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30 High-Vibe Ways to Spend This Month

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I’ve always loved and leaned most into the transitional months—those that mark a significant shift in season and climate. As humans, we’re naturally oriented toward change and novelty. We’re attracted to what’s untrodden and undiscovered—those things in life that feel entirely new. This truth is an element of why it’s so satisfying to live in sync with the seasons. Alongside feeling closer and connected to the natural world, we allow ourselves an organic refresh. That clean-slate feeling that forgives us of all we want to let go of—and that which communicates an opportunity to start entirely anew.

I know what you’re thinking: Isabelle, touch grass, please! But my April bucket list is grounded in that sense of starting over. While most people associate these sentiments with the start of the year, I find it hard to generate energy for my intentions when the weather would rather see me cozied up inside, mid-hour three of a long binge-reading sesh.

So whether you’re looking for a similar new start or simply want to make the most of the month ahead, I have it all here for you. From spring cleaning everything in your life to all the many ways you can get yourself outside, this April bucket list will inspire you to explore new areas of life and chase after new dreams. After all, every day is a new beginning.

Woman carrying flowers.

30 Ideas to Add to Your April Bucket List

1. Work out outside. With the weather warming up and more blue, sunny days in the forecast, try swapping out your indoor sweat sesh for a little time outdoors. Schedule hikes with friends, try your hand at tennis or pickleball, and plan for a few lake days if the weather allows. Vitamin D and endorphins? We love.

2. Host a picnic. Is there anything better than setting down a blanket and soaking up an hour or two of the best spring pairing: fresh air and a sun-soaked meal? Steal these picnic recipes for inspiration.

3. Read one of the best new spring books. PSA: reading is a year-round activity. If you’re feeling stumped by your TBR or craving a new title, consult our list of the best new spring releases.

4. Buy yourself flowers. You deserve a little bouquet of beauty in your kitchen or on your desk every week. Hit up Trader Joe’s for the best budget blooms that are still undeniably gorgeous.

5. Clean out your closet. It’s time. If you still need help in crossing this task off your spring cleaning to-do list, we have all the Marie Kondo-approved answers, right here.

6. Revisit your vision board. No, your January 1st vision board is not a one-and-done process. It’s something you come back to throughout the year to check in on your progress and growth. For signs that your vision board is working, we tallied all the green flags you should pay attention to.

7. Play around with 2024 fashion trends. These are the biggest buys in fashion right now. And in case you need more options, we also shared their totally enviable dupes.

8. Switch up your breakfast routine. If you’re still on the cereal and milk train, take heart: the options are endless for an inspiring and colorful AM meal. Camille’s grain-free overnight oatmeal is my current fave, but I also consider this green shakshuka a hyperfixation weekend brunch delight.

9. Organize your photos. Set aside a couple of hours on a Sunday and you won’t be sorry. If you have thousands of screenshots and duplicates in your albums, this is the guidance you need.

10. Make your own yogurt. If it sounds complicated, trust: homemade yogurt is way easier than it seems. Plus, the benefits are endless (it’s healthier, cuts down on packaging waste, etc.). Camille swears by this yogurt recipe that healed her gut.

Woman journaling on laptop.

11. Pick up a guided journal. If you’re just starting your journaling journey, there are plenty of guided options to select from. The primary benefit (besides the majority of them being extremely aesthetic!) is that they come with pre-written prompts, helping guide your thoughts and lead you to a deeper understanding of yourself.

12. Spring clean your skincare. We swear by these expert tips to help transition your skin to the warmer weather.

13. Step up your al fresco game. ‘Tis the season for enjoying all our meals outdoors. Try Camille’s spicy tuna tostadas (inspired by one of her favorite restaurants in Mexico City), avocado caprese, or a hot honey salmon that takes literally 10 minutes.

14. Refresh your space. Spring cleaning is one thing, but breathing new life into every room of your home is exactly what you’ll need to feel inspired and energized. These design tips may be simple, but they’re absolutely game-changing.

15. Shop the best vases for your spring blooms. Whether you’re getting your fresh cuts from the backyard, flower market, or your local Trader Joe’s, you’ll need the perfect vessel to house them in. We named the best online sources for vases that spark joy.

