Skincare Products You Should Have In Your Beauty Bag

best of beauty bagStart out the year with skincare products that say what they do and do what they say! Listed in the order of use, are my favorite skincare products now.


Facial Cleanser

A good skin care cleanser is the first line of action in your skincare regimen. The PCA Skin Creamy Cleanser is the key cleanser that I choose for mine. It’s creamy but feels light at the same time.

It’s gentle enough to make my skin feel supple and moisturized, but is strong enough to remove makeup and other debris that has accumulated on my face in the course of the day.

I use a dime sized amount in the morning and again at night and it doesn’t cause breakouts or cause any skin irritation. It’s silky and yummy and makes washing my face a truly pleasurable event. It smells good too! My skin feels supple and moisturized after using it.

The PCA Skin Creamy Cleanser is a great way to start your daily skincare routine. I love it!

Key Ingredients: Glycerin (protects and hydrates), Rose Hip Seed Oil (brightens & hydrates), Sunflower Seed Oil (anti-inflammatory, moisturizer),  Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (antioxidant, wound healing, antiages), and Yucca Schidigera Extract.

  Since only a dime size is needed and at $30ish for 7 fl.oz this bottle goes a long way.

beautyblackbook heartEpicuren Skin Conditioner Enzyme Toner

epicuren enzyme toner

The first thing I do after cleansing my face, neck, and decollete, is swipe on a pump sized portion of the Epicuren Skin Conditioner Enzyme Toner.  It removes all of the chlorine and mineral deposits that are in our tap water allowing our skincare products to penetrate more effectively.

This enzyme toner utilizes antiaging ingredients such as niacin, to repair the skin, skin tighteners such as collagen and elastin and lots of other delicious stuff that’s perfect for maintaining your skins’ elasticity and glow. It’s gentle enough to use everyday without drying out your skin.

I’ve been using the Epicuren Skin Conditioner Enzyme Toner for years and I haven’t met it’s match.

Key Ingredients: Collagen Amino Acids (elasticity), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (Aloe Vera – antiaging, wound healing, antioxidant), Biotin, Niacin / Vitamin B3 (repair & maintain skin), Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract, Elastin (tightens skin)

Cost: About $20ish for 2 oz and $30ish for 4 oz. I buy one 4 oz bottle every 4 or 5 months.

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PCA Skin C&E Strength Max

The PCA Skin C&E Strength Max is my favorite new antiaging product this year. With 20% Vitamin C it’s strong enough to cause real changes in your skin. It reduces fine lines, wrinkles and fades dark spots, evening your skin tone fast.

I use it in the morning after my toner and it feels cool and tingly and smells like oranges. The texture is a teeny bit creamy but goes on super thin and is considered a serum. Within a week of using it my skin looked more glowy and bright.

My dermatologist extraordinaire, Dr. Linder, recommended it to me and I’ve been addicted ever since!

Key Ingredients: 20% Pure Vitamin C (a brightening antioxidant, fades dark spots), 5% Pure Vitamin E, Vitamin A/ Retinol (antiaging antioxidant)

Price: $95ish for 1oz but a little goes a long way. A tube lasts me about 2 months.

BUT, I also like this more budget friendly option:

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Radha Beauty Vitamin C Serum

I’m well aware that not everyone wants to fork over 96 bucks for a skin brightening serum so as a nice substitute I like the Radha Beauty Skincare Vitamin C Serum. It also contains 20% vitamin C & vitamin E but, as a bonus, throws in some ferulic acid which makes the vitamin C & E even more effective.

The smell is kinda whack (that’s the ferulic acid), but the scent goes away after you put it on. The texture is watery and it dries almost the moment your put it on your skin. It’s 98% natural and has 72% organic ingredients.

At $15ish for 2 FL oz I don’t feel guilty to mix it in with my body cream too!

