My Skincare Routine and Layering Technique

Many of you have asked me about my skincare routine, and of course, I’m happy to share it. Skincare is my favorite part of my beauty routine, and while it may sound like blasphemy for someone who works in fragrance, I’d rather imagine going without perfume than without sunscreen. I also enjoy researching the best products, reading studies in dermatology and comparing active ingredients, and skincare offers plenty of such geeky delights. At the same time, I don’t want to spend an hour each morning and evening doing my skincare treatments, and I’ve worked out a routine that takes me a maximum of 10 minutes from start to finish–and it can be compressed even further, as I will explain below.

skincare routine2

The main principles of my skincare are cleansing, hydrating and sun protection. I don’t use particularly expensive products, apart from the eye cream, and I prefer to layer products. In other words, instead of using one moisturizer, I use several layers of moisturizing products. My skin is combination, and layering helps me to keep my skin hydrated and soft, without a risk of blemishes.

Such layering skincare routines are usually described as “Asian,” but of course, you don’t have to use Japanese or Korean brands. In fact, most of my favorites come from North American and French lines. The only exception is sunscreen, since no other country makes more effective and cosmetically elegant products than Japan. The main principle of layering to keep in mind is to start with the thinnest products and finish with the heavier creams.



My morning routine is fairly simple–cleanse and protect. If I were to streamline even further, I would just spritz my face with rosewater, apply a light moisturizer and sunscreen. I don’t recommend applying sunscreen on bare skin. Sunscreen, on the other hand, is a must. Nothing makes as much difference for the way my skin looks as sleep and a good sunscreen.

My skincare varies season to season, and sometimes I add products like essences or other serums. Below is my base routine.

Gel Cleanser

In the US, I use Johnson & Johnson Purpose, while in Europe I’ve switched to La Roche Posay Toleriane Cleansing Gel. Both are gentle but effective, and they have been my staples for years. Purpose is clear, while Toleriane is a milky gel. Both should be lathered with a little bit of water until they form thick, meringue-like foam. I apply this foam evenly and gently onto damp skin and spread it in light circular motions. Rinse, blot gently with a towel and move onto the next step.


My favorite toner is rosewater. I buy mine from an organic grocery store and decant it into a spray bottle. I spray it all over my face and move onto the next step. I described other favorite toners in my previous articles: here and here.

Optional: Exfoliating Lotion

I prefer BHA based lotions for exfoliating, and Paula’s Choice Resist 2% BHA Daily Pore-Refining Treatment is one of my most used products. I generally use it only 2-3 times a week or daily only on the T-zone.


In this category you can use more than one serum, or an essence and a serum. An essence has a water-like texture, while serums approach that of a gel.

For the longest time, I used a simple hyaluronic acid serum after the exfoliating lotion and was quite happy with it. However, last summer I tried The Ordinary serums, and I have become a convert. I will save a discussion of the products I’ve tried for later; I’ve specifically held myself back from reviewing them earlier because I wanted to see the full results. For the past few months, I’ve been using two serums in the morning: Alpha Arbutin 2% + Hyaluronic Acid and Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%. The duo does a great job brightening my skin and preventing blemishes. The texture is light, and it doesn’t make my makeup or sunscreen peel.

Note: if you use a product containing Niacinamide, you shouldn’t use a Vitamin C product at the same time. I usually keep Niacinamide for the morning and Vitamin C for the evening.


My favorite moisturizers are light, milk-like in texture and oil-free. Sometimes I use what in Japanese skincare terminology is called lotion. The one I particularly like is Ishizawa Lab Urea and Hyaluronic Acid Lotion. It contains glycerin, hyaluronic acid, chamomile extract, grape water and licorice extract, some of my favorite ingredients for hydrating and brightening skin. For those with dry skin, it won’t be enough, but for those with combination or oily  complexions, it’s a great, soothing option.

Eye Cream

Sisley’s Sisleya Crème Contour des yeux et des lèvres (Eye and lip contour cream) is the only one I use. It’s the most expensive product in my skincare, but a jar lasts for several months and it’s the only cream that actually hydrates the undereye area without causing milia or irritation. I’ve tried so many products trying to find something as good but less expensive that I eventually gave up.


