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This Is My Top Shelf

Caitlin Rance

jeans & a tee

I’ve pretty much had some form of a skin-care routine since I was twelve. And it was never because I was some weird kid with a desperate desire to get ahead of wrinkles—though my mom did introduce me to a neutrogena toner when I was like 8 that I used sporadically because I though it smelled nice.

What really happened was I got my period at a wildly early age, and with that came hormonal acne. A middle school daydream 😍

With multiple trips to dermatologists under my belt and a pretty much permanent routine of getting painful facials, I feel like I’ve figured out what works for me and what doesn’t. Before I get into my current top shelf of products, I will say that the best product I’ve used to date has been birth control. Kind of sucks and kind of doesn't. Birth control is a fascinating little thing that somehow keeps all my insides working harmoniously but also may low-key be fucking me up in the long run? Either way, I’ll never stop taking it TBH! Also, if we return to the first line of this paragraph, you’ll see that I sought out professional help for my skin i.e dermatologists and facialists. I don’t think there’s any way to tackle hardcore skin issues without consulting a skin-professional. And I know, doctor appointments can suck, prescriptions can be expensive, and the whole ordeal can feel weirdly humiliating at points. What I will say is that every penny and odd stare in the waiting room was worth it.

You can shop every product I talk about in this post below!

jeans & a tee
jeans & a tee

I tend to go between two different makeup removers (the other are neutrogena wipes.)

But I really love this Bioderma micellar water. It’s pretty much been a cult fave for forever, but I never fully hopped on the bandwagon. Only truly bought this randomly when I was at the drugstore and felt like I wanted something pretty on my shelf…It’s cute!!

I got this in a Birchbox and it’s seriously lasted me SUCH a long time. I also love that this one is travel size so I can take it anywhere. From my knowledge, the normal one is pretty huge so It’ll last you forever. One thing I really love about this product though is that a major issue I have is that my skin is SO sensitive. Anything and everything WILL break it out, so I’m extremely meticulous about what I let soak into my face.

This product is sensitive so it doesn’t irritate my skin at all and, yes, some days when I’m feeling lazy I’ll use this, add a little moisturizer to my skin and call it a night. I’ll also go for this on days when I haven’t left the house or worn makeup.

Here’s a great article on the power of micellar water and why I now swear by it:

jeans & a tee
jeans & a teeeans & a tee

Last Christmas I added this to my wishlist. I was in need of a new cleanser—the other one I had been using for a good two years.

I know people say if something isn’t broken, why fix it? But I’ve started to hop onto the bandwagon of switching up your products every now and then. When it comes to my skin, it’s always responded better to hardcore products. Like the more tingling the better. But I think after my skin did the whole bootcamp thing, it was begging for a normal camp with painting and swimming, so I relinquished and went for this gel cleanser by DERMAdoctor.

The one thing I always look for in a cleanser is benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid because they target bacteria. This cleanser happens to have salicylic acid. Another interesting thing is it’s a cleanser, toner and make-up remover all in one. I definitely don’t rely on it to do all three things, but it makes me feel better knowing that even when i’m half-assing my routine, it never truly is half-assing.

You might notice throughout my products that I don’t really have a serum, and that’s mostly because I haven’t found one that works 100% for me (if you have any recommendations comment below pls!!) A great thing about this cleanser though, is that it has vitamin c which I know everyone and their mother uses and swears by.

Basically, I love this cleanser. It’s not too harsh, but it gets the job done and has helped extremely with my acne scars and sun spots.

jeans & a teeeans & a tee

Everyone has heard me talk about The Ordinary. If you haven’t, consider yourself lucky! I discovered this brand when I was studying abroad and suffering a horrible breakout. There happened to be an actual store where I was, so I ventured over and basically bought everything because this brand is scarily affordable.

I’m so in love with this glycolic toner which is probably the only product I’ll surrender to and use for the rest of my life. I discovered the magic of glycolic acid when I was going through facial bootcamp to get my skin back to normal. Glycolic acid is from a group of active compounds called Alpha Hydroxy Acids (yes i’m a scientist.) It pretty much targets acne, blackheads, oil, and fine lines.

I experienced hardcore glycolic acid via skin peels which hurt like a bitch but it literrrrrallllllllly changed my life. Like I know I’ll forever have a baby face because of this.

