Easy Steps for a Flawless At Home Self Tan

Loving Tan Self Tanner

Looking back on my childhood, there were so many glimpses of who I would become as an adult. Little moments where seeds were planted that grew into something significant for my future, “grownup” self. 

Career-wise, I should have seen all this coming. I was a big-dreaming, optimistic, fashion-loving, creative kid. 

I was also relentlessly teased about how ghostly pale I am, and I HATED it. So my tenacious young self decided to put an end to it. I scrounged up some money and walked over to Rite-Aid to buy their least expensive self-tanner. 

The moment I got home, I slathered that stuff all over, checking the mirror every few minutes to see if I was transformed into one of the supermodels whose pictures covered the back of my bedroom door. 

It never worked. I never looked like Cindy Crawford or Niki Taylor. But I also never stopped trying. Like I said, I was an optimistic kid. 

Year after year, I went through the same ritual.

It was how my family marked the start of Spring – Oh look, Meg’s trying to tan again.” 

Over time, I upgraded from Rite-Aid brand to “better” drug store options. When I got a high school job, I splurged on anything I could get my hands on in the department stores. 

So I’m not hyperbolic when I say I have tried every self-tanner under the sun. 

Happily, products have evolved along with my expectations. I’m not trying to look like a bronzed goddess. I’ve grown to appreciate my fair and freckled skin. 

It’s just that when the sun is shining I look radioactive and a good tanner helps to tone it down, even out my skin, hide my veins and cellulite, and help me feel more confident in shorts, skirts, and swimsuits.

Last year I shared a step-by-step video over in my Instagram highlights

 

 
 
 
 
 
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☀️Anyone else craving sunshine and normalcy right about now? . 🤚🏼 . This time of year I usually start up my bi-weekly spray tans in anticipation for warmer weather and shorter hemlines. . But since my local salons are nowhere near opening 😭I have to go back to my roots and do it myself. . Luckily, I’ve been self-tanning since I was 14, which pretty much makes me an expert. . So today I’m breaking down my easy at home steps for a flawless at home tan. . Including how to get a natural, streak free application and my favorite products that make the process a breeze. . ☝🏼For the step-by-step guide follow the link in my profile and click “New on the Blog” or head to my highlights to watch the tutorial in full 💕

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Easy Steps to a Perfect Self Tan

Loving Tan Self TannerSelf Tanner, $40 In Medium | In Dark

Skin Prep

The key to success is all in how you prep your skin. Do not skip this part 🙂 

The night before you apply your self-tanner, shower, shave and exfoliate, paying extra attention to your elbow, knees, heels and hands and feet. Areas with dry or rough skin will absorb the tanner in a way that will leave it looking dirty. 

After you get out of the shower, dry off and slather your favorite moisturizer all over. 

Nails

Be sure you remove any nail polish and push back your cuticles. I also apply some cuticle oil so they do not dry out. Much like rough, dry skin, if your cuticles are dry or overgrown, and come in contact with your tanner, they will quickly turn yellow. 

Do not skip prepping your skin, it makes all the difference in how your tan comes out. 

Application

These days, there are a ton of effective products on the market. It just depends on the results you are looking for and how much time you have. 

The St. Tropez line is terrific, though it will give you a much darker tan. I use it if we are going on vacation, so I start darker than usual, but then it fades throughout the week, extending the life of the tan. 

But my all time favorite is Loving Tan’s 2-hour express. I use the medium, which is great for fair skin. They also have dark – ideal if you tan easily.

You’ll achieve a subtle, low maintenance tan.

It doesn’t smell, streak, or stain fabrics –  so wins all around.

Because it goes on dark, you can see exactly where you are putting it to make sure it goes on evenly.

Important! Use an applicator mitt – this will save your hands from getting stained AND help you cover more surface quickly and easily.

Best Practice

I’ve been doing this process on Monday mornings. (It’s just what works with my unconventional work schedule.) Which means I start to prep on Sunday night.

In the morning, remove your clothes and put your mitt on your left hand.

With the mitt on your left hand, work from your left leg up your body and apply on your right arm, chest, and neck.

Then switch hands and with the mitt on your right hand, start at the top of your right foot, and apply moving up your body, finishing on your left arm, chest, and neck.

You want to work with two-three pumps at a time.

As you work up your leg and arms, avoid your knee and elbow until there is very little product left on the mitt, then apply to those areas. This will ensure an even application. 