While I wait for my moisturizer to be absorbed, I get dressed and then I apply sunscreen. I have written two posts on this subject, so I will direct you here and here for specific recommendations. The type of sunscreen I use depends on how my skin feels. In the winter, I switch to the more moisturizing products such as Isehan Sunkiller Perfect Strong Moisture SPF50+ PA++++ and FotoProtector ISDIN Fusion Water SPF50+. I usually reapply sunscreen at least once a day.

skincare routine3


The most important part of my evening routine is cleansing. Sometimes people complain that sunscreen makes them breakout, in which case I’d say that the problem is not with the sunscreen but with the way you clean it off. Most sunscreens are not water soluble, and unless you use an oil based cleanser first, they will be hard to remove.

At least once a week, I don’t apply anything on my skin at all after the double cleanse.

Oil Cleanser

I tried many much more expensive and fancy oil cleansers, but nothing comes close to DHC Cleansing Oil. First of all, it’s unscented. Second, it cleanses numerous layers of sunscreen effortlessly and leaves no greasy trace. Also, the price is reasonable. I spread it over dry skin, taking an opportunity to do a basic face massage at the same time, and then rinse with warm water.

Foaming Cleanser

Then I follow with the same cleanser I use in the morning.

Pick One: Vitamin C or a Retinol product or an Exfoliating Lotion

Vitamin C and retinols are among the ingredients proven to have a positive effect on skin (reversing sun damage, for instance), so I include them in my routine. On most evenings I use a Vitamin C Serum, such as The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + Hyaluronic Acid Spheres 2%. I apply it on bare, freshly cleansed but dry skin and wait for a few minutes before applying other products.

Alternatively, I may use a retinol (retinoid) product such as The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2%. If you’re new to using retinols and retinoids and have acne-prone skin, you may experience increase in acne for the first week or two. Please don’t stop during this stage. But to make the transition smoother, it’s best to introduce retinols slowly into your routine. Also, sun protection in the morning is a must.

Vitamin C and retinols are best used separately.

Also, I may skip the Vitamin C and retinols  and instead pick an exfoliating product:  Paula’s Choice Resist Weekly Resurfacing Treatment with 10% AHA or Biologique Recherche Lotion P50W. The latter, a new discovery, is especially elegant and non-irritating, and it leaves my skin perfectly lustrous.


My favorite serums contain hyaluronic acid–it plumps my skin and hydrates it better than anything else. These days I use either The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2%+B5 or Mizon Hyaluronic Acid 100. Mizon, a Korean brand, has several different HA options, all fairly straightforward but effective. Like The Ordinary, it’s priced under $15 for 1 oz.

Moisturizer and Eye Cream

Same as in my morning routine. These days of central heating and dry air call for something richer, and a couple of times a week I’m also using Hada Labo Gokujyun Cream.

Optional: Face Oil

Odacite face oils are my favorites, and I’ve written about them in the past. For my winter routine I’ve selected Odacite Carrot Seed Oil, which smells like a concentrated version of iris butter and makes my skin as soft as flower petals. Sea buckthorn, evening primrose, borage, almond, grape seed, apricot seed, argan and plain extra-virgin olive oil are also excellent options. Pure oils spoil very quickly, so it’s a good idea to keep only one or two oils on hand at any given time.



Sheet Masks

I do a sheet mask at least once a week. Sometimes I make my own blends of various ingredients, but such homemade potions require me to lie down for 15-20 minutes–a good idea in theory but hard to implement on a regular basis in practice. Sheet masks, however, are easy: open a package, apply on clean skin and do whatever you want for the time it takes for the ingredients to work. In Japan I’ve even seen special face shields to keep the masks in place should one wish to do yoga or hang upside down, but even without that, my masks don’t slide off. I just don’t do headstands with them on.

When shopping for sheet masks, I make sure that the ingredient lists contains no alcohol (エタノール), silicones or mineral oils. I especially like green tea, licorice, seaweed extracts, and Vitamin C in my masks. In the US, you can try Peach and Lily for various sheet mask options.

A Note on Skincare Storage

The bathroom is the worst place for storing perfume and skincare. I’ve solved this problem by keeping all of my products, apart from cleansers, in a shoe box, which I keep in a cool spot in my bedroom. I bring it into the bathroom once I’m ready to do my morning and evening routine. It’s less of a hassle than it seems, and it does ensure that all of my products are fresh and effective.

