Cruelty Free Skincare Favorites
Updated: Mar 15
Last year I decided to really buckle down on my skincare and start building an arsenal of affordable and cruelty free products that would promote glowing, youthful skin.
(I'm not getting any younger over here, you know?)
I've never had great skin, but a bout of cystic acne in my early 20's left me with a lot of scarring and hyper pigmentation. My first real skin investment was having two rounds of microneedling, which GREATLY reduced the texture and ice pick type scarring that I had on my cheeks. (Shoutout to Sairah over at Theory Aesthetics in Midtown!)
Since then, I've been maintaining an at home regimen of just a few products that I've found to work for my lifestyle and my budget in order to keep my skin looking its best.
1." The cleanse before the cleanse": Pre-Cleansing is one of those things you're either into it or your not.
I personally, like to get the majority of my makeup off before using a cleanser. For this, I prefer to use an oil with a low comedogenic rating, like this grapeseed oil with vitamin E, to breakdown my makeup. This has been much less irritating on my eyes and removes way more than makeup wipes or water alone!
(I wipe all of the remnants off with a warm cloth before moving on to cleansing.)
2. Cleanse: To be honest, using a cleanser is something I only do 2-3 times per week. Other times, particularly days that I don't wear makeup, I skip right to toning and know that between pre-cleansing and following up with a toner that my skin is clean enough.
However, when I do cleanse I use Glossier's Milky Jelly Cleanser. (See: basic bitch)
Obviously the marketing team knew what they were doing when releasing Glossier -because we've all been suckered into the branding , BUT I do love how gentle this cleanser is on my skin It never burns, even around my eyes, and never leaves my skin feeling dry or depleted.
On days that I skip cleansing (or if I feel like my skin is looking dull) I'll use the Glycolic Toner to remove any excess dirt and gently exfoliate.
Otherwise, Ill use Thayers Witch Hazel as a gentle toner to soothe my skin. This is also really great to put in a spray bottle and keep in the fridge for a super cooling spritz during the summer.
4. Serums: I rotate my serums based on need, which for me is either acne control or something to combat pigmentation and texture.
When I feel a breakout coming on, I'll use The Ordinary's Salicylic Acid 2% treatment in the area I'll need it.
Before trying this, it had been years since I used a product with salicylic acid in the ingredients. The drug store brands I had previously tried were always so irritating and harsh on my skin, but I have been so impressed with this formula from The Ordinary. It's slippery like a serum and doesn't cause any redness or burning on my skin whatsoever, but somehow is still effective at combating breakouts.
When my skin is feeling clear, I'll skip the Salicylic Acid and use The Ordinary's Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone (its not recommended to use them simultaneously). This product stings! Because my main skin concern is pigmentation and texture, I opted for the strongest vitamin C concentration. While it is not for the faint of heart, I can definitely tell a difference in my overall completion when I've been using this regularly. Worth it.
If you have sensitive skin or are unsure of what to start with don't panic. The Ordinary has a Vitamin C Guide!
5. Moisturize: I discovered Weleda's Skinfood recently and immediately inducted it into my skincare hall of fame. If you have dry skin OR are just into thick, ultra hydrating moisturizers then you need this like, yesterday. I picked mine up at Target for under $20
The original Skin Food formula is RICH so I only apply this at night and let it soak in while I sleep. I wake up with hydrated skin and a supple glow that's ready to start the day.
That's it! Those are my tried and true skincare products.
While I prefer to keep my routine simple and only utilize products that I love, I'm always on the hunt for my next "holy grail."
Currently, I'm on the lookout for a great weekly mask, so I'f you've got one, drop it below in the comments.