The 3 Ingredients I Look For In Skincare


When it comes to skincare that targets all of my concerns, the three main active ingredients I like to have in my routine are – Glycolic Acid, Retinol & Vitamin C. It’s been a while since I’ve discussed some Beauty products on the blog and thought I should really do that, lol!
I’m very particular about the type of skincare I pick up, try and even sample. I know what works, what I can experiment with and what is a firm no.

skincare ingredients shantel rousseau
(pic from my vanity; neostrata, omorovicza, paula’s choice, skinceuticals, kate somerville, votary, origins, glamglow, algenist, dr dennis gross)

I usually have a mix of these ingredients in at least one of my products at any given time. These are the ingredients that I see the most efficacy in my skin and although I’ve only listed 3 – there are a couple of others that are still very high on the list, I’ll mention them down below.

1// Glycolic Acid
Glycolic Acid (better known as an Alpha Hydroxy Acid or AHA) is definitely a Holy Grail status in terms of skincare for me. For me, Glycolic Acid helps target rough skin texture and evens out my skin tone in a way that doesn’t irritate my skin at all. I find that many of my favourite peels and liquid exfoliants use Glycolic Acid and it’s an easy ingredient to mix and integrate with other products.
I sometimes will use a mix of Retinol & Glycolic Acid – it just depends on what’s going on with my skin at the time and also the type of product. For example, if I’d like to double duty I may use this toner and then seal my moisturizer with this oil. Here are a few of my favourite Glycolic Acid products…

2// Retinol
Topical Vitamin A–based drugs called retinoids; the most used and most studied anti-aging compounds — may reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Retinoids reduce fine lines and wrinkles by increasing the production of collagen. They also stimulate the production of new blood vessels in the skin, which improves skin tone. When I used to work in the beauty industry – I would frequently tell my clients that Retinols are the quickest way to improve your skin and see results and what I mean by that, is the first night you use a quality Retinol product, you will wake up to NOTICEABLY improve skin. Period.
Retinols also vary greatly in terms of strength. You can have a slow release Retinol that is super easy on the skin or ones that make you peel. I love them all and the peeling doesn’t bother me – however, I would use those in the Fall/Winter when you’re spending less time in the sun (again, SPF is always at play here, regardless of weather and/or season!). Retinols are best used on the skin via a Serum, Moisturizer and/or Eye cream. Here are some of my personal favourites…

If you’re still not 100% sure on what Retinol is and if you need it – here’s a great Q&A that breaks it down easily.

3// Vitamin C
Vitamin C serums are truly the tried and true of most people’s skincare routine and depending the state of my skin – mine as well. Vitamin C is widely known for its antioxidant benefits for your body but also your skin, brilliantly boosting collagen while helping to treat UV exposure photo-damage. Vitamin C helps to preserve the youth in your skin, reduce the current damage and help to prevent new damage (always in conjunction with SPF, obvi). My preferred way to use Vitamin C on my skin is via a Cleanser, Serum and/or Facial Oil.

While there are some that disagree with the benefits of Vitamin C – I don’t, TBH. Although, I will mention that some Vitamin C serums have, in fact, given me breakouts before thus I have to be very choosy when deciding which is the ideal one for me. The ones down below, have all been amazing on my skin and I would re-purchase in a heartbeat!

Side note: Really looking forward to this new oil – can’t wait till it hits the market!

A few VIP Mentions would be Salicylic Acid</strong, Rose/Rosehip & Licorice Root and Niacinamide

Salicylic Acid is my go-to when my skin is out of whack. If I’m reeeeally suffering with breakouts and cystic acne then I will purchase a Benzoyl-based product. Salicylic Acid helps with the first cause by dissolving the type of skin debris that clogs pores and causes acne. Therefore, the best acne to treat with Salicylic Acid are blackheads and whiteheads.
Personal Faves: Paula’s Choice SKIN PERFECTING 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant, SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Defense Serum & La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+

Rosehip and Licorice Root are not the same ingredients but they have very similar effects on the skin. Rosehip oil products can improve skin texture and even reduce the appearance of acne scars and/or stretch marks as well as brightening (can you see the theme here, lol?). Licorice extract may also help diminish the appearance of dark under-eye circles, discolouration and age spots. The extract also has powerful antioxidants that help protect the skin from environmental stressors, as well as “licochalcone” which helps balance oil, making this a good ingredient for those with oily skin!
Personal Recommendations: Neal’s Yard Organic Rosehip Oil, The Ordinary Rose Hip Seed Oil & Eminence Bright Skin Licorice Root Booster Serum.

Niacinamides are also known as vitamin B3 and nicotinamide, FYI! Niacinamide is a water-soluble vitamin that works with the natural substances in your skin to help visibly improve the appearance of enlarged pores, uneven skin tone, fine lines and wrinkles, dullness, and a weakened surface.
Personal Faves: Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster, Murad Rapid Age Spot Correcting Serum & SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense

Did you find this post helpful? Let me know and I’ll do more skincare deep dives! What are you preferred skincare ingredients? Tell me on Instagram!

pic credit: pinterest