The Beauty Tools and Products I Swear By

Beauty Tools and Products I swear by1. Perricone MD Cold Plasma Sub-D, $135; 2. Mario Badescu Enzyme Revitalizing Mask, $20; 3. Clarisonic Mia, ; 4. Electric Toothbrush, $189; 5. Micro Roller, $30; 6.Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Eye Concentrate, $37; 7. Facial Toning Device, $325; 8. Mario Badescu Drying Lotion, $17; 9. Eve Lom Cleanser, $135; 10. Caudalie Mask, $39; 11. Avene Cleansing Milk, $28; 12. Vinter’s Daughter Serum, $185; 13. Aveeno Moisturizer, $17

I don’t write many beauty posts because (1) I’m not a beauty expert, and (2) skincare and makeup are personal, what works for me might not work for you. I’m not always testing out new products either; once something works for me, I stay loyal. That said, I’ve received many requests asking for recommendations for solutions to all sorts of issues, so I thought I would create one post to map out what I use and how I use it.

While I’m not an expert, I am obsessed with skincare and invest in my tools and products. I figure since this is the only skin I have it deserves the best care possible. I’ve always taken good care of my skin. So I was surprised in my early 30s to see my skin freak out due to stress, travel, and hormonal shifts. My skin was red, puffy and I had cystic adult acne on my cheeks. It was terrible and killed my self-esteem. That was when I started to pull out all the stops, invested in effective products and since then have seen an incredible improvement in my skin.

First off, skin care starts from within. We all know I love a good glass of wine, but the older we get, the harder alcohol is on our body and skin. At the end of the summer, I stopped drinking during the week. I go totally dry between Monday – Thursday. If I have a drink on Friday, I won’t drink on Sunday, and if I know I’ll have a drink on Sunday, I skip Friday. I let myself indulge on Saturdays. I thought it would be hard, but after the first week, it’s not a big deal at all. It’s made a massive difference in puffiness, especially around my eyes and my skin is clear and bright. Bonus points for my mental clarity being sharper.

Along with all the other benefits of water, staying hydrated keeps your skin clear and healthy. I’m pretty diligent about drinking water all day long, limit caffeine to one cup of coffee in the morning, and I add these collagen supplements to my smoothies. Regular workouts have also made a difference, sweating out toxins gives you an undeniable glow.

Let’s start with tools. It’s rather ridiculous to see them all lined up on my bathroom counter. A few months back we lost power, when it came back on in the middle of the night all my “power tools” came on at once. My husband said it sounded like aliens were invading. There are so many gizmos you can purchase that make all sorts of promises. I’ve splurged on my share, and these are the ones I love.

  • I bought a Clarisonic Mia six years ago and it’s the greatest investment in my skin that I’ve ever made. I use it daily, typically after a workout and often bring it in the shower to give my face and neck a deep scrub. Be sure to change out the brush head every few weeks.
  • Micro Rollers, are a newer trend that I am totally in love with.  The roller has hundreds of little needles that you roll over your skin in sections. It exfoliates your skin, helps your products absorb better and boosts collagen. I start with clean skin, add a little face oil and work in sections, going up and down, across and diagonal in each area. Roll over your cheeks, chin, lip area, forehead and very carefully around the eye. Follow up with a little more face oil. Your skin will be red for a minute. I do this three times a week before bed.
  • Years ago I started getting micro current facials. Very low voltage currents are strategically used to stimulate your body’s own electric currents, and somehow it fixes problem skin and boosts collagen. I started it when my skin was in its worse shape and was blown away by the results. My skin softened, and my acne disappeared. I regularly went for over a year, but eventually, time became the biggest issue. Then I found this Facial Toning Device. While it’s an upfront investment, it’s much less than regular treatments in a spa.  I use this everyday, in the morning and find it makes a subtle, but noticeable difference in the tone and quality of my skin.
  • Finally, I included this  Electric Toothbrush I featured a few years back because I’m still thrilled I bought it.  Oral care is important, and a bright smile is confidence boosting.  It comes with two brush heads, so my husband and I share the base, and switch out the brush.

I use a lot of products but everything has purpose and fits into a routine.  It might seem like it would be time consuming but my morning routine takes five minutes and at night, maybe ten.

