Favorite Spring Picks Under $25!
Let's talk about some of my favorite skincare, haircare, and body care beauty products for the Spring season under $25!
BYOMA – Creamy Jelly Cleanser, $11 - I love all categories of skincare from eye creams to at-home peels, and yet, I still geek out on cleansers! I'm a makeup artist and aesthetician, so I'm always sampling different cosmetics and skincare products, therefore I cleanse my face quite often between test drives and have really enjoyed using this non-irritating anti-aging cleanser
I've found that I don't need to use very much product to thoroughly cleanse my face and I really enjoy the texture, which is creamy and lightweight. I think that those who like both gels and creams will find this cleanser fits the bill due to the unique jelly consistency. I love that my skin never feels stripped after rinsing clean, instead, it feels bouncy and balanced. Ceramides are an essential ingredient addition that softens my skin and preps my complexion for a smooth layering of serums and creams. This cleanser is brightening, hydrating, and very effective at makeup removal, so I find myself reaching for it often. And I’m always a huge fan of a pump dispenser - easy and convenient when measuring out product.
BYOMA – Moisturizing Gel-Cream, $15 - I'm an aesthetician and skincare consultant with decades of experience dabbling with tons of beauty brands, from drugstore to dispensed.
Discovering BYOMA has been such a treat. Every product that I've tried has been lovely. The formulas are made with thoughtful results-driven ingredients, the packaging is both colorful and fun (not to mention, no waste – there’s no box), and my skin feels comfy and cozy after every application. I find that I often over-strip my skin with active ingredients and exfoliating treatments, while sampling a myriad of products at any given time. That’s one of the main reasons why I love this line, it’s all about barrier restoration and protection. The addition of the TriCeramide Complex makes good sense and is great for repairing and nourishing my tortured skin! This formula is super lightweight (perfect for Houstonians), so it easily soaks in and leaves my skin bouncy and supple. I also love that this moisturizer comes in the convenience of a pump.
BYOMA - Hydrating Serum, $16 - I'm turning 47 this month and I find that with each year that passes, my skin has become more dehydrated. This hydrating serum is such a treat because it contains lots of superstar ingredients such as Squalane, Lactic acid, Glycerin, and Ceramides.
I have often used just hyaluronic acid in the past, but this cocktail of humectants really serves up the moisture that my skin is craving without feeling heavy. I can layer this serum with any number of other topicals and it never feels tacky or too much. I'm very grateful to have discovered an affordable hydrating serum to recommend to my clientele too. The whole BYOMA line has been a pleasure to play with, and I find that my skin is literally glowing more and appears brighter since I started incorporating several of their products into my daily regimens.
NatureLab Tokyo - Perfect Clean Style Refresher, $17 - I really love this multi-tasking product! During this season of life, I'm busier than I ever have been. I’m simultaneously working a full-time job in PR, while also in the launch mode of this new business, and juggling/balancing family, friends, and fitness.
This all results in me being pressed for time while finding a new rhythm. I used to wash my hair every five days, but in recent months I’ve stretched that, to only washing it once weekly. This bifunctional hair product really helps me ride out a blowout between visits, as it adds back a bit of texture to my long naturally wavy hair, absorbs excess oil/sweat after my almost daily workouts, and just gives my style new life. I love that it's small, non-aerosol, and very portable -- I can easily toss it in my gym bag or purse before heading out for a long day. I also really appreciate that there's not a strong fragrance associated with it like a lot of other similar hair products that often compete with my perfume.
NatureLab Tokyo - Perfect Clean 2-in-1 Scalp Scrub & Clarifying Shampoo, $19 - I've worked in the beauty business for nearly 30 years and throughout that time I have sported every hair color imaginable.
In more recent years I've gone a good bit lighter to help camouflage/blend in my gray hairs when they start to grow back in. I get my roots done every four weeks like clockwork, but during the time between appointments, I only wash my hair about once a week. And as a bottle blonde, I use a good number of hair products on an almost daily basis to add moisture and shine back to my very dehydrated hair. What I’m getting at is that I have a pretty good system in place, but all of this adds up to really needing a good clarifying treatment that deep cleans both my scalp and hair, while simultaneously being color safe. This scalp scrub has been THE answer, I truly love using it and can absolutely see shinier hair revealed when I work it into my haircare routine.
