These Two Products Rescued My Dry Skin for a Combined $28
If I had to rank the softest things currently in my home, the list would go: 1. My cat's ears, 2. Some velvety joggers I picked up at Nordstrom, and 3. My skin. It's a marked improvement over the rash my face handed me last month, and it's all thanks to two under-$20 products (and my dermatologist's advice).
For a little backstory, I've been using a retinol and benzoyl peroxide cream for the last four years. Out of the blue a few weeks ago, my skin decided that it no longer liked the latter ingredient, and burst into a rough, dry, scaly mess. One trip to the doctor later, I was back in business — literally, because my business is skincare. Her counsel? Cut back on the benzoyl-retinoid for the time being, and pare my routine down to only calming, gentle basics.
Which meant the time was ripe for snail mucin. You won't find it in too many Western moisturizers, but last Amazon Prime Day I was swayed by the 8,600+ five-star ratings for Seoulceuticals' Multi-Function All-in-One Anti-Aging Snail Repair Cream and picked up a jar. I write about a lot of products — and get many for free — so when I purchase one for myself, I do consider it news. The claims? "Brighter, healthier and more youthful skin," thanks to a combination of shea butter, aloe, jojoba oil, vitamin E, sunflower oil, panthenol, comfrey extract, green tea, retinol, and its namesake snail mucin. Supermodel Emily Ratajkowski is also a fan of snail mucin, which touts wound-healing and brightening benefits on its own.
Shop now: $18 (Originally $29), amazon.com
It'd been lurking in my medicine cabinet, and as I re-evaluated my skincare routine, I decided to commit and see if the formula was really all that great. One sample review: "This is superb! I'm 49, and this product makes an immediate improvement in elasticity as well as brightness. No other moisturizer required. A little goes a loooong way. It smells like tangerines. Do not hesitate." The cream's texture is lightweight and halfway between silky and fluffy, like meringue that's two minutes away from fully whipped.
Multiple reviews claim that the moisturizer was enough on its own, including my favorite comment, that it does away with turtle-like skin. But because I've kept my AC blasting through New York City's sweaty armpit of a summer, I opted to top it with Acure's Argan Oil to lock in the moisture. Acure has a reputation for excellent, inexpensive skincare — the brand's brightening serum and retinol alternative are beloved — so my acne-prone skin was in good hands, and the oil's opaque, pump-top glass bottle means it won't be expiring any time soon.
It's now a month later, and my skin has truly never been better. The rash cleared up within days, and after about fifteen minutes of applying my new two-step routine every night, my skin feels as velvety as those sweatpants, if not more. The next morning, my skin glows so much that I barely need to apply moisturizer after washing my face — it looks even, fresh, and supple without any help.
Shop now: $10, amazon.com
For comparison's sake, I went a few nights without the argan oil, and while my skin still felt hydrated, the cushiony, smooth texture was significantly less apparent. The effect is par for the course, according to reviewers who've seen just as exceptional results. "I've tried many expensive moisturizers, oils, and serums, and none compare to this product...My skin's never been so clear or soft."
I'm in my late 20s and an aforementioned retinol devotee, so wrinkles aren't a pressing concern for me right now. But if you want help with them, reviewers for both products' swear you can't do better — and as I've discovered, the formulas only work better in tandem. "I've massaged this oil into my face almost every day for the past seven years," writes one person. "I have no wrinkles, and am constantly told I look younger than my actual age." Another adds that the oil's made a "huge difference" in their wrinkles and smile lines, and rubbing a bit into their lashes also keeps them "lush."
A last person writes of the snail cream: "This product is amazing. Throughout my life I've received compliments for my skin, but over the last couple of years, the compliments had dissipated and I could see my skin losing its tightness and glow."
"Unbelievably, I saw results the first day, but thought it just may be my imagination," they continued. "[In] the morning, wrinkles are completely gone. My skin is tighter and has that healthy look I have not seen for sometime. The confirmation came when I received a compliment about the radiance of my skin while on a Zoom call…[and] it was soon followed by an in-person compliment from someone else. Just looked in the mirror after a long day at work, and it's apparent that the glow I missed is back."
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