It seems like every week there’s a new, aesthetically packaged, viral skincare brand circulating our feeds. We’ve all swiped up on the Instagram ad and deep dived on TikTok to answer the question — do I really need this product? With advertisements featuring an obscure ingredient promising to change your entire skin, what can we really trust to use on our face? 

We spoke with SkinSpirit’s Aesthetician & Laser Technician Hannah Lea Anderson and Shop Educator at Heyday, Cristin Botsford to share their skincare must-haves to best simplify your routine. 

What’s the Basis of Good Skincare and What Keeps us From our Most Healthy Skin?

Anderson shares that there are ‘three pillars’ to stick to when counteracting the noise of such a busy market. She recommends using an antioxidant serum, sunscreen and retinol in your daily routine. Less products are more in her eyes — a simple routine with superb quality ingredients can transform the skin. 

But what ties up clients in marketing traps for skincare? Anderson says that she sees clients daily who have unbalanced skin and are following incorrect skincare type routines. There are four skin types – normal, oily, combo and dry.

With a person’s skin type, there are common skin conditions that most find themselves experiencing as well. Some of the common conditions Anderson treats are acne, fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and rosacea. If you aren’t sure what your skin type is — Anderson has her own skincare quiz for you to find out. She says that to achieve your glowing skin goals, know your conditions and skin type and then make purchases based on that. It’s important to set expectations for the timeline of how your skin will change as well.

Anderson shares that skincare takes patience and discipline. Many think there’s one magic ingredient, but what will change the skin is an integration of the right products into your routine after finding the regiment that works for you. 

Grown Alchemist Polishing Facial Exfoliant

What Should You Avoid In Your Skin Routine?

Anderson has three pieces of advice on what to avoid in your skincare routine – the first is to switch to medical grade products. These are products that are highly researched and formulated with only the highest quality product, they make the biggest impact on the skin.

According to Anderson, when brands spend more time on packaging and on influencers selling the product versus the product itself, it should signal a yellow flag to us to look closer at the ingredients. Anderson also says to prioritize implementing a mineral sunscreen over a chemical sunscreen. Chemical sunscreens have several negative consequences, like skin irritation, burning eyes and clogging pores — they also aren’t as protective or environmentally friendly as their mineral counterparts.

Lastly, avoid foundations that say they have SPF — it’s not enough coverage for your skin against the sun.

This season, ditch the harsh scrubs. Cristin Botsford from Heyday shares that for those who are a fan of the feel of a physical exfoliant, scratch that itch with a micro polish instead. Botsford specifically recommends the Polishing Facial Exfoliant by Grown Alchemist for it’s ultra-fine texture that will gently brighten the skin with Pink Grapefruit extract.

She warns to limit this treatment to two times a month and focus on a brightening peel for more long-term results. 

Naturopathica Gotu Kola Balm – Photo Courtesy of Naturopathica

How to Hit the Skincare Trends:

According to Botsford (and our TikTok feeds) — glowy skin is IN. To achieve and maintain the dewy look, she recommends a combination treatment of a professional brightening peel followed by red LED light therapy. This combination works past what skincare products can do, working in the deeper layers to promote cell turnover, healing, and moisture retention. You can expect a smooth and glowing complexion post-treatment.

A common TikTok trend that flooded the internet is “slugging” — a last step in a nighttime skin-care routine where people slathered their face in Vaseline for an overnight hydrating treatment.

Botsford says this trend is one you can keep, but switch out the Vaseline for a nutritious balm, like the Gotu Kola Intense Repair Balm by Naturopathica. The Naturopathica balm will lock in moisture with moringa oil and kokum butter while also promoting healing and collagen production while you sleep. 

What Skincare Products to Splurge On

On a budget and looking for the best products to buy? Anderson says undoubtedly sunscreen.

The sun is responsible for 80% of premature aging and the amount of protection that is needed from the sun is widely misunderstood. Rain or shine, sunscreen is a must — sun damage leads to leathery skin, pigmentation, loss of elasticity, early wrinkles and enlarged pores amongst other side effects. Anderson emphasized that it’s cheaper to be preventative now than it is to get treatment in the future.

Botsford’s top splurge product pick is the Age-Response Compound K Hyaluronic Booster by Venn. This serum, though lightweight, does not disappoint with five different types of hyaluronic acid. It minimizes trans-epidermal water loss while strengthening the skin barrier. This booster will also reduce fine lines and wrinkles and improve firmness. For anyone looking to minimize the look of their pores — this booster will be your new best friend. 

Photos courtesy of Colorescience, SkinBetter, ALASTIN, and SkinCeuticals

Skincare Recommendations

Anderson shares that one of her favorite Antioxidants during the day is ‘SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF’ — a powerful Vitamin C serum that helps to protect against environmental stressors for up to 72 hours — including UV radiation, blue light and pollution. 

Anderson’s favorite tinted mineral SPF is ‘ALASTIN’s HydraTint SPF36. With added antioxidants it protects against blue light, is fragrance-free, coral reef-friendly, water resistant for up to 40mins and ultra hydrating for the skin. Anderson shares that with a consistent and specific skincare regimen, the HydraTint can replace foundation in your routine.

If you’re not big on a tinted sunscreen, Anderson’s favorite non-tinted SPF is ‘ColoreScience’s Total Protection No Show Mineral SPF50’. With an incredibly sheer formula, it’s an all-mineral sunscreen that blends into the skin beautifully — she says you’ll even forget it’s there. If you’re looking to switch from wearing foundation, the entire ColoreScience line of SPFs is a great alternative to makeup. Their products range from tinted SPF, under eye concealers with SPF, SPF blush, bronzers and lip products. 

For the final pillar of your skincare must-haves — Anderson recommends ‘SkinBetter’s AlphaRet’ as a go-to nighttime retinoid. As a 13x award-winning product, this cream uniquely features an ingredient that is composed of a retinoid combined with an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that provides visible skin rejuvenation with little to no irritation. Since most retinol can be harsh on the skin, it’s perfect for new retinol users and all skin types, even sensitive skin.

Photos Courtesy of Alchimie Forever and Dermstore

Botsford’s top recommendation is Mountain Glow Golden Serum by Ursa Major, a nutritious powerhouse that works to give the skin a boost of hydration while also firming the skin and reducing fine lines and wrinkles.

The ingredient that makes this serum so spectacular? Moss Stem Cell — which helps to repair collagen from environmental damage. Her second recommendation is the Kantic Brightening Moisture Mask by Alchimie Forever.

A soothing mask meant to calm irritated, red skin, it also helps to boost hydration levels and minimize premature aging. With European blueberries as a key ingredient in the Kantic Mask, it’s loaded with antioxidants and will boost your skin’s glow while also reducing free radical damage. 

Confronting the Colorado Cold 

Colorado winters, though beautiful with fresh snowfall, can be harsh and dry to our skin. Botsford shares favorite ways to kick dryness to the curb — first on the list is a Nano Fusion treatment which is compared to baby microneedling. Nano Fusion creates microchannels in the skin for deep product penetration for an instant skin plump with hydration. It also boosts the production of collagen for a stellar anti-aging treatment. 

Anderson and Botsford have shared their passion and expertise in skincare to help achieve our goals, but mainly to advocate for its place in our overall health.

Anderson emphasizes — skincare isn’t a vain industry, it’s a key piece to our holistic health. “Our skin is the biggest organ in our bodies. Why would we not take care of that?” She said.