2020 was the year of self-care for me, as I’m sure it was for you too. I spent more time at home than ever before. For me, when quarantine started, I started working out regularly, tried to make healthier lifestyle choices, and I even spent more time indulging in my skincare routines. There were actually two stand out brands for me in 2020 that really stole the show, and I’m talking about Paula’s Choice, Biossance and Herbivore Botanicals. I’ve been wow’d by so many of their products, as you’ll learn more about below, and I can’t wait to try some more goodies from these three brands in 2021 !
If you missed it, I shared all of my favorites in multiple cute little Reels on Instagram last week ! You can check it out on TikTok too.
Alright friends, let’s dive into these favorites !
Herbivore Botanicals caught my attention in 2020 with their new Pink Cloud Cleanser | $24. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it, or should I say face ? Well, long story short… it ended up being the cleanser of the year for me, and hands down my favorite product of 2020 ! Betcha didn’t see that coming right off the bat ! It has such a unique jelly formula and does a killer job at dissolving makeup & cleansing the skin. I’d recommend this one for not only a first cleanse, but second as well. Using the same one for both steps, in the same routine doesn’t dry out my combo skin either !
Another fantastic cleanser pick from last year would be the Biossance Squalane + Cleansing Oil | $30 | which has lasted me FOREVER now. One thing that I really enjoy about this cleansing oil is the thinner, lighter, less thick, more liquidy oily consistency. It makes rinsing it off an easier task than any thick cleansing oil. It’s totally worth the $30 in my opinion. If you didn’t already know, I wrote an entire blog post out about this cleansing oil and you can check it out here.
One that I haven’t purchased the full size of yet, but plan to do so ASAP is the Deep Moisture Cleansing Balm | $42 | from Activist Skincare. I love the formula, the ingredients, and how soft my skin feels after using it. It breaks down makeup easily, and leaves my skin feeling so incredibly soft after. Activist Skincare actually has a sampler kit you can purchase here, and it lets you try a bunch of their products. And my last but not least cleanser pick of 2020 would have to be the Pixi Beauty Glow Mud Cleanser | $18. This is another very unique cleanser to me with a thick mud mask consistency. As an added bonus, it also has added glycolic acid for a little extra exfoliation. This cleanser would be ideal for anyone really, and that’s why it works for myself and my seasonally changing skin / skincare routine.
I became a Wishtrend affiliate this year 🙌 🙌 and they kindly sent over the Dear, Klairs Daily Skin Hydrating Water *| $27 | for me to put to the test. TBH, at first I thought it was just going to be an additional step in my routine, but it turned out to be exactly what I’ve been missing. Having green tea as the first ingredient, and also making up for 45% of this hydrating treatment, is the ideal for anyone looking to soothe & calm their skin. I love green tea in my skincare products ! This, I-almost-thought-it-was-just-h20 consistency sinks right into the skin upon application, leaving skin feeling refreshed, hydrated, and prepped for the next set of skincare products !
Paula’s Choice took me by surprise in 2020. I’ve tried a handful of products from them last year, and found many, many, favorites too along the way. The 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant | $29.50 | is a game changer for my pores and textural issues. I’ve noticed quite quickly, a difference in visibility of my pores. I’ve also noticed a difference when I’m not using this product too. I do try to keep it in the every-other-day, every-two-day rotation so I don’t skip out on the benefits. I love that the formula isn’t left tacky when dried down on the skin & products layer well on top of it. Surprisingly enough, this also contains green tea ! I think I see a reoccurring theme when it comes to my favorite products.
Moving on to masks, I do have some reoccurring favorites like the Korres AHA & Enzymes Resurfacing Mask, now called the Pomegranate Triple Dose Resurfacing Mask | $39. I’ve seen some amazing skin smoothing results with this mask and you only need to leave it on for about 5 minutes to see those results ! If you were thinking about getting the Drunk Elephant Baby Facial, I’d reconsider and give this a go instead first. The Volition Beauty Detoxifying Silt Gelée Mask | $60 | is also another reoccurring favorite that I had repurchased last year. This mask is a little bit up there in price, and currently the most expensive mask I own… but when my skin needs some extra TLC… I always go for this one and it never disapoints. My skin will look and feel so soft and radiant afterwords. The Herbivore Botanicals Blue Tansy BHA & Enzyme Mask | $48 | was a new mask to me last year, and I only happened to try it because it came included in a Herbivore skincare kit I picked up. I love this one on those days that my skin has just suffered through maskne mania and when my pores need some declogging assistance.
