Best of 2018 // Skincare & Haircare


In the past I’ve tried to pick products from each category I could think of (Best Cleanser, Best Toner, etc.), but once I realized I found so many moisturizers I loved this year, but had a harder time picking out a serum, I figured a top 15 list would get the job done. You don’t always find a “best of” contender in each category, but these are the skincare and haircare products that I’d get excited about using, and gave me amazing, consistent results. 15 seems like a lot, but it was surprisingly hard to whittle them down! I’ve talked about all of these before at some point, so I’m just going to include a quick blurb about each (ask me questions if you have them though!). In alphabetical order, here they are:

Banila Co. Clean It Zero Nourishing: something I discovered towards the back end of the year, but it’s so effective at removing my makeup/sunscreen, doesn’t clog my pores, has a balm texture that melts down into a silky oil & emulsifies, plus it washes off easily without stripping my skin. I never got to try their OG formula, but this one doesn’t have mineral oil, and works wonders for my dry skin. Also, I just realized they sell a jumbo size!

Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-Exfoliating: I’ve tried a handful of exfoliating hair scrubs this year, and the Briogeo Scalp Revival came out on top. I like that the exfoliating particles are small but still effective (chunky scrubs can be harder to work around in my hair, and get stuck), and this really helps get out all the buildup, without drying it out or making it feel squeaky. I also get some nice volume from it, and a little goes a long way - I do wish it were in a tube packaging though!

Clinique Moisture Surge Face Spray: I’ve tried a TON of mists that are simply refreshing and don’t do much else, but this spray actually gives me a boost of moisture that sinks in easily and leaves my skin feeling hydrated and happy. If I had to narrow down my mists to one, I’d easily pick this.

ENATURE Birch Juice Hydro Essence Skin: a clear, lightweight essence that’s like a big drink of water for my face. It has more viscosity than a watery essence, but lighter than a cream one, and gave me lots of hydration that I could layer, without feeling sticky. Simple, but the most effective in my stash for hydration (although the COSRX Snail Mucin essence is forever an MVP, but I use it more for healing).

First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads: before I started using these pads, the tendency to overexfoliate was so real. These pads are effective at exfoliating, but gentle enough that if I use them 3x a week, my skin doesn’t panic into small bumps. I’ve had to ride a fine line with acids this year, and this was the first one that didn’t scare me everytime I used it.

Farmacy Honey Potion: a longtime favorite mask that feels warming upon application, and helps to re-balance my skin when it’s feeling patchy or tired and dull. It’s the one I grab most when the cold weather hits, because it plumps my skin right up and brings it back to life with all its honey goodness. I sometimes wear this way longer than it’s meant to be worn, but it heals like no other.

Gisou Honey Infused Hair Oil: this oil is quite thick when you get product out of the dropper, but is so light on the hair, and makes my ends look healthy and shiny without weighing them down or making them look piece-y. I’ve also tried a lot of hair oils this year, and honestly none are similar to texture or performance. Pricey, but worth it. And the scent is INCREDIBLE.

Joanna Vargas Exfoliating Mask: despite lots of people swearing off physical exfoliants, it’s a necessary part of my routine, and this mask has been my favorite all year. The consistency is quite runny, and the exfoliating particles give me enough scrub to leave my skin feeling soft and smooth, but not irritated or sensitive. I don’t use this too often because it’s quite a thorough scrub, but it’s my go-to when I’m dealing with lots of texture and dryness.

Kahina Giving Beauty Face Cream: the actual night cream of my dreams - it’s deeply nourishing, but not too heavy, and never causes any congestion. It sinks in and hydrates so well, and it lasts all night so I wake up with perfectly balanced skin. It layers easily with my other skincare, mixes well with oils, and is perfect for summer or winter.

Krave Beauty Matcha Hemp Hydrating Cleanser: currently my favorite cleanser, hands down. It’s gentle, non-stripping and effective as a second cleanse (or morning cleanse). As much as I love Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser, this feels like the grown-up, better version of that.

Osea Cleansing Milk: probably the most gentle cleanser I own, which is why I grab for it so often in the AM. Soothing on the skin, non-drying, and my skin feels soft and nourished after using. One of those fail-safe products that I can always go back to when my skin needs calming down. Although I’ll never not be afraid of accidentally shattering the glass bottle on the ground.

Prose Haircare: some people are skeptical about personalized haircare, but my hair has never looked as healthy, shiny & soft as when I use this range. The hair mask is my favorite (I got the pre-shampoo mask option) because it really helps with my scalp buildup without leaving any residue or drying out my hair. The shampoo and conditioner are also a great duo, and they help my hair and scalp feel more balanced and happy. Worth trying if you’re still on the hunt for a shampoo, conditioner and mask that make sense for your specific hair type!

Supergoop Invincible Setting Powder: the only way I can re-apply SPF on top of makeup is with this lightweight setting powder, plus it’s so convenient and lives permanently in my makeup bag that comes with me everywhere. I love that it doubles as a way to powder away any shine, while keeping my skin protected - a forever handbag staple.

Tan-Luxe The Face: these drops are so easy to use, and give my face a touch of color while still looking natural. You can control the depth of color with the amount of drops you use, which make them a year-round staple for me. Some of their other products have that typical self-tanner scent, but I don’t have that issue with the face drops, and even if I did I would be okay with it because these make me look healthy when I need a little boost.

Youth to the People Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream: I can’t rave about this moisturizer enough - I use it in my PM routines in the warmer weather, in my AM routines in the cooler weather, and it provides long-lasting hydration, in a wonderfully light, soothing cream that sinks in without sitting on top of your skin. I would buy 100x over, it makes my skin feel normal and moisturized, but not greasy - it’s all I could ask for.