• Jessica

After Product Testing Like Crazy, These 10 Skincare Products, Lines Truly Stand Out

Updated: Jul 28, 2019

This is great. The bee's knees. Item 9!

Photo by Aiony Haust on Unsplash

There is no joy like product testing a rockstar batch of skincare products. In my excitement, I recently committed a mortal skincare sin: I tested three new products at once. But hear me out because something truly unprecedented happened: Total skin happiness.

Turns out, my complexion and my wellness both crave the same thing — which is essentially bottled chillness, or CBD. Basically, what I'm going for is the cleanest, greenest version of Xanax for the skin. Along with that, some reverse-aging, skin-clearing, tone-brightening magic is just what I'm after.

Along the way, I have discovered some incredible solutions for common skincare woes. I have personally tested each of the beauty products below, some of which can even shrink cystic acne. Trust and believe that if they're listed, they're worth mentioning. Here are ten of your new favorite skincare products to try next.

These "unicorns" of problem-solving skincare products — for every skin type and skin concern — are either my personal favorites, or have fan-followings of their own.

Note: All of these brands are cruelty-free unless otherwise indicated (i.e. SkinCeuticals).


For Sensitive Skin:

Priya Apotheca

Illuminating Eye Essence, $55

I jumped face-first into the vibrationally-aligned regimen by Priya Apotheca — something I almost never do because of my inflammation-prone immune system. These holistically-informed products are so calming that I wasn't worried — the formulas help your skin achieve the restorative baseline of calm that is the first step to long-term healing. Overnight, the serum and moisturizer eliminated closed comedones I have been trying to resolve for months and drastically improved my complexion in multiple problem zones. I'm hooked.

The Beloved Beauty Potion, $66, which I add to my coffee.

Every single product — the Beloved Beauty Potion ($66), Bliss Renewal Serum ($88), Illuminating Eye Essence ($55), and the Phyto Metamorphosis Cream ($77) — contains added CBD and terpenes (i.e. the specialized healers within cannabidiol’s host plant, which you can read more about in my article on The/Thirty). The formulas rely upon clean ingredients from oils and other botanical sources for the type of restorative nutrition your face actually needs.

Priya Apotheca CBD Phyto Metamorphosis Cream, $77

Combining Eastern — mantras, meditations, and frequencies via Tibetan sound baths — with Western science-backed ingredients — clean cosmeceutical peptides, hyaluronic acid, and more — makes this skincare line transformative for the skin.

Not to mention, a water-soluble, beautifying CBD supplement that can be added to your coffee? Talk about a no-brainer.

Color me smitten, this line is holy grail status for me. Try out the Travel Kit ($44) to get your journey started.


For Dry Skin:

Dr. Jart+

Water Drop, $36

A must-try for dry skin types, this pick from the non-toxic K-Beauty brand has been deemed magical by beauty enthusiasts. The emulsion turns to water upon hitting the skin, unlike anything we have on the market. The unique delivery method sends a powerful burst of fresh nutrients and hyaluronic acid to rejuvenate dry skin types. It leaves the skin extra-smooth and is considered holy grail-status by my good friend, Becca, who first shopped with me at Credo.


For AM:

Skin Design London

Vitamin C, $125

Skincare experts recommend vitamin C serums as some of the first precautionary anti-aging additions to add to any skincare regimen — and Skin Design London should be the next clean, luxury vitamin C serum you try. It protects against free radical damage and photo-damage, while brightening up and evening skin-tone. Fans of SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic, $165, will love this cruelty-free cosmeceutical alternative, as it is less expensive and more potent than the old school favorite.

"[It uses] a more stable form of vitamin C without the risk of oxidation and irritation. It protects the skin, promotes brighter appearance, [and] works synergistically with other antioxidants." - Fatma Shaheen, Founder of Skin Design London

It is important to select stable forms of vitamin C, as Ascorbic Acid and L-Ascorbic Acid — two common skincare ingredients — are both notoriously unstable. SDL contains Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, one of the most stable forms of water-soluble vitamin C, which pairs synergistically with vitamins E and ferulic acid to amplify the serum's antioxidant effects at the surface and deeper levels of the skin. The thin formula absorbs quickly and without residue.

Note: It's also safe for use post-procedure. I used her Sleeping Beauty Collagen Feast, $110, which is full of the hydrating humectant, plant-based collagen. i used it after my most-recent Clear + Brilliant laser treatment.


