From rich creams to glossy face oils, these wellness folks tell all.
Most of the time, when we sample a new skin-care product, we might notice a little brightness or dewyness, but our lives aren't changed. Our skin is still our skin. It's rare that any major or noticeable difference happens immediately—or, you know, ever.
But on the flip side, every so often a product traipses by that is actually skin-changing, which, for those of us who obsess about skin care (hi), is actually kind of life-changing. I've had a few of those over the years, but most recently, it was Heraux Molecular Anti-Inflammaging Serum. This targets inflammaging, which is a fun term for everyday inflammation that causes aging, aka my life story.
A few close runners-up are Farmacy's Cheer Up eye cream, which I swear makes me look approximately 50 percent more awake every time I slather it on; Plant People's Restore Face Mask, because my skin looks totally different after I put it on, every time; and Circumference's entire line, especially the face oil, which is great for calming down my skin when it's particularly annoyed.
We wanted to find out the skin-care game changers from our fave beauty and wellness friends, so we asked them all: What product totally changed your skin?
Founder and CEO of Dive in Well
Photo: Courtesy of Maryam Ajayi
“I am truly obsessed with Aba Love's Flower Crown Facial Serum—it is a product that I keep coming back to after many years. Not only is this product sustainably made, it does what it says it will do. I struggle with hyperpigmentation, as do most people with African-American skin, and this product not only brightens my skin, but it evens my skin tone out, as well—I can visibly see a difference in my dark marks. I am not a huge makeup person, and I love that I can massage this onto my face and confidently walk out the door (or onto a Zoom meeting). It just makes me feel radiant!"
Trinity Mouzon Wofford
Co-founder and CEO of Golde
Photo: Courtesy of Trinity Mouzon Wofford
“Palermo Body’s Rose Geranium Soap is one of the few bar soaps that’s gentle enough for my face and body. This one works like a charm to keep my congestion-prone skin clear without drying it out. Each bar is made by hand in Brooklyn, and the scent is very therapeutic in the shower.”
Photo: Courtesy of Meg Broome
“The product I would say is my must-have is the F-Balm Electrolyte Waterfacial from Drunk Elephant. As this year has been insanely stressful, waking up with skin that feels like a baby’s bottom instantly changes my mood. Dry skin and stress don’t stand a chance against the deep moisture this product gives your face. A student recommended this product to me, and I have been obsessed ever since.”
Founder of Nette
Photo: Courtesy of Carol Han
“I've been using Tata Harper's Creme Riche lately, and it's so good. I've had oily/combination skin my whole life, so I've veered away from richer creams by instinct. When you grow up trying to control teen acne and a constantly shiny face, it becomes second nature to shy away from the thought of putting anything heavy on your skin. I've been using it every day, both day and night after cleansing, and I see such a difference in texture and hydration."
Photo: Courtesy of Shani Darden
“Tazorac was one of the first prescription retinols I ever used. Although prescription retinols can tend to be harsh, I was able to use this a few times a week, and it definitely changed my skin. It was the reason I fell in love with retinol."
Wilma Mae Basta
Founder and CEO of DRK Beauty
Photo: Courtesy of Wilma Mae Basta
“Shea Radiance Unrefined Organic Shea Butter—this does everything! On the coldest and driest of days, I use this as my night cream after I use Sunday Riley Luna oil. The next morning, you’d think I had been in a tropical rainforest, my skin is so soft and plump! I slather it on my feet at bedtime and slide them into my night socks, and this is what I use on my entire body after each shower or bath. I couldn’t live without it.”
Angela Jia Kim
Founder of Savor Beauty
Photo: Courtesy of Angela Jia Kim
“I love the Vapour Beauty Soft Focus Foundation for a beautiful, glossy sheen. I've used it for about three years, and it's fantastic for adding a finishing glow and luminosity."
Photo: Courtesy of Jamila Powell
“A definite game changer for me has been the Pixi Vitamin-C Remedy Mask—my skin feels so soft, hydrated, and refreshed. I feel like it really brightens up the skin and leaves me feeling energized. I absolutely love the way my face feels and looks."
Founder and CEO of Mala Collective
Photo: Courtesy of Ashley Wray
“I've always noticed my skin is clearer when I am in a state of calm, gratitude, and relaxation, versus the times I'm stressed and anxious. So my natural approach to skin care is keeping grounded through meditation—I see such a noticeable shift in my body and my skin. A few years ago, I expanded my nightly ritual by incorporating a facial oil by May Lindstrom called the Blue Cocoon. To slow down each evening, I do a meditation, have a hot cup of tea, and use this facial oil. It's very luxurious, intentional, and soothing."
Co-founder of Pink Door
Photo: Courtesy of Mary Ancel
“It took a little while to get used to the oil-like consistency of The Ordinary's non-foaming Squalane Cleanser, but it leaves my face super clean without feeling stripped and dry. Plus, all their products are free of nasty chemicals, vegan, and super affordable."
Founder of Willa Creative
Photo: Courtesy of Jhoanna Marissa
“Picking just one is so hard, but I value consistency and versatility in my products. So I'd have to say the MARA Universal Face Oil. I have consistently loved using it as part of both my day and night routine the past couple of years. I have tried so many oils, and this one is the perfect balance for my skin. It's nourishing while not leaving your skin overly oily or tacky. I tend to have drier skin, and I believe moisture is super important to fight against wrinkles while also adding a barrier to the skin to lock in other products."
Founder of Rosebud Woman
Photo: Courtesy of Christine Mason
“One product I'm really loving is Aurelia Probiotic Skincare's Refine & Polish Miracle Balm. It leaves my skin feeling so soft, fresh, and clear—and ready to absorb nourishments. I use it three or four times a week in the shower and follow it with serums."
Photo: Courtesy of Andrea Rice
“I’ve spent far too much money over the years in search of the perfect face oil, and what I’ve discovered throughout my research is that an effective product doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Pai’s Rosehip Bioregenerate Face Oil with rosehip seed and fruit extract has brightened and nourished my dull, work-from-home pandemic skin. Pai Skincare products are organic, vegan, and cruelty-free, and are ethically sourced and sustainably manufactured in London.”
Top photo: Courtesy of Shani Darden
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