This Drugstore Secret Is the Key to Smooth and Glowy Skin

I would say the end skincare goal for pretty much all of us is healthy, smooth, and glowy skin. We’ll pay a lot of money for products from cleansers to moisturizers to serums to get there. The only hitch is that there are many paths to “good” skin, and it all depends on your skin type. The products you use for your oily skin might not exactly work on your friend with dry skin.

One skincare item that can help across the board? A good exfoliant. Now, the specific product you choose depends on your skin’s needs, but some exfoliation every now and then will help slough off dead skin cells, reveal smooth skin, and encourage skin renewal. If you have oily, acne-prone, or combination skin, it might help to exfoliate once or twice a week. For sensitive and dry skin types, however, you might be better off limiting your usage to once a week or even less frequently. Bottom line: Everyone should keep an exfoliating product on hand, no matter their skin type.

There are different types of exfoliants, too. Mechanical ones are the scrubs, sugars, and brushes out there. Chemical exfoliants contain ingredients like alpha hydroxy (glycolic and lactic), beta hydroxy (salicylic), and polyhydroxy acids. While the word “chemical” might sound scary, these products are often much gentler on the skin than the mechanical exfoliants since some of those scrubs can be irritating or harsh.

The sheer volume of exfoliating products out there can get overwhelming and can range from high-end to budget friendly. While I love the splurge-y exfoliants that really do the work, you don’t have to spend a fortune on a quality item—there are a ton of drugstore and affordable buys.

Aveeno Positively Radiant Skin Brightening Exfoliating Daily Facial Scrub ($5)

This exfoliating scrub is gentle enough for everyday use because it has a moisturizing soy extract and jojoba and castor oils. It’s also noncomedogenic, so it won’t clog pores.

Neutrogena Pore Refining Exfoliating Facial Cleanser ($7)

Neutrogena’s cleanser is both a mechanical and chemical exfoliant. It contains alpha and beta hydroxy acids to brighten the skin’s complexion and reduce the appearance of pores.

Cetaphil Extra Gentle Daily Scrub ($16)

With superfine granules, this scrub is okay to use on sensitive skin. It’s formulated with skin conditioners and vitamins to nourish and soften skin.

L’Oréal Revitalift Bright Reveal Facial Cleanser ($5)

L’Oréal’s daily cleanser is another mechanical and chemical exfoliant combo. It has micropearls and glycolic acid, which work to slough off dead skin cells and improve skin tone and texture.

CeraVe Salicylic Acid Cleanser ($22)

CeraVe’s cleanser is a great option for those with oily, acne-prone skin. It’s formulated with salicylic acid to exfoliate and hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and vitamin D to smooth and hydrate the skin.

Burt’s Bees Refining Cleanser ($9)

If retinol irritates your skin, this cleanser might give you the same benefits without any problems. It’s formulated with bakuchiol, which is a gentler, natural alternative to retinol. The cleanser will smooth wrinkles and hydrate (thanks to vitamin E).

Clean & Clear Deep Action Exfoliating Facial Scrub ($6)

As its name suggests, this scrub really gets deep into skin to clear pores and remove dirt, oil, and makeup. When you apply it, you’ll feel a tingly, cooling sensation, which is so refreshing.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Micro-Exfoliating Astringent Toner ($24)

Formulated for acne-prone and oily skin, this toner can be used to unclog and tighten pores. It contains salicylic acid to exfoliate and castor oil to prevent any irritation or dryness.

Honest Beauty Beauty Sleep Resurfacing Serum ($28)

This is one of the more unique exfoliating options on our list since it’s a serum that works to resurface skin overnight for a glowier complexion in the morning. Ingredients include five AHAs to exfoliate and hyaluronic acid to lock in moisture.

Neutrogena Deep Clean Purifying Cooling Gel and Exfoliating Face Scrub ($9)

This salicylic acid scrub works hard at clearing acne and clogged pores, but it won’t leave your skin irritated since the formula is a cooling gel. It’s never been more refreshing to exfoliate!

Bioderma Sebium Exfoliating Gel ($15)

Oily skin gets relief with this gel scrub. It has both mechanical and chemical exfoliants, like microbeads and glycolic and salicylic acids, to remove dead skin cells and promote cell renewal. Antioxidants, laminaria, and vitamin E work to leave the skin soothed and radiant.

Simple Smoothing Facial Scrub ($23)

Formulated with rice granules and vitamins B5 and E, this scrub works for all skin types to improve dull skin. It doesn’t contain dyes or perfumes.

Avène Gentle Exfoliating Gel ($20)

Here’s yet another mechanical and chemical combo. This exfoliating gel purifies pores and increases cell turnover thanks to exfoliating microspheres, salicylic acid, and zinc gluconate. It also contains spring water to soothe redness and inflammation.

Bioré Pore Unclogging Scrub ($6)

This scrub not only works to unclog pores and slough off dead skin cells, but it also has acne-fighting benefits, courtesy of salicylic acid. And because it clears out dirt and oil, it can prevent future breakouts.