Vacation - Classic Lotion SPF 50, $18 - I'm an aesthetician with nearly three decades of experience in the skincare industry, which means I’m also that friend/family member who is always harping on practicing safe sun! When it comes to sun protection, I’m always on the lookout for formulas that truly deliver, while also encouraging patient/client compliance. After all, the best sunscreen is the one that you'll wear.
This formula is a lightweight cream, so it's a pleasure to apply and works well for someone like me who lives in a city that is both hot and humid almost year-round. I tend to spend a lot of time outdoors, walking my dogs, riding my bike, playing pickleball, attending festivals and outdoor concerts, fishing, etc. - so I’m happy to have found a broad-spectrum SPF 50 lotion that I actually enjoy applying. The addition of Vitamin E, Niacinamide, and Coconut Oil are all big pluses too because I get that added hydration, antioxidant protection, and a host of other skin health benefits.
Vacation - Classic Spray SPF 50, $19 - I'm a very active woman who lives in the South and spends an inordinate amount of time outdoors. I've also worked in the skincare industry for nearly 30 years, so I'm hyper-aware of protecting myself from the damaging and harmful effects of too much sun exposure.
I know that reapplying sunscreen is critical to ensuring that my skin is truly protected, so having an SPF spray on-hand in my SUV is always a smart idea. I love how this one has a continuous spray, it's sheer (so no chalky/milky residue left unblended on my skin), and it is non-aerosol - all these features make this fun sunscreen a winner in my book. The intoxicating beachy scent also transports you to a tropical state of mind, which is nostalgic and playful even when just applying it prior to something as mundane as taking my dogs for a walk through my neighborhood or riding my bike to the grocery store. This can is perfect to take along for all my outdoor activities when I need to protect my exposed skin. I enjoy applying it to my body, as I only wear all-mineral sunscreens on my face due to my melasma and chemical sunscreens irritating my facial skin.
VERSED – Buff it Out AHA Exfoliating Body Scrub, $18 - Over the years, exfoliation has always been part of my skincare routines for both my face and body. However, as the years go by, my skin's natural cellular turnover rate has slowed down considerably, so I find myself turning to exfoliants more than ever before. I love that this vegan body scrub is safe for my body, as it's very gentle, while also being safe for the planet by avoiding more than 1350 toxins and questionable ingredients. This clean beauty product serves up the best of both worlds in that it’s both a chemical and a mechanical exfoliant. The glycolic and lactic acids leave my skin brighter, and with a healthy glow, while the finely milled bits of pumice smooth my skin, banishing any dry patches and revealing skin that just looks and feels renewed. This large tube offers a generous amount of product, and I find that very little is needed to get the job done. Add to this the fact that it’s extremely affordable and readily available at Target, and I consider it a must-have bath product.
VERSED - Smooth Landing Advanced Retinoid Eye Balm, $18 - I’ve been at war with my undereye area for as long as I can remember. As far back as second grade, I can recall cringing at the sight of dark circles beneath my seven-year-old eyes in my school pictures. I have won some battles over time, but still the war wages on... adding to the grudge list with each passing year: puffiness, crow's feet, crepiness/thinning skin, dehydration, and a tendency towards atopic derm issues on my lids... you get the picture.
I have worked in the skincare industry for nearly three decades and have worn a lot of hats under this umbrella. I have tried every eye gel, balm, cream, mask, serum, chemical peels, and even hyaluronic acid-based injectables in my tear troughs and yet, I have never been truly pleased with the overall outcome. Improvements, yes - true satisfaction for a long-suffering hopeful, afraid not. I say ALL of this because until recently I was still hard-pressed to find anything from the vast aesthetic arsenal at my fingertips, that truly tackled these eye area concerns without really firing up my skin. Eye products featuring retinoic acid and its various derivatives have always irritated my delicate eye area, and even when professing to be gentle and/or hydrating, I have never been able to tolerate the regular use of one. My lids, the corners of my eyes, and the skin beneath my eyes all have become inflamed and agitated by any contact with all various forms of Vitamin A. However, I'm pleased to report that I've been able to use this balm every other night without irritation. So, if you're seeking an affordable, easily accessible (available at a mass retailer), and effective retinoid-based eye treatment meant to address the various signs of aging seen in undereye skin - then I say give it a go!
