2019 FAVORITES: Most Used Skin Care Products

by - January 10, 2020

Skin care has been a bit of an obsession with me for the past few years, but in 2019 it really did take over my beauty focus and I've been really figuring out what works for my skin and I think I have an amazing collection of products that I can reach for depending on my skin's needs. When I first started thinking about my 2019 Skin Care Favorites, I figured the list would be pretty short... and then all the different categories really became apparent to me and gave me a real sense of how much thought really goes into my skin care. 

So, if you wanna see the products that I absolutely love in my skin care routine, keep reading!

Lip Balm
I'm a complete and utter lip balm junkie and I seem to have a tube or pot of it around me at all times, but there really are two that stand head and shoulders above the others. The NIVEA Essential Lip Balm is, to me, just as the name of it states: Essential. I swear, I literally have tubes of this lip balm in my purse, on my desk, on my vanity, on my nightstand, and on my coffee table. It's a must have that keeps my lips hydrated as well as protected. When it comes to lip balm to apply before bed to protect my lips overnight, the one I reach for most often is the BITE Agave Lip Mask, which really does impart a lot of moisture as it protects my lips. This is definitely thicker and really does last on my lips all night so that I wake up with hydrated and soft lips in the morning. 

One part of my skin care routine that has become a must have for every day is sunscreen, which can be a little bit of a pain when you're a makeup wearer since so many of them can end up greasy and weird. For me, the wrong daily SPF also breaks me out, so I have to be careful. My absolute, all time, holy grail sunscreen is without doubt the SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense*. It has the most perfect silky texture that actually improves the look of my makeup while offering really, really significant protection. A new product to me this year, one that really did take over the summer for me, is the BIORE UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence, which my cousin's wife kindly asked her parents to bring with them for me when they visited from Japan over the summer. This does definitely have some alcohol in the formula, which isn't my first choice of skin care ingredients, but I haven't noticed any ill effects or drying when I use it. It's just super lightweight and sinks into the skin beautifully to offer really, really solid protection with chemical filters that don't irritate my skin. 

Cleansing Balm
I think I have definitely pretty much fully transitioned into being a cleansing balm over cleansing oil person and it's what I reach for every night as the first step of my skin care routine. I actually have two favorites, but I only had one on hand at the time of taking the photos for this post. The first, which isn't pictured, is the Farmacy Green Clean Cleansing Balm, which is just an absolute dream to use and basically murders my makeup and really preps my skin. The second is the Physicians Formula Th Perfect Matcha 3-in-1 Cleansing Balm, which performs really, really similarly to the Farmacy one but at an upper-end drugstore price point, which is why it's the one I have on hand. Admittedly, I do still somewhat prefer the former, but the latter is really comparable while being a little bit more affordable and widely available and ends up being the one that I repurchase. 

Facial Cleanser
Cleansing is my favorite part of my skin care routine, something I haven't been at all subtle about here on the blog, and I've tried A LOT of cleansers over the years - even just over the past year, and when I thought about it seriously these are the two that absolutely stuck out. I haven't been at all quiet about my love for CeraVe products here on the blog and I continue to reach for and love my CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser* as much as I always have. This baby is just a workhorse, getting the job done without bells and whistles in a way that leaves my skin feeling fresh and nourished. Seriously, this cleanser is seriously phenomenal. The 9Wishes Rice Foaming Cleanser* was one that was on my radar for a while before I got to try it and has completely lived up to my hopes. It gives me a really gentle exfoliation that doesn't irritate my skin at all while also really effectively cleansing without damaging my moisture barrier. I honestly think that this might be my currently ultimate favorite, with winter leaving my skin a little bit more in need of exfoliation that other times of the year, since this really does balance that with ingredients that nourish and hydrate the skin as well. Love, love, love. 

Nourishing Toner/Essence
2019 was definitely a toner kind of a year for me, but not in the old astrigent way. This year I started reaching for toners that balance the skin while also including ingredients that have skin care benefits. The product that really started this whole thing for me is the It Cosmetics Miracle Water 3-in-1 Glow Tonic*, which I admittedly didn't entirely fall in love with until months after I first tried it. Next came the Pixi Rose Tonic, which I also liked but didn't love at first. I feel like both of these are the types of products that you really have to use consistently for a while and pay attention to the effects of to really understand how gorgeous they are - and they are! It's hard to quantify and the results aren't the type you could take before and after pictures of, but using them really does improve skin. I also included the May Coop Raw Sauce* this category because, while it's definitely more of an essence than a toner, it performs in a similar way (although with more immediate added hydration and glow results to the skin). I apply it after cleansing and it just immediately boosts my skin, but also helps me maintain hydration and radiance to the skin with consistent use as well. Seriously, I highly recommend getting on the nourishing toner/essence train if you haven't already - it's amazing! 

