My FBI agent put me on number 3
(@youthtothepeople / Instagram)
During this neverending cycle of quarantine, there’s one thing that still keeps me going: spending all of my money on skincare products.
I’ve tried so many times to get into skincare, but I often give up after merely one failed product. There’s such an overwhelming amount of information and saturation of products on the market.
This time, I have done enough research on brands, ingredients and product formulations to arm myself with knowledge to buy from brands that I fully support and products that will actually work for me.
Like a true Gen Z consumer, when I look at a brand, I look way beyond their product line. I filter through all of the products advertised to us, for brands that are socially responsible, ethically sourced, vegan and cruelty-free and environmentally friendly. Why buy products from a brand that doesn’t do these things when you can buy from one that does?
Below are the top brands that I have found throughout my journey and a product recommendation from each. All of these brands meet the expectations that I listed above.
1) Youth to the People: Superfood Cleanser
This brand’s glass (and environmentally sustainable) packaging is what initially caught my attention. I was struck by its beauty as I was casually browsing through a Sephora store one day. Youth to the People is one of the most socially responsible and clean, yet effective brands on the market. It definitely takes things a step further by making an effort to actually make a difference in the world through social work, philanthropy and educating its consumers.
My favorite product from it is the Superfood Cleanser. Before trying this cleanser, I almost didn’t believe in cleansing. (I know, please don’t drag me. I don’t wear any makeup.) My skin is very dry and sensitive and every face wash that I tried was overly stripping and would just make my skin even worse.
But this cleanser!! It makes my skin feel super soft and clean without giving me that tight, dried-out feeling that most cleansers left me with. It’s good at getting all the dirt and dead skin cells off your face, but also great as a second cleanser in a double-step cleansing system for makeup removal.
And guess what? This baby works on all skin types, too. I recommended it to my friends with very oily skin and they fell in loOove.
Price: $36 / 8.0 oz
2) Versed: Just Breathe Clarifying Serum
This is probably the most accessible brand. Versed prides itself on being the “cleanest” drugstore skincare brand out there. (So, no surprise it's sold at Target.) It follows the standards of the European Union, the highest quality standards in the world. So, it keeps sustainability in mind by reducing its waste and carbon footprint as much as possible.
The product I would recommend from this brand is their Just Breathe Clarifying Serum. The ingredient list alone makes me want to pick it up and spread it on my skin during break-outs. It has salicylic acid (used to remove dead skin cells and combat acne), niacinamide (minimizes redness and appearance of pores), willow tree bark extract (the gentler version of salicylic acid, good for acne and inflammation).
It’s made specifically for people who have oily, acne-prone skin, which I know many of you are running into right now with the summer heat.
Price: $19.99 / 30 ml
3) Even Prime: Daily Moisturizer
I found this brand through social media. (My FBI agent clearly only gives me ads for skincare.) Like the other brands on the list, Even Prime is committed to formulating with high-quality ingredients and protecting our planet.
I especially like this brand because it loves receiving customer feedback on its social media. They are constantly putting up polls and questionnaires on their Instagram stories to keep their customers’ needs in mind when developing future products.
The Daily Moisturizer is one product from its line you really can’t go wrong with. Its light-weight formula works for a variety of skin types. It’s not too heavy on the skin, which is especially helpful during the summer. Bonus: it helps prevent redness and sensitivity with amazing ingredients such as centella asiatica and Japanese plum.
And guess what? It’s making it even better! On its website, it mentions that it will be “upgrading to an airless pump, replacing kakadu plum with a patented 10-herbal extract complex, and increasing its hydration capability.” They will be releasing this version next month, and I will definitely be buying it.
If you need an alternative for a good daily moisturizer NOW, I would recommend the Versed Dew Point Moisturizing Gel Cream. It has an amazing, lightweight formula, which is also perfect for every skin type, especially during warmer temperatures like now. It contains squalene (controls oil production while still making sure the skin is hydrated) and green tea extract (great for reducing redness and sensitivity).
The only thing I will say about this product is that if you have dry skin, you might be able to get away with using this during the summer, but you might want to use something a little bit heavier and more hydrating during the winter.
Price: $32 / 2 fl.oz
4) KraveBeauty: The Beet Shield Sunscreen
Founded by Korean beauty influencer Liah Yoo, this company’s mission is to create products that show clear results without damaging the skin’s natural barrier.
Like the other brands, Krave Beauty emphasizes its sustainability journey through eco-friendly packaging and continuing efforts for improvement. My go-to product from them is its Beet Shield sunscreen. While it’s advertised as a day fluid, it’s actually a sunscreen with SPF 50+ and PA++++ — the highest protection possible. Although it is certified as a “safe-to-use” sunscreen in Korea, it still needs to go through much longer regulatory processes within the United States before it is labeled as a sunscreen. In America, these products are labeled as a “drug”, rather than a “cosmetic” so it is subject to different marketing requirements.
While the brand cannot claim that this product protects against the sun in the United States, they disclose that the version sold here is the same formula as that in Korea, where it’s considered a sunscreen. It leaves a nice, dewy finish on the face, which is great for people with dry skin or those who just like that glowy look.
Price: $20 / 50 ml
Although we’re not (or shouldn’t be) going out and seeing other people, it’s still important to take care of our skin during quarantine. Skincare routines might sound high-maintenance, but an effective one can help you prevent acne, early signs of aging and ensures your skin looks its best.
Enrique Tefel is a Fashion Manager and Contributing Writer at Rowdy Magazine. He spends his time trying new restaurants , keeping up with the latest fashion and beauty trends and daydreaming about moving to Europe. You can find him on Instagram @enriquetefel.