Rio is the US Strategist’s resident ‘not a professional just crazy’ beauty writer, bringing the focus of a true fanatic to bear upon the stuff you should be putting on your face. If you haven’t read her writing, her famous Google Doc story is a good place to start.
One of my favorite YouTube subsets is “empties” videos, in which skin-care obsessives show off the products they’ve used down to the very last drop. The videos are really useful, I think, because they show what products people have used, over and over, for long stretches of time. For the past few months, much to the dismay of my very tidy boyfriend, I’ve been stowing away some of my personal empties in a cabinet under my bathroom sink, so I could round them up and tell you about them. Below, a list of the things I’ve used and loved and used again, until there was nothing left in ’em.
This is one of my favorite cleansers of all time. It has a watery gelatinous texture (most standard gel cleansers are way too stripping on my ultradry, sensitive skin; this one is not) and is just the most gentle, nourishing, non-stripping cleanser I’ve ever tried. It’s so gentle, in fact, that Dr. Loretta says it is safe to use on post-procedure skin (after a laser treatment, for instance, when your skin is super-red and flaky) because the chamomile and marine peptides soothe, heal, and hydrate.
You guys know I love snail products for healing and hydrating and keeping acne at bay. This sleeping pack (which, for the record, is a nighttime mask jam-packed with skin-boosting ingredients) contains not only snail slime but licorice root for brightening and paeonia lactiflora root (which has anti-aging and plumping properties). After using this sleeping pack (it goes on as the last step in my routine), I wake up with smooth, soft, supple, and bright skin. I’ve been using this product a few times a week as a part of my evening routine for the last few months and truly love it. (And in case you were wondering: Yes, his snail slime is ethically sourced, so no snails were harmed in the making.)
I was super-excited when I learned that Purito planned to make a version of my beloved Centella SPF without the original’s lavender scent. The sunscreen is incredible for protecting the skin, while soothing and healing simultaneously. It’s lovely and moisturizing enough so that if you have normal or oily skin, it works as a morning moisturizer. I’ve gone through not one but two of these tubes in the last few months.
An aesthetician friend of mine told me that this was the best face oil she’d ever used for healing scabs and deeply hydrating the skin. So when it went on sale, I decided to take the plunge. This oil is definitely expensive, but I have no regrets about buying it because, as you can see, I used it to the very last drop. What I like most about this oil is how intensely nourishing and hydrating it is on the skin without being at all heavy. It’s the lightest face oil I’ve ever tried, so if you’re the kind of person who likes the results face oils deliver but can’t stand that thick, greasy feeling, this one is great. It’s incredibly healing: Anytime I was struggling with post-breakout scabs, redness, or dry patches, I put this on and it sped up the healing process.
This lovely, magical, zit-busting serum is a cult figure to me and my close beauty-loving friends. It’s healing, brightening, and pimple-fighting without being at all drying (this is particularly important: When my skin gets too dry, it tends to overproduce oil, which then causes more breakouts). I use this every evening after toning, and my skin is always calmer and clearer when I wake up. Truly something I repurchase over and over again. (Note: The old version comes in a blue bottle, but the revamped version comes in a red bottle.)
This is one of my favorite everyday skin products for when I want very light coverage but still need to take the edge off of any dark spots or circles. It gives the skin this beautiful, allover dewy tint. If I have two seconds to get ready, I’ll throw some of this on my skin, plus some cream blush, and I’m out the door. It’s low maintenance, easy to blend, and leaves my skin looking like skin. I’ve gone through two containers of it already. I’m in the shade medium.
I recently bought both the mini-version of this that I keep at my desk, and the big one that I keep in my bathroom. It’s just good: It leaves no white powdery stuff in your hair and adds volume to gross oily hair. This does have quite a strong scent to it (that classic Ouai rosy scent), but I actually really like it — I always get compliments on how I smell when I use it.
My hair is very nearly recovered from its ultrableached platinum days, and I give major credit to Oribe for hurrying the healing process along. I run this through the ends of my damp hair after showering, and when it dries, it’s smooth and falls just right. No more of that insane frizziness I dealt with while I was ultrablonde!
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