I’m an all-or-nothing kind of gal.
Why drink two glasses of wine when you can drink the whole bottle? Why order a four-piece chicken nugget meal when you can get six more for just an additional two bucks? Why give 50 percent when you can give 100? I’m either as dehydrated as a dry sponge, or I am carrying 10 pounds in water weight, peeing pristinely clear urine every 16 minutes, hydrated as hell. There is no in-between. Others (i.e., my mom and my lovely therapist) may suggest that I need to seek some consistency. To that, I say: go big or go home, baby.
So when I woke up hungover on a Sunday morning and had a fuzzy flashback to ordering $102.81 of products from The Ordinary on Ulta.com, I wasn’t the least bit surprised. I had already owned their Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 serum (if you know it, you love it) and knew that, at some point, I’d cave and expand my collection to fit my skincare needs. After reviewing the receipt of my adventurous late-night purchase, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my $100 purchase scored me 11 products (most of the products in their line are under $10, which is music to my ears), and I simply couldn’t decide on any products worth canceling. Naturally, at that time, I was motivated to finally have a comprehensive skincare routine outside of my traditional five go-to products which included a micellar cleanser, witch hazel toner, vitamin C serum, hyaluronic acid, and moisturizer.
While I have the occasional need to blot my face by the end of the day, I’ve noticed that, over the past few years, my skin has mainly been dry and dull. So, in addition to staying nice and hydrated (or at least trying to), I always reach for products that will help hydrate my skin and leave me feeling restored and radiant. I find that when I put my skincare energy into moisturizing, I tend to have less breakouts.
Name a better feeling than forgetting you ordered a package and being surprised by it a week later… I’ll wait. When my package arrived I was, again, stunned at how many products $100 allotted me. I purchased the AHA/BHA Peeling Solution, the Niacinamide + Zinc, Glycolic Acid Toning Solution, “Buffet” Serum, Moisturizer, Caffeine Solution, Rosehip Seed Oil, Alpha Arbutin Serum, Salicylic Acid Masque, Vitamin C Suspension, and Lactic Acid Serum. I pulled out each of the 11 products, reoriented myself on how/when to use them, and got to work.
A month has passed since my tipsy skincare purchase and to no one’s surprise, I gravitate to some of the products more than I do others. Do I hate any of them? Absolutely not. Let’s just call it “playing favorites.” Note: I’ve heard the squalane cleanser is incredible, but unfortunately, it was sold out at the time of my purchase. Additionally, I already have their hyaluronic acid serum and use it daily!
Out of the 11 products that I ordered, these are the five I actually use:
AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution
I heard SO many great things about this at-home chemical peel before buying, and I must say... I was not disappointed. I use it once a week in the evening after cleansing, let it sit for 10 minutes, rinse off, and continue with the rest of my skincare routine. This product targets irregularities, exfoliates my pores, fights signs of aging, leaves my skin glowy as hell, and makes my skin the perfect canvas for makeup. It's the cheapest at-home chemical peel on the market, works impressively well, and is by far my favorite product in the entire line. I only use this peeling solution once a week as recommended (part of the reason why I don't dread Mondays so much anymore), but when I do, I feel like I can do anything. Finally address the 56 unread emails in my mailbox? Done. Taxes? No problem. Conquer the world? Absolutely.
Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution
After I cleanse/use the occasional chemical peel, I reach for my toner. The second I used this toner is the same second I decided that I'll never to back to using a scented witch hazel as a toner ever again (please don't tell my dermatologist that I even used that, please and thank you). I use this morning and night after cleansing to restore my skin's pH, and it leaves me feeling moisturized even before I go in with serums/moisturizers. Pulling out my foam finger for this one because I am a TRUE FAN.
Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
After using toner, I go in with my serums. I'm happy to report that this Niacinamide+Zinc Serum has secured a forever spot in my routine. This little guy is great for balancing sebum activity, reducing facial congestion, and helping to brighten my complexion. Since I started using this morning and night, I've noticed that my skin texture is much more even and I break out less. Boom and boom.
Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG
Are her eyes chronically puffy due to her affinity for crying, lack of sleep, or the fact that she had salt with a side of fries last night? We'll never know. I've always struggled with under eye bags in the AM, and this is the first serum I've used that actually provides results in minutes. After I use my serums in the morning, I massage a small amount of this solution into my eye contour. It's nice and gentle and helps my under eyes to appear tighter and more moisturized which results in me using less concealer come makeup time. So when I eat an entire large fry, cry over the series finale of "The Office" for the eleventh time, and stay up too late watching TikToks, no one will suspect a thing.
Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA
My skin is like my humor: dry AF. And though I don't see a need to switch up my personality (not today, anyways), dry skin is just not something I strive for. Luckily, this moisturizer has my back and keeps me feeling/appearing well-hydrated without being greasy, which makes me oh, so happy. I use this bad boy last to lock all of my products in and to help restore my skin's barrier. It's like the perfect mic drop at the end of my skincare routine and I am absolutely in love with it.