I get a LOT of questions regarding my skincare, like a lot. Summer time is shit for our skin…winter is too actually. Basically any type of extreme weather doesn’t bode well for anyone with any skin problems.
In the interest of being 100% transparent I think it’s important to note that I have never, ever had problem skin. I am blessed with amazing skin genetics and I have had around 5 pimples in my entire life. I am not pointing this out to brag, actually it’s quite the contrary, I am making a point to say this because I don’t want anyone thinking I have found the cure to acne and running out to spend a shit ton of money on things that may or not be in their budget. While I haven’t struggled with acne I have seen my skin go through phases of looking dull, tired, parched and just plain blah.
Take everything you’re about to read with a grain of salt and know that I am only speaking to my OWN experience (and maybe a few close friends) in regards to the recommendations I make. I will be the first person to tell you that not everything works for everyone, my skincare is a hodgepodge and I like it that way. Variety is the spice of life, people!
Maybe I’m weird but I like to switch up my cleansers depending on the weather, time of day or what my daily activities have been like. I am going to mention this one more time and then I will expect you to have applied it to your long term memory; This is what works for ME. It isn’t necessarily what’s going to work for YOU.
In no particular order here is what I have in constant rotation this summer-
Cocokind is an INCREDIBLE company. Their products are non toxic, clean and many of them are organic. Oh, also, nothing they sell is over $25…Their Oil to Milk Cleanser is one of my favorite products EVER. It’s consistency is like vaseline and you want to apply this to a dry face (I love LOVE the smell too, I find it so calming), once you add water you’ll immediately find the consistency changing to something “milky” and easier to wash off – unlike a lot of oil cleansers you CAN actually wash this one off. Your skin retains all of that deliciously important moisture that we try so hard to keep around. I love to use this on mornings when I am not working out or before bed. This is great for ALL skin types and at $18 a tube its the most budget friendly option of all my recommendations. https://www.cocokind.com/collections/face/products/oil-to-milk-cleanser
I have a somewhat new love affair going on with Is Clinical. Their products are so good in fact that I have actually ditched a couple of my previous staples and replaced them with their’s. Is Clinical uses pharmaceutical grade ingredients in their products which is SO important, with cosmetic grade you never really know what you’re getting. I think this is a great in-between product when you don’t really want something super foamy but you need to cleanse the day off, it’s kind of an amazing light gel consistency. I love to use this before bed with a face of make up or in the morning when I feel especially grimy, like after walking around Manhattan in July. Its super cooling, refreshing and gentle. Is Clinical has higher price points due to the pharmaceutical grade botanical actives that I mentioned previously. This cleanser is $42 but great for all skin types and lasts a LONG time. https://www.dermstore.com/product_Cleansing+Complex_10796.htm
Last but definitely not least is January Labs. This product line is concise and effective. It’s also clean, non toxic and affordable. I absolutely LOVE it. This is the cleanser I use when I feel like I need the deepest clean, like after a crazy workout. Its foaming but also very gentle and does NOT dry or strip my skin. This cleanser is also great for all skin types and what I recommend across the board for anyone who’s making a switch to non toxic skin care because it’s not at all intimidating to use; it’s not an oil, it foams, it’s what you’re used to but just WAY better. It’s $32 for the bottle and well worth the price of admission. https://www.januarylabs.com/products/pure-gentle-cleansing-gel
What’s toning? I have to admit, sometimes I question if I really NEED to tone or not. The answer is YES, I really need to tone. Think of it in 2 ways: Toning acts as a double cleanse for your skin. Getting rid of any dirt, oil, makeup or debris that your cleanser just didn’t get. Toning is also important for restoring your skin’s PH levels making it better at absorbing moisture and all the good (expensive) ingredients that you’re about to apply in your serums, oils and creams.
These baddies from January Labs are both on my go-to list. The Daily Brightening Tonic is an exfoliating tonic that uses fruit and tea extracts as well lactic acid. I really love this as a gentle exfoliant HOWEVER i cannot use it everyday otherwise I notice some drying. Instead I use it 2-3 times a week at night and that seems to be perfect for me. The Restorative Tonic on the other hand is something I spritz on constantly, especially when traveling. Its SUPER light, refreshing and helps me retain my skins moisture. https://www.januarylabs.com
My humble opinion is that EVERYONE should own this product. It’s JUST rosewater but it’s hydrating, PH balancing and refreshing- not to mention it smells like roses…You can use this to tone after cleansing by spraying directly onto skin or using a cotton pad and throughout the day to refresh skin. At $17 for a giant bottle it’s a MAJOR steal. https://www.cocokind.com/collections/face/products/rosewater-toner
So to be completely honest I have never heard of a facial essence before this product and I wasn’t completely convinced it was something I needed to incorporate into my daily routine.