Finally, you can use this on your face, but be careful. Start with one pump, and go from there, paying close attention to your hairline and ears. 

Alternatively, you can skip your face and neck and instead use this face oil by Tan-Luxe. Add a drop or two to your moisturizer right before bed, and you’ll wake up with a natural, sun-kissed glow. I use this regularly even when I don’t go through the self-tanning process. 

When you’re done, throw on a loose fitting dress – and skip a bra for a few hours. I keep an old tank dress from when I was pregnant on hand just for this.

With the Loving Tan formula, you let it sit for 2 hours (it drys almost right away) and then hop in the shower to rinse it off. The tan continues to build over the next few hours.

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Video How-To: Instagram


Our Style Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please  follow on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

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5 Finds to Freshen Up Your Spring Beauty

Beauty Buys

Who doesn’t love a beauty bag refresh now and then?

Now that the weather is warming up, I like to lighten my make-up to coincide with the season. Over the last month, I’ve tried out some new-to-me products and can happily share five that have earned their keep in my own routine. 

5 Finds to Freshen Up Your Spring Beauty Routine

 

Beauty Buys

As usual, none of our content is sponsored. I personally purchase these products, test them myself and do not receive compensation for a positive review. 

YSL Shine Lipstick Balm 

Shine Lipstick Balm

 

Shine Lipstick Balm, $38 

This is NOT a thick, rich, highly pigmented lipstick. Instead, it’s like a whisper of color for your lips in a super hydrating balm. My allergies are off the charts this time of year, and between congestion and medicine, my lips get dry. I love using this since it’s a more elevated version of a lip balm. And the chic packaging doesn’t hurt either 😉

Eyebrow Pencil and Highlight Pencil Set

Eyebrow pencil and highlighting set

Eyebrow Pencil and Highlighting Pencil Set, $32

Long-time readers know that eyebrows are my favorite. They are a game-changer for effortless, natural, everyday beauty. Grooming them properly will bring a lot of life to your face and highlight your best features. But you don’t want to spend too much time fussing with it, that’s why I recommend many of benefit’s brow products. I recently added this pencil and highlighting duo for spring and summer.

The pencil comes with a spooly on one end and a pencil on the other. You’ll get a more subtle look with this than Ka-Brow (which I still use and love). With the pencil, you fill in any sparse spots and define their shape, and you’re done.

Follow by swiping the brow highlighter under your arch, and dab some in the corner of my eye to look more awake and bright.

Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara

Thrive Causmetics Mascara

Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara, $24 

Coming in a close second to eyebrows is eyelashes. I love a strong lash and try all kinds of mascaras. I discovered Thrive Causmetics late last year after many readers listed it as their favorite beauty buy of 2020. So, of course, I had to try it myself.

This stuff is for serious lash lovers. If you want a bold, long, defined lash, you’ll love this.

It did take me a few applications to get used to the formula. It’s wetter than what I’m used to but dries quickly. With this, you don’t have to add more than one, maybe two layers. Less is more.

The look is gorgeous, and as a bonus, it’s so easy to wash off—it kind of flakes off when you wash your face, so it’s gentle, and you don’t have to deal with raccoon eyes.

If this testimonial isn’t enough, I find this in my 14-year-olds makeup bag every day. 😉

Use this link to get $10 off your first purchase of $50 +.

Vitamin C Brightening Serum

Vitamin C Brightening Serum

Vitamin C Brightening Serum, $85 

I talked about the benefits of incorporating Vitamin C into your morning skin care routine here. I decided to test out, C.E.O by Sunday Riley, a new-to-me product with great reviews. It’s pricey but gentle on your skin and easy to incorporate into whatever you’re already using. 

If you are looking for a more affordable option, I like these Vichy Vitamin C Capsules.

 

(Re) Setting 100% Mineral Powder 

ReSetting Mineral Powder

(Re)setting 100% Mineral Powder, $30 

Finally, sunscreen should be the number one product in your skincare routine. Wear it all day, every day, no matter what you are doing, regardless of the time of year. Daily, I apply SPF 30 from Drunk Elephant at the end of my morning routine. And now, to freshen up my make-up mid-day, I use this (re)setting powder from Supergoop.

You can keep it in your bag or desk drawer and swipe it across your face mid-day to freshen up your make-up and reapply your sunscreen. Genius! 

