My holy grail skincare products

My skin is a mess filled with oil here and dry patches there, all accompanied by red splotches and cystic acne. I have been fighting the good fight against the lesser known “second puberty” that befriends your 20’s since I was 21 and have finally found a mixture of products that helps me rid my face of the pesky pimples that haunt my dreams.

Here are some facts about my skin that you should know before we go on:

  • I have very sensitive skin that hates any kind of irritation. This means that you will not find any scrubs on this list.
  • I have combination skin that has an oily t-zone with all other parts being as dry as the Sahara desert.
  • I have cystic acne that develops on my chin and surrounds my mouth.
  • A lot of my acne is hormone and stress related.


These re the products that have made my skin go from this:


and this:


To this:



1. Pixi + Caroline Hirons Double Cleanse ($24.00)


Why I love it: This double cleanse has been the saving grace for my fickle skin, to the point that I’m on my fourth pot of the stuff and will repurchase again when this one runs out. If you’re a person that’s not a fan of skin care that comes in a tub then this will not be your fav but I would still check out more of Pixi’s products.

Its use of double cleansing technology includes a solid cleansing oil with Vitamin E, Camellia Oil and Evening Primrose oil to rub away makeup and grime and prep the skin for the cleansing cream which removes any excess oil and cleans away any remaining reminders of the day using Vitamin C, Peptide Complex and Arginne. This magic in a pot leaves me with a blank canvas that’s ready for the next steps of my night time skin care regime.

How to use: 

Step 1: Apply a nickel sized amount of the cleansing oil onto dry skin and massage in until all makeup is removed or has been rubbed in thoroughly.

Step 2: Removed with a moist muslin cloth.

Step 3: Apply a nickel sized amount of the cleansing cream onto damp skin and massage thoroughly.

Step 4: Remove with a moist muslin cloth and get ready for next step in skin care routine.


2. First Aid Beauty Coconut Skin Smoothie Priming Moisturizer ($28.00)


Why I love it: If your skin tends to lack the healthy glow that you see all over Instagram, this moisturizer/primer duo will be your best friend. The First Aid Beauty Coconut Skin Smoothie Priming Moisturizer is my go-to for glowing skin.

This product from the beauty heaven’s is an oil free formula that brightens, smooths and blurs my skins dry, dull and uneven texture while also making me feel confident on days that my skin needs a break from makeup and all of my acne is saying hello.

How to use: 

Step 1: Simply apply over a clean face.

Step 2: Follow by applying makeup or wear alone for a dewy natural look.


3. Rosehip Plus Pure and Natural Rosehip Oil ($17.50)


Why I love it: This little gem is the newest addition to my beauty routine and is a lifeline for people like me who are combating acne scaring, dark spots and fighting the aging machine. A lot of people shy away from facial oils for fear that they are going to end up with clogged pours.

In fact, this isn’t the case at all, according to dermatologists facial oils are the one thing missing in many peoples skincare routines. Different oils have different ways to improve your skin, my trusty Rosehip oil for instance is full of vitamins, antioxidants and essential fatty acids that are known to correct dark spots, hydrate skin and reduce scars and fine lines. Its essentially a breakout queens dream product and definitely worth the hype.

How to use:

Step 1: Massage 2-3 drops onto clean skin on the face, neck or body. ( I only use this at night as the last step of my routine but you can use this both morning and night.)

Protip: Oils should be the last product applied to your face!


4. Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil ($16.00)


Why I love it: For all those anti-oil lovers out there, yes there is another oil on this list and there’s a very simple reason why… they work! This 100% argan oil from Josie Maran is for us dry skinned chicks out there just trying to find any solution for those dry spots in the corners of our noses.

Argan oil is rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids that deeply hydrate and nourish skin without the heavy feeling of a mask or moisturizer. When I’m having an especially dry day I just switch out my rosehip oil for this one, let in sink into my skin and rejuvenate my life.

How to use: 

Step 1: Massage 2-3 drops onto clean skin on the face, neck or body. (Again, I only use this at night but you can use this both morning and night.)


5. Kate Somerville EradiKate Acne Treatment ($26.00)


Why I love it: This product is the reason that my cystic acne doesn’t control my life anymore. I’m very self conscious of my acne as a 23 year old woman, so when I found this product and it actually worked, I was elated! I have horrible hormone related cystic acne that pops up around my chin and mouth. So, when I feel one coming on I put a dab of Eradikate on it and within a hours the size and swelling have diminished and I can go about my day with a naked face and no embarrassment.

This treatment is formulated with the highest level of sulfur allowed to fight pimples and is designed to reduce the appearance of large pores while zinc oxide provides oil control.

All in all, kiss your bad breakouts goodbye with this product in your court.

How to use:

Disclaimer: Don’t shake it! It’s designed that you go through the clear liquid before and after you hit the pink liquid at the bottom.

Step 1: With a cotton swab dunk into the bottle and apply to individual spots of acne.

Step 2: Leave on over night or throughout the day for the best results.


6. Boscia Tsubaki Deep Hydration Sleeping Mask ($34.00)


Why I love it: My skin is one thirsty girl and when its looking for a good deep quench I  reach for Bosnia’s Tsubaki Deep Hydration Sleeping mask. This sleeping mask is not only hydrating and helps me through the dark times of dead winter skin woes but is also super low maintenance and smells like a rose bush. I just throw this on my face before I go to bed and all of the hydrating magic happens while I sleep.

The mask works best while you’re sleeping because it responds to the skins circadian rhythms. This means that at night while you’re sleeping your skins permeability is higher and the product can better absorb, creating better results.

…Skincare products truly are magic.

How to use:

Step 1: massage into face and neck and leave on overnight.

Step 2: Rinse off with damp Muslin cloth in the morning.


7. Sunday Riley C.E.O. Rapid Flash Brightening Serum ($85.00)


Why I love it: I know what you’re thinking, “Katie, what were you thinking buying an $85.00 product?!

When I bought Sunday Riley’s C.E.O. serum I was just healing from one of the worst breakouts of my life and hated the acne scaring and dark spots that marred my face. I’ll admit it, I was desperate for results and bought this at the suggestion of a Sephora employee that was helping me.

Yes, the price tag is steep but I saw that my dark spots and lingering acne was cleaning up, so though I do fault the price, this product does what it sets out to do and does it well. This serum is infused with 15 percent vitamin C to fight the look of dullness, dark spots and discoloration while increasing brightness.

I do love this product which is why it is on this list, but I’ve since found that rosehip oil has a similar affect and it only $17.50 compared to $85.00.

You can find my favorite rosehip oil above!

How to use:

Step 1: Apply 1-2 pumps to clean skin. (This is a thicker formula so I only used it at night but it can be used both morning and night.)


8. Sephora sheet and clay masks ($6.00)

sheet masks

Why I love it: Every girl loves a good sheet mask and I’m no different. My favorite brand of sheet masks are Sephora’s because they are not paper masks but fiber, have a good amount of product on the mask and the variety of masks for different needs.

I love the clay masks because they come in little squeeze packets that re-close so that you can use them multiple times. Though it says on the package that you can get only 2 masks out of each packet, I’ve been known to get 4-5 uses out of them which makes them more cost effective.

Out of all of the masks, my favorite is the hydrating rose mask which isn’t a surprise if you’ve read through my other holy grail products. I tend to love hydration and products that that smell like roses so sue me.

How to use: Sheet Masks

Step 1: Apply to a clean face and leave on until skin feels hydrated with mask.

How to use: Clay Masks

Step 1: Apply to a clean face and leave on for 10 minutes.

Step 2: remove with a damp muslin cloth.

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