Trending Beauty:  Skincare

Like many of my thirty-something-millennial-peers during Covid quarantine, beauty has become synonymous with skincare.  Deep into the science of aging skin and skincare products, these are the trending products that I'm using!  Yes it takes five-ever to complete my morning & night routines, but what else do I have to do??

Skin Type

The first step to taking care of skin is apparently knowing your skin type--mine is sensitive, dehydrated, oily, and acne prone.  I cursed myself at a young age by saying that I was aiming to "not have acne" by the time I was 30.

The Double-Cleanse

Morning and night, I'm washing my face twice.  I'm now using the Banilla Co Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm for my first cleanse.  The first cleanse still serves to dislodge debris from my pores, and the exfoliating (whether chemical or physical) cleanser removes any oily residue left by the first cleanse.  For the second cleanse, I've transitioned to using the Dermatologica Ultra Calming Cleanser and the Peter Thomas Roth Anti-Aging Cleansing Gel at night.  I decided to start using the Dermatologica cleanser, because I added Benzoyl Peroxide to my daytime routine and wanted to swap out a product that had an active


Toner is a product I use after cleansing for acne treatment or hydration depending on the time of day.  In the mornings I use the Ole Henrikson Balance Force Oil Control toner and in the evenings I use the Purito Centalla Unscented toner.  My morning routine focuses on Alpha Hydroxy Acids provided by the exfoliating cleanser and the Ole Henrikson toner, while my evening routine focuses on an alternating Beta Hydroxy Acid or Retinol so I use the the Purito toner hydrating buffer to preface the BHA/retinol products.


After toning I use an essence to add concentrated ingredients to my face.  I have been using the SKII Piterra Essence, but I'm not sure I can see a noticable difference in my skin from using it.  I'm almost out now, and instead of re-purchasing it I'm trying out the Snail Mucen Power Essence by CosRX.  After using the CosRX product for a week or so, I felt like it was more of a serum than a replacement for the SKII product.  I picked up a classic holy-grail product instead to replace the SKII--Neogen Dermalogy's Real Ferment Micro Essence.

Tea Tree Oil

I added Tea Tree Oil to my routine to calm my redness and inflammation.  Although I have oily skin I find the one by Aromatica to not feel heavy on my face and absorb quickly--not leaving any residue.  I use Tea Tree oil after my essence in both my morning and night routines, because I notice an immediate reduction in my face's redness.

Chemical Exfoliant OR Retinol

This step is part of my night-time routine only.  I alternate between the Paula's Choice 2% BHA liquid Exfoliant and the Sunday Riley A+ High Dose Retinoid Serum.  I find that using these products has really helped reduce the redness and inflamation on my cheeks.

Serum, Ampoule

At this point of the skincare routine I shift from acne treatment to hydration.  I've been using sheet masks instead of a bottled serum/essence for this step.  In general I have found that the masks with a volume around 30mL of product last through a morning and night routine.  I use the mask for 15 minutes and save the remaining product for my next routine.  

I've been regularly re-ordering the Etude House Soonjung (more of an essence, soothing) masks.  I've also added in the Very Mom Seed Ceramide mask into my rotation--this mask has a large volume of serum, but I find that the mask sheet absorbs a good amount of product.  I can still save what is left over in the package for my next routine, but it's a bit less than the Soonjung and way less than the Abib.

With the arrival of 2021, I picked up three of the 'Best of 2020 at Olive Young' masks with hopes to find another mainstay.  The Rovectin Dr. Mask Aqua, the 23YEARS OLD Cocoon Willow Silky Mask, and the I'm From Mugwort Sheet Mask.

For the times when I do want to use a serum, because don't feel like (or have time) to do a mask I picked up the Green Tea Seed Serum by Innisfree.  

Benzoyl Peroxide

I added the Paula's Choice Benzoyl Peroxide Skin Treatment to my morning routine hoping that it will help with my inflammatory acne.  


