If there’s one important thing my mother always taught me, it’s to take care of your skin even at a young age. As a grad student in my early 20s, I’m not terribly worried about wrinkles or age spots, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be taking my skin care routine seriously. Here are some products I’ve fallen in love with and grown to trust — worth the splurge, even on a student’s limited budget.
Tatcha Polished Classic Rice Enzyme Powder $65.00 / 2.01 OZ
This is, believe it or not, a face wash in powder form. You open the jar, sprinkle a little in your hand, mix with water, and it foams up perfectly for face washing.
The product claims to work for all skin types, whether oily, normal, or dry and gently exfoliates and cleanses to prevent wrinkles as well as acne, so it’s perfect for all ages. I use it when I wash my face in the morning, because it leaves a lovely base for my makeup, but it’s great for night time cleansing too. If you don’t want to drop $65 on the jar, try the sample size for $15. tatcha.com
Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution $50.00 / 1.01 OZ
It’s a serum. After you wash your face and before you moisturize, put about ¼ to ½ of a dropper full of the serum in your hands, and rub it into the skin on your face (and neck if you have dark spots there) until you feel the product becoming tight and tacky instead of runny and thin.
This product genuinely works. I’ve been using in since January, every night, and it took about 2-3 weeks for me to start seeing results, and now my dark spots have almost disappeared. Also, I’m still on the same bottle, so it’s definitely worth the $50. If you have sensitive skin, don’t worry! This product is not harsh at all and has never made me break out. kiehls.com
Sunday Riley Martian Mattifying Melting Water-Gel Toner $55.00 / 4.4 OZ
This toner is specifically made for oily and acne-prone skin, which I suffer from. My mom always says I’ll be thankful for my oily Greek skin when I get older as it will combat wrinkles, but for now, it’s an annoyance. This is one of the best mattifying products I’ve used. It really helps maintain the skin’s natural radiance while keeping down excess shine.
I use this in the mornings because I don’t want to strip my skin before I go to sleep where the skin goes through a deep renewal cycle. After I wash my face and dry my skin, I put a pump of the toner in my hands and rub it into my skin until it disappears. Then I apply my moisturizer. nordstrom.com
Kate Somerville Nourish Daily Moisturizer $65.00 / 1.7 OZ
This claims to be meant for all skin types. I use this morning and night after washing my face and apply all toners and serums. It’s a pump, not a jar, so you don’t have to stick your fingers in – you press the edges and product comes out of the center, so it’s very hygienic.
It makes skin feel soft and moisturized without being heavy or clogging pores. When my skin is sensitive, this doesn’t break me out; and when my skin is oily, this helps control that without stripping natural oils. Kate Somerville also makes a deeper moisturizing one in a purple jar for those who do feel they need some extra TLC for their dry skin. katesomerville.com
Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil $72.00 / 1 OZ
Important tip: no matter how oily your skin is, you should put a daily face oil on, the right one of course.
Face oils aren’t just to moisturize; they’re to ensure your skin produces more of the right, healthy oils, and when your skin produces enough healthy oils, it sends a message to your brain that your skin is stable, so it stops overproducing oil you don’t need. Basically, applying oil to your face once a day can actually help you become less oily.
Now, there are oils that are meant to make dry skin oilier, but not this one. This is a maintenance oil for all skin types. It is going to brighten, firm, and even your skin tone, while helping your skin stay glowy, not oily. You should apply after you moisturize—it should be the last step of your routine. You only need 2-4 drops on your face, so this bottle can last months, which makes the high price tag more justifiable. And when you see how glowy your face looks, you’ll be happy you dropped the money on it! biossance.com