My skincare routine

It’s winter and if you’re anything like me, your skin is not really feeling the endless weather cycles, heaters blowing and wind chapping going on. I won’t do an entire deep dive on skincare all at once – I could talk for days and nobody wants to listen that long. However, after offering suggestions and advice to a few people, I figured doing a fun little beauty series might be well-received. And if not… well it’s fun for me and it’s my blog.

A very small selection of things I own, feat. the dog’s toothbrush

The nine products below are my basic routine right now, more or less. I’ll sub in a different product I have if my skin calls for it that day, or I may supplement with something else if I’m not loving a specific ingredient, but this is the basic foundation.

I try to keep my morning routine as short and sweet as possible because I like to sleep in until the last possible second.

  1. Drunk Elephant Vitamin C Serum: Vitamin C helps protect against sun damage and other environmental factors, helps improve healing, reduces discoloration and overall brightens. It can be used at any age and comes in a few different forms, L ascorbic acid being considered the best. The important thing to remember about Vit C is that light and air will cause it to lose efficacy so make sure whatever you buy comes in a dark bottle and is stored in a dark place! Personally, I like Drunk Elephant’s serum, but when I run out, I want to try one of the other brands out there.
  2. I have dry skin and if I don’t put some type of moisturizer on drier spots, I will look like the face of Mars all day. Not cute. The Belif Aqua Bomb is lightweight, sinks in easily and works under makeup or alone. My skin is super sensitive to ingredients, but this one plays nicely!
  3. Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen. If you take anything here – wear. sunscreen. It’s the single most effective, proven way to slow aging, prevent wrinkles and uh, you know, prevent skin cancer. That detail. I have an entire thing of sunscreens, but right now I like this tinted one from MDSolarScience.


My nighttime routine is a little more in depth – I figure it’s more important since I’ve been outside all day, have who knows what on my face and I don’t particularly want to go smother my face around in it on my pillow all night. Great visual, right?

  1. Finding a cleanser I liked has been one of the hardest things, but I’m on my third jar of Clinique’s Take the Day Off balm. It’s unscented, doesn’t dry out your skin, but still leaves it feeling clean. It doesn’t irritate my eyes and it doesn’t leave any oily residue. I will buy this forever and ever (and it lasts close to a year!).
  2. The Drunk Elephant product I will repurchase is their AHA/BHA Night Serum. I use this one every other night and I love this serum – the combo of an AHA and BHA together really work well with my skin as a chemical exfoliant. A gentle chemical exfoliant is one of the great things you can use on your skin – it helps clean up all the dead, dry cells and reveal smoother, firmer skin underneath. It can diminish the look of lines and wrinkles and help even skin tones. There are a ton of AHAs and BHAs available out there at all price points.
  3. On nights I don’t use the Drunk Elephant serum, I use a prescription strength tretinoin cream. Tretinoin is a retinol, which is one of the only things that has been scientifically proven to help with anti-aging. You can buy it OTC, but don’t get sucked into expensive creams and serums – either get a prescription (mine is 0.025% and the tube costs me $5 and will last years), or go for Differin, which became available OTC in the last few years.
  4. At night, I need a heavier moisturizer and IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream is one of my all-time favorites. It’s just heavy enough, but not overwhelming and doesn’t have any scent that is bothersome (it also lasts forever!). I also love Avene products and Cetaphil.
  5. I love ending my routine with an oil – it feels luxurious and relaxing and it makes me happy. This Origins oil came highly recommended, but I’ll be honest… it’s nothing special. I’ll be swapping this out for rose hip oil when I run out.


These are my top six ‘as needed’ products.

  1. Bioderma Micellar Water is my ‘need to rinse with more than water, but not washing my entire face’ solution. It’s also perfect for touch ups, wiping off makeup mistakes, you name it. I actually keep a small bottle in my riding backpack for post-barn.
  2. Cosrx Acne Patches are tiny clear miracle stickers. If you put this on a pimple that has come to a head, it will literally suck all the gunk out of it overnight. It’s the human version of wrapping your hoof abscess in a diaper and duct tape and vet wrap, but easier.
  3. Sometimes when I feel truly disgusting, nothing else will cut it. Spent 12 hours at the barn and now covered in gross from head to toe? One Love Organics Brand New Day is this super fine powder that you mix with a little bit of water and it turns into this amazing microdermabrasion paste that will seriously make you feel like you got brand new skin.
  4. Sunday nights are ‘me’ nights. Hair mask, face mask, bad television, puppy snuggles, don’t interrupt. I, like any good beauty junkie, have a bunch of different masks, but this one is one of my favorites. After a week of stress + barn + life, Herbivore’s Blue Tansy mask provides just enough to send me into the week feeling new. It doesn’t irritate my overly-sensitive skin, yet has AHAs and BHAs, along with Aloe Vera. It has a slight cooling effect that feels amazing post-horse show or long barn day too.
  5. I turned 25 and suddenly my skin went on a full revolt. Like Boston Tea Party style. Mario Badescu’s Drying Lotion is my savior. Dab some a blemish overnight and things are drastically better in the morning. Not great for daytime use because it’s definitely pink, but worth looking like a chicken-pox-kid overnight.
  6. Finally, my holy grail, all time favorite, best product EVER. Aquaphor. This stuff saves my life on the reg. My #1 lip product, clears up  dry patches like no other and calms irritated skin. I have the mini tubes stashed quite literally, everywhere. Pro tip: don’t buy the special ‘lip’ ones – just buy the mini tubes. Same thing.