16. Make your home smell like spring. It’s time to ditch the warm and spicy scents—this season is all about fresh and clean fragrances. Our design editor names her favorite spring scents.

17. Listen to the rain. April showers, May flowers, etc. It’s an inevitable weather phenomenon of the month, but instead of lamenting the gray skies, try enjoying a little cozy moment of curling up and being present for the beauty of the rain.

18. Visit the farmer’s market. Because there’s nothing better than romanticizing your weekly grocery shop. Explore all the best fresh veg and get inspired to cook up some spring meals.

19. Try a new tea blend. While the weather might be warming, there’s still plenty of opportunity to enjoy your favorite teas. I love peppermint, lavender, chamomile, or rose. And if you’re looking for a serious stress-relieving cuppa, we rounded up the best right here.

20. Pick up a new poetry collection. While I’m one for fiction, I also love getting lost in a particularly resonant collection of poetry.  Instructions for Traveling West is my current favorite, but I also love anything Mary Oliver or Cleo Wade.

Lemon white chocolate bars.

21. Bake something lemony. Is there a more quintessentially spring flavor? These gluten-free lemon bars are a favorite and our no-bake lemon cardamom bars couldn’t be easier—or more delicious. For all the lemon sweets and treats, our roundup has you covered.

22. Plan your summer vacation. Get your warm-weather getaway situated. I just stayed at The Inn at Newport Ranch in California and was blown away by the property’s natural beauty. Or, if you’re looking for a quick trip from Chicago, nothing beats Destination Kohler. But if small towns are more your vibe, we have all the recommendations you need right here.

23. Detoxify your cleaning routine. If you’re looking to make the switch from bleach, look no further. We’re sharing all of the best non-toxic cleaning products. Bonus: They smell amazing.

24. Make a spring pasta recipe. Alongside spring salads and soups, pasta is a great way to make the most of the season’s vibrant harvest. Can’t make it to Italy this month? These spring pasta recipes are the next best thing.

25. Pick up a new spring hobby. In need of an activity or new passion to take your mind away from work and other life stressors? Spring hobbies are just the thing. From gardening to hiking to foraging (and everything in between), this list has you covered.

26. Go to a baseball game. It’s like football in the fall—there’s something so satisfying about enjoying a warm weekend afternoon cheering on your team in the stands. Whether you shell out for a pro game or support your kiddos’ t-ball team, there’s endless fun to be had.

27. Make a spring drink. Kombucha cocktails, a Lillet spritz, or Camille’s favorite: the Salty Dog—you have endless options to sip on.

28. Leave notes of kindness in unexpected places. I love writing sweet little notes and affirmations and leaving them on car windshields, in mailboxes, or in my local coffee shop’s tip jar. Some ideas: Your kindness doesn’t go unnoticed. You bring purpose, presence, and passion to the world. You have a beautiful and profound impact on the people in your life.

29. Reach out to loved ones you’ve been meaning to call. On my list: my sisters, my college besties, my aunts and uncles. Brainstorm a few people you’ve wanted to connect with and make the call. You have no idea how much it will mean.

30. Try a cold plunge. It might not be summer yet, but you’re still welcome to embrace all the benefits of a cold plunge. And honestly? This is the best time to make it happen. Find a body of water near you, bring layers to bundle up in afterward, and brave the chill. Bring friends—cold plunging all the more fun with good company.





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How to Celebrate Earth Day: 5 Family-Friendly Ideas

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This April 22nd, people all around the world will celebrate Earth Day. It’s a time to celebrate our precious planet, and consider how we can care for her better. Rooted in a legacy of environmental activism, this special day invites us to unite in honoring Mother Earth. Growing up in California, Earth Day was more than just a date on the calendar for me—it was woven into the fabric of my childhood and shaped by my mom’s deep reverence for nature. Now, as a parent, passing on these values to my own children feels like a sacred duty. If you’re wondering how to celebrate Earth Day with your little ones, join me on a journey filled with wonder, learning, and love for our planet.

Featured image from our interview with Roti Brown.

