After a few bad experiences getting professional facials, I have been sticking to giving myself an at-home facial every month or so. The only difference is that I skip extractions since these should only be done by a professional. Today I’m sharing my seven step at-home facial routine.

1. First I thoroughly cleanse to ensure I’m beginning with a clean slate. Use lukewarm water with any gentle cleanser. Too hot could cause damage, too cold will cause pores to constrict which is the opposite of what you want to be doing before a facial.

2. Next it’s time to exfoliate. I’ll often use the Fruitizyme Five Minute Facial because it’s both a peel and a physical exfoliator. I also love the ExfoliKate exfoliator or the more gentle Tata Harper’s regenerating cleanser. The exfoliating step is meant to create a smoother surface that will better absorb the products that follow.

3. There are two ways to go about steaming. I have a wonderful facial steamer I bought on Amazon that I fill up with water and let run. You can also soak a washcloth in hot water and hold it over your face. Steam for ten minutes to open up pores.

4. Choose a mask. I rotate between quite a few. Maybe The Problem Solver if my skin is congested, Honey Potion or fresh Rose if it’s dry, Borghese Radiante if it’s dull. I prefer to leave one on for longer than instructed, at least 45 minutes, before rinsing off with lukewarm water.

5. After rinsing, do a quick swipe with a toner-soaked cotton pad. This ensures every last trace of the mask is gone and prepares skin for one more treatment step. I recently finished this lovely toner and have been trying out another rose toner.

6. Apply a serum. I usually choose a hydrating one because there is rarely a time when my skin could not use more hydration. The Clarins hydra-essentiel one is an old favorite, I’ve also been trying the Drunk Elephant B-Hydra gel. Occasionally for an extra boost I’ll use this derma roller. You do you here but it increases ingredient absorption by 90%.

7. Moisturize. Think of this step as locking it all in. Instead of my everyday product, I use a heavier moisturizer after doing an at-home facial – this one from Beauty Pie.

My last tip is to complete the at-home facial at least two hours before going to bed to ensure the product fully absorbs into your skin, not into your pillowcase. On that note, switch to a fresh silk pillowcase while you’re at it.

Photo, 4th and Bleeker


Let’s skip the disclaimer about how sunscreen is important all year round not only during the summer and get to all my favorite sunscreens to protect every inch of you.


EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 is the sunscreen I use nearly every day of the year. A thin layer applied atop moisturizer doesn’t interfere with makeup and provides enough protection for my 30-minute walk to work. It doesn’t leave a white cast, pill or clog pores or feel greasy – a little lactic acid in the formula makes sure of it.

I swap that for Kiehl’s Super Fluid Daily UV Defense Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ for full days in the sun when I’m not wearing any makeup and going to be re-applying throughout the day. It’s just as good for everyday use as it layers well under makeup, is noncomedogenic and has a matte finish but I use more of it with each application so I save it for beach days.

For full days in the sun when I am wearing makeup, I bring along the Kate Somerville UncompliKated SPF 50 Soft Focus Makeup Setting Spray. This is a super-fine mist in an aerosol can that makes it incredibly easy to reapply SPF as you are meant to, every two hours. On top of that, it has a soft-focus effect that refreshes makeup and hydrates.

The Juice Beauty SPF 8 Lip Moisturizers are super simple. I like that they are organic after reading how much lip product one ingests over time and that there are tinted options for when I want a little color. I find most lip balms with SPF much too waxy, especially the Fresh Sugar one, but I’ll wear them anyway because UV rays!


I’m usually happy with whatever sunscreen I find at the drugstore but there’s one I’ll splurge on and that’s Moroccanoil Sun Lotion SPF 50 or SPF 30. It smells divine like all of the Moroccanoil products and is super hydrating like a body cream yet absorbs quickly.

Hands are so neglected when it comes to skincare and anti-aging. More hand creams should include SPF! Of those that do, Supergoop Forever Young Hand Cream with Sea Buckthorn Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 40 PA+++ is my favorite because it is nourishing without leaving any film or greasy feeling and has a lovely subtle scent. Eucerin Daily Hydration Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Hand Cream is just as good and like 1/8th the price so I have that one more often because I go through hand cream like water.


Yes, your hair can get sunburned, too. The problem is that most hair products with UV protection are not friendly to hair styling – balms that go on like a conditioning mask or sprays that leave hair extremely oily. The Sun Bum Beach Formula 3-in-1 Leave-In Hair Conditioner Spray is more like a detangling spray that happens to offer UV protection which keeps hair from becoming brittle or discolored if you’ve dyed it.

Photo, Violet Grey

summer beauty products

Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Eye – After hearing only rave reviews about this eye cream, it’s been at the top of my list to try. I waited to purchase until I used every last drop of my current one (a new habit I’m attempting to form). It’s said to soothe, strengthen the under-eye skin and abolish dark circles. I adore the Kiehl’s concentrate from this range so I have extra high hopes for this product.

theBalm Bahama Mama Bronzer – I’m such a fan of theBalm highlighters and blush but somehow have yet to try the brand’s bronzer. I often wear a touch of bronzer as my only cheek color so I think I’ll love the matte shade that promises a fresh off-the-beach glow.

Sephora Collection After-Sun Mask – I took a few of these bio-cellulose sheet masks with me to San Diego this past weekend. It promises a cooling feeling that will be so soothing after a day in the sun. An extra boost of hydration should ensure my tan lasts a little longer, too.

BeautyPie Superactive Capsules – Capsule serums are brilliant because they keep the high doses of active ingredients stable. Most are super pricey so I jumped at the chance to order these the day they launched on BeautyPie. I got the version with vitamins C and E, powerful antioxidants to brighten and moisturize and even skin tone. Don’t worry about the excess packaging – the capsules are made from red seaweed and are entirely biodegradable.