Our Style Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please  follow on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

Learn about our mission to help women look and feel their very best, every day, here

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The Benefits of Daily Face Rolling

The Skin Changing Sacheu Stainless Steel Face roller

Let’s talk about the benefits of face rolling. 

There are so many gadgets available in the beauty market these days. While some are nothing but gimmicks, others can work wonders. Thanks to technology, science and research, we can maintain a youthful appearance as we age in a few simple, daily steps.

Half the challenge is figuring out what you need, specifically for your skin type, then staying consistent.

For me, the real game-changers have been using an SPF every single day, double cleansing at night, and learning how to incorporate different topical treatments like serums, Vitamin C, and retinol into my routines correctly.

Then there are the “extras.” Those little things you can do to kick everything up a notch. I use a dermaroller a few times a week and my face roller twice daily.

This all sounds like a lot, but, I promise, it’s not. The most significant time investment was researching the best practices, and I get to share what I learn with you here!

Today, we’re talking about the Benefits of Daily Face Rolling.

Face Rolling has been a beauty trend for several years. It started with Jade Rollers, little wands with a jade stone on either end designed to roll across your face. But after some reading, I learned that while jade is cooling to the skin, it’s also porous, so it traps bacteria.

The last thing you want to do is haphazardly roll bacteria up and down your face. So I swapped my jade roller out for this stainless steel version from Sacheu Beauty.

The stainless steel in nonporous, so it stay clean AND has a nice weight to it so you get good, even pressure. 

Benefits of Daily Face Rolling

The Skin Changing Sacheu Stainless Steel Face roller

 

Stainless Steel Face Roller, $35

Face rolling is a form of massage. By rolling your face for a minute or two a day (in an up and out motion), you promote circulation and lymphatic drainage.

What does that mean?

Increased circulation helps your skin look brighter and firmer. That’s why as we age, we start to lose that fresh faced “glow,” so we have to increase our circulation manually. Immediately after use, you’ll look rosier, but with long term use, you’ll also start to see a reduction in lines and wrinkles.

Then there is the benefit of promoting lymphatic drainage, which is just a fancy term for moving excess fluid off your face. So if you wake up puffy or have dark under-eye bags, this will help remove fluid from your face. This is what I find to be the most helpful.

Because you are moving the fluid off your face, you’ll start to bring back your jawline and cheekbones. 

Some research suggests that face rolling can also help with sinuses, but there is not enough to be definitive. I have terrible sinuses and can say that this makes my face feel better at a minimum.

You can also keep it in the fridge to get an extra cooling effect. However, I keep this in my freezer instead for mornings I need a little more help with the puffiness. 

Finally, beauty influencers will tell you that the roller helps distribute your products more evenly, but real beauty experts disagree, going so far as to saying that using rollers to apply skincare products actually pushes the product off your face.This makes sense since it’s important when you apply topical products to give them all to second or two to absorb into your skin.

Best Way to Use a Face Roller

Incorporating a face roller into your routine couldn’t be easier, but like everything in skincare, you have to use it the right way; otherwise, you’re wasting money and possibly doing more harm than good.

I roll my face in the morning and evening at the beginning of my routine.

You want to make sure that the roller as some “slip” to it, so it glides smoothly across your face. You can do it with some face oil; I simply use my oil cleanser.

* Start with the larger side of the roller and place it at the center of your jawline. Then quickly roll up and out toward your ear five times.
* Gradually move up your face, then switch sides.
* For your forehead, still with the larger side of the roller, move from your eyebrow line up toward your hairline.
* Take the small side and glide it under and over your eyes toward your ear.
* Finally, flip back to the large side, place it under your chin, and roll down your neck.

The motion is up and out; you don’t want to roll back on forth on your skin, and use gentle pressure. Everything we do manually to our skin should be as gentle as possible.

Because I use my cleanser, I wash my face and finish my routine. 

That’s it!

Not only does it feel great and give lasting results, but it’s two extra minutes to give back to yourself before you go on with your crazy day. 

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Our Style Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please  follow on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

 

 

Why You Need Vitamin C in Your Morning Skincare Routine

Vichy LiftActiv Peptide-C Ampoule Serum Anti Aging Concentrate

Why You Need Vitamin C in Your Morning Skincare Routine.