Woman gardening

How to Celebrate Earth Day: 5 Ideas to Inspire a Meaningful Celebration

Historically, Earth Day has come and gone for many of us without an acknowledgment of its importance. Until climate change became a growing concern for society on a global level—much of this awareness due to shifting weather patterns and warmer temps—we were met with messages to use less, recycle more, and maybe volunteer to plant a tree. But thankfully, things are shifting, and we understand how closely planetary health and community wellness are tied. Many people feel this responsibility and want to pass down a respect for the Earth to their children.

That said, it can be hard to know how to celebrate Earth Day in a meaningful, resonant way. For parents and caregivers looking for answers, I hope the following ideas spark inspiration and action.

Growing Gardens and Cultivating Connections

Planting a garden is more than just digging in the dirt. It’s a labor of love that yields countless rewards. My family has nurtured seeds into sprouts, tended to the soil with care, and celebrated in the bountiful mini harvests. Through this hands-on experience, my children have learned invaluable lessons about patience, stewardship, and the interconnectedness of all living things.

Whether it’s a backyard plot or a shared community garden, cultivating green spaces fosters not only a love for nature but also a sense of belonging and community spirit. Harlem Grown is a great book that speaks to the shared love of gardening.

Woman walking in field.

Chasing Sunsets and Cherishing Moments

Few things rival the enchantment of a sunset. It’s a natural phenomenon and fleeting masterpiece that paints itself across the sky. Whether we’re nestled in a blanket at the park or strolling along the pier, witnessing the sun’s descent always fills us with wonder. Watching the golden hues dance across the horizon can be an opportunity to express gratitude. For the warmth on our bodies, the light it extends, and its fascinating movements. I remind my children of our planet’s beauty and fragility, nurturing a sense of love and awe for the natural world that surrounds us.

Coastal Clean-up and Bonding by the Water

There’s something magical about being near water. It’s soothing for the soul and brings families closer together. Recently, a parent organized a beach clean-up with my daughter’s school friends. We armed ourselves with grabbers, gloves, and trash bags. As we combed the shoreline, picking up litter and sharing stories, I witnessed firsthand the power of collective action and environmental education. Remember, you don’t need an ocean to make a difference. A local park or trail can serve as a canvas for teaching your children about the importance of conservation and community care.

Stargazing Adventures and Eco-Lessons

Picture this: a warm evening, a telescope poised for exploration, and eager little faces reflecting the awe of the cosmos. My children’s fascination with the planets and solar system, ignited by a recent eclipse, has opened the door to meaningful conversations about pollution and light pollution. Together, we’ve peered into the night sky, marveling at distant stars while discussing the importance of preserving our skies for future generations.

This Earth Day, grab a telescope, and let the wonders of the universe spark curiosity and environmental consciousness in your own little astronomers.

Camille Styles backyard patio.

Reducing, Reusing, and Sparking Creativity

In a world dominated by consumption, teaching our children the importance of reducing waste and reusing resources is paramount. One of our favorite activities is reading This Is Not a Box. It’s a delightful book that ignites their imaginations and prompts them to see an everyday item in a new way. By encouraging creativity and resourcefulness, we not only minimize our environmental footprint but also cultivate a mindset of mindful consumption. It’s a gift I know will serve my children well throughout their lives.

The Takeaway

As Earth Day approaches, let’s seize the opportunity to celebrate our planet with our children. It’s a day where we can weave together moments of wonder, learning, and connection. Through stargazing adventures, coastal clean-ups, sunset chases, creative reuse projects, and gardening endeavors, we can instill in them a deep appreciation for the natural world and a commitment to protecting it for generations to come. Let’s embark on a journey of love and stewardship, nurturing a brighter, greener future for all.





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The Only Banana Nut Muffins Recipe You Need

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As someone who regularly tests recipes and also happens to live alone, I often find myself with the dilemma of having lots of extras. This isn’t a bad thing, of course. I’ve made friends with neighbors and always have treats to bring to the office. But sometimes, I just want to make something that’s not left hanging around my house for weeks. (When I developed this recipe a few months ago, I ate it every night for seven days straight.) I know I’m not alone in the struggle, so I’ve devised the ultimate small-batch banana nut muffins recipe. That’s right—these make a total of six muffins. You’re welcome.

banana nut muffin ingredients

The Case for Putting Nuts in Your Muffins

I’ve gone on record saying that I loathe nuts in my desserts. I don’t want walnuts in my brownies or chocolate chip cookies, butter pecan ice cream is a pass, and—hot take—I can’t handle a Snickers bar. The texture feels more like a nuisance than a way to enhance a treat. Maybe you’ll say I’m being extreme, but nuts are like land mines getting in the way of a fudgy brownie or fluffy cake.

