Let me start this post off by making an admission. Well, actually two.

First, the featured image on this post is my top drawer. It’s disgusting and I’m #sorrynotsorry.

Second, as evidenced by said picture, I am a product—but especially skin care product—JUNKIE. There are very few lines I haven’t tried something from. It’s actually shameful how little self-control I have when it comes to this type of thing. I’m working on it for the New Year, I swear. But until then, benefit from my obsession.

FYI, I’m treating this list as a desert-island, always-on-my-shelf, super-pared-down kind of look at what I like, so although I may rotate in or out other products that aren’t on this list, I adore these guys, always.

One more thing—I’m pregnant right now, which impacts what skin care ingredients I can use. So you won’t find any retinols or acids in these products, although there are products I love as well with those ingredients.

Okay. Phew. Here we go.

Tatcha Pure One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil

tatcha-cleansing-oil

Why I Love It:

You guys. This product. In fact, “love” isn’t even a strong enough word to describe my allegiance it. I subscribe to a shipment of this through QVC because I use it so much, and were there to be a product-pocalypse, this is the only bottle I’d pray would survive the fiery flames of a nuclear blast. In other words, can we just take a virtual moment of silence to recognize its amazingness?

Okay.

If you are still sudsing your face every night with a lathering cleanser to wash off your makeup, you need to get wise to oil cleansing, STAT. Trust the lady who wore 15 layers of makeup on a daily basis when I say, this is the ONLY way to cleanse your skin of every last bit of makeup—eye makeup included—without drying out your poor mug. It. Is. The. Only. Way.

Also, this stuff lasts. One bottle, used every night (4 pumps each time) lasts me almost three months.

 

How I Use It:

On DRY skin—let’s be clear here, I mean Sahara dry, so don’t go splashing your face with water first, and get over your fears of slathering oil on your face LIKE NOW—skin, gently rub 3 or 4 pumps of this oil over your skin and eye area for about 30 seconds. Splash water all over your face a few times to rinse off the oil/makeup, and pat dry.

You can follow up with a lightly-foaming second cleanser to get all the residue off, but it’s not necessary if you’re not wearing gobs of makeup. When I was working in TV, I double-cleansed like this because I was wearing layers of war paint. These days, when I’m wearing normal-person makeup, I only use this cleanser.

 

Paula’s Choice RESIST Advanced Replenishing Toner

paulas-choice-resist-toner

Why I Love It:

This toner packs a serious anti-aging punch, with a blend of antioxidants and fatty acids to replenish your skin, and it doesn’t leave a tight feeling on your skin afterward. Also, Paula’s Choice products are incredibly well-researched and, in general, I trust the line wholeheartedly. It’s also very affordable.

 

How I Use It:

Put on cotton pad, swipe across your face. Duh.

 

Drunk Elephant C Firma Day Serum

drunk-elephant-c-serum

Why I Love It:

It doesn’t sting. It doesn’t burn. It’s a stabilized form of vitamin C. The line doesn’t use any parabens, phthalates or silicones in its formulations. And my face looked flashlight-in-the-dark brighter literally the second day I started using this.

 

How I Use It:

After you tone and your skin is dry again, rub two pumps of this over your face, as well as your neck and chest.

 

Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Defense SPF 30

drunk-elephant-spf

Why I Love It:
Because I live in Florida and would bathe in SPF if I could, to prevent the relentless onslaught of little brown freckles that have been crowding my skin like crazy since I moved here. Because even if you don’t live in Florida, you should be wearing SPF every day. And because it has only physical sun blockers, which I find this formula to be much gentler on my skin than chemical sunscreens.

(Allow skin care guru Rene Rouleau explain the difference, and the merits of each. Side note: I am solely in the physical blockers camp, for reasons that are too long to describe here.)

How I Use It:

After applying my antioxidant serum, I rub about a nickel-size of this on my face, neck and chest, taking a good thirty seconds to make sure it’s all absorbed.

Note: Physical sun blocks—those containing zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide—are more likely to leave your skin looking a touch lighter, but I find you can mitigate this effect with good blending as well as the application of a light tinted moisturizer.

 

Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream

drunk-elephant-lala-cream

Why I Love It:
Have you noticed a trend here? I’m obsessed with Drunk Elephant’s line. This guy is thick and incredibly moisturizing, it’s fragrance-free, and it absorbs into skin like a dream.

 

How I Use It:

No SPF in this formula, so it’s my nighttime moisturizer. So just, um, rub it on your face. Not sure we needed to go over that direction, but, ta-da!

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That’s all for now, friends! Hope you’re getting your Christmas shopping all wrapped up (get it?!?! “Wrapped up???!” … *crickets*.) See you here real soon!