my skincare ritual (and other thoughts)

basket skincare products high quality

Buckle up. This is a long one, folks. I’ve been a bit of a skincare geek for awhile now. I guess it all began something like 8 years ago from reading a magazine – probably Seventeen – and how some celebrity girl crush I had shared with us her Golden Rule of skincare: Never, ever, go to bed with makeup on. Ever since – the makeup has come off at night. No matter what.

It haunts me.

Even at maximum tiredness, I always force myself to pull out a make up wipe and scrub my face clean. Sure, I probably definitely don’t get everything but it’s not as damaging as if I did nothing. I am weirdly, religiously strict with myself about it.

I agree that it’s the Golden Rule for anyone who wants to get serious about their skincare. When your skin’s clean, you can really listen to it and start to learn what it needs.

Skip to: AM Routine, Cleansing, Masking, Serums, Moisturizing

Another Golden Rule I stick to: cruelty-free skincare and makeup. Rule of thumb: if it’s sold in China (where animal testing is literally required by law), it’s not cruelty-free. And because China is a multi-billion dollar cosmetics industry, a lot of companies choose to overlook the immorality of animal testing for the sake of getting rich.

Animal testing isn’t accurate or even necessary nowadays. Technologies exist that can examine the safety and effectiveness of a product without torturing helpless, intelligent animals. I do and don’t encourage you to look up articles and videos…the reality of it is eye-opening and so cruel. Truly horrifying.

My vanity will never be more important than that.

Cruelty-free products are becoming more and more widely available and as they do, the excuse not to use them grows smaller and smaller. We have so much influence in the quick, seemingly small decisions we make throughout our lives, without even thinking about it. Every purchase, in this case, is a reassurance to big companies like Neutrogena, Garnier, MAC, (could go on) that animal testing is okay. As long as they have buyers, they have no reason to change their current practices. Why would they? It’s working for them.

Imagine if we all suddenly became more conscious of it. Imagine if the whole world boycotted Loreal until they stopped animal testing. They’d be forced to comply if they wanted to stay as powerful as they are. We truly have all the power. Spread the news!

I will be the first to say that I am no skincare expert. What works for me may not work for you. Our skin is all so different and a big chunk if it just comes down to genetics. So in noo way am I qualified to advise you on that. I think the important piece of it is to decide what kind of cosmetics consumer you want to be and develop a ritual for yourself.

My household may not be as crazy as other’s – I totally get that. No kids here. But even trying to work in 2-3 minutes to wash your face with some quality skincare that’s doing good things for you – it’ll make a difference, even if it seems small. It gives you space to breathe and focus on yourself after a long day worrying about countless other things. It’s a time to reset and reconnect with that person in the mirror. A time to ground yourself. It’s a small collection of moments that have the potential to change your mindset in a big way.

Just for reference – my skin would be described as “normal” on the spectrum of oily to dry. It’s neither in excess. It can become dry if I don’t pay attention to it, but overall it’s pretty tame. My skin is sensitive though so I try to minimize fragrance. I’ve lucked out in the genetics department as far as clear skin goes – besides the inevitable hormonal break outs. My main goal when choosing skincare products is to keep it clear, promote hydration & evenness, and reduce texture. Everyone has their own skincare journey so I’ve also included lots of insight from my experiences working with all types of clients – tips that can help anyone no matter what their end goal is.


Everything’s listed in the order I use it in.


quality skincare products makeup body creme ouai supergoop josie maran milk cosmetics bareminerals farmacy tacha abh anastasia beverly hills

morning routine

It always starts with sunscreen.

I use the serum from Supergoop because it’s the very first step and therefore impossible to forget. It’s light and I can still moisturize after. Whichever one you pick, make sure there’s SPF and PA protection. The latter protects you from UVA rays – the ones that cause premature aging, wrinkles, sun damage, and skin cancer. Most people think their skin avoids damage unless they burn (UVB rays). That ain’t the case.

UVA = will cause Aging

UVB = will cause Burning

About 95% of the sun’s rays that reach you are UVA.

So if you’re burning, imagine what’s going on unseen. Not to mention all the blue light we’re exposed to daily. EEK. Please protect your skin!

