What's On Your Skincare Shelf?

What's On Your Skincare Shelf?

Ready to dive into all things skincare? Beauty and skincare influencer Anna Annora takes us through her skincare journey, current favorites, and best tips. Continue reading to learn how she looks for certain ingredients in her skincare and sticks to hydrating, brightening, and exfoliating for best results.


How long have you been interested in skincare/sharing skincare tips on social media?

I first began posting on TikTok two years ago. It was my New Year's resolution of 2022 to start an account so I could share my skincare and beauty tips, as it had been a hobby of mine for many years. After months of posting about my daily skincare routine, struggles with acne, and makeup tutorials, stuck in no-views jail, I posted a video about the Ordinary Glycolic Acid Toner and it went viral overnight. Two years later, I’m still getting likes on that video. It’s funny because that toner changed my life in two ways. It was my first experience with AHA and cleared my closed comedones and skin texture for good, it also catapulted me into a career in the skincare, beauty, and wellness space online.


What skintype do you have and how has that affected your approach to skincare?

As long as I can remember, I’ve had incredibly acne-prone, oily skin. I had the worst acne of any of my friends growing up, and I experienced nearly every form of it: comedones, whiteheads, blackheads, cysts. Not to mention the horrible scarring and hyperpigmentation! I still have some crater-like scars and red spots on my face to this day. When I was a teen, there wasn’t a ton of information about how to clear your acne online. Most people my age were still doing things like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid face washes, and clay masks. Nobody ever talked about the skin irritation that came with using these types of products incorrectly, so my acne never improved and my skin was always inflamed and dull-looking. Looking back, I know that hormones and a damaged skin barrier were my main offenders. Years later when I was graduating college, I finally started seeing results when I switched to gentler products and incorporated the famous glycolic acid a couple nights a week, and began wearing sunscreen every day. Tips I myself had learned through TikTok.


Can you walk us through your skincare routine?

My typical skincare routine always includes a niacinamide serum, some form of Vitamin C or Vitamin C alternative, hyaluronic acid, and an exfoliating acid. Then a gentle unscented face and body moisnths so I can try different brands and percentage strengths (in part because this is my job and I can share my experience with various products, but also because my skin’s needs constantly change with the seasons and other environmental factors). Regardless of the brands, I always stick to this formula: hydrating, brightening, and exfoliating.


What are your top 5 skincare products and why?

  1. I love The Ordinary’s Niacinamide + Zinc serum. I’ve consistently used this for around 4 years now. Niacinamide helps with redness and inflammation, great for healing the skin barrier. Zinc is an anti-fungal so it’s amazing for keeping fungal acne at bay, which I struggle with.
  2. The Coat[s] Gentle Hydrating Toning Milk is my current obsession. This is a sensitive-skin-safe serum/toner combo that combines all my favorite skincare ingredients into one simple product. It has Niacinamide, Vitamin C, Mandelic Acid, Hyaluronic Acid, and Ceramides. So it brightens, exfoliates, and hydrates. So I can get all these ingredients into my routine with just one product! It’s really simplified my routine and it’s super affordable at only $22.
  3. The Ordinary’s glycolic acid toner was an instant classic from the first time I tried it. I had always struggled with texture and just two weeks into using this, it was 99% clear. The key is to NOT overdo it. This is a strong formula and can just as easily irritate the skin as it can improve it. The key is to start slow, once a week, and don’t combine it with any other actives (Vitamin C, other acids, AHAs, or BHAs). You don’t want to give yourself a chemical burn! Also, a pro-tip with this one is you can put it in a spray bottle to get your back and chest if you struggle with body acne. Spritz it under your armpits and you won’t have any body odor! It’s magic.
  4. The Skin1004 Centella Sun Serum is my favorite sunscreen. I hated wearing sunscreen until I found this, and now I wear it every single day, rain or shine. It’s also my favorite “primer” for under makeup because it’s so light, hydrating, and cooling on the face. It doesn’t have that classic grittiness that most sunscreens have because it’s a chemical sunscreen as opposed to a mineral one. It also contains one of my favorite up-and-coming skincare ingredients, Centella. Centella reduces redness and irritation, soothing the skin, and making it the perfect gentle everyday product.
  5. Cetaphil original face and body lotion. This has been my go-to moisturizer for my entire body and face for 5 years now. It’s the perfect gentle, unscented formula and is hydrating enough to use throughout winter while also being light enough to wear in the summer.