I’d love to hear about your skincare, favorite products and any other tips you’d like to share.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin



  • Alison: Thank you for this post. Count me among the people who got rosewater because of your recommendations. My skin is sensitive and it’s the best toner for it. January 16, 2017 at 9:03am Reply

    • Victoria: Very happy that you like it! I can’t imagine being without a bottle. January 16, 2017 at 2:36pm Reply

  • rosarita: Thanks for this, V, your skin looks enviable in photos. I’m in my late fifties and had horrible cystic acne well into my 20s, at a time when long term antibiotics, sulphur and sunlamps were the preferred dermatologist treatments. Along with my habit of sunbathing slathered in baby oil, I’m left with lots of scarring and sun damage. Therefore it’s late for skincare but I’m really into it now and I look forward to your product reviews. January 16, 2017 at 9:47am Reply

    • KP: If only I could tell my younger self to lay off that baby oil… Sigh… I have permanent pigmentation spots that derms can’t do much about. January 16, 2017 at 10:09am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you! I also didn’t always do the right things for my skin, but one learns along the way. You can always improve the condition of your skin, and honestly, now, in my thirties, my skin looks far better than it did when I was 20. Vitamin C is one of the best ingredients and its effect is cumulative but obvious. January 16, 2017 at 2:39pm Reply

  • Lauren: Yes. I bought from Peach & Lily twice and was happy with their service and timely delivery. January 16, 2017 at 10:04am Reply

  • KP: I was always a little confused what meant Asian in skincare, apart from brand names. So it’s the layering part, right? Thanks for explaining. January 16, 2017 at 10:07am Reply

    • Victoria: Usually, it’s the layering part, yes. A standard Japanese line will have something like lotion, essence, serum and moisturizer as basics, with lotion being water light and serum slightly thicker. But of course, “Asian” is just a blanket label, and sometimes it isn’t clear what it means. Certainly, American and French skincare technologies and brands are very popular in Japan, Korea and other Asian countries. January 16, 2017 at 2:42pm Reply

  • Solanace: Thank you for sharing, Victoria, your skin is gorgeous.(Much inspired by previous posts and conversations here) I use:

    Olive or almond oil for removing sunscreen and makeup, then either bioderma or roc foaming cleanser
    Rose water
    Jojoba oil
    Roc retinol at night
    Roc Actif Unify suscreen in the morning January 16, 2017 at 10:11am Reply

    • Victoria: Roc retinol cream is very good.

      And of course, jojoba oil is a must for those with dry or sensitive skin. January 16, 2017 at 2:43pm Reply

      • Surbhi: I am not familiar with Jojoba oil. But I heard so much about it recently that I got it. Do I just apply on face ? Mix with something? Is it day time thing or night? There are way too many articles about it online.

        Thanks for taking time to read and reply to such a basic question? February 15, 2017 at 10:58pm Reply

        • Victoria: You can either apply it straight or mix a couple of drops into your cream. I find, however, that jojoba is too heavy for my skin and causes breakouts. So, I’d experiment with it first. February 16, 2017 at 12:54am Reply

  • Jessica: I have to delurk for such a fun post! Thank you for sharing your secrets, Victoria. I’m a huge skincare junkie and this is irresistible. For those struggling with pigmentation issues, try a good, stable Vitamin C serum. It worked for me. January 16, 2017 at 10:23am Reply

    • Trudy: Agree about the Vitamin C Serum. Drunk Elephant makes a good one. January 16, 2017 at 11:14am Reply

      • Victoria: That’s the brand I’ve been wanting to try. January 16, 2017 at 2:51pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Jessica. Glad that it made you join in. 🙂 January 16, 2017 at 2:44pm Reply

  • spe: Cetaphil cleanser, dermatologica barrier repair or Aveeno moisturizer / sunscreen. The fewer products, the better for me. January 16, 2017 at 10:36am Reply

    • Victoria: Aveeno body cream is my favorite for layering! January 16, 2017 at 2:44pm Reply

  • Sandra: YAY!
    I have been waiting for this post..that and Japanese make up secrets.

    Thank you so much!

    In the photos you have such amazing skin and always look flawless.

    I suntanned a lot during my early years, and because of that I have a lot of brown spots. If any one has any suggestions on how to get rid of those let me know. My skin is sensitive/dry

    I also love the exfoliators from Paula’s Choice, I have tried many and nothing does a better job. Even with my sensitive skin, I started out slowly, and there was no irritation.

    I use a confort cream from Sisley, the one in the pink jar. I am looking for a good replacement since its way to expensive now that I am not working. January 16, 2017 at 11:09am Reply

    • Victoria: I’m working on that one still! The Japanese magazines in particular have lots of makeup tips.

