Over the past decade or so, I’ve subconsciously become my own beauty guru. From testing hundreds of face serums and acclaimed moisturizers to enduring the latest facial trends and gadgets, I’ve taken myself on quite the skincare journey and learned one profound lesson: Listen to your skin. The importance of understanding your skin is the key step to any beauty regimen. For instance, I now know I have combination skin, I am susceptible to hormonal acne, and I have regrettably spent too many hours in the sun, resulting in a bit of hyperpigmentation and dark spots. What does this mean exactly? After years of experimenting, I know that certain products don’t react well with my skin, and I also am aware of what exactly my skin goals are and which ingredients are necessary to achieve them.
Already thinking you don’t have years to spend testing products? Do not stress. Fortunately, I have tried enough skincare and beauty products that I have narrowed it down to a strict beauty routine I shockingly haven’t changed in months—nor do I plan to. I’m sharing my routine to show that once you find your go-tos, consistency is imperative. These products, when used properly and consistently over time, have proven to transform my skin in a way that, at times, truly felt impossible. My dark spots have become faint, my texture has improved, my acne has subsided, and the list goes on. The below products have withstood the test of my time (which is, honestly, pretty hard to do with all the new beauty products surfacing) and have remained a constant in my beauty routine.
For me, morning skincare is everything. In the morning, it's super important give yourself that extra bit of time to allow products to soak in prior to applying makeup. No matter how much time I have, I always make time for skincare practices. It's essentially my refresh button to start the day. My morning focus is to freshen up my face by de-puffing, thoroughly cleansing, and moisturizing.
Perhaps the most time-consuming but definitely the most worth-it aspect of my routine is this gua sha. I like to keep my gua sha in the refrigerator whenever I'm not using it to really wake my skin up in the morning. Quick tip: Make sure you're stroking the tool in an upward motion to get ample blood flow!
I fluctuate between morning cleansers. I use this Enzymatic Foaming Cleanser about two to three days a week since it is an exfoliator. My skin can err on the oilier side, so this pore-refining cleanser that lifts surface impurities without irritating or drying out my skin is the perfect combination.
When I'm not using the Enzymatic Cleanser, I opt for a gentler oil-based cleanser. This Kopari Coconut Cleansing Oil completely cleanses my face without leaving skin oily. Contrary to popular belief, oil-based products do not clog your pores. This also helps with skin texture!
While this is quite expensive, I'm happy to report this little one-ounce bottle lasts months. I apply two to three drops each morning and have truly gotten my money's worth out of it. In the morning, completely purifying and clearing my skin is super important before applying my daily makeup, and this serum works to purify and rebalance this skin to prevent blemishes and breakouts.
Same philosophy as above—a little bit goes a long way. This serum consists of powerhouse ingredients: a special extract of cress sprouts that helps brighten the skin and diminish the appearance of dark and yellowish spots; hyaluronic acid, which provides intensive moisture; and ginseng extract, which supports the skin's own defenses against free radicals and UV-induced environmental stress.
It's funny as I go through each product, I deem it as my "cant-live-without" item, but truth be told, after trying so many products that didn't work, the ones that do are the real heroes. I highly recommend this serum for anyone who is battling skin discoloration due to sun exposure.
Quick tip: When applying serums, always start with the lightest-colored liquid and end with the darkest for best absorption.
Finding the right eye cream is not easy, but where I went wrong for so many years was constantly swapping new ones in. Consistency is everything when looking for eye cream, so find one that addresses your skincare concerns, and stick with it for best results!
As I've gotten older, I have gained a better understanding of the value of a good moisturizer. Enriched with lipid-replenishing blackcurrant butter, natural moisture factor, hyaluronic acid, and protective and repairing agents, this formula refills the skin with lipids and moisture.
Last but certainly not least, SPF. No matter where you are (yes, you should wear SPF in the comfort of your own home) or the season, SPF is a must. I love this one because it's tinted, and on hotter days, it serves a dual purpose as both my SPF and concealer.
As a skincare-obsessed individual, my makeup routine is naturally heavily focused on my skin rather than intense eye shadow work or dramatic lip contours. I opt for products that keep my skin matte and less oily while also creating a dewy glow.
Because I have oily skin, I use the smallest amount possible of this. And as most concealers, a little bit of this product goes a very long way. This product is super light (my skin frankly can't handle a heavy foundation) while still providing ample coverage. Disclaimer: I never thought I would be a liquid-foundation gal until I used this foundation.
I have been using Bare Minerals' Well Rested formula for almost a decade. I brush a thin layer over the Tarte Cosmetics concealer to seal in the product. I've found that mixing both liquid and powder consistencies throughout my routine work really well on my skin. Quick tip: I used this powder with a Q-tip to cover any blemishes as well—it works perfectly!
I already have pretty long lashes, so for my everyday makeup, I opt for a less intense mascara. My favorite thing about the mascara is the triple-ball brush, which gives a high-volume, plush look but also separates my lashes at three different points, leaving no need to curl them.
My skincare goal for the evening revolves around the three Rs: rejuvenation, restore, and repair. As most evenings entail relaxing and unwinding from the day, that's exactly how I treat my nighttime skincare routine. I opt for products, like thicker moisturizers, that work to replenish my skin overnight.
I stumbled upon this product about a year ago when borrowing it from my boyfriend's sister, and I am so glad I did. This replaced any makeup-removing towelettes or other tricks I had been trying. This potent micelle formula works to soothe and clear up irritated skin and instantly removes all makeup from the face and eyes.
A ride-or-die brand for me, La Roche-Posay's Effaclar line was made for combination skin like mine. It's the second step I take to ensure all excess dirt and makeup from the day are removed.
This overnight treatment is definitely thicker than my normal moisturizer, but that's just fine because I am literally going right to bed after the application. Crépe Erase's exclusive TruFirm Complex helps to visibly smooth and firm fine lines and wrinkles, restoring elasticity, while echinacea extract works with a blend of nine super hydrators to visibly plump and soothe tired-looking skin. Also, this product luckily is scent-free, so your sheets are left fresh the next morning!
Recently, I've been leaning into a face oil. At first, I was a bit nervous applying an oil to my face, but the results overnight are worth it. I apply an even layer over my night cream for the ultimate reset. This Crabtree & Evelyn Gardens Greens Oil Booster leaves my skin deeply hydrated the next morning.
Below are products I don't use every day but rather weekly enhancements I find beneficial to my overall skin's appearance. Also, dermaplaning, a service that removes all dead skin cells, once a month is something I owe some of my skin's success to, and contrary to popular beliefs, it does not cause hair to grow back coarser. According to Lisa Guidi, the founder of Erase Spa, "Dermaplaning will not cause hair to grow back thicker and darker. Don't be scared to try dermaplaning, as it has amazing benefits. Your hair will grow back the same color and texture it was prior to the treatment."
As I've been spending more time at home, I've decided to bring the spa to the comfort of my apartment. One of the key benefits of infra-red light therapy is improving skin tone, texture, and firms the skin—all of which are areas of improvement for my skin.
On the topic of supporting wellness from within, this Superfood contains naturally derived lactic acid, acetic acid, and amino acid which work to filter and eliminate toxins in the digestive system, ultimately revealing the direct correlation between a healthy inside and healthy, glowing skin.
I like to keep this hydrating face mist at my desk for quick skin refreshes throughout a busy day.
This post was previously published and has since been updated.