my skincare essentials

skincare essentials



In the last few years I’ve become a bit of a skincare addict. I wish I had cared more in my teens and early twenties and had listened to my mom instead of baking in the sun and not taking care of my skin, but I’m hoping that the adage ‘better late than never’ will work out for me in the skincare department! These are the 8 products that I swear by and use if not daily, then weekly (like the exfolikate and retinol, my skin is pretty sensitive so I can’t use them every day). I’ve done a fair amount of research and have tried what seems like zillions of products, and these are the ones that I find work best for me and produce results. From the top…

1. Clarisonic Mia

 I’m relatively late to the Clarisonic game since I just bought mine last year, but I absolutely love it. I use it 2-3 times a week and find that it gets my skin looking and feeling so clean and creates the perfect surface to help masks or serums soak in.

2. Shani Darden Retinol Reform

 Retinols have been all the rage for a few years now and while I’ve never tried a prescription grade one, I don’t think I’ll need to since Shani’s formula is gentle and non-irritating, but still delivers great results. Plus, perfect-skinned girls like Rosie Huntington Whitely and Jessica Alba swear by her products and facials, so I’m sold!

3 IS Clinical Active Serum

 This ‘active serum’ (it tingles a bit when applied) helps to battle fine lines, wrinkles, acne and hyperpigmentation – it’s a bit of a wonder product! I use this probably twice a week, but never on the same night as using the retinol reform or after any harsh scrubbing since it is quite strong.

4. Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser

 I’m a big Kiehl’s fan and love that this facewash is made of natural ingredients but still manages to take off every single trace of makeup, even stubborn waterproof mascaras.

5. Kate Somerville Exfolikate

 I love pretty much every product from the Kate Somerville line (I also get facials at their clinic, which is beautiful…I saw Julia Roberts there once!) but my favorite would have to be this exfoliator. You rub it in for about a minute and then let it sit for a minute, while it works to both physically and enzymatically exfoliate. It makes your skin feel seriously baby soft once you rinse it off. I use this once, maybe twice a week. Love!

6. Creme de la Mer Moisturizing Cream

Okay I know, this stuff is stupidly expensive, but each little jar lasts a couple of months (you only use a tiny amount at a time) and I swear it really works. It delivers major moisture and nutrients and kind of seems like magic. I swear by it and stock up anytime I go through duty free.

7. Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream

I love Bobbi Brown for makeup and her skincare range has proven to be equally as great. I put a dab of this superlight eyecream on before bed, and also prior to applying any concealer – it helps it to glide on and blend in really nicely.

8. Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask

 This mask is amazing. You put it on before bed and wake up with incredibly hydrated, glowing skin. For real! I like to put this on during long flights, and whenevr my skin just feels like it needs a big drink of water. As a bonus it’s pretty inexpensive and lasts quite a while.

the best overnight masks

face-maskI love a good face mask. I’m one of those people who is very easily sucked in by beauty marketing and will buy just about anything promising ‘radiance’ or ‘intense moisture’, which translates into my bathroom being littered with about a zillion different products, masks being one of my favorites, in particular the overnight mask.

Have you used an overnight mask before? I feel like all of a sudden just about every brand offers a sleeping mask, and I for one am a fan because they’re so simple and a lot of them are super effective. I know a lot of beauty jargon is exaggerated just to sell products (it works!) but there is plenty of research explaining why creams, serums and masks work especially well when used overnight, when the skin is regenerating and repairing itself. My absolute favorite is Clinique’s Moisture Surge Overnight Mask, but I’ve tried a few others that are really great as well.

Here are a few I recommend (let me know if I’m missing out on anything amazing):

image via

classic red nails


I just started wearing red nail polish last year, when the Christian Louboutin polishes came out and I fell in love with their perfect red (this one). I’m horrible at doing my nails and always find myself absentmindedly picking off my polish, but the color was so pretty that I tried harder to keep it on and to stop myself from picking. I also picked up a tip from a manicurist who said to apply a clear topcoat every second day after a manicure to help seal the edges and keep it looking fresh.

I’ve since given up on the Louboutin polish partly because it’s incredibly expensive for what it is but also because I found that the quality wasn’t as great as you’d expect a $50 polish to be; it started getting tacky and not working that well after just a few months. Also, I felt like I was brandishing a weapon whenever I toted it to the nail salon – the packaging is pretty but maybe a little much.

There are tons of other really great shades out there that are fun and youthful (until the Louboutin polishes I always thought of red nails as being a little ‘old lady’); some of my favorites are Dior 999, Ciaté’s ‘Hutch’, YSL’s ‘Pop Art’ and OPI’s ‘Big Apple Red’. What’s your go-to polish shade?


the best red nail polish


classic red nail polish



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