My name is Hilary & I’ve been working for The Skinny Confidential for about 6 years now. I love working for Lauryn & with the entire team, AND over the years I have learned a lot of things from Lauryn ( like you have too, I’m sure ). Things like time-batching ( life-changing! ) & not living in your inbox, BUT also Hydro Flasks, double-cleansing, peel pads & ice rolling.
Here’s the thing: my skin is SENSITIVE. & I mean REAL sensitive. Even things labelled ok for sensitive skin are not ok for me. Anyone else like this?
I used to dream of being able to buy & try any product at the drugstore or at Sephora but after a lot of wasted $$$, I’ve discovered some tried & true products for hyper-sensitive skin like mine ( which can go from dry to oily in a heartbeat ). And just so you really get it, baby sunscreen gives me a rash. ::eye roll::
Also want to mention that I’m not a ‘product person.’ My bathroom counter isn’t full of a million products, I wear the same makeup every day, & I don’t get sucked into the marketing of the beauty industry anymore. And that’s because I now know that there are only a handful of items in the sea of beauty products that work for my skin.
So rest assured, the items in this post are FOR REAL, actually good for sensitive skin. I’ll share cleansers, treatments, makeup & more that have worked for me over the years. If you have SUPER sensitive skin, I hope you find this post helpful, because it’s taken me years to finally find these ride-or-dies.
Let’s get to it!
THE BEST BEAUTY PRODUCTS FOR SENSITIVE SKIN:
Cetaphil has been on my bathroom counter & in my shower since I was 13. It’s great, but I switched to CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser after a facialist told me that it’s more hydrating than Cetaphil, because it has ceramides in it.
Cetaphil is something I always have, but I do notice that with CeraVe my skin doesn’t feel as tight or dry after rinsing it off.
Fun sidenote: a tip I learned from GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE SUN is to not spend your money on expensive cleansers. They’re only on your face for a few seconds & there are a lot of good affordable options at the drugstore.
♡ Jojoba Oil
This specific jojoba oil is my favorite for double-cleansing. It’s organic, cold-pressed, affordable, & the natural smell is super mild. If you haven’t heard of double-cleansing, it’s the best way to clean your face if you have dry or sensitive skin.
First, get yourself some baby washcloths. Their only purpose is to clean your face! Lauryn gets into it in this post if you want to learn more. So take your jojoba oil & slather it all over your face, do a little facial massage to really spread it around & then grab a baby washcloth & run it under some warm water. Use it to remove the oil & you’ll see all your makeup on the cloth. Then finish with CeraVe cleanser & voilá – YOU JUST DOUBLE-CLEANSED!
Your skin will feel hydrated, nourished & CLEAN. Also, ready for the next item on the list.
♡ Dr. Dennis Gross Ultra Gentle Daily Peel Pads
You have probably heard & seen Lauryn with Dr. Dennis’s peel pads. They’re amazing. Often my skin feels like it needs a peel but when you have sensitive skin, it’s just not an option. I’ve never liked rough exfoliants with beads or fruit peels in them ( it just feels like it’s damaging ) & so discovering the Dr. Dennis made a sensitive peel pad was really exciting!
These are the ones for sensitive skin & do not irritate one bit. The first time I used one I couldn’t believe how smooth my skin felt. And, not even kidding, I could ‘feel’ my serum & moisturizer really get in there & work better. I swear! you might be a little bit red after using them which is why I like to use them before bed, but it won’t sting.
♡ Zo Skin Health Daily Sheer SPF 50
A friend lent me Zo Skin Skin Health Daily SPF & I couldn’t believe how good it felt. Most sunscreen stings, but during the summer months I grin & bear it because, wrinkles. Some days if I wasn’t going to be outside much I wouldn’t even wear it because I thought the stinging feeling it gave me was worse for me than the protection I was getting.
But this stuff feels so nourishing & it goes perfectly under your makeup ( I’ll use the SPF over normal moisturizer if my skin feels dry ).
♡ Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Face SPF
This is another great face sunscreen if you want something more affordable. You can find Aveeno products at any grocery store or drugstore & this one doesn’t irritate, sting or give any redness. It’s really lightweight too, so you can use it under your makeup, & all over your neck & chest.
♡ Thayer’s Witch Hazel Toner
Thayer’s Witch Hazel is always on my bathroom counter. After double-cleansing, put some on a cotton pad & swipe it over your face, neck & chest. Toning removes any residue left behind from cleansing & Thayer’s also has some aloe in it, so it won’t leave your skin feeling dry. I like the unscented one, but you can also buy the cucumber, lemon or rose petal one.
♡ First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Oat & Hemp Seed Dry Oil
Thank you Jackie Schimmel of The Bitch Bible for introducing me to this! She posted about it on an Instagram Story years ago, talking about how rosacea & redness are here to stay but if anything helped the situation at all, it was this!
If my skin is feeling irritated, red & dry I like to put this on before I go to sleep, right after cleansing. With most oils, you want to put them on last in your skincare routine, but I REALLY want this stuff to soak in, so I use it & ONLY it. It seems to work because I wake up with my skin nice & calm!
♡ Lux Unfiltered N.32 Gradual Self-Tanning Cream & N.12 Bronzing Face Drops
I LOVE THIS STUFF. You may have read Sivan Ayla’s posts here & here, but if you don’t know about her Lux Unfiltered tanning line, you must try it! The Bronzing Face Drops give you the best glow & are so hydrating. I like to mix 4 drops in with my moisturizer & take it all the way down my neck & chest. It gives the healthiest, barely-there tan, ideal for winter months in Vancouver, Canada. You can use more or less depending on what shade you like.