Back to the toner.

I only use this toner at night because I think my skin doesn’t need a double whammy anymore. It’s definitely not the intensity I experienced with peels, but it tingles a little in just the right way which I love because you know it’s working. And now, anytime I get a breakout, I don’t stress about scars because I know they won’t last. Seriously swear by this product. Please purchase it’s only like $8.

jeans & a tee

I don’t think anyone hasn’t heard of Drunk Elephant. And for good reason. It’s kind of ridiculously priced but their products are so so good. Especially the T.L.C Sukari Babyfacial which I’ve graduated to after living a life of facial peels once a month.

If you’re not used to acids, I would start slow then work up to this. You can definitely feel it working from the moment you put it on, but it subsides pretty quickly, and the effects are insane.

The product itself claims to help with dullness, uneven texture, fine lines, wrinkles and uneven skin tone and pores. As someone who has really oily skin, large pores, and has dealt with uneven skin texture, this has been a major staple in my skincare routine and something I always recommend to friends who are looking for something with a little more OOMPH.

I only use it like once a month because it’s expensive and also I think it can irritate the skin if you use it a lot but yes would recommend to a friend!

jeans & a tee
jeans & a tee

Spot treatments are such an interesting product. Some work, and some just don’t. There’s truly no in between for me. One product that I’ve found does work though is the Mario Badescu Silver Powder.

This shit seriously seems, at least to me, like a product your grandma used in the 20’s but in reality it was just some powder with lead in it. Okay, not the best way to sell this product BUT I can assure you it doesn’t have lead in it. I got this product right before I went abroad and left it behind then came home and rediscovered it.

This product is really just white powder in a jar and you apply it with either a wet cotton ball or, what I like to us, a wet cotton swab. You’re only supposed to leave it on for 10 minutes but I go as long as I can because I love a little bit of danger.

This powder basically dries up your pimple so well and idk i’ve just yet to find another product, besides the Ordinary salicylic acid pictured with the toner above that works well.

The powder can get a little messy at times but I seriously just love this stuff and would definitely recommend to a friend that gets pimples that turn into whiteheads. If you get cystic acne, I don’t think this would truly work for you…I'd check out the direct salicylic acid the Ordinary sells because that’s worked for me in the past.

jeans & a tee
jeans & a tee

I’m the queen of freaking out about eye wrinkles which I don’t even have yet. And I’m convinced I don’t have them yet because of all the eye creams I use.

There are a bunch that aren’t pictured but I really love this Ole Henriksen Banana Bright-Eye Créme. I mostly use this eye cream in the morning before makeup, and use a neutrogena hydro boost eye gel at night but I think it has totally helped with my dark circles.

I also deal with that sort-of sunken eye look which I think has been improving since using this product. TBH, Until I come into large amounts of money and decide to get filler under my eyes, I think this cream will totally suffice.

Eye creams are another interesting product because again, some work and some just….don't. I would say that if you’re not using an eye cream, wtf is wrong with you sis.

No but actually, if you’re looking for an eye cream I’d highly recommend this because it just keeps my under eyes so hydrated and bright and is amazing as a primer for concealer too. In fact I read somewhere that this is an eye cream a lot of makeup artists use to prep the under eyes for makeup.

The more you know!

jeans & a tee
jeans & a tee

And I say….that’s my baby.

I absolutely love this moisturizer. If I could get married to a moisturizer, I’d get married to hydro-boost in a second. Seriously, she’s THAT girl.

I was introduced to this moisturizer via my facialist 2 years ago and I’ve never looked back. This moisturizer is water-based which, if you deal with oily or combination skin, you NEED.


The selling point for this moisturizer is that it packs a whole lot of hyaluronic acid which if you haven’t learned about already, I’m here to half-teach you:

Hyaluronic Acid is a substance that’s found naturally in our bodies! Yes! Facts! While the naturally occurring hyaluronic acid in our bodies purpose isn’t for hydration necessarily, the hyaluronic acid that you apply helps with dry skin, fine lines, wrinkles and even works in speeding up the process of wound healing.

If you’re looking for a moisturizer that will make your skin smooth and bouncy and won’t break you out, please look no further.

Shop my top shelf