Happy New Year! We have officially entered a new decade and now that it’s 2020 I have compiled some of my favorite skincare products that I tried in 2019. Skincare is my first love, so this post is a fun one for me! I’ve made some fantastic discoveries this year, particularly anti-aging skincare products. Since anti-aging is my #1 skincare concern, you’ll see that most of these products work on those pesky lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and dull, dry skin.
I’ve tried so many products this year, and while there were some duds, a few stand out from the crowd. You’ll find that most of my favorites come from the drugstore. While there are quite a few luxury skincare products that are on my wishlist, many drugstore products are not only much more affordable and accessible but they simply work, sometimes better than high-end skincare products!
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We’ll review my favorite skincare products by order of application. If you’d like more details on skincare order of application, check out this post on how to apply your skincare products in the correct order. Please keep in mind that I don’t necessarily use all the products listed below together at the same time. I alternate nights with certain treatments. For instance, I make sure not to use acids and retinoids together or more than one at a time.
The one treatment that I like to use with retinoids is bakuchiol. Since bakuchiol products are not irritating like retinoids, I often use bakuchiol in conjunction with a gentle over-the-counter retinoid.
I love everything about this cleansing balm! From its easy to open lid to its unique citrus herb oil infused scent, Heimish All Clean Cleansing Balm melts into your skin and makes quick work of dirt and makeup. It transforms into a silky oil then to a milk as water is added to the formula. It’s gentle and non-stripping and removes caked-on makeup and stubborn eye makeup. It also does a good job of removing SPF at the end of a long day.
This Korean balm cleanser is the perfect step one of a double cleanse, which is popular in the Korean skincare routine. I am in love with the scent, the texture, and the performance of this cleanser. I order it on Amazon and always have one on hand.
Featured In: Drugstore Skincare: Cleansing Balms
Beauty Pie Japanfusion Pure Transforming Cleanser is a gel-to-oil-to-milk cleansing balm. It is so soothing and is the perfect second cleanse in a two-step double cleanse.
It is formulated with Pombe Yeast derivative for moisture, firmness and the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles. The cleanser also contains Jabara extract, an antioxidant from Japanese citrus fruit for protection from dark spots and pigmentation. Delamyth DNA+ is extracted from the peels of the Delaware grape, which helps to counteract UV-related free radical damage. Vitamin E is included for antioxidant protection and added moisture.
I love the experience of adding water to this cleanser and seeing the transition from gel to milk to oil. It is the ideal second cleanse to remove any traces of remaining makeup and dirt. It has such a luxurious feel and definitely feels worth more than its $6.19 price tag! Plus, I am a sucker for the pink packaging!
Featured In: Beauty Pie Skincare Review
I’ve tried a few different hyaluronic acids and I keep coming back to this one from The Inkey List. The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid Serum is formulated with 2% multi-molecular hyaluronic acid plus Matrixyl 3000, a peptide that supports collagen production and a reduction in the appearance of fine lines.
I make sure to use this serum often during the winter to offset the dryness caused by cold air and forced indoor heating. This is a thin formula that sinks right into your skin. A big plus for me is that it is not sticky and does not take long to dry. I apply it before a treatment step such as retinol or lactic acid and it doesn’t pill under these skincare products.
As a bonus, it contains Matrixyl 3000, a peptide known for its anti-aging properties. When you take into consideration the price (currently under $8 at Sephora), this hyaluronic acid serum is one to stock up on.
Featured In: Sephora Budget Skincare: The Inkey List
Niacinamide has been my skincare ingredient discovery of the year. The benefits of this ingredient are many, especially as an anti-ager. Niacinamide helps to reduce pigmentation, redness and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It also increases moisture, supports collagen production and improves the skin’s barrier function. It can even improve acne and rosacea. Paula’s Choice offers a great introduction to niacinamide.
Paula’s Choice BOOST 10% Niacinamide Booster is the perfect serum to layer in your skincare routine. You can add it to your moisturizer although I like to use it after cleansing and toning. It has nearly the consistency of water and sinks into your skin quickly without interfering with other products. It also helps keep my skin soothed and calm when using potentially irritating products like retinoids and acids.
While The Ordinary offers many different retinoid products, I really like this one. The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion is a serum emulsion of a next-generation retinoid that helps to reduce the signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles but without the irritation often attributed to retinol.
I can attest to its gentleness. This serum doesn’t irritate my skin in the slightest. It’s thin consistency sinks in quickly and works well under other products. The milky textured emulsion should be applied after water serums but before heavier treatments and moisturizers.
I tend to see quicker results the next morning with the Olay serum that I’ll discuss next, but this retinoid is gentle while providing anti-aging benefits like refined skin texture and smaller pores. It just takes a little longer to see the results.
