kiana with clear skin

Over the past 6 months or so I have been obsessed with skincare and finding the products that work for my individual skin needs. After sampling all of the prestige brands that I can't afford full sizes of, trying out all of our Editors' Choice Award picks (which will be announced next month), and trying out brands recommended by my favorite beauty bloggers and closest friends - I have finally found something that works. This mixture of products helps to even out my skin tone, keeps my skin clear and moisturized, prevents fine lines, and leaves me with a healthy dewy glow - with or without makeup. But just like entering into any new field with literally millions of options and limited funds, finding the right routine and products was a process. Here are some of the brands that have become staples in my spring skincare routine.

Let's start with the more affordable products I use:

Natural Mixologist

Natural Mixoligist kit

My absolute favorite line of skincare right now comes from Natural Mixologist. I reached out to them early this year to try out their customized skincare set, and have been using it in my skincare routine ever since. Natural Mixologist products are all simply made from plants, seed, oils and infused botanicals to create nourishing + nutrient-rich skin and body care. And major bonus, it's an indie Black-owned brand! You can choose specific products to try out, but I recommend taking the customized skincare quiz here, and buying from their recommended list or buying the entire customized skincare kit. I cleanse night and morning with the No.44 Moroccan Facial Cleanser, tone with the No. 26 Toner, moisturize with the No.31 Facial Serum with rosehip + papaya which targets hyperpigmentation and blemishes, and use the detox clay mask 1x a week or when my face is feeling extra oily. The products smell amazing, and the best part is that I'm using all natural products on my skin and supporting a woman and Black-owned independent company.

The Ordinary

The Ordinary

I have been experimenting with several of the Ordinary's products to see what truly is a dupe for my favorite prestige brands, and what is not. So far my favorite is the AHA/BHA Peeling Solution and their Serum Foundation. The Peeling solution is priced at $7.20, making it the cheapest form of AHA/BHA that I have found on the market, and to my surprise - it really works! Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) exfoliate the skin's topmost surface for a brighter and more even appearance, and Beta hydroxy acids (BHA) exfoliate the skin's deepest places to help clear pore congestion. The combined 32% AHA/BHA solution offers deeper exfoliation to help fight visible blemishes and makes my skin brighter and more radiant with each use. I also love their serum foundation. It evens out my skin tone while still looking and feeling natural on, and it's also priced amazingly well at $6.70 a bottle. They are so cheap I bought two just to make sure I had the right color!

Avene Body Oil

Avene Body Oil

I have no trouble finding time to take care of my skin, but whenever it comes to moisturizing my body on a daily basis, sometimes I have a hard time leaving enough time to moisturize before throwing pants on and running out of the house. Well now I have no excuse because Avene Body oil absorbs into the skin quickly, so you aren't left with any greasy residue like many body oils, but still nourishes my skin with all the moisture and vitamins it needs to be as glowy as the skin on my face. Its rich in natural plant-based oils and Vitamins A and E, making my skin feel soft as ever all day long. The nourishing body oil hydrates parched skin and Avocado Oil and Vitamins A and E nourish and restore the skin while Calendula Oil soothes, and their key ingredient Avène Thermal Spring Water softens and calms the skin. I've been using it regularly for three months and I still have half of the bottle left. It also smells divine and has become my holy grail body moisturizer ever since I received it. Summer is upon us, make sure you aren't out here looking ashy!

These products are more expensive, but worth the splurge.

Pai

Pai Zinc

Pai is also an independent skin care brand, and is woman-owned! While more of a prestige brand, this blemish serum has SAVED my skin. Since using this serum daily, I rarely break out and my skin tone has been more even than ever. I use this as the second step in my skincare routine, right after cleansing and before other serums and moisturizers. Pai products are free from Parabens, Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Petrochemicals, Detergents (SLS/SLES) and artificial fragrance. They also avoid anything that has the potential to upset or imbalance sensitive skin. This is one of the few products I will pay a big sticker amount for- because it simply works.

Schique

Schique

I'm in my mid-twenties now, so I've started to worry about things like fine-lines and anti-aging ingredients. I received the Brilliantly Firm Firming Serum, the Lumistone Hydration Face Moisturizer, and the Intuitive Restoration Renewal Mask and my skin has been GLOWING ever since I added these products into my skincare regimen. Although clay masks are all the rave right now, my skin often needs moisture too, and these three products were the perfect addition to what I had already accumulated in my skincare journey. Schique skincare Increases collagen activity, leading to firmer and tighter skin for a more youthful appearance, assists in cellular turnover, aiding the skin in showing its true radiance, and soothes, calms, and reduces age-inducing inflammation. Their key ingredient, the Dandelion, is known for its diverse therapeutic properties and its ability to give women a radiant glow. All of the products are vegan, gluten-free, cruelty-free, sulfate-free, and paraben-free. I use the firming serum at night after the Pai Zinc serum, and the hydration moisturizer after (I like using these products for my nighttime routine, or under makeup for a dewy look). I use the mask about 1x a week or as needed.



What are some of your holy grail skin care products? Share in the comments below!