The exception to this rule is putting the nuts on top of the dessert. Garnishing a cake with slivered almonds or a nutty crumble is my preferred method of utilizing nuts in baked goods. And that’s exactly what we’ve done here with this banana nut muffins recipe. We’re taking all the best parts of the banana nut muffin and adding a few tweaks to keep the texture and flavor top-notch.

best banana nut muffins

Key Ingredients for these Banana Nut Muffins

  • Pecans. Substitute with whatever you have on hand. Walnuts or almonds are great alternatives.
  • Oats. Optional, but I like playing on the slightly nutty flavor of oats for the topping.
  • Egg. Just one! Remember: small-batch.
  • Greek yogurt. Yogurt adds moisture while also helping with the leavening. If you don’t usually have yogurt on hand, freeze yogurt in ice cube trays and store the cubes in a freezer-safe bag. Simply thaw and use as needed.
  • Olive oil. Prioritize the good stuff in this recipe—you’ll taste it in these muffins.
  • Tahini. A little untraditional, but I love the savory and slightly nutty flavor that complements this recipe’s sweeter ingredients.
  • Maple syrup. I’m not a fan of super sweet treats, but maple syrup adds dimension.
  • Miso. If you’ve caught on, I love using savory ingredients in my baking. A little miso lifts all the flavors.
  • Banana. One banana is all you need. That random banana sitting on your counter? It’s the perfect contestant.
  • Flour. All-purpose for these muffins.
  • Baking Soda and Powder. Both keep these muffins light and fluffy.
  • Salt. If you’re not salting your sweets, start yesterday.
  • Cinnamon and Nutmeg. These warming spices enhance the muffins’ flavor without overpowering the banana.
  • Vanilla. Lately, I’ve considered vanilla optional in my recipes. (It can be so expensive!) Use it if you have it, but don’t fret if you don’t!
easy banana nut muffin recipe

Tips for Making Banana Nut Muffins

A few tips and tricks to ensure success.

  1. Let ingredients come to room temperature. This will drastically impact the final result.
  2. Mash the banana on its own, then add to the wet ingredients. Not only does this ensure an even distribution in the batter, but it also brings out the banana’s moisture.
  3. For bakery-style and domed muffins, fill your muffin tin to the top. I also recommend using parchment squares instead of regular liners as this will help create the rounded domed shape. This recipe works with regular muffin liners, but you might notice a bit more spreading on top of the muffin tin. Using large parchment squares also keeps the crumble in place.
  4. Gently press the crumble into the top of the batter. This ensures that the crumble will stick to the muffin instead of falling off during baking.

How to Store and Freeze Leftovers

These banana nut muffins are incredibly easy to store. (That is, if you end up with leftovers at all!) After letting the muffins cool completely, wrap muffins individually in beeswax or plastic wrap, then place them into a larger freezer bag. To reheat, remove individual muffins from the freezer and keep them in the fridge overnight. Alternatively, unwrap and toss muffins in the oven to thaw at 350 F for a few minutes.

the best banana nut muffins

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Description

An easy, small-batch banana nut muffin recipe that yields six fluffy and moist muffins.


For the crumble:

  • 60 grams pecans, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the muffins:

