Best Skincare at Sephora and Ulta

Today, I want to share with you the best skincare at Sephora and Ulta. These are my absolute favorite skincare items. It can be a real challenge when you’re trying to figure out what products you need to take care of your skin. And you DO need to take care of your skin. However, there are so many choices, and it’s easy to get lost down the rabbit hole. Let’s face it, Sephora and Ulta can be totally overwhelming. You walk in to rows and rows of gorgeous products that all claim to work miracles for you and cost an arm and a leg. How is a girl supposed to decide? Shopping online isn’t much better. In fact, it just makes it easier to spend too long scrolling on your phone through all the products. That’s where I come in. I do spend countless hours in the stores, online, and on youtube filtering through the madness, and these are my tried and true recommendations. Hopefully, this list can save you some headache, time, and money!

I’ve grouped the products in the order you might use them in your skincare routine and links are provided in each description!

1. Philosophy- Purity Made Simple Cleanser

This might be my favorite product out of all of them. You might be surprised how much a good cleanser will do for your skin. If you want a gentle cleanser that takes off all the dirt and makeup and leaves your skin soft, then this is the one for you. I use this cleanser at night after a makeup wipe to get rid of my excess makeup. After I’ve lathered, I can rub this cleanser all over my eyes to remove mascara traces and it does not sting or burn. Hallelujah! This is not a foamy cleanser. It actually has a texture more like a gel lotion than a typical cleanser, which I think makes it feel gentle and creamy. You can buy this cleanser in multiple sizes, but I like to go for the bigger ones. I buy the 24 oz for $44, which seems expensive, but I’ve had my bottle for over a year and still have well over 1/4 of the bottle left. Honestly, I would buy the $55 32 oz with the pump if they had it at my Sephora or Ulta.

2. Boscia- Balancing Facial Tonic

I hate toner. There’s something about searching for a cotton round, pouring out the liquid, and applying it to my face that irritates me. Weird, I know, but true. Tah-dah! Solution found. This is a toner that you can mist all over your face. It feels amazing, and no cotton rounds needed. I spritz this on my face after my cleanser. The Boscia tonic is supposed to help hydrate your skin while it purifies according to its Sephora product description, and I think it definitely does that. If your skin tends to feel a bit tight after cleansing, this is a refreshing boost that will help out with that, all the while balancing your skin. Ulta, unfortunately doesn’t carry the Boscia brand. If you’re on the lookout for a non typical toner like me, this one’s for you.

3. Drunk Elephant- T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum

Let me just say, this product costs a pretty penny. There’s no denying it, and it pains me to add it to the list. It pains me to buy it. I truly believe that your skincare is an investment. If you want your makeup to look good, your pictures to look good, and your skin to feel good, then you have to put some time and money into your skin. I’ve been hearing about this product for so long, but the price tag scared me away from it. 1 oz of this product will set you back $90. I know, my wallet weeps with you. Thankfully, over Christmas, Sephora had gift sets with sample sizes for $20 that I snagged to see if it was worth the hype. As much as I hate to say it, it is a game changer for my skin. If you have large pores or texture on your skin, this will work wonders for you. When I use this product, my texture is gone and my pores truly vanish. It really is that good. It’s actually a chemical exfoliator, so this would be something to add to your routine 2-3 times a week. Do you absolutely need it? No, because let’s be real, most of us (including me) can’t afford to spend this much money on a skincare product. However, if you have a chance to treat yo’ self or if texture and large pores are your main problems, you might want to consider this serum. By the way, Drunk Elephant is another brand sold at Sephora and not Ulta.

4. Origins- Original Skin Renewal Serum

If you don’t want to go for the Drunk Elephant serum, another great one is the Origins Skin Renewal Serum. This is the one I use regularly. This serum is aimed at helping younger skin (20’s-30’s). It targets fine lines, skin brightness, and pores. I do see a difference in all of those things when I use the serum. Actually, I use it in the morning as well as in my nightly routine. One of the best things about this serum to me is that it works as a good base for your foundation. It’s not a primer and won’t help with the longevity of your foundation, but it helps with the application. I always find that when I put this on before I get ready, my makeup goes on and looks better. It diminishes the appearance of my pores and smoothes my skin out to an even, clean slate. Ulta carries the Origins brand, but for some reason they don’t have the Original Skin line. No fear though, because you can find it here at Sephora.

5. Origins- Eye Doctor Moisture Care for Skin Around Eyes

You’re going to see Origins a few more times on this list. There is nothing that I’ve tried from them that hasn’t worked exactly like it claimed and been good for my skin. This particular product helps with tired looking, dry under eyes. It also plumps up the skin, helping with fine lines. Anything that improves my makeup is a plus, and concealer doesn’t settle into my fine lines when I am consistently using this moisturizer. Keep in mind this is to hydrate your under eyes and doesn’t have anti-aging power. But, if you need the moisture, go with this one. I’m all for an anti-aging eye cream, whatever your age, but those can be quite pricey. Besides, any moisture that you are giving your skin is helping aging and appearance. So, for now, I’m saving a few coins and sticking with this eye cream. Luckily, this is an Origins product you can snag at both Sephora and Ulta.

