2015 favourites: My skincare must-haves for dry, sensitive skin!

Best of 2015 skincare favourites

As some of you guys might remember, I skipped my 2014 favourites on account of the fact that they were like… 95% exactly the same as my 2013 favourites. My 2015 favourites, however, are a whole other can of fish!

I was lucky enough to not just try out a whole slew of awesome new products this year (mostly skincare), but to find a bunch of new favourites, too. So, I’ve been planning this updated favourites list since October (!), and the list you’ll see is as condensed as possible: these are only my very favourite products; not simply products that I think are the best in their class, but the ones that I use every day, will take with me on overnight stays, and have, in many cases, already re-purchased a couple of times. 

To put it simply, these favourites lists look at a product in relation to its price, packaging, and the other products in its class, unlike my reviews, which examine products on a standalone basis.

My must-have serums for super dry skin

Dry skin favourites

I’ve always really loved makeup, but starting at the end of 2014, I got super into skincare. Everything sort of shifted for me when I tried the Odacité Pomegranate + Rose Geranium Serum Concentrate ($42 USD; review), and realized that, oh, my super-dry skin didn’t actually have to be painful and peeling at all times.

This year, however, I stopped purchasing my beloved Po+R. I still love it to bits, don’t get me wrong, but it’s just too expensive of a habit for me to keep up — my last bottle only lasted me about 8 weeks before the serum crystalized in the bottle (thank you, pomegranate seed oil), though I did manage to use up my previous bottle entirely.

I’m using a blend of pomegranate seed oil from Mountain Rose Herbs and pink grapefruit seed oil from Purple Citrus in my Po+R bottle right now (around a 9:1 ratio), and I’m really happy with the blend. I definitely notice a difference in the quality of the oils (the Mountain Rose Herbs pomegranate seed oil breaks me out unless I add a bit of pink grapefruit to clarify), but for the price difference (about $9/oz vs $247/oz), I don’t think I’ll be going back to the Odacité anytime soon.

Odacite Pomegranate Rose Geranium oil review

I’ve also been using the Paula’s Choice Resist Moisture Renewal Oil Booster ($35 USD; review), which I really love. It’s not thick and comforting the way that pomegranate seed oil is, but it’s lovely. I use two drops of this mixed into my nighttime moisturizer and always wake up with just the most amazing skin–like, since I started using this stuff, I will actually just stop and stare at my skin in mirrors. It’s kind of awkward.

I’m not sure if I’ll re-buy the Paula’s Choice (it’s $52/oz, which I know is still really cheap, but my oil blend is $9/oz) once I run out, but I do really love it. It makes a big difference for my already youthful skin, and if I was five or ten years older, I would definitely re-purchase!

My must-have moisturizers

I’ve got, like, four giant tubs of German Nivea sitting in my basement, and I don’t know what on earth I’m going to do with them because dudes, I have finally moved on.

DHC Extra Nighttime Moistsure review

Right now, I’m switching between two awesome mid-range moisturizers: DHC Extra Nighttime Moisture ($36 USD; reviewin the evenings and Reversa Anti-Redness Soothing Care ($34 CAD; review) in the daytime. Both are excellent delivery mechanisms for other products: they’re scent- and silicone-free and very hydrating, but mix well with whatever serum I’m using or testing that day.

My current mix for Heavenly, Blemish-Free Morning Face™ is a tiny dollop of DHC with two drops of the Paula’s Choice serum I mentioned above — if you have really dry, dehydrated skin, you MUST try these two products!! And, for the daytime, the Reversa stuff is awesome. It doesn’t have SPF (its only failing), but the slight green tint just makes my skin look that little bit better.

My cleansing, acne, and haircare favourites

I’m still loving my Marcelle 3-in-1 Micellar Solution ($19.95 CAD; review), which removes my eye makeup without any stinging or hassle, and my Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion ($19 USD at Nordstrom, Ulta, or UO; outside the US, I think Beauty Bay is the cheapest way to get it — that’s where I buy mine). I think I’m on, like, my fourth bottle of each, or something equally ridiculous–the Marcelle is super gentle, effective, and affordable, and the Mario Badescu is just magic for acne. 

-Skin and haircare favourites

I’m also still all over the Giovanni 2Chic Avocado & Olive Oil Leave-In Spray (review), which I re-bought this year. It’s a great little drugstore find that makes your hair feel silky and super-smooth, but also makes it seem like you have nothing in your hair at all — it’s not greasy or sticky, and the smell evaporates almost immediately.

