Best of 2020 Skincare

As 2020 comes to an end I have decided to do a wrap up of my favourite and most used products of 2020. The first part of the wrap up is my favourite skincare products of 2020. In the second part of my wrap up I will share my favourite makeup products of 2020. Stay tuned for that post coming soon!

This past year took me into a whole new world of skincare because my skin’s needs changed entirely. I went from pretty normal skin that was combination – dry on my forehead and cheeks and more oily on my nose and chin, to sensitive and acne prone. As someone who has never really had problem skin this was a huge struggle. I have a new appreciation for anyone with acne prone skin and what you battle on a daily basis. Through this process I have discovered some new products that have worked really well at battling my acne and the sensitivities I was experiencing. Even if you don’t suffer from acne or a lot of sensitivity there are some really great products I discovered that could work well no matter your skin type. Here is a look at some of the products that my skin really loved this year.

Neostrata Glycolic Mousse Cleanser – I feel like everyone has tried this cleanser and I was definitely late to the game. For the first half of 2020, this was my go to cleanser. This is a great cleanser for anyone with normal, combination or oily skin. If you are on the drier side it might be a little bit too much for everyday – I would recommend their PHA Cleanser instead. The glycolic acid provides a gentle exfoliation and the light mousse texture is very refreshing. I find this product is super great for treating blackheads and congestion on the skin. If you are looking for a cleanser with some gentle exfoliation that is safe for daily use I recommend checking this one out.

La Roche Posay Effaclar Foaming Gel

La Roche Posay Effaclar Purifying Gel Cleanser – When my acne started to flare up, and my skin became much more sensitive and problematic, I switched to this gel cleanser from La Roche Posay. What attracted me to this cleanser versus other acne cleansers is that the active ingredient is zinc PCA. Zinc PCA is great for killing acne causing bacteria, so it will get rid of existing acne and prevent new acne from occurring. Zinc PCA is also good for controlling oil production on the skin and is a humectant. This means, unlike other acne treatments, it will not strip the skin of the natural oils or dry out the skin. The zinc PCA makes it great for anyone who has a drier skin type because it helps treat the acne and hydrate the skin. This has really helped my acne a lot. I have kept it in my routine even as my acne has disappeared and I love it. It has helped to keep my acne at a manageable state. If you are really sensitive to other acne treatments, or are a drier skin type and suffer from acne, I highly recommend testing this cleanser out.

Vichy Mineral 89 Eye Review

Vichy Mineral 89 Eye Care – I went through two bottles of this eye cream in 2020 and will definitely repurchase this after I finish up some other eye creams in my stash. The texture on this eye cream is a really nice light gel cream that leaves behind a nice cooling sensation. The cooling sensation feels so nice on tired eyes and helps to depuff the eye contour. It is an amazing base for makeup. My eyeshadow and concealer apply so nicely overtop. The thing I love most about this eye cream is how brightening it is. I really noticed a difference in how bright my under eye area was while using this eye cream. If you are looking for a really gentle, hydrating and brightening eye cream give this one a try.

Vichy Mineral 8

Vichy Mineral 89 – I don’t even know if I need to give this product much of an explanation. If you have been following me you probably already know my love for this product. If I could shower my whole body in it I would. I have gone through more bottles of this then I can count. Mineral 89 is a skin booster containing hyaluronic acid and Vichy’s thermal water. This product helps to strengthen and protect the skin. It is a great boost of hydration for the skin. It is always the first step in my routine after cleansing and I apply it to my face eyes and lips. If you are looking for an extra boost of moisture, or to help strengthen your skin I can’t recommend Mineral 89 enough.

