Skincare Ninja’s 10 Must-Have Skincare Products

Skincare Ninja’s 10 Must-Have Skincare Products

The skincare market is huge, and sometimes it's hard to know where to start. That's why we've called in an expert to help! Jay (@skincareninja) has extensive professional experience and a personal passion for skincare. He's here to give you his tips, as well as some of his favorite recommended products. Jay says:

"So you want to have better-looking skin. You want to upgrade your skincare routine, but you have some questions: How many products do you need in your regime? What products are good for your skin type? In what order should you be applying these products? And what do those products even do? 

I have combination skin. I know the struggles of having oily skin and dry skin. Plus, I'm a big fan of mixing Asian skincare with Western skincare. Why not have the best of both worlds? I have tested and reviewed hundreds of skincare products, so I've got you covered."

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  • CeraVe
    Hydrating Facial Cleanser for Normal to Dry Skin


    This is my holy grail drugstore cleanser. It's a gentle cleanser that's specifically designed for normal to dry, sensitive skin. In my opinion, though, it's good for all skin types!

    The CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser is developed with the brand's ceramides, which protect the skin's natural barrier. The soothing formula also includes hyaluronic acid for extra hydration and niacinamide to provide anti-redness and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, CeraVe uses a patented delivery technology that continuously supplies support to the skin throughout the day. 

    Thanks to this cleanser, my skin always looks so smooth and feels hydrated no matter how long it's been since I applied it! Since I live in Los Angeles, which has a very dry climate, I love this smooth and creamy cleanser that provides moisturizing and soothing benefits.
  • Rohto Hada Labo
    Gokujyun Premium Hyaluronic Acid Lotion


    I first discovered Hada Labo when I was in high school because it was the number one skincare brand in Japan. I always find Japanese or Korean toners incredible, and Hada Labo's Gokujyun Premium Hyaluronic Acid Lotion is no exception!

    I love Hada Labo's toner because this baby has five different molecular weights of hyaluronic acids. These five weights will reach different depths of the skin, meaning you get exceptional hydration. It is also non-greasy and non-comegenodic. You'll love how it feels on your skin!

    As for when you would want to insert this toner into your routine, I personally use it after cleansing and before moisturizing. My skin has never been plumper and is more hydrated than it was with any toners I have used. It's one of my holy grail products that I always need in my skincare routine.
    Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence


    Applying snail mucus to your skin may seem gross to people in the Western world, but it is an ingredient that Korean skincare swears by for achieving that dewy, glass skin. And it works! My skin has never looked better.

    This essence comes in a gel pump and nearly bursts into the water as soon as you rub it in. However, the ultra-hydrating formula does take a little while to sink into the skin, so you may have to be patient. The wait is totally worth pampering your skin with this essence, though.

    CosRx's product is so versatile that you can layer it with different active ingredients, such as vitamin C, retinol, AHA, BHA, and more. I always use this snail mucin to prep my skin for any skincare routine. I can't get over how it makes my skin so clear and glowing!
  • Farmacy
    Cheer Up - Brightening Vitamin C Eye Cream


    There’s actual acerola cherry in this super-hydrating eye cream. How cool is that? It's got a luxuriously creamy texture that’s a pleasure to use around the eyes. 

    Farmacy's cream is also packed with vitamin C to help brighten your skin over time. It's nice, lightweight, and ideal for use under makeup. Like all of Farmacy's formulas, this eye cream is clean and free of toxins and common skin irritants like fragrance, essential oils, and synthetic preservatives. 

    I use this eye cream whenever I feel tired and look sleep-deprived. It really brightens my skin and helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and dark circles over time. Not to mention, it gives me an instant glow under my eyes.
  • Biossance
    Squalane With Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum


    The first time I used this serum was when I was traveling to Chicago in the winter. My face had so much dry, dead skin due to the dry, cold climate and I desperately needed an exfoliation. I used this product in my nighttime routine and noticed that my skin looked baby-butt smooth in less than a week!

    I was amazed at the efficacy of this exfoliating serum. It uses a mix of 10 percent vegan lactic acid to exfoliate dead skin cells, squalane to boost the lactic acid, and clover to lock in moisture. Squalane is a skin-loving, ultra-nourishing, and incredibly clean oil that Biossance works into all its products. 