L’Oréal Pure-Clay Face Mask ($10)

Use this face mask up to three times a week for 10 to 15 minutes to even skin texture and leave your face looking glowy. It’s formulated with clay, red algae, and volcanic rock to exfoliate and smooth the skin’s surface.

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8 Makeup Artists on How to Make Their Favourite Products Multi-Purpose

Welcome to Artist Spotlight #12 series on my blog.

Daniel Martin

Makeup artist Daniel Martin is a fan of using liquid lipstick not only for the lips, but also as a cheek stain. His favorite product for this hack? Honest Beauty’s Liquid Lipstick in Goddess.

“I love using this liquid lipstick on the face, as well as lips, to add a hint of a continuous flush on the apples of the cheek to bronzed skin,” he shares. “Jessica Alba taught me this trick!”

Kate Lee

Makeup expert Kate Lee swears by using facial oil as a moisturizer, hair treatment, and body scent. Her go-to is Chanel’s Huile de Jasmin Revitalizing Facial Oil.

“During this time of uncertainty, my focus is mainly on the wellness of mind and spirit,” says Lee. “I find that I am more nurturing and minimal in my daily routine and I am taking a break from makeup. I have found that now, more than ever, my olfactory senses really influence my mood. I use Chanel Huile de Jasmin on my face and décolletage daily and using what’s left on my hands, I run it through my hair.”

“The hair holds scent very well and to be gently followed by the scent of Jasmin feels very nurturing,” she continues. “In place of wearing perfume, I’ve been mixing a few drops of Huile de Jasmin into my favorite clean, fragrance-free body lotion by Nécessaire.”

Nikki DeRoest

obbi Brown artist-in-residence Nikki DeRoest likes to apply contour stick to not only add dimesion to cheekbones, but also to the eyes, forehead, and jawline. Her weapon of choice is Westman Atelier’s Face Trace Contour Stick.

“I like to use this stick first in the obvious spot, where it’s intended for use: in the hollows of my cheeks,” she shares. “I start at my ear and swipe inwards, stopping halfway on my cheek. This product is so easy to use and can easily be blended out with fingers or any type of semi-firm brush. While I’m at it, and quickly multi-tasking with my makeup, I also love to swipe a bit just above the crease of my eye on my outer brow bone, on the hollow of my temples and the other edges of my forehead, and of course, along my jawline and under my chin. It glides so easily, and just by using that one product, I feel like I am able to give my skin such great, yet subtle, dimension.”

Emily Cheng

As a makeup artist to stars like Laura Harrier, Yara Shadidi, and Ella Mai, Emily Cheng has more than a few tricks up her sleeve. But using mascara for both the eyelashes and as an eyeliner is one of her best kept secrets. She uses Too Faced Better Than Sex to make the eyes pop.

“When I was in Paris a few months ago, my personal liquid liner had run out and I was in a rush, so I used my Too Faced Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara with an angled brush and it worked perfectly,” she reveals. “The consistency was like a gel liner, and I felt like it stayed on even longer than my usual waterproof liquid liner.”

Deja Smith

Emmy Award-nominated makeup artist Deja Smith uses paw paw cream as a lip balm, hand salve, and as a highlighter. Her go-to choice is Lucas’ Paw Paw Ointment.

“I use this little tube for everything, from keeping my lips moisturized to soothing my sandpaper dry hands after disinfecting the house and washing them,” she explains. “It’s even the best no makeup, makeup highlighter for Zoom calls with that special someone. I dab a little on my lips and use the residual to add a luminescent pop to the arch of my brow and cheekbones. This ointment is effective and my quarantine must-have.”

Sarah Tanno

Lady Gaga’s go-to makeup artist Sarah Tanno loves using Haus Laboratories Glam Attack in Angel Baby on the lips, as an eyeshadow, as well as a highlighter.

“This is a liquid shimmer powder. It goes on as a liquid and dries as a powder,” Tanno says. “I used the applicator to apply all over my eyelids. I tapped a small amount on the apples of my cheeks and blended it up to high points of my cheeks for a healthy-looking highlight. Lastly, I added a touch to the center of my lips to add a pop of shimmer. One product equals a full makeup look in under five minutes!”

Daniel Chinchilla

KVD Vegan Beauty’s Cat Eye Ambassador Daniel Chinchilla uses the same liquid eyeliner for the eyes and to create faux freckles: KVD Vegan Beauty Tattoo Eyeliner in Mad Max Brown.

“Tattoo Liner can give you a flawless cat eye, but also, freckles! Because of Tattoo Liner’s super fine brush tip, it’s super easy to give yourself the sharpest cat eye you’ve ever had,” he shares. “And while you’re at it, gently press the tip of the Tattoo Liner onto your cheeks and nose for some super subtle freckles. One of the best things is that it is waterproof and you won’t have to worry about any smudging.”

Christy Coleman

Makeup artist and chief artistic officer at Beautycounter Christy Coleman says you can use your bar soap as a body or hand wash, as well as a brow gel. She recommends Beautycounter’s Citrus Mimosa Body Bar.

“The soap helps to thicken the brow and make them stay in place,” she says. “First, fill your brow in with a pencil, then using the spoolie side of an eyebrow brush or pencil, go back over them with soap.”

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