Another one of my longtime fav’s has been Josie Maran’s Argan Daily Tinted Moisturizer, with a little added boost of SPF. I love this stuff because it gives my skin a long lasting glow and the perfect amount of coverage to even things out. I’ll use this or rotate in either Farmacy’s Honey Drop or Tatcha’s Water Cream – both in my PM routine. Deets to follow below.

My makeup routine is pretty minimalistic these days, and I love it like that.

BareMinerals owns the most real estate here with Complexion Rescue (tinted gel cream), bareSkin serum concealer, and a pressed bronzer (that I use on my eyes as well). I swear by all these products – but especially the concealer. I’ve had the opportunity to try all kinds of formulas throughout my experience working in cosmetics but this, by far, is the most hydrating, full coverage, and long lasting one I’ve come across. It was my go-to for clients of all skin types and ages. 10/10.

In Brow Land I use Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz & Clear Brow Gel. The wiz gets things defined with a precise pencil and spoolie while the clear gel keeps everything in place.

I’ve also been hooked on lash extensions lately – it’s dangerous. They make my life so eassyyyy. But if I were using a mascara right now it’d be Too Faced’s Better Than Sex. Same deal with the concealer. Tried ’em all. This one’s the best. A competitor would be Lash Paint from Tarte.

I recently started up my love affair with Milk’s Face Gloss again because it’s the perfect formula to give dew but not the sparkle. It looks more natural if you’re going for that no-makeup-makeup look. Tip: don’t apply until you’ve dried/styled your hair. It’s sticky. I go in with a dampened Beauty Blender to set it. [Edit: upon trying to hyperlink, I’ve realized this product was discontinued. I’m going to try this one next]

About that body cream? I don’t put it on every day. That’s unrealistic though I wish. It’s really once a week if I’m lucky. But for the sake of the blog, let’s say I actually have the time and regularly include this in my skincare routine. I love anything Jen Atkin and swear by her hair products (Ouai) so I figured I’d give this one a try. In the past I’ve loved Josie Maran’s Whipped Argan Body Butter – it’s SO good. You can’t go wrong there and a tub lasts forever.

the wind down.

quality skincare products korres cleaners josie maran exfoliator farmacy green clean tatcha tata harper trish mcevoy

the double cleanse

The double cleanse has forever changed my skin -as I recently re-learned when I brought it back into my life just about a month ago. When I worked in cosmetics, I was really consistent with it – it was kind of my job – and wowww did I notice results. It’s not always the most convenient, I know. It’s a whole other product, a whole other step.

But think about it this way: when you cleanse your face at night, if you wear makeup, you’re mostly just wiping off the layers of product that sat on your skin all day. You can’t truly get all the oil, dirt, and bacteria out in one swoop. Your skin has pores and bumps and cracks where all sorts of things hide! Toxins lurking. It’s especially less productive if you use a treatment cleanser – you don’t want to be wasting all those good ingredients on makeup that gets washed down the drain anyways!

Instead, use a true “makeup remover” (oil, balm, or a simple cleanser) first and save that treatment product for the next step when your face is really clean – it’ll be 10x* as effective and you’ll see actual results with it.

*not at all scientific

So! Products. I’ve been using Farmacy’s Green Clean for a while now and I swear by it. And somehow still look forward to using it years later. Out of all the makeup removers I’ve come across, this one gets the most makeup off (by practically dissolving it on dry skin) with the least amount of effort. It’s gentle and effective, a tub lasts a long time and doesn’t totally break the bank. I love this stuff.

Next is the micellar water (I use Trish McEvoy but any micellar water works, it’s really all the same) – especially if my skin is really feeling stuffed up. I just use it on a cotton round and it acts like magnet water that attracts and sucks up any left over makeup/dirt, etc. I also use it on my eyes because I’m a freak with lash extensions.

The double to my double cleanse – Korres Greek Yoghurt Cleanser. This is also the most gentle thing in the world and so moisturizing. It’s smell is subtle but soothing and feels so cooling on my skin. I’ll follow up with it after using Green Clean to drag any leftovers out of my pores, then add the smallest bit of water to foam it all up. Like a bath for my skin. Ugh. So good.

(In desperate times, I skip all these steps and reach for my Ogee face wipes. They’re not stripping and still leave my skin feeling moisturized.)

A couple times a week I exfoliate which is also a Game. Changer. If a daily cleanse is like the vacuum cleaner, exfoliating is like the professional carpet cleaner.

