And you don’t need a consultant to get your hands on it.

By Patricia Shannon
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Beautycounter Countertime Regimen Set
Credit: Beautycounter

I thought I knew about Beautycounter, then the Countertime Collection arrived on my desk. The rest is history.

To give you an idea of my skin type, I’m combination-to-dry with fine lines around my eyes. It’s also fairly sensitive—one brisk walk in cold weather will leave my cheeks red and my skin flaking for days. That being said, retinol is a hard nut for me to crack. I was able to use Olay’s Retinol24 line with success as long as I applied sparingly and also followed up with an additional moisturizing cream. Up until that point, retinol was off limits.

Countertime is marketed as a retinol alternative—that’s clean. The brand is committed to making clean beauty accessible, a worthwhile mission if you ask me. What that means for antiaging is a collection that provides the benefits of superstar retinol, but skips the irritation, sensitivity, and questionable chemicals.

It didn’t even take a week for me to start seeing results with Countertime. Of course, I kept at it for close to a month before declaring it was as good as first impressions led me to believe. I had no resulting sensitivity or dryness. My skin was more moisturized, luminous, and even-toned than ever and I even saw a reduction in the appearance of the pesky lines around my eyes.

Fast forward a few months to present day and I can say that since I started on this regimen, I haven’t been pitched any products that work quite as well for my skin. I did hear from one friend that the line made her break out (her skin skews oilier with less fine lines—lucky her). I advised to stick with it for a few weeks to let her skin work through it and adjust. Success!

Here’s a breakdown of what I love about each one of these stellar antiaging products. If your routine is missing a particular ingredient (say a good cleanser or a lightweight yet moisturizing essence) go ahead and give one of these a try. You might soon find yourself ordering the whole shebang. As with any skincare switch up, I would suggest starting slow to see how you like the products before making a major investment.

This is one of my favorite cleansers of all time. It has the subtlest scent that makes washing my face as close to an at-home spa experience as one can possible hope from a makeup-removing process. And speaking of, it gets every last bit of long-wear off. The cotton pad I use to apply the essence in our next step is the proof. I massage two-pumps worth onto my skin before splashing on a bit of warm water, at which point it takes on a milky consistency. Splash gently with more warm water to remove.

If you’re not already using an essence, go ahead and give it a try. Unlike a toner, which is the final step in a cleansing process, an essence is the first step in a skincare routine. This one provides a punch of lightweight hydration. Pat it into skin using the fingertips. Allow it to completely soak in for a minute or two before moving on to your next skincare step.

Beautycounter’s Retinatural Complex is at work here. It’s a combination of bakuchiol (a retinol alternative without the irritation) and Swiss Alpine rose (antioxidant protection) that’s present throughout the Countertime collection. This serum absorbs into the skin quickly, but its effects are long lasting. I only use one pump of this serum at a time—though you can definitely bump it up to two or even three if you’re a more is more type of gal.

This cream is thick, but it won’t clump, peel, or provide any otherwise unworthy foundation for your concealer. In fact, I saw a noticeable difference in how easily my makeup was applied (and stayed put) when using Ultra Renewal Eye Cream.

Here’s where things diverge. If you go for the full system, you’ll use this soft cream during the day and stick to the Supreme Cream for slumber hours. This formula is hydrating, yes, but can it hang when the humidity levels peak this summer? Absolutely. No excessive shine here—it’s all glow.

Nighttime nourishment is just what my skin needs after a long day in makeup. This ultra-rich cream fits the bill. I wake up with smoother, softer skin, that looks rested and ready for another marathon day at the office.

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Whether you want to go for the gusto and order the entire Countertime Collection ($382) or show some restraint and opt for the Countertime Regimen Set ($267), if you’re buying more than one product follow the order listed above for the most effective treatment.