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Aside from an oily T-zone and the occasional breakout, I’ve been lucky enough not to have any major skin issues. But I swear the minute I turned 30 my complexion lost its glow and felt rough to the touch. I tried and fell in love with Sunday Riley Good Genes All-in-One Lactic Acid Treatment, but later realized it wasn’t as clean as I thought it was. I shelved it in favor of retinol recommended by my aesthetician, but I finished that bottle without noticing any real results.

Then two products were slid across my desk at nearly the exact same moment: BiossanceSqualane + 10% Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum and Mara Evening Primrose + Green Tea Algae Retinol Oil. Fate? I think so. Both are made with clean ingredients from brands I trust, so no qualms there. Partially because I’m impatient and partially in the name of research, I brought them both home and immediately integrated them into my p.m. skincare routine. And it turns out alternating the two of them every other night was exactly what my dull 30-something-year-old skin so desperately needed. 

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Sephora

Biossance Squalane + 10% Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum

After realizing my previous holy grail product for glowing skin was the only toxic formula in my lineup, I was desperate to find a clean version that achieved the same results. Made with the same active ingredients as Good Genes, but without any toxic add-ins, it’s managed to restore the softness to my skin in as little as one week of use. I posted Biossance’s serum on Instagram, and it led to the most DM’s I’ve ever received about a story, by far. From pregnant and nursing friends to clean beauty devotees, everyone had the same question: But does it work? Yes, friends, I’m never going back to my toxic standby (although I will really miss the way Good Genes smells like Pez).

Buy It ($62)

Credo Beauty

Mara Evening Primrose + Green Tea Algae Retinol Oil

Every other night, I alternate my Biossance lactic acid serum with this clean retinol oil. Unlike any other retinol I’ve tried, this one is made with a powerful, skin-transforming dose (1.2 percent to be exact) and natural sources of vitamin A all suspended in a hydrating, plumping elixir of four powerhouse oils (including hemp-derived cannabis and meadowfoam). Because of the oil base, I didn’t experience any of the dry, flaky skin side effects that traditional retinol can cause. I even went a little overboard at first, using the product multiple days in a row, and surprisingly, my skin still didn’t fall off. I’ve been using it religiously three or four days per week, and any annoying breakouts I used to have are now nonexistent. I’ve even been able to skip BB cream completely—in the middle of winter. If that’s not telling of its effectiveness, I don’t know what is.

Buy It ($120)

RELATED: 3 Major Ways Hyaluronic Acid Benefits Your Skin

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