Every fall, I get excited about switching up my skincare routine—and my 2019 version is no exception!
Cooler temperatures call for more layers of hydration, so I can finally wear not only serums but also more nourishing oils and creams. And I don't have to be as careful about preventing breakouts, now that the sweaty, sticky days of summer are gone for another year.
But my favourite part of fall is testing anti-aging ingredients like retinol. I always take a break from retinoids when I'm getting a lot of UV exposure, but once vacation mode is over, I'm right back on the bandwagon.
Ahead, I'm sharing my skincare goals for this season, along with all the details on my current routine. (Make sure to check out my previous routines for summer, spring and winter, in case you missed them!)
My Fall Skincare Goals
Okay, here's what I built this routine to address:
- Anti-aging: Go ahead and do a Google image search for "retinol before and after." I mean... how motivating is that?! Besides the overall tightening and brightening, I specifically want to use retinol to target some eye-area fine lines.
- Hydration: Since my skin is drier in the fall, I can get away with more layers of moisture, whereas in the summer, it would make me too oily (and possibly broken out!).
- Brightening: Even though I'm careful about wearing high-zinc sunscreen, I inevitably develop more freckles in the summertime, especially on the sides of my face. So, I'm stepping up the brightening with not one but two different actives.
- Preventing acne: Since my skin is acne-prone, I still don't slack on my daily acid, which is the most effective thing I've found for preventing breakouts. It works so well, I don't need to use spot treatments or anything else for acne.
As usual, most of the products I'm currently using were purchased by me, so rest assured that I TRULY like and recommend them. You can read more about how I scrutinize ingredients in this tutorial!
Fall Skincare Routine
My Morning Skincare Routine
First up is the new Lano Face Base Gelcream Cleanser, which I use if I'm jumping in the shower in the morning. As a gel-cream, it's kind of the perfect fall cleanser—it cleans as effectively as a gel, but is as gentle as a cream (and it's sulfate-free, of course). It doesn't leave my face feeling tight at all, so I think it should suit most skin types, unless you are very dry.
If I don't have time to shower or if I'm going to work out (which I'm trying to actually stick to!), I'll do a quick swipe with the S.W. Basics Cleanser on a Shiseido Facial Cotton. This is a rinse-off, three-ingredient cleansing water that you might recall from my spring routine. It's super gentle, and the easiest thing ever when you're in a rush.
No surprise here, I'm STILL using the COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid, reviewed here. As a four percent betaine salicylate solution, this is a milder alternative to salicylic acid—and my Holy Grail for exfoliating, preventing breakouts, fading pigmentation and more.
Many of you have asked me how I apply it. I just tilt my head back and do little half-pumps on my forehead, chin and cheeks, and then spread it around with my fingers. I don't like to waste any of it on a cotton pad!
3. Eye Serum:
Then, I apply half a drop of Consonant HydrExtreme, reviewed here, under each eye. No, it's not technically an eye serum, but since it only has two ingredients, I figured it would be a safe bet. I've been struggling with product-related irritation and dryness under my eyes for months, and this simple serum totally healed things up. I'm convinced that it's as magical for the eyes as it is for the face!
4. Face Serum:
After waiting about 20 minutes for the acid to do its thing and for my skin's pH to return to normal, I apply the new Summer Fridays CC Me Serum. This is a brightening serum with niacinamide and ethyl ascorbic acid, which is a vitamin C derivative. While the latter is not as potent as L-ascorbic acid (found in SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic), it's still a very good option for evening out skin tone, firming and fighting free radicals. I also find it's easier to work with, as it's water-based and very stable, with a long shelf life. So far, I really like this serum's light texture.
Next comes Truly Doll Skin Face Cream, one of my favourite moisturizers of all time. My jar is from a few months ago, when the brand was called Truly Organic, but after an FTC complaint for false advertising, they've now rebranded as simply Truly. Organic or not, I don't care—my skin loves this stuff! The cream is very moisturizing, but non-greasy, and is made with only a few natural ingredients.
6. Eye Cream:
For my eye cream, I just started testing out Caudalie Premier Cru The Eye Cream, which the brand kindly sent me a while back. I had hesitated to try it, thinking it might be too rich, but it's actually a great medium texture for daytime (creamy and nourishing but not thick or greasy). It hasn't irritated me, either!
7. Face Oil:
To seal in all the hydration, I massage a very thin layer of RMS Beauty Raw Coconut Cream all over my face. I kind of got away from using face oil in my last few routines, but I realized that it does make a big difference. When I had the dry, irritated skin around my eyes, I started using it there (on top of Consonant HydrExtreme). It was so effective that I thought, "Hey, why am I not doing this on my whole face?"
What I've noticed is that I don't get any flaky areas anymore, even though I'm using an acid twice a day plus retinol. This is the highest-quality coconut oil you can find, which my skin tolerates extremely well despite being acne-prone. Coconut oil is definitely not comedogenic for everyone!
If I plan to be outside during peak sun hours, I'll protect my skin with REN Clean Screen Mineral SPF 30. This is one of the most amazing sunscreens I've EVER tried. With 22 percent zinc oxide, it's highly protective, but it's also super lightweight, matte and non-whitening. If you hate the greasy texture of most sunscreens, you need this product!
