I learned everything I know about skincare from my mom. Don't get me wrong: as a child, I often joked about her frequent trips to the dermatologist, being an apothecary for beauty products and having a multi-step routine so long, that it seemed unnecessary. She couldn't leave the house, even for quick errands, without completing each step (which, I'd argue, is why we were notorious for being late). Now, at 26-years old, I understand why. Over the years, I've since begun to bond with my mom, Suzette, over the latest product launches and cult favorites. But it wasn't until my recent quest for "glass skin" that I tapped into the contents of her medicine cabinet. I uncovered a list of mom-approved beauty products, of all price points, and my skin has never looked better.
I'd like to preface this with the fact that my mom is 53 and has had a well-developed skincare routine since she was in high school. "I remember doing a complete routine before taking my senior year pictures," she tells me during one of our many daily FaceTime calls. "It's quite honestly the best my skin has probably every looked." But just looking at the pictures, you can tell she's being modest, as not much as changed in her appearance between now and then.
Though she credits most of this to "having good genes" (the saying, "Black don't crack" comes to mind, as do ancient Chinese beauty secrets passed down from her mother), her daily lineup is impressive to say the least. Filled with products from heavy-hitters like Cle De Peau and La Mer, the list is definitely balanced out by more affordable products, too. But Skinceutical's C E Ferulic serum priced at $166, per ounce, is what she deems her holy grail. "I've used this serum for more than ten years", she confesses, deeming it the one product that she doesn't want to ever go without.
As I started to integrate some of her go-to products into my own routine (we both have combination skin, so I wasn't too concerned with them not meshing my skin type), I noticed a gradual difference in my skin. It looked a lot less dull, and the dry patches I had inherited from my dad were not nearly as noticeable. While I was one step closer to achieving "flawless" skin, I quickly realized that consistency was absolutely key. Week after week, I used the same routine and my skin had never looked better. The reason that my mom saw so many positive results with her personal skincare routine is because she found a compilation of products early on that worked for her specific needs and stuck with it. That's not to say you can't mix it up every so often, but if it's not broke, don't go trying to fix it.
Meant to be applied lightest to heaviest, my mom's go-to skincare routine has been broken down for you, just ahead.
1. Cle De Peau Synactif Soap
"To me, the most important step of my routine is properly cleansing my face (and decolletage)", my mom says, speaking fondly of her Synactif Soap. "It's important to start with a fresh canvas or else it kind of defeats the purpose."
2. Trish McEvoy Correct And Brighten Weekly Peel
Meant to be used no more than once a week, Trish McEvoy's correct and bright peel is what the brand describes as a "one-step multi-acid" that dramatically brightens and evens your skin's complexion. My mom loves it for its reduction of wrinkles and enlarged pores.
3. Tatcha Rice Polish
A cult favorite amongst editors and influencers alike, Tatcha designed its Rice Polish to exfoliate the skin and offer a dewy glow. Not too abrasive, but effective enough to reduce dullness, the water-activated formula features silk protein to ensure moisture.
4. By Terry Cellularose Hydra-Toner
Available everywhere from Saks Fifth Avenue to Net-A-Porter, By Terry's Cellularose has been a longstanding favorite in my mom's arsenal of beauty products. Use this in between steps five, six, and seven to gently prep and rehydrate your skin.
5. Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Vitamin C Serum
To give the skin a little lift, Ole Henriksen's serum features vitamin C for an instant brightening effect. It's meant to be put on the face and neck daily to reinstate elasticity.
6. Skinceuticals C E FERULIC Serum
Skinceuticals's C E Ferulic Serum, the product my mom can't live without, helps protect the skin from the outdoors (think, subway fumes and air pollution). If desired, it also reduces the amount of fine lines and wrinkles.
7. La Mer The Moisturizing Cool Gel Cream
La Mer's gel cream is worth every penny. Its mild formula is perfectly suited for sensitive skin and won't give your skin a greasy or oily look. Plus, the cooling effect offers a refreshing feel — making it a great way to finish your skincare routine.
8. Origins Ginzing Ultra Hydrating, Energy-Boosting Cream
If you're looking for a moisturizer that's a bit heavier, Origin's hydrating boosting cream has a whipped formula that sinks into the skin — leaving it plump and not at all oily. My mom relies on this product during the colder months, when her skin is often drier.
9. Olay Hydration Mist Ultimate Hydration Essence Energizing
Proof that a good product doesn't have to come with a hefty price tag, Olay's hydrating mist is designed to wake up your skin and renew your fresh look, even if you've hit your midday slump. It features vitamin C and bergamot for a firming and glowing effect.
10. Herbivore Botanicals Jade Facial Roller
Because we are of Chinese heritage as well, my grandmother had a jade roller long before it became a cult must-have. In ancient Chinese culture, a jade roller was used to increase blood circulation. They are believed to help the body heal itself. For that reason, my mom is no stranger to pressing the cold roller in an upward motion across your face to decrease puffiness.