My Skincare Routine

I’ve had a few requests for an updated skincare routine. For the most part, it hasn’t changed that much, but here’s what is working for me. First, though, a little background on my skin.

I have always had problems with my skin. I had the classic teenage acne and it didn’t truly go away until my mid-twenties. Maybe part of it was simply growing out of it, but I also think that the changes I made to my skincare routine helped dramatically. I went from having multiple spots and problem areas every day, to an occasional zit here and there. My acne is always stress-related and that’s probably the one thing I’ve had to try to get under control. When I have bad weeks, I can almost always see it on my face first.

Here’s what works for me though:

ONE // Remove makeup

When I think back to my teenage years, I’d say I was pretty good and not perfect at removing my makeup every night. This definitely contributed to my skin issues and I wish I could go back in time and force my seventeen-year-old self to get my makeup off every single night.

Now I cannot go to bed if I haven’t removed all of my makeup. It actually disgusts me to think about falling asleep with anything on my face still. Mentally, I feel like my skin just needs to breathe at the very least, but I also know that leaving makeup on is how my pores get clogged.

This is the best eye makeup remover on the market and the cleanser I use is really great at removing makeup as well.

TWO // Stick to the routine

So once I came up with a routine, sticking to it routinely every night was what really tipped the scale. It allowed me to anticipate what my skin would be like every morning. And I feel like it was important to just get into the habit of running through the motions. It used to take me forever to get ready for bed, but now I can almost do my skincare routine completely in my sleep.

THREE // Drink Water

I knew drinking water was supposed to help with my complexion, but it was the missing link in my routine. There’s only so much a product is going to be able to do. If your skin isn’t healthy from the inside out, and if you’re not doing everything in your wheelhouse to make it healthy, you’re already starting off on the wrong foot. I can’t even begin to tell you how different my skin is when I know I hit my daily water intake goal. It’s brighter and clearer– and my actual skin tone is more even. Give drinking more water a try for two or three weeks and I’m sure you’ll notice and love the new changes.

FOUR // Cleanse

I keep wipes like these in my gym bag for cleansing my face before and/or after working out. I typically remove makeup if I have it on before the class and I’ll use them again after class to get rid of any sweat.

At night, I use Fresh Soy Cleanser as my primary cleanser. It’s incredible and the only cleanser I trust right now. It’s gentle on the skin, yet does everything including removing makeup. I’d be willing to try another cleanser if someone told me one was particularly amazing, but I’m not giving up my Fresh Soy Cleanser right now. It’s way too good.

FIVE // Exfoliate

I went in for an emergency facial a few months ago with my favorite girl and she told me that the little breakouts I had could be fixed by incorporating a scrub into my everyday routine. My skin is really sensitive and scrubs can do more harm than good so I generally try to only use it on my problem areas (namely my nose and chin). I’ve been using and loving this one.

I also use my Clarisonic about once a week, typically in the shower, to gently exfoliate.

SIX // Moisturize

Hands down my favorite moisturizer in the entire universe is this one. I swear by it and everyone that I’ve recommended it to loves it as well. It’s just a great moisturizer. I always thought that my breakouts were from having oily skin and therefore would avoid moisturizer completely. But I was wrong-o. Moisturizers are incredibly important and this has been probably the single most important addition to my routine as an adult.

I also asked for your recommendations for a more intense moisturizer for the super dry winter days. I bought this cream after hearing so many people rave about it and I can confirm that it rocks. I’m not sure that I’d use it year round, but man, it’s going to save my skin this winter!!!

SEVEN // Masks

I try to do a mask every week. If I can, I’ll put it on before getting into the bathtub to relax for ten or so minutes. For some reason, I have a ton of various masks in my bathroom and every now and then I’ll try something new, but my go-to mask is this charcoal one. It makes my skin feel softer and look brighter.

That’s the general bulk of my skincare routine. I use other products sometimes, but this what I follow consistently. The more things I include, the more shortcuts I tend to take. It’s much better for me– and my skin– to stick to something simple.

What are your favorite products?! Do you have a key element of your skincare routine?


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Great post, Carly! It took me two rounds of accutane to get great skin and now I take care of it religiously.
I highly recommend Origins masks (especially the charcoal and rose one) and I also use the Ultra repair cream by First Aid Beauty and it has been a game changer for me. I use it all year round and it still works for me – no oily skin or other issues.


I used to use Fresh soy face cleanser but I felt it didn’t get my face clean enough, especially when it came to removing makeup. I’ve been using Origins checks and balances face wash now for awhile and it is the best! It’s gentle but cleanses really well, and gets nice and foamy, since a little bit of it goes along way. I also find it’s perfect for using it with the clarisonic. Next time you’re at Origins you should give it a try!

Emily Rose

Emily, I couldn’t agree more with the Checks & Balances recommendation! I was going to say the same! Removes all makeup and I don’t feel stripped.


Thank you for sharing your skin care tips! I follow a similar routine and I love the products I use (Melalueca) but I am looking to switch it up a bit. One thing that has really made a difference for my skin lately is using Melalueca oil after I wash/exfoliate before putting on lotion!

Taylor |


I have only really had results doing my own version of the Korean skincare process. I read a book by Charlotte Cho over Christmas and my skin is definitely better. If your skin is sensitive, you should try chemical exfoliation like the gentle lactic acid serums from The Ordinary or Sunday Riley, or even any Paula’s Choice BHA. It’s made all the difference for me.