This step goes AFTER you tone but BEFORE you apply any serums, oils, or moisturizers. The purpose is to aid your skin in adsorbing and retaining all of that good stuff in whatever products follow it and it completely works. I used it for a couple of weeks and was absolutely in love. I definitely notice a difference now when I skip it or have to travel without it (aka I forget it at home). Also obsessed with the fact that it’s a completely clean and non toxic product, just like everything else made by Cocokind. So, while not necessarily an essential part of your skincare routine it IS something that I have come to love and will never stop using. They are currently sold out of this online but I would snag a spot on the waitlist if I were you! https://www.cocokind.com/collections/face/products/glow-essence-with-sea-grape-caviar
Serums & Oils
Buckle up, we’re about to get expensive. Serums and oils are usually pricier products in your routine because they’re concentrated with all that good stuff we want working on our skin. This is the “treatment” part of your skincare routine where you are address specific skin concerns. Make sure to note that some of these I use daytime only and some night.
OK. SO. Yes, these cost a small fortune but they are insanely effective and when used correctly last a very long time – I only use 4 to 5 drops at a time and I absolutely see results. The Super Serum is daytime, I used it directly after the essence and pat into my face and neck with my fingertips. This is going to heal and protect your face. It contains vitamin c (if you don’t know how important this is for your skin health do a quick google search) as well as a TON of other important pharmaceutical grade botanicals that address uneven skin tone, free radical damage and provide some extra UV protection. https://www.dermstore.com/product_Super+Serum+Advance+Plus_15852.htm
The Active Serum is my nighttime BFF. This product has a major cult following and I love a cult following. I’m not going to name names because I still really like this company and would never publicly drag anyone BUT I ditched a nighttime oil I had been using for years for this product, which should say something. Again with this I only use 4-5 drops a night and that’s really all you need. You will feel a tingle and know it’s working out those little fine lines and wrinkles we all love so much – NOT. This product is great for acne, hyperpigmentation, loss of firmness, you name it this baby’s got you covered. I am not being hyperbolic when I say this is a miracle. https://www.dermstore.com/product_Active+Serum_10787.htm
I know people can be weird about putting oil on your face but don’t be weird. Our skin loves oil and needs it. This is a great non-toxic product that not only adds important moisture but also helps protect your skin from UV damage with a host of amazing ingredients, the star being carotenoids – which are yellow, orange or red organic pigments (the oil itself is a deep orange color). It lasts me about 4 months and it’s a product I rebuy over and over again. https://www.thedetoxmarket.com/products/marie-veronique-protective-day-oil
I recently started to add this to my nighttime routine and I am HOOKED. This product is organic, affordable and has 3 ingredients in it. It has given me the extra hit of moisture I have desperately needed this summer when my skin is depleted from the dry heat and sun. It’s moisturizing, calming and can help with skin texture, unevenness and redness. https://www.cocokind.com/collections/face/products/facial-repair-oil
I have been using Marula oil for years on my face and I love it. It’s super hydrating thanks to the presence of both omega 6 & 9 AND it’s a potent antioxidant. Antioxidants are critical to keeping your skin youthful because they combat environmental stressors and free radicals that cause your skin to breakdown and age and I don’t know about you but I have NO time for that. I use this sparingly, a few drops goes a long way. https://www.sephora.com/product/virgin-marula-tm-luxury-facial-oil-P392245
Eyes are the window’s to the soul. You don’t want them to look old and tired…
You’ve heard me rave about this product close to a million times. It’s a hero. I use it for my under eyes and just about everywhere else that I feel I’m lacking moisture…I also use it as a brow gel. It’s so great for treating puffiness and dark circles thanks to the matcha (caffeine). It’s also organic and contains only 3 ingredients. At $9 it’s the bargain of the century. I have given this to literally everyone I know. https://www.cocokind.com/collections/face/products/mymatcha-organic-moisture-stick
Ok, so we’re jumping back on the expensive train BUT eye creams/treatments are generally pricier because they’re so concentrated and a little goes a long way. I love this from January Labs and have found it to be super effective in reducing fine lines. It’s packed with peptides and hyaluronic acid so a little goes a long way! I sometimes use this with the MyMatcha, which I don’t know if you’re technically supposed to do but I’m not really one for rules. https://www.januarylabs.com/products/advanced-eye-technology
Ok, I know it’s SO expensive and it’s about the size of a pot of Blistex BUT it’s amazing…I only use this at night because it is SO thick (think a balm that you need to emulsify between your fingers before applying) and it honestly lasts me almost an entire year. When my under eyes are dry or irritated this is a heaven sent but I use this nightly and will continue to use it until the day I die because I love it that much. BTW, Tata Harper is also another incredible non-toxic skin care line to look into, they make fantastic products. https://www.tataharperskincare.com/boosted-contouring-eye-mask
Moisturizers – Day + Night
“Moisture is the essence of wetness and wetness, and wetness is the essence of beauty.” – Derek Zoolander
Zoolander may have been released 18 years ago but some lessons are timeless. Moisturizing, to me, is the most critical part of my skin care routine. I need me skin to feel hydrated 24/7. There is NO worst feeling then a tight, dry face…