      Pigmentation is very difficult to get under control, but what I definitely recommend is adding a Vitamin C in your regimen for the evening (I use The Ordinary’s right now). Alpha-Arbutin and Niacinamide serums, also from The Ordinary, for the day will do a lot to brighten your skin. And of course, using sunscreen diligently is the most important part.

      Is that pink Sisley a moisturizer or something else? I don’t think I’ve tried it. January 16, 2017 at 2:49pm Reply

      • Sandra: Thanks for the recommendations!

        The Sisely is the Botanical Confort Extreme Day skin care, it is made for very dry sensitive skin and if very moisturizing. I like it, but I can’t afford that price, though a jar does last a long time. January 17, 2017 at 7:11am Reply

        • Victoria: What I love is how good their creams feel on skin. January 17, 2017 at 8:07am Reply

    • Katherine: Drunk Elephant makes a night time moisturizer called Lala Retro whipped cream that’s nice. I like it over Tretinoin cream .1 (prescription retinol) or an even less expensive option is banila co Miss Flower & Mr. Honey cream (thicker than Lala Retro). I like both of these and switch around. January 17, 2017 at 10:07am Reply

      • Sandra: Thank you! January 27, 2017 at 8:56am Reply

  • Trudy: Thank you for this post. Skincare is something I’m passionate about and have been since my teen years. I’ve tried so many products over the years but lately have settled on a few that seem to deliver. This is the line up for now:
    ROC Cleanser
    Heritage Store Rosewater
    Paula’s Choice Resist Barrier Repair Moisturizer with Retinol
    Coola facial sunblock
    Vintner’s Daughter (a wonderful facial oil and the only product she makes). This is my favorite product and the one I believe that has made the most difference in my skin.
    I switch eye creams quite a bit so I’ll check out Sisley’s. Also, SK-II makes a facial treatment mask that hydrates really well. Its sold individually or in a pack. I usually keep an individual mask on hand for special occasions. January 16, 2017 at 11:12am Reply

    • Victoria: We have many favorites in common, including SK-II masks. I love how in Japan you can get sheet masks in industrial quantities. January 16, 2017 at 2:51pm Reply

  • Cristina: Thank you so much for this, dear Victoria, I guess I’ll have to change everything I do 🙂

    I have a question, as you seem to have kept up with the literature: any news on Retin-A as an anti-aging product? The prescription-only formulations, I mean. Any thoughts?

    It’s always a delight to read what you share with us
    Cristina January 16, 2017 at 11:22am Reply

    • Victoria: Retin-A is one of the few ingredients that has a strong effect, and Vitamin C is the other one. One dermatologist in Brussels told me that he doesn’t think that Retin-A is worth the irritation it causes, but I don’t experience any when I use it and my skin definitely looks its best when I keep a retinol containing product in my routine. January 16, 2017 at 2:54pm Reply

  • kekasmais: Ooh, thanks for calling out the no-no with mixing Niacinamide and Vitamin C. I use a Vitamin C based serum for pigmentation issues/mild rosacea, so good to know for future reference. January 16, 2017 at 12:27pm Reply

    • Victoria: Because of the differing pH their effectiveness is compromised if they are used together. Some say to avoid niacinamide with acids altogether. January 16, 2017 at 3:00pm Reply

  • AndreaR: I was introduced to Yon Ka skin care by a wonderful esthetician about 25 years ago and am still a huge fan of this line. January 16, 2017 at 12:46pm Reply

    • Victoria: I haven’t tried it, but my local salon carries it. January 16, 2017 at 3:00pm Reply

  • Bonnie: Paula’s Choice Resist 2% BHA Daily Pore-Refining Treatment is one of my most used products too! I find the Paula’s Choice entire Resist line to be quite commendable: the sunscreen and moisturizer combo are my daily skin lingerie underneath my Urban Decay foundation. I have very oily skin and the Resist products help control this situation. Best of all, Paula’s Choice products are not tested on animals and have the leaping bunny logo. As important to me as how well the products work. January 16, 2017 at 1:02pm Reply

    • Victoria: I love Paula’s Choice line in general. Paula herself was a major inspiration, and her lessons outlined in her books improved my skin tremendously. January 16, 2017 at 3:01pm Reply

  • Nancy: Thank you for sharing your skin care routine, Victoria! It is of great interest to me not only because I’ve admired your glowing complexion but also because we are close in age and similar in skin type. I just placed my first order with The Ordinary and will be looking into your other recommendations as well! January 16, 2017 at 1:15pm Reply

