Hello from the snowglobe that is Chicago this morning!
As soon as I finish this blog post I think I’m going to head out for a walk–I love Chicago when it snows. It’s so beautiful! (That is, until March, and then the snow is no longer welcome. 😂) It’s been a long time since I’ve done any beauty posts on here. And during my last Q + A I got a lot of requests to share my current nighttime routine, so I figured we were due for an updated blog post!
My Nighttime Winter Skincare Routine
If you’ve been following along for a while, you’ll notice most of these products haven’t changed (although, there are a couple new ones thrown into the rotation!) Most of my routine is Beautycounter because that is the brand that has continued to perform the best for me!
Skincare is so unique and what products work for you may not be the same as the ones that work for me. I have normal to dry skin. So if that’s your skin type, you will definitely get the most out of this blog post! However, if you have a different skin type, there are a lot of products in here that I think are universally beneficial no matter what kind of skin you have. (And I note that in each description!) I focus on using exclusively clean brands (without sacrificing performance!) so that’s what you’ll see here!
A tip on returns: I know sometimes it’s tough to buy beauty products online without being able to physically test them out first! But you’ll notice almost everything linked here comes from either Beautycounter or Sephora, both of which have very generous free return policies! (Beautycounter’s is 60 days for full reimbursement, Sephora’s is 30 within days for reimbursement, 60 days for store credit!)
When ordering from either, make sure to save your packing sleep/return label while you’re testing out your new products, so you can return anything that doesn’t suit you!
A note on what you NEED in your skincare routine:
If you are happy with your skin, let me be the first to tell you, you don’t need any new products. When something works, STICK WITH IT. But if you have been wanting to incorporate a new product to target something specific, I hope these suggestions are helpful!
If I had to choose ONE product: Antiaging products seem to be the #1 request right now, so if I had to choose ONE product, it would be this anti-aging serum. (More on that below!)
Okay, let’s jump in! Note this is my nighttime routine, as my daytime routine really is kind of nonexistent at this point aside from applying the same moisturizer you see here and sunscreen!
My Nighttime Winter Skincare Routine:
Note, these are listed in order of application!
Step 1: Face Wash
Step 1: Face Wash
I know, it’s ridiculously expensive for a face wash, but a little goes a LONG way and it lasts me forever. (We’re talking like, 6+ months). Granted, I only use it at night and when I’ve been wearing makeup (which is almost every day, I always like to put a LITTLE something on.) I love this because it removes makeup really well and does a good job cleansing all at the same time. I rub it in very well and then remove with a super gentle microfiber washcloth.
Okay not a face wash, BUT, an amazing thing you need to know about! (I use this on a clean face, post-washing!)
I am someone who is very skeptical of physical exfoliators (note: there are physical exfoliators, that slough off dead skin physically, and there are chemical ones, that use ingredients to loosen and remove top layers of skin!) Often, physical exfoliators can be too harsh (i.e. an apricot scrub) and damage your skin, but this one does not, and it’s amazing. It’s made of silk floss so it’s non-irritating and so gentle but you can totally see the stuff it’s sloughing off. I use this a couple times per week on VERY CLEAN skin! (Don’t use with soap!) They also make one for body that I love too! I also love that the company is a small woman-owned brand that conveniently sells her products on Amazon!
Step 2: Toner/Essence
Step 2: Toner/Essence
Step two after washing! I tend to use this after washing my face, the frequency depending on my skin at the time. I’ve found this is great for helping to control breakouts (especially if you tend to have issues with maskne) but I don’t usually use it more than 3-4 times per week so as not to over dry my skin. (However, those with combo/oily skin would have no problem using this every night!) I love that it has 2% BHA and is gently exfoliating without stripping (alcohol-free!).
If I’m feeling up to it, I use both of these, but if I’m being lazy, I will alternate, again, based on what my skin seems to need at the time. Do you need a toner and an essence in your routine? Probably not. But I have both and I love both and they do very different things. If you have dry, irritated skin, this essence will be your BFF as it helps to repair your moisture barrier and rebalance the skin. I love the way it smells and does a great job of locking in moisture and prepping your skin to better absorb your other products!
Step 3: Serums
Step 3: Serums
If I could pick one product as my absolute favorite in my entire routine, it would be a toss-up between the two of these. These are my skincare routine powerhouses that have become tried and true for me. I’ve tried a lot of similar products, but personally, these give me the best results with no irritating side effects.
I use this 4-5 nights per week, alternating with the Overnight Resurfacing Peel on the other nights (below). I think this serum is an absolute game-changer. It contains Bakuchiol, which is considered to be a natural alternative to retinol with comparative results and none of the harsh side effects. (See study here!) If you’ve seen Bakuchiol popping up in anti-aging products everywhere, that’s why!
This serum does a great job of targeting fine lines (most noticeably the ones on my forehead), improving skin texture, and over time I feel has really helped improve my skin tone. I stopped using this for a while because I got lazy, and noticed a really big difference once I wasn’t using it anymore! I think this serum is great for all skin tones.
What I’ve been shouting from the rooftops for years! If you have issues with patchy/rough/flaky skin (which sometimes can happen to me in the winter) you want this product. If your skin is dull and blah, you want this product. If you want help targeting dark spots, you want this product! I find that I probably use it more in the winter as for me, winter brings along all the aforementioned skin issues, but I do use this all year round. Impatient people like me will also appreciate that they will see results in the first couple of uses (hooray! That never happens!) Apply pre-moisturizer, to DRY skin. Wait until it no longer feels tacky (let it absorb for a couple minutes) and then follow with moisturizer.
