I buy quite a lot of my products from Dermstore. They have oodles of my favorite brands, frequent sales, and one of the best reward programs I have ever come across. You can actually earn redeemable credits fairly quickly (unlike other stores, cough cough, Sephora). They feature 2x points frequently, (I think they even have that going on right now) and you can always save money when you shop your "favorites" or sign up for automatic refills of products you buy regularly. You can also earn cash back through Rakuten. Devan over at Devsday reminded me you can refer friends to Rakuten and you each earn $25. If you aren't already signed up, you can sign up through my referral code here and we will both get $25 to shop with, so that's dandy. The only thing I do not love about Dermstore sales is that brands often opt out of being featured in their promotions, which is a bummer. I am going to list all the products I buy from here regularly, but I am not positive everything is eligible for the sale. I am going to list them by brand (instead of type) to keep it simple. These are affiliate links, meaning I earn a small commission if you shop. I certainly appreciate it when you do, as these posts take a long time to create for you all! Also, Dermstore: could ya girl get a coupon code or become an ambassador? 'Cause believe me, I am sending a lot of people your way, and often!
ALLIES OF SKIN
Mandelic Pigmentation Corrector Night Serum is my favorite nighttime serum for pigmentation and exfoliation. This serum has helped reduce my melasma significantly, as well as even out my skin tone. It is also hydrating, which my dry skin loves. I plan to never be without it, which is bad news for my wallet but great news for my skin. Full review here.
Okay, this is the only product on this list I myself have not tried yet, but plan to pick up asap. The Peptide Antioxidants Daily Firming Daily Treatment sounds like my dream moisturizer. Formulated with multiple peptides, 7 brighteners, 9 antioxidants and a 16.5% Repair Complex - it firms and repairs damaged skin. It also reduces signs of premature aging. (Hi I'm almost 31 I am definitely aging prematurely). It's not even a "moisturizer" it's a TREATMENT. I have not heard a single bad thing about this product and since it's pricey as fuck you better believe I am thinking about shopping it during this sale.
Skin Recovery Cream is hands down, by far, my favorite moisturizer I have ever used. My dermatologist turned me on to it over a year ago and I have gone through at least 5 or 6 tubes. It is gentle, effective, fragrance free, and damn lovely on my dry, sensitive skin.
The Cicalfate Restorative Cream is thick, dense, and dreamy. When my skin has been compromised (usually because I'm an idiot who has done something to fuck it up) or is feeling extra dry, I reach for this beauty. I also use this as a night cream in the winter when the Chicago weather has left my skin red and raw.
The Cicalfate Restorative Hand Cream is my favorite unscented hand-cream on the market. Deceivingly lightweight, this packs a punch and will cure even the most chapped hands. The tube is generous, and one lasts me almost a year.
Their famous Sensible H20 Micellar Water has a cult following for good reason. It is simply the best micellar water on the market. I have lost track of how many bottles I have gone through, and have never found a brand that can compare to this. Soak a cotton round with this stuff and kiss your makeup GOODBYE! Garnier could never.
Another product I refuse to ever be without is the Atoderm Cleansing Oil. The gigantic 34oz bottle with last you AT LEAST a year, and for under $20. I use this for shaving and it never clogs my razor, and I rarely get razor burn anymore. It's lovely as a body wash, as it doesn't dry out the skin, instead leaving it nourished and soft. It does have a light fragrance, but thankfully it doesn't linger and has never given me any irritation.
The Atoderm Intensive Balm is a thick, creamy body lotion that I love in the winter. She can feel a bit heavy and you have to wait a hot minute before you'll be able to slide some jeans on, but dry, itchy, weather-worn skin will adore this rich cream.
Scalp Revival Charcoal + Biotin Dry Shampoo is damn good stuff. I've always had the hardest time finding a dry shampoo that actually cleans my hair without leaving my fine locks weighed down. This one try cleanses the hair and gives it a touch of volume. I have never had any issues with breakouts or limp hair. I have two bottles at the moment and use it often.