La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo +

La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo + – This was my holy grail acne treatment this year. This saved my skin and was the true superstar when it came to treating my acne breakouts and getting my skin back under control. It is one of the most gentle acne treatments I have ever used, but still so effective. Others I had tried during the year were so harsh and what contributed to the issues with sensitivity I was having. This product didn’t cause any feelings of sensitivity and with consistent use, and some patience, are really what got my acne under control. I am going to insert some photos below of my acne when it was the worst and my skin after adding Duo + into my routine. If you are someone who suffers from acne and finds a lot of treatments to be too harsh for your skin, or are just looking for a more gentle acne treatment I highly recommend trying this product out. When my acne was at its worst I used this product morning and night until I got it under control. Once my breakouts were becoming less severe I continued to use it in the morning to help prevent breakouts while wearing a mask all day.

Before and after using La Roche Posay Effaclar
Top Photos: Skin as of September 2020 prior to starting Effaclar products. Bottom Photos: Skin as of January 2021. Results in the bottom photos were after using Effaclar Cleanser and Duo + morning and night September 2020 – November 2020. In November 2020, I began continued using the cleanser morning and night, but used Duo + in the morning and Avene Aoxitive Peeling Cream at night.
La Roche Posay Toleriane Sensitive

La Roche Posay Toleriane Sensitive – This was definitely my most used cream of 2020. It is a lightweight texture that is fragrance free, alcohol free, balances the skin’s microbiome and safe for sensitive skin. I loved it because I could use it day or night and it is safe to layer with any products. It is super gentle and really helped to soothe my irritation. I went through two or three bottles this year and is something I would repurchase immediately. It is the perfect basic moisturizer and has a super reasonable price point. Pro tip: Not all of the product dispenses out at the very end. Cut off the top and remove what is left inside with your finger tips. I always get quite a few more applications out of the product by doing this.

Avene Aoxitive Night Peel – This is one of my all-time favourite retinol products. It helped my skin so much this year when it came to my acne scars. As the Effaclar Duo + started to clear my acne I was left behind was quite a bit of acne scarring. Although my breakouts were under control the marks left behind still made me feel pretty self conscious. Adding this retinol product to my routine made a world of difference. It made such a difference that other people were commenting on how great my skin looked – you know a product is really working when other people make note. I will be continuing to use this product in the future. Although I don’t need it as much now for treating acne scars I like that it made my skin smooth, radiant and it helps with early signs of aging. If you are looking to try a retinol product, or have issues with acne scarring I recommend trying this one out.

Neostrata Triple Firming Neck Cream

Neostrata Neck Cream – This was a rediscovered product for me in 2020. I have used this neck cream in the past and in 2020 I was reminded how much I love it. I have tried a few different neck creams, but this is truly my favourite because of the texture. Others I find can feel too heavy or oily and don’t absorb. Hours later I can still feel some creams on my neck area. This one has the most luxurious texture. It melts right into the skin and gives an instant tightening feeling. This product also really feels like it is doing something. The skin on my neck area is a lot smoother and there has been a decrease in the size and depth of the horizontal lines on my neck.

Avene Cicalfate Restorative Cream

Avene Cicalfate + – This is a product I have known about for many years, but never truly appreciated until this year. I have always recommended it to people with cuts and scrapes or burns because of the soothing and healing properties, but it never occurred to me that it could become a staple in my skincare routine. This was another game changer when it came to healing my acne and healing irritation from harsh acne treatments and masks. It contains copper and zinc sulfate, which have purifying properties. These purifying properties allow it to effectively treat breakouts. I also like applying it on a blemish I may have picked as it speeds up the healing time.

I also love this product if my skin is dull, or looking for a boost. I apply a thin layer all over the face at night and it leaves my skin looking so healthy and renewed. It is also great to pair with a retinol or a more irritating active ingredient as it really helps to minimize any harsh side effects.

Avene Cicalfate Hand Cream – I have never been a big hand cream user. I find they are too greasy or slimy and I am honestly just too lazy to be consistent with applying one. This year I desperately needed to use hand cream. With all the hand sanitizer and hand washing my hands became really dry and irritated. With similar properties to the Cicalfate + the Cicalfate hand cream has been amazing for combatting the dryness and irritation. Within the first 24 hours of using it, and reapplying regularly, I noticed a huge improvement on my hands. I really like the texture of this product because it isn’t too greasy and absorbs quickly. I keep this product in my pocket at work and it has truly been a staple for 2020.

