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The Five Skincare Products I Can’t Live Without

So maybe saying that I can’t live without these skincare items is a little grandiose.

What I can say with certainty is that these products have dramatically improved the tone and texture of my previously acne-ridden skin. I suppose I should begin with a brief overview of my skin’s depressing history, since that will make my love for these items that much more relevant.

At around thirteen I began to get acne that progressively worsened to the point that I had to take Accutane – a drug so strong that you are required to enroll in a registry, take birth control, and check in with the doc for monthly pregnancy tests to ensure that you don’t end up with a severely deformed baby. That being said, the drug worked – but only for the cystic acne. What I was left with was bumpy, oily, and pitted skin that made my makeup and skincare routines frustrating, at best.

Enter the Clarisonic Mia 2. Wow. I mean, I had no idea that a little machine vibrating at a certain frequency could clarify my skin so dramatically. One week I actually stopped using it to see if the Clarisonic was really that integral to maintaining my clear, smooth skin. Yup, it was. The second day after going cold turkey I started noticing an increase in clogged pores and after the entire week I was convinced this little machine was a gift from the skin gods.

Feel free to click on the live links under each photo for more info and pricing on each item!


Clarisonic Mia 2

I’ve always struggled to find a foundation that ticks all the boxes. Since I have very oily, sensitive skin, I need a foundation that maintains my skin’s moisture balance, provides coverage, evens and tones my skin, and has a smooth consistency. I tend to stay away from BB creams since they generally are oil-based and never provide the amount of coverage I’m looking for to blur imperfections, but this CC cream has converted me from my go-to medium coverage foundation. I especially love that this CC cream contains ten skin benefits that improve my skin as it ages. Turning the big 3-0 next month, guys, so I’ll take all the help I can get.


Click below to purchase this from my friend, Natalie Hoven!

E-mail her at to get 20% off your first order! 🙂

Arbonne CC Cream

My skin turns into a greaseball most of the time directly after I walk outside – especially in this brutal Houston heat. Let me tell you, I’ve tried every oil-free moisturizer under the sun and none have ever worked as well as Mary Kay’s Oil-Free Hydrating Gel. The consistency is creamy rather than sticky or thick so it blends perfectly over freshly cleansed skin. Also, you get a ton for the money! I typically fill up small trial-sized tubes of this hydrator from the larger container and it lasts me around seven to eight months before I need to re-purchase!


Mary Kay Oil-Free Hydrating Gel

No matter what age you are, you absolutely need to find a sunscreen that works for your skin. I would wear 80 proof SPF if someone could figure out how to remove the pore-clogging ingredients. In my frantic search for the perfect everyday sunscreen I stumbled across a review for the Shiseido Anessa Mild Face 43 SPF Sunscreen on my go-to makeup review site, Makeup Alley. While it’s fairly pricey for a small tube, I actually blend this with my Mary Kay hydrating gel to create the ideal primer for under makeup. I would suggest blending a pea-sized amount of this with your favorite lotion because on its own, this sunscreen is fairly thick and doesn’t spread well. But with a touch of lotion – wow! – you’ve got the perfect mattifying cream!


Shiseido Anessa Mild Face 43 SPF Sunscreen

My final and perhaps most important favorite skincare product has anti-aging and skin perfecting properties. While you do need to get a prescription from your dermatologist for this product, it’s well worth the work. I have used the Tazorac 0.1% cream for around a year now and my skin’s texture and tone has never looked better. The fine lines around my eyes and forehead have softened. My skin glows. When I do get a pimple, – and I say when because it’s inevitable – it goes away in one day flat. That’s crazy good compared to the month-long wait I used to endure hoping a stubborn pimple would finally disappear and leave my face unscathed. While there is a gel option available, I would suggest the cream for oily-skinned girls since it leaves the skin matte. Also, I only use this product at night and wash it off in the morning with a gentle cleanser and my Clarisonic. Can’t rave enough about this stuff!


Give these products a try and let me know your thoughts!

* I have not been compensated for endorsing any of these products.


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      Hi Aurora! Thanks so much for stopping by! I’m still a newbie blogger – only about 3 months in! I’m glad you’re digging the layout and topics! Have an awesome rest of your weekend! 🙂

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  • Reply Julia June 15, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    Hey girl! Love your blog. Question – would you happen to know if the Tazorac cream you use to zap zits safe to use when pregnant (or trying)?

    • Amanda Rico
      Reply Amanda Rico June 15, 2015 at 7:51 pm

      Hi there, Julia! Thanks for your comment! I wouldn’t suggest using Tazorac while you’re pregnant or trying because it’s basically the topical form of Accutane (Vitamin A). While Tazorac comes in a few formulations that vary in strength, it’s generally a better idea to opt for something like Benzoyl Peroxide to keep pimples at bay to avoid hurting the fetus. I used BP regularly during my pregnancy and it helped keep my skin clear without the harmful effects associated with Vitamin A-based skin products. The only reason I suggest Tazorac over BP here is because Tazorac also has awesome anti-aging properties that BP doesn’t. Keep in mind, though, a little goes a long was with Tazorac and to start slowly – only at night 3 times a week, for instance – to allow your skin to get used to the product. Like anything, your skin needs a little TLC and time to get used to new stuff! Hope this helped! 😀

  • Reply Andrea June 15, 2015 at 5:39 am

    Thanks for sharing your skincare routine! I actually just received a clarisonic face cream and it came with the little brush head! I dont have the little machine that you attach it to but reading your review it should totally be worth it! do you know how much it is? I have a lot of clogged pores 🙂
    I get too lazy at night to wash my face, but I need to be better about it! I try to use toner and moisturizer and CC cream with SPF 🙂 I shared my skincare routine on my blog recently too 🙂 xo

    • Amanda Rico
      Reply Amanda Rico June 15, 2015 at 4:21 pm

      Hey, you! I LOVE my Clarisonicl I use it every morning with my Neutrogena Gentle Face Cleanser. Initially I bought mine from HSN since they had payment options (it was pricey – around $150). But I’ve found that as long as you find a reputable 100% feedback eBay seller, you can find one at a discounted price. I always make sure the buyer says that the seller still has it in the box and all the extras are included. It’s nearly impossible to avoid clogged pores here in Houston humidity so I was SO excited it actually cleared my skin which, previously, was solid bumps during the summer – yuck! 😛 Yeah, I have to wash my face every night but sometimes I don’t end up doing it until 2 or 3am if I’m up. Ugh. I need to check out your skincare routine! 🙂

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