Over the past year, I took a deep dive into improving my morning skincare routine. I wanted to figure out, as a 40-something-year-old woman, what was I missing? What would make a difference without a considerable commitment of time and money ?

The answer: Vitamin C.

Specifically, adding Vitamin C in Your Morning Skincare Routine.

I discovered so much helpful information, I thought I would share it with you, too. 

Before we dive in, if you’re new here, my content is not sponsored. Everything I recommend comes from personal experience and my years working with clients and, now, our readers. My goal is to offer suggestions at various price points and sizes within all things style, and beauty.

What Vitamin C Does for Your Skin.

Vitamin C serum is a potent topical product that helps produce collagen, which we begin to lose as we age. Collagen is what gives our skin bounce. It helps with elasticity and hydration, giving the appearance of smooth, revitalized, youthful skin.

Because Vitamin C is highly acidic, when applied, the skin is triggered to ‘heal’ itself by accelerating collagen and elastin production. That acidity also acts as a mild exfoliator, so if you have dark spots or hyperpigmentation, Vitamin C will help fade those areas as well.

Why Should You use Vitamin C in Your Morning Skincare Routine?

Here’s where skincare truly becomes science. Adding the proper products in the correct order can make a significant and lasting difference in your skin. Vitamin C should be used in your morning skincare routine for a few reasons. 

First and foremost, it will help protect against free radicals. When used in conjunction with a broad spectrum SPF (which we should all be using every day) we are giving our skin double protection.

Second, avoid using Vitamin C in the evening, especially if you use other, more abrasive treatments like a retinol cream. The combination tends to be too much for most skin types. 

The best way to apply is in the morning, after you cleanse and before you moisturize. 

Here’s my morning routine: 

I use this oil based cleanser from Tatcha, it’s light and doesn’t stripe my skin of moisture. Then I use Vichy LiftActiv Peptide-C Ampoule Serum Anti Aging Concentrate. I LOVE these little guys. 

Vichy LiftActiv Peptide-C Ampoule Serum Anti Aging Concentrate

Vitamin C in Your Morning Skincare Routine

Vichy LiftActiv Peptide-C Ampoule Serum Anti Aging Concentrate, $29.50 

I tried many Vitamin C treatments in 2020, at all prices (including Goop Glow Vitamin C Serum at $125. You all know I love so many Goop products but this one was underwhelming at best). After a ton of research and reading countless reviews by actual skin experts, I gave french drugstore brand, Vichy, a try and it’s fantastic and only $30.

It contains 10% Vitamin C, which is considered a mild dosage. I found it the right amount for my sensitive skin that is still getting used to the treatment.

How to Use

 

The instructions on the box are helpful. However, Vichy’s suggests using half of the product in the morning and the rest in the evening. I only use this in the morning. 

Once applied, give it 60 seconds to soak in. Then I follow up with a hydrating serum (currently trying out and enjoying the Mineral 89 Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum also by Vichy). I gently press a little drop of my beloved Vintners Daughter into my skin, followed by a creamy moisturizer, and finally, I cover my face and neck with this Drunk Elephant SPF 30.

Two or three mornings a week, I’ll also use an exfoliator before adding the vitamin c. This helps remove the dead surface skin from the cell turn over and allows the serum to absorb more effectively. Be sure not to over exfoliate; keep it light and gentle.

This might seem involved, but it takes only 5 minutes. 

The Results

I saw a noticeable difference in the surface of my skin within three days. By two weeks, it was smoother, brighter, and tighter – but not in an uncomfortable way. I have one stubborn age spot on the right side of my face, and it’s just beginning to fade. I’ll keep this post updated as I notice more changes.


Our Style Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please  follow on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.


 

 

 

 

Reader Favorite Beauty Buys of 2020

Top Beauty Buys of 2020

Long time readers know I have a not so secret obsession with skincare and makeup, but only share the products I absolutely love. It’s why there are so few beauty posts on the blog, once I discover a product that works I stick with it.

A few years ago, I shared my nighttime skincare routine and it quickly became one of my most read and shared posts. Since then I’ve highlighted what I would call “hero” products, the ones the make the biggest difference, the ones I never want to be without. 

And as it turns out, many of those products are your favorites too. So today, as we continue to tie a bow on the year, I’m rounding up your favorite, top selling products from 2020.

Buy these for yourself and indulge in some much deserved self-care or pick them up as a gift for someone you love this holiday. 