I prefer to use a powder from Josie Maran that can mix with a variety of things: water, argan oil, or a cleanser. I love it because I can control the amount of grit I want based on how my skin is feeling. Most of the time, I’ll pair it with a cleanser so that while I’m digging deep and (gently) cleaning out my pores, the ingredients from the cleanser can swoop in and be their most effective.

Other products pictured that I rotate in –

Tatcha – The Deep Cleanse & Tata Harper – Regenerating Cleanser. Both are wonderful.

You don’t have to use these products. The important thing for me was just integrating these steps into my routine. I’ve experimented with lots of products over the years until I found the right fits for my skin, and I’ll still be trying new things. Use whatever is convenient and effective for you.

Phew. That was a long section. You still with me?

quality skincare products farmacy honey mask tata harper resurfacing mask

the cherries on top

So many masks out there. So many options. These are two of my favorites. I don’t think masking is a crucial step in a skincare routine, but an added bonus. They just give us a little boost to whatever else is going on and provide us with a moment to breathe and relax.

Farmacy – Honey Potion. Conner’s personal fav. He sports this more often than I do sometimes. (Which makes me a very proud wife)

This mask has all sorts of good things wrapped into one, thanks to its major contributor: honey. It’s soothing, antioxidant-rich, and a natural humectant, so it leaves my skin nourished and ~glowing~. I use this probably two times a week as a little detox. Free radicals are everywhere so I’ll take a little boost of antioxidants wherever I can. I like to use it after I exfoliate and get my skin all nice ‘n clean.

I also treat myself to Farmacy’s coconut brightening/hydrating sheet masks every once in awhile. A good sheet mask is like a shot of water delivered straight to your skin – the “sheet” holds the product and moisture in which allows it to absorb instead of just evaporating off your skin. Whichever mask you choose, try to find one without cetyl alcohol. It’s an incredibly common ingredient that acts as a preservative to prolong shelf life. It does nothing for your skin but cause inflammation, irritation, and dryness. It’s usually one of the first few ingredients listed.

Next up: Tata Harper – Resurfacing Mask. This is a goodie. Lots of AHAs & BHAs to exfoliate the skin and leave you feeling like you just got a facial. If you ever see those terms and get confused: don’t. They’re just fancy words for exfoliation – one works above the skin (AHAs) and the other works below (BHAs). AHAs include things like fruit enzymes to work at “polishing” your skin and BHAs include common treatment ingredients like sulfur, willow bark extract, and salicylic acid to dig in and pull out all the gross sh-t. It’s good to have a mix of both.

I love Tata Harper products. Not just because they’re made in Vermont, but because of the company’s commitment to putting ethics first in skincare. No toxins, no fillers, no parabens, no sulfates, no GMOs, no artificials, etc., etc. NONE of the bad stuff. It’s the most pure and potent line of skincare. In my opinion. Justifiably, it comes with a heftier price tag so I sprinkle in products here and there. The cleansers and eye creams are amazing too…absolutely worth every penny.

So anyways. You really can’t screw up with either of these masks. They won’t burn, and if you forget to take them off it’s completely safe and fine. Sleep in em.

quality skincare sunday riley juno oil cbd serum

the muscle

Here’s one of the things I’ve learned about serums: half of them are amazing products that work and the other half are well-marketed bottles of “water”.

Serums are where to funnel most of your skincare budget. Quality makes all the difference here.

If you want to see targeted results in your skincare routine, you’ll need a serum. It’s the most potent product in your lineup and the one that can go deepest into your skin. It’s your treatment step!

Example: If you’re trying to fight breakouts, having a clarifying cleanser in your routine unfortunately won’t be enough to clear your skin. It can’t have a high enough potency trying to do two things at once, and later just gets washed off the face! Instead of trying to spread out a treatment across multiple products, it’s so much more effective to place that responsibility in a product dedicated to just that. Then you can work in other beneficial ingredients in other areas of your routine. Your skin needs balance to function properly.

Sunday Riley’s Juno Oil – I loooove this stuff. I’ve used some Sunday Riley products over the years and have loved every single one. Their clay cleanser was my go-to for awhile. They have an incredible Vitamin C line, a magical face-clarifying night oil, and their famed latic acid treatment: Good Genes. I might actually need to save up and snag that one next…

Literally every product I’ve tried from the brand has Shown. Up.