This sounds like a lot, and it definitely is, make no mistake. Do you need every step here? Nope. Can you use every step here? Totally.

Was this interesting at all and would anyone be interested in more beauty/skin type posts? It’s basically my favorite topic outside of horses, but I don’t want to bore anyone to death!

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  1. Super helpful to me. Ever since I turned 30 I’ve been trying to take better care of my skin (and mostly failing). I’ve ramped up my routine from just cleansing into the shower to a lot more now. Might try the vitamin C serum next since I’m in the sun a ton!

  2. My wintertime favourite this year is the First Aid brand ultra healing cream (I think that’s the name) – so good, no scent, and it’s not too precious that you can’t use it on more than just your face

    1. I LOVE FAB’s Ultra Healing Cream – it’s one of my all time favorites! You can actually see the tube of it in the very first photo, in the middle at the back!

  3. WOW you are a professional with all of this! I am WAY older than you but I am nowhere near as savvy. Was just at my friend’s and she is a professional make up artist and she recommended a serum too – she said Aesop and Emma Hardie are the best in her opinion (she she worked on this majo TV series called ’10 years younger’ – so I trust her!). I def think you do more on this side of things – you obviously know what you are talking about – and I def need tips on battling wind, rain and cold as I’ve seen a massive difference in my skin since walking my dog in all weather – do you wear an SPF all year around? BTW – is there a way I can subscribe to your page by email or follow you? I just don’t want to miss any posts 🙂 Joanne x

    1. I do wear SPF year round! Over 80% of UV rays pass through clouds, so you’re at nearly as high risk on a cloudy, winter day. Plus, 99% pass through windows, so even staying inside doesn’t prevent you from exposure. Skin cancer is scary stuff, but I’m also vain and sun damage is the #1 thing to cause aging. Always make sure you’re wearing a broad spectrum sunscreen too, because both UVA and UVB rays are dangerous! Aesop and Emma Hardie are amazing, they’re just harder to get over here.
      I added a subscribe by e-mail button on the right side under search for you! Let me know if it doesn’t work. Personally, I use a feed aggregator like Feedly to collect all my blogs in one spot for easy reading!

  4. Wow..I feel so…blah. Literally Dove soap bar and a daytime moisturizer from Aveeno. I have (had? it’s been awhile, knock on wood) terrible adult acne and nothing I tried worked so I figured I was wasting money. And now I use the chapstick Triple Crown Feed sent me for winning their video contest. Does that count? OMG, I sound like a loser. Thanks for posting this! I’m going to try those Cosrx patches.

    1. I love those things – the key I’ve found is they don’t have any actives in them, so I wait for something to come to a head, prick it with a pin or needle (sterilized with alcohol first!) and pop the patch on. By AM it will suck everything out.

  5. I’m totally fascinated by all this! I’m quite allergic to some skin products, so I do a lot of trial and error, so seeing your routine all mapped out is really educational. 🙂

  6. Real question- I remember using Differin when it wasn’t OTC- for acne. It was STRONG and dried out my skin when I used it. You use it all over your face? And it’s good for wrinkles? Had not idea it is OTC now, but I can’t imagine using it on my normally dry skin- so intrigued!

    1. So Differin is 0.1% adapalene and I actually use Tretinoin 0.025%, but they’re both retinoids with approx. the same efficacy. Differin is actually often thought to be less irritating than tret. (
      But the whole idea is retinoids have been shown to slow aging and reduce wrinkles, loss of elasticity and pigmentation. Good article here: but there are a TON of studies on retinoids being used for this. I’m all about science behind my skincare and this is one I believe in!

      I also have dry skin, which is why all my steps are important. I don’t use tretinoin for 10 minutes after washing my face, then I only use a pea amount for my entire face (if that much). I wait another 10-15 (usually go take the dog out or something), and add moisturizer. The moisturizer is key I’ve found! Plus, I only do it every other night (honestly more like 3x a week probably). I don’t know that I can say off hand I’ve seen results, but mine is more preventative than anything right now so not seeing anything = desired result here!

      Let me know if you have more questions – I seriously love this stuff. All about those derm journal articles.

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