Quarantine Day 40 but feels like Day 238. I am alternating between soft pants (sweatpants) and hard pants (jeans). My hair is due for another cut, which I will be performing myself. I am making a dent in the pile of sheet masks and have been using hand cream religiously. And continuously looking for things to indulge in because literally everyone and their mother is running a sale. Because making it through another day of this madness makes me feel like I deserve a prize.
It’s been great to focus on self-care and to take a break from all the binge watching and frequent walks to the fridge. And while our lives have without a doubt been impacted at this stressful and uncertain time, many of us are finding comfort in our most basic routines. For me, born in 1980, this has been watching lots of movies from the 1990s. Not letting my skincare routine fall by the wayside is right behind.
To help us fulfill the need to treat ourselves, Sephora has kicked off their Spring Sale. Here’s the breakdown:
- Rouge members receive 20% off any purchase beginning today. (4/17 – 5/1)
- Starting on Tuesday, VIB get 15% off (4/21 – 4/29)
- Insiders qualify for a 10% discount beginning on Thursday (4/23 – 4/27)
- The discount code is the same for all: SPRINGSAVE
For those curious to hear what I’ve been loving enough to recommend, repurchase, or put at the front of the stash, I’ve rounded-up fifteen products that my skin is all about, especially now with spring temperatures about to arrive. The only two product categories I am choosing to omit are eye creams and sunscreens since the ones I use are not available through the retailer. Enjoy and as always, let me know if you have questions. P.S. About my skin: combination, easily congested, forty this year, slightly dull/uneven, not sensitive, tolerates acids and retinoids very well.
The two formulas my combination skin cannot get enough of during warm weather are the Kiehl’s Calendula Deep Clean Foaming Face Wash ($32) and the Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Daily Foaming Wash ($38). The first one is a gel-to-foam and the latter is a cream-to-foam texture — both lather gorgeously and have faint scents. Kiehl’s is a basic done well that delivers a satisfying deep clean. It never leaves my skin feeling tight but may not be the best choice for those with dry skin. Kate Somerville’s creamy wash contains a gentle blend of Alpha Hydroxy Acids and fruit enzymes to provide a glow boosting resurfacing effect. Both formulas work great for me either as a morning wash or step two of an evening double-cleanse.
So this happens when you’re about to turn forty: your pursuit of luxury and efficacy make your favorite skincare product absolutely worth the splurge. The AMOREPACIFIC Vintage Single Extract Essence ($145) consists of just six ingredients, including an impressively high concentration of superb quality Green Tea Extract. This means that the weightless liquid solution delivers instant hydration and antioxidant protection, something that can counteract UV damage in the long run. I have been alternating my bottle with an acid toner daily for a few years now. Were I asked which essence to grab at the Sephora discount, AMOREPACIFIC would be my answer, especially if you’re looking for anti-aging results.
On spring and summer days for a bit over a year, I’ve been using Tata Harper Hyaluronic Gel Moisturizer ($110) to keep my skin plump and dewy. It’s a liquigel that spreads and absorbs like a dream, layers great under sunscreen, and mixes well with serums if you want to add that extra step but have no time to play around. In addition to Hyaluronic Acid, the silky formula highlights nourishing and regenerating botanicals such as Chia Seed, Banana Flower, Borage Leaf, and Arnica Extract. Some may find the scent too strong but I adore the signature herbal aroma of Tata Harper products. Though I’m a fan of every mask within the range, I haven’t really found a go to Tata Harper moisturizer — this one is truly exceptional.
One thing about peacing out of my thirties is my years in the sun wearing only SPF4 have begun to catch up with me. Hyperpigmentation issues aren’t yet severe but I do have two stubborn spots on my forehead that seem to become more prominent every summer. This year, I am tackling them with the new REN Overnight Glow Dark Spot Sleeping Cream ($49). Part of my favorite ‘radiance’ range, this night cream is powered by Plankton Extract, which has proven effective at lightening dark spots with consistent use. Thus far, I have been using it over a serum as part of my evening routine. I also haven’t found the need to layer an oil over it as the cream is just rich enough to work solo overnight. Love the fresh scent.
Rich Cream (that I didn’t know I needed)
Over the last six months, I have fully embraced the constantly evolving CBD landscape. Spoiler alert: it is not all hype. Until now, my favorite Lord Jones concoction had been the detoxifying bath salts. The recently launched Acid Mantle Repair Moisturizer With 250mg CBD And Ceramides ($75) has quickly and consistently been climbing my best of chart. It’s too rich for me to use during the day but it makes for a perfect night time moisturizer a few nights a week. The ingredient deck is impressive and includes Ceramides, Squalane, Hyaluronic Acid, Ginger Root Extract, and full-spectrum CBD, known for its calming and antiinflammatory properties. It’s the ultimate moisture cushion that creates a protective barrier to strengthen the skin. The trace amount of THC will not get you high, relax. I wish it did.
Glycolic Night Serum and A-Passioni retinol cream from Drunk Elephant occupy a permanent spot in my line up, but if the brand is new to you, I recommend going with a mask. The F-Balm Electrolyte Facial ($52) is an elegant, creamy, overnight moisture treatment that every person can use to achieve remarkable results. It’s the perfect nourishing leave-on mask to seal your bedtime routine and benefit from that extra dose of moisture. Why am I obsessed? It’s my go-to after a more potent resurfacing treatment or during travel when my skin becomes stressed and dehydrated. Also, how soon till we can travel again?
