your face right onto a pillow case until it has a chance to absorb a little, so if that’s a problem I’d put it on a bit before you go to bed.
- Kiehl’s Since 1851 Calendula Deep Clean Foaming Face Wash | Kiehl’s face washes have been what we have used for years now. We don’t always get the Calendula, but this is one we’ve been using for most of this year now and really like it. I don’t wash my face every day — normally 2-3 times per week and then before any mask or overnight treatment.
- The Ordinary Multi-Peptide Serum for Hair Density | This was a new product for me this year. I have thin and thinning hair so I like to use this a couple times a week to moisturize my scalp and help with the density of my hair. I haven’t used this for long enough to see long-term impact, but if you struggle with thinning hair I do recommend the Nioxin System 1 Shampoo and Conditioner for fine/thinning hair. Ulta also runs specials on this from time to time where you can buy one/get one so we normally stock up whenever that sale comes around.
- Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Mask | This is a product I can’t do without. I love to use this in the evening after I do any clay or face mask. The mask goes on thick and takes a little while to absorb, but my skin always feels so hydrated the next day and it does help give your skin a glow. As I write this I’m realizing I should probably be using this even more frequently than I do.
THE RANDOM THINGS I LIKE
- TULA Probiotic Skin Care Face Filter Blurring and Moisturizing Primer | A coworker recommended this to me. This moisturizing primer has just the tiniest bit of tint in it and helps fill in fine pores and wrinkles while giving your skin a natural glow. It’s also light so doesn’t leave your skin feeling like you have anything caked on.
- Neutrogena Micromist Airbrush Sunless Tanning Spray | I’ve tried a number of different sunless sprays and tanners over the years just to keep my skin looking a little sun-kissed without needing to damage my skin in the sun itself. While I’ve tried a ton, this mist is great for getting a tiny bit of color that’s light and easy to control how much you want to put on. I tend to give myself a quick couple of spritzes in the morning after my morning routine and like it because, unlike a lotion, it doesn’t cause an issue with my beard and facial hair.
- Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay | A friend recommended this to me and it’s one of my favorite clay masks. It makes your skin feel super tight, and you can also use it as a foot mask. The only thing I’d caution here is that it typically leaves my face a little red for an hour or so after I use it so I’d use this in the evening when you don’t need to see anyone for a while. Also a great time to throw on that Kiehl’s Overnight Hydrating Mask afterward.
- boscia Luminizing Black Charcoal Mask | I like this peel off charcoal mask because it doesn’t feel like you’re ripping your skin off (which is so bad!), but isn’t so light that it feels like you didn’t do anything after using it.
- Peace Out De-Puffing Under-Eye Patches | I put this in my evening routine because that’s normally when I have time to use them, but on days when I wake up and am feeling extra puffy or have darker circles, I normally throw these on after I get out the shower for 20-30 minutes while I finish getting ready. I’ve had a number of different ones I’ve tried and I feel like they’ve all worked about the same.
- Dr Teal’s Pink Himalayan Epsom Salt | This summer I started doing foot masks and soaks to keep my feet soft even during the summer months when I’m running around barefoot most of the time. This epsom salt has been my favorite and the Pink Himalayan scent is refreshing and spa-like. These salts are pretty cheap so you can definitely try other scents to figure out your favorite.
OK! That’s my list. It’s a lot but it’s a set that we’ve built up over time. My recommendation is to play around. Pick a couple to start with, figure out what you like (and what it is you like about them) and then explore more by that brand or other products in a similar category by another brand until you find what works best with your skin type and your skin’s needs.
If you have any recommendations for me, we am always looking for new things to try and welcome any suggestions!