Reader Favorite Beauty Buys of 2020

Top Beauty Buys of 2020

Around the time I turned 37, I started to take extra good care of my skin. I began to invest in better products, most of which are clean, and diligently use them every day (or as directed).

I lived for years with adult cystic acne, and it all but destroyed the little self-esteem I had. It’s why for years, I never posted pictures of myself here on the blog.

But now, at 41, my skin is the best it ever looked. I’m able to wear less makeup and really let my skin show, freckles and all.

It’s incredible what it’s done for my confidence levels.
Below are the top-selling products from 2020, with a short description of why I love it. If you have a product you love, be sure to share it in the comments.

Vintner’s Daughter

Vinter's DaughterVintner’s Daughter, $185 

Vintner’s Daughter was my first big beauty splurge and, to this day, is the product I am never without. It absolutely changed my skin, healing redness, acne scars, and uneven skin tone. You only need a tiny amount, so a bottle can last about three months. Apply morning and night after you wash your face and give it a few minutes to soak in before you layer on anything else.

Caudalie Instant Detox Mask 

Caudalie Instant Detox Mask

Caudalie Instant Detox Mask, $39 

Every Sunday night, I use the Caudalie Instant Detox Mask to draw impurities and toxins out of my skin. It’s an uncomplicated process that takes about 10 minutes but really works. Priced at under $40, it’s an affordable indulgence that would make a great gift or stocking stuffer.

Goop Himalayan Salt Scalp Scrub

Goop Himalayan Sea Salt Scrub

Goop Himalayan Salt Scalp Scrub, $42

My FAVORITE personal care indulgence is the Goop Himalayan Salt Scalp Scrub. Use once a week instead of your traditional shampoo to rid your scalp of buildup. It smells incredible, like an effervescent spa experience. And your hair and scalp feel so fresh and clean. Also makes a great gift. 

Drunk Elephant Waterfacial Mask

Drunk Elephant Waterfacial Mask

Drunk Elephant Waterfacial Mask, $52 

I became a big fan of Drunk Elephant this year and have heard from so many readers who love this “mask” too. But it’s not really a mask. Instead, it’s the last step in your nighttime routine to lock in moisture. It’s beneficial this time of year when it’s cold out, and we’re cooped up inside with the heat on – a recipe to dry out our skin. To use, layer this on a few minutes after you apply your night cream, and it acts as a layer to keep your skin hydrated overnight.

Tatcha Oil Cleanser

Tatcha Oil Cleanser

Tatcha Oil Cleanser, $48

I do a double cleanse every night, which simply means I was my face twice, first with an oil-based cleanser, and then I follow up with a gel cleanser. The Tatcha Oil Cleanser is incredibly gentle yet effective. It removes makeup, including stubborn mascara, and leaves no residue on your skin. I’ve been using it for years and love it so much I won’t even consider trying a different brand.

Wander Beauty Mascara

Wander Beauty Mascara

Wander Beauty Mascara, $26 

I searched high and low for a mascara that created thick, long lashes without looking like spiders were growing out of my eyes, and Wander is my winner. I don’t want a dramatic eye; I don’t want to look like I’m wearing lash extensions. I just want to look like myself but a little better. This is a straightforward formula that kicks your lashes up a level – no more, no less.

Benefit Ka-Brow

Benefit Ka-Brow Pomade

Benefit Ka-BROW Pomade, $14 

If I had to pick only one product to use forever, JUST ONE, it would be Benefit Ka-BROW. Your eyebrows give your face structure, they highlight all your other features, so defining them will help bring life to your face. This product is a game changer for your brows, allowing you quickly fill them so you look natural, youthful and polished. 

Kosas Lipstick

Kosas Lipstick

Kosas Lipstick, $28 

Finally, I’m the biggest fan of Kosas lipsticks because their formula is clean, AND the pigment is on point. It’s rich and creamy like a traditional lipstick without any of the toxins. I regularly wear their red, called “Electra” and have heard how much our readers love it too. A close second is their pink called “Rosewater” which is a pretty wear-with-everything neutral. 


Our Style Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please consider following on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

 

The BEST Beauty Products on Amazon

Amazon Beauty Buys

Let’s talk about the best beauty products on Amazon.

I find myself reaching for my Amazon app an embarrassing amount of times during the day. With three kids and what feels like a dozen full-time jobs, it’s one of the few resources that make my life easier.