    • Victoria: My pleasure! I hope that it’s helpful. The Ordinary is a fantastic line, and as you can see, the prices are reasonable. January 16, 2017 at 3:02pm Reply

  • Valesca Sinninghe Damste: Do you change your routine in the summer and winter? Do you do retinol in the summer? January 16, 2017 at 2:05pm Reply

    • Victoria: I change my routine slightly week to week, depending on how my skin feels and what it needs. The main difference between summer and winter is that in the winter I use heavier moisturizing creams and do masks more often. In Belgium there isn’t that much sun even in the summer, but if I’m traveling, I stop using retinol or I use it only once a week. At any rate, it’s always good to take a break. For exfoliation in the summer I switch to the BHAs (like the Paula’s Choice lotion I mentioned) exclusively, because they don’t make skin react to the sun as much. But of course, I wear sunscreen anyway and reapply it every two hours. January 16, 2017 at 3:07pm Reply

  • Elena: Thank you for the detailed post! I use a vitamin c serum and have tried a hylauronic acid one as well, both from Paula’s Choice, which I was happy with, but the price of those Ordinary serums is incredible! I am ordering some right now! And the pennies I save can go toward perfume… right?

    Your skincare routine is similar to mine, but I like to use a cotton pad with micellar water sometimes as well as a gentle cleanser at night. The cotton pad is a perfect exfoliant! January 16, 2017 at 2:14pm Reply

    • Victoria: The price is incredible! And the effect is too. These serums made more difference to the way my skin looks than anything else I’ve tried recently. January 16, 2017 at 3:07pm Reply

  • Trudy: Victoria thank you for bringing The Ordinary Serums to our attention. I just visited their website and the entire Deciem company is very interesting. I plan to try a couple of the serums (so affordable). Some of the Deciem NIOD products look very enticing as well. I have to pace myself! As always you have introduced us to something new (at least new to me) and potentially wonderful. January 16, 2017 at 3:13pm Reply

    • Victoria: I also have a couple of products from the Deciem brand, but I’m still testing them. I agree, it’s an excellent line all in all, and the prices of the Ordinary make it even more appealing. Glad that you’re finding these posts useful! Which serums are you going to try? January 16, 2017 at 4:21pm Reply

      • Trudy: The serums I’m thinking of ordering are the Hyaluronic Acid+B5 and the Vitamin C Suspension 23% +HA Spheres 2%. It’s kind of confusing to know what to use with what. The NIOD Nec seems almost too good to be true but very tempting. The neck is my area of concern at the moment! Love all the comments on today’s topic. Such good information. January 16, 2017 at 10:02pm Reply

        • Victoria: Here they suggest a few routines:

          Example regimen for general signs of age:
          AM: Buffet, Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5; PM: Buffet, Advanced Retinoid 2%, 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil

          Example regimen for pigmentation issues:
          AM: Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA, Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate Solution 10%; PM: Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA, Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%, Advanced Retinoid 2%

          Example regimen for dehydration:
          AM: Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate Solution 10%; PM: Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5, Advanced Retinoid 2%; 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil January 17, 2017 at 3:29am Reply

    • Hamamelis: I have been using the Niod products since coming across them on Annikky’s blog. My skin has never looked this good, they are excellent but more expensive than the Ordinary, but they can be used side by side. It takes a bit of reading to understand when to use what but it is worth the effort. January 16, 2017 at 5:10pm Reply

      • Victoria: What NIOD products are you using? January 17, 2017 at 3:11am Reply

        • Hamamelis: I use quite a few: Superoxide Dismutase Saccharide Mist, one of my favourites and all purpose mist to hydrate face and body
          CAIS, their best product I think, but it needs to be used for a longer time to see best results,
          MMHC, their hyaluron product
          Hydration Vaccine, their moisturizer which leaves my skin plump and silky (all within what is possible given my almost 54 years ;-))
          NEC Elasticity, I think it really helps to firm up neck and contours
          Voice Mail mask, a leave-on nighttime mask which I like very much
          Non acid precursor, an alternative to acid peels
          Fractioned Eye contour, which is really improving a difficult dermatitis spot round my eyes (nothing I tried helped)
          and their Sanskrit cleanser, not sure about the name, but it is a very good cleanser, but I am not a religious cleanser user.

          Via A’blog there is a link to a beauty blog where the owner of Deciem answers a lot of questions concerning their products, I found it very useful.

