One of the most popular questions I get is around building a skin care routine. I have a lot of posts about this but try to do an updated one at least twice a year. And with the Sephora sale starting tomorrow, I thought that today would be a good day to post this.
Before we get into it, please remember that everyone’s skin is really different. This is my usual disclaimer that while I’ll always be (sometimes brutally) honest, what works for me may not work for you! I am 39 with dry skin that’s starting to show the signs of aging. I have some fine lines and some dullness and if I don’t exfoliate regularly my skin will have some texture issues. The biggest thing for me is my under eye area and also how dehydrated my skin can get, especially during the winter months. Maintaining my skin’s moisture levels takes work. Even drinking a lot of water and getting in a good sweat… it can get really tight. Winter skin is no joke… cold weather and the change of seasons can really take its toll.
Fall/Early Winter Skincare Routine
Also, if you are looking to learn more about skincare I cannot recommend Caroline Hirons’ book enough. She is an absolute genius, I love her no BS attitude, and while I am a blogger who LOVES skincare but can really only speak to what works for me, she is an actual aesthetician with great advice for all skin types. I devoured it and personally learned so so much! Buy it immediately, or put it on your Christmas list!
Also, three posts I absolutely recommend reading: First, this one about product order. I get so many questions about what goes on when and spent a lot of time writing this post so that I’d have a place to point people! The next is about Sephora’s skincare routine builder. If you aren’t sure what products you need I can’t recommend this enough. Their quiz is so, so helpful. And lastly, if you are on more of a budget, check out this affordable but still fancy routine! I realize a lot of products I recommend can be on the pricier side but also spend a lot of time testing out more affordable products. I personally stand behind every single product featured here!
Honestly, I think the best skincare advice I ever got was to listen to your skin and what it needs. Sometimes it needs a little extra exfoliation. Other times it needs a soothing moisturizer because it’s red or aggravated. And sometimes it needs extra hydration which is when I bring out the big guns (Weleda Skin Food).
My Evening Skincare Routine:
Wash face with Farmacy Cleansing Balm.
This is far and away my favorite cleansing balm. It’s more affordable than a lot of the fancier cleansing balms I’ve tried, takes off all my makeup, and leaves skin so soft.
If my skin is extra dirty / I wore makeup or heavy SPF that day I will do a double cleanse.
Toner is the final step of the cleansing process.
Read this post to learn why you need a toner! I love the Farmacy one, and for something fancier the new Augustinus Bader one is excellent. I honestly don’t see much of a difference between the two products if I’m being honest.
After cleansing and toning I apply an eye cream.
This is something I learned from Caroline Hirons’ book… eye cream is always first! This is newly my favorite eye cream (longer review in this blog post), I really love how good of a job it does lifting and tightening the undereye area while also brightening it. I also really love this Biossance eye cream for something clean. It does a great job with lifting, you’ll notice a difference pretty immediately.
Currently I am testing out the new Olay Retinol MAX moisturizer (I really like it so far!).
So I do that after toner and if my skin is super dry will pat on a little facial oil.
If I am not testing anything, here is what I do after toner.
To be totally honest I don’t always stick to this exact schedule but wanted to provide a “schedule” as I get asked for it!
- Monday + Thursday: RETINOL. Besides the Olay (which has been fine to use every night), I also love this plant-based phytoretinol from Biossance (this is pregnancy safe) or the Shani Darden one.
- Wednesday + Saturday: ACID. This lactic acid serum is one of my holy grail, best products ever. So good for exfoliating that top layer of skin while also providing deep moisture with squalene oil.
- Tuesday, Friday, Sunday: Give the skin’s moisture barrier a break from actives and just do Dr. Bader The Rich Cream.
Depending on how my skin feels, as with the Olay testing, I’ll often apply face oil over my creams to really lock in moisture.
I like Everyday Oil a lot. It contains coconut oil and a ton of other organic oils and besides feeling amazing on your skin, it smells amazing (like palo santo!). For a fancier oil, I do really love the new Augustinus Bader one!
My Morning Skincare Routine:
Since my nighttime routine is more complicated my morning routine is pretty simple!
- Quick cleanse with something gentle (the Farmacy Clean Bee or the Biossance).
- Pat on essence – I love this one from Royal Fern. I realize that Dr. Bader doesn’t like you to do anything before his cream BUT I find it absorbs even better into my skin when I use essence before. So this may be bad advice. I’m generally a big rule follower but I have been breaking this rule and like how my skin feels.
- Eye Cream – the Neocutis one again.
- Moisturize with Dr. Bader the Rich Cream
- SPF – usually Glowscreen, my FAV! Sun protection is so important, even in the winter. Even if you are staying inside you need to protect the skin from free radicals, blue light, etc. I also like Unseen Sunscreen for those rare days I don’t want to glow.
- Lip Balm. I am absolutely loving this one from KOSAS… it’s so hydrating and has hyaluronic acid for longer term hydration and plumping benefits.
I love this face scrub. It’s only $17 but delivers serious results. I probably do it in the shower maybe 1-2x a week, depending on how my skin is feeling. If the top layer of skin feels rough I like to gently massage this into my skin for two full minutes. Skin feels magically smoother afterward!
My Wrinkle Reducer.
I do just love this serum from Kiehl’s. It makes a noticeable difference in fine lines. Sometimes I swap this into my routine instead of retinol or acid.
When my skin is tight or irritated..
I love Lord Jones’ Acid Mantle Repair Cream. The acid mantle is a fancy name for the skin’s moisture barrier. All those anti-aging products (acids! retinol! masks!) can take a toll if you are not careful. The second my skin is getting irritated I take a break from acids and retinol and slater myself in this cream. It’s really calming and suuuuper hydrating (besides calming CBD it also contains squalene and hyaluronic acid). If you are someone who uses a lot of anti-aging products I’d definitely recommend adding this to your arsenal.
I do a ton of masks. There are about a million mask reviews on my site so we actually added a “masks” category to the navigation bar. I alternate based on what my skin needs but try to do a mask at least once a week. Right now I would say that the masks I use the most are the Tata Harper Resurfacing mask, the Olehenriksen PHAT Glow Facial, and the Hanacure Mask. And if my skin is irritated I love this calming calendula mask from Kiehl’s. It has aloe vera and feels really good on the skin. Oh and this warming honey mask for hydration. It’s a little messy but I looovvvve it!
If my skin texture is rough (are you sensing a theme here? Skin is so rough lately!), I’ll do a peel… maybe once a week? Doing this would replace using an acid. (A peel is an acid, just way more intense). After the peel I’ll do a really rich moisturizer. My favorite peel pads are the Dr. Dennis Gross ones or the Goop ones! (For the Goop, make sure you get the 15% not the 5%!)
Also… a new (second favorite?) moisturizer!
I am going to write a longer post about this but given that the Sephora sale starts tomorrow, I did want to tell you about this. I have (gasp) a new moisturizer that I like almost as much as Dr. Bader. It’s the Sobel Skin Bio Hyaluronic Moisturizing Cream, and it is really, really good. This is big for me. I try so many moisturizers and am meh on the vast majority. I cannot speak to the long term benefits but I LOVE how this makes my skin feel immediately. It’s SUPER rich and hydrating, packed with hyaluronic acid, and leaves skin feeling ultra firm and LIFTED.
There you have it! I really hope this was helpful! Also definitely check out The Beauty Hub for all things beauty! I need to go in and update it with the products from this post but otherwise it’s very up to date and packed with helpful info!