braina laviena

8 Skincare Products I Use to the Last Drop, by Braina Laviena

"If you like acids and baby soft skin, you should keep this one close at all times."

Each month, model, art director and clean beauty buff Braina Laviena will be sharing her musings on skincare, ingredients, and everything in between. Previously, she shared her non-toxic makeup favorites and summer essentials. This month, she's sharing the products she's actually finishedbecause there's no better proof of approval than an empty bottle.

The beauty industry is worth $532 billion and growing—this means new lines and new products coming out every day in an already highly-saturated market. For many of us, that means either being in a permanent state of indecision of what to buy, or splurging and buying many things just to see what will work. In a world of too many options, how does one choose one’s staples? How do you find your go-to’s—your holy grails? Knowing what will work for you, for your skin type, your lifestyle, and your budget can be so hard to navigate. As someone concerned with the ecological impact of an ever-growing industry that creates an immense amount of plastic waste, I think it’s important to develop a routine and stick to it, simultaneously cutting down on waste and giving your skin much-needed stability. I have dry, sensitive skin and have tried an endless amount of product over the last few years. These are some staples that have stayed throughout—my go-to’s, my holy grails, my maybe-all-I-need-as-a-routine-forever.

Bejbi After Acid Serum 

bejbi after acid serum

If you’re in search of the ever-elusive, glassy, glows-from-within skin, it’s more than likely that you’ve tried your fair share of acids—and also had a fair share of dryness and inflammation issues that can come as a result of using an acid that is not suited for your skin, (it’s a trial and error process, after all). Enter: Bejbi’s After Acid Serum. Made to be applied after your acid, it serves to protect your skin from being over-stripped of its natural oils, while replenishing vital fatty acids. It can also be used as a sort of rescue remedy. A few months ago, after trying one too many acids too close together, my skin freaked out like it never had before. I used this baby and this baby alone as a moisturizer for a whole month and sure enough, it helped not only reset and bring my skin back to normal, but also made it bouncier and healthier. If you like acids and baby soft skin, you should keep this one close at all times. 

Nécessaire Body Wash

necessaire body wash

The perfect body wash exists, and this is it. It comes in three different scents: eucalyptus, sandalwood and unscented—the eucalyptus really is perfect. The texture is more silky than soapy without being oily, the scent is extra relaxing, and the ingredients! Merula, cacay and meadowfoam oils soften skin, and it’s rich in vitamins to help your skin’s health in the long run. It feels so luxe that I save it for a special ritual. I regularly use a bar soap to avoid plastic packaging, but it feels great to use this once a week as a sort of at-home spa. Fill up your tub and make some bubbles—you won’t regret it. 

Nécessaire Body Lotion 

necessaire body lotion

More love for Nécessaire because it works. Before finding this lotion, I had settled on Embryolisse, simply because it was the only paraben free body lotion I could find that had a good finish, felt moisturizing and dried to a silky, non-sticky finish. It was okat, but I disliked the scent—it was also hard to find and the price was steep. Then Necessaire came along and created a lotion with a smooth-silky finish, good, clean ingredients and no scent. I finished my first tube just shy of a month because it’s that good. Hoping they make a bigger, refillable, hopefully glass packaging in the near future so that it can be all I use on my body, but all the same, it is now my staple lotion that I can wholeheartedly say I love. 

Youth to the People Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream

youth to the people moisture cream

If you have dry skin that just won’t quit, try this—trust me. It’s powered by skin-soothing adaptogens and claims to help calm skin irritation and redness—and that it does. This lotion singlehandedly rebalanced my skin, helping it go from dry to combination skin and bringing back my skin's natural oils. I love this as a night cream during warmer months and a day cream entering fall and winter to offset your skin’s dryness.

Youth to the People Superfood Cleanser

youth ot the people cleanser

This is, simply put, a staple: powerful enough to take your makeup off, gentle enough to not leave your skin feeling dry and stripped. I have been using this cleanser now for about three years, have tried others in between, this one always comes out on top. 

LOLI Sweet Orange Water Toner

loli toner

LoLi stands for Loving Ingredients, Living Organic and is the first zero waste skincare company that is also water free. This is a completely natural, zero waste, vitamin C-infused toner, free of water so you know its potent. It tones and evens out your skin tone with regular use, and has the most pleasant orange scent; I saw a difference in my skin within two weeks. What's not to love?

Maya Chia Optimist Hydrating Essence

maya chia hydrating essence

The perfect mix between a serum and a mist, this essence has a somewhat thick texture for a spray but it’s precisely that thickness that makes your skin feel instantly plump and moisturized. It also has incredible qualities for calming redness; it’s one of few mists that you can actually see the difference in your skin the moment you apply. It eliminates redness, fills out fine lines, and evens out your skin tone instantly—it’s truly a miracle product. Plus, it’s powered by a proprietary blend of antioxidants, amino acids, polysaccharides, phytonutrients, and fatty acids. 

Sunday Riley Good Genes Lactic Acid

sunday riley good genes

The ingredients in this are not perfect but, so far—and I have tested many—this is the only acid that is gentle enough for my sensitive skin, yet still effective. If you struggle with dull skin, Good Genes just really does make it easy to transform your skin to look like you were “born with it.” It gets rid of dark spots, helps immensely with texture, dries up any pimples, and brightens your complexion. It works, and then some. 

Photography by Braina Laviena & Andrew Echeverría 

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