One of my goals in 2017 was to become an Ulta Platinum member, I know, I know…it sounds kind of weird, right? But you have to understand my background, I literally grew up knowing nothing about makeup or skincare. Throughout my teenage years, my mom stressed that I shouldn’t be dappling in makeup and should instead spend that time studying. In fact, I didn’t even wear makeup until I was 20 in college and I had to teach myself everything.
I’ve made a lot of makeup mistakes since then (and probably still do), but that’s a story for another day. Anyway, while I was working my way up to Platinum status at Ulta, my go to purchases were makeup. New lipstick, new powder, new eyeshadow, ad nauseam. I used to only buy makeup products. But one day I woke up and discovered I had a forehead wrinkle.
Now, at this point, I’m almost 30—this should not be happening yet. So I dashed down to my local Ulta and got b12 injections as I started looking for different products to try. And that day, I discovered my new favorite section in Ulta…skincare. *cue angelic choir* Since then, I’ve made the promise to take better care of my skin versus just buying makeup to cover up my lack of skin care regime.
Without further ado, here are my top 5 go-to skincare products. (And yes, 4 of my top 5 products are from Ulta and I did became a platinum member in 2017!)
5. Collagen Hydrogel Under-Eye Patch
These under-eye gems are from Earth Therapeutics and are manufactured in Korea. They help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and dark circles with the power of collagen, green tea, vitamins A,C, and E, aloe vera, cucumber and chamomile. They have a very cooling effect on your skin while delivering a concentrated flow of nourishment and hydration. The best part? They are only $9 for a pack of 5 and you can even put them around the corners of your mouth too. Ulta: $9
4. Aveeno Ultra Calming Makeup Removing Wipes
Aveeno Ultra-Calming Makeup Removing Wipes are great. They smell like flowers, sunny days and cucumber. Plus, they do a fantastic job at removing makeup without drying out my skin or leaving a weird residue (here’s looking at you micellar water). They are oil-free, noncomedogenic (a fancy word meaning, they don’t block your pores) and even contain chamomile to leave sensitive skin feeling soothed and balanced. You can pick these up at your local drugstore or Ulta. Ulta: $7.99
3. Valo Vitamin C Glow Boost Essence with Hyaluronic Acid
Lumene Oy is a Finnish skincare and makeup company that specializes in using hand-picked Artic ingredients and pH skin-friendly Artic spring water to create “Artic Lumenessence”—products to encourage healthy, radiantly illuminated skin just like getting a pampered treatment at an aesthetic clinic in Malaysia. On their website, it says, “Inspired by Nordic Women, Created with Finnish Nature, Born of Artic light.” If it’s good enough for Nordic women, it can go on my dry Illinoisan face. I’ve noticed that it really does help with hydrating and just giving my skin a nice healthy glow. A must-have especially during these cold winter months. Ulta: $19
2. Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Night Pads Extreme
If you haven’t tried Nip + Fab products, you are missing out! These 60 facial pads are soaked with a concentrated formula that’s specifically designed to help exfoliate your skin and decongest dull skin. It does smell a bit medicinal but it leaves my skin with a brighter complexion that’s supposed to rival the results of an acid peel. It also contains salicylic acid which is KEY to taming breakouts too! Ulta: $14.99
1. Eminence Organic Skin Care Pear & Poppy Seed Microderm Polisher
If I could write a sonnet about this product, I would. It’s a chunky-textured, gel-like product that smells like pears, apples and apricot. Since it’s a polisher, it helps to exfoliate your face and get rid of dead skin using all organic ingredients like walnut and poppy seeds. It’s truly a miracle worker and I even got Grace, founder of Jetset Journal hooked on it too.
Eminence is an organic Hungarian skincare brand started in 1958 and they seek to use sustainable farming and green practices to create natural, organic and biodynamic products. And they plant a tree for every product sold—how amazing is that? Their products are only sold in spas and salons because they believe that their products are most effective when prescribed by a professional skin therapist. They have a Spa Locator on their website so that you can find your nearest supplier. I picked mine up at my local green spa and salon for $46.