Olay Retinol 24 products are very effective retinol drugstore treatments. The collection includes a night eye cream, a night serum, and a night moisturizer. I like all three products, but Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Serum is my favorite since I see the most noticeable improvements in my skin with the serum.
The serum is formulated with their Retinol complex and vitamin B3 (niacinamide) to target fine lines & wrinkles, dark spots, and pores, and for an improvement in smoothness, brightness, and firmness.
My skin is consistently smoother and brighter every morning after I use this serum. Plus my pores appear smaller. I can’t use this every night, otherwise, my skin becomes irritated and dry, but using this drugstore serum a few nights a week really produces results.
Sunday Riley Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment is made with purified lactic acid (an alpha-hydroxy acid) which exfoliates the surface layers of the skin to reveal brighter, clarified and smoother skin. It also contains prickly pear extract to soothe redness. Licorice and lemongrass help to brighten the look of dark spots and other discolorations and provide a wonderful aromatic fragrance to the treatment.
This is one of my favorite skincare products. It’s one of my favorites because the results are consistent and undeniable. Sensitive skin may have an issue with this treatment, but I’ve found that the more I use it the better my skin handles it. I use this at night and it brightens and smooths overnight. I can tell it exfoliates because my skin is always more refined with an improved texture the morning after using this treatment.
It was in 2019 that I first heard of the skincare ingredient bakuchiol. It is a retinol alternative that can provide the same results as retinol but without the irritation. I couldn’t resist trying a bakuchiol product so I purchased a few.
Herbivore Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative Smoothing Serum stood out with its formula of bakuchiol plus alpha-hydroxy acids for skin resurfacing and hydration. Tremella Mushroom also helps the skin retain moisture with its ability to hold up to 500 times its own weight in water.
This gorgeous lavender colored serum has a thin jelly-like texture. It does not irritate my skin at all and works well under thicker serums and treatments. While results may appear slightly slower than stronger retinoid treatments, I’ll continue using this serum that soothes instead of irritating my skin. If I want a double dose of anti-aging, I’ll layer this serum on top of an over-the-counter gentle retinoid.
Olay Regenerist Whip Face Moisturizer is formulated with Olay’s Amino-Peptide Complex II for hydration and improvement in skin elasticity, plus it reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles (yay!). Using Olay’s Active Rush Technology, the lightweight cream transforms into a liquid on the skin and dries to the most divine matte texture. It creates the ideal base for foundation.
Olay Regenerist Whip Face Moisturizer is my favorite daily moisturizer and one of the skincare products that I can’t live without. While I use it more often during the day, I sometimes use it at night as well. For a matte finish, I always reach for this moisturizer and it works well with other skincare products without pilling. I love this moisturizer so much!
Featured In: Lightweight Multi-Tasking Olay Whip Moisturizers
A recent discovery, CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream is perfect for cold winter months. It is formulated with CeraVe’s MVE Technology of continuous release moisture for 24-hour hydration. Biomimetic peptides improve the appearance of tired skin while ceramides help maintain the skin’s natural barrier. Hyaluronic acid hydrates while niacinamide controls redness, oil production and also protects the skin barrier.
This thick cream is the perfect last step of your skincare routine. It helps seal in all the actives that you apply under it and it’s ceramides protect the skin barrier, which is essential during the colder months. This no-frills cream is a workhorse and very nourishing when the skin is stressed and dry.
Featured In: Drugstore Treatments for Dry Winter Skin
San Tropez Gradual Tan Classic Mousse is a lightweight and quick-drying self-tanning mousse for the body. The mousse hydrates up to 48 hours with an even fade and is formulated for all skin types with 100% naturally-derived DHA. It is paraben-free, sulfate-free, and phthalate-free. It creates a streak-free tan and can be reapplied daily to build a depth of tan that is to your liking.
When I self-tan, I want something quick and easy and this mousse is a breeze to apply. It’s important that you apply this with a mitt, which helps to spread the mousse seamlessly. While I haven’t found a self-tanner that doesn’t create some type of scent, it doesn’t have as strong a self-tanner smell as most others that I’ve tried. I’ve been tanning for many years, and this has quickly become my favorite self-tanner.
Featured In: 4 Steps to a Natural Self Tan
My favorite skincare products of the year. With 2019 in the books, I can’t wait for new skincare discoveries yet to come in 2020. I’m sure old favorites will stick around, but I look forward to the newest skincare launches, both drugstore and high-end. Treatment products and serums are always at the top of my list.
Do you have a favorite skincare product of 2019? I’m always curious to hear about your skincare favorites, so drop me a line in the comments and let me know!
Thanks for reading, and until next time…