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Setting skincare goals is critical in creating a routine that’s more than a slapdash bunch of steps. Do you want tighter or brighter skin? More even texture? Less redness? There are so many products that promise results via super ingredients, but you have to wonder after scandals like the Herbivore Botanicals Bakuchiol Serum (which did not, after all, contain the 1% of Bakuchiol promised) which formulas will actually transform your skin. Glo Skin Beauty’s line of highly active formulas provides a level of efficacy I haven’t been able to find elsewhere. The actives are effective but not overpowering (and after months of use, my results haven’t plateaued (nor has my skin adapted and become immune to them as sometimes happens). Glo’s collection of vegan products has consistently impressed me and I’m excited to share some of my favorite picks below.
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A Plant-Based Retinol Alternative
HA-Revive Hyaluronic Hydrator
When it comes to anti-aging, retinol is the hero ingredient you will hear endorsed widely and loudly. Retinol is known for its ability to amp up cellular turnover, increase collagen, promote elasticity, and brighten skin. I was quick to jump on the retinol bandwagon several years ago but after a bad reaction (user error: I applied too much, too fast) I’ve been hesitant to make another go of it. I still wanted the texture-smoothing and fine-line-reducing benefits of retinol (but preferably without the redness it can cause) so I was thrilled to discover all of the retinol alternative ingredients that Glo incorporates into their formulas.
One such ingredient is Phyto-Retinol, which is a plant-based retinol alternative that provides similar smoothing, refining, and elasticity-boosting benefits. However, its approach is gentler than retinol so if you have sensitive skin this is a great option to avoid irritation. I’ve been reaping the benefits of Phyto-Retinol by using the HA-Revive Hyaluronic Hydrator ($80) as my day cream and I’m pleased to report it’s caused me no irritation whatsoever. It has a lightweight texture and silky feel that makes your skin feel immediately hydrated. While you’re instructed to ease into retinol and apply it in a very gradual manner, Phyto-Retinol doesn’t require this same caution. After weeks of daily use I’ve experienced no redness and the texture of my skin is noticeably smoother.
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A Nobel-Prize Winning Ingredient
Bio-Renew EGF Cream
Glo introduced me to another retinol alternative known as Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF), which earned its discoverers a Nobel Prize. EGF boosts collagen and elastin production (which can improve elasticity and lead to a more youthful appearance) by mimicking a protein natural to human skin. The Bio-Renew EGF Cream ($175) delivers this innovative reparative ingredient alongside a Phyto-Retinol Complex and Bio-Recovery Peptides. This combination of dream team ingredients strengthens your moisture barrier while also revitalizing both surface and deep within your skin. Compared with the HA-Revive Hyaluronic Hydrator mentioned above, the EGF cream has a thicker texture and a slightly sticky feel so I prefer to use it at night. It absorbs very quickly and I find that I use more quantity than I do with the Hydrator product.
After the formula, my second favorite aspect of the EGF cream is the dispensing system. It has a press-to-release mechanism (similar to the Skinfix favorite Barrier+ Triple Lipid-Peptide Face Cream) that, unlike your standard jar, will not collect bacteria. It keeps the moisturizer clean and if there’s residue on the platform, I swipe it away with a rubbing alcohol swab.
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Complexion First Makeup
C-Shield Anti-Pollution Moisture Tint SPF 30
If I had to choose one product to take to a desert island, I’d go with Glo’s C-Shield Anti-Pollution Moisture Tint SPF 30 ($50). Tinted moisturizer is my must-have step and this formula provides excellent sheer coverage in addition to SPF 30, squalane, and vitamin C. It blends effortlessly with fingers (no brush/sponge necessary) and hydrates without adding weight. There are ten shades to choose from and I was pleasantly surprised that even though it stays put throughout the day, it’s a breeze to wash off.
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A Hydrating and Brightening Refresh
Hydra-Bright AHA Cleanser
For cleansing, I turn to the Hydra-Bright AHA Cleanser ($40) that foams gently and removes makeup as well as most makeup-removing-specific cleansers. It combines a hydrating blend of lactic acid, moringa seed extract, and antioxidants to exfoliate the skin. I try to do an AHA peel once a week but I often forget so I love that using this cleanser once a day (I opt for the evening) ensures that I get a dose of the brightening ingredient.
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Eyelids Need Love, Too
Essential Eye Base
One of Glo’s newer products is the Essential Eye Base ($28) which works both as a primer and as a standalone product. I’m not an eyeshadow person, but I like to use an eye primer to keep my eyeliner from smearing. This eye base — available in six shades — was a huge improvement on my non-tined basic primer because it smoothed and evened my lid texture while blending seamlessly with the concealer in my eye area. It features caffeine, which helps to relieve eye puffiness and reduce the appearance of fine lines, while cucumber extracts soothe and hydrate the skin. Ordering the right shade can sometimes involve missteps and Glo has a generous return policy in case you end up with the wrong shade: You have 15 days to return it for credit.
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5 More Reasons to Love Glo
- Glo’s formulas are obsessively researched and completely vegan. These cruelty-free products contain no parabens, talc, artificial fragrance, irritating sulfates, phthalates, harsh colorants, polyethylene beads, or mineral oil.
- Attention Peel Lovers: Glo offers pro-level peel kits for serious exfoliation that are safe for at-home use. Brighten, smooth, and resurface in just 20 minutes. Additionally, the brand is widely trusted by professional aestheticians and dermatologists with medical and spa-grade back bar products in many spas and clinics (notably Icebox Cryotherapy, London Aesthetic Medicine Clinic and Shafer Clinic).
- For teens experiencing breakouts, the Clarify and Balance Elevated Essentials Kit ($125) can help clear up acne without stripping moisture.
- Glo’s social media is a great place to learn about skincare thanks to their digestible posts like this serum infographic that will help you pick the right formula for your skin.
- Glo regularly partners with the Skin Cancer Foundation and is on the corporate council. Many of their SPF products also hold the Skin Cancer Foundation seal.