This step is part of my morning routine only.  I've been using a chemical sunscreen, the Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence SPF 50 PA ++++.


Last step is locking it all in with moisturizer.  In the mornings I've been using the Ole Henrikson C-Rush Vitamin C Gel moisturizer and at night I use Tatcha Water Cream.  My morning moisturizer is OK, it's a cult favorite.  However my evening moisturizer is up in the air.  Since I ran out of the Estee Lauder moisturizer, and the Cetaphil one didn't work out for me I have been using the Tatcha Water Cream.  I find that this is still sensitizing on my skin, but I'm waiting for the Krave Beauty Barrier Relief Serum to come in which I will use in place of a night-time moisturizer.

Out of Rotation

These products are currently out of rotation, either because they weren't working for me or I'm trying something else!

SKII Piterra Essence

After using this cult favorite essence, I've decided to hold off on repurchasing it in order to try some other essences out.  Although this product feels great on the skin, I'm not sure I can see a visible improvement from using it for a little over 3 months now.  That said, I don't think I can justify the price point!

DHC Cleansing Oil

I've finished my bottle of cleansing oil to try out a cleansing balm.  I didn't have any issues with the DHC Olive Oil-based cleanser  as my first cleanse, so I'm just trying out a new product for fun now.

Estee Lauder Revitalizing Supreme

The Estee Lauder Revitalizing Supreme oil free moisturizer is an old reliable product for me, but since I've been getting more into skincare I wanted to try some new products.  Although I'm not having much luck with moisturizers yet, I haven't repurchased this product due to the price tag.

Abib Gummy Sheet Serum Masks

Taking a break from the Abib Gummy sheet masks to try some Best of Olive Young 2020 ones.  Also I found that this serum can be a bit hit-or-miss in that it sometimes pills instead of absorbing into my skin.  I still maintain that it is super hydrating when it does absorb into the skin.

Tatcha Deep Cleanse Exfoliating Cleanser

The Tatcha Deep Cleanse Exfoliating Cleanser is out of my nightime routine these days.  I don't find anything particularly wrong with it, but it doesn't really serve a purpose in my routines due to the fact that I already use chemical exfoliators daily.

Tried It Only, Not For Me

High Concentration Niacinamide Serums

I finished the Paula's Choice 20% Niacinamide treatment, and decided not to repurchase it in favor of the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% serum by The Ordinary.  In the past I have also used a compound lotion with a 4% Niacinamide by Curology.  I've found that the lower concentrations of product work better for my skin.  After using the serums by The Ordinary and Paula's Choice, my skin immediately becomes irritated and stings.  This happens even after buffering the products and no matter how little I use.  However, currently I've still got Niacinamide in my routine in my moisturizer.

Cetaphil Deep Hydration Healthy Glow Daily Face Cream

The Deep Hydration Healthy Glow Daily Face Cream by Cetaphil is a product that I very much wanted to love.  However, I've removed it from my skincare routine, because I seem to have a sensitivity to something in it--starting to think that something used to suspend Niacinamide is the real problem.  

The Ordinary Azelaic Acid

Another product I really wanted to love, but as soon as I used it my skin started burning and itching.  I did use this product twice--the first time after a serum and the second time 30 minutes after letting moisturizer sink in--sadly the same result both times.  I will set this one aside to try again when my skin is less irritated though, because through Curology I was using a product with low concentrations of both Niacinamide and Azelaic Acid with no issue.

Tatcha Water Cream

The Tatcha Water Cream is really not for me, because on my skin it causes irritation and is just not hydrating enough.  Although I've used it when I didn't have a better option this product doesn't have a solid place in my routine.

La Neige Water Sleeping Mask

THe La Neisge Water Sleeping Mask, although more fragranced than the Tatcha Water Cream, doesn't cause any irritation on my skin.  However, it's even less hydrating for men than the Water Cream.  Might give these products a shot again when my skin is feeling healthier, but right now they aren't doing what I need a moisturizer to do!