Vichy Mineral Tinted Sunscreen

Vichy Mineral Tinted Sunscreen – With going out a lot less, and wearing a mask most of the time, I really stepped away from wearing foundation in 2020. As an alternative, I started to wear tinted sunscreen instead and this one from Vichy ended up being a favourite. It is a mineral sunscreen with an SPF 50 and a universal tint. It leaves a nice glow on the skin and is sweat and water resistant for up to 80 minutes. Although the coverage on this product is super light weight I love it. It just slightly blurs and neutralizes redness, but still lets your skin show through. It is just enough coverage to give me that extra boost of confidence to feel good about going makeup free.

La Roche Posay Anthelios Ultra Fluid Face Sunscreen – This is one of my all time favourite sunscreen products. I have been using it for years and in 2020 it got even better as they slightly reformulated it. The new formulation is anti-migration meaning it won’t move from the skin and transfer into the eyes. There were times in the past where I did get this in my eyes and let me just say it wasn’t pleasant. The reason why I love this product the most is that it truly is invisible on the skin. It disappears into the skin and feels like there is nothing left on the skin. It wears beautifully on its own or under makeup. It doesn’t break me out or irritate my skin. If you are looking for a great facial sunscreen I recommend giving this one a try.

Vichy Ideal Soleil Sport Sunscreen – This is has been my favourite body sunscreen for a few years, but I think this might be the first time it is appearing on the blog. This past summer I spent a lot time outdoors and I went through many bottles of this sunscreen. Most body sunscreens I do not like. I find them to feel sticky, greasy and they leave a residue on your skin and clothing. The Vichy Sport Sunscreen is everything I have ever wanted in a body sunscreen. It disappears into the skin without any trace of feeling sticky, greasy with no residue left behind. It is hydrating and leaves a bit of a cooling sensation on the skin. It is both sweat and water resistant and it can be applied to wet skin. The fact that is can be applied to wet skin is so convenient. I think people already dread reapplying as needed, especially when swimming, because of the hassle of having to dry off first. I still do towel off, but I don’t have to worry too much if my skin is a bit damp.

I also really love the texture of this on my face. I have been using it in the winter months on my face and it is also so beautiful. I love that it is hydrating and doesn’t feel too heavy. This is a great product if you are just looking to purchase one sunscreen you can use on face and body.

Neostrata Bionic Oxygen Recovery

Neostrata Bionic Oxygen Recovery – When my skin was at its peak with acne and sensitivity this was such a great option for when I needed exfoliation. This mask combines PHA and bionic acid to gently exfoliate and deliver oxygen to the skin. Even after my sensitivity and acne has gone down I still love using this product. It is so gentle, soothing and leaves me skin feeling soft and radiant.

This mask is also very unique in the application. You massage a thick layer onto damp skin. It then starts to bubble and then disappears and you rinse it with cold water. I will warn you the bubbles tickle, A LOT. It’s not uncomfortable it is just unusual and definitely takes some time to get used to. If you are a sensitive skin type who can’t use a lot of harsh actives in your routine, or are already use some stronger actives and want an exfoliator that can be paired with anything definitely give this treatment a try.

Skyn Iceland Eye Mask, Patchology Eye Mask, Pixi Eye Mask

Pixi DetoxifEYE Eye Patches – These eye patches were an essential part of many self care moments in 2020. I keep them in the fridge and they just feel so good. I find that they really soothe my eye area – especially when they are cold from the fridge. They really leave my eyes feeling hydrated and refreshed. When applying them be careful that they don’t stick together. On a few occasions I have accidentally applied two to one eye as they do easily stick together.

If you are still with me – thank you! That was quite a novel. I really loved reflecting on what products I really loved this year and it is making me want to do some shopping to replenish. What products did you love this year? I would love to hear in a comment below! Thanks again for reading and stay tuned for my 2020 makeup favourites.

Kaitlyn