8. Foundation / Concealer:
I've also added a new concealer, Sappho New Paradigm Concealer, to my rotation. After the W3ll People Concealer I was using in the spring went all watery, I thought I'd try this one, since it has a denser texture. It's more opaque and matte than "Un" Cover-Up, so I find it works great for dark circles, discolourations and redness around my nose.
9. Face Mist:
I have so many face mists, I like to switch them up every season. So right now, I'm spritzing Dr Roebuck's Bondi Hydrating Mist over my makeup and throughout the day. I like that it has moisturizing aloe vera, glycerin and niacinamide (which also brightens).
10. Lip Balm:
I'm all about the tinted lip balm life, and I think Lilah B. Tinted Lip Balm is pretty much perfect. B. Cheeky, is a sheer bright red, while B. Savvy is a darker sheer plum (I'm wearing it in the photo above!). I like these because they really stay put on your lips and you don't have to be constantly re-applying.
1. Makeup Remover:
Moving on to nighttime—I start by removing makeup with a Shiseido Facial Cotton saturated with Bioderma Sensibio H2O. Yes, I still love those other micellar waters I was using, like BIOeffect, I'm just finishing up an old bottle (not this one!). Gotta periodically clear out the old products to make way for the new!
For my nighttime cleanse, I'm trying Glow Recipe Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser, which the brand just sent me. I know it looks like I haven't even touched it, and that's because you only need the tiniest amount to produce a lather. This is a sulfate-free gel and is said to be suitable for all skin. I'm really liking it!
3. Cleansing Brush:
If my makeup was on the heavier side or if I feel particularly grimy, I'll use my Foreo Luna 2 in conjunction with the gel cleanser. I'm always mentioning this cleansing brush because it's so effective at cleaning your skin, never irritates and leaves your face baby soft.
To remove all traces of cleanser, I then do a pass over my skin with Pyunkang Yul Acne Toner, again on a Shiseido Facial Cotton. This Korean brand has become one of my favourites for its simple, fragrance-free and non-irritating formulas. While I'm not sure how effective this toner would be on its own for acne, I like it because it plays well with my next step, the acid. (As I mentioned in the summer, a lot of toners aren't compatible with acids and cause a weird flushing reaction. This one doesn't ever do that!)
6. Eye Serum:
Just like in the morning, I do some Consonant HydrExtreme around my eyes so that the area doesn't get too dry during the 20 minutes the acid needs to work. I love this serum for nighttime because it absorbs immediately and you don't have to worry about it seeping into your eyes, like creams can.
Oh, and you might be wondering why I'm not using it on my face, too? Only because I constantly need to try other products to write about, and I only have so much real estate!
After the 20 minutes are up, it's time for retinol. As happy as I was with A313 (reviewed here), testing products IS my job, so I'm giving Lixirskin Night Switch Retinol 1% a go. This is a strong one percent retinol with a watery texture and only a few ingredients, which I appreciate.
The brand actually recommends only using one pump, mixed into their Universal Emulsion cream. Since I don't own that (and probably wouldn't buy it anyway, since it's a little unstable), I'm applying this directly to my skin. The pump broke, so I think I'm also using more than the recommended dose, but fortunately this hasn't caused any issues. My skin must have become pretty resilient, after using so many actives!
You're supposedly meant to use this for only four weeks before giving your skin a break and then switching to one of the brand's other actives, but I plan to ignore that advice.
After that, I do a layer of Omorovicza Instant Plumping Cream, which recently returned to the market with a new and improved formulation. Normally, I'm not a fan of night creams, as I fear they'll break me out, but this brand is one exception. (Same with Biologique Recherche La Grande Crème, from my spring and winter routines.) Anyway, this cream is high in shea butter, glycerin, jojoba oil, hyaluronic acid and ceramides, and has a luxurious texture without feeling too occlusive.
9. Face Oil:
Then I do a final layer of RMS Beauty Raw Coconut Cream to seal it all in, just like in the morning. I'm actually using this both all over my face and instead of eye cream right now. I was finding that my creams were seeping into my eyes when I'd lay down (which can sting and cause puffiness), whereas that doesn't happen with the oil.
10. Lip Balm:
Usually, lanolin is my nighttime lip balm of choice, but I'm trying out Abnomaly Petrowhat? Baobab at the moment. As an alternative to petroleum-based lip balms, it contains squalane, glycerin, coconut fatty acids and baobab oil (which is quite stable). I have to say, it has a very strange, almost watery feeling when you put it on, even though it has the texture of a balm. It's definitely not as healing as lanolin, but I think it's fine (and it doesn't irritate, like so many lip balms do).
12. Red Light Therapy:
My final step, if I haven't already fallen asleep, is a 10 minute session with my Red Light Man Red Light Device. It's not just a skin treatment but a sleep aid as well! You can find out more about red light therapy here. For me, I think the main skin benefits are overall firming and treating and preventing acne.
As for the ZIIP (microcurrent) and the BeautyBio GloPro (microneedling), I've fallen off the wagon a bit, due to lack of time. But I do plan to add one or both back in my routine, as soon as my schedule permits. Gadgets are time consuming!
With the holidays coming up, I'm always asked which device I think is the best, if I had to choose just one. Honestly, all three are great, but I do believe that red light therapy is the most beneficial overall. That's why it's the one skincare tool that is always a constant in my routines!
Shop My Skincare Routine
Have you tried any of the products in my fall routine?
Which skincare products are you loving lately?