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Sephora Sale - Tried and True Skincare Products

Fashion April 11

3 years ago Home

With Wendy


Only twice a year – the Sephora Spring Savings Event is happening right now.  Below, I’m sharing my tried and true skincare products for healthy glassy skin!

Hi everyone!  First off, let’s get to the important details.  The Sephora Spring Savings Event is tiered: 20% off from 4/9 – 4/19 for Rouge members, 15% off from 4/13 – 4/19 for VIB members, 10% off from 4/15 – 4/19 for Insider members… all discounts with the same code ‘OMGSPRING‘.  This code can be use on multiple purchases during the entirety of the sale.

Now, let’s get to the good part!  Personally, I’m not a beauty junkie.  Meaning, I don’t collect beauty products and seeing a lot of products on my vanity makes me anxious.  With that being said, I tend to research heavily, talk to my dermatologist regularly, and then commit to trying out skincare products.  I don’t have a 40-step skincare routine.  As seen below, I have a max of 5 steps, all with purpose.

Morning and Night Routine

Above is a summary of my AM and PM routine and below is a step-by-step application order.  Not to make things more difficult, but the step-by-step instructions below also depend on if the products are water or oil based.  I always apply water-based products first and oil-based products last (the oil is the final step to create a barrier to prevent moisture loss).

My AM routine consists of a gentle cleansing with Tatcha Rice Wash Cleanser (it smells amazing too!), followed by a rotation of actives by switching from the Paula’s Choice BHA and Biossance Vit C every other day (applying it together can cause irritation), then a cushiony cream Belif Moisturizer, ending with Saint Jane Face Oil.

My PM routine is made up of the same cleanser or a gentle exfoliator with Dermalogica Daily Exfoliator (it leaves skin super smooth and polished!), followed by my favorite skin combo Paula’s Choice Niacinamide 20% Treatment and 1% Retinol Treatment, ending with the same moisturizer and face oil.

Best of Actives

Active ingredients are targeted ingredients to address skin concerns.  They are studied and scientifically backed, and most active ingredients are combined to maximize their efficacy.  Vitamin C, niacinamide (also known as vitamin B3), retinol (which is a potent derivative of vitamin A), BHA (such as salicylic acid) are all actives.  Incorporating them into our skincare routine is crucial and important (be careful not to combine too many actives at once because they can cause irritation).

Vitamin C

Vitamin C fights against UV-induced photodamage by absorbing free radicals and protecting our skin.  When applied to the skin, Vit C can encourage new collagen to grow.  It can also help maintain the collagen that we already have and protect these protein from damage.  Two of my favorite Vitamin C serums are Paula’s Choice 15% Vit C serum and Biossance 10% Vit C serum.  I find that the Biossance one is very gentle and the Paula’s Choice is more potent.

Niacinamide + Retinol

An effective active combination is niacinamide + retinol.  I love this combo!  Niacinamide helps visibly minimize enlarged pores, improve uneven skin tone, soften fine lines and wrinkles, and diminish dullness, while retinol is a powerhouse ingredient to combat signs of aging (see below for list of benefits).  My favorites are Paula’s Choice Niacinamide 20% Treatment1% Retinol Treatment.  Together, they help achieve healthy glassy skin!  With retinol in general, start slow and monitor any irritation that might occur.


In addition to my main skincare products, I also love companion products like sheet and face masks.  When my skin needs a boost of hydration or to soothe irritation, I rely on the SK-II sheet masks and Dr. Barbara Sturm face mask.

I pay attention to my skincare products closely, because I love tracking the results.  In the video above, I took it right when I woke up, no makeup, and still have my night bite guard on.  As you can see, I’m still treating my post-popping zit habit and dark spots.  Overall, it took me months to get here where my skin texture is slowly becoming more tight and smooth, dark spots fading, and loving my bare skin without makeup.

The Takeaway

Talking to my dermatologist over the years, I’ve learned the value of actives (retinol, retinoids, BHA, Vit C, etc) and it’s a mandatory step in achieving healthy skin and overturning signs of aging.  If I can recommend one product (my dermatologist also agrees) – it’s retinol, the Paula’s Choice 1% Retinol Treatment (if you’re not a Sephora Rouge 20% off or VIB member 15% off, I’d recommend buying it on the Paula’s Choice website because it’s currently 15% off).

Retinol does a host of things – 1) Can clear acne by unclogging pores and prevent further outbreaks from occurring, 2) Reduce fine lines and wrinkles by increasing the production of collagen, 3) Stimulate skin cell turnover (a sort of “exfoliating” effect) to reveal brighter and more even-toned skin.

With all of these actives, consistency is key!  Start slow and monitor signs of irritation.  With this retinol cream, I started by adding 1 pump to my moisturizer every other day.  Then over three weeks, I was able to increase to 3 pumps all over my face after applying niacinamide.  I’d wait 25 minutes for it to soak in, then apply my moisturizer.  I did experience irritation in the form of redness and peeling.  I backed off and slowly reintroduce it again.  After a few weeks, my skin got the hang of it and responded extremely well!

The Paula’s Choice retinol cream is basically an over-the-counter option to prescription strength retinol, thus it’s more gentle and a great way to introduce your skin to retinols.  I look forward to using it every night, because I can visibly see results!

I hope this breakdown was helpful and thank you so much for reading!

Thank you so much for reading!
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