For PM:


EGF Activating Serum, $150

Phyto-EGF, or epidermal growth factor, has to be the most underrated retinol-alternative in skincare. It speeds the rate of cell turnover, which means that it accelerates the growth of skin cells — boosting healing times, smoothing wrinkles, and promoting fullness. You'll notice improvements in skin tone, clarity, scars, and fine lines. It an excellent choice post-procedure.

Just as my collagen preferences are vegan, I always opt for phyto-, or botanical, sources of EGF. While there is some controversy surrounding the use of bio-EGF, there is none whatsoever when said stem cells come from plants.


For Breakouts:


Purifying Spot Gel Blemish Clearing Tx, $38

The winner of New Beauty Magazine's Best Acne Spot Treatment is also the most effective anti-acne spot treatment I have ever used. Using sulphur and resorcinol monoacetate as actives, it penetrates spots — including under-the-skin cystic acne — to reduce the size of breakouts in hours. I noticed a drastic improvement overnight following it's first application, but it can be applied up to three times per day. The entire line is paraben-free, sulphate-free, and cruelty-free.

I also recommend having the micro-needling patch, Rael Microneedle Anti-Acne Patch, $12, and a box of the hydrocolloid Mighty Patch The Original, $12, which absorb zit contents, on hand in your skincare arsenal.


For Redness:

Dr. Jart+

Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment SPF 30, $52

I don't even suffer from redness, but I still had to try this holy grail treatment for color-correcting away unevenness in your skin tone. As the name implies, the green-colored cream turns to beige, masking red undertones using the color-correcting technique.

I noticed improvements to some of the areas with discoloration — mostly around my nose and eyes — but it also leaves behind a smooth base you can easily touch-up with concealer. If you have rosacea, redness, or ever become splotchy, this is one of the top-rated solutions to try among consumers.

I love that it also offers SPF protection and that the ingredients are soothing.


For Dry, Coarse Hair:

Maria Nila Stockholm

True Soft Hair Masque, $30

A deep-conditioning hair mask is not optional for me and this is one of the good ones. When I ran out of my favorite five minute hair-mask by Ouai, I was concerned about finding a viable alternative. The Argan oil-infused True Soft collection of the vegan haircare line, Maria Nila Sweden, resolved all worries. I like the entire collection — shampoo ($27), conditioner ($27), masque ($30), and hair oil ($31) — but keep using the masque even when testing other lines' products. Peep the whole damage-prevention regimen here.


For Congestion:

Zo Skin Health

Oil Control Pads Acne Treatment, $62

Having a high quality, pre-soaked, exfoliating acid pad in my regimen is one of the dermatologist-recommended skincare tips I try to adhere to most consistently. But finding the right acid blend can take work, especially if you have sensitive skin. My derm recommended the salicylic acid blend above, which also contains witch hazel, mandelic acid, and leaves a cooling sensation on the face.

It's best to start gently before working your way up to stronger formulas. Trust me, reacting to an acid is not fun! But when choosing your own, know that skincare acids vary in aggressiveness according to molecular size and formula strength. Smaller molecular size, like that of glycolic acid, yields a deeper exfoliation and pore cleanse — but also a greater risk of irritation. Salicylic acid, like the acid found in these pads, exfoliates closer to the surface of the skin and is anti-inflammatory.

BTW, I found it helpful to use this gentler product for the majority of my face, but "spot-treating" the problem-areas (i.e. my nose and T-zone) with the stronger acid blend, Omorovicza Acid Fix AHA BHA Treatment, $125. You can read more about my top picks among exfoliating serums on FabFitFun.


SPF Touch-Ups:


Sunforgettable Total Protection Brush-On Sunscreen SPF 50, $65

First of all, don't worry about the shade too much — it barely shows up. I have seen this water-resistant, mineral SPF at practically every dermatologist's office that I have ever been to. I finally bought my own on my last visit, and it's really convenient for SPF touch-ups, which they say to do every 90 minutes.


For Itchiness, Eczema:


Renewal Calming Cream, $49

My favorite thing about Epionce is their reliance upon ceramides. Using the building blocks for our skin cells, their formulas recreate optimal skin barrier function. This helps with everything from moisture-retention, to smoothing, to soothing.

The line's Medical Barrier Cream, $46, is one of the most soothing post-procedure balms I have ever tried. It makes sense their Renewal Calming Cream, $49, gets it right for dry, sensitive, and eczema-prone skin. I recommended it to my dad and it really helped!

I notice that the moisturizer helps so much with moisture retention that my legs still feel smooth the next day. Normally I have to apply oils and body butters to score smooth legs post-shower.

Have you tried any good skincare products lately? Tell me on Instagram.

I am using affiliate links for some of these products and might receive a small commission of sales. Emphasis on small.

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