  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 5 tablespoons maple syrup (just over 1/4 cup, 3oz)
  • 1 teaspoon miso
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 large banana (1/2 cup mashed)
  • 120 grams flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  1. Prep the crumble. Add all of the ingredients to a small bowl and toss together until everything is evenly coated in oil and distributed. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with six liners, evenly spacing them out.
  3. Make the batter. In a large mixing bowl, add the egg, Greek yogurt, olive oil, tahini, maple syrup, miso, and vanilla. Whisk until thoroughly combined and smooth.
  4. Mash the banana until very well mashed. Add to the batter.
  5. In a small bowl, add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Sift together to ensure everything is evenly combined, then add to the wet ingredients. Using a spatula, fold and combine the wet and dry ingredients until the batter just comes together.
  6. Using a small cookie scoop, evenly divide the batter amongst the 6 muffin liners. You’ll want the batter to go almost to the top of the liner.
  7. Add a tablespoon of crumble over the batter in the muffin pan and gently press the crumble into the top of the batter.
  8. Bake at 400 F for 18-19 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for about five minutes, then finish cooling on a wire rack.
  10. Enjoy!
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Category: breakfast

Keywords: banana nut muffin





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The Best Skincare Products for Your 40s

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We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

With over a million search results for the best skincare products for 40s, it’s safe to say I’m not the only one looking for high-performance ingredients to improve my skin health. And that couldn’t be more true as I enter this new phase of my life. I turned the big 4-0 earlier this year and while I don’t ever want to be in my 20s again, I do miss that 20s collagen and high cell turnover. But I’m not writing this to lament about wrinkles and fine lines either. (But I will admit I have gone under the needle and have tried almost every buzzy beauty treatment.)

No, I am embracing my 40s wholeheartedly because, in all seriousness, I have never felt better. I am emotionally more stable and available, I am spiritually connected, and I am physically well and comfortable in my body. (Mind you, it’s always a work in progress.) But, I’m entering this new decade with a newfound confidence in myself. And I can say with certainty: all that wisdom and growth is worth it.

Featured image by Teal Thomsen.

Woman laughing in armchair.

The Best Skincare Products for Your 40s

Today, you’re here to learn about the best skincare products for 40s. Lucky for you, that’s something I love to talk about. I guess you could say I have been skin-obsessed since my mom put me on a simple cleanse-tone-moisturize-sunscreen routine at the age of 14. As an Aussie, where 14,000 people are diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer each year, the sunscreen part is critical.

Sunscreen is my number one must-have product everyone should wear every day for anti-aging and skin health. And please note, that while I list all of these products here, you certainly don’t need to buy all of them. When it comes to skincare, all you really need is a quality cleanser, toner (yes, I am team toner), moisturizer (or face oil), and sunscreen. That’s it! And for me, it’s all about investing in quality over quantity.

Read on to learn about the best skincare products for 40s that I use in my everyday routine! Some of them I’ve been using for over 10 years. So if you’re in your 30s and looking for anti-aging solutions, you’re welcome to keep scrolling, too.

Editor’s Note: We did a follow-up to this post where we asked two dermatologists to share the best drugstore skincare for your 40s dupes. Read the article here.

Skincare products.

The Best Skincare Products for Cleansing

Cosmedix Purity Solution Cleanser

I like to rotate my cleansers depending on how my skin is feeling that day. For my morning routine, I usually reach for an oil cleanser. Why? Well, typically my skin leans dehydrated, making my epidermis especially parched.

This Cosmedix cleanser restores the skin’s natural moisture and removes impurities. It’s also especially great for removing makeup. I have been using Cosmedix for over 10 years now because they have high-performance ingredients and do what they say. I highly recommend an oil cleanser if you haven’t tried one yet, especially for mature skin as it’s super hydrating and moisturizing while being sensitive to the skin. I also love Mara’s oil cleanser and the one from Emma Lewisham, both of which are packed with exfoliating fruit enzymes like papaya.

Agency Cloud Care Duo

A recent addition to our editors’ radars, Agency by Curology differentiates itself in the overly saturated skincare world by formulating personalized prescription products. That’s right, everything you’ll try (and soon love) by the brand is tailor-made to target your skin concerns. You start by sharing your skin goals with a licensed medical provider who then creates customized formulations. From there, you’ll receive check-ins offering tips and formula adjustments to ensure your skincare evolves alongside you—because yes, you should be regularly switching up your routine!