Eye Cream/Serum
2019, I think, was the year that I really GOT IT when it comes to eye products. I was always a little bit of a skeptic, wondering whether it was worth it to pay for little tiny tubes and tubs of eye cream when the ingredients lists are so similar to regular facial moisturizers. This past year, though, I've really noticed the difference when I use really nourishing products around my eye area and it could absolutely be because I'm at the age where the fine lines are getting... just that little bit less fine. During times of stress or not enough sleep, the Laniege Eye Sleeping Mask* has become a must have for me. I really do notice a difference when I wake up in the morning after using this product, but most specifically on days when outside factors would have led to puffiness or dullness. It's really gorgeous for that purpose. My favorite actual eye cream has definitely been the belif Moisturizing And Firming Eye Cream, which is super rich and emollient and really adds an incredible amount of moisture to the skin. I tend to use this at night, but also reach for it on mornings when my eyes need a little bit of TLC, and something about the richness of it actually makes my makeup apply much more smoothly in that area. When it comes to eye serum, I want it lightweight, but when it comes to eye cream, I'm really finding that I want a dense, rich cream to really get in there.

Hyaluronic Acid
I feel like hyaluronic acid is one of those ingredients that I started using... I'm thinking around 7 or 8 years ago now and it's one that I basically can't live without in my skin care routine. In my favorites I feel like I have two entirely different HA products that are both absolute must haves for me. First, which I think of as being the more traditional HA product, is the Vichy Mineral 89 Skin Fortifying Daily Booster*. This product is really lightweight and perfect for every day, especially because I find I can pair and layer it with pretty much anything and I've never had any issues. I feel like this really gives skin an immediate boost, but also really helps to maintain hydration when used regularly as well. The SkinCeuticals H.A. Intensifier* is another product that... I just love so much! In all of the years I've been using HA, I've never used a product quite like this one. The boost that this gives my skin immediately after I apply it is really, really impressive. It's plump and glowing and youthful looking and the results really last. I seriously don't want to be without either of these products in my routine. 

Vitamin C
On top of all of the other skin care things that I really got on board with in 2019, I really dove head first into Vitamin C this year and I've really seen incredible results with consistent use. The first favorite is the Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop*, which I've been consistently using since I first reviewed it and have seen really amazing results with. It's a really beautiful and unique formula, almost like a light facial oil, and with consistent use it really does give a more evened and brightened appearance to the skin. I actually like it more now than I did when I first reviewed it. Next is an absolute cult product that I always wanted to try but only got the chance to start trying a few months ago, and that's the SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic*. This product absolutely lived up to its hype for me, which is actually really impressive given just how hyped it is. Not only is this product backed by a lot of evidence about this ingredients and formulation, but I can really tell you that I've seen it working on my own skin in real time. Amazing serum!

Exfoliating Acids
I am definitely not new to exfoliating acids and I can say really, really decisively that if I fall off from using them in my skin care routine I absolutely pay for it. At this point, the results and effects from exfoliating acids has been firmly proven to me through experience. First off, the Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid* (shown here in the old packaging because I'm working my way through backups still) has been a favorite of mine for almost 5 years now - and it's one product that I will never be without in my routine. Particularly during the parts of the month when my skin tries to convince itself that it's 13 again, this product shows quick results of unclogging my pores and leaving my skin clear and bright. Next, a newer to me product, the Flawless By Friday Exfoliating Booster Serum is a product that I've downright fallen in love with over the past year. One drop of this in my nighttime routine really does make a huge difference to the overall look and feel of my skin. When I've set this aside because I'm trying other things and have come back to it, I've seen visible, noticeable results within a couple of days. It's that good. Both of these, for very different purposes, are absolute musts for me. 

Day Cream
Admittedly, I don't actually use facial moisturizer every day and oftentimes lean on my serums and essences to give me enough moisture for the day. However, during the colder months (which is, let's face it, more than half of the year here on the prairies) I need a day cream and these are the two that I reach for. Now, you may notice that one of these products is the CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion*, but bear with me for a second here. I don't tend to prefer moisturizers that contain SPF because my skin tends not to agree with them, and the texture and formula of this is so perfect for day that it's definitely become more of a daytime product for me. It's just... gorgeous. Probably my favorite moisturizer in the drugstore, period. Next is the May Coop Raw Moisturizer*, which has a lightweight almost gel-cream formula that's packs a strong punch of hydration without adding any heaviness on the skin. It's perfect for wearing under makeup, especially when the air is really dry and maintaining hydration throughout the day can be a struggle. 

Night Cream
At the end of my nighttime skin care routine, I basically prefer to look like an absolute greaseball because I feel like that really rich, intense moisturizer really works for my skin, especially during the colder months when the furnace basically tries to suck my skin dry. A product that really surprised me for how much I immediately became obsessed with it is the CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream*, which has become my go to winter night cream. It's super rich and lush, leaving my skin feeling soft and almost bouncy in the morning after I use it, and it really seems to help maintain my moisture barrier when the climate is trying to decimate it. Next, the Biotherm Blue Therapy Reg Algae Uplift* is just an absolute stunner, one that I prefer for the warmer months. It's still really rich and luxurious the way I want my night cream to be, but it sinks in quickly and just leaves behind a healthy, hydrated look to the skin. With continued use, this really made a huge difference in how my skin looked and felt and I highly, highly recommend it if Biotherm is in your budget. 

Writing this has been such a joy for me because it really drives home just how much I love these products and how focused and effective my skin care routine has become. I've had this blog for almost 6 years now and it has not only helped to drive a love for skin care, but it's given me the opportunity to try out a lot of products that I never would have before, and even though I was 31 when I started this blog and am 37 now, there is no doubt in my mind that my skin is healthier and more youthful looking now than it was back then. It really, really makes me happy to be able to share these products with you guys.

Here's to featuring more great skin care products and tips in 2020!

Thanks for reading!

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