Key Ingredients: Organic Herbal Infusion (Gotu Kola, Dandelion, Geranium, Horsetail), Organic Aloe Vera (healing antioxidant), Vitamin C (skin brightening antioxidant), Botanical Hyaluronic acid (plumps skin), Amino Complex (strengthens & tightens), Ferulic Acid (antiaging antioxidant), Glycerin (protects and hydrates)

Price: $15ish for 2FL oz my husband really likes this one best. 🙂

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Revision Revox 7

revision revox 7

The Revision Revox 7 is a super light, oil-free serum to smooth out expression lines on your forehead, eyes, lips and neck. It contains GABA to relax the muscles that cause those lines and is loaded with 7 different peptides that promote the growth of fresh new collagen to boot!

I pat a little around my eyes and above my lip before my moisturizer in the morning to smooth out the beginnings of fine lines. The Revision Skincare line was developed for post treatment skin and is gentle enough to use after laser skin rejuvenation, micro-needling, or other skin care treatments.

Key Ingredients: Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-19, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Acetyl Octapeptide-3 & Dipeptide Diaminobutyroyl Benzylamide Diacetate (reduce appearance of expression lines), Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7 (firms skin), (GABA) Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (reduce appearance of expression lines),Palmitoyl Tripeptide-28 & Trifluoroacetyl Tripeptide-2 (smooths and tones)

Cost: $90ish for 0.5 fluid ounce. A little goes a long way and I’ve been using the same bottle for several months so far.

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Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Moisturizer


Neutrogena wrinkle repair moisturizer

I included the Neutrogena Rapid Repair Moisturizer Night because everyone needs to have a retinoid in their skincare regimen and the Neutrogena Rapid Repair Moisturizer Night is a great place to start.

It’s contains accelerated retinol SA with glucose complex for faster, more effective results without jacking up your skin. Retinol is a cell communicator that tells your skin to produce new, healthy skin cells fading fine lines, evening skin tone and assisting in skin elasticity.

 It’s perfect for retinoid beginners and it’s super cost effective at $17ish

Key Ingredients:  Glycerin (protects and hydrates), Dimethicone (primes and smooths), Camellia Olefifera (Green Tea) Extract, Retinal (anti-aging antioxidant), Panthenol (lubricant, emollient and moisturizer), Disodium EDTA, Tocopherol / Vitamin E (antiaging antioxidant), Cetearyl Glucoside (helps retain moisture), Triethanolamine (adjusts pH)

Cost: $17ish for 1FL oz It goes on super light and a little goes a long way.

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Erasa XEP30

erasa xep30The Erasa XEP30  is a skincare concentrate that fills in wrinkles and lines, evens out skin tone and generally makes the skin on your face and neck feel and look smoother the moment you put it on! Seriously!

It’s got amazing exfoliators and peptides but the magic ingredient is called XEP-30 that relaxes the muscles by temporarily blocking the electrochemical impulses between the nerves, kind of like a topical Botox. It also has the neuropeptide argireline that is proven to inhibit wrinkles and ines by decreasing neural activity in the muscles.

It’s feels a little tacky on your fingers with the texture of an epoxy glue but once you tap it onto your skin it feels nice and smooth. Since it has dimethicone it also acts as a primer so your skin looks super smooth, even airbrushed, the moment you apply it.

I use this in the morning and night after my serums and before my moisturizer.

Key Ingredients: XEP-30 (relaxes deep lines, wrinkles & frown lines), X50 Myocept (smooths wrinkles),  Argireline (relax muscles to smooth lines), Proprietary Whey Protein (anti-aging, skin firming, collagen boosting & skin renewal), Vitamin B3 (skin elasticity), Creatine (increase collagen), Glycerin (protects and hydrates), Glabridin (anti-inflammatory, reduces age spots) Niacinimide (lightens dark spots), Caffeine, White Birch (reduces puffiness), Lactic & Glycolic Acids (exfoliation)

Cost: $160ish for 1.7 fl oz. Using mine twice a day I have to re-up this stuff every 2 1/2 months or so. It’s worth the dough for sure. If you try it and don’t like it they will take it back!

