Must Haves – Skin Care

Happy Monday!

After a wonderful weekend, I thought it’d be fun to talk skin care to kickoff the week. I officially posted the link to the blog today, so, for everyone that visited, shared and has been supportive as I’ve written posts the last week or so, THANK YOU! Click here to learn about the story behind the name.

Now, on to skin care!

When I was in high school, my mom was kind enough to introduce me to taking good care of my skin. She took me to Clinique to find gentle, quality products that were a good introduction to skin care. I was pretty committed to taking care of my skin throughout college – with the exception of not wearing sunscreen during my college tennis days (HUGE regret!) – and am always looking for the best products and options to ensure that my skin is as healthy as possible and that I avoid wrinkles, of course!

Working in PR, one of the things that I noticed was one aspect of the job was taking a toll on my skin: travel. My first year, I was guilty of being lazy when it came to skin care. We would get into a city at 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. and I would just crash – wouldn’t take my make-up off, wouldn’t moisturize and, sometimes, I hadn’t had any water during the flight. Starting my second year, that changed. I became the weirdo on the plane taking my make-up off, taking my contacts out, slathering on night cream and chugging water. I let me skin care freak flag fly and I’m VERY glad I did!

Throughout the last few years, I’ve found a lot of great products and below are my must-haves. A lot of them would work for all types of skin, but fine tune your routine – talk to professionals and do your research. I’ve gotten a lot of insight and suggestions from bloggers from around the country. Go in-store and talk to the reps from different companies. I’ve always thought highly of Philosophy products, but, in May, as I freaked out about turning 31, I was in need of something to help with sun damage on my nose and forehead, as well as a new moisturizer. On a shopping trip and while investigating a few options, I spoke with the company’s rep at Ulta. Turns out, I wasn’t using the best night creme from their line for my skin and they had some great Vitamin C products to add to my routine. So far, I am more than impressed with the results from adding Philosophy into my skin care routine.


Pictured above from left to right: Clarisonic Refreshing Gel Cleanser, Clarisonic Mia 2. 

First step: washing your face. Like many people, I swear by my Clarisonic Mia 2. It was life changing. The model I have allows you to use it with the body scrub brushes, too. I received two of the cleansers as gifts and I switch off between the Acne Daily Facial Clarifying Cleanser (not pictured) and the Refreshing Gel Cleanser. During its anniversary sale, Nordstrom had a few different models on sale. I don’t overuse my Clarisonic – just once a day maximum. My skin always feels so clean after using it and it helps build-up in my pores, especially on my nose where blackheads are prone to forming.  With the Louisiana heat, I feel like I am constantly sweating, so this feels especially great in the summer time. Note: you can use lots of different cleansers with the Clarisonic – I’ve tried a bunch of different ones, including Philosophy’s daily cleanser, but do really enjoy the line Clarisonic has created. 

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Pictured above from left to right: Target’s Up and Up Eye Makeup Remover Liquid, Philosophy Renewed Hope in a Jar (with 30 SPF), Philosophy Turbo Booster C Powder, Philosophy No Reason to Hide, Simple Cleansing Micellular Water. 

Every girl needs a great eye makeup remover and Target’s Up and Up Eye Make-up Remover has become my favorite. It doesn’t break the bank, is oil-free and gets the majority of my mascara and eyeliner off without any problem. They also sell a value 2-pack, so I stock up to save a little money.

The next item is my daily moisturizer: Philosophy Renewed Hope in a Jar with 30 SPF. This is a product I was introduced to by the Philosophy rep and I love it. Philosophy recently launched its second version of Hope in a Jar and it’s less greasy, at least in my opinion. I had to wait a month or so because I wanted the one with the SPF, but it is such a great product. It smells great, goes on smooth and layers great under my make-up.