Onto serums and treatments now. And well, well, well, would you look here… we have another Volition Beauty product ! The Strawberry-C Brightening Serum | $42 | which contains 20% strawberry-derived vitamin c ! This jiggly, jelly, lightweight serum has currently become an everyday go-to for me . Did you know that strawberries have 14% more vitamin c than an orange 🤔 me neither ! Activist Skincare was another new brand to me last year, thanks to Instagram. I picked up their sampler set so I could give everything a try. I fell in love with a few of their products thanks to the set ! One of the faves includes the Active Hydration C+ Antioxidant Serum | $69 . I can’t wait to pick up the full size of this product very, very soon. It also has that lovely jelly, lightweight, sinks-right-into-the-skin serum consistency that I enjoy ! Activist Skincare also offers a refill program which is *chef’s kiss* amazing ! Goodbye to plastic waste !
KORA Organics Noni Night Serum | $72 | was my first KORA purchase and I’ve been pretty pleased with this serum. I’ve been trying to find a dupe for the DE Framboos Serum and I’d say this is *pretty close* as far as actives go. It contains AHAs and BHAs to exfoliate the skin overnight. This is great for anyone who has any textural issues or looking for overall brightening magic while they sleep !
I stepped back into retinoids in 2020 now that I’ve reached that ripe age of 30. I’ve tried some in the past, but was always left with irritate, red, peeling, overall unhappy skin. It has been said that this can be a sign that the skin is adjusting to the retinoid product, or the skin is actually having a brutal reaction to the product. I think I was having a reaction. I was getting to the point where I was ready to try some retinol alternatives like bakuchiol, but then saw someone talking about the Shani Darden Retinol Reform | $88 | and how they didn’t experience any irritation or desensitized skin when using it. Figured I’d give it a go with the travel size, and fell in love with the formula almost immediately. I’ve had zero irritation, and incredible results so far ! I’m thinking I’ll do a full review here on the blog or on my Instagram ASAP, so stay tuned.
Moving on to eye products, I have two favorites. One is a very well loved eye gel, also a favorite of mine from 2018, and 2019… the Biossance Squalane + Peptide Eye Gel | $54. This eye gel has helped me so much with the occasional puffy morning eyes and I absolutely love lightweight eye gel treatments like this one. The Dermalogica Biolumin-C Eye Serum | $70 | was a newer purchase towards the end of 2020, but I’ve been using it almost everyday and really enjoy it. It also feels very lightweight around the eyes like the Biossance eye gel. It’s also very hydrating (especially this time of the year, I’ll take all I can get it 😆). Anything with Vitamin C will take some time to see dramatic results, so with that said, I can’t wait to see some long term results with continuous use of this newbie.
Let’s talk about a quick multi use product that I have also repurchased and have continued to love since 2018. The Summer Friday’s Jet Lag Mask | $25 (mini). This can be used as a quick hydrating mask in your skincare routine, a sleeping mask (which is what I normally use it for), a moisturizer or even a primer before makeup ! I have yet to buy the full size. I don’t feel like I’d use it enough to justify the full size when the mini sizes have last quite a bit of time for me.
