A critical look at my bathroom linen closet tells me it’s past time for a good spring cleaning when the linens are being crowded out by skincare products. The useless ones in the back mix and mingle with the “iffy” in the middle, while those that really work are front and center. I found this to be the perfect time not only to weed out the non-producers, but also to take stock of what products are currently working for me. A few of my old favorites are now being joined by some new additions.

There are two favorite cleansers I rely on. Nurture My Body Organic Cleansing Milk (for normal to oily skin, 3.75oz/$23) works really well to cleanse without stripping the skin, which usually causes oily skin to produce even more oil. Although it doesn’t foam, skin is left clean and nourished, thanks to the essential oils and extracts. Whenever the weather turns particularly hot (exacerbating oily skin) or if I am experiencing breakouts, I reach for the Erno Laszlo Sea Mud Soap (6-oz bar/$40). An old staple that was born in the late 1920s still works just as well today, not only cleansing but also helping to clear up blemishes. Distinctive in its black color, a bar will last for months.

Osmotics Crease-less Surgical Alternative (1.7oz/$85) has been a stand-by serum with octapeptides (also known as Snap-8) and hyaluronic acid that work well to keep fine lines at bay. A small amount goes a long way and the lightweight texture absorbs quickly without clogging pores, so no problems with breakouts. I also like this because you only apply to the targeted areas such as crow’s feet and marionette lines, so the container has lasted for several months.

My testing efforts over the past few months have yielded some great breakthrough products that have quickly become part of my daily routine. Ursa Major Essential Facial Toner (8oz/$24) came along and proved itself as a great multitasker by not only calming the morning razor burn, but also going beyond the expected antiseptic to heal, hydrate and balance skin with natural oils and plant extracts. Later in the day, my skin benefits again when I use it to remove excess facial oil.

Recent months have had some TIA readers “abuzz” over Royal Nectar products containing Manuka honey and bee venom. I, too, became a believer after trying the Royal Nectar Moisturizing Face Lift (50ml/$48 in the TIA shop). Many moisturizers are just too heavy for my skin, but this is non-greasy and has worked beautifully not only to moisturize, but also to soothe and heal my skin after shaving (and no breakouts). But most importantly, it improved the neck area. That alone makes it a keeper.

Although I have tried many eye products, for the past couple of years I have relied on kaplanMD Intensive Eye Cream ($81/0.5oz). A small dot of this very light cream absorbs quickly and has worked to keep my under eye area firm, improve elasticity and fine lines. KaplanMD has now replaced this eye cream with an eye concentrate, and I will be giving this a try and reviewing it in the next few weeks. However, for now, I have a new discovery in the eye-care arena. Formulated with peptides and botanicals, Skinfinite LOL (Laugh Out Loud) Eye Serum (0.5oz/$49 in the shop) has recently become a new friend. Watch for my review of this promising newcomer.

As a footnote, a great attribute of all the products above (other than they all perform well) is a little bit goes a long way, making them economical over time, and all of the products I am using are suitable for all skin types.

Nurture My Body Organic Cleansing Milk ingredients: Purified Water, Vegetable Emulsifying Wax NF, Chondrus Crispus (Seaweed) Extract**, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Gel**, Vegetable Glycerin, Carthamnus Tinctorius (High Oleic Safflower) Oil**, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Oil**, Arctium Lappa (Burdock Root) Infusion**, Humulus Lupulus (Hops Flowers) Infusion**, Echinacea Angustifolia (Coneflower) Infusion**, Plantago Major (Plantain Leaf) Infusion**, Taraxacum Officinale (Dandelion Leaf) Infusion**, Taraxacum Officinale (Dandelion Root) Infusion**, Rosa Damascena (Bulgarian Rose) Hydrosol**, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Hydrosol**, Xanthan Gum, Lavandula Hybrida (Lavandin) Essential Oil**, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Essential Oil**, Cupressus Sempervirens (Cypress) Essential Oil**, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) CO2**, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) CO2**, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Extract

**Certified Organic

Erno Laszlo Sea Mud Soap ingredients: Sodium Palmate, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Aqua, Silt, Charcoal Powder, Parfum, Socium Chloride, Glycerin, Tetrasodium EDTA, Evernia Prunastri (Oakmoss) Extract, Benzyl Cinnamate, Benzyl Benzoate, CI 77489 (Iron Oxides), CI 77289 (Chromium Hydroxide Green), CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide)

Osmotics Cosmeceuticals Crease-Less Surgical Alternative ingredients: Purified Water, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Water & Acetyl Glutamyl, Heptapeptide-1, Sodium Hyaluronate, PEG-100 Stearate, Algae Extract, Cetyl Alcohol, Diazolidinyl Urea/Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Polysorbate 20, Carbomer, Disodium EDTA, Tromethamine

Ursa Major Essential Facial Toner ingredients: Aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice*, water/aqua/ eau, Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) leaf water, Salix nigra (willow) bark extract, Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf/flower water, leuconostoc/Radish root ferment filtrate, sodium hyaluronate, glycerin*, Saccharum officinarum (sugar cane) extract, Citrus medica limonum (lemon) extract, Citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) fruit extract, Pyrus malus (apple) fruit extract, Camellia sinensis (green tea) leaf extract, Oryza sativa (rice) seed extract*, Betula alba (birch) sap, lactobacillus, Arundinaria gigantea (bamboo) ferment filtrate, caprylyl/ capryl wheat bran/straw glycosides, fusel wheat bran/straw glycosides, polyglyceryl-5 oleate, sodium cocoyl glutamate, glyceryl caprylate, Olea europaea (olive) leaf extract, Pseudotsuga menziesii (fir) needle oil, Lavandula angustifolia (lavender) flower oil*, Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf oil, Pelargonium graveolens (geranium) leaf/flower oil*, Boswellia carterii (frankinscense) resin extract, alcohol denatured*


Royal Nectar Moisturising Face Lift ingredients: Distilled Water, Nectar Ease (manuka honey, bee venom), Lanette Wax, avocado oil, tocopherol oil, apricot kernel oil, rose hip oil, rose water, bees wax, evening primrose oil, optiphen plus, cocoa butter, natural fragrance, ticaxan, marshmallow extract, manuka oil, lavender essential oil

kaplanMD Eye Cream ingredients: Water (aqua), Butylene Glycol, Methylsilanol Mannuronate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Caprylic/Capric/Myristic/Stearic Triglyceride, Jojoba Esters, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil Unsaponifiables, Cetyl Alcohol, Algae Extract, Cetyl Phosphate, Dmiethicone, Glycosaminoglycans, Soy Isoflavones Aglycones, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Cimicifuga Racemosa (Black Cohosh) Root Extract, Lecithin, Phospholipids, Polysorbate 80, Peg-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Tocopherol, Palmitoyl Olihope

Skinfinite LOL Eye Serum ingredients: Eyeseryl (Acetyl Tetrapeptide-5), Haloxyl (Steareth 20, Chrysin, N-Hydroxysuccinaimide, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7), Bioskinup (Ptychopetalum Olaciodes Bark/Stem Extract, Pfaffia Paniculata Root Extract, Lilium Candidum Flower Extract, Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside), Glycosaminoglycans, Glucosyl Hesperidin, Coffea Robusta (Green Coffee) Seed Extract, Actinidia Chinensis (Kiwi) Fruit Powder, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil