The Fall Skin Care Routine I Swear By to Keep My Skin Hydrated All Season Long

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I don't wear much makeup. I am the type to store eyeliner, mascaras, and lipsticks for years without ever using them. But when it comes to skin care, especially during the colder and drier months, I am quite religious about the products I use and the routine I keep. I'm a firm believer that if you have great skin, you don't need much for your face, besides a well-groomed eyebrow (but that's a topic for the next post). That’s why, with the turn of the season, I am stepping up my fall skin care routine to prevent my skin from developing a patchy, bumpy texture it tends to have come autumn.

My skin type is considered combination, but during this time of year, it just tends to be plain dry. What I've discovered is that a multi-step process involving ample time for absorption between each step and an overnight mask — sometimes every other day — is what does the trick in keeping my skin hydrated during this period. Nothing's worse than laboriously applying all that product onto your skin just to have it rub off on your pillow sheet. Take time between each skin care step with other nighttime rituals like brushing your teeth and hair, hydrating with a glass of warm water with lemon, or reading your favorite fall book. What I discovered, although the process is longer than most people would prefer, is that it's a time for self-care and a moment to slow down from the rush of the day.

I listed each product in the order of use, and why I am loyal to each. There are products I've been using for over twenty years (my love for skin care started very early), while others are more recent affairs. Peruse below and see if any can work on your skin.

We only include products that have been independently selected by The Zoe Report’s editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

Fall Skin Care Routine: Cleansing Oil

I've used Shu Uemura's cleansing oil on and off for over 20 years now. I always come back to it because, honestly, there is no other cleansing product that I've tried that works better. It has a watery, thin consistency, so you need only a small amount for your entire face, and once you rub in circular motions at each area of your face to cleanse off the daily grime, you simply wash it away — no second cleanser necessary. It leaves your face hydrated, in an even manner, without the topical oily layer that other cleansing oils tend to leave behind.

Fall Skin Care Routine: Toner

The smell of Laneige products remind me of my early teens when I first started using the line. This is the only product I'll use with fragrance (light and pleasant), and it doesn't irritate my skin a slight bit. It instantly hydrates and tightens my pores, and refreshes my skin from the stressors of the day.

Fall Skin Care Routine: Serum

This serum instantly soothes my tired and worked-up skin from the day. It is lightweight and instantly absorbed, and the sea aster is known to calm the skin and prevent redness over time. The ceramides (lipids) protect your skin from daily triggers, and without the proper ratio of ceramides, you can develop dry and irritated skin.

Fall Skin Care Routine: Retinol

I tried a number of retinol products — prescription and over-the-counter — at great length and variation of dosage, but even after the sixth week, my skin was still red, peeling, and the worst I've ever seen it. I didn't understand why so many beauty editors raved about retinol. But I came upon Dr. Zein Obagi's line, ZO® Skin Health, and it is the only retinol product I use. I see results the following morning. My skin is smoother, brighter, more even tone, and do I dare say, younger. I'm not a fan of the texture, but it's more of a preference than anything to flag. I prefer products that feel instantly hydrating but this one feels like a layer of vaseline on your skin.

Fall Skin Care Routine: Eye Cream

Honestly, I didn't believe in the efficacy of eye creams until Neocutis' Micro Eyes Riche Extra Moisturizing Eye Cream. No matter the amount or routine, I never noticed a difference after full use. This formula is on the richer side and contains hyaluronic acid, which provides deep hydration, resulting in a vitalized and smoother appearance around the eyes. Translation: My eyes look more awake and rejuvenated.

Fall Skin Care Routine: Cream

This is another product I keep coming back to time and time again. You instantly feel the tingly sensation as the glycolic acid works on shedding all the dead skin cells. The result is instant —dewy, glowing, smooth skin.

Fall Skin Care Routine: Face Oil

You may be familiar with The Rich Cream by Augustinus Bader, but its Face Oil is also noteworthy. Besides its silky consistency and fast absorbent quality, my skin feels slightly plumper and rejuvenated after continual use. I rub about three drops between my fingers to activate it and then apply it in an upward motion starting from my jawline. It's the final step in my routine before heading to bed.

Fall Skin Care Routine: Mask

During winter, I try to use a face mask at least twice a week. Instead of taking it off after a few minutes as instructed, I leave it on the entire night. I wake up with a luminescent glow and even skin tone. To prevent breakouts, I cleanse my skin in the morning with a mild cleanser, like Dr. Barbura Sturm Cleanser.

Fall Skin Care Routine: Rescue Cream

When all else fails, I slather Weleda's Skin Food Original Ultra-Rich Cream all over my face and neck. It's super thick and rich, and takes some effort to spread, but be patient and gentle, making sure to evenly spread it over your skin. I always have this and Aquaphor Healing Ointment on my nightstand, just in case I need that extra moisture.

Fall Skin Care Routine: Humidifier

Having a humidifier on your desk while working pampers your dermis throughout the day with a constant mist. Not only is it good for your skin, but also your respiratory tract.