I’ve been a lover of skincare products for several years now, and I’ve finally developed a concrete sense of the type of products I consider to be my holy grails. What is a “holy grail” product you ask? Historically, the holy grail is a mythical item that was coveted by many during medieval times. It’s said that those seeking the treasure would achieve eternal youth, prosperity and abundance if they were lucky enough to possess it!
I consider a holy grail product to be one that meets the following three criteria:
- The product has given me consistently positive results that I can always depend on.
- The purchase of the product has never given me buyer’s regret.
- The product is aesthetically pleasing in terms of look and feel, thus inducing enjoyment from its use.
Do note that I’m only listing the categories of products that I actually use and have experience in. I don’t believe in buying eye creams, so you won’t see those listed here. Additionally, categories in which I haven’t tried a variety of products won’t be listed either such as oils or retinols. You might recognize some of these products from a post I did over 2 years ago… so let’s take a dive deep into my favorite holy grail products from each skincare category!
I’ve talked about the Paula’s Choice Hydrating Gel to Cream Cleanser ($19) for years now. It’s one of the first cleansers I tried yet has stood the test of time as my favorite overall cleanser. The standout quality of this cleanser is that it is only $19 for 6.7oz meaning you are going to be using it for quite some time. Because cleansers are wash off products, they don’t impart much to your skin, so spending a lot of money on a cleanser is not something my budget supports. The most important thing for me is that it doesn’t strip my already dry and dehydrated skin while also being fun to use. It starts off as a gel texture, but quickly transforms into a creamy base that easily glides over the skin. Definitely a value purchase here!
Yes, I don’t think everyone needs to be using a toner or essence in their skincare routine, but it’s definitely a step I luxuriate in doing. I prefer essences to toners, because they tend to have more actives. They’re like the best of both worlds category in between toners and serums. If you follow my instagram page, you know I rave about Missha’s line of essences. So it won’t be a surprise to anybody that my holy grail essence comes from this brand.
I can’t say enough good things about the Artemisia Treatment Essence ($55). This is a skincare step where you want to impart hydration back into your skin to counteract trans epidermal water loss caused by cleansing. Not only does it give ample hydration, but its star ingredient, Artemisia aka Mugwort, is excellent at soothing inflammation, calming redness and expediting the end of acne breakouts. If you have acne-prone skin or just sensitive skin in general, I can’t recommend this product enough. It’s also worth noting that I’ve NEVER paid the retail price for any Missha product as they’re always having a sale.
The goat of exfoliants goes to Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant ($32). I’ve tried a litany of AHAs, BHAs and even combinations of both. But this product has been the most consistent at really giving me a glow from within and clearing up pore congestion. The best part about this formulation and what really makes it a holy grail is how gentle it is. Most exfoliants can sometimes cause irritation or stinging, but I haven’t ever faced such with this product. It’s no mistake that it’s a global best-selling product for Paula.
The serum category is a bit complicated to talk about. As you know, serums serve as direct vehicles to support certain target skincare concerns. Whether it’s antioxidants, hyperpigmentation or simply hydration, serums are probably one of the most important categories when it comes to accomplishing your skincare goals. If you’d like a second post explaining my favorite subcategories when it comes to serums, let me know on social media somewhere.
For now, I will just give you my overall holy grail serum for multipurpose use: the Missha Night Repair Ampoule 5x ($54). For antiaging, there’s 10 probiotics that will help to firm the skin and increase elasticity. Niacinamide is going to boost your skin’s ability to retain moisture, help with the skin barrier and also give you some brightening benefits. It’s also a wonderful hydrator and leaves your skin with a natural glow. This is a serum that seems to do it all for me, and it comes in a luxurious purple bottle too!
I’ve tried many moisturizers, but the Paula’s Choice Omega+ Complex Moisturizer ($36) has been above and beyond my favorite. I prefer to focus on barrier strengthening properties when it comes to my moisturizers. However, I find that the products with the right concentrations of ceramides tend to have too thick of a consistency which can be clogging to the pores or simply unpleasant to rub in. The Omega+ Complex Moisturizer feels like a gentle cloud that quickly sinks into your skin without feeling heavy or greasy. Even though there are no fragrances added, it does have a natural scent of trail mix (due to the chia and flax seeds I assume) that I actually grew to like a lot! haha
Arguably the most important step, sunscreen can be a challenging product for many. First thing’s first, I need my sunscreen to be cheap, and affordable, because it’s the one product that you should be using a lot of. Second, it needs to not leave me with a white cast. I actually have two holy grails, depending on when I’m using them. First up is the Kroger Invisible Gel SPF40 ($11.09) which I use if I plan on running or going to the gym. The reason why is because it’s water resistant and leaves me with a matte finish. This is so helpful, because I don’t need a mixture of sweat & sunscreen dripping into my eyes. I also use this sunscreen if I’m planning to wear make up. It’s rare that I wear makeup, but this sunscreen is silicone based and makes a great canvas for makeup application.
The second sunscreen that has quickly become a holy grail over the last 5 months is the Frudia Ultra UV Sun Essence ($9.99). I use this in the second half of the day after my exercise has been completed. I have dry skin, and I hate having to use a moisturizer before my sunscreen. This is a 2-in-1 deal due to its addition of triple hyaluronic acid formulation. It keeps me moisturized and glowing all day long without any white cast or irritation. The fragrance is light and cute. AND IT’S ONLY $10!!
I hope you enjoyed these holy grail products. I know this reads like a sponsored post from Paula’s Choice or Missha (I wish!), but these are honestly just two brands that have stood the test of time when it comes to effectiveness for my skin. Any future changes to my holy grails (or the addition of new categories) will be updated here. So be sure to favorite this page for reference! What are some of your holy grail products that never fail? Comment on my post to share!