Another hero product from their scalp line is their Scalp Revival Charcoal Scrub. The fresh and invigorating formula gently cleanses the scalp and rinses clean. I lent this to my husband when he was having a bit of dandruff and he refuses to give it back to me because he likes it so much. This is also great if your scalp is peeling after some sun exposure! Don't worry, I will steal it back for myself soon.
As a bleach blonde, I am always hunting out the best hair masks. The Don't Despair, Repair Mask feels lightweight but deeply nourishes my strands. It has a light rosewater fragrance that thankfully has not broken me out. I use this more of a conditioner than a mask, but it gets the job done either way.
The Be Gentle, Be Kind Matcha + Apple Restorative Shampoo smells like fresh green juice and gives my hair a deep cleanse. I try not to use it too frequently as it could dry out my fine hair, but every now and then when I need a deep clean to get rid of build up, I turn to this babe. My husband also keeps stealing this one from me, but I'm putting up a fight to keep it.
Is this the most bougie lip balm I own? Yes. Did I buy it after reading how dozens of celebrities are obsessed with it? Also yes. It is FIFTY. FUCKING. DOLLARS? You betcha. Do I love it beyond words and use it every.single.night? Heck yeah. Do I regret buying it? Not one bit.
Look, I liked this shit before TikTok made it famous. The Moisturizing Cream is the body cream that got me through living in the harsh desert of Arizona and the brutal winters of Chicago. It comes in a tub so you won't feel guilty about scooping a massive handful at a time to slather anywhere and everywhere. The simple but effective formula is still one of my favorite body creams almost 10 years after I first tried it. This rich cream boosts and reinforces your skin's protective barrier, to lock in moisture and nutrients. While it claims it's gentle enough for the face, I always found it a bit heavy for mine.
The Total Eye 3-in-1 Renewal Therapy SPF 35 tinted eye treatment might be my favorite product discovery of 2020. This nourishing eye treatment provides just enough coverage while also treating signs of aging, dryness, dark circles, and puffiness. It also has SPF that doesn't irritate my eyes! A true winner I never plan to be without, and already have a backup of. I bought the original shade "medium" which works well. Their shade range is limited but due to the sheer nature of the formula I imagine they are fairly adaptive.
The Sunforgettable Total Protection Face Shield Glow SPF 50 is giving the above treatment a run for the spot of favorite product. This glowy, dewy, heavenly SPF has helped me kiss foundation goodbye. It comes in two shades, Glow and Bronze. I use Glow daily and have never gotten more compliments on my skin. Just so damn good.
I recently picked up their Sunforgettable Lip Shine in clear and immediately went back for the colors. I don't know why finding lip products with SPF is so hard but I have always struggled to find ones I love. This balmy gloss has a touch of shimmer but its very subtle. With an SPF of 35, it is not sticky, and feels like an oil/balm/gloss hybrid. It lasts quite a while and leaves my lips soft and protected from the sun.
I also recently grabbed their Sunforgettable Color Balm SPF 50 which comes in three shades and is a multi-use stick product for cheeks and lips. I purchased the "blush" shade and plan to go back for the bronze. It does have shimmer, but again, it is subtle. I love these for a quickie blush on the go moment or a no fuss pop of color.
The very first cleansing oil I ever tried, the DHC Cleansing Oil has a cult following for a reason. The Japanese brand uses olive-oil as the base of all of their products, and they're all lovely for my sensitive skin. This is a brand my mom has used since I was a child and her skin looks amazing. This oil cleanser will break down anything you throw at it without stripping your skin or leaving a greasy film.
I don't think I have ever seen my mom without this Lip Cream stick. An oily balm, this olive-oil based lip product smooths lines and deeply hydrates.
