1. Mario Badescu's Drying Lotion
I found the Mario Badescu line when I was Googling around trying to find a really good blemish product. This particular product is essential if you get the occassional white head. You just get the product on a q-tip, apply on the blemish and it is visibly reduced by the next morning. I find that it usually takes about 3 days to be totally wiped out, but only about a day or two to be effectively concealable with makeup. Although I don't need it as much as I used to (I guess your later 20's bring you fewer breakouts, thank god!) I still keep it on hand so I have it whenever one crops up.
2. Mario Badescu's Buffering Lotion and Drying Mask
I swear, I'm not an MB rep nor am I getting paid to feature their products, I just really think they are that good! I'm listing these two products as one thing because I use them together and frankly, I feel like it would be cheating to put them as two different items. These products are good for those annoying deep blemishes. You simply apply the buffering lotion and then I dab the drying mask right over that (both on the affected area). This takes about 2-3 days to work its magic, but that's a lot better than any other product I have tried!
3. Castor Oil/Olive Oil
No joke. I have tried a lot of different brands of face wash and I haven't seen the results I get with using a mixture of Castor Oil and Olive Oil (try this and this). This is called the Oil Cleansing Method (you can read more about it here). I mix about 3/4 olive oil and 1/4 castor oil and I have been really happy with my skin. It has made it really soft plus castor oil is good for hair growth (as in thicker eyelashes and eyebrows!). If you want to learn more about the OCM, email me at email@example.com
Even though this stuff is a little pricey as far as hair products go (I'm a pretty low maintenence hair person) it's worth the price. It makes your hair feel so silky, smooth and healthy. I usually get the light version for blonde hair but they have a regular formula as well.
Living in Minnesota, I know what dry skin is. In the winter my skin can get Sahara Desert-esque. I really love this Norwegian formula body lotion from Neutrogena. It moisturizes really well and has a nice scent (it's pretty light, in my opinion).
What are your beauty essentials that you can't live without?