The Cloud Care Duo pairs the efficacy of the brand’s Cream Oil Cleanser with its Weightless Whipped Moisturizer. The result is a fresh, soft, and hydrated complexion that never feels heavy.

iS Clinical Cleansing Complex

I was introduced to iS Clinical about a year ago and have slowly been developing an obsession ever since. The cleansing complex is relatively new to my routine. But after at least four months of using it, I’m hooked. It’s a gel resurfacing cleanser that doesn’t strip your skin. The product is soft and gentle thanks to white willow bark that exfoliates the skin while breaking up any grime or makeup. Beauty editors love it because it works across every skin type and concern. I can use this one every day, multiple times a day, and it won’t leave my skin feeling dry, stripped, or squeaky. An all-around excellent addition to your skincare routine.

COSMEDIX Purity Clean Exfoliating Cleanser

In the past, foaming cleansers got a bad rap for being too stringent and stripping the skin of all of its oils. But let me introduce you to the new generation. Clarify is incredibly gentle and hydrating. The salicylic acid exfoliates the skin and helps prevent breakouts while the aloe vera soothes and heals. But this cleanser’s genius ingredient is the probiotics which encourage healthy bacteria on the surface. 10/10 recommend.

Renée Rouleau AHA/BHA Blemish Control Cleanser

When my skin is feeling hormonal or blemish-prone, I bring out the big guns. Renée Rouleau is renowned for her arsenal of acne-fighting products and this one really nailed it. It packs a punch in the acids department mixed with gentle biodegradable jojoba beads which reduce acne, bumps, blackheads, and clogged pores while lifting away red discoloration and scarring leftover from blemishes. I use this cleanser about three times a week—prevention rather than cure!

Woman washing face.

The Best Skincare Products for Toning

Cosmedix Purity Balance Exfoliating Prep Toner

The jury has been out on toner in recent years but I swear by this one. Personally, I prefer a chemical exfoliation to a physical one. This one has salicylic and L-lactic acid combined with tea tree oil to cleanse, clarify, and smooth the skin. It’s great for blackhead management and removing excess oil or makeup. I’ve even been known to use it as a cleanser on the trips I’ve forgotten to pack mine.

Woman in sauna

The Best Skincare Products for Boosting

Cosmedix Cell ID Nutritive Defense Serum

There are a lot of serums out there. (I repeat, a lot.) But this one deserves a spot on your shelf. It’s packed with peptides, amino acids, and antioxidants which are great for aging skin. I can’t emphasize it enough: this serum is like giving your thirsty skin a big drink. The ingredients create a skin barrier that locks in moisture and keeps my skin feeling plump and dewy all day.

iS Clinical Hydra-Cool Serum

Speaking of drinks, let me introduce you to the ultimate glass of water for your epidermis: the hydra-cool serum from iS Clinical. I know hyaluronic acid has been hyped a lot in recent years, and for some people it can be drying (the opposite effect of what you want in an HA). But this serum has worked wonders for me. Perhaps it’s the additional vitamin B5, kojic acid, and menthol. Whatever the case, I find it really plumps up my skin and keeps the hydration locked in.

City Beauty Skin-Lifting Booster

This droplet serum is designed to be mixed with other skincare products or to be used alone for a lifted and sculpted look. I love blending a few drops into my moisturizer as a final step in my routine to supercharge my skin with advanced peptides (i.e., amino acid chains that support the skin’s firmness and promote elasticity). I have a few other City Beauty faves on this list—the products’ almost-instant results are unmatched.

Makeup products.

The Best Skincare Products for Correcting

iS Clinical Active Serum

The iS Clinical Active Serum has truly changed my skin. It reduces the appearance of hyperpigmentation, redness, acne, and smooths and evens skin tone, resulting in a clearer and healthier-looking complexion. A total no-brainer.

Cosmedix Elite X-cell+ Brightening Serum

If you’re looking for a brightening serum that packs a punch, look no further. This x-cell is from the Cosmedix Elite line, so it’s only available from licensed estheticians. But trust, it’s worth the extra step for the niacinamide and microencapsulated retinol. It does have witch hazel which my skin doesn’t have a problem with. If you react to it, you might want to opt out of this one. Don’t worry, I have another favorite brightening serum coming up.

iS Clinical Pro-Heal Serum Advance Plus

If you can only invest in a few products then make sure one of them is a vitamin C serum. It’s one of the few ingredients proven to protect against free radical damage, even skin tone, and promote collagen production.

