My Must-Have Skincare Products

Over the past year, I have definitely taken a break from posting makeup looks here on my blog and on my Instagram. While I still have a strong passion and love for makeup, I have also developed a passion for skincare. I truly believe that great makeup starts with great skincare!

I have shared with you all before how I used to have moderate acne a few years ago, and that certain products really helped clear up my skin. In a previous post, you can find a detailed post describing my full morning and night skincare routine. In today’s post, I am just going to go into more detail about the products that I will ALWAYS continue to repurchase because they have proven to keep my skin clear. 

Keep scrolling to find out more about my favorite skincare products, how I use them, and where to buy!



I took this picture (above) using only the natural light coming in through my window. In this picture I have just washed my face and am not wearing any makeup and there was no editing or enhancing done to my face.

My skin type: Oily t-zone, acne prone, somewhat sensitive, minor acne scarring

**Products will be described from top to bottom and left to right, not in the order that I would use them in my routine. AHA+ (10% Glycolic Acid) Lotion: is an online forum for people that struggle with any kind of acne conditions to seek advice, product recommendations, etc. In addition to the forum, has their own line of affordable products that are proven to help solve any kind of acne issues. I used their strict 3-step regimen a couple of years ago and it completely improved my skin! I highly recommend their products if you are struggling with acne and cannot seem to find products that work for you. I love glycolic acid (an AHA) because is a chemical exfoliant rather than a physical exfoliant. This product drastically improved my acne and acne scarring and is something that I continue to use even though I do not use the other products from the regimen anymore.

How I use it: Apply a pea-sized amount all over my face following a cleanser and before moisturizing. You do not wash off this product. I let it sit for a few minutes before applying anything else to my face. I only use this 2-3 times a week.

Where to buy:, $18

Witch Hazel: This is a natural and alcohol-free astringent that is great for sensitive skin! I use this product like a toner and it does not strip or dry out the skin, but still removes excess dirt after cleansing!

How I use it: Apply it to a cotton pad and swipe over the face after removing makeup and using a cleanser. I use this multiple times a day to refresh my face when I am having no-makeup days. You can also put this in a spray bottle with some rosewater and make your own refreshing facial spray!

Where to buy: At your local grocery store or pharmacy, $5

Manuka Honey: This product needs no introduction because I have already raved about it multiple times here on my blog! You want to make sure that the manuka honey you purchase is from New Zealand and has a bioactive rating of 15 or above for the best anti inflammatory effects. I do have a dedicated blog post where I go into greater detail about my love for this product! Check it out!

How I use it: I like to apply manuka honey all over my face as a mask or just as a spot treatment. This is great to use if you have just picked at a pimple and need to calm down redness and inflammation. No matter how I use it, I like to leave it on for as long as possible (usually 30 minutes to an hour). I use this pretty much every day!

Where to buy: At a health foods store or Amazon, about $20 (price varies depending on the bio active rating)

TruSkin Vitamin C Serum: This serum containes 20% vitamin C and also has vitamin E and Hyaluronic Acid. This is a recent addition to my skincare routine and I found it on Amazon! It has over 7,000 reviews with an overall rating of 4.2/5. It is a plant-based product with no synthetic additives or fragrance. I have only been using this product for about a month, and it really has brightened my skin and lightened my acne scars. It is a really lightweight, non-greasy formula and sinks into the skin really quickly.

How I use it: This product can be applied day or night, but I like to use it in the morning before I apply a moisturizer and sunscreen. I even like to use it as a makeup primer!

Where to buy: Amazon, $20

Now 100% Pure Rose Hip Seed Oil: I have been using rose hip seed oil for years and it has done wonders for my skin. Not only is it a great for its anti-aging properties, but it has really helped fade my acne scars and any discoloration that I have in my skin. If there is one thing that I recommend you purchase out of all of these products, it’s this one!

How I use it: I apply a few drops to my fingers and then press, not rub, the oil into my skin following my nighttime moisturizer. Sometimes I will even apply a few drops during the day underneath my makeup for a natural glow. I use this product multiple times a day, every day.