Finally, I’ve been using the Paula’s Choice Resist Optimal Results Hydrating Cleanser ($18 USD; reviewevery single day since I tried it for the first time! It’s a rich, “plain” cleansing milk that’s (also) super gentle and effective, and even though it’s harder to get my hands on than a bottle of Marcelle Essentials Cleansing Milk, it’s stolen my go-to cleanser spot.

The skincare secrets that I learned this year

SkinCeuticals skincare regimen group

Okay, this is the stuff that you guys really want to tune in for, regardless of your skin type. I learned two big things in 2015: one, that I am way more likely to use a serum if I mix it into my moisturizer, and two, that you should never leave product in your eye dropper.

I know they always tell you to apply serum first, but I almost never do. It’s kind of a hassle, and I hate the way that a lot of them feel — dry and thin and oily all at the same time. If I apply my serum at the same time as my moisturizer, though, I find that I get all of the benefits with none of the icky parts!

As for the other skincare secret? A lot of my favourite serums are stored in eyedropper-type bottles, and I learned this year that you are NEVER supposed to leave product in the actual dropper part! The air in the squeeze-y balloon will oxidize the product while it sits in there, so any actives (ferulic acid, for instance) will degrade before they even make it to your face. (A big, big thank you to SkinCeuticals’ awesome PR rep for this tip!)

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  • esharp1978

    I never thought about the air in the dropper, good point!
    My recent post Bite Beauty Mix and Mingle Lipstick in Palomino Pomegranate

    • I know!!! I'm chronically lazy with my skincare, so I used to ALWAYS have product in my droppers, lol! I definitely think that played a role in my pomegranate seed oil doing funky things!

  • Fab post. I haven't tried any of these, but those tips are fab! I would never have thought to mix the serum with moisturiser. It does make it more pleasant to apply!
    My recent post Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water – The Bioderma Dupe

    • Thanks, Livia! I'm glad I could turn you toward the serum "cheat" ;)

  • GlitterOCD

    Any chance the micellar water works on waterproof mascara?
    My recent post Big Multi-Product REVIEW || Great American Clay

    • It totally does!! Not as well as oil, but as long as I soak my lashes (you know, [wet, apply, pause, and wipe] instead of [wet, wipe], it gets all of my waterproof mascara off :)

      • GlitterOCD

        Very interesting… Might have to give this one a go after my bioderma is gone!

        • It definitely stands up to the test! I have both a bottle of Bioderma and one of Marcelle in my bathroom, and I always reach for the Marcelle. The packaging is better (unless you get a pump-top Bioderma) and the price is a *lot* better! :P

  • I've been loving Sunday Riley Luna and Good Genes!
    My recent post Pixi Book of Beauty Glow Getters

    • I have heard SUCH good things about those two!! They're out of my $$$ range right now, though — it seems silly to me to spend that much on anti-ageing skincare preventatively, lol. I definitely want to give Sunday Riley a try once I hit my 30s, though!! ;)

  • Zoë

    I never thought about the dropper, what a good tip ! these products all sound lovely too, I think I have only tried the marcelle but is great of course.

    • Aww I'm so glad you like the Marcelle, Zoë! I feel like most of the CBB ladies do, which is awesome :p

  • Alix

    My new favorite serum is Lise Watier's Sublimessence. I got a sample on a trip to Montréal recently and I'm addicted! Trouble is, I have no idea how to obtain Lise Watier here in the states. Rae, do you know of any Canadian retailers that will ship across the border?

    • YES!!! Believe it or not, Lise Watier themselves will ship to the US, Alix! ;) They have an American online shop — you just have to select your country to get to it! ;)

  • Thank for the recommendations! I definitely value your opinion a LOT when it comes to skincare and I DEFINITELY need to try some of these.
    My recent post This was 2015 | Thank you! (+ a shout-out to ten very special readers)

    • Aww, thank you, Melissa! That means more to me than you can imagine. <33 Hope your year is off to a great start!!

  • We urgently need to get some more DHC stuff here, all we got is the cleansing oil.. Just plonk the entire line already, I want me some more Asian skincare!
    My recent post Avène Soothing Moisture Mask

    • I loooove the DHC Extra Nighttime Moisture cream. It's so smooth and luxe!

  • Sue

    I really need an updated list of silicone free moisturizers. I would love some new things to try as my skin is super sensitive acne prone. I love your site and visit often to see updates on products! Love what you are doing!!!💗

    • The updated list is definitely coming, but it's taking some time to test my way through! ;)