End Of The Year Roundup: Skincare Favorites of 2017

2017 Skincare Favorites

I want to apologize for the lack of posts lately! I’ve been so busy with the holidays and decided to focus mostly on Instagram in my free time. I have a post coming soon all about my 2018 blogging schedule and other details, so keep your eyes peeled for that. Today is the first post out of a few of my 2017 favorites. I’m undecided if this will be two or three posts–I know I’ll be doing skincare and makeup. I’m not yet sure whether or not to do a non-beauty favorites, let me know if you’d be interested down below! Today’s post features all of the products of 2017 that have become my ride-or-die’s.


2017 was the year of me learning to listen to my skin and giving up what I thought I needed to be using. I’m always a bit cautious of saying that I have acne, because I don’t in the way that most people interpret that phrase. I have other skin issues, but I’m lucky to say I don’t have clustered breakouts, scarring, or any of the typical issues one thinks of when they hear “acne”. I did go through a 6-month period where I had terrible hormonal breakouts. It took a long time for me to figure out my skin type, which is dry, dehydrated, and acne-prone.

So, I don’t have acne in the sense that I have breakouts that I can’t control. My previous issues were hormonal, which has all been sorted thanks to me having access to reproductive healthcare (I will work in the necessity of reproductive healthcare being accessible to all women any time I can, deal with it). Before I knew anything about lipid (moisture) barriers, I thought the best way to treat acne and acne-prone skin was to target it with cleanser. Big mistake. HUGE. All I did by using acne-targeting face washes was strip my skin of moisture and further open myself up to blemishes by wrecking my lipid barrier.

I’ve since learned balance–I target my congestion and keep acne at bay with serums and treatments. I’ve completely ditched any form of foaming or gel-based cleanser. Milk/oil cleansers or bust is my new motto. My skin has never been happier. The fact of the matter is, stripping your skin with harsh ingredients during cleansing won’t make your treatments absorb better. And cleanser only spends a minute or two on your face, so trying to get your “actives” via cleansing is kind of a waste.

The game changer for me was the discovery of La Roche Posay Toleriane Gentle Hydrating Cleanser $14.99. I’ve used it non-stop and daily from the day I purchased it (around September). This bottle is about 3/4 of the way done, so you’ll definitely get your money’s worth. This is so gentle and hydrating, yet my skin feels incredibly clean after I use it. It contains one of my favorite skincare ingredients, Niacinamide, which helps with dullness, uneven skintone, and enlarged pores. Unlike harsh gel cleansers, this one contains a useful active inside a formula that nourishes rather than strips one’s skin. I’m 100% satisfied by this.

Oddly enough, the second cleanser that I’m naming a 2017 favorite is fairly new to me–I’ve had it for just under a month. Jordan Samuel’s line is one that everyone in the skincare community seems to be nuts over. I’m still testing out a few of the other products, but The Aftershow Treatment Cleanser $20 was an immediate standout to me. Sadly, the only place this is available is through the brand’s webpage. The formula of this cleanser is completely unique–to me at least. I’ve never felt anything quite like it; it transforms from a gel to an oil when rubbed onto the skin. The texture is pure velvet and it smells fresh, almost like grapefruit, but it doesn’t lean towards cloying or sour. This was inspired by the theater (After Show) and is meant to dissolve all the heavy stage makeup actors wear. As someone who wears a fairly full face of makeup often, I’m always looking for something to get it all off in one go. This is that cleanser. I always always always double cleanse, but if I was going to be lazy this is the cleanser I would go to. Somehow it manages to melt off makeup and leave the skin without an oily residue in one round. And my skin feels hydrated and nourished after.


Biologique Recherche is my overall favorite brand discovery of 2017 and maybe life. No exaggeration. P50 V $27-98 is the first product I tried and it has completely changed my skin for the better. As I mentioned above, I prefer my “harsher” ingredients to be in treatments. While this contains a multitude of exfoliating actives, it’s gentle enough for daily use. If you’ve followed this blog or my Instagram, you know I’ve fully jumped on the bandwagon. My congestion has disappeared, my skin tone is more even, the sebaceous filaments on my nose are much less visible, and I feel that my skin just overall looks healthier.