Where to buy: At your local grocery store in the natural foods section, a health food store, or Amazon, about $10 depending on size of bottle

Facial Razor: Yes, I shave my face. This beauty technique is probably not a new to a lot of you, as this has become a popular beauty trend and secret to great-looking skin! Like I said earlier, I do not like to use physical exfoliants and scrubs. Using these little eyebrow razors allow you to literally shed the dead skin and peach fuzz sitting on your skin, which leads to greater looking makeup as well!

How I use it: I do this probably once every couple of weeks just to get rid of any peach fuzz and stray eyebrow hairs.

Where to buy: At your local grocery store, Amazon, $5

Jade Roller: There is some debate regarding whether or not these tools actually prove to have long-term benefits, and I am not quite sold on these claims either. However, using this every morning to de-puff the face is a game changer and gives me instant results! I find that the jade roller does help with circulation and draining any fluid held in my face. I naturally retain water in my face and always wake up with puffy eyes and cheeks, regardless of what I ate or drank the night before. Using the jade roller every morning and throughout the day instantly brings my skin back to life!

How I use it: Roll in an upwards motion all over my face for about 5 minutes or until the jade roller no longer feels cold. I do this multiple times a day, and sometimes at night, following my skincare routine.

Where to buy: Ulta, Amazon, about $15 depending on the brand

CeraVe Skin Renewing Salicylic Acid Cleanser: I use a gentle cleanser like Cetaphil in the morning, but at night I like to use a cleanser that packs more of a punch. I love CeraVe products because they are great for sensitive skin, affordable, and effective. Salicylic acid is a great ingredient for acne and since this product only contains 2%, I find that it is not irritating on my skin at all! It has a gel-like consistency, so it does not strip or dry out my skin.

How I use it: I use this as my nighttime cleanser. I use one pump and massage gently over my face with warm water.

Where to buy: At your local grocery store or pharmacy, $10

CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion: This is another CeraVe product that I absolutely love and cannot live without! This is just a great overall moisturizer for all skin types. It is fragrance free and does not make my skin greasy.

How I use it: I apply a pea-sized amount all over my face in the morning and sometimes throughout the day.

Where to buy: At your local grocery store or pharmacy, $10

Neutrogena Clear Face Sunscreen SPF 30: Sunscreen should be an essential step in your skincare routine to prevent sun damage to your skin! I do find that a lot of sunscreens break me out and can become too greasy on my face, but I really like this one from Neutrogena! It sinks into the skin quickly and does not clog my pores.

How I use it: Apply a pea-sized amount in the morning before going outside and throughout the day as needed.

Where to buy: Ulta, $10

Now 100% Pure Sweet Almond Oil: Almond oil is another great oil for your skin! I like to use this one more as a cleansing oil to remove my face and eye makeup. I like to use this instead of store-bought cleansing oils because it does not have any added ingredients and is just as effective. It also promotes healthy skin and eyelashes while removing makeup and dirt!

How I use it: Massage over face and eyes to remove makeup, then I use a cleanser to wash it away.

Where to buy: At a health food store or Amazon, $5-10 depending on size of bottle.




Summer Makeup Series: Neutral Eyes & Red Lips

It’s always fun to dress up a neutral eye look with a bold lip color!

Keep scrolling for full product details!




  • Spot concealed and brightened under-eye area with Tarte Shape Tape (no foundation)
  • Colourpop x Alexis Ren bronzer & highlighting duo
  • Benefit Coralista blush



  • Juvia’s Place The Nubian Mini Palette (only $10 at Ulta!)
  • NYC black liquid eyeliner
  • Ardell Baby Demi lashes



  • Wet N Wild matte liquid lipstick in 930B

Summer Makeup Series: Pop of Color

A neutral eye look with a pop of color in the inner corner of the eye has become a huge trend this summer!

Keep scrolling for pics and product details!




  • Spot concealed and highlighted under my eyes with Tarte Shape Tape concealer (no foundation).
  • Benefit Hoola bronzer
  • Sephora matte peach blush (sorry, I do not know the shade name!)



  • Morphe 35B palette (bright yellow shade)
  • Benefit Hoola bronzer and Sephora blush in the crease (for a monochromatic look).
  • Essence Lash Princess mascara (black and teal tube)



  • Colourpop matte liquid lipstick in Bumble

Summer Makeup Series: Hot Pink Smokey Eyes

I’m finally back! I know that it has been quite a while since my last post, but recently I have experienced a spark of inspiration to create some fun summer makeup looks!

