Have you ever run into a friend you haven't seen for several months and thought “Wow, she looks so much younger!” Me neither. I also tend to think that all the real housewives and other Hollywood personalities who spend all day every day on their appearance tend to look exactly as old as they are. Clearly, there are no miracle products out there that everyone else is using. The people who care about skin care probably use or have tried the products mentioned here.
However, it is also true that we feel our best when our skin, the body's largest organ, is healthy and blemish free. It is also true that a dewy complexion is only one part of skin care. The other part is self-care: the intentional practice of treating your body with loving kindness and making an effort to feel good, look good, and improve your health.
Since following the recommendations outlined here, my skin looks its best. I have little or no break outs and the overall appearance is hydrated and robust. That being said, no one--and I mean no one--has commented that my skin looks better or that I look younger. The subtle differences are apparent only to me. Nonetheless, I am glad that I took the time to decipher the medical terms so I could be more informed about what I put on my skin now and in the future.
The best advice is to purchase the least expensive product that has the ingredient you want in the delivery form you want and see if it works. If it doesn't, then move on to a more expensive product. Look out for meaningless phrases such as “soothing botanicals” and “smooths the appearance of superficial lines.”
Remember that packaging matters. Many of these ingredients, (especially retinol and vitamin C) are not particularly stable. They will be ineffective if they are exposed to light and oxygen. Look for products with an opaque pump delivery system. Do not buy expensive ingredients that come in jars, especially antioxidants.
My first-choice product contains the ingredients I want for the least amount of money. That product can often be purchased from Deciem or can be found in a drug store brand that also owns a boutique brand. I also feel comfortable purchasing Paula's Choice. The products are mid-range in price and only contain ingredients backed by science. For example, you won't find a Paula's Choice product containing diamond dust (I'm looking at you Tata Harper).
Some very expensive companies seem not worth the money at all. In my opinion, these include La Mer, Skinceuticals, Kate Somerville, Mario Badescu, and Tata Harper. On the other hand, if you have the money and want to invest it in skin care, Sunday Riley and Peter Thomas Roth products often include research supported active ingredients.
Today I wash my face with an inexpensive oil-based cleanser from Garden of Wisdom. In the morning I apply a vitamin C ester, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F from The Ordinary. I follow that with a broad-spectrum BB Cream. In the evening, I wash my face and apply either The Ordinary 2% Retinol, Paula's Choice Retinol 1% or Differin Gel. Once per week I exfoliate with the products I currently own: Pixie Glow Tonic, P50 and Good Genes. If I need moisture, I use a hyaluronic acid serum with peptides.