Building Your Perfect Skincare Routine.

Building Your Perfect Skincare Routine

Building a perfect skincare routine that you can stick to… every day, morning + night, is so important! That being said, knowing which products are going to work best for you can be a little bit challenging. We all have different skin types, so it can be hard to know exactly which products to use. And if you don’t have a skincare routine yet, I get it – no judging! It can be intimidating, confusing, and overwhelming.

This month, Sephora launched the Skincare Routine Builder on It’s a quiz (LOVE a good quiz!) that takes in your skin concerns, preferences, age, and more to develop a 5-step skincare routine. The quiz takes away all the guesswork, helping you find the perfect, personalized routine for you!

PS – Sephora is doing a little sale through 8/24. Take $15 off your purchase of $75 or more OR $20 off your purchase of $100! Use code WELCOMEBACK.

Building Your Perfect Skincare Routine

Building Your Perfect Skincare Routine

Before we get into the nitty gritty of the products, let’s quickly review the skincare fundamentals: product order! The easiest way to remember this is that after cleansing and toning, skincare products are applied thinnest to thickest.

  1. Cleanse. You always want to start with a clean face. I cleanse every night even if I didn’t put makeup on that day. I’ve heard mixed things about cleansing being mandatory in the morning. Sometimes I just splash my face with water. It kind of just depends!
  2. Tone. Think of toner as the last step of the cleansing process. It sweeps away dead skin cells (my top concern as I have dead skin) and any extra oil.
  3. Eye Cream. I recently learned that eye cream should go on before moisturizer… just because it has its own special actives to target stuff like dark circles and puffiness. Regular moisturizer can interfere.
  4. Essence, if you use one!
  5. Serums. There are so many types of serums. Vitamin C and Hyaluronic Acid, Retinol, Acids, etc. These go on after cleansing but before moisturizing. Moisturizer locks in those actives! My rule is always one active at a time. I never layer acids, retinol, etc.
  6. Moisturizer.
  7. Face Oil (PM) or SPF (AM). You could use oil in the morning too (pre SPF) but I generally save oils for nighttime. Especially during the summer.

Building Your Perfect Skincare Routine

I highly encourage you to take the Skincare Routine Builder quiz.

I get asked all the time for skincare routine recommendations and it’s incredibly hard for me to make recommendations without knowing someone personally. And even with my close friends who I know and see regularly… that’s hard too! I can really only speak to my own skin type and what I know works for me. This is especially true for those with oily skin or sensitive skin. It’s harder for me to give out recommendations. When you take the quiz you’ll be paired with 5 steps to cleanse, treat, and moisturize… along with SPF and a few fun “extra credit” products, too.

My own skin is DRY! I am 38 (39 next month!) and starting to see fine lines and wrinkles. So hydration is really key to my own skin care routine. Add to that: dullness and the loss of elasticity (UGH this is depressing to write but I swear it’s not thaaat bad – a great skincare routine makes a huge difference!) It’s taken me a little while to nail a routine but a few things are constant: a cleansing balm to remove my makeup without stripping, toner to lightly exfoliate and allow my serums and moisturizers to better absorb, a great eye cream, and an ultra rich moisturizer, face oil if my skin is feeling extra dry and moisturizer doesn’t feel like enough. If I have those key things, my skin is happy.

I’m excited about this post because I spend a lot of time trying and testing different actives: acids, retinol, etc etc. But what about those core building block products of healthy skin? The tried and true CORE products you will use morning and night to supplement those actives and let them do their best work!

Building Your Perfect Skincare Routine

FARMACY Green Clean Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm

What it is: An ultra gentle cleansing balm that takes off all my makeup without stripping the skin.

Why I love it: Washing your face every night is so important and this is my favorite cleansing balm. Hands down. The jar lasts forever and it’s also less expensive than a lot of the other cleansing balms I like. I have talked about it at length before, but I love it because it gets my skin really, really clean without drying it out. It also smells amazing and a little goes a long way.

How to Use it: Take a small amount of product, warm it up between your fingers, and apply it to dry skin. Massage the balm into the skin to loosen any makeup, and then splash with a little water. Continue to massage – the cleanser transforms into a creamy milk and will take off all your makeup. Use a warm, damp towel to remove.

FARMACY Deep Sweep 2% BHA Pore Cleaning Toner with Moringa + Papaya 

What it is: An alcohol-free 2% BHA toner that gently exfoliates and cleanses without stripping the skin. It’s great on all skin types: oily skin, combination skin, dry skin, etc. Toner is the final step of the cleansing process and prepares the skin for serums and moisturizers. It’s also great for clogged pores.

