I order online. Sephora or Skin Beauty. I have sensitive, dry skin. Just plain dry most of the year, but Sahara-like dry in the winter. I have yet to find a cheap or grocery/drugstore brand that doesn't dry my skin out beyond belief. So I use the expensive stuff, but fairly sparingly so it lasts a long time.
I find my skin does best if I alternate products two or three times a year, so right now I'm using Caudalie, and I also like Glycotheraputics and Dermadoctor. For the person that had the KP, try the Dermadoctor KP scrub. I have it on the backs of my arms, and the scrub makes the bumps much less noticeable.
I found Clinique not moisturizing enough and still kind of drying, though not nearly as bad as some other brands I've tried.
I've used a variety of products over the years with varying success. I really like Neutrogena but recently have switched both my skin care and makeup to using Melaleuca's products and so far I love them.
I have been pretty faithful to Clinque (caveat coming!). I used their three step system, and then switched to their redness solution cleanser/ moisturizer, etc. I'm lucky to live in a big city, so invariably when I run out, I just find out what store is doing a "Gift With Purchase" and go and get my restocks (and have developed a healthy makeup collection as a result [not that I wear it!]).
Recently, Saks was doing a GWP, so I went there. In the GWP was a bottle of Clinique CX Rx, which was something I'd never heard of. Apparently it's like their way high end de-aging cream. Anyhoo, I try it and instantly think "I MUST HAVE THIS MIRACLE CREME!"-- then I found out the price.
So, I went and got the Olay Regenrist. I've been perfectly happy with the Clinique redness solution products, and then the Olay Regenrist. I still haven't used all the Clinique Cx, but I'm sure I will.
You've gotta try different things and use what works. For me, the Oil Cleansing method has worked wonders. I have sensitive/Rosacea skin and the Boscia cleanser and daily sunscreen are great. And I couldn't live without my Clarisonic brush.
If I wasn't worried about animal testing/parabens/chemicals, I'd use the Olay line. I think they're really effective and have proven it over the years.
Many of the higher-priced products aren't really that great; the high cost is to cover the advertising expenses. Allure magazine does a really good product review every year, rating both high-end and drugstore brands. Most of the things I use were found by doing online research and reading lots of reviews. You'll weed out the ones to stay away from. Sephora always gives samples to try.
I tried Proactive in high school and it made me break out SO badly! My mom tried to get me to use Clinique's 3-step program back then as well, but I didn't. I'm finishing up the last of my Estee Lauder cleanser/moisturizer right now. I like it, but am wanting more of an aging preventative, lol. I have been using an Aveeno scrub a couple times a week and really like it, but they don't seem to have much to offer in the anti-aging department.
To whoever posted about not being able to find a MK lady...I have searched the website, and the nearest active lady is twenty minutes away, and not in a town I visit on a regular basis. I don't want to wait for shipping or else I would just order it from a friend.
I agree that it is mostly trial and error. I use the Pond's wipes at night to remove make-up/dirt/sweat/grime if I don't shower, but can't use them every night or I look 'flushed'. My skin isn't overly sensitive, but sometimes it will let me know it's not thrilled with a certain product by either breaking out or being splotchy red.
I posted in another skin care thread that I switched to Arbonne back in April.
It's botanical, vegan and super high quality. Orderinig is entirely web based and they ship really quickly. PM me if you want more info.
Kind of off topic from the OP, but I have a real problem with the way Arbonne advertises their products to people. I went to one of the Arbonne home selling parties, and the sales lady went into a speech about how none of the products contain "mineral oil" which is a petroleum byproduct so it is bad for you (so they claim). Oh how great our products are because they are "botanical" and "vegan" and don't contain petroleum products....but have you ever read the ingrediant lists? Most of their cleansers contain butylene glycol -which is a petroleum product!! Not saying its harmful, its common in a lot of cosmetics, but enough with the false advertising!
That being said, my mom and sister both use Arbonne and love what it does for their skin, so they seem to make good products, I just don't like the misleading statements they make in their sales pitches.
Ok rant over, sorry.
On topic - For drugstore brands I have used unscented Olay products and really like the Aveeno products. I currently use a combination of Aveeno products and a fairly expensive salon brand called Eminence Organics. I have sensitive dry skin, so use pretty heavy day and night creams.
For those here with Keratosis Pilaris (bumps on arms and legs), try AmLactin lotion. I got mine in the pharmacy part of Walmart for about $13. It works really well but the bumps will come back if you stop using it. The first week or two I had something similar to sunburn on my arms, but that went away, and so did the bumps. Now I just use it once every other day and it's still working.