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10 Products to Help You Look Alive Again

Face creams, serums and exfoliants to give your skin a boost

Published on: February 07, 2022


During the few precious minutes of alone time you get in the bathroom, you might start noticing a few unwelcome changes to your appearance. It's inevitable as we age, but those wrinkles, gray hairs and brown spots can get you down. First of all, give yourself some credit. Between work, school, child care, cooking and all the other responsibilities to juggle (including a global pandemic), no one blames you for not worrying about your hair and skin. But if you want a little assistance in the beauty department, here are 10 products that can help you shine. 

Skin care

The Ordinary, based in Canada, is a beauty industry disruptor focused on transparency and passion for high-quality ingredients. And the price points of The Ordinary’s anti-aging products will not break the bank. Buffet is a lightweight multi-peptide and water-based serum that targets fine lines, dryness and loss of elasticity. Retinol 0.5% in Squalane is another reasonably priced and popular tincture meant to improve the skin’s texture, elasticity and radiance. It has a gorgeous herbal scent and absorbs quickly into the skin. 

The Body Shop has been around since the 1970s and has stayed true to its mission of creating and selling high-quality and effective products that champion ethical ingredients not tested on animals. Drops of Youth Liquid Peel is an excellent exfoliator. Apply it like a gel, rub it in, and soon, dead skin cells begin to clump and slough away. Follow it with Youth Concentrate, a lightweight serum made of edelweiss stem cells that moisturizes and protects your skin from pollution.

With almost 400 5-star reviews on Amazon, Burt’s Bees Renewal Intensive Firming Serum with Bakuchiol can be a great option for people who find retinol to be too harsh. Burt’s Bees is a company known for responsible sourcing, recyclable packaging and cruelty-free testing. 

Paula’s Choice BHA 2% Exfoliant is a cult favorite for good reason. At $32, it sloughs dead skin cells without drying your face to a crisp. This product is good for sensitive skin and leaves you with a nice glow. Paula’s Choice products are fragrance-free and not tested on animals.

Glossier is another brand with a strong following on social media that is relatively affordable, plus cruelty-free. Its Universal Pro Retinol mixes pure retinol (0.5%) with sunflower seed fatty acids to help avoid some of the dryness and irritation that can come with the regular use of retinol. It also touts plant-based humectants such as glycerin and mondo grass root extract to keep your skin smooth and supple.

Gua Sha is a Traditional Chinese Medicine massage technique that helps lessen tension, promote lymphatic drainage and potentially lift tissues for a more refreshed, younger-looking appearance. In brief, you scrape a flat, polished jade or rose quartz stone strategically over your neck and face. If you do buy the Gua Sha Stone Massager, be sure to check out this instructional video by skincare professional Sandra Lanshin.

We all know by now that one of the best anti-aging tricks is sunscreen. But what if we want to glow up with a little bit of bronze? If you need a pop of something light and bright, try Nudestix Nudies All Over Face Color. An Allure Best of Beauty Award winner, these glimmering sticks will add a hint of shimmer to your skin.

Biossance Squalane and Omega Repair Cream is everywhere right now, with ads featuring Reese Witherspoon and Johnathan VanNess extolling the virtues of this hydrating cream. Containing plant-derived squalane (different than shark squalene), acai berry sterols and hyaluronic acid, among other ingredients, this cream claims to support your skin’s moisture barrier, plump the look of fine lines and boost radiance. This one is my own personal favorite and does indeed feel luscious. I can overlook the slightly funky scent because Biossance is cruelty-free and sustainable, and because it really is an excellent moisturizer.

Hair care

Try Color Wow Root Cover mineral powder to hide gray roots, make eyebrows look fuller or hide small patches of thinning hair. Made with mica and titanium dioxide, this highly rated powder adheres to your hair, adding dimension with no sticky or stiff residue. It claims to be water- and sweat-resistant, though a few reviewers have said it can come off on your hands if you run your fingers through your hair. Madison Reed also makes a root touch-up powder containing keratin, argan oil and ginseng root extract.

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