6. Clinique- Moisture Surge

If there’s something that makes your foundation look better than a good moisturizer, I don’t know what it is and you need to tell me. This might be my favorite product from the entire list. I fully believe in the power of a good moisturizer for your skin for so many different reasons. My grandmother used the Clinique “yellow lotion” for years as her primary skin care. She lived to be over 90 years old and she didn’t look a bit of it. The yellow lotion doesn’t work for me, unfortunately. I prefer a moisturizer to have a more gel-like consistency and find the creamier ones to be too heavy for my skin. The moisture surge is the perfect solution for me. It really feels like gel and makes your skin feel so soft and plump. Did I mention foundation glides on like a dream? I have combo skin, and it doesn’t make me produce any excess oils during the day either. Do yourself a favor and go grab it here. You can find the 72 hour and Intense formulas at Ulta, but I’v only tried the intense and like the original better. And, I know this is a Sephora/Ulta post, but you could also buy this product from your nearest Clinque counter when they’re having a gift event!

7. Belif- The True Cream Aqua Bomb

This is another one of my favorite moisturizers for the same reasons as the Clinique Moisture Surge, so I won’t go on too long about this one. It’s also a gel formula. Did I mention that I love gel formulas? This one has an added bonus. It feels cooling to the skin, which is so nice and refreshing in the mornings. I use this moisturizer at night and during the day when my skin is not overly dry. Honestly, I don’t think you need the Belif and the Clinique, so check them out and see which one speaks to you. The cooling effect of this one is hard to resist though. Be on the lookout for gift sets, so you can try more than one product from their line and get more bang for your buck. Find it here.

8. Origins- High Potency Night-A-Mins

If you have dry skin, I think you’ll love this moisturizer. As you can see by the name, it’s specifically a night time cream. Unlike, the previous moisturizers on the list, this one is a thick, buttery consistency and not a gel. I know, shocking. It’s not at all greasy, which makes me forgive it for not being a gel. I find that when I use this moisturizer my skin is not only plump and supple, but it’s also smooth and radiant. Something about this product also helps with my texture and uneven tone, which I didn’t expect from a moisturizer, but happily accepted! I especially love this product for the colder, drier months. This is one of the Origins products that you can find at both Sephora and Ulta.

9. Origins- Original Skin Retexturizing Mask with Rose Clay

I wasn’t kidding earlier, I love Origins skin care. I’ve never been one to mask, but I can’t stay away from this one. It’s from the same line –Original Skin– as the serum I recommended earlier in the list. The mask is all about getting your skin back to its youthful origins… See what I did there. Be prepared to look insane and take jokes from your husbands, boyfriends, roommates, etc. The mask is a thick, pink cream that dries to a thick, pink hard mask that basically will freeze your expressionless face. Trust me though, the jokes are worth the results. My skin is so smooth and soft after this mask. If you’re feeling like your skin is not looking its best, try this mask out and see the difference it will make for you. It’s from their Original Skin line, so it’s at Sephora only.

If you have made it to the end of this list, you have my undying gratitude and mad respect. Thank you for reading about the best skincare products at Sephora and Ulta (in my humble opinion), and I hope that these recommendations work for you like they have for me! You can, of course find these products from their brand websites. But, I figured that it might be easier to shop online or in store at Sephora and Ulta. Feel free to share this post and have a spa day with your friends and your new products! Comment below and let me know if you’ve tried these products, if they work for you, or share your recommendations with me!

4 thoughts on “Best Skincare at Sephora and Ulta

  1. Ann Evans says:

    I have found that you are right about Origins’ products and Moisture Surge by Clinique. I am interested in trying some of the other products. Keep up the good work.


  2. Amber says:

    I also love Clinique’s Moisture Surge. It feels amazing & I would like to try some of the other products you recommended. The one I most want to try is #3 (it would be the priciest ha) to diminish pores…wondering if you have any suggestions for redness too?


    • Leah Elizabeth says:

      I don’t think you’d be disappointed with the Drunk Elephant! You just might hate me for telling you about it 🙂 For redness, I would suggest Clinique’s Redness Solution Moisturizer. They have a line of actual green products, but I’ve never found any green tinted product to do much other than make the redness look pink, which doesn’t solve the problem. This. moisturizer isn’t tinted and is supposed to reduce the causes of redness over time. I do think it helps. Also, I notice a difference in my redness if I keep up with exfoliators and either of the two serums!


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