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I've never been much of a skincare fanatic, but life during COVID-19 lockdown has had me staring at my face more often than I used to. I used to wear a full face of makeup, but since I wasn't really going anywhere or seeing one, I stopped using cosmetics, which made me notice some issues with my skin.
From dry patches to maskne, this past year has been a journey in finding out what my skin really needs. Take a look below at some of my must-have skincare products that have helped my face look a little less dull — and a lot more radiant.
I've stopped wearing makeup during lockdown (except during the dreaded Zoom meetings), and without the buffer of foundation and concealer, I noticed how dull my skin was looking. I bought these pads based on the rave review from a friend, and I've definitely noticed a newfound radiance in my skin (and I am not the type of person to use that word lightly). It clears up the dead skin on my face with its toning and exfoliating properties without irritating my super-sensitive skin. You can also cut the pads in half - one half is more than enough to clean my entire face.
I'm obsessed with moisturizer. I've tried many high-end brands from Sephora, but I keep coming back to this relatively inexpensive option from L'Oreal. I have the cursed combination of skin that is somehow both dry and greasy, so finding the right fit can be difficult, but this cream-gel ticks off all the boxes. It's light enough that it doesn't add to the grease on my face, but moisturizing enough that it soothes the dry patches I get on my cheeks and chin. If you have combination skin, I highly recommend it.
SHOP IT: Amazon, $11
I was visiting my parents recently and forgot my pricey facewash at my apartment, so I was forced to rummage through my mom's stuff and use what she had - and I'm so glad I did. I was super impressed with her Aveeno face wash (so much so that I stole her extra bottle) and I've noticed my face is much less irritated when I use it. As I mentioned, I have sensitive skin, and this wonderful product cleans the grime off of my skin without stripping it. It's even helped reduce the breakouts I get around my period.
SHOP IT: Amazon, $11
I recently turned 31, but somehow I still have the same skin and acne that I did at 16 (rude!). I only recently got into serum in the last few years, and if you haven't as yet, I highly recommend you get one. I generally get some hormonal spots around my period, but I started getting even more breakouts from wearing my mask all the time. This little green potion has enough salicylic acid that it helps to clear up all of the problems on my face - maskne and blackheads included - but not enough that it feels abrasive on my skin. It also has a spicy peppercorn scent that I can't get enough of.
I'm always on a quest to introduce more environmentally friendly products into my beauty routine, so these reusable bamboo pads were the perfect fit to eliminate the need for single-use cotton cosmetic pads. One side is super soft, while the other side is a little more abrasive. With a little micellar water, it completely clears all of the makeup from my face without tugging at my sensitive eye area. It comes with a little baggie, so you won't lose them in your machine, and one round of washing gets rid of any of the products on the pads, including my medium brown foundation and waterproof mascara smudges.
SHOP IT: Amazon, $13
I picked up the sample size of this product during a recent Sephora purchase and it's so damn good I'm going to have to splurge and buy the full size. I haven't been sleeping well for the past few months and it was super noticeable in the puffiness and dark circles around my eyes. Since this gel is meant to treat those two very problems, I put it in my cart as a whim. Guys, this product works. If you have trouble waking up in the morning like I do, pop this in the fridge overnight. The coolness of the gel will help wake your eyes up and help you look like you actually had a proper night's sleep!
SHOP IT: Sephora, $71
I love a good face mask. Every so often, it just feels good to lather something on your face and have it suck out all of the gunk that your toner and cleanser can't get out of your skin. This clay mask really helps to get rid of the excess sebum that lurks beneath my skin, which helps to reduce how oily I look on a daily basis. It also helps to shrink my pores, which is a godsend, since I'm pretty sure the ones on my nose are visible from across the room. It doesn't leave my skin feeling dry, like some other masks do, and doesn't irritate my sensitive skin. It's become one of the favourite parts of my very important treat-yourself Sunday routine!
SHOP IT: Amazon, $20