Moving on to some combo-skin loving moisturizers. I have a few but I’ll make it quick ! First up is an ALL TIME favorite; a super star, perfect for winter weather & dry skin… *drum roll*, the Biossance Squalane + Omega Repair Cream | $58. I’ve had minis of this before and have always loved it, but in 2020 I decided to make the plunge and get the full size ! I’m so glad that I did because it’s such a dream of a cream for combo to dry winter skin. Another moisturizer that has been ideal for the wintery months is the Milk Makeup Vegan Milk Moisturizer | $38. It’s thicker than the Biossance cream, but melts just as well into the skin. The formula contains lots of skin-loving butters, nourishing oils and their Desert Milk formula (a blend of Kalahari melon, baobab, jojoba, and aloe vera). The final moisturizer favorite of 2020 was actually my summer go-to, the Kinship Supermellow Hydrating Gel Cream (gifted) | $24. This felt super lightweight, yet hydrating enough for my combo skin in the summer, and didn’t leave me feeling greasy throughout the day.
The year of sunscreen for me was in 2019. Not that I started wearing it for the first time, 😝 but that I had tried out a ridiculous amount of different mineral based SPFs. At least 20 or so, I’d say. I found a few favorites along the way that I’ve been enjoying and using in 2020. The Supergoop Matte Screen SPF 40 | $38. This is the perfect SPF if you’re feeling super oily in the summer and want that ‘smoothing effect’ on the skin. Babo Botanicals makes a killer Daily Sheer Fragrance Free Tinted SPF 30 | $17. This one is ideal for me when I need to go, go, go out the door. It’s moisturizing enough where I don’t need an additional moisturizer in my routine in the summer. So honestly, I can just wash my face, slap this on and head out the door ! The Paula’s Choice Essential Glow Moisturizer SPF 30 | $29 | is also another one of those products I can just slap on after washing my face and run out the door. Trust me, no actual slapping is happening though 😂. This one takes a little more effort to blend into the skin since the color of the SPF is more of a lightish grey color. It does blend in eventually without leaving a horrible white cast, and it does leave the skin looking very glowy.. which I love !
The last skincare section we have to chat about are facial oils ! My third favorite skincare product, besides cleanser and SPF. Another Biossance item has made it onto my 2020 favorites ! Go figure. The Biossance Tea Tree Balancing Oil | $49. Do you ever get little pimples in between your boobs or on your chest, maybe after working out or sweating all day ? Well, I do & they’re very annoying as with any acne. This oil has helped clear all those problem areas up for me. I’ve also used this in the areas I can get maskne. Heads up, since this is a treatment oil.. it’s best applied before moisturizers for the best results. When I hop out of the shower, I usually apply this right away to those problem area.
Pai Skincare was another new brand to me in 2020, and out of everything I’ve tried from them, their Bioregenerate Oil | $44| is easily a favorite. I won’t make this post any longer than it needs to be but I’d recommend looking up all the amazing multi-tasking benefits of rosehip oil (the main ingredient in here), but just know it’s best in it’s pure form and when applied directly on skin after cleansing and toning.
Activist Skincare has made it on the list again ! Are you surprised ? This time with their Precious Oils Active Infusion| $64. This is light oil filled with key actives likes antioxidants, coenzyme Q10 (to boost skin repair), and chamomile extract, which is supposed to help with hyperpigmentation ! I’m really enjoying it ! You only need a tiny bit of this oil and it sinks right into the skin. Sometimes I like to mix it with a thick moisturizer too.
The last oil is the thickest of them all, the 100% Cold Pressed Virgin Marula Oil | $9.90 | from The Ordinary. This one I usually apply as my final step in my skincare routine to lock everything in. Sometimes I’ll put some in the ends of my hair too.
Wow this post is getting very lengthy 😅, I think I should pick it up a bit with the final sections of my 2020 favorites.
We’re moving on to body care, lip balms, and hair care next. But I don’t have as many products for these categories, so it should go by quick. ALSO – since you’re here reading this right now.. first I want to say thank you and secondly, I figured I’d give a loyal reader an exclusive clue to my next giveaway that I’m planning on hosting very, very, soon. The clue is.. this entire post 😉.