Why I love it: It’s funny, toner was the missing step in my routine. I hadn’t been using toner until a couple years ago when my facialist suggested it. Even though I have dry skin, I was getting these pesky little bumps on my cheeks because dead skin was getting trapped under my moisturizer. This is the second step in cleansing for me and makes such a difference. And I love this one as it exfoliates and brightens, but it’s still really gentle – it does not have salicylic acid but still gets skin all tingly and clean.

How to Use it: After cleansing, shake a few drops onto a cotton ball. Sweep it all over your face and neck using upward strokes.

BIOSSANCE Squalane + Marine Algae Eye Cream

BIOSSANCE Squalane + Marine Algae Eye Cream

What it is: An ultra hydrating, creamy eye cream with Marine Algae Complex to help reduce the appearance of fine lines in as little as a week!

Why I love it: My under eye area can get so dry! This is normal as the delicate skin of your eye area has fewer pores. This cream is ultra rich and contains all sorts of good ingredients to help brighten and visibly lift. Over time the eye area is more hydrated and fine lines are less visible, but it provides a smoother, more lifted look immediately. I didn’t use eye cream when I was younger; now it is one of the most important parts of my own skin care routine.

How to Use it: Using your index finger, dot this on all over your eye area (including your eyelid!). As mentioned above, I like to apply my eye cream before moisturizer.

KIEHL'S SINCE 1851 Ultra Facial Cream

KIEHL’S SINCE 1851 Ultra Facial Cream

What it is: A bestselling moisturizer to target dryness, dullness, and uneven texture and deliver up to 24 hours of hydration.

Why I love it: Kiehl’s was the first high end skincare brand I ever used and this moisturizer was an instant favorite. It’s the perfect no-nonsense face cream and it’s great for day and night. It delivers up to 24 hours of moisture so skin always feels hydrated and soft.

How to Use it: After any serums or “extra credit” products, apply a layer of this cream to lock in moisture and (at night), lock in any active ingredients. This makes for a great night cream.

SUPERGOOP! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 

SUPERGOOP! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 

What it is: an ultra lightweight sunscreen primer with SPF 40.

Why I love it: It’s so lightweight. It’s literally clear, and feels light as air. And because it’s also technically a primer, it helps to ensure your makeup goes on more evenly (and stays on longer). The best way to prevent skin cancers and wrinkles. I love this sunscreen so much.

How to Use it: Apply after moisturizing! SPF should always be the last step.

Biossance Squalane + 10% Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum

For Extra Credit:

I do acids 2-3x a week (Biossance Squalane + 10% Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum is my favorite – more on that in this post!) and Biossance Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum is my favorite retinol – more on that in this post!!!) BIG Biossance + Farmacy fan if you couldn’t tell! These go before your night cream and/or face oil.

Skincare Routine Builder quiz Skincare Routine Builder quiz

photography by Allie Provost! // Created in partnership with Sephora.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment


  1. Great tips! Ps. I love your outfit! ❤️✨

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    8.20.20 Reply
  2. Shana:

    Every post on skincare I learn something new – thank you! love the green clean which I bought on a recommendation from you a while ago 🙂 I’m on my second container and my husband and daughter also use it as it removes mineral based sunscreen so well and very gentle as you said!

    8.20.20 Reply
    • Isn’t it just the best!?!? I love it so much. I don’t really play favorites (or at least I try not to) but this one is just… my absolute favorite! And a much better price than a lot of the other cleansing balms I’ve tried.

      8.20.20 Reply
  3. Emily:

    I’ve been curious to try Deep Sweep but have sensitive skin and the Salicylic Acid in the product makes me a bit nervous. Is there another toner you’d recommend?

    8.20.20 Reply
    • Hmmmm… Deep Sweep is pretty mild for a toner IMO! I find it gentle don’t have sensitive skin though. I’m honestly not really sure – I’d maybe skip toner altogether and do lactic acid (the Biossance one I link to is fab!)

      This question might be better for your derm, I don’t want to misguide you!

      8.20.20 Reply
  4. Shahanaz Uddin:

    Hi Grace
    Huge hello from England, I just wanted to tell you how much I love your dressing could you do a link on where it’s from.


    8.20.20 Reply
  5. Sarag:

    Thank you so very much for so much great information! But more importantly where is your robe from. I must order it immediately!

    8.20.20 Reply
  6. Lisa Autumn:

    I really need to up my skincare routine! Thank you for sharing lovely x

    Lisa |

    8.20.20 Reply
  7. Maureen:

    I’m 39 next month too (September 7)! I do find my skin is getting much drier as I age so this quiz is timely. Obsessed with the Biossance retinol as well, thank you getting me hooked on it. It’s the best!

    8.20.20 Reply
    • Isn’t it amazing!!! Have you tried their lactic acid serum? I love that one so much too. I just restocked during this little sale!

