Have you ever walked into an old house that has strips of wallpaper peeling off the walls in dried out husks? Yeah, that’s my skin in the winter time. My face cracks like a porcelain tea cup and then peels off with my makeup every time I try to put on face cream. The colder it gets, the more I crack, and since I’ve been swimming this winter, the intense chlorine is sucking out every bit of moisture I try to put back into my face. I’m pretty sure I’m going to look like the crypt keeper by the end of the winter.
I’ve been going through face moisturizers and body creams faster than I binged the last season of The Crown. It’s been expensive as hell, but finding the right creams has made a world of difference. In order to help others avoid having to go through this process themselves, I’m sharing some of my favorite finds.
To clarify, my skin is quite dry, sensitive, prone to redness, little acne (except around my period), thus far not too many fine lines, but a few dark spots and rough skin patches around the areas I had shingles. I tend to prefer all-natural skincare products (beeswax, herbal, florals, etc…) but I’ve found it a lot harder to find stuff that works for my skin that fits those requirements inside the U.S., so these are the best I can find stateside.
This has become my go-to cream for night and day. It’s not sticky, it doesn’t sting, and I can feel it throughout the whole day. I bought a jar as big as my fist and I have little doubt I’ll get through it all.
My sister swears by this stuff. She’s got combination skin and her makeup has been flaking off as if it was fleeing the Titanic. This has moisturized her enough that it gives her a solid foundation for makeup, but hasn’t stretched to over-moisturizing her into breakouts.
This vitamin-C drenched face cream smells like a creamsicle and saved my skin after shingles. I was embarrassed and felt like a monster with these red welts on my face, and I drowned my skin in every type of vitamin-rich, healing nutrients I could find. If you have skin that’s taken a beating, this stuff is for you. I used it in the mornings to wake up my skin and give it the boost it desperately needed.
This was part-two of “heal my monster face” routine and I used it every night before bed. I’ve always had a lot of luck with rose or rosehip based creams, and this was no different. It has a strong fruity smell which was a bit much for me, but worth using until the end for the benefits it yielded.
When my skin is healthy, this is one of my favorite skin creams. It smells like sweet roses and lasts all day long. It leaves your skin quite dewey, which doesn’t always feel great under makeup if you don’t let it sit for long enough.
I was skeptical about this, but I got it in a Kiehl’s sample kit and have been using it every night after I wash my face. It smells incredible and my face seems brighter and less sallow after use. It also works as a great primer for your face cream and keeps you from having to use too much of either.
I bought this for my mother for Christmas, and she’s been slathering it on her face every night like butter on toast. The serum claims to combat fine lines and wrinkles, dullness and uneven texture, and loss of firmness and elasticity, but more importantly it seems to be actively de-stressing my mother’s skin and seriously, what more can you ask for?
Why are face serums so damn expensive? Even buying Pixi at Target isn’t what I’d call affordable, but it comes a lot closer than most of the products on this list. My sister who abhors face oils and rose products swears by this one.
Is there really anything as satisfying as looking like you stuck your face in a mud pit? Or maybe that’s just me. Unlike a lot of charcoal products, this doesn’t dry you out, but it does grab all the impurities and the excess junk lingering in your pores from the fifty pounds of moisturizers you’re putting on everyday.
This masks feels like putting glacier goo on your face. For me it just skirts the edge of being too strong for my sensitive skin, but I can actually feel it sink in so I put up with it. The directions suggest that you wipe the excess goop off after twenty minutes, but my skin is so thirsty it absorbs it all.
If you’ve got rough spots or uneven skin and are as terrified by chemical peels as I am, this is your jam. It’s soft, subtle, but helps even out skin tone and texture. It’s also one of the most recommended masks I got when I queried friends for their recommendations.
If you can’t tell already, I like to buy small sample kits before I commit to a full size product, and this mask is one of the few that a little goes a long way. I kept this mini by the bath tub for months, using it once a week when I was soaking my troubles away. It’s luxurious, smells incredible, and since I live in a hard water area and it keeps me from getting out and feeling like my face washed the drain with the bathwater.
This was another inclusion in a Kiehl’s moisturizing sample kit I bought, and I unexpectedly got hooked. It hasn’t done much for my purple bags, but I think only God himself could fix those at this point. What it has done is softened my eye skin, moisturized it, and since I have small scars along my ocular ridge from shingles earlier this year, the vitamins from the avocado have gone a long way to help heal them.
This stuff was perhaps made by Houdini. It’s a yellow banana eye cream that when you put it on normal skin tone, makes you look jaundiced. But when it goes on over your purple sag bags, it magically brightens and hides them. Highly recommend it.
I don’t know if this actually works, but it feels like it does. You can feel the caffeine popping holes in your puffy under eye bags, constricting them and making your eyes bug open like you just gave your eyeballs a double espresso. And yet for some reason it feels really good and you enjoy the process.
I am not the biggest proponent of toners, but when I’ve been lazy and just used a makeup wipe to clean my face, I like to use a toner to grab all the gunk that they left behind. As I’ve said, I’m prone to rose products, and this feels like a rose tea on your face. It smells incredible and leaves your face feeling very soft.
OK, OK, yes this rose obsession is getting to be a bit much, sorry. But this is a super-cheap, drugstore, old-school beauty supply. Witch Hazel is an ancient astringent that does wonders to your skin, grabs all those gross impurities, and then the rose comes through and soothes it.
What products do you swear by? Head over to our Instagram @literallydarling and tell us or leave your recommendations in the comments!