The 3-Step Routine That Rebooted My Skin

My job (and a plethora of products) was wrecking my skin, so I hit the reset button.

I've been writing about beauty professionally since 2011, and in that time I've been sent a lot of skin care products to try out.

While the pretty packaging and promises of results are always alluring, I know that it takes time and commitment for a product to really take effect. But in order for me to get the best stories, I have to always be looking for (and personally testing) the next best thing.

Striking a balance between my personal skin care routine and doing my job has been difficult, and at times the trouble has shown on my face. I've slathered my skin with retinols, peels, acids, masks, creams, gels, and everything in between, playing Russian roulette with my pores. Sometimes a product would work, and other times it would go horribly, horribly wrong.

A few months ago, I got seriously frustrated with my skin. It was dry and flaky, itchy, and constantly red. A friend recommended rose hip oil in place of moisturizer, and I figured it seemed gentle enough.

The results were awesome, and I decided to continue down the path of keeping it simple. I chilled out on the peels, ditched the toner, kept masks to a minimum, and switched to an oil cleanser.

Here's What I'm Using:

I start by massaging Shu Uemura Porefinist Anti-Shine Fresh Cleansing Oil onto dry skin. It dissolves every trace of my waterproof liner and thick mascara, and it works its way into my pores to expel dirt and grime.

To emulsify the oil, I splash warm water on my face, then I soak a washcloth in hot water, wring it out, and wipe the oil away, leaving behind a clean, soft face--not squeaky clean or dried out.

With my skin still damp from the washcloth, I massage in three drops of Kosmea Skin Clinic Certified Organic Rose Hip Oil and my glow intensifies.

When a blemish pops up (usually around that time of month), I spot-treat with Thursday Plantation Tea Tree Medicated Gel For Acne. With 20% tea tree oil, it's seriously potent. The tea tree is antibacterial and takes down zits with ease. Once I dabbed it on a painful cystic pimple and the next day it nearly vanished.

Sticking to this new routine, my face feels softer, happier, and more even-toned.

However, even in the humid days of summer, I still get dry and flaky every now and then. On those days I use Kosmea Daily Facial Exfoliant with Philips PureRadance Facial Cleansing System, which has two speeds and uses sonic pulses and brush rotations to buff away dirt and dead skin cells. Doing this little routine about once a week keeps sandpaper patches at bay.

Finally, I have one other product for mornings--SPF. I mean, duh. I've been using Dermalogica Solar Defense Booster SPF 50 between applying rose hip oil and my face makeup. It has green tea extract in its formula--which is anti-inflammatory and gentle enough for sensitive types like me--and it provides broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection to keep my skin safe from damage.

While I'm obviously happy with the results I've seen using this pared down routine, I think one of the best things is just how much quicker it is. Getting home after a late night and being able to hit the hay a few minutes later--without streaking my white pillowcases with lipstick and liner--is amazing.

How many steps and products does your skincare routine include? Have I inspired you to simplify?