My Daily Skincare Routine: 9 Go-To Products + Acne Fighting Tips
It’s been a minute since I shared my go-to skincare products and daily routine, so I thought it was time for an update (see 2016’s here). To be honest, in my line of work we are BOMBARDED with beauty and skincare products… like boxes arriving to my house every day. It’s definitely a perk of the job but it’s also a little daunting sometimes, especially for someone who has acne prone skin and gets nervous about putting anything new on her face! I also feel really strongly about testing something for 2+ weeks before I decide if I like it or not which is why I a) have turned down sponsored beauty projects in the past if they require some ridiculous short turn around (hello, can I TRY it first?) b) am very picky about what I share with you on IG and the blog.
These products are ones that I’ve vetted for months, even YEARS. Some are drugstore brands and some are more expensive; I don’t discriminate. Also a little reminder that I’m not an esthetician or doctor - hah - I just like to share what works for me in case it may help you! I also strongly believe in getting monthly facials to really clean your skin (see more about that on this post). Keep scrolling for my AM and PM routine as well as some answers for the Qs submitted via IG story.
My skin type/concerns: oily and acne prone. I very rarely get dry except sometimes in winter months/ after lots of time spent on planes. My two biggest concerns are: keeping acne at bay and preventing all the fabulous things that come with aging skin .
AM Skincare Routine:
I typically don’t wash my face in the AM. Here are my three go-to products in order of use:
Garnier Micellar Water: use a cotton round to do a quick refresh of my skin
I was turned on to micellar water at a Garnier event over 4 years ago and quickly fell in love. It’s like a makeup wipe and cleanser in one, without the SOAP so it won’t leave any residue. I have BOTTLES in my house and multiple travel sizes. It comes in handy for so many things: cleansing, removing makeup, quick makeup touch-ups, post gym refresh, post beach refresh… I could go on and on!
Skinceutials C E Ferulic: a half dropper full every AM no matter what
My esthetician suggested this when I first started going to her a little over 2 yrs ago. She has never ever pushed product on me but one day I asked “if there’s one thing I buy from this office what should it be? and Skinceutials C E Ferulic is what she suggested. It is kind of a miracle serum: “features a synergistic antioxidant combination of ferulic acid and pure vitamins C and E to enhance your skin's protection against environmental damage caused by free radicals. This serum helps neutralize free radicals induced by UVA/UVB, infrared radiation (IRA) and ozone pollution (O3). In addition to antioxidant protective benefits, C E Ferulic improves signs of aging and photodamage to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles while firming and brightening your complexion.” After a month or so of using I could see a noticeable difference in my skin and it has 100% been the reason why I feel so comfortable going makeup free a lot of the time. Note: it has a funny smell which dissipates after you a few seconds.
Tatcha Hydration Firming Eye Serum: this is a new product I started using about 3 weeks ago. I noticed my eye area was feeling dehydrated (maybe from winter?) and my previous eye cream wasn’t cutting it. After just one day I saw a noticeable difference in my fine lines and the overall hydration around my eyes. I’ve been using twice a day and can definitely recommend for anyone experiencing dryness . I also love it because it absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave a residue, so makeup goes on perfectly! One of my biggest pet peeves is when you put your makeup on and it doesn’t sit well with whatever you product that’s on underneath. Note: I don’t have problems with under eye-circles and cannot speak to products related to it.
That’s it. But Ash, what about sunscreen? When I’m working from home and going make-up free, I literally don’t go outside except for a walk to Starbucks therefore I’d rather not put on an extra product. When I wear makeup, my BB cream has SPF 35. That being said, I’ve started to go make-up free more and more lately so I am going to be looking for a good sunscreen option (stay tuned!/ would love any recs you have!). Another note, this is my normal daily routine not my tropical vacation routine. If I’m having fun in the sun I always put on Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen before my makeup (after all of the above) and use Supergoop Defense Setting Spray throughout the day.
AM SKINCARE PRODUCTS
PM Skincare Routine:
Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm: use to remove makeup (if I’m not wearing makeup I skip this step)
This is another product that I’ve been using for over 3+ years. It’s melts makeup off without drying out your skin. I will say the packaging is a little annoying and pretty much impossible to travel with. Another similar product I like is Origins Cleansing Makeup Removing Jelly - it works the same and the packaging is not nearly as messy.
Garnier Micellar Water: for any hard to remove makeup spots (eye makeup mostly)
Garnier Micellar Foaming Face Wash: TBH I’ve found that most gentle cleansers work the same. This is one that Garnier sent me LOADS of so I’ve been using for months on months - hah!
Clearasil Stubborn Acne Acne Control Pads OR Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel: I use Dr. Dennis Gross about once a week, maybe twice if I’m traveling. I use to use the Clearasil face pads 6 days a week but now I really try to “listen” to my skin, focusing on it when my skin feels dirty (always days after wearing makeup) or I’m battling any acne flare ups (definitely the week leading up to my period). I would say I average about 3 days a week.
If you’ve been following me for a bit you know that Clearasil Stubborn Acne Acne Control Pads have been a saving grace for YEARS (like maybe 6!). I used to be a big ProActive girl and then my skin pretty much became immune to Benzoyl Peroxide. At that point I was like WTF?! One day I was at my parents house and saw the Clearasil pads (they were for my teenage siblings) and thought: what the heck? And I’ve been hooked ever since.
I started using Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel about 2 or 3 yrs ago and loved how my skin felt in the morning. Both this and the Clearasil pads are exfoliants, the Clearasil just really focuses on acne with high % of Salicylic Acid whereas the Dr. Dennis Gross focuses on all the glories of aging skin with a combination of 5 alpha and beta hydroxy acids and retinol blend with vitamins, antioxidants and resveratrol to reduce fine lines, diminish hyperpigmentation and repair connective tissues. The price tag seems high BUT I strongly believe you don’t need to use it every day. Even if you use twice a week a set of 30 will last you two months.