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You may also love: 5 Bad Ass Skin Care Products (+ 9 less expensive alternatives!)

Lancome Renergie Lift Multi-Action Night

The Lancome Renergie Lift Multi-Action Night  cream is the final step of my nighttime skin regimen. It not only has ingredients to stimulate collagen growth such as adenosine & acetyl tetrapeptide-9, but also antioxidants that protect your skin from future damage from free radicals.

It’s an excellent hydrator and you only need a teeny bit to moisturize your whole face, neck and decollete. It’s really creamy but goes on silky, not sticky, and it never makes me break out. You will notice your fine lines fading and the general smoothing of your skin within a month of using it.

I love it mostly because I’m convinced that it’s the single reason I can amp up my retinoids without my skin getting dry and flaky.  I use it every night and it’s a must have in my beauty bag.

Key Ingredients: Glycerin (protect & hydrate), Apricot Seed Oil (antiaging antioxidant), Carpric Triglyceride (hydrates & moisturizes), Adenosine (stimulates collagen growth), Acetyl Tetrapeptide-9 (stimulates collagen growth), Linseed Oil (antiaging antioxidant), Black Tea Ferment (antiaging antioxidant),

Price: $125ish for 2.6oz This jar lasts me for at least 5 months and I use it every night, no exceptions.

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OSEA Eyes & Lips

osea eyes and lipsI discovered OSEA Eyes & Lips at a spa in Playa del Carmen and absolutely adore it! It’s great for hydrating and replenishing skin in the small spaces around your eyes and lips. It’s gentle enough to use on super sensitive skin but also contains change making ingredients like DPHP for firming and smoothing out fine lines as well.

I use this at night alongside my retinoid and vitamin C in order to keep my skin happy in the creases near my nose.  It’s actually the first product ever that I could use there without it stinging and making the area worse. I have searched and searched and never found a product that does the same!

Key Ingredients: Algae Extract (for hydration), DPHP-Dipalmitoyl hydroxyproline (firming & moisturizing), Macadamia Seed Oil (hydration), Avocado Oil (nourishment), Olive (softens & smooths)

Price: $60ish for 1FL oz and lasts me for about 3 months

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Belmondo Fresh Eyes Eye Mask

I’m generally not an ‘eye mask’ person because it seems like every time I try a new one my under eye area gets dry and itchy or worse, sprouts up some of those nasty milia (ugly white bumps). So when I tell you that I love the Bel Mondo Fresh Eyes Revitalizing Eye Mask you can bet that it’s damned good!

It seriously smooths out puffiness and fine lines but what’s more is how it feels. It’s refreshing, cool and, since it’s made of bio-cellulose, you can multitask because it doesn’t fall off like other eye masks.

Bio-cellulose can hold 100 times it’s dry weight in fluids so it feels great while it submerges your skin in peptides, vitamins, hyaluronic acids, and other happy ingredients that send your eye bags running for the hills.

Key Ingredients: Glycerin (protects and hydrates), Hyaluronid Acid (plumps and hydrates), Olive Oil (moisturizes), Tocopherol (vitamin E), Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-12 (plumps and smooths out lines), Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1 (stimulates collagen growth)

Price: $25 for a box of 6 (this is a MUST have for your beauty bag!)

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Enspri Sheer Ceramide

The Enspri Sheer Ceramide is a protective serum that helps hydrate and protect our skin. You put it on before your moisturizer and it serves like a barrier, keeping that moisture in so that your skin will feel moist and dewy all day.

I use this when my skin is dry and it makes it feel like silk. It also serves as an excellent primer making a smooth canvas for your makeup application. I’ve never felt my skin as smooth as when I apply my Enspri Sheer Ceramide which is why I like to use it on my hands and arms too!