VERSED – Press Restart Gentle Retinol Body Lotion, $18 - I love retinol-based body lotions, especially ones that come in either a tube or a pump - hello to ease of application! As a woman and skin expert that has earned almost five decades of living, I’m a big proponent of anti-aging skin care for the whole body and not just the face/neck areas.
Retinol is THE age-old ingredient, that is bound in solid science and is a workhorse addition to any product when it comes to delivering a wide range of restorative and transformative skin benefits. The fact that this formula also incorporates the nourishing benefits of Vitamin E, cocoa butter, and squalane is not lost on me, as retinol is notorious for its tendency to dry skin out while simultaneously working its antiaging magic. Beloved for its exfoliating/resurfacing and collagen-boosting qualities, I’m happy to have discovered another very affordable, non-irritating body treatment moisturizer that features Vitamin A. I actually included this very product in two skincare regimens that I wrote for new clients this morning.
VERSED - Moisture Maker Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum, $20 - As an aesthetician and skincare expert, one of the number one requests that I get from my friends and clients is a recommendation for a great serum. It's a rather vague ask, as there are literally tons of serum options on the market, targeting all types of different concerns, at all different price ranges.
Nevertheless, I found this Moisture Maker serum to be of interest because often I determine that these serum inquiries center around the desire for more hydration and plumping. This serum is a pleasure to apply and features 3 superstar humectants: hyaluronic acid, snow mushroom extract, and polyglutamic acid – so it fits the bill in terms of addressing skin moisture and bounce. The texture has a nice slip to it, and it easily glides on and across the skin and serves as a great "base", on which to apply my morning and evening moisturizer. The price point is very approachable, and the line is carried at a mass merchant retailer, so it makes it very accessible to most people, and I consider that to be a win-win.
VERSED – Guards Up Daily Mineral Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 35, $25 - I’m a skincare expert that preaches about daily sunscreen use from my pulpit every single day to every single person in my life. This affordable formula is very appealing for a number of reasons.
Firstly, it protects your skin from three different types of oxidative stress/free radical damage that all lead to skin aging - eeekkkk! This healthy-hued formula, that's lightly moisturizing and even lighter feeling, easily and invisibly blends into my skin while offering up broad-spectrum UVA and UVB environmental protection and shielding my skin from the harmful effects of the often lesser-known skin ravager, blue light. This mineral sunscreen is a great option for my Melasma-prone skin, as the addition of zinc oxide is proven to be non-irritating to this condition. To boot, the payoff is transparent despite being a higher percentage of zinc oxide and it’s a non-nano form, which has been demonstrated to be the safest option for not only our oceans and their ecosystems but our body's overall health as well. Finally, this SPF product comes in two sizes, and it’s dispensed from a cheerful, convenient, and portable tube, yay!
VERSED – Recovery Mode Advanced Night Cream, $25 - As an aesthetician of nearly two decades, and also a woman in her late forties, I have long been aware of the importance of a daily application of an antioxidant on my face before hitting the streets. And let's just put it out there - in the year 2022, most people are fully aware that they need protection from UV rays (unless they're living under a rock). On the other hand, many people (even the self-professed, skin-savvy ones) don't realize that they also need to be keenly aware of the harmful effects of both infrared radiation (IR) and the dreaded blue light that is ravaging everything from our eyes to our skin. So, for me, it's the perfectly measured push-pump application, and the addition of fermented purple tea that captured my attention.
The benefits that this unique ingredient delivers are what ultimately roped me in when reading about and test-driving this nighttime recovery moisturizer. This powerhouse ingredient offers protection from all aforementioned forms of free radical damage/oxidative stress (UV, IR, and blue light) ta-da! The addition of green tea also makes for a peppy and invigorating wake-up call for tired skin. All this to say, I can't help but wonder why it is being primarily marketed as a treatment moisturizer for PM regimens, rather than part of an AM line-up. Versed does indicate that although it is designed for evening use, it can be sported during the day, so that would be my preference. Overall, a good affordable option for the everyday consumer seeking a product that multi-tasks.