I fell in love with Mara Universal Face Oil when they launched early last year. An influencer friend of mine started the brand and she has THE BEST skin. Oils have always been a part of my nighttime routine (see honorable mentions below), so I jumped at the chance to try it. It’s a CLEAN product with nutrient rich superfood plant oils–moringa, bilberry, baobab and kalahari melon–soak your complexion with phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamin A, B, C, D, E, & F and minerals. When I wake up I’m legit glowing and so so hydrated. This is also a must for travel (see more about that on this post.)
She recently launched Mara Algae Retinol Oil - a treatment product with 1.2% Retinol. This is my first foray into potent retinols (the Dennis Gross pads have a little) and so far I’m loving. My fine lines around my mouth have definitely seen an improvement. It’s also good for acne! Below is my usual pairing for no specific reason other than that I feel like the Dennis Gross Peel has ALL the things and doesn’t really need more retinol layered over it:
Clearasil Pads x Mara Retinol Oil
Dennis Gross Peel x Mara Universal Oil
There’s a lot of misconceptions about retinol, so if you are confused abot when and how to use I would suggest using this post as a guide. It’s really helped me!
6. Tatcha Hydration Firming Eye Serum: I’m also starting to layer this over my Kiehls Line Reducing Eye Brightening Concentrate. I recently re-purchased the Kiehls product after forgetting how much I used to love it a few years back but sadly they changed the formula. After reading a lot of review I’m not sure what’s going on but it definitely doesn’t feel like it used to. It appears (based on what I read) it still has the same potent ingredients, they just changed the texture. I don’t really want to waste it so I chatted with a few people at Sephora about and they said I can use this first then layer over the Tatcha to get the hydration I’ve been missing!
PM SKINCARE PRODUCTS
My #1 favorite Mask is Dr. G Aqua Collagen Mask. I use it before any special event (right before makeup) including my wedding! It really just plumps and hydrates. Skin looks amazing and it creates the best foundation for makeup application!
Paula’s Choice Hyaluronic Acid Booster is my go-to before any flight. I mix it with Mara Universal Face Oil and land looking like a glowing goddess - hah! I’ll also add it to my Skinceutials C E Ferulic when I feel like I need a little something something (usually when I don’t have time to mask).
Tea Trea Oil - really great for cystic acne. Dip a Q-tip in and apply to your skin (make sure it’s not broken skin). The smell is ROUGH but it works. I’ll sometimes do 3 times a day and the stubborn under-skin zit will slowly disappear. If you really can’t take the smell, Sunday Riley UFO is a less smelly but pricier option. There’s also some other benefits to the Sunday Riley one. I recently used a sample and definitely felt like it was effective!
If I use a moisturizer it’s Clinique Moisture Surge or Moisturizing gel: this is really ONLY in the winter time and every few days. 99% of the time I don’t use moisturizer because my skin is super hydrated in the AM after my nighttime oil. My skin is naturally oily and I’ve found that most moisturizers actually make the oil 10x worse. These are two products that I like a lot because they are a gel not a lotion/cream product.
LIPS: my two go-tos are Clarins Hydra Essentiel Lip Balm and Darphin Petal Infusion Lip Oil. Both are SUPER moisturizing and especially great for travel and winter elements. The Darphin kind of looks like a gloss when you put it on vs. the Clarins which is a bit more subtle. I would say if I had to pick one the Clarins is the way to-go!
KORRES Black Pine Sculpting Oil is a CLEAN product and the price point is under $70 which is pretty awesome! I went through BOTTLES of this stuff in 2017 and early 2018 (wore all through wedding skin prep and week leading up to my wedding).
Other Skincare Products I Love
How long before you noticed results with Dr. Dennis Gross Peel and the Skinceuticals C E Ferulic? I would say roughly a month to a month and half. You have to be diligent about using. For the dark spots and acne scars it definitely takes some time to see those fading but it works. A bottle of Skincueticals lasts about 3+ months, so you should know by the time you’re done with a bottle if it’s worth it (and it sooo is!)! I know a lot of people that use the Dr. Dennis wipes daily (and according to the directions it can be used daily) but for me that’s too much; when using just twice a week I see a difference.
Tips for prevent pimples / acne: Personally, I’ve found the following to be helpful:
Drinking tons water (see my post for 4 free things you can do to get clear skin)
Clearasil Face Pads - my #1 product suggestion
Monthly facials (find someone who will create a custom facial for your skin - deets on my gal here)
Are the expensive skincare lines that estheticians sell worth it? My esthetician turned me on to Skinceuticals which is a very reputable skincare brand with pharmaceutical grade ingredients. From what I’ve read and been told, ideally you want pharmaceutical grade ingredients, however, it typically comes with a price. I can’t vouch for all estheticians and what they are trying to sell, so I would suggest doing your research. My gal Molly works under a medical doctor, so I feel comfortable that the products she suggests/they are stocking at their office are high in quality and worth the price.
Any clean product recs? This is something I haven’t researched much (and probably should start doing) but the Mara, Tatcha, and KORRES beauty products I use are all clean.
Super Hydrating Lotion/ Body Firming I’ve always been a Jergens girl!
Best Eye Creams? Checkout my beauty highlight on IG for a crowd sourced list of the best eye creams from the EDP fam!
Recs on a good toner? I’m not really a toner person but I’ve heard great things about SK II.
I also got a lot of Qs about travel skincare. You can see what’s in my travel toiletry bag here; its much of the same plus what I use before I fly!
Hope this was helpful - I tried to his as many things as I could! Def DM me or comment below if you have additional Qs. xo - Ash