Skincare Products I Keep Buying

skincare HG holy grail
It’s hard to claim you love a skincare product when you don’t feel compelled to re-buy it.  There are a handful of special products–“HG status” products, that I keep buying, even if I’m lured to try something new.  And hey, it’s the nature of the business; I love trying new things and telling you guys what I think (plus, who doesn’t love trying new products?).  But, there are some products that I absolutely love and stand by–that is, until something better comes along!

Skinceuticals Retinol – Have been obsessed with this stuff since I first dipped my toe in the retinol pool last year (I currently use 0.5% but I’m ready for 1%!).  It’s all I’ve used but it’s going great so if it ain’t broke…

Sunday Riley ‘Good Genes’ – Safe during pregnancy (I’m not) but it is probably the next best thing to retinol.  Smooths my skin wonderfully–I love using it at night and am on my 4th bottle!  Use it with Luna Oil for extra oomph (but not if you’re pregnant).

Tula ‘Illuminating Serum’ – This gives such a glow that I’m confident enough to go makeup free some days.  I love it, wear it daily, and get sad when it runs out. (Use code ANNAJANE for 20% off!)

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid – I found The Ordinary to be SO overrated in general (anyone else?), but I really liked slathering this stuff on before my products.  I have no idea if it does anything except for make my skin feel plump, but at $6 a bottle, that’s good enough for me.

Supergoop ‘Unseen Sunscreen’ – The best sunscreen I’ve used for my face, hands down.

Pixi ‘Glow Tonic’ – Love this stuff and they sell it at Target so it’s easy to re-buy.

My ask for you all: I need help finding a vitamin C serum that will help brighten my skin tone.  I’ve never found one that I like enough to buy again…help!

  • I use skinceuticals vitamin c serum. I feel brighter and glowy immediately after use. It’s expensive but they have quarterly-ish 20% off sales.

    • I should clarify I use Phloretin CF. Everyone uses the CR Ferulic, but I was told the CF is better for acne prone skin, which I have. I’m on my 3rd bottle. But I want to try the Timeless brand serum next because I’ve heard it is almost a dupe of CE Ferulic, and yet a fraction of the price. Would love to know if anyone has had a good experience with it!

    • love skinceuticals but I’m always hesitant to bite the bullet on expensive products, so I’m glad you like it!

  • I recently switched to True Botanicals Vitamin C Booster and really like it. I like that its a powder that you can mix with any existing serum also it doesn’t have that weird vitamin C “smell” if you know what I mean! Previously used Drunk Elephant and Skinceuticals Vitamin C products which were both fine, but not holy grail status for me. Hope you find a Vitamin C product you love!

    • thank you so much! will def check it out. I’ve heard that about drunk elephant–that people like it but don’t LOVE it. thx!

  • Sorry to blow up your comments section, but I forgot to ask a question! 🙂 Do you use all of these at the same time? Like, for example, do you use Good Genes serum and the HA serum and the Tula serum all in a row? Or do you just alternate days, or night vs morning?

    • I alternate! I’ll use HA day and night under everything (right after I cleanse) but good genes and retinol, I definitely alternate days and tula serum I wear every morning!

      • Thanks! I’m always interested in people’s routines. I don’t want to overload with too many products, which is probably unnecessary. But with my current routine, I really do feel like each product really is giving a good result, so I hesitate to cut anything out! My morning routine is Cleanse, Essence, Vitamin C serum, Salicylic Acid serum, HA serum, sunscreen, moisturizer. Night is cleanse, HA serum, retinol, moisturizer. But now I kinda want to add Tula and Good Genes to the mix too. ????????????

  • I really like the glo skin beauty daily power c+
    I’ve used lots and this is very effective & very reasonably priced!

  • Everyone seems to rave about the Kiehls Vitamin C serum. I just ordered it and cannot wait to try it . Love Good Genes and Luna oil.

  • I’ve tried a ton of Vitamin C serums at all price points, and I never saw a huge difference with the most expensive ones I used. Recently I’ve been using Mad Hippie’s Vitamin C Serum — — and I really like it. I hated how difficult it was to spread the Drunk Elephant one, and the Mad Hippie serum goes on just like an oil which I like. I also love the price tag and how easy it is to order on amazon 🙂

  • I use Dermadoctor Kakadu C 20% Vitamin C Serum with Ferulic Acid & Vitamin E. I discovered that they have a 2 pack online at Costco for a great price (compared to how much I was spending at Ulta). I love the pixi glow tonic. My other favorite find this summer has been the Australian Gold Botanical SPF 50 Tinted Face Mineral Lotion. It goes on so nice, I don’t have to wear anything else on my skin.

  • I use Neostrata Vitamin C concentrate. It comes in a pot of little individual capsules with the perfect amount for your face. I think it is supposed to help the product to maintain its concentration. I like the texture and it is easy to pop few capsules in a ziplock for travel.

  • Obagi Vitamin C Serum 20% I am obsessed! Probably on bottle 4 or 5 – it makes me feel brighter, tighter, anddd helps clear up any acne marks

  • Thank you for this post! Love when people share their favorite products.

    I have used Perricone Vit C serum for years and love it. Along with Retin-A and Hydroquinone (for glow/clarity) it’s my holy grail combo. I do think it’s worth a dermatologist appointment for a RetinA prescription. If you tolerate retinol, then I suggest going all the way. Retinols do not even compare with RetinA.

    I can also recommend SkinCeuticals as well. (Tried Drunk Elephant’s version and I didn’t enjoy the texture. )

    Agree 100% on The Ordinary. I’m using up the glycolic toner (AM only) just to be rid of it. Everything else I’ve tried from their line has the effectiveness of water. I did try the Pixie Toner but it does nothing for me, perhaps because my skin is accustomed to tougher stuff! I use Biologique Recherche P50 and absolutely see results.

    In terms of sunscreen, I really recommend Neutrogena’s SPF70. It goes on smoothly, smells pleasant, leaves a nice little glow and is very, very effective. And it’s less than $10!

    • I know I need to get on the Retin A train–I don’t know what’s been holding me back! I also bought the P50W after a facial this Friday so am excited to see how that goes 🙂

  • Hi! I use a majority of these products too. And I have a great recommendation for Vitamin C. Absolutely my favorite product! Kiehl’s powerful strength lime reducing concentrate wirh hylarounic acid and 12.5% vitamin C. THE best!

  • Agree with many of the above points. ‘The Ordinary’ is literally water, I didn’t find a single of their products even remotely effective. Thankfully despite the fact that I got multiple items from their line to try due to all the hype, I got them all for $42 total so it didn’t totally break the bank to find out that they’re useless. I will also vouch for the Kiehl’s powerful line reducing vitamin C concentrate. And as a doctor myself, I can’t emphasize enough how much better Retin-A is compared to retinols. Definitely try the prescription strength. One of the only dermatologic compounds with actual evidence supporting it. P.s. I’ve been following you since 2012 and you were the first blog I ever followed 🙂

    • Thanks for the thoughtful note, Maria! So may people swear by the Ordinary, I was shocked at how much I disliked it. I have rebought the Hyalauronic acid and like it but it’s $6 and I think I see *some* plumping so that’s enough for me to keep using it 🙂 . Bought the Kiehl’s vitamin C today! As for retin-A, I know I need to try it! xx

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