Is Clinical Active Peel System

When I could see Candace Marino aka The LA Facialist in person, I would get the iS Clinical Fire + Ice facial but since we’re on the second phase of lockdown in LA, this at-home kit will have to do. This kit provides enough product to give you two professional-grade treatments at home which is great value.

Camille Styles skincare.

The Best Skincare Products for Exfoliation

Cosmedix Pure Enzymes Mask

There really is no other mask quite like pure enzymes. You definitely feel the tingle with this one (which I love) as the fruit enzymes are working their magic and you will feel a little red post-application but that’s what you want. The flush of oxygenated blood to the skin will boost circulation and collagen production. This mask is gentle enough to be done once a week.

Renée Rouleau Triple Berry Smoothing Peel

This one is another favorite with beauty editors and celebrities with good reason. It’s packed with five skin smoothing fruit AHAs, BHAs, and enzymes to clear blemishes and clogged pores, fade post-breakout marks, lift discoloration, and stimulate cellular renewal. Plus, it’s just a really fun mask to apply because of the bright pink berry color!

Cosmedix Refine Refinishing Treatment 

I have been using retinol for years now and swear by it for anti-aging and overall skin health and maintenance. What I love about the Cosmedix line is their range of retinol that start low so you can work your way up as your skin adjusts. I asked the education director for Cosmedix, Ryan Christopher to explain and he told me that Serum 16 and Serum 24 are the starters and are great for sensitive skin. If you have textured skin then you can move to Define which also includes lactic acid to exfoliate. Refine, Refine Plus, and Refine RX follow each other in strength with RX being the highest. Genius.

Skincare products on sink.

The Best Skincare Products for Moisturizing

Matter of Fact Maximalist Age-Defying Moisturizer

Thankfully, younger generations are more attuned to the importance of SPF—but I get it, if you didn’t grow up in Australia like I did, you were probably encouraged to soak up as much sun as possible. This moisturizer is a go-to for undoing the damage of photo-aging. It combines a peptide and hyaluronic acid blend with heavy-hitting ingredients like niacinamide and bakuchiol to keep skin protected against environmental stressors and improve skin tone.

Cosmedix Mystic Moisturiser

Choosing a moisturizer can be tricky, especially when you’re looking for something rich that doesn’t clog your pores. This is hands down the best one I’ve come across for mature skin. It’s super hydrating and targets the concerns you want to address at this age like fine lines and wrinkles. I have combination skin but hydration is my number one goal with skincare and this definitely does the job. I can’t recommend this enough.

iS Clinical Moisturizing Complex

This is a great option for the summer months when you’re looking for something lighter. I usually mix this (and the X-Age) with oil for extra hydration and to seal in moisture.

Furtuna Skin Biphase Moisturizing Oil

I have tried so many oils and they’re either too fragrant or too heavy and they sit on top of the skin. This oil from Furturna is neither of those things. It has a super subtle fragrance and its lightweight formula sinks immediately into my skin giving an instant luminous glow while protecting my skin from the harsh dry LA air. I have been through three bottles of this already and I can’t get enough. It’s just a really beautiful product.

Mara Chlorella + Reishi Sea Vitamin C Serum

Okay, so this is technically a vitamin C serum but it’s an oil-based version so I put it in the moisturize category because I LOVE mixing it with my moisturizer. It ticks all the boxes for me: lightweight, mild scent, clean formula, and packed with potent ingredients—we’re talking 14 vitamin C rich fruit extracts, herbs and botanicals to help improve skin brightness.

Cosmedix Elite Eye Doctor High Potency Eye Treatment

I started out using the hero product in the Cosmedix line, Opti Crystal also known as unicorn tears but quickly moved onto Eye Doctor after learning it contains retinol and alpha-lipoic acid. I wasn’t a huge fan of eye cream until I met this product but what I love is that it also doubles as a highlighter thanks to their special liquid crystal. Try it, I guarantee you’ll love it. 

HydroSerum Eye Stick

I love the easy application of this moisturizing eye stick. Simply glide on a thin layer for a healthy dose of hyaluronic acid, argan oil, niacinamide, and licorice root extract to smooth fine lines and illuminate the skin. Trust: your under-eyes will appear brighter and feel revived immediately.