One of the elements of my job that I love most is trying different self care products and tools. Some are crazy, others silly, but over the years I have discovered some truly fabulous finds.

The kind that make you wonder, “how did I live without this?”

So today, I rounded up my all time favorites, the ones I use on a daily basis, and reorder constantly. 

The Best Beauty Products on Amazon


BEST Beauty Products on Amazon

 

BB Cream, $29  |  It’s a 10, $19.50 |  Self Tanner, $40  |  Ice Roller, $18  |  Derma Roller, $23  |  RMS Signature Set, $44  |  Eyebrow Razor, $4.50  |  Detangling Brush, $10  |  Body Blur, $39  |  Muslin Cloths, $10

 

BB Cream, $29

Back in my youth, I used to cover up my wrinkle-free baby skin with layers and layers of skin clogging foundation – all in an attempt to hide my freckles. Thankfully, as I’ve aged, I’ve embraced those freckles and wear much less makeup. A year ago, a sample of this BB Cream by Marcelle showed up in my Birchbox. Called “Golden Glow” It looked too dark for my (very) fair skin, so I almost threw it away.

But, I gave it a try one morning, and my skin looked beautiful. The pigment adjusts to your skin tone if it’s between fair and medium. You can still see your skin, freckles and all; it just evens it out without clogging your pores. I quickly ordered a full size from Amazon while standing at my bathroom skin

I use it in the summer, when I have a self tanner on. It’s become my go-to for a super fast, almost make-up free face that is Zoom call ready. 

Note: They are calling this a “Universal Color” which makes me a bit crazy. This will adjust to the pigment of your skin up to a deep medium. Any darker than that and I think this would be too light. The beauty industry, like the fashion industry, has a long way to go when it comes to inclusion. 

Self Tanner, $40

I featured this self-tanner back in May, and after a summer of use, it’s my all-time favorite.

As a fair-skinned girl with long limbs, who spends a ton of time at the shore in the summer, I feel more confident with a little natural-looking color. While love a spray tan, they take time I don’t currently have to spare. This two-hour tanner gives you the perfect glow without all the fuss. 

Apply it, let it sit for two hours (sometimes I keep it on longer), hop in the shower, and rinse it off. Over a few hours, you’ll see a lovely natural looking tan emerge, with no funny smell or stained clothes. 

Body Blur, $39

This “body blur” by Vita Liberata is like a combination of a BB Cream and a Self Tanner. It’s a make up artist go-to to create an all over glow to the body. You’ll see celebrities slather on something similar before press events to get that flawless look to their legs, arms and neck.

Unlike a self tanner, the color is immediate and will wash off in the shower. Use it for special occasions, or to extend the life and look of a tan. 

It’s a 10, $24

I should buy this in bulk. Doing my girl’s hair is bearable since I discovered It’s a 10 several years ago. It is a detangler, and leave-in conditioner spray that leaves soft hair, works through the worst of knots and makes hair easy to manage. I’ve tried countless less expensive brands, but keep coming back to this. 

Tangle Teezer Brush, $10

Speaking of detangling, this brush is a game-changer. I bought it as a stocking stuffer for my kids and it turned out to be a true Christmas miracle.

All of my daughters have long, thick, curly hair. Brushing their hair at night or getting ready for school in the morning use to leave us all in tears. But the combination of It’s a 10 and the Tangle Teezer, we now have yelling-free (for the most part) mornings, and they can be left to do their hair on their own.

It has hundreds of 5 star reviews you can read here

Ice Roller Face Massager, $13

This ice roller may be the silliest beauty product I ordered  from Amazon in a long time, but it is surprisingly fantastic.
I keep it in my freezer drawer and use it first thing in the morning, while the house is quiet and I’m getting my coffee ready. Admittedly, I’m tired these days. Like many of us, I’m not getting a ton of sleep and wake up looking and feeling puffy. It helps reduce the puffiness and tightens pores and is especially lovely during allergy season when I feel like I can barely fully open my eyes.

Derma Roller Kit, $22

By now you know how much I love my derma roller and this set, in particular, is fantastic. You can’t beat the price or quality.

You can see my step by step break down of how to use a derma roller here.  If you’re already thinking of inexpensive holiday or birthday gifts for girlfriends, this is a wonderful, under $25 idea.