Anytime the skin on my nose got red and started to peel (which was always when I was a teen), I would reach for the Coenzyme Q10 Cream. And it would fix the issue, every.single.time. Primarily an anti-aging moisturizer, this fragrance free intensive moisturizer deserve much more fame than it currently has.
Another pick from my dermatologist is the UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46 Tinted Sunscreen. This lightweight tinted SPF is my favorite SPF, ever. I use a pump of this with the Colorescience Glow SPF to make my perfect base. I no longer wear foundation thanks to those two sunscreens. This zinc-based sunscreen is oil-free and great for acne prone skin. Anyone with melasma should always be using a tinted SPF. This beauty also contains Niacinamide, Vitamin E, Hyaluronic Acid, Antioxidants, and Lactic Acid. A true winner. It also comes in a clear version if you don't want the tint.
A similar but just as amazing product is their UV Elements Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF 44 Moisturizer. This version has just as many yummy skin-loving ingredients, is a bit thicker and creamier, and has a few more silicones than the former. It definitely gives that super-smooth, glowing skin finish. This version is also more water resistant! I'd recommend this one for anyone wanting a one-and-done product.
The Medical Barrier Cream was my first step into changing my skin many years ago. An aesthetician recommended it to me after a facial in which she had to use three times the normal amount of product on my face because my dry-ass skin was drinking it like Gen-Z drinks dolgona coffee. This uber-rich yet gentle cream is designed for compromised skin, and works on rosacea, eczema, and sensitized skin by fortifying the lipid barrier and providing unreal levels of hydration. Just writing this review makes me miss it. It is also fragrance free!
Anyone with dry skin needs a gentle milky cleanse. Their Milky Lotion Cleanser fits the bill. Ideal for post-treatment and compromised skin, this gentle cleanser cleans but never strips. My dry, sensitive skin adored this cleanser. It is fragrance free and I am already adding it to my own cart because I freaking miss it.
Their signature Fur Oil is loved by Emma Watson and body hair enthusiasts alike. I primarily use this oil on my underarms to fight bacteria and prevent/treat razor burn. After working this into my routine I hardly ever experience in-growns, and kissed redness and irritation goodbye.
Sometimes, I like fragrance in things. I'll wait as you pick yourself up off the floor after fainting from this admission. I like fragrance *sometimes* in body products. I especially love the vanilla-orange scent of this Hand Cream. Its warm yet citrusy, and oh so delicious. I keep a tube on my nightstand and massage it in before bed.
If you know me, you know I almost exclusively fuck with cream blush. My Holy Grail, will-grab-if-my-house-is-on-fire blush is the Kjaer Weiss Cream Blush. Creamy, buildable, long-lasting, ugh. This blush is so damn good. My favorite shade is Embrace, closely followed by Sun Touched. Seriously I cannot say enough good things about this blush. It comes in refillable packaging, is from a "clean" beauty brand (that is not important to me for various reasons but I know it's important to some people), the color payoff is gorgeous and buildable, it will last all day and always look fresh....I could go on and on. Just grab one and thank me later.
KOH GEN DO
The Maifanshi Moisture Foundation could possibly be my favorite foundation, ever. This radiant skin-like foundation is a dry-skin DREAM. It claims full coverage, and I'm sure you could build it to that, but I always found the coverage to be "just right". Not quite sheer, somewhere between medium and "this is what perfect skin looks like". I wear shade 112 for reference. If you aren't convinced yet, the Emily's over at Into the Gloss are also obsessed with it. So. Buy it already and join me in the "my skin looks fucking flawless" frolicking.
Indie's Squalene Oil is a beautiful, simple, effective and affordable oil for all skin types. Dry and sensitive skin types will especially love this oil. In the winter, I use it before my nighttime moisturizer. Sometimes I use it as my base oil before using a facial tool, other times I mix a drop or two into my foundation to make it dewier. Overall, this oil is a winner for me, and a kind of "no brainer", easy to work into any routine staple.