    This ingredient is specifically helpful when paired with exfoliators, which can cause skin sensitivity or dryness. It's what makes this exfoliating serum so gentle on the skin. I personally enjoy using Biossance's serum at night, but you can also use it during the day. Just be sure to add something with a good SPF rating on top! 
  • CeraVe
    Cold Plunge™ Pore Remedy Moisturizer with BHA/LHA


    I am very picky when it comes to moisturizers because I want to have hydrated, glowing skin without looking greasy or shiny. If I use a moisturizer with too much oil, it sits on top of my skin and looks shiny. On the other hand, if I use a moisturizer with not enough oil, my skin feels dry and dehydrated throughout the day. 

    So, I'm cautious. I stick to a few tried-and-true basic products that moisturize my skin. Hello CeraVe! I am so impressed with this new Olehenriksen Cold Plunge™ Pore Remedy Moisturizer. It feels cooling, creamy and moisturizing on my skin. I couldn't believe how glowy my skin looked. I mean, it was so glowy to the point it was almost reflective. 

    With BHA (beta hydroxy acid aka salicylic acid) and LHA (lipo hydroxy acid), this product helps detoxify and minimizes skin pores while controlling its oil. I've tried this new favorite for a week now. When the light hit my cheekbones and nose, it looked like I was wearing a dewy highlighter, even though it was just my bare skin.
  • LilyAna Naturals
    Retinol Cream


    When it comes to trying new retinol-based skincare products, I like to stick to the tried-and-true and affordable option. Thanks to a potent combo of hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, green tea, shea butter, jojoba oil, and 2.5 percent retinol, this cream can gently minimize fine lines and wrinkles without drying out the skin. 

    I have been using this product for a long time; it's evened out my skin tone and texture and moisturizes very well. I like how gentle and non-irritating this cream is, compared to the infamously irritating Retin-A cream that my dermatologist once prescribed me. 

    Honestly, at just 23 dollars, I think this is one of the best retinol creams I've ever used. It works and reduces lines and blemishes. You can't beat the price and the natural ingredients! I recommend this reliable retinol cream to all skincare beginners.
  • Laneige
    Cica Sleeping Mask


    Meet Laneige‘s Cica Sleeping Mask, which is ideal for sensitive and dry skin types. I have combination skin, which can be oily or dry sometimes, depending on the weather. Whenever my skin feels irritated or unstable, I use the Cica Sleeping Mask twice a week, as the label recommends no more than this. It's the last step in my skincare routine. 

    Centella asiatica, or Cica, is a key ingredient that helps soothe and repair skin. It’s also full of vitamins, amino acids, and fatty acids, which together, can stimulate collagen production. After using this and having a good beauty sleep, my face feels moisturized and looks dewy. Any redness, irritation or dry patches I was experiencing the day before are gone. 

    In the morning, I rinse off any residue left by the mask with cold water and a hydrating cleanser. What a refreshing way to start my day! The results are that my skin looks perfectly smooth, healthy, and moisturized. This sleeping mask is one of the best rescue masks for any skin irritation.
  • Derma E
    Sulfur Spot Treatment


    There's a reason this formula is one of the go-to spot treatments for celebrities and beauty bloggers in the US, including myself. Why? It actually works to dry up pimples, whiteheads, and reduce the appearance of angry breakouts overnight. 

    This formula is laced with a strong blend of salicylic acid, sulfur, and tea tree oil, so you don't need a lot of it. Without shaking the bottle, simply dab a bit of the formula with a Q-tip. Apply it to your blemishes, let it dry, and then go to sleep. 

    When you wake up, wash your face with a gentle cleanser and the spot should look significantly less red and inflamed. Use it for a week and you'll see amazing results! It's that easy.
  • Colorscience
    Total Protection Face Shield SPF 50


    My skin is quite sensitive to chemical sunscreen, so my dermatologist has always recommended that I use physical sunscreens instead of chemical sunscreens. Most drugstore sunscreens tend to sit on my face and give me that unwanted greasy forehead glow or a disastrous white cast. 

    When I discovered Colorescience Face Shield's original tinted SPF 50, I quickly became obsessed with it. This is the only sunscreen that protects my face without causing shininess or breakouts. I love how sheer it is, gliding onto the skin with ease!

    This sunscreen is hydrating and leaves your skin with a natural finish which gives you a glowing complexion. It also layers well under makeup. It is both an incredible sunscreen and a primer all in one.