Makeup Palette, $40

My single best beauty find on Amazon in 2019 was  this RMS makeup palette. It’s seriously the perfect little on-the-go pallet. I have multiples and keep one in my bag and the other on my vanity. Use it to bring a little color to your lips and cheeks, swipe the highlight down your nose and in the corners of your eye to make them pop. So simple. 

It also feels very age appropriate to me for young girls, so I do let me 13 year old “steal” mine on occasion. 

Face Razors, $5

The secret to flawless makeup is smooth skin. To get that, I take one of these slim razors, and gently run it up my checks and along my jaw line to remove baby hair and peach fuzz.  Holy cow, does it make an incredible difference in how your products sit on your skin! I’m never without these. 

Muslin Cloths, $10

It’s so important to be as gentle as possible with your face. You want to minimize how much you tug and pull at it. These muslin cloths (marketed as organic baby wipes) are fabulous. I keep stacks of them in my bathroom and use them nightly. 

A great tip I’ve learned to remove clay masks or any product that leaves a residue is to soak a muslin cloth in warm water, wring it out, and place it on your face, covering the entire surface. Gently press it on your skin, let it sit for a second, and remove it. Do this a few times. The steam will help to breakdown anything on your skin, and you’ll avoid having to wipe it off aggressively. 

 

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Our Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

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The Best Order to Apply Skincare Products at Night

The Best Order to Apply Your Skincare at Night

This post was published in February 2019. It has been updated with expanded content on August 18th, 2020, as part of our Beauty Week. All week, I’ll feature new and “best of articles” to help inspire you to practice extra self-care, find new and effective products, and start the Fall feeling like the best version of you. 

I’ve spent a ton of time researching the best order to apply skincare products at night, for purely selfish reasons. As my arsenal of products has grown, I started to wonder if I was using them correctly, and, as it turned out, I wasn’t.

There is more to skincare than just slapping on some cream. Each layer has a purpose. Some products work best on damp skin; others require skin to be dry. All should have a minute to absorb for maximum effectiveness.

I’m sharing what I found with you today because the correct process will ensure you are getting the most out of the investment you are making in your skin.

You’ll see below; I use a combination of high-end and inexpensive products. There is a $7 serum and a $200 serum. 

A few things to keep in mind: I use the products below every single day. They work for my skin, which is sensitive, dull, dry in areas, and acne-prone. I’ve dealt with cystic acne for years, and it killed my self-esteem.

One of the reasons I was so reluctant to put my picture on the blog was how terrible my skin looked. 

Since landing on this specific regimen over the last three or four years, my skin has never looked better, and I’ve had no breakouts, so I happily spend the money. 

Please remember that this post’s point is to share the order to apply your skincare and why.

Everyone’s skin and budgets are different.

Use the products that work best for you.

And, of course, you can eliminate any step that doesn’t serve you, just move to the next step. 

The Best Order to Apply Skincare Products at Night

The Best Order to Apply Your Skincare at Night

A good rule of thumb to follow is to layer your skincare according to the products weight, starting with the lightest and working your way to the thickest. 

The most important note to remember is to be as gentle with your skin through this process as possible. Avoid tugging and pulling. When you exfoliate, be sure it’s not too rough, and always lightly pat your skin dry.

My process seems like a lot but it only takes about 10 minutes at night, and after a long day, it’s a lovely way to mentally prepare to sleep and transition to bedtime.

How to Apply Skincare Products at Night

Wash your face

Oil Cleanser, $48

Start with a gentle cleanser. I love this oil cleanser from Tatcha. It’s light, odorless and melts off your makeup without being harsh or drying out your skin. I’ve been using it for a few years now and there’ is no going back.

Depending on the day, my mood and the time I have, I’ll do a double cleanse, which means just that.  Made popular in Korean skin care routines, you simple wash your face twice, once with an oil based cleanser, and follow up with a water based one. For that, I am so pleased with Drunk Elephant’s Gel Cleanser No. 9.

Exfoliate

Exfoliator, $125.

There are two products on this list that completely changed my skin. Goop’s exfoliating “mask” is incredible is the first. They call it a mask, but it’s more like a scrub.

After you cleanse, apply a small amount all over your face.

Let it sit for about three minutes, until it feels a little tingly, and then wipe it off with a clean cloth and warm water. Your skin will glow and feel like a baby’s bottom.

