I used to use the same skincare products year round. I’d get to fall or winter and my skin would be super dry, peeling, or worse. I just figured that was part of the season and I’d have to deal with like everyone else was. I was wrong!
I can’t remember at what point I realized I needed to change my products based on the season (or climate) but it was a game changer. Now, I rotate products based on how my skin is feeling each day. It’s the same thing I do with seasons but different frequency. When my skin is feeling dry I use my fall/winter products and when it’s oily, I use my summer products — sometimes I use oily control products depending on what my skin is going through. I’ve spent years paying close attention to my skin so it’s second nature at this point and I can make the decision in seconds. Admittedly, it’s been a lot of trial and error but has been so incredibly worth it to reduce breakouts and dryness.
I wanted to take a few things I’ve learned and share with you in hopes it saves you just that: years of testing. Is it an adjustment to get used to having multiple products? Absolutely. But having your skin look (and feel!) its best is worth it. Here’s what I’d recommend.
1. A hydrating cleanser.
Not all cleansers are created equal, just like every other beauty product. When temperatures start to drop, I reach for cleansers with words like “balm” or “oil” in them. I typically use these 3-4 nights a week and alternate with my regular basic cleanser.
Why: Some cleansers strip your skin of too many oils, leaving your skin struggling to get back to normal. This can result in either under production (dryness) or over production of oil (oiliness). This is a general rule, not specific to fall or any other season! But when it’s cold out, your skin is trying to adjust on its own so help it out a little.
First step, get ride of anything that might be too harsh on your skin. I have a few favorite basic/every day favorites here, here, and here (use code JENNA20 for 20% off + this product is actually free right now with a $75 purchase). Any time I list options like this, don’t sweat over which one to choose! Choose based on your budget and where you’re ordering from (i.e. if you’re ordering more than one product from a certain retailer). They’re all good, I promise!
Second, add in a more hydrating cleansing oil or cleansing balm a few nights a week to give it a break. The Beautycounter cleansing oil is truly the best I’ve ever tried and my top pick because it’s already in an oil form so you don’t have to wait for the warmth of your hands to turn it into an oil like with cleansing balms. One bottle lasted me a year when I used it in this way so the price is great when you consider that. I also recently found this Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm (currently 43% off!) which is semi-liquified and I love it as well. It’s dreamy. Truly. Another favorite is the Farmacy Green Clean which is a little more balm-like. The Colleen Rothschild Cleansing Balm and the Beautycounter Cleansing Balm are very comparable and are true balms (meaning a little more solid in consistency). You can’t go wrong with any of these options and it comes down to personal preference. They’re all gentle, hydrating, and don’t irritate your eyes if you’re removing eye makeup (that’s huge for me).
Note that when purchasing REN products, I usually prefer to purchase directly from REN instead of Sephora! They usually run better promotions (insanely good gifts with purchase) and I was able to get a 20% off discount code which is JENNA20. Both of those reasons make it a little more budget friendly for great quality clean beauty products.
2. Consider a more gentle toner.
Toner is my best tip for anyone struggling with oil production and acne (read this post on how to reduce breakouts). If your skin is and had always been oily, this tip probably isn’t for you but more food for thought. If you have normal to dry skin and are using an all over toner, you might consider switching to something less astringent like the Indie Lee Toner. If you’re only spot treating problem areas like your chin (that’s what I do using these cotton face wipes!), you’re probably fine to continue using your regular toner. My personal favorite is the REN Glow Tonic. It also fights hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation is just what it sounds like: more pigment. So think acne scars, melasma, and dark spots. Read about how to treat hyperpigmentation here.
3. Add the REN Overnight Recovery Balm.
I’ve lost count of the number of people who have reported back after trying the REN Overnight Recovery Balm (discount code JENNA20 works on this too!), saying it saved their skin. I agree! It does exactly what it says: helps your skin recover overnight. It’s a VERY hydrating product so I recommend for everyone who struggles with any kind of dryness. It was the first product I tried that I would put on at night and my skin would STILL feel hydrated when I woke up. That being said, there are a few ways to use it. Knowing how to use it is key!