How to get the best deal: Right now you can get the peel as a gift with a purchase of $50 or more (along with my favorite charcoal mask, below) when you join Beautycounter’s rewards program (it’s $25 per year but doesn’t auto-renew). You’ll also always earn 10% cash back to use toward your next purchase and free shipping with orders over $100! (So it’s kind of like Amazon prime but way better rewards!) I recommend if you plan on spending $50 on BC products anyway, to add this to your cart because it’s such an awesome deal!
Step 4: Moisturizers
Step 4: Moisturizers
The moisturizers I use currently are the top two, but I’m also including two others that I love and recommend often!
I will admit, the brand sent this to me last year in a press mailer and I did nothing with it until this winter. For whatever reason I decided to finally open it and give it a try and I fell in LOVE. This would probably be too much moisture for me in the summer, but I love it for winter! It’s a ceramide cream, which really helps lock in moisture and sooth any irritation you might have. (I’ve had friends say this is great for eczema too!) It is VERY RICH but doesn’t make skin greasy! It makes your skin baby soft!
Tip: Don’t miss your lips when applying this! It helps winter lips immensely!
I’ll use this during the day or on a night where I don’t feel like I need as much moisture as the ICE cream. I love this lotion and I love how soft it makes my skin without feeling heavy! It also contains Bakuchiol, so I love that it’s anti-aging in addition to hydrating! **If I had to choose ONE anti-aging product though, it would be the Countertime serum, so if you want to save $$ somewhere, splurge there, and go with a more budget-friendly moisturizer!
A great alternative to the above if you’re just looking for moisture benefits (not anti-aging). This lotion feels so light but gives your skin just the right amount of moisture that it needs. While I use the above more often now, I still recommend this to everyone with all skin types because it’s an awesome product.
If you’re on a budget, Weleda is always the brand I recommend! I was first recommended this by a makeup artist who was doing my makeup for a shoot in NYC several years ago, and it was such a good suggestion! My skin was so dry so she slathered it with Skin Food lotion! (Great for dry hands, feet, etc too!)
You can get Weleda at almost any drugstore, their products have super clean ingredients and are awesome basics. They don’t have anything fancy like actives or any anti-aging ingredients, but if you’re not looking for anything fancy, they’re an awesome brand!
Note: the Skin Food lotion is VERY thick (almost like a paste) and is super hydrating, so if you don’t need that much hydration, consider going with their Skin Food Light!
Step 5: Eye Cream
Step 5: Eye Cream
You guessed it, the Bakuchiol magic is also great in eye cream! This is the first eye cream I’ve ever used where I have seen marked improvement in fine lines around my eyes and I also think in general it just makes me look more well-rested, lessens the appearance of dark circles, etc.
Step 6: Facial Oil
Step 6: Facial Oil
(Always facial oil after moisturizer! Oil should be the last step in your routine!)
I added this to my regimen when it came out back in the fall, and let me tell you, it is INCREDIBLE. It only contains 7 ingredients, one of them being CBD, which helps all kinds of skin issues–redness, dryness, any form of irritation (so it’s especially helpful for calming breakouts!) It helps heal breakouts at record speed. Plus, it smells divine (the same scent as the mineral soak!) A little bit goes a LONG way and will last you a long time! I like to apply it to skin and then rub any leftover product on my hands! (Great for body spot treatment too on rough patches, rashes, etc–CBD is so great for that!)
Tip: Like your moisturizer, don’t miss your lips when applying the oil, it will really help chapped lips!
Use code JESSKEYS for 15% off your first order (but make sure to read this blog post first because I highly recommend their other CBD products too for help with stress, sleep, muscle pain, and more–and you can only use my discount once, so you’ll want to make it count!)
For hydration: Glossier Moon Mask
The product on this list I have used the longest–I don’t know how long it’s been but I know I started using it when I lived in a shoebox with my three other roommates so it’s been a LONG. TIME. When my skin needs extra hydration or something soothing, I love this mask. It’s also only $22! (Note: FWIW Glossier is not the CLEANEST EVER but it’s also still better than most! For such occasional use that is washed off vs. absorbed, it does not give me a lot of concern, but just wanted to throw that out there!)
For exfoliation/brightening: Caudalie Clarifying Mask
Another heavy hitter I’ve been using for years and years. I love this clarifying mask and it’s great for when you need a little extra exfoliation or brightening. Makes your complexion feel fresh and new!
For breakouts/clarifying/pores: Beautycounter Charcoal Mask
This is probably the mask I use most often, usually as a spot treatment as I don’t usually need it over my whole face! In the summer when I need more oil control, I apply it to my t-zone and nose (great for targeting pores on your nose). I also apply it as a spot treatment to target breakouts and help dry them up faster. I always recommend to those who are trying to control maskne breakouts too! Note the more oily you skin, the more you’ll probably want to use this. If your skin is dry, use this as a spot treatment once or max two times per week.
How to get the best deal: Like I mentioned above, right now you can get this mask as a gift with purchase of $50 or more in their “welcome set” along with the overnight resurfacing peel (above!) when you join Beautycounter’s rewards program (it’s $25 per year but doesn’t auto-renew). You’ll also always earn 10% cash back to use toward your next purchase and free shipping with orders over $100! (So it’s kind of like Amazon prime but way better rewards!) I recommend if you plan on spending $50 on BC products anyway, to add this to your cart because it’s such an awesome deal!