Over the last year or so, I’ve stepped up my IPL and professional peel game. This means that at-home, I give my skin some extra TLC. The Korres Greek Yoghurt Probiotic Superdose Mask ($49) is a superb soothing treatment that helps rebalance the skin’s protective microbiome layer in just one use. The creamy formula is packed with Probiotics and a touch of Lactic Acid to reveal a fresh glow after rinsing. I keep my jar in the fridge so it can deliver an extra cooling effect in the morning. This move also adds a boost of energy to my skin.
Radiance Boosting Mask
Set aside all masks for clogged, dull skin. I feel confident in saying there is nothing more effective than the Omorovicza Silver Skin Savior Treatment ($95) to address enlarged pores and uneven skin texture. Yes, it’s pricey but it lasts awhile. And you will always be adding it to your wishlist during a sale. The luxurious formula is fueled by Glycolic, Lactic, and Salicylic Acids as well as Niacinamide and Colloidal Silver to treat breakouts and clean deep within the pore for a visibly brighter, more even toned complexion. If you’re blemish prone, this mask will impress you.
I don’t reach for facial mists on the daily, But I do love me a bottle of the Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Soothing Mist ($23) and keep it in my stash just in case. The super fine mist works as a toner, makeup setting spray, or midday refresher. It’s technically an emergency solution that delivers an instantly calming effect whenever my skin feels irritated, especially after overexfoliating or spending too much time in the sun. In addition to soothing Cica Extract and a solid handful of regenerating botanicals, this hydrating mist features my all time favorite ingredient, Niacinamide.
If you want a rec for one face oil to snag during the Sephora sale, it’s Saint Jane Luxury Beauty Serum ($125). Modestly labeled a serum, it’s an opulent blend of twenty botanical extracts that come together as a silky, golden elixir. Definitely an oil. With that said, it is rather lightweight and absorbs beautifully into the skin. Why do I love it? It’s an antioxidant powerhouse that has borderline transformed my skin after only a month. I don’t look ten years younger but I do look more rested. And not only because I haven’t left the house in a month. If you struggle with occasional redness, irritation or inflammation, the full-spectrum CBD Extract will help you do battle with all the above. This is mainly my PM oil but I will often add a single drop to my water-based serum during the day.
Primer (Hear Me Out)
You may be wondering why I’d wear a makeup primer when I don’t really wear makeup. Well, I have found TATCHA Liquid Silk Canvas ($52) to be an excellent mattifier and pore filler. Since one of my biggest complexion conundrums are enlarged pores, I am astounded at how well this oil-free veil of antioxidants and silk layers keeps my face shine free. Keep in mind I apply this very sparingly and concentrate mainly on my T-zone. For over a year, I’ve worn the original Silk Canvas but I find the pump formula is lighter and just as effective. It’s also way more sanitary, especially on the go.
Nothing has changed in this department. I must have tried dozens of tinted moisturizers over the years and keep boomeranging back to my ride-or-die Charlotte Tilbury Unisex Healthy Glow ($40). This self-adjusting tinted moisturizer starts off white/gray. As the encapsulated spheres of pigment burst during application, a golden, peachy tint is revealed with a finish not quite dewy but far from matte. A word of caution: it doesn’t work on every skin type, especially if you’re very fair-skinned or if your skin is darker than olive. It works best on those who fall into the wide range of light through mediums, especially if salmon and apricot undertones look best on you. I’m Polish with dark hair so while I’m light, I see myself as having Mediterranean tone (I know I’m delusional) and this one is my all time favorite no-makeup makeup product.
I’m gonna hold off recommending a NuFace or GloPRO since I know better deals are coming for these devices. Trust me. Instead, consider the Kora Rose Quartz Heart Facial Gua Sha ($58) — especially if you’d like to complement your serum or oil application with a gentle lymphatic massage to help de-puff, stimulate circulation, and tone the contours of your face. No training or experience necessary. Here’s how I mastered my Gua Sha skills: follow this YouTube tutorial by the lovely Renée of Gothamista and you will get the hang of it in no time. When I lock the cleft part of the heart at the bridge of my nose and slowly move it toward my hairline, all tension leaves my face, a feeling that is my ultimate self-care moment. No charging or batteries required. This heart shaped gem (literally) travels way better than some of my now gone Rose Quartz face rollers.
Contrary to popular belief, there’s nothing casual about how I approach my hair. And while I’m not wedded to a particular brands per se, I do need my hair care steps in order. Since I rarely use conditioner, I prefer to use a few drops of hair oil on towel dry hair. Recently, I’ve incorporated the Briogeo Strengthening Treatment Hair Oil ($30) into my post-shampoo line-up and my mane is looking pretty great. I mean, it’s a pandemic so I clearly need a haircut. But still… The formula is silicone-free and doesn’t have that slip, which feels like a weird coating on your hair. Briogeo uses a clever blend of Rose Flower Oil, Ceramides, and a Macadamia Nut Derivative to fortify the hair and repair an impressive 88% of the damage in just two uses. As with any oil, less is more, so you only need a few drops to achieve a healthy shine without the frizz.