Woman face rolling in mirror.

The Best Skincare Products for Protection

iS Clinical Extreme Protect SPF 30

Now to my favorite product: sunscreen. I am at the esthetician level of an obsession now for this amazing product. As an Aussie, I have literally had 100s of sunscreens applied to my face and body and there are a lot of bad ones out there. This one is the best I’ve tried. It’s light, leaves a dewy glow without being sticky or oily, and it doesn’t smell like sunscreen!

I am the biggest preacher of sunscreen application (I’m talking every day, and reapplying multiple times a day) so if this one doesn’t suit you, please, please, please find one that does and wear it every day, even inside because this one also protects you from the blue light of your phone and computer screen.

SilkScreen Sheer Tint Mineral Sunscreen

I also love a tinted sunscreen, but it can be hard to find one that isn’t streaky or heavy. Thankfully, this sheer mineral sunscreen by Agency pairs a weightless application with SPF 50 protection. And because Agency is dedicated to providing customized skincare for everyone, this is my favorite sun-protection pick for all skin types. Simply swipe it on for even, poreless skin.

Cyndi Ramirez headshot.

The Best Skincare Products for Hydration

Matter of Fact Minimalist Hydrating Moisturizer

When it comes to hydration, a lightweight formulation is key. Yes, you want to feel that it’s working, but a gloppy texture isn’t ideal. And where sensitive skin is concerned, Matter of Fact’s hydrating moisturizer is the best in the game. The liquid crystal lipids not only provide hydration, but they also support your skin barrier—key when you’re playing the skin health long game.

City Beauty Line-Smoothing HydroMask

Something about doing a face mask feels so luxe. Not only do you get the results of an in-office treatment at home, but the process of applying one to your skin is self-care at its finest. And when the mask actually works? *Chef’s kiss* Infused with antioxidants, peptides (key for promoting collagen production), and hyaluronic acid for deeply hydrated skin, you’ll notice a complete transformation after just 20 minutes.

Cosmedix Mystic Hydrating Treatment

This isn’t essential by any means but since I love any hydration when I can get it throughout the day, I love a face mist. I find my skin will dry out after I’ve stared at a computer screen for a few hours so I love to spritz in between to keep my skin fresh. This one is an exfoliating formula so it also helps current breakouts and helps to prevent new ones.

iS Clinical Copper Firming Mist

I always keep a few mists handy on my desk so I can reach for whatever I feel like my skin needs. This copper firming mist smells great and is just the right amount of hydration when you need it.

Biologique Recherche Masque VIP O2

If you haven’t tried this French skincare line yet then I highly recommend their masks. I like to multi-mask with the vivant so I’m hydrating while I’m targeting my t-zones. It’s not cheap but you don’t need much and it’s safe enough to use daily or weekly, whenever you like to mask. If you want a more affordable option, try the Cosmedix Restore.

Biologique Recherche Masque Vivant

I’ll just be straight up on, this mask doesn’t smell great. In fact, it smells like vegemite (if you know, you know!) but it’s such a great mask for treating dull, tired, or oily skin. I love it on the weekends when my skin is needing a boost or it’s a great hangover cure!

The Things We Do Liquid Lift Sleeping Mask

Vanessa Lee, RN is renowned in California for her incredible natural cosmetic procedures—her threads are the best but sadly she isn’t taking on new clients. But luckily for us, she has designed a product line to give us the in-clinic results at home. Her sleeping mask is one of my favorites. I love the jelly-like formula that is super hydrating thanks to organic oats, Vitamin B5, and hyaluronic acid. It’s great post-treatment or chemical peel too.

City Beauty City Lips Night Oil

Niche, but when it comes to the best skincare products for your 40s, a plumping, overnight lip oil is essential. Simply apply a swipe of this hydrating, exfoliating formula before going to sleep and get ready to wake up to noticeably plumper lips. I’m obsessed with this ingredient list: portulaca pilosa extract rejuvenates the skin while plankton and floral extract provide a smoothing effect. And of course, hyaluronic acid delivers all the hydration your lips could dream of. Seriously, this is a perfect overnight lip treatment. (Eat your heart out, Laneige.)





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