One of my favorite parts of 2017 was whittling down the products I use to my own personal line of essentials or “basics”—that goes for both skincare and makeup. (This also applied to other areas of my life like my wardrobe, kitchen, diet, etc. as well.)
I’ve moved a few times over the past year and every time I realized I was carrying around too much! Each move, I spent so much time purging everything I owned that wasn’t being used, because I thought I’d use it eventually or because I loved the packaging too much to throw it out. I realized how much money I was literally throwing in the trash or desperately trying to gift to my friends. So, I decided to cut back what I use to the bare necessities that I use often and go through regularly. I’m excited to share with you what I’ve been using all of 2017 (or longer) and swear by!
Let’s begin with skincare! If you know me personally, shared a bathroom with me, spent the night, or lived with me, you’ll know I had enough skincare products to fill up an entire linen closet once upon a time. I had a gazillion sheet masks overflowing out of a basket, bottles of serums and essences, tubs and jars of creams and masks, ampoules, mists, LOADS of samples, and SO MUCH more. The amount of products I used to own couldn’t fit comfortably under a typical bathroom sink without a serious game of Tetris. I was all about that 10-step K-beauty skincare routine (aren’t we all?). The major problem with that many products for me, was that I didn’t even use all of them every day or even once a week! I had a problem with spontaneously buying crap, thinking “I’ll try this out” or “so and so on Instagram/YouTube made me buy it”. So you guessed it, they’d expire or I’d try them out and not like them or I had a bad reaction to them. Thus for the sake of my poor angry and already inflamed skin, I cut back on all the crap I was layering on and saved my wallet some grief as well.
Saturday Skin Wide Awake Brightening Eye Cream—this little beauty is not only in an adorable pink bottle, but the formulation of this eye cream is seriously luxe. I first saw this featured by Courtney at PrettyLittleFawn. It’s got a soft gel consistency that leans toward something almost balmy. I think it has a scent, but nothing too strong (if I had to describe it, I’d say a very light “fresh” scent), hydrates and soothes my tired eyes. I don’t really have a problem with dark circles, so I can’t speak for that aspect of the eye cream, but I love the stuff. I’ve been using this for pretty much all of 2017—I want to say I first purchased the bottle at the beginning of the year like March-ish and I feel like I still have a pretty decent amount of product left. A little goes a long way and I mostly use it at nighttime.
The Herbivore Botanicals Lapis Facial Oil is actually a very recent new comer to my skincare routine. I started using this right at the beginning of December because it was on sale over at MooreaSeal.com. I’ve been using it for almost two months now, and I have to say I’m really glad I added it to my routine. It has such an interesting organic scent, I can’t quite describe it. The color of the oil alone is the most amazing deep, ocean, azure blue. It goes on smooth, absorbs well, and doesn’t leave me greasy but very hydrated. I haven’t used this during the day under sunscreen or makeup, so I can’t speak for that, but I’d say it definitely helps that crazy flake I get during the winter time or around freshly picked blemishes (I know, shame on me). My skin has really been loving it and I do notice that even though I have a lot of scarring and inflamed parts of my face consistently, this oil does help with significantly keeping my skin smooth and still bouncy! I really love this oil and don’t even feel bad about the price tag. I purchased the full-sized bottle and it will last me a VERY long time—I use about 2-3 drops every night and I haven’t even made a dent. This oil is suggested to be very good for those with irritated or acne prone/combination skin types. It’s super gentle and I haven’t had any bad reactions to it. If you’ve been on the fence about this oil, I say go for it. I would actually like to incorporate other products from the Herbivore Botanicals line eventually—using this oil alone I’m convinced the rest of the line is amazing.
Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence is an oldie but goodie. I’ve used this essence for years and am on bottle number six-ish. I use this day and night every day and my skin is in love. It’s a great essence to use after toner so that the rest of your products sink in. I love this essence because it just does what it’s supposed to—it’s super hydrating, doesn’t break me out, is very gentle, and affordable. I have heard it’s a great dupe to the coveted SKII Treatment Essence, which I am sort of dying to try, but Missha hasn’t failed me yet, so we’re in this for the long haul.
The Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner is one of my most favorite products to date! I’ve used this for close to two years and haven’t looked back or searched for a different toner. It’s very gentle, not heavily scented, feels great on the skin, and helps with absorption of the rest of my skincare routine. I also like it because it does a great job of hydrating my skin without leaving any heaviness. It sinks in nicely, and I use it twice a day, morning and night. I’ve also used this under makeup once upon a time ago and had no issues.
L’Occitane’s hand creams seriously live up to their hype for me! I bought my very first tube just before Christmas and haven’t looked back since. I have the cream in the Almond version/scent and it’s very light smelling, and lingers for a short while. This hand cream is hands down my favorite for the sole fact that it hydrates like a beast but doesn’t leave my hands greasy AT ALL. This stuff sinks in so well, I can glob on too much and my hands still drink it up! It also works magically overnight—if I go to bed with cracked or dried hands, the next morning my hands are improved significantly. If you were not sure about the hype about this product, I say give it a chance, you won’t be sorry and your hands will thank you.