The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% +HA Spheres  2% $5.80 is another standout product from 2017. Out of all of The Ordinary’s products, this is the most controversial, but also the most impressive to me. I mentioned in my Brand Overview of The Ordinary that I find their website confusing and too technical for the average person, especially people just getting into skincare.  Because of this, a lot of people have found the application that seems most intuitive for this product lacking. Think of this like a Vitamin C powder booster–mix it into another serum until it dissolves, then apply it. My personal favorite method is adding it to Hyaluronic Acid. I notice a lot of clarity and brightness in my skin the morning after using this. All of the complaints about stinging and grainy texture are things I also experienced before figuring out that I needed to mix it into a liquid first.

Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil $40-80 is another absolute dream product for people with dehydrated or dry acne-prone skin. I live for the smell of this–it’s herbal and slightly medicinal, but in a really satisfying way. The acne clearing ingredient here is salicylic acid at 1.5%. Milk thistle and cucumber seed oil are added to the formula to counter the drying effects of salicylic acid. The oil absorbs into the skin rapidly, for those of us who need to layer cream overtop it. If I’m breaking out or feel one coming on, I apply this as my serum for the night. I haven’t used it consistently enough to know if it offers all the brightening and tone-evening properties it advertises, but I do know that I’m hooked on how quickly this clears up breakouts without compromising my hydration. No longer do I feel trapped in that trade-off.

Brightening and Skintone Evening Treatments

Aside from congestion, which I’ve got a handle on, my biggest complaint about my skin is how uneven my skintone is and how dull it can get due to dehydration. It’s the holidays right now, but I’m Rudolph year round. I get a lot of redness around my nose, on the part of my cheeks that flow into the bridge of my nose, and some darkness on my chin. My dark circles are a whole issue of their own. This year I’ve gotten serious about evening my skin-tone out. Biologique Recherche P50 V helps a lot, but I wanted to attack the problem at multiple stages of my routine.

As I write this, my face is covered in a thick creamy layer of Sisley Paris’ Facial Mask with Linden Blossom $122. There’s something magical about this mask. It’s one of those products that you wipe off and immediately are struck by how good you look. It hydrates, soothes irritation, and brightens my skin so much. I think there’s a slight lightening effect here, but not enough that multiple uses would actually lighten one’s skintone. What I mean is, it’s not a bleaching product, but it does lighten darker patches to unify the skintone. 

Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Serum $46 is the product that solidified me as a Kiehl’s fangirl. When I finished my Vintner’s Daughter serum, I was reluctant to repurchase because although I liked it, I didn’t think it was worth $185. The concept of Vintner’s Daughter is what stuck with me more than the product itself. I like glow, I like dry oils, and my skin needs hydration. My nighttime routine is packed to the brim, so why not use a serum in the morning? Honestly, I don’t know why I was so against it for so long. I like the Kiehl’s Serum better–it’s not as thick, doesn’t break me out like I suspect the Vintner’s Daughter Serum was, and brings on some SERIOUS glow. I put this on after toning my skin in the morning and it really works to get rid of redness and bring some glow to my face. It smell of light citrus and is basically a wake-up in a bottle. Like coffee for your face.

Odds and Ends

Another Kiehl’s product that I live for is the Avocado Eye Cream $29-$48. I first tried this product years ago and found the texture a bit odd, it’s slightly slippery while still being rich. I repurchased it in the Kiehl’s store in SFO when I realized I forgot to bring my skincare back with me to school. For whatever reason, I fell in love with it on my second round. It’s now my all time favorite eye cream for mornings. I know a lot of people might find this too rich in the mornings, but I love it because I find that it really does brighten my dark circles (temporarily). It also allows me to powder my concealer without it looking dry and cakey.

Foreo Luna Mini 2 $139 I’ve spoken endlessly about how into this I am. As you know I’m not into harsh cleansers, but I still like to feel clean. This tool cleans my skin deeply, while still allowing me to use my gentle cleanser. It forces you to massage your skin for a minute, feels very relaxing, and makes your skin feel so soft. If you have congested spots or dry patches there’s a side on the back that’s a bit rougher that really helps sort those areas out. Best of all, you only have to charge every 5 months or so. As a lazy girl, I salute you, Foreo.

So these are all of my favorite skincare products of 2017. Every single one will be coming with me into 2018 and onward. Next up is my favorite makeup discoveries of this year, stay tuned for that. Love you guys so much, thank you to everyone who is reading this blog, it means the world to me! So excited to show you what I have planned for 2018–I feel like I’ve really gotten the hang of this whole blogging thing.

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