The next two products are the first two that go on my clean face in the morning and I mix them together. The No Reason to Hide is a lightweight serum that is for skin that needs something to help with anti-aging, but before you move to the Miracle Worker line (which I didn’t know until I talked to the rep). It was recently launched and, so far, I feel like it’s made a HUGE difference in my skin’s appearance. While I was still looking to add some Vitamin C to my routine, and though it’s a bit high maintenance every morning, I mix the Turbo Booster C Powder with the No Reason to Hide to help give my skin that extra boost and try and repair some of the sun damage. I don’t get facials often – maybe two to four times a year, but at every single one, they tell me that I have sun damage on my nose and my forehead. I’m a little anxious to get one now to see if the booster has made a difference under that show-all magnifying light!

One item that, in my search for the perfect product, gave me a lot of trouble was a face make-up remover/astringent. For YEARS, I used Clinique’s Clarifying Lotion 2 and, in the last year of using it, probably three years ago, I just noticed my skin was getting dried out. I switched to witch hazel, but the honeymoon period ended about six months ago – again, because of dry skin. When I saw the word ‘water’ in the name of the Simple Cleansing Micellular Water, I thought I’d give it a try. The reviews were good online and so far, so good. I do feel like it takes a little more product to get all of the make-up off, but my skin doesn’t feel dry at all after using it and, using cotton rounds, I do feel like it gets all of my make-up off.

Midnight recovery

Pictured above from left to right: Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Eye Cream, Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate Oil. 

Kiehl’s is another great line for skin care and these are two incredible products: the Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Eye Cream (Saks was out of the full size, so the consultant had to give me some samples) and the Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate Oil. I thought it was CRAZY to put oil on my skin, but the recovery oil is amazing. It smells great and, when I wake up, my skin feels so rejuvenated. I use the eye cram every night, but use the oil every other day. Some days, especially in the summer, I just use eye cream at night to give my skin a break. Probably not recommended by professionals, but the daily make-up application and removal routine makes me feel like sometimes my skin just needs a timeout. These are definite-try products – Kiehl’s has samples of both, too, and they go a long way. If you see a counter at your department store or a store front, do yourself a favor — stop in and try it out. If you want to purchase, check (they sometimes do a free coupon for download) or their website offers a percentage off on your first online purchase.


Pictured above from left to right: Kiehl’s Epidermal Re-Texturizing Micro-Dermabrasion, Philosophy Microdelivery In-Home Vitamin C Peptide Peel, Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask, Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar, Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay. 

Twice a week, after I wash my face with the Clarisonic in the shower, I use the Kiehl’s Epidermal Re-Texturizing Micro-Dermabrasion. It is amazing. Two suggestions: don’t use too much and don’t do it too often or your skin will begin to produce more oil to make up for the oil you’re exfoliating away. This one is so gentle and my skin always feels so soft and clean after I use it. Here are some tips about over-exfoliating and the signs you need to cut back.

One of the products the rep from Philosophy recommended was the Philosophy Microdelivery In-Home Vitamin C Peptide Peel. Peels make me nervous, but this one is great. I usually do it once a week, though I’ve been slacking, and I really like how my skin glows after I use it. The rep told me to wait for a 25% off sale on the website or at Ulta since it’s a little pricey, which I did, but it’s been worth the investment.

I first red about the Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask on Veronika’s Blushing and it’s a great product. It does, however, freak the dogs out when I wear it because it’s dark grey! I usually switch between this, the peel and the Aztec face mask to mix it up. I’ve been using this product for about four years now and have nothing but great things to say. The bottle last forever, which is great, too, because you get your money’s worth.

Lastly, and I LOVE this one, too, is the Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar and Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay mask. I read about this on a blog, too, at Carrie Bradshaw Lied. Although the apple cider vinegar makes it not smell the best, my skin is so clean and glowing after this treatment and it’s SO affordable. I got both products at Whole Foods and it couldn’t have cost more than $15 combined.

Overall, skin care routines and products are constantly changing, but I hope this was helpful as you build your own road map to taking care of your skin. I enjoy trying to products and finding the one that works best for me and my lifestyle – it’s a fun process, in addition to one that teaches you a lot!

Have a great start to the week and thanks for reading!


Please note that these opinions are my own and I have genuinely tried all of the products discussed in this post. None of these companies have asked for my opinion or supplied me with products to try with the exception of free samples in lieu of having the products I wanted to purchase available. 

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