      8.20.20 Reply
    • PS happy birthday and happy virgo season! xx

      8.20.20 Reply
      • Maureen:

        Happy birthday to you too! Virgo season is the best season!

        8.20.20 Reply
  8. Stephanie:

    Hi there, thanks for sharing! Your skincare posts are so informative. This might be a silly question, but do you consider tripeptides an acid that shouldn’t be layered with serum? Where do those fit within the skincare routine?

    8.20.20 Reply
    • Hi! I am honestly not sure, as what I steer away from is mixing retinol/retinol alternative like Bakuchiol and acids (like AHA / BHA / Lactic Acid). I think simple is best and am not really sure where peptides fit in. I think alone it would be fine but in doing a quick search I see most tripeptide products (like the Beautycounter serum for example) also contain acids and bakuchiol, in which I would not use any other actives and just do a simple moisturizer afterward. My personal rule is one active product at a time and that’s never led me astray. Might be a good question for your derm!!!!

      8.20.20 Reply
  9. Ellie:

    1. This is AMAZING! I’ve been wishing for something like this for YEARS! 2. I just took the quiz and I use (or have used and been happy with) items in 3/5 categories PLUS the SPF category highlighted 3 Supergoop products, but I use a different one from them, so let’s call it 4/5. Looks like a winner!

    8.20.20 Reply
    • Ah I love that! Yeah I was excited when it paired me with a lot of things I’ve already been using!!!

      8.20.20 Reply
  10. My wallet hates how goddamn good you are at product recommendations/reviews. I just bought the Glowscren and am IN LOVE. But in all seriousness, thank you for your thorough reviews and testing.

    8.20.20 Reply
  11. Cathy:

    This is a great post. It’s like Skincare for Dummies but sometimes it’s really overwhelming and having is spelled out in steps is very helpful.

    8.20.20 Reply
  12. Katie:

    Thank you for this post! Always love the reminder on the correct order. I have been eyeing this robe for awhile, do you like it? Is it comfortable? What is your sizing? Thanks so much!!!!

    8.20.20 Reply
    • Hi! It’s super comfortable and great! I put a link + my code in another comment but highly recommend. Wearing the S/M, it’s true to size.

      8.20.20 Reply
  13. Jenn:

    I tried the Deep Sweep this summer after I ran out of my Indie Lee toner…it’s my new favorite! I love Farmacy’s Honeymoon Glow too.

    8.20.20 Reply
    • Isn’t it great!? I like that it has a hint of acid for exfoliation and deep cleaning but it’s not too intense, so you can use it every day.

      And love Honeymoon Glow! I’ve been doing the Biossance but that’s another fav acid.

      8.21.20 Reply
  14. Cassi:

    Love this post!! I am super into skincare (more like obsessed lol) and write about it every now and then on my own blog. I’ve never used Farmacy Toner, I might have to check it out!!!

    8.21.20 Reply
  15. Kate:

    I just bought all of this except the serum and the unseen sunscreen. I also grabbed the Jet Lag mask that has been on my list for a while. I went to a physical location so I could make multiple purchases and save $20 per $100 instead of the onetime use online. Such a good sale! Can’t wait to try them all out!

    You know how they ask “has anyone been helping you today?” at check out? They should let us give a code or something to share that we bought things based on your recs.

    8.23.20 Reply
    • Oh good! Yeah I wish so too! My “performance” is measured by how many people click my links and shop online, if you decide to repurchase (no pressure obviously) I’d love for you to consider shopping online via my links. Again, no pressure but it does make a difference! I’m glad you were able to get the $20 off multiple times!!! XO

      8.24.20 Reply
      • Kate:

        I had clicked on each link and added them all to my basket. I figured that would at least give you some credit if not full conversion credit. They wouldn’t let us use the online code more than once, so I had to do the physical location. I figured I’d comment in case you can show their team that your readers want more ways to support you!

        P.S. it’s day 3 and my skin looks and feels like gloss or silk or something really smooth I really think it’s the toner more than anything you are a true skin care guru

        8.26.20 Reply
  16. Holly:

    Helpful post! How do you think Deep Sweep compares to Pixi Glow Tonic? Thanks!

    9.10.20 Reply
  17. K Derby:

    Would love your take on BeautyBio GloPro Microneedling tool. Worth the price? Thank you!

    10.30.20 Reply
    • You know, I’m so curious about it but have never tried it!!!!! Maybe I should buy it with the sale! Going to look into it.

      10.30.20 Reply
  18. Claire:

    I’m 26 and am interested in using a Retinol serum or a good night serum. Right now I use Kiehl’s Night concentrate but would you recommend another night serum instead?

    1.25.21 Reply