I’m sharing my skincare routine and the products I use day and night.
Why I Love Skincare
As far back as I can remember, I’ve had a love of products, packaging and branding. The weight of a product, the way it looks, the way it’s displayed, the scent, the way it feels – these are a few of my fav-o-rite things! I suppose that’s still the ‘art kid’ in me. At any given time, you’ll find 5 skincare item tabs open on my phone, but once I find a formula that works, I’m loyal to the end. (But that doesn’t mean I won’t try something new to alternate from time to time!)
As I’ve aged, I’ve completely nixed physical exfoliants in favor of acids, I wear sunscreen every single day, and I never, ever purchase a skincare item on a whim; I’m an over-researcher to the core, and as much as I love my products, I loathe a cluttered medicine cabinet. This means that I’ll use a product to completion, instead of allowing it to get dusty in the back of the drawer. This also means I’m a pretty good test of seeing how a product performs over several months.
I’ve learned a thing or two from my mom, too (including the magic of microblading my eyebrows!). For me, skincare isn’t about defying aging, although it’s not not about aging. More than anything, it’s a form of self-care, a calming ritual to start and end my day. It’s time for me, and me alone.
About My Skin
Below, I’m sharing my AM and PM routines! And because I can’t stand a product review that doesn’t tell me a thing about a person’s skin type, here’s what you should know about me:
- I’m 39-years-old
- I’m half Italian, half Korean, with light olive skin that tans easily and rarely burns
- After our daughter was born, my combination skin began to lean more dry (and still does)
- I don’t consider myself to have sensitive skin – I love to feel the burn of a hard-working product!
- I’m not prone to breakouts, but I used to be, until I dialed in the products that keep me balanced
In order of application:
- Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser, $18 | My morning go-to for cleansing! It looks similar to a less expensive Cetaphil or CeraVe, but it feels way better on my skin and does the job 100x better IMO. It’s gentle, tear-free and fragrance free. I like to massage it onto dry skin before rinsing.
- The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Exfoliating Toning Solution, $8 | I use this as a toner to remove every last trace of retinol from the evening before. Glycolic acid is great at improving skin texture for brighter, clearer skin. To apply, I use the MUJI cotton pads.
- MUJI cut cotton pads, $6 | The holy grail of facial pads! I first learned of this brand’s cult following almost a decade ago, and I’ve been using them ever since. They’re impossibly soft and large enough to get by with just 1.
- Youth To The People 15% Vitamin C Serum, $68 | This is a new-to-me vitamin C serum, but I’ve been loving it so far! I used to apply Mad Hippie vitamin C, but I didn’t love the smell or the stickiness (despite the awesome reviews). Vitamin C is essential to my morning routine to keep dark spots at bay.
- The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane, $8 | In the palm of my hand, I always add 2-3 drops of this squalane to my vitamin C, rub together, and then smooth on my face. I also use it on the backs of my hands, in my night cream, in my hair… essentially, anywhere that could use a boost of moisture! It’s thin (like water), making it easy to mix into any of my products.
- Algenist Genius Liquid Collagen, $25+ | I received a free sample of this liquid collagen years ago, and I’ve repurchased it 3 times since! From my experience, my skin looks more glowy since adding this to my routine. My only disclaimer is that it’s heavily scented (no idea why), but I don’t mind and love the results I see enough to keep it in my drawer. I use this mostly in the AM, but I notice a huge difference in my skin the following morning when I apply in the PM, too! It’s a can’t lose.
- Algenist Sublime Defense SPF 50, $28 | After such great luck with the Liquid Collagen, I opted to try Algenist’s sunscreen, and it’s a hands-down winner. You know that heavy, somewhat-skin-suffocating feeling of applying sunscreen? This is not that! It’s weightless, scentless, and doesn’t pill under makeup. For something that I apply every single day, I can’t recommend it highly enough.
In order of application:
- Glossier Cleanser Concentrate, $20 | If I could scream from the rooftops that everyone should try this cleanser, I would. Wow. Incredibly exfoliating with added Niacinamide to reduce the look of pores. I no longer need a face scrub, thanks to this concentrated cleanser. I use 3 pumps (they’re small) on a damp face and rub it in for at least 1 minute. I think of it as my mini facial massage. (And yes, it removes all traces of my makeup, too!)
- Dermaplaning Tool, $10 for 9 | I use this 1x every 6 weeks. My BFF first got me hooked on dermaplaning, but my smooth skin and better product absorption made me keep at it. My biggest tip: Do not use this before applying a face mask or any chemical treatment. After dermaplaning, I skip straight to item #6 in this list.
- The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Exfoliating Peel, $7 | I use this 1x weekly. You’ve probably seen this all over social media, and not only because it looks a little spooky. It works! I’ll apply it while giving Lucy a bath (she’s used to my antics, haha), and rinse after 10 minutes. It’s great for acne prone skin, and in my case, it leaves my skin feeling baby-cheeks-soft.
- Aztec Secret clay mask, $10 | I use this 1-2x monthly. Yet another social media favorite, again, because it works! I only use it 1-2x a month, because my skin will do a big purge shortly after. Trust me when I say you need to mix it with apple cider vinegar (I use this one) for best results.
- baby washcloths, $7 | When removing my clay mask, I always use these baby washcloths. They’re not too rough on my skin and act as a gentle exfoliant in the process.
- Revitalash Advanced Eyelash Conditioner, $55+ | I’d like to thank my Korean mother for my complete lack of eyelashes, but Revitalash changed the game for me! I’ve been using this consistently for about 3 years now, and I’ll never look back. Make sure to apply eyelash serum before any other skincare products, as it needs to be applied to clean, dry skin.
- Shani Darden Retinol Reform, $30+ | Since adding a retinol to my nighttime skincare routine, I’ve noticed a dramatic reduction in fine lines on my forehead (my biggest problem area). Shani Darden is the only one I’ve tried, but I recently received a Glossier Universal Pro-Retinol sample and noticed a big improvement within a week. I think I’ll pick that one up next to compare the two!
- Beautycounter Countertime Tetrapeptide Supreme Cream, $89 | After retinol, I mix 2-3 drops of squalane with this cream and smooth it over my whole face and neck, including around my eyes.
- Wildling Empress Stone gua sha facial tool, $65 | I’ve found that if I keep my gua sha on my bedside table, I’m more likely to use it! As I read a book before bed, I love smoothing this around my jawline and eyes, above my brows and down my neck. The comb edge is my FAVORITE, and it helps to relieve so much tension! I’m still practicing, but I really enjoy it.
If you’re new to skincare, this might look intense, but keep in mind that several of these products are only used a few times a week or month. That said, I love the ritual and routine! Most days I don’t wear makeup at all – or very minimal makeup – and I owe a lot of skin confidence to these products.
I’m happy to answer any questions you have! Drop them in the comments below, or feel free to share your essentials! I love learning about new products and determining if they’re a good fit for me or Scott.
PS: See all of our product round-ups right here, from candles to clothes, rugs to books.