I Overhauled My Skincare Routine Because It Was Leaving Something to Be Desired

I've stuck to a few reliable products, but I've switched it up a lot.

I started reading xoVain in the summer of 2013, and ever since then, my obsession with skincare has grown massively. I went from a two-step routine (wash and moisturize) to 10 steps and beyond, depending on the day.

Once I find products I really like, I tend to stick with them, but sometimes I start to get bored or a new (to me) product will come my way that causes me to switch things up. I’ve written about my lengthy routine before; but here’s the routine I’ve been using for the last couple of months:

In the Morning


As far as cleansing goes, nothing has changed in my morning routine; I’m still ride-or-die for Shea Moisture African Black Soap (in the bar). I like how fresh it makes my face feel in the morning, and ever since I started using it (about two years ago) my skin has behaved better than it did in the past.


I love rosewater sprays because I feel like they give my skin a nice, hydrating pick-me-up in the morning and leave my skin feeling refreshed. Glossier Soothing Face Mist has become one of my favorites because its rose scent isn’t overwhelming like some others I’ve tried.


I’ve been on the hunt for a good brightening product, and while I’ve found some to be a bit too harsh for my skin, the REN Radiance Perfection Serum seems to be a really good fit for me. There’s not a big noticeable difference in terms of my skin’s appearance, but I can definitely feel a difference in how plump and firm my face feels.


What I use on my face as far as moisturizer or sunscreen depends on the amount of time I have and what kind of coverage I’m planning on using for foundation. If I have a little more time or I want to use a lighter-coverage foundation, I use Glossier Priming Moisturizer and Kiehl’s Super Fluid UV Defense.

The Glossier Priming Moisturizer is lightweight and absorbs into my skin really well so I don’t have to worry about it feeling greasy. Similarly the Kiehl’s sunscreen is also a gem (read more about it here).

If I’m in a hurry or I’m wearing a medium- or full-coverage foundation, I like to use the Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47 (also included in my sunscreen round-up). This is definitely more moisturizing so I find that using it underneath fuller-coverage foundation makes the finish more natural. Plus I like that it’s a two-in-one.

In the Evening

Makeup Removal

The first thing I do when I get home is take all of the makeup off my face with the Simple Cleansing Micellar Water. I’ve tried other kinds of micellar water, and while some are a little better at removing makeup, the lower cost of Simple more than makes up for the slight difference in performance. It’s gentle and it doesn’t burn my eyes.


Paula’s Choice seems to be a popular brand amongst xoVainers, so I recently gave the Skin Balancing Line a try. I liked most of the products included, but I LOVED this cleanser. It’s really creamy and mild and does an excellent job of getting my face clean without making it feel tight.


I was previously using Stridex pads for chemical exfoliation, but I found that over time, they seemed to dry out the underside of my nose and the area of my chin below my lip. I switched to the ever-praised Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid and I am never looking back. This liquid keeps breakouts in check without feeling drying or sting-y.


OK, I promise this post is not sponsored by Glossier, but the Moisturizing Moon Mask has become my every-night moisturizer. I slather this stuff on before I go to bed (if I’m having a “dry” day, I’ll layer it over Boscia Tsubaki Oil) and wake up with the cherub skin of my dreams. My first jar lasted me about seven months, so I also think this is such a good value.

On an As-Needed Basis

I still am loyal to pore-clearing masks, so nothing has changed there, but I have added a new once-weekly treatment to the roster.

Sunday Riley Good Genes has become my once-a-week luxury for keeping my skin bright.

This stuff is not cheap (which is why I only use one pump a week) but every time I use it, I inevitably get a ton of compliments on how radiant my skin is (even when I go sans makeup).

How often do you switch up your skincare routine? What’s your biggest skincare splurge?