Key Ingredients: Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone, Squalene, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Oil, Tocopheryl / Vitamin E (antiaging antioxidant), Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil

Price: $35ish for 1FL oz If I was a gazillionaire I’d bath in this stuff!

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best of beauty 2016 for the body

A glowing face and neck are cool but that doesn’t mean you can forget about the rest of your body! Here are a few products to help your skin glow from the inside and out!

Amlactin Alpha-Hydroxy Therapy

amlactin alpha-hydroxy therapy body lotion

When you think of skincare you mostly think of your face but honey, by your mid ’40s you’re going to wish you gave your body the attention it deserved – trust me on that. So, for you smart ladies a great option in body skincare is the Amlactin Alpha-Hydroxy Therapy.

It exfoliates your dead skin cells allowing new skin to shine through. It also retains your skin’s moisture helping smooth out rough, dry skin. It’s relatively thin so it doesn’t feel gooky on your skin and it soaks in fast. I feel like I’m giving myself a body treatment when I use it, and that’s because I am!

You can’t afford not to use the Amlactin Alpha-Hydroxy Therapy. Your skin will thank you! I only wish I’d started sooner.

Price: $14ish for 14.1 oz Super affordable and goes a long way.

Key Ingredients:  Ammonium Lactate (exfoliator & humectant), Mineral Oil, Propylene Glycol, Glycerin (protect & hydrate), PEG-100 Stearate (moisturizer), Glyceryl Stearate (hydrates and protects)

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ZO Medical Brightamax Skin Brightening Cream

brightamax by zo medical

Dr. Kelly Bomer turned me on to the ZO® Medical Brightamax™ Non-Hydroquinone Non-Facial Skin Brightening Creme and I’ve been happily using it on my arms and legs.

Since it has retinol I limit my use to nighttime as retinol deactivates in sunlight. I put it on every night after my bath. I’ve been getting a lot of compliments on the skin on my arms ever since I started!

Key Ingredients: Glycerin (protects, hydrates), Sweet Almond Oil (protects skin fm oxidative stress),  Ascorbyl Glucoside (breaks up pigmentation), Acetyl Glucosamine (prevents age spots & uneven color), Glutathione (prevents age spots & uneven color), Retinol (increases cell turnover), Ascorbyl Palmitate / Vitamin C (skin brightening antioxidant),  Stachys Officinalis (helps block melanin production), Soy Isoflavones (prevents age spots & uneven color), Tocopherol (antiaging antioxidant)

Price: $82 for 2.5 FL oz (another good reason I only use this at night!) 🙂

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Tan Towel

tan towel

The Tan Towel Self-Tan Towelette is the best home self-tanning product that I’ve found. It doesn’t leave you sticky, dries super fast and doesn’t transfer on my clothes and sheets. I use it once for a healthy glow and then add upon it if I want to go darker.

It doesn’t stink like many others and is super convenient to use. You apply it by simply rubbing the towelette on your body using circular motions. I never streak or end up with embarrassing orangeness when I use the Tan Towel and it makes SUCH a big difference in the way I look, and yes feel.

Price: $29ish for a 5 pack

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Nars Illuminator in Copacabana

Nars Illuminator in Copacabana

You know how models and woman on the red carpet always have those incandescent glowing limbs? With Nars Copacabana Illuminator of course! I first saw it on Eva Longoria’s gorgeous legs and have been mixing it in with my body lotion on date night ever since!

It makes your skin glisten while it’s on and it refracts light so it smooths out the look of any lumps or bumps on my legs and arms. It has a teeny bit of sparkle though so I make sure not to use it if I’m wearing an expensive suede black bag or it will be sparkly for the rest of it’s life (I have a Bottega Veneta that still hasn’t forgiven me).

I take this on every trip, and put it on every time I wear a skirt – no exception.

Price: $36ish for 1.6oz You only have to mix a little with your lotion so this lasts forever!

This will totally give you a head start in your decision making process when gearing up for the glowingest skin you can have!

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