The Gradual Self-Tanning Cream feels so good, gives the BEST gradual tan & doesn’t feel greasy at all. It doesn’t have that ‘tan’ smell other tanning lotions have, but instead you can choose from a rosewood or santal scent. The best part is that it doesn’t transfer! So you put it on, wait 5 minutes then get dressed or go to bed or get on with your day.
Full disclosure, I hate the smell of rose, which is a real shame since it’s great for sensitive skin. But his rosewood scent in the tanning cream is mild & actually really nice. For my next bottle I’ll order the santal because it’s more up my alley.
♡ Dermalogica Multivitamin Power Recovery Masque
This is a the best mask I’ve ever tried. When everything goes to shit & your skin suck or has had a reaction this will fix it overnight. You’re supposed to apply this mask, then rinse it off after 15 minutes but I sleep with it on.
The smell is less than amazing, but it WORKS. It gives your skin such a nourishing boost & gets rid of any dry skin or redness. Highly recommend this. I usually get the mini size & it lasts me a long time.
♡ Skinceuticals Serum 10
Do you even know what it was like helping Lauryn with her 2nd book & hearing/reading SO MANY ( literally so many ) experts, doctors & influencers say that Skinceuticals CE Ferulic, hands down, was one of the best skincare products on the market, making the BIGGEST, most noticeable difference in people’s aging skin ?? Do you ?! Well, it was hard. Because I knew I couldn’t use it.
So the deal is that Skinceuticals CE Ferulic is a Vitamin C serum ( 15% ). If you have very sensitive skin, it’s also very likely that you are sensitive to topical Vitamin C. For me, that looks like a ton of tiny bumps all over my forehead. I tried it once, & although I didn’t get the bumps, it just didn’t feel right. I knew right away that prolonged use might not get me the results I wanted.
Enter Serum 10. It’s a lower concentration of Vitamin C & after using it for 2 weeks I noticed my skin was smoother, my complexion had evened out & my face just looked ‘fresher.’ It’s said that once you get climatized to Serum 10, you can probably move on to CE Ferulic, but I’m on my 3rd bottle of Serum 10 & don’t see any reason to switch yet!
♡ BioEffect Serum
This is a serum I’ve been using for years & I originally discovered it at the airport Duty Free in Iceland. Not only is it a clean product with no nasties, it feels amazing. It’s a little pricey but a little goes a long way. I’m talking 3 drops for your entire face, chest & neck.
Now don’t quote me, because I’m not a scientist, but it’s almost like a hydration multiplier ?? That’s what I think every time I use it. You’ll put 3 drops in your hand & you will not believe how it glides & spreads over your skin. You’ll have to double check you didn’t accidentally use the whole bottle, because that’s what it feels like.
You can use it in the day, but I only use it at night after using Dr. Dennis’s Peel Pads. You will wake up with the most hydrated skin of your life! Since first using this serum, BioEffect has come out with a ton of other products. I’m looking foward to trying them as I have no doubt that they are also great for senstive skin.
♡ BB / CC Creams & Foundation
Marcelle BB Cream is what I use in the summer & I mix it with Maybelline Dream Radiant Foundation in the winter. It’s hypo-allergenic & fragrance free & easily glides on with your hands. I only do that when I’m in a rush, otherwise I always use a damp beautyBlender.
Physician’s Formula also makes great creams & foundations, but if you’re going for a CC or BB cream, not a foundation, I think Marcelle has better coverage if that’s something you need. Any Physician’s Formula products are great for sensitive skin & they have the best bronzer.
The Maybelline Dream Radiant Foundation is such a good drugstore foundation! I heard a little rumor that it’s almost the exact same formulation as the Armani Beauty Silk Foundation? Who knows! Anyway, it comes in tons of different shades, is so affordable, you can find it anywhere & it has AMAZING coverage.
♡ THE SKINNY CONFIDENTIAL HOT MESS ICE ROLLER
Just love this thing. It’s sturdy, it’s pink, it’s always cold & IT WORKS. It brings down redness in an instant, soothes in a flash, & just feels so damn good that I’m thinking about getting another one so I can use them in tandem on each side of my face.
Lauryn really killed it with this one. I’ve been working with her for a while so I know that she was meticulous about the design for you guys & it had to be just perfect. Which it is! Highly recommend THE HOT MESS ICE ROLLER if you have sensitive skin prone to redness. A lot of people keep theirs in the freezer, but I like to keep mine in the fridge.
♡ Davines Hair Products
Hair products when we’re talking about sensitive skin? YES! A Dermatologist told me that when you have sensitive skin, everything matters. The fragrance in your body lotion can travel up to your face, the nickel/metal used to plate your eyeshadow pallette can cause a reaction, the shampoo & conditioner you use in the shower runs down your face & IT MATTERS!
I’ve used Davines products for a while now & love them. I use the Volu shampoo & the Dede leave-in conditioner. The smell is light & fresh, it’s formulated with no nasties, & they have products for all types of hair. In the past I’ve used Aveda haircare & love that too.
Ahhhh, what a burden to have such sensitive skin! Do you have any products that are perfect for sensitive skin? I would have loved a list like this years ago so I really hope some of you find it helpful. Let me know if you try any of my recommendations in the comments below. I’m very curious if they work for you too.
+ stalk Lauryn’s favorite drugstore finds here.
++ scope how to exfoliate your lips.