If you have normal to dry skin, I recommend applying all over your face about 3 nights a week and alternating with your regular moisturizer and/or face oil. You do not need to use face oil when using the REN Overnight Recovery Balm. If you’re breaking out on your chin around that time of the month, spot treat your chin with toner and then apply everywhere except your chin. If you use the REN Overnight Recovery Balm daily and find yourself breaking out too much, you know to start alternating or cutting back to 2x a week! I actually use this year round. During Chicago winters, I would use as much as 5 times a week during polar vortexes. In California summers, I still use once or twice a week depending on how my skin is feeling. And if you’re using a retinol (especially prescription), you should absolutely add this to your routine after your retinol.
If you struggle with stubborn dry patches to the point where you can feel the texture of the dryness, the REN Overnight Recovery Balm is also an amazing spot treatment for that. I can’t tell you how many times someone has messaged me saying it cleared up a stubborn spot in less than a week! For this, I would say spot treat every single night until it’s gone and then alternate similar to the above going forward as maintenance. I have also had one person say it cleared up dry skin around her eyes. I don’t necessarily recommend using this product on your eyes (generally products made for your face aren’t also for your eyes because eye skin is different), but I think it’s worth sharing for you to be able to make the decision yourself!
If you have extremely dry skin and live in a cold climate, you might need to use the Recovery Balm every night. Keep an eye on it. Maybe you start the season that way and then switch to alternating because you no longer have dry skin and your skin is now more “normal” oil wise. That is the power of good skincare!! Something you thought you’d struggle with forever, might not actually be the case!! This is truly one of my skincare must haves and I wouldn’t want to live a life without it!
4. Swap out your moisturizer for more hydration.
The REN Overnight Recovery Balm above is like an SOS treatment. While technically used in place of a moisturizer, it isn’t an “every day” moisturizer unless you have really dry skin. When it comes to moisturizers, I also have a list of options that all work really well without clogging your pores. Generally, REN makes excellent moisturizers and cleansers so you can’t go wrong. My most used is the Global Day Cream and the Overnight Glow Night Cream. I also have been loving this Elemis Pro-Collagen Night Cream and Tatcha Water Cream. All are truly amazing!
5. Embrace face oil.
It’s time. I haven’t talked about face oil in awhile on Instagram but here’s a full blog post that busts the myths around face oil. Like, “I have oily skin, I shouldn’t be using face oil”. False! Oily skin is caused by overproduction of oil. That could be something like your cleanser is stripping your skin of natural oils so you need to switch your cleanser (see above). Face oil will help restore those oils that your skin is struggling to produce. OR it could be your skin naturally produces a lot. Face oil will help train your skin to produce less — just like training your hair not to produce as much oil by not washing it every day. It’s a slow process and you might use oil different than someone who’s skin struggles to produce oil on its own. For that, I’d recommend just one drop in your moisturizer every other night. Slowly work up to nightly. Then in a few weeks go up to 2 drops. Stop there unless your skin starts to feel a little dry. At that point, your skin has been trained.
Truly, face oil is one of the best things you can do for your skin. I have tried a lot. Sephora, Ulta, the Internet – the best one is simply Beautycounter. As someone who loves trying new products, I also have to acknowledge when a product consistently delivers and that is Beautycounter. Not to mention it’s reasonably priced (and sometimes more affordable than products that just don’t perform as well). I use No. 1 in the morning (citrus scented) and No. 3 (ylang ylang scented) at night. You don’t need both – you can just use one. And if you’re a newbie, introduce it slowly. Start with one drop nightly for a few weeks, then 2 for a few weeks, then 3-4. If you’re still feeling dry or on especially cold days, use in the morning too. Eventually, you can use morning and night until warmer weather comes.
6. Look for Hyaluronic Acid in your products.
For anyone new to this ingredient, it’s naturally found in your body and has a variety of uses. But it’s especially key for fall as really helps keep your skin hydrated. Not all Hyaluronic Acid is created equal and generally you get what you pay for. My favorite HA product is the SkinCeuticals HA Intensifier serum and my budget friendly pick is the Maelove Hydrator B5 Gel. Note that SkinCeuticals also makes a B5 Gel which I recommend over Maelove if you don’t have a budget!
Outside of the above tips, keep doing everything for your overall body health. Drink plenty of water, wear sunscreen, get enough sleep. While they aren’t necessarily steps in your skincare routine, it’s sometimes helpful to get a little reminder!
Have any questions on products? What to get? How to use them? Leave a comment or shoot me a DM on Instagram!