Do you remember the movie A Little Princess? Of course you do. How could anyone forget that masterpiece. It was when Ser Davos from GOT first became "daddy". I can't believe I just wrote that. Moving on. Also, yes, he plays her father, look it up. ANYWAY. There is a scene in the movie where the bitchy brunette is brushing her hair (she does100 strokes every day, don't you know) and she has this EPIC hair brush. I grew up wanting a bitchy hairbrush ever so badly. As a grown as woman, I finally got one. This Mason Pearson Junior Mixture Hairbrush is the real-life version of that brush. It is iconic, has been for centuries (probably) and even garnered a shout out in the Devil Wears Prada. It's pricey, but it'll last a lifetime. I am pretty sure it's made with magic.
I don't think I was a believer in eye cream until I met the Lumiere Illuminating Eye Cream. I had severe under-eye wrinkles before this cream. They are now basically nonexistent. PSP growth factors boost cell's ability to repair and revitalize skin, increasing firmness and reducing wrinkles. Hyaluronic acid plumps and hydrates while matrix proteins restructure sagging skin. Antioxidants protect against environmental damage for a revitalized appearance. You only need a tiny bit, so the bottle will last a long time. I layer this under the ColoreScience tinted eye treatment and the combination is ::chef's kiss::
The Bio Serum Firm might be the most transformative serum I have ever used. I say this every time I talk about it. I saw noticeable improvement in days. DAYS. Since then I use it nightly and my skin has never been happier. It combines a powerful blend of proprietary peptides with human growth factors. This anti-aging serum helps reduce the look of fine lines, wrinkles while brightening the skin. Sodium hyaluronate replenishes moisture and helps boost the skin's resilience. It is fragrance free and a stupidly expensive. But also completely worth it.
I have been using the serum every night in conjunction with the Bio Cream Smoothing Cream and they are a power couple if I have ever seen one. My aesthetician handed this to me after a chemical peel and said "I'm giving you a sample of this. It changed my skin." I went back the for full size bottle a few weeks later. This blog is taking forever to write so I am just going to copy and paste the description here, "Ideally formulated for maturing, sensitive, stressed and irritated skin and features a naturally balanced blend of essential rejuvenating nutrients. Growth factors, antioxidants and matrix proteins, including collagen, revive skin while boosting firmness, elasticity and brightness." Right. What they said.
Paula's Skin Recovery Calming Toner is one of my favorite hydrating toners, ever. I use a hydrating toner immediately after showering and washing my face because if my dry skin even briefly encounters air without the protection of some sort of product, it will shrivel and dry out. I recently decanted this toner into a mist bottle and it was life changing. Hero ingredients include Vitamin E, Panthenol, Castor Oil,Hyaluronic Acid, and Vitamin C. Specifically formulated for dry and *very* dry skin, this hydrating toner is a skin savior.
The cousin of the hydrating toner, the Skin Recovery Replenishing Moisturizer is another dry skin hero. It is also another product my husband has stolen, but I'm just happy he's using skincare so I'm letting him keep this one. Fragrance free and formulated for dry, sensitive skin, this features Panthenol, Aloe Vera,Vitamin E, Dimethicone, and Vitamin C.
This brand is renowned for their effective but pricey formulas. I have only tried the B5 Hydrating Gel and, unfortunately, I fucking loved it. My dry skin needs hyaluronic acid like a fish needs water. This version is sumptuous, bouncy, and lovely. There is no tacky dry down, and my skin looks immediately plumped. A little goes a long way, and the bottle lasted me about 3 months with daily use.
I love a moisturizer. That sounds so basic but wrap some luscious whipped creamy lotion in a glass jar and I'll swoon. Add Arctic berries and call it "cloud cream"? You've got me. The Pure Cloud Cream with Arctic Berries is an old flame of mine. She's light yet rich, soft yet impactful. Specifically formulated for dry and sensitive skin types, this delightful moisturizer "fortifies your skin's natural moisture barrier while conditioning your skin for a soft, supple feel." Or whatever.