For this look, I decided to come back with a bang and brighten your feed with this hot pink smokey eye look using the Juvia’s Place Masquerade Palette.

Keep scrolling for pics of this look and for a list of product details!





  • For the past year or so since I have seen some major improvements in my skin, I have not been wearing foundation! Instead, I simply spot conceal with the Tarte Shape Tape concealer and do a little bit of highlighting under my eyes.
  • I used Benefit Cosmetics Hoola bronzer and Dandelion blush.


  • Juvia’s Place Masquerade Palette
  • Ardell Demi Whispies lashes


  • Rimmel lipstick in Boho Nude (from the Kate Moss collection)


My Current Skincare Routine (Morning and Night)

Recently, my passion for the beauty industry has shifted more towards skincare than dramatic makeup looks. While I still love makeup and enjoy its opportunity for artistic creativity, I have really been making skincare my #1 priority. After all, having skin is the key to a great makeup day!

I have tried so many different skincare products and am finally 100% content with my current routine. I use very simple, natural products and they have made the biggest difference for my skin. I currently have NO TEXTURE and NO ACNE! Occasionally I will get a little hormonal pimple, but it goes away in a day or two if I keep up this routine.

I have oily skin, but these products (with the exception of a couple) can be used for all skin types. I am not an esthetician or have any kind of professional training when it comes to skincare, but this routine has worked so well for me and I wanted to share!

My Morning Skincare Routine

Step 1: Cleanse with the CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser

  • This cleanser is meant for normal to oily skin. If you have dry skin, the CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser is a great option!
  • This cleanser contains hyaluronic acid and has a liquid/gel texture
  • Sometimes, I will also just splash my face with water and skip cleanser in the morning.

Step 2: Tone with Witch Hazel/ Apple Cider Vinegar 

  • One of the worst things you can do for your skin is use a harsh astringent that contains alcohol. Witch Hazel is an all-natural toner/astringent and is completely alcohol free.
  • I will alternate between Witch Hazel and Apple Cider Vinegar for this step.

Step 3: Moisturize with the CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion

  • This is a lightweight moisturizing lotion and is great for all skin types!
  • Contains hyaluronic acid as well.
  • I also mix in my daily facial sunscreen with the moisturizer just to save a step.


*** Once a day, I will apply a Manuka Honey mask. I use pure Manuka Honey and will leave this on for at least 30 minutes/ 1 hour. I have an entire post dedicated to my love for Manuka Honey and how much it has helped my skin so check it out!

My Evening Skincare Routine

Step 1: Oil cleanse with 100% pure Sweet Almond Oil

  • I do this regardless of whether or not I am wearing makeup that day. This oil works great for breaking down makeup (you can also use coconut oil, but almond oil is not as heavy).
  • I like to oil cleanse before using my normal cleanser because I find that it makes my skin softer and actually helps my skin to produce less oil naturally.

Step 2: Cleanse with the CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser

  • This breaks down the oil really well, but you could also dampen a washcloth with warm water to gently remove the oil before this step.

Step 3: Tone with the Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner 

  • This toner is great if you have textured skin and/ or acne scarring.
  • I NEVER use an exfoliant scrub on my face because it is way too harsh and can actually irritate the skin and cause more acne/ scarring.
  • Glycolic acid is an amazing chemical exfoliant and I have found that this toner has really reduced my acne scarring drastically. It also works great with helping new pimples to go away quickly without leaving a mark.

Step 4: Moisturize with the CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion + Rosehip Seed Oil

  • To boost the moisturizing benefits even more at night, I add in a few drops of 100% Rosehip Seed Oil to that same moisturizer. The oil absorbs really well into the skin and is great for acne scarring and has amazing anti-aging benefits.
  • If you have dry skin, I recommend the CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream. This is a very thick and luxurious moisturizer that will help get rid of any dry patches you might have. I have gone through 2 jars of this stuff and I even love it with my oily skin!

*** As an added beauty tip, I will use a clean mascara wand to apply Vaseline to my lashes every night before I go to sleep. This has made my lashes grow like crazy!