My mornings are easy because I have no time.  I start with clean skin from the night before and use my Facial Toning Device. The toner is activated with either gel or water. I use the gel it comes with.  Takes about 3 – 4 minutes.  Then I wash my face and moisturize.

  • Avene Cleansing Milk – I picked this up at a pharmacy in Paris a few years ago but order it now on Amazon or Dermastore .  My skin is sensitive and prone to redness, so this gently cleans without drying and calms it down. I use it with my Clarisonic Mia  everyday.
  • Aveeno Moisturizer –  With all the “fancy” products I use, I don’t see a reason to spend more on daily moisturizer when Aveeno makes an effective and affordable one.  I’ve worn this everyday religiously for years.

The cleansing milk and moisturizer are gentle enough to use a few times a day, which I end up doing if I work out at lunch or mid afternoon.

Nighttime is when I give my skin extra attention.  I like how it shifts my focus to rest and allows my skin to recharge and heal while sleeping.

  • When I wear little to no make up, I use Avene Cleansing Milk  again. But, if I’m in heavier makeup I swear by  Eve Lom Cleanser . It’s a gentle cleanser that starts as a solid and turns into an oil as you work it into your skin.  It literally melts all of your makeup off, including the most stubborn waterproof mascara.  It’s expensive, but lasts a long time.  I’ve been a devotee for years.
  • On the days I’m not using my Micro Rollers I use Goop Instant Facial.  It’s another opportunity to exfoliate and bring out some fresh bright skin.
  • After I exfoliate I slather on Vinter’s Daughter Serum . If I could only have one product for the rest of my life, it would be this serum. It’s incredible and should be for the price tag. My pores are smaller, my lines are softer and the overall quality of my skin looks healthier.  Give it a minute to seep into your skin for the best results.
  • I follow that up with Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Eye Concentrate. It helps with fine lines and wrinkles around the eye area and also helps you wake up not looking so puffy.
  • Finally, because I’m closer to 40 than I am to 30 I put Perricone MD Cold Plasma SubD  on my neck and jawline.  It’s not the best smelling product.  In my warped mind the not so pleasant smell makes me think it works better. (?) The smell goes a way in a few minutes, and my neck seems smoother since I started using it in my routine.

Every now and then I still get a random pimple.   Mario Badescu Drying Lotion clears it up in an nights time.  Every now and then I throw on a mask, especially after a lot of travel – plane and hotel air kill my skin. Mario Badescu Enzyme Revitalizing Mask and Caudalie Mask, sit in my medicine cabinet for those time when my skin needs a little boost.

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Megan Kristel

Megan Kristel is an entrepreneur, working mom, and former personal stylist. Tired of the one-dimensional portrayal of women online, she founded The Well Dressed Life as a resource for other professional women.

  1. Thank you for these great recommendations, I can’t wait to try them! I bought the Nu Face toning device last year, but stopped using it because the gel irritated my skin. Great suggestion to try it with water, I hadn’t thought of that.

  2. After suffering from severe acne and going through a round of the infamous Accutane, I can finally focus on skincare rather than just blemishes. I love your recommendations and use many of them as part of my new rotation. I really enjoy the Kora Organic Spray. It is hydrating and refreshing and does not leave behind a sticky residue. Since using these products I found I can use less foundation since my skin doesn’t need to hide anymore!

  3. Thanks for this list. I also like the Avene milk cleanser. I am in my 40’s and my Scot-Irish skin changed completely in my late 20’s when I developed rosacea. I keep it under control with a clean diet, and by using the absolute minimum on my skin (and 20 years of trial and error). This cleanser, along with the La Roche-Posay Toleriane line, work for me. I have yet to try Vinter’s Daughter, but I just discovered W3LL People Bio Boost Serum. I apply it the same way you would apply Vinter’s Daughter, a couple drops pressed into cleansed skin. Those oil blends, especially when they are clean ingredients like the Vinter’s Daughter and Bio Boost, work like nothing else!

    1. Hey Kathryn! Thanks for the comment. As a fellow Scot-Irish skin girl, I totally relate. I don’t have rosacea but struggle with everything that comes with our super sensitive skin. And thank you for the tip on the W3LL People Bio Boost Serum, I’m going to give it a try. I’m not giving up Vintner’s but I love the idea of a more affordable option to use in between. Thanks again!

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