Frannie Acciardo

I use the same fresh soy cleanser and I agree, it’s the best!! I love how you just need a tiny amount so the tube lasts forever. My favorite moisturizer is the Bobbi Brown moisturizing gel. I have been using it since 8th grade (5 years!!) and it’s be only moisturizer that leaves my skin not oily, but still completely moisurized. However, I wish I had a little more “glow” so I’m not sure if that’s the moisturizer or some foods I could add into my diet…

xoxo, frannie


I would love a post about how you do your hair (you have great looking hair and have referenced several time you more recently learned how to do it) ! Especially the products you use. I’m trying to figure out my hair still 🙁
For my skin care I’m obsessed with the new Glossier rich priming moisturizer. Feels AMAZING (I live in a brutal and dry winter area) on my skin and is not greasy at all.


A friend of mine became a distributor for Rodan + Field and had me try the skincare routine. I absolutely love it! For someone who never took care of my skin before I find this routine to be so easy. They have several different routines – would definitely recommend and if you can’t find someone who sells it, LMK and I’ll connect you to my friend!


I also used to be awful about taking my makeup off before bed – now, I physically can’t let my head hit the pillow before I make sure all my makeup is off! It’s definitely a good habit to be in. I also had that whole moisturizer-averse thing for awhile, and someone at Sephora pointed out that my skin was probably creating more oil because it wasn’t getting moisturized properly! Now, my holy grail breakout product is Sunday Riley’s Ultra Clarifying Oil – it seems a bit counterintuitive to use an oil to solve breakouts, but it’s honestly a miracle worker.

Taylor |

Allie | Sand and Coral

I’ve been looking for a moisturizer, so will have to try the Origins one that you recommended. I’ve been doing a skin-care routine for the past couple of years that has really transformed my skin – I use Clinique’s Acne 3-step products and love them!


I’ve been *loving* the Foreo Luna cleaning device (I use the Mini 2)…it doesn’t really exfoliate like the Clarisonic (so way less harsh and thus you can use it every day) but honestly it gets my skin so much cleaner than a normal cleansing routine does.


Your skin looks so beautiful without makeup! I for sure need more water! Love these other tips!

Ashley @ A cute Angle

A Girl, A Style

I love all this advice! I am similarly meticulous with my skincare routine, and my skin is finally settling down after years of stress and hormone-induced breakouts. I swear by water, trying to keep my stress levels and sugar intake in check, antioxidants and good oils. If you haven’t already, I’d also try introducing a double cleanse (I first remove all my makeup with a micellar cleansing water like Bioderma on a cotton pad, then an oil cleanser, and then a cream or gel cleanser – I also love Fresh soy cream or rose foaming cleansers). The oil really melts away all the grime and remaining makeup, so your cream/gel cleanser can deep clean your pores. The other thing that made the biggest difference was switching to a chemical exfoliant (glycolic and BHAs) rather than a grainy physical exfoliant – at first I thought the chemical version would be harsher, but it’s actually so much gentler (it dissolves dead skin rather than scrubbing it away and scratching the surface of your skin) and my skin is so much less sensitive and clearer as a result.

Briony xox


You are spot on with the water intake. I aim for 1/2 of my body weight in ounces each day. I’m big on using all-natural products, so I am partial to the Alba Botanicals, Yes To and Beautycounter lines. I especially love the Alba moisturizers.

Ivonne / Girl Meets Dallas

I definitely need to get better about drinking water. I’m sure that makes all the difference in every aspect. I used to use the same cleanser by Fresh! I now use the Philosophy Purity face cleanser and. Itching breaks down makeup like that guy. The littlest amount goes a long way. I recommend it if you ever want to branch out.

Ivonne / Girl Meets Dallas

I definitely need to get better about drinking water. I’m sure that makes all the difference in every aspect. I used to use the same cleanser by Fresh! I now use the Philosophy Purity face cleanser and it breaks down makeup like no ones business. The littlest amount goes a long way. I recommend it if you ever want to branch out.

Jordana @WhiteCabana

Thanks for sharing, Carly. I feel like a skincare routine is always a work in progress for me. I use my Clarisonic about once a week, too, and I like it. I use Cerave and Simple cleanser and moisturizers daily, but I’ve also used some Occitane items that I quite like. I think you mentioned the almond oil/body wash a little while ago, and I use that, too. I never use masks…might think about trying something out.

Madeline Mudd

Getting into a skincare routine didn’t really happen for me until my 20s but getting into a routine was something that I felt like I needed to do. I feel ya about the teenage acne transitioning into stress acne – that’s me too! The routine has definitely helped. Awesome post, Carly!


Love this post, Carly! I started using Origins after you wrote about it years ago and how greatly it improved your skin. It really is a wonderful moisturizer!

As far as cleansers go though, I can’t get over Milky Jelly from Glossier. It will take off EVERYTHING at the end of the day without burning or making your skin feel all tight and gross after using. I use it religiously. Holy Grail, for sure!


I cannot speak highly enough of Fresh’s Soy Cleanser. I have super-sensitive skin and the Soy Cleanser is one I’ve been able to use for years without fear of irritation or having to switch. (Unfortunately, I do have to be careful with it, because my hubs has a MAJOR soy allergy, so I keep it separate from our shared spaces.) I really love the Rocky Mountain Soap Co.’s Calming Face Mask. It’s a powder that you add water to and mix to your preferred consistency and a little goes a long way. I don’t know if they can ship to the US, though, since they’re a Canadian company and their products are naturally based…


It’s also so important to regularly wash your makeup brushes! I always notice bumps and uneven skin if I haven’t washed my brushes in a few weeks. Great post!

Alex Meyer

Thank you so much for recommending Fresh Soy Cleanser – I tried it a few months ago and my skin has never looked or felt better! Love reading your blog!


Hi Carly! Your moisturizer link doesn’t work anymore, what is your favorite moisturizer? Thanks for the notes!