Do you exfoliate your skin?

I exfoliate my skin chemically and physically. Chemically with the AHAs and other lightly exfoliating acids, I mentioned before. Physically, I exfoliate using a dermaplaner about once a week or as needed when I want to remove some peach fuzz. I use the Leaf Shave Dermaplaner and love it because it’s reusable, has a sturdy, high-grip handle, and recyclable blades. There’s also a blade guard to protect from nicking your skin, so I always get a super close shave. Dermaplaning removes dead skin along with peach fuzz, so it’s amazing for getting the smoothest base before makeup application.


When adding new products to your routine, do you look for anything specific?

If I’m ever considering adding a new product to my routine, I aim for something that has recyclable packaging, a reasonable price, and hypoallergenic ingredients. If you use something regularly, you will be getting replacements at least a couple of times a year and sometimes as often as once a month, so it’s important to me that the products I choose are more sustainable and affordable in the long term. Of course, they also need to work with the other skincare ingredients I already use and shouldn’t break me out either. So I always check the full ingredient list to see if anything sinister is hiding in it.


What is your favorite moisturizer?

The Cetaphil original face and body lotion is not only an all-time top-five product for me, but it’s my favorite moisturizer I’ve ever used. It doesn’t irritate my skin, isn’t oily, and I can use it year-round. I’d also say it’s fairly affordable for how large the container is.


What is new to your skincare routine or your skincare shelf?

The Coat[s] gentle hydrating toning milk is fairly new to my shelf. I’ve been using it for about two months now. It took my daily morning and nighttime skincare routines from 4-5 products to just 2, because it has a cocktail of all my favorite ingredients in it. I really love this stuff. It also contains a type of exfoliating acid that I actually had not heard of or tried before - mandelic acid. It’s gentler than other exfoliating acids and super underrated! So gentle in fact that you can use this toning milk twice a day and it won’t cause irritation or damage the skin barrier, but my skin feels so smooth and never clogged up.


What is your favorite product you use to see immediate results?

Definitely the Leaf Shave Dermaplaner. If I know I need my makeup to sit extra smooth or I’ve been having more texture than usual, I will whip that baby out. I get the Leaf Shave Oil, rub that into my skin a bit to add some slip for the blade and dermaplane away! Then I cleanse my face and follow up with the Leaf Calming Serum to soothe the skin. Dermaplaning can be a lot for the skin so instead of going in with any actives or the full skincare routine, I give my skin a break with the Calming Serum to regulate the skin a bit and follow up with my Cetaphil moisturizer. Then my skin is crazy smooth for the next few days and my makeup sits like it was airbrushed on.


What has been part of your skincare routine the longest?

Honestly, I think that the ingredients are the things that stay “static” in my routine because I do like to try new products out. But a few products I always come back to after I’ve tried a different brand for a while would be anything from The Ordinary (Hyaluronic Serum, Niacinamide + Zinc serum, Glycolic Acid toner, the BHA Face Mask, Squalane Cleanser, etc.) and my Cetaphil moisturizer of course.


What is something you recently learned about skincare?

I actually didn’t know that dermaplaning could irritate the skin if you do it incorrectly until more recently. So I always make sure to apply enough Shave Oil ahead of time so I’m not dragging the blade across dry skin and I always follow up with the Calming Serum to soothe the skin afterward with some gentle botanicals like aloe, etc.


Can you give us a wrap up of what you’ve learned about skincare?

When in doubt and having a major breakout or lots of irritation, don’t use anything that night. Just get a nice layer of Cetaphil lotion on and slug your face with Aquaphor. Your skin will look sooo much better after a few days of doing this. Then you can go back to your actives and other skin routine products when your skin barrier has regulated.

Tip: Try Leaf's vegan and noncomedogenic Shave Oil or Calming Serum for dry or irritated skin.


What would you tell younger you about skincare?

Don’t use multiple actives in one night, or your skin will get angry!

Final Thoughts:

Absolutely “less is more”. Figure out what ingredients work for you and stick to them.


Learn more about Leaf Shave’s vegan skincare products and discover which are best for you to add to your skincare or shave routine.

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