It’s a splurge, for sure, but the other day, I changed Vivi’s diaper and had poop on my forehead for an indeterminate amount of time, so I don’t care.

I use it maybe three times a week and am conscious of the other exfoliating I may be doing because the last thing you want to do is over-exfoliate your skin. 

I’ve been using it since it came out and will never go without it.

Face Mask – Optional

 Mask, $39.

I don’t do a mask every day, no one has time for that, but I will apply one once a week, before I do a photo shoot, or on a Sunday. I love to do one when my husband is traveling (remember those days?)  and I can have a big glass of wine and watch trash TV by myself.

My favorite and most frequently used is this Claudalie Detox Mask, great for cleaning out your pores and brightening skin. 

When I want something for fine lines and wrinkles I turn to Hanacure’s all in one facial kit. It’s wild, but it really does work. 

Tone

 Toner, $11 

Use a toner after you cleanse and before you moisturize. It helps to remove any excess dirt, makeup or left over product from a mask.

It also helps with acne and restores your skin’s Ph. Thayers Witch Hazel in Rose Petal is my favorite. It’s affordable, effective and there is something nostalgic about the scent. Every time I smell it I feel happy. 

Then Use a Serum

Vintner’s Daughter, $198

Listen, the price of this serum is bananas, I know.  I’m also on my maybe 10th bottle. It’s the single best product I’ve ever used on my skin.  You can read all about it’s complex goodness here

What I can tell you is since using it I don’t have any breakouts and my skin looks more youthful. I use it day and night. 

To apply, gently push the serum into your skin. 

Serums, in general, are essential because they have a higher concentration of ingredients. They absorb into the skin better, so a little goes a long way.  It’s important to remember to let them absorb for a minute or two before you move to the next step. 

Related: The Beauty Tools I Can’t Live Without

Add a Moisture Boost

Hyaluronic Acid, $7.

The term “acid” turned me off for a long time, until I learned that it’s not an acid at all.  Rather, it’s a gel like water substance that helps plump your skin and lock in moisture. 

It’s important to put this on damp skin so the gel has something to hold on to and is activated. 

So I apply my serum, let it sit, and then spritz my skin with this hydrating mist by Juice Beauty, then layer on the hyaluronic acid and let that sit for a minute or two. Also, I don’t spend here, at all. I use The  Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid for $7

Don’t Forget Eye Cream

I use eye cream day and night because I am 40, I have three kids and I barely little sleep.

For a long time I was devoted to this eye cream by Dr. Barbara Strum. It’s fantastic, but too expensive. I just started using Goopgenes eye cream that is SO MUCH LESS. So far I like it a lot. 

To apply, gently dab it around your eye area and, again, let it sit for a minute.It not only helps minimize wrinkles, it helps with tired, puffy eyes, something I know a little bit about these days.

For a fantastic drugstore option, Olay makes on that gets great reviews

Retinoid for the Over 40 Crowd

Retinoid, $10

If you are approaching  or are over 40 you need a retinoid or retinol. Retinoid is a stronger version of retinol and helps turn over your cells faster. While hyaluronic acid is activated by damp skin, you want to apply your retinoid product on totally dry skin

Start by using a tiny amount, a few times a week as it can be drying and even burn your skin (happened to me) if you don’t use it correctly.

Because my skin is so sensitive, I only apply it two times a week – at the most. I apply on problem areas like the wrinkles on my forehead and some age spots on my cheeks. Do not rub it all over your face. 

I use The Ordinary’s Granactive Retinoid* 2% Emulsion. You could spend so much more, but after reading the reviews on Sephora I gave it a try and it does the trick!

Night Cream

Night Cream, $56 

Your skin does all of its regeneration while you sleep, so layer on a rich night cream to help it along. I’ve used so many over the years. La Mer makes an incredible (and incredibly expensive) one, I used Estee Lauder NightWear for a few months and was happy with that too

Currently, I have two in my cabinet Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Anti-Wrinkle Overnight Cream and the new Goopgenes All in One Moisturizer.

I just started using Goop’s newest product and I have to say, it’s wonderful. I didn’t like their first attempt at a night cream at all but this new one is fantastic. You can wear  it at night and during the day, which is great because the cold Northeast winters take all the hydration out of my skin. It absorbs quickly and leaves you with a pretty glow. 

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Our Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please consider following on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.