Product Review: Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation 

This foundation has been out for quite some time, but I was on the fence about purchasing it because there were so many mixed reviews.

I was really looking for a foundation with incredible staying power as well as coverage and this one seemed to meet those characteristics based off of its description and name. So, I ignored the reviews completely and decided to try it out for myself! I purchased this foundation about three weeks ago (in the shade 4.0) and have been testing it out since.

Keep reading for my full review on this foundation and to find out whether or not I think it is worth repurchasing!

About the Product

According to Sephora, this foundation claims to…

  • give a full coverage and completely matte finish
  • is waterproof
  • is oil-free
  • will last “all night”
  • comfortable enough for everyday wear
  • contains 25% pigment (about THREE TIMES as much pigment as their Naked Skin foundation)
  • says there is no need to build coverage or apply multiple layers
  •  diffuses light to blur flaws
  • mattifies skin and absorbs oil to reduce shine throughout the day
  • says to allow foundation to set before choosing the right shade for you (oxidizes, they suggest choosing a lighter shade if you are between shades)
  • comes with airless pump which makes it possible to get out every last bit of product
  • comes in 25 shades


My Thoughts…

I will start with my preferred method of applying this foundation. I tried applying it with both a kabuki brush and beauty sponge and definitely prefer the brush. I find that it drastically improves the coverage and blends the product out easier and faster. This foundation gives FULL COVERAGE. A little bit goes a long way, so the 1 ounce bottle will last quite a while. You do not need to build this up whatsoever, otherwise it might look a little too cake-y. While the description says this foundation gives a completely matte finish,  I find that it is more of a natural-matte finish on my skin. I do not mind this at all though because I do not like when matte foundations make my skin look flat and dull. One of my favorite things about this foundation is how long it lasts! To me, this foundation lasts twice as long as the Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation. This was a major element I was looking for in a foundation and this one met that need 100%. The description did not specify in hours how long the foundation was supposed to last, but I did end up sleeping in my makeup one night (I know this is terrible for your skin and I do not recommend sleeping with your makeup on) and when I woke up the next morning my skin still looked flawless. This being said, the claim that it will last “all night” (hence the name) stands to be true in my opinion. The foundation also claims to diffuse light to blur imperfections. I agree with this statement 100%! Right when I apply the foundation, I notice that my skin instantly looks flawless and my pores are blurred. Even though this is a full coverage foundation, when I look into a magnified mirror, my skin still looks like skin and I cannot see the foundation just sitting on top of my skin.


I did find a few downsides to this foundation as well. While the shade range is pretty extensive, the undertones of the shades are not. The undertones are either very pink or very yellow. I have neutral-olive undertones and the shade that matched me best was 4.0. This shade, for me, is very yellow though and I do need to blend it down my neck and a little on my chest for everything to match. In Urban Decay’s defense, their description does claim that it will oxidize and that you should wait for it to dry down before choosing a shade. I have noticed that fuller coverage foundations tend to oxidize the most, so this is not a deal-breaker for me. 4.0 is slightly too yellow, but it was the only shade that matched me the best. The description also claims that the foundation is comfortable enough for everyday wear. I do not really agree with this claim for two reasons: 1) I personally do not like to wear full coverage foundation, or foundation at all, everyday and 2) I find that it is slightly too heavy to feel comfortable even if I did wear it everyday. This foundation is no BB Cream, and for that reason I think it is just slightly too heavy and full coverage to be comfortable wearing just on casual days. The claim that this foundation absorbs oils is something else that I do not exactly agree with. I still do get pretty shiny in my t-zone, BUT the foundation does not break up in that area which is a huge plus for me!

Final Thoughts

So… would I repurchase??? The answer is YES! While there were a few cons, I really do like this foundation and will most likely continue to repurchase it. When I go all out with my makeup, this has been my go-to foundation since I purchased it. I love how full coverage it is while not looking like a thick layer of makeup on my skin. The undertone is slightly off, but this is something I can fix by mixing in other foundations/foundation mixers. This being said, I do think that UD should add in shades with more neutral undertones to accommodate many more skin shades.

If you have been on the hunt for a full coverage and long lasting foundation- give this one a try! AND if you have been hesitating to splurge on this foundation specifically like I was, remember you can always get a sample from Sephora or try it out in-store first!