I don’t know about ya’ll but I’m really trying to focus on putting the same love and effort in my body care lately as I do with my skincare…. because why not ? Skin is skin ! And ALL skin needs a good moisturizer. 😂
Biossance came out with a killer hand cream somewhat recently called the Squalane + Omega Repair Hand Cream | $16. I tried to re-order this around the holidays and couldn’t find it on the site. Come to find out they took it down for some reason but have no fear, it’s now back ! If you suffer from eczema on the palms of your hands (like me), or anywhere really.. you’d probably enjoy this. But hey, if you’re an eczema sufferer, you might also like the Babo Botanicals Sensitive Skin Healing Ointment | $19. You can literally use it anywhere from lips to legs.
Lush finally made the Lord of Misrule Shower Gel a permenant item in their collection ! It’s literally my favorite scent from them, ever. If you like spicy scents, you might like this too ! Another bath time go-to last year was the Herbivore Botanicals Coco Rose Body Scrub | $36. To me, this smells amazing and I’m not usually a huge fan of rose scented products… so that means something !
My second favorite product from Lush is their Sleepy Body Lotion which has this more calmer, more sweeter version of lavender. I love the formula of this lotion compared to the others that Lush sells. It sinks in quicker and doesn’t leave you all greasy. Smells amazing too.
So I tried my first ever treatment body lotion this past year thanks to Paula’s Choice ! They offer quite the generous full-size birthday gift with the purchase of a full-size product so I picked up their 2% BHA Body Treatment | $28. So far I’m really enjoying it and will probably share more thoughts on my Instagram within the next month or so ! If you haven’t signed up to Paula’s Choice, I’d recommend it so you can get some full size freebies too.
Now we’re moving on to lip balms and I don’t know about you, but I enjoy some juicy, even goopy & thick lip balms/treatments. The next three are my go-tos for that type of texture. Starting with The Summer Friday’s Lip Butter Balm | $22 | which was the newest balm to me in 2020, and I can see it becoming a consistant repurchase for years to come. It has a subtle vanilla scent, which is amazing because I don’t like super scented lip products… or skincare in general.
The OG Coconut Kopari Lip Glossy | $13 is next and it has been a favorite of mine for years actually. I can’t stop repurchasing it because it’s just that good ! It does provide that thick juicy barrier that I love without leaving my lips feeling sticky. It’s a good alternative to those who like the look of a glossy lip but don’t like the stickiness of many lip glosses.
The Bite Beauty Agave+ Nighttime Treatment | $25 | is probably the thickest, goopiest out of the bunch and I’m living for it ! I love that it comes with this little spatula applicator too, so everything is super hygienic. I used that damn spatula until the last drop of balm. Which by the way, took me a year to finish. So yes, the 25 bucks is worth it for a year worth of delicious balm ! I die for the chamomile-bergamot scent of this one too…
Finishing up the lip care section we have the Kosas Wet Lip Oil Gloss (Shade: Jellyfish)| $27 😅 . I go through this lip oil incredibly fast, like maybe in a couple of months this boy is empty. And to be honest, I don’t know if that’s because I like to layer my lip oils on thick, or I just apply this more than normal… or there’s not a lot in there, or what ! But I do wish it was cheaper nonetheless.
And here we are. The final section of my favorites, haircare !
For shampoo and conditioner, I’ve repurchased the Pacifica Beauty Rosemary Purifying Shampoo & Conditioner | $10 ea | over and over again in 2020. And I actually just cracked open a new conditioner not too long ago too. It has that tea tree, rosemary, minty scent to both, which I enjoy. The conditioner is probably the one I will always continue to repurchase because it has more of a balmy texture compared to other conditioners I’ve tried before. You can actually buy the whole bundle of this collection here, and try all four products including the scalp scrub and scalp treatment oil (which I did try and enjoy very much too).
After showering and washing my hair, I’ve been spraying my hair with the Briogeo Rosarco Milk Leave In Conditioning Spray | $20. It’s been helping with any tangles in my hair. And to finish, I’ve been adding in the Evolvh Styling Creme (gifted) | $28. The styling creme has worked great on days I want to blow dry my hair or actually getting around to styling my bangs.
Phewwwwwwwww. That’s a lot. Thank you so much for reading and I hope you enjoyed my 2020 favorites ! Maybe share some of your favorites from 2020 ? I’d love to check them out.