Lush’s lip balms are some of the best and my personal favorite! I have both None of Your Beeswax, which might be retired because I never see it in stores anymore and I purchased mine well over a year ago. The other flavor or scent I use frequently and always carry with me is Honey Trap. These lip balms leave my lips super hydrated and do a great job at healing any dryness, peeling, or flakiness. Total win all around. I often wear this during the day and at night so I can wake up to soft and hydrated lips in the morning. If you’re wondering, this will get all over your face or pillow if you put on too much. I like to sweep a light layer on and make sure to pat it in and I’m golden.
Laneige is a skincare brand I started with when I first dipped my toe into k-beauty. The ever popular and favorite night cream for many has been my go-to throughout 2017. Laneige Water Sleeping Mask is something I started using back when I first saw BubzBeauty rave about it on her YouTube, years ago. If you’re in need of serious hydration or your skin is chapped, dried out, or lack luster during a harsh winter, this is your golden ticket to recovery. After my normal skincare, I layer this baby on and wake up with plump, happy, and hydrated skin every time. I have used this every night since fall, but on occasion if I feel dried out during the summer time, I’ll use it maybe once a week to every other night.
My new favorite Laneige product is the Lip Sleeping Mask! Thanks to Liah’s rave review over at LiahYoo on YouTube, I recently added the Berry version to my routine but I love it so much it made it onto the best of 2017 list, only after a few months of use. If you’re like me and don’t drink enough water, your lips peel, crack, bleed, and get chapped easily and frequently. I was hooked after the first night of using this! I put on a light layer right before bed and the next morning my lips were perfectly plumped, pink, hydrated, and happy lips! Nearly all my cracking, dryness, and peeling had subsided. I pretty much swear by this now.
These Lush products are some of my favorites by them for 2017, including the new release of the Jelly Face masks, I love Just to Clarify. It’s got gentle but awesome scrubby power for a gentle exfoliant with papaya and the scent is magnificent (fruity). I love this mask for when my face is feeling extra grimy and needs some polishing or brightening. An honorable mention would be the Lush Fresh Masks, I personally love Brazen Honey and use it often all year long. Another scrubbin’ favorite are the Lip Scrubs—they not only taste great, but are super effective. I like to Mint Julips every other day or whenever I want to get rid of any dry flaky bits before layering on the Laneige Lip Sleeping mask or lip balm before bed. Mint Julips is slightly minty with a lemony flavor and scent. Lastly, Lush’s Charity Pots are wonderful in every way. Not only are the proceeds for every Charity Pot purchased go to a good cause, the stuff in the pot is great! It’s a heavier cream with shea and cocoa butters, so it can leave you feeling a little greasy—however the best way to avoid that feeling is to apply this stuff fresh out of the shower so it can sink in beautifully, and smells great, too! This is my 2017 go-to for when my skin is feeling like I just pet an alligator.
Heimish All Clean cleansing balm has been my go to for a couple years now, and was well used in 2017. It has been my first step to my double-cleanse all year and continues into the new year. I first heard about this product from Jen over at MeejMuse on YouTube! I love the clean, barely-there scent, and the effectiveness of this balm. You don’t need a lot to remove sunscreen, makeup, and grime from the face and neck, and this emulsifies and rinses off nicely. I will say, even though I’m all about this balm, I still have to put in a tiny bit of extra elbow grease when removing anything waterproof. This includes massaging, very gently my eye area for a longer period of time compared to the rest of my face. The only con I will point out that I don’t enjoy, is if I get this in my eyes while cleansing, I do get that icky, filmy feeling. Otherwise, this is a great first step in a double-cleanse routine, and I’d highly recommend it.
The Lush Coalface charcoal cleansing bar is the second step of my double-cleanse and has been for the majority of 2017. The first half and in 2016 I was using Lush Herbalism facial cleanser, but because my skin went through an extreme oily phase, I changed it up and stuck with it. Coalface is great—it leaves you with an almost squeaky clean feeling, but without the dryness or that parched and tight feeling. My face always feels clean, but not as though all the life was sucked out of it. This is a great cleanser for oily/combination skin types—if you’re a dry skin type, I’d stay away from this one as it won’t be hydrating enough for you and may even dry you out. One large bar has lasted me over 4 months with cleansing everyday, twice a day. So not only does this bar work for me, it’s fairly cost effective—mega bonus!
The final step in my daytime skincare routine for 2017 always ends with Etude House Sunprise Mild Airy Finish Sunscreen. I’ve used this sunscreen for over three years off and on, and always come back to it. I used it for most of 2017, but I am currently giving La Roche-Posay Uvidea XL Aqua Fresh Gel SPF a go based on Jen from MeejMuse’s recommendation. It didn’t quite live up to my expectations—it leaves me a touch greasy for my liking even though it’s a gel formulation. It does sink in nicely, but I will be going back to the Etude House sunscreen once I finish up this tube. The Sunprise sunscreen is light, and goes on a milky and rather liquid-like consistency, but dries down to a sort of powdery finish, which I really like. It keeps me fairly matte with no makeup, but works well under the BB creams I used to use. It’s affordable and does the job!
This post was originally going to be a “best products of 2017” but realized how LONG this would be (it already is!)—if you’re still reading, thanks for sitting through me rambling. The next post will be my list of best makeup products of 2017! I hope you enjoyed this review of skincare products for the past year and maybe helped you make a decision if I hit on any products you were wondering about! Let me know what you’ve been using or what your favorites were for 2017! I’m always looking for the next best skincare products. Until next time!