Glam Vampire Halloween Makeup

One of the easiest ways to put together a last minute Halloween costume is to play around with makeup! I if you don’t have time to go shopping for a costume or just don’t want to spend the money, creating a look out of makeup and whatever you have already in your closet is always a creative and inexpensive option!

The vampire look is pretty typical, but that’s because it is so easy!

Keep scrolling to see the look I created, as well as a full list of products I used.


  • L.A. Girl Pro Coverage foundation in fair
  • Skipped concealer
  • Set my entire face with the Maybelline Fit Me Lose Powder in the lightest shade
  • Contoured using the Tarte Clay Play Face Shaping palette (mixed all of the contour shades)
  • Skipped bronzer, blush, and highlighter.


  • Used the red shade from the Morphe 35B palette mixed with the shade Bitten (deep red) from Makeup Geek on the inner half of my eyes. I also brought these colors into the crease slightly as well as the bottom lashline. I used whatever color was left on the brush to smudge it down to wear I would normally apply concealer to enhance the look.
  • Used the shade Blackout from Urban Decay (rich matte black) in the outter V of my eyes. I also brought this down to the lower lashline and smoked it out slightly.
  • I created a dramatic wing using the NYC black liquid liner.
  • Applied a pair of Ardell Demi Whispies
  • Used a black eyeliner to line my waterline and applied a coat of mascara to my bottom lashes.
  • I used a cool-toned light purple shade to create the veins under my eyes with a liner brush.


  • Filled in my brows using a dark brown cool-toned shadow from the Tarte Clay Play palette
  • For the lips, I used the Katy Perry x Covergirl lipstick in shade Perry Panther (black lipstick) just on the outer edges of my lips. I filled in the center with the Wet N Wild Catsuit liquid lipstick in shade Video Vixen. I blended these together with my finger to create an ombre effect.


*Choker is from Sam Moon

Glam Sugar Skull Halloween Makeup 

Hi everyone!! I am back with another glam Halloween look and I am so so excited about this one! The image below was my inspiration for this Sugar Skull makeup look. This makeup was done by @christianthemua on Instagram and when I came across this picture I knew I wanted to recreate it! I love the color scheme and how the warm tones give this a fall vibe as well. I kept my look pretty similar for the most part, while also simplifying the look slightly.

As always, keep scrolling to see my recreation of this look as well as a full list of products that I used to create it. Also, be sure to follow me on Instagram @marinaleebeauty!



  • L.A. Girl Pro Coverage HD Foundation in fair (this is really a light medium shade, it matched my skin perfectly).
  • I skipped concealer and contour today since it would have been covered up by the eyeshadows anyway.
  • I used the NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in black bean to sketch out the cheekbones and blended out the harsh lines with a matte black shadow to create a gradient effect.
  • I used a terracotta blush shade from the BH Cosmetics nude blush palette to bronze my skin and under the cheekbone shading.
  • I used the same NYX eye pencil to sketch the cross on my forehead, nose, and to sketch outlines petals on my chin. I used a black felt tip liner to help with line precision.
  • I applied a gold metallic shadow overtop of the black jumbo pencil on my nose for more dimension.


  • I used the same NYX jumbo pencil in black bean as a base for the navy eyeshadow in order to make the color pop more.
  • I used a matte navy blue shadow from my Morphe 35B palette and patted this overtop of the black base. I also blended this slightly into the crease.
  • I used a mixture of MUG “Bitten” eyeshadow (burgundy) and a bright red shade from the same Morphe palette to shade all around my eyes in a circular area. I also used this to blend out the blue shadow.
  • I applied a thin winged bright yellow liner for a pop of color. The liner I used was the NYX Vivid Brights liquid liner in Vivid Escape.
  • I applied a pair of Ardell Demi Whispies
  • I used the same yellow liner to apply dots under my eyes as well as a bright cobalt blue liner from Wet N Wild.
  • I used a black felt tip liner to sketch the “sockets” around the red eyeshadow and the teeth (apply lipstick first).


  • Filled in my brows using the ABH Dipbrow pomade in medium brown
  • lined my lips with the Elf Matte Lip Color in Riach Red.
  • I applied the NYX Butter Lipstick in Lifeguard overtop.

