Prior to quarantine, my life was very "go, go, go." Not enough sleep, not enough water, not enough time for anything. But ever since March, life has been a little slower, and I've had time to step up my skincare game a bit. And my skin has reaped the benefits. Among my skin concerns are dryness, dullness, fine lines, redness/splotchiness, and sun protection. (Speaking of sun, I wasn't getting much at all prior to the pandemic, but since so many of my daily activities—like exercising—have moved outdoors, I'm getting much more than usual.)
At 36, I feel the need to put a bit more effort into my skincare routine than I did in my 20s, so I'm frequently trying out new products. I've discovered quite a few amazing ones during quarantine and rediscovered some that I'd only used occasionally in the past. With this cocktail of products, I've seen a vast improvement in the texture, brightness, redness, and fine lines. Needless to say, I'll continue to use them post-pandemic.
Scroll on to shop some of the skincare products that have greatly improved my skin over the past few months.
AHA serums are such a staple in my skincare regimen, but they can be drying if you have dehydrated or sensitive skin such as mine. I was anxious to try this one because of the soothing, moisturizing powers of honey. I definitely wasn't disappointed. It's one of the few exfoliating serums I've tried that doesn't leave me with flaky skin the next morning.
This is my go-to moisturizing face mask for summer for several reasons. The texture is a lightweight gel (that smells divine) and it's suitable for all skin types. It has a cooling, calming effect, and after just 10 minutes, your skin will be noticeably softer and brighter.
I'm kind of a broken record about U Beauty at this point, but it's so good that I'm going to keep talking about it. I love a lot of things about it, but what I love most is that using it basically eliminates the need for any other skincare products. It does everything (more specific info about what that "everything" is here). It is pricey but a little goes a long way, and your skin will be as clear and glowing as it has ever been.
I can't help but be partial to our sister brand Versed, but this sunscreen is really good regardless. It doesn't smell sunscreen-y in the slightest, it goes on like butter, and it doesn't get greasy after a few hours. I'll definitely continue to wear it into the fall and winter because sun protection is important even on cloudy days.
I'm partial to foaming gel face washes, especially in the summer. I started using this affordable Bioderma one for the first time this summer and have zero complaints. It's very gentle, so my skin never feels tight after using it, but it still removes impurities and makeup. Plus, you can get it on Amazon.
Now for an oldie but goodie. When my skin really needs a reset, this is what I reach for. It contains several acids, including salicylic acid, so if your skin is broken out, there's a good chance this will clear it up.
The aforementioned serum can be a little drying, so I've been applying a thin layer of this on top lately, and it's the perfect combination if your skin is on the flaky side. It's also great on its own if you just want to wake up with plump, moisturized skin.
This is a product I discovered long before quarantine, but I've been using it more lately because it's a small indulgence that makes me feel good after a long day of staring at a computer screen. I don't use anything else when I use Vintner's Daughter because it already has so many amazing ingredients that I don't want to interfere with. I've tried a lot of facial oils and this is by far the best, so I can confirm that the buzz is justified.
Sometimes I like to use wipes after washing my face to really make sure it's clean. The problem is that most ones I've tried burn my skin, except for these by CeraVe. They're really gentle and even a little moisturizing but also highly effective at the whole makeup-removal thing.
This is another product I like to use post-cleansing when my goal is to brighten and tone. I have some dark spots on my face and this makes a noticeable difference, especially with frequent use. Bonus: It doesn't tingle and burn like many other brightening solutions.
It's not all that easy to find eye cream with SPF (which is confusing to me), but my search ended once I tried this. It's dewy but it doesn't mess with your makeup, and the sheer tint helps to brighten the undereye area. The skin around my eyes is very sensitive, but this doesn't bother it in the least.
If never met a Tatcha product I didn't love, this included. I've never even been a fan of primers, but this primer changed that. As the name implies, it really makes your skin feel and look like silk, smoothing out fine lines and providing a semi-mattifying canvas for makeup. I always notice a difference in how my makeup looks when I use this.
I've been using Retinol Reform for awhile now, but I like to step it up in the summer when my skin is more tolerant. I've tried other retinols before and my skin freaks out, turning into a red, flaky mess. That's never the case with Shani Darden's miracle retinol serum. If your goal is to minimize lines and dark spots, they don't stand a chance against this.
If you're seeking a good, simple, lightweight moisturizer, this is an excellent one for any skin tone. I always apply it after using Retinol Reform, and it's great for prepping your skin for makeup.
I realize that this is pricey for a hand cream, but Augustinus Bader products have proven worthy. I washed my hands a ton even pre-pandemic and I worry about them aging quickly, so I splurged on this. I do think it's helped my shiny, red hands so far, and I plan on using it longterm to continue on the anti-aging path.
This is my favorite bedtime lip balm (it's also an excellent canvas for lip color). The smell is intoxicating and it remedies any level of lip dryness. They'll be noticeably softer the next morning.
On days when I can't be bothered with layering different products (which is almost every day), I've been reaching for this. What I love the most is that it's firming and in addition to providing sun protection, it offers blue light protection. I wouldn't recommend it for the summer if your skin is on the oily side, but it may work quite well in the dry winter air to come.
Allyson is a senior editor for Who What Wear. She joined the company in 2014 as co-founder Katherine Power's executive assistant and over the years has written hundreds of stories for Who What Wear. Prior to her career in fashion, Allyson worked in the entertainment industry at companies such as Sony Pictures Television. Allyson is now based in Raleigh, North Carolina, and is originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She holds a BFA in theater. Her path to fashion may not have been linear, but based on the number of fashion magazines she collected as a child and young adult, it was meant to be.