So anyways, this oil. I just started using it here and there a couple weeks ago but I can already tell it’s gonna stick with me. I don’t know all the deets or have a lot of experience with it yet. And I am kind of using it in place of a real serum (serum’s aren’t usually oils) but it’s so packed-full of superfoods that it still delivers the results I want.

Example A: I put a considerable layer on around 1pm today, went for an hour walk outside in the cold, frigid air along the waterfront, sat around etc. It is now 8:30pm and my face is still “damp”. In the best way though. I don’t really know how to describe it. You know how with some creams/products meant to hydrate your skin, it just feels dry an hour later? It’s been seven hours with this guy. My skin doesn’t feel sticky, just soft and thoroughly hydrated.

[Edit: I’ve been working on this piece for a few weeks and wrote different parts of it at different times. But y’all. I officially fell in love with this stuff today. I haven’t seen my skin look like this since my skincare collection was massive (and free). It’s revived…the pores are gone. Complexion is even. My skin just looks so…healthy. Just took about a week of consistent use to really kick in for me. Extremely recommend this]

I’ve also been using a CBD serum occasionally. I’ve heard that CBD is supposed to have lots of skincare benefits – I don’t know if it’s a marketing scheme or not with it being a big trend right now. The difference I’ve seen so far is that it’s helpedl the overall evenness of my skin. Reduces redness – which makes sense! I usually use it when my skin is needing a little less hydration or when I’m using a heavier moisturizer along with it.

quality skincare products josie maran argan oil farmacy honey drop moisturizer tatcha water cream

the comforters

I love facial oils. They’re so powerful and get straight to the point. No extra stuff. But I can’t use them on my face every night for the same reason – I’ll turn into a 24/7 grease ball. That’s why I like to keep a small assortment of moisturizers on deck. My skin has moods.

Josie Maran’s 100% Pure Argan Oil will be in my routine forever. FOR-EVER. It’s sourced so well and heals and nourishes…there’s no fragrance, it’s not suffocatingly heavy, it’s anti-aging, it’s perfect. I usually just use facial oils at night since they stay shiny on the skin for awhile, but this particular one has a sister version with a matte finish. It’s perfect for blending into foundation for a hydrated look – always my go-to.

Also I love Josie Maran’s story. This post is already too long so I’ll let ya google it.

Next place in the lineup is Farmacy’s Honey Drop moisturizer. My most frequent. I feel like it does everything for my skin. Revisiting honey here – a powerhouse ingredient. Helps keep my skin clear, hydrated, and even-toned. It’s a soother while also keeping things supple and glowy. My skin feels its best after a night of this stuff.

I use their Honey Savior salve on my hands too – I have some sort of eczema thing going on – and it’s the only thing that works. No more itching. No more dryness. It’s helping with my scars. And I tried everything – even the various Josie Maran argan oil products I have around. Nothing works like this. Seriously. If I could only use one main ingredient on my skin the rest of my life, it’s honey.

If I could only have two moisturizers, I’d be happy with these guys. But I’ve been known to switch things up here and there, hence the Tatcha Water Cream pictured. I’m just rotating it in every once in awhile but it’s great stuff and perfect when I want something light on the skin. It absorbs fast so it works well for a daytime cream under makeup, too.


Skin works the best when it’s hydrated. Healthy turnover happens. The skin heals, it regenerates, and it breathes. All the products you’re investing in are suddenly more effective. It’s kind of like the offensive line in football – it’s necessary so that your star players (serums, masks, cleansers) can shine through and make big plays.

Hydrated skin = productive skin

Anyways, if I were to recommend two areas our your routine to bring under the microscope first, I’d say the cleanser and moisturizer. They can really make or break your entire routine. Good stuff only.

I’ll spare you a long conclusion. You’ve made it this far! But generally that’s what’s happening on my face day to night. Please reach out and tell me if this helped you or you’ve learned something. I love this kind of stuff. Working with and talking to people about skincare is something I really miss.

If you couldn’t tell.


oh hey beautiful. thanks for reading my blog post! how was it? to get in contact find me on IG: katerosehayes or shoot me a message I’d love to be in touch!

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