The ONE product I use that saved my skin!

I already have a post raving about the magic skincare powers of Manuka honey, but I wanted to post an updated review of this amazing product!

About a year ago, I started suffering from a random outbreak of hormonal acne all along my cheeks and jawline. It was extremely frustrating and I tried so many different products to try to fix the issue. I finally landed on Manuka honey and I have been using it pretty much every day since! Using Manuka honey regularly as a topical skincare treatment has decreased my texture, acne scarring, and uneven skin tone by about 99%!

Keep reading to find out how I use Manuka honey as a skincare treatment, purchasing tips, and other benefits of adding Manuka honey to your everyday skincare routine.

This picture above was taken in natural lighting with no filters or photo editing. I am also not wearing any makeup whatsoever. I do have a little bit of discoloration under my eyes and around my mouth, but any acne scarring and texture that I used to have has completely gone away!
Manuka Doctor is the brand of honey that I use! There are other great brands out there, but this is the one that is available in-store at my local grocery store. It is also a great price for Manuka honey (about $21 a jar).


Manuka Honey vs. Regular Table Honey

One of the main differences between Manuka and regular table honey is their origin. Table honey tends to be very inconsistent when it comes to quality, origin, age, and contents. On the other hand, Manuka honey comes from the Manuka plant, which can only be found in New Zealand. This means that there is no inconsistency in its origin and is better regulated in terms of its contents. Another reason why Manuka honey is far superior to table honey is its higher concentration of antibacterial and ant-inflammatory properties; this is measured in MGOs or methylglyoxal. Some studies show that the MGOs in Manuka honey are found to be nearly 100 times greater than in regular table honey. You will also often times see numbers such as 10+, 15+, or even 25+ on the labels of Manuka honey jars and this is the measurement of how potent the anti-inflammatory properties are in that particular jar of honey. This score is referred to as the UMF or Unique Manuka Factor. The higher the UMF, the more expensive the honey is.


Purchasing Tips

  • Make sure it says “Product of New Zealand” on the label. This is extremely important because anything labeled as Manuka honey that is not from New Zealand is not authentic Manuka honey.
  • I recommend purchasing a Manuka honey with a UMF score of 15+ or more. You will still receive benefits of a 10+ honey, but this is closer to just regular table honey.
  • Make sure you are purchasing from a reliable brand. I like the Manuka Doctor brand because it is reputable and their product is 100% genuine raw Manuka honey.
  • There is no such thing as cheap Manuka honey. If you come across a product that is significantly less expensive than most, it probably is not the real thing.


How I use Manuka Honey

I like to use Manuka honey as a daily mask or as a spot treatment. Before applying the honey, I always make sure that my skin is clean by using a gentle cleanser or micellar water. I apply a few globs all over my face and spread it around with my fingers. I like to leave this on for as long as I can, but a minimum of 30 minutes. Sometimes I will even leave it on for a couple of hours if I am just hanging around the house! I pretty much use the exact same steps when using the honey as a spot treatment. I dab a little bit onto the blemish with my finger or Q-Tip and let it sit there for as long as possible. When I am ready to take off the honey, I rinse my face gently with warm water and pat dry with a towel. My skin feels extremely soft and hydrated afterwards!

Also, if you tend to pick at your blemishes and the results are red, swollen bumps all over your face, Manuka honey will be your best friend! Since it is so high in anti-inflammatory properties, it soothes the skin and reduces irritation extremely well. This being said, Manuka honey is also great for ant bites, mosquito bites, dry patches, burns, and other skincare issues.


Other Benefits

  • Anti-aging benefits with consistent use
  • Can help in reducing dark under eye circles
  • Works as a great spot treatment for acne
  • Extremely nourishing and hydrating for the skin
  • Helps reduce skin texture and dryness- great for people with Eczema
  • Less expensive than many other high-end skincare products- plus this is a natural product with no added chemicals!
  • High nutritional value- add it to your tea or as a substitute for regular honey!
  • Helps boost immune system

And the list goes on and on!



** Information in this post was based on my personal experiences using this product. The factual information about Manuka honey itself was pulled from a few sites:,,