2020 Skincare Arsenal

Obviously, since it’s been a while since I published any content, let alone consistently, it has been a while since I’ve shared my updated 2020 skincare arsenal. Some has changed since I last shared – but there are a lot of fixed elements, too.

Today, I’ll be sharing what products and tools I use regularly as well as how often I use them up and repurchase.

Makeup Removal

2020 Skincare Routine - Makeup Removing Cloths

I haven’t used makeup wipes since 2018. They’re expensive for what they are, wasteful, and not great for my skin. Instead, I invested in some reusable makeup removing cloths and use them with – yes, really – just plain water. I say invested, but that makes it sound like I spent a radical sum; I didn’t. I started with, repurchased (and would again) this $10 pack of two from Ulta (which also often goes BOGO). This single fixture of my 2020 skincare arsenal has easily saved me hundreds since I implemented it.

I’ve since amassed a collection of a few different ones (that’s a whole post to itself) and probably won’t need any for a while. I hear they can last up to five years with proper care. I love that I can throw mine in one of my favorite mesh wash bags and wash them with regular detergent. Mine is a Tide household, but I tend to use Laundress for these and other items that need to be handled gently.

2020 Skincare Routine - Makeup Removal - Garnier Micellar Water

When I’m wearing something more stubborn (like gel liner) I use Garnier SkinActive Micellar Water, $7 [[review]] instead of just water. Simple makes a nice one too; I buy whatever is cheaper-per-ounce when it is time to restock.


2020 Skincare Routine - Cleanser - CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser

My 2020 skincare arsenal would be woefully incomplete without CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser, $15 is nothing new for me. At this point, I’ve been using this skin pH friendly cleanser for years. If it ain’t broke and is affordable, don’t fix it. I wash my face once per day, in the evening – yes, only once – and go through about three 16oz bottles per year.

It treats me better than Cetaphil used to and is a great, fragrance-free alternative to Philosophy Purity at less than half the price.


2020 Skincare Routine - Exfoliation - Tarte Knockout Tingling Treatment

On the chemical front: Tarte Knockout, $39 [[review]]. I have a couple of acids from The Ordinary that I’ve been trying, but I haven’t found one (or even two) I like as much as Tarte Knockout. A bottle lasts me well over a year because I use sparingly on a cotton pad 1-2x per week. I’ve been considering decanting it into a fine mist bottle but I haven’t decided if its worth the hassle.

2020 Skincare Routine - Exfolitation -Clarisonic Smart Profile

On the physical front, I use my Clarisonic (…for now) nearly every time I wash my face. I don’t know what the future will bring as I run out of brush heads (maybe I’ll use generics, maybe I’ll switch back to exclusively using a Foreo product, maybe something else).

2020 Skincare Routine - Exfoliation - Silkn ReVit

Beyond that, I break out the Silkn ReVit, $99 [[review]] for my chin once or twice a month (not on the same day I’m using a chemical exfoliant) because that skin seems especially stubborn and just benefits from a more aggressive treatment.

Honestly, I’m using this at this point because I have it. If I lost it in a theft or fire, I wouldn’t prioritize replacing it.


2020 Skincare Routine - Moisturizer - Mountain Rose Herbs Argan Oil

Argan Oil. It just works for me. I buy mine from Mountain Rose Herbs, $27.50 for 4oz [[review]]. I buy this four ounces at a time and keep it in the fridge so as not to tempt fate to troll me with rancidity. Four ounces is a preposterously gigantic amount: employing it for triple duty between body moisturizing and hair, it lasts me about two years. YES. REALLY. Stop spending oodles on Josie.


2020 Skincare Routine - Treatments - Ole Henriksen Truth Serum

Admittedly, my 2020 skincare arsenal is light on the treatment front. I use a vitamin C serum in the morning before I apply any cosmetics. Most often, I use Ole Henriksen Truth Serum, $50 for 1oz; $74 for 1.7 [[review]]. It’s a moderate price point and does a good job; I get about a year out of the 1.7oz bottle (I don’t need a full pump per application). It isn’t the best out there, but the intersection of performance and value makes it a good fit for me and my needs.

2020 Skincare Routine - Treatments - Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum

Last winter, during the Sephora holiday sale, I bought a bottle of C-Firma, $80 for 1oz [[review]] to get me through the winter – but I think that’s the last time I’m buying it. It performs stupendously, but it doesn’t have a stable enough shelf life. To date, I’ve not gotten through an entire bottle before it went bad once. I can’t justify that waste. I’d say I get about 3-4 good months of product out of it before it starts to turn.


2020 Skincare Routine - Sunscreen - Biore Aqua Rich Watery Essence

What could would a beauty blogger’s skincare routine without something imported? I’ve been using Biore Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF 50 PA++++, $10 [[review]] for FIVE YEARS now. The price has crept up a little since CoVid-19, and getting the best price generally requires buying two. If you’re anti-Amazon, eBay has them too. I don’t have a favorite seller on either, but just check the third party reviews to make sure you’re making a smart choice. I go through 2-3 tubes per year.

2020 Skincare Routine - Sunscreen - Nivea Sun Super Water Gel SPF 50 PA++++

I also use another Japanese skincare import, Nivea Sun Super Water Gel (also SPF 50 PA++++), $15. I find that it is kinder to my skin than the Biore product on days where my skin is feeling sensitive (and other reviews corroborate this). The latter comes with a pump, too, which can be a plus or a delta depending on your perspective; easy dispensing but harder to recycle. Same story as the Biore option regarding buying two for the best price. They also sell low-packaging refills, which I love.

Remember, like Baz Luhrmann says – wear sunscreen.

The Bottom Line

My 2020 Skincare Arsenal isn’t wild or flashy. I’m not experimenting with my skin very much these days. My 2020 skincare arsenal is a formula in which value and utility intersect that seems to work for my skin, so I’m not trying to upset the apple cart. As time passes, I will probably add some more aggressive anti-aging elements because not even I am immune from youth-driven vanity bullshit.

Happily, much of my skincare routine is is a lower price-point; my main splurges are on my exfoliation (all forms) and treatments. Overall, I estimate my annual spend (which will include a portion of my tools to represent usage over time) to be around $175. This factors in my ruthless bargain hunting for my drugstore items and general refusal to pay retail for much of anything.