I LOVE this product and I have been using it for years and years, way before I ever got into skin care or non toxic products. Don’t let the “extra sensitive” label deceive you, this stuff is heavy but in the best possible way. It’s extremely hydrating but doesn’t suffocate your skin. There are only 5 ingredients in this product including beeswax which contains pollen, propolis and royal jelly. If you’re not already aware, honey is a major superfood. Raw honey contains antiviral & antibacterial properties and is extremely healing. Something else I love about this product is it’s accessibility, they sell it at Whole Foods and Amazon as well as many other health food markets. If you’re interested in getting into the non toxic game this is a great product to ease in with. https://honeygirlorganics.com/collections/extra-sensitive/products/face-eye-cream-extra-sensitive-1
Ok, so maybe I should have included this with the oils BUT I use this as a moisturizer and I didn’t want things to get confusing…There are only 2 ingredients in this product; organic chia seed oil and organic chamomile flowers, oh and it’s organic. Chia Seeds are PACKED with omega 3’s – the good fat – and it’s excellent for moisturizing, de-puffing and restoring your skin. I used 4-5 drops and press into my face and neck whenever I need extra moisture. Oh, and pro tip, this makes the most excellent cuticle oil too. https://www.cocokind.com/collections/face/products/organic-chia-facial-oil
This day cream is GREAT for everyday use and I have found it to be especially fantastic for the summer due to it’s lightweight formula. It is packed with hyaluronic acid which is super hydrating, plumping and restorative. It also contains fruit extracts to go ham on those pesky free radicals that cause skin damage and peptides that help boost collagen (babyface) – just to name a few. I use one pump in the mornings on tops of the 7 million layers of everything else and right before my sunscreen and I have been a happy camper all summer long. I know this one is on the pricier side but I assure you it lasts. https://www.januarylabs.com/collections/skin-essentials/products/revitalizing-day-cream
This is the only “night” specific moisturizer I use. Generally I don’t really get what differentiates a night cream from a day so I don’t bother, but this one has a purpose. This product contains a high level of lactic acid which is a natural exfoliant – think tingly. Exfoliating is extremely important in maintaining skin texture, hydration and YOUTH. The addition of the lactic acid is what separates this night cream from the day, otherwise the active ingredients look to be pretty similar. Full disclosure, I can only use this 2-3 times a week otherwise it’s drying to my skin so it is definitely not something I would suggest using every night starting off, but this is a great and easy way to make sure you don’t skip this essential part of your skincare routine. https://www.januarylabs.com/collections/skin-essentials/products/retexturizing-night-cream
This is by far the most fun part of my skincare routine. It feels so indulgent and, I hate to say this but, SELF CARE. I have tried so SO many masks and have so many I like but in the interest of time I want to focus on my 3 favorites.
This product is very different from any other mask I have ever used. Why? Because it comes in powder form. It’s a mix of organic spirulina powder, organic wheatgrass powder, organic chlorella powder and organic ylang ylang oil. To make it into a “mask” you add water or basically any kind of liquid – be it toner, oil, yogurt…you name it you can mix this in. I used this whenever my skin needs a detox, for example after a vacation in the sun where I’m applying tons of SPF. It’s also incredible for bringing redness down, easing puffiness and improving your complexion. Truth be told it lasts FOREVER and you can also use this in your bath for a detoxifying full body soak. Love a multi-use product. https://www.cocokind.com/collections/face/products/organic-ultra-chlorophyll-mask
This product is luxury in a tub. I cannot explain the decadence of this product to you; the feel, the smell, EVERYTHING. By some kind of weird witchcraft the gel like mask comes out of the tub COLD. I was thinking when I first got it that I would store it in the fridge but it’s not even necessary. It’s packed with hyaluronic acid (hefty hydration), aloe vera, rosemary leaf oil (anti-inflammatory & antioxidant), and Resveratrol (gives you infant skin) to name a few…This is intended to be a rinse off treatment BUT I like to later it on and sleep with it. I don’t advise YOU to do this unless you love to walk on the wild side but I have needed the extra EXTRA hydration lately. https://www.dermstore.com/product_HydraIntensive+Cooling+Masque_73551.htm
I adore this produce from January Labs so much. It is definitely the mask I use most frequently in my routine. It applies like a lotion which means there is absolutely no mess whatsoever which is always a plus. It’s also extremely gentle and packed, and I mean PACKED, with great non toxic ingredients; hyaluronic acid, avocado oil, squalane, linoleic acid, cucumber fruit extract, green tea leaf extract, and vitamin E. This is the perfect product to use on skin after something like a micro needling treatment because it’s so moisturizing and so gentle. Just like the mask from Is Clinical, I like to apply this before bed when my face really needs an extra kick of moisture. https://www.januarylabs.com/collections/skin-essentials/products/moisture-renew-mask
DON’T FORGET YOUR SPF!!!!!
Ok, well…after reading this all back I realize 2 things:
- I have a major skin care addiction
- I probably need an intervention
Remember you definitely don’t NEED every single product I mentioned and, if at all possible, I definitely would recommend getting samples of products before you buy if available. Not everything I use will work for you and that’s ok! Keep in mind too that water (tons of water) and sleep are also incredibly important to healthy, glowing skin.
I hope you enjoyed. I can’t wait to get Benjamin Button-y with all of you.
LET THE REVERSE AGING BEGIN.