          They are expensive products, but they are very economical to use. If I were to suggest three it would be the mist, the CAIS and their eye product, but I am glad to keep using them all. January 17, 2017 at 6:10am Reply

          • Victoria: Those three are the ones I also liked: the mist, the CAIS and their eye product. I tried one of their masks, an orange one, but it doesn’t seem to do much for me. The Hydration Vaccine is on my list, once I finish my other moisturizing lotion. January 17, 2017 at 8:04am Reply

            • Hamamelis: I forgot to add another Deciem product that I really like and have very good results using: Stemm Density Stimuli, a hair serum. I never used anything like this before, but my hair appears to be thicker, fuller, more shine and holds up better between washes since I do. January 17, 2017 at 8:23am Reply

              • Victoria: Stemm has a shampoo too, I think. January 17, 2017 at 8:46am Reply

                • Hamamelis: Yes, I use it too, but it has a conditioning effect, and that sometimes weighs my hair down a bit. If I use a tiny amount (it doesn’t produce much of a lather) it is oke. I am still making up my mind about the shampoo. Interesting that we have the same NIOD favourites btw. And, totally unrelated, I am wearing and much enjoying Stash. It is smells very much like the scent the sadly had-to be-chopped down neighbour atlascedar still emits from the planks that were cut from it and that are out to dry (it came down this summer). January 17, 2017 at 8:53am Reply

                  • Victoria: I’ve given it a bit less time than The Ordinary, so I’m waiting a bit longer to make up my mind. January 17, 2017 at 11:33am Reply

  • jacq: I use water and apple cider vinegar to cleanse my face with a sponge, rosewater to tone and extra virgin coconut oil or sesame oil in winter to moisturise. For weekly face masque, I use full cream yoghurt with a pinch of tumeric plus honey ocassionally. January 16, 2017 at 3:49pm Reply

    • Victoria: Yogurt and turmeric is a mask I use a lot in the summer. A favorite. January 16, 2017 at 4:18pm Reply

      • Della-Santa Jacqueline: Yes 🙂
        I learn this when in holidaying in Bali. I had really bad acne skin from 13 to 40. I spent a fortune on skin care, treatment and what not.
        It seems my skin couldn’t handle anything. I was holidaying in Bali and noticed most of the Balinese, male or female has beautiful skin without makeup. And when I went for their spa treatment, I marvelled at all the herbs and spices they used…i was picking up barks and leaves in the spa bath tub. My fav is the Lulur spa treatment, when after massage, they layered on some sort of tumeric masque, scrubbed off and then yoghurt…Mmmmm..Awesome stuff…. January 16, 2017 at 7:11pm Reply

        • Victoria: It’s also a popular blend in India, and even the pre-wedding rituals will include a turmeric paste rub for the bride and groom. January 17, 2017 at 3:12am Reply

  • CARYN PEREZ: Hi Victoria, I found your skin routine recommendations extremely useful and would like to find out about your sunscreen you posted the photo of – Fotoprotector Fusion Water Spf 50. Can you let me know if this is a mineral based, chemical free sunscreen (zinc and/or titanium oxide) or is it a chemical sunscreen. Also, I don’t see they have any contact info for the U.S. I’m in California and would like to know if it can be purchased here. Thanks! January 16, 2017 at 4:12pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you. It’s a blend of physical and chemical filters, and the brand is Spanish. It’s not available outside of Spain, I’m afraid. January 16, 2017 at 4:17pm Reply

  • Annikky: I just love to read about people’s skincare routines, cannot resist. My steps are very similar to yours, although I’m less loyal to my products – especially the cleansers. I’ve just ordered a second batch of The Ordinary products, as I was happy with my first picks. The Advanced Retinoid is especially great for the price, I think. I’m going to try Buttermilk Skincare for some Asian products soon – I’ve ordered from Peach & Lily, but from Europe it’s tricky (not their fault). January 16, 2017 at 4:39pm Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, I don’t even bother ordering outside of the EU, unless it’s something really special. And the truth is that as wonderful as some harder to find, small Asian brands are, they are no better for me than whatever I can find much more easily here. As for staying loyal, it’s easy. It takes at least 3 months to see an effect from a product, so by that time I end up liking the products so much I don’t give them up. Also, I’m very picky in terms of my basic products like cleansers, so very few improve on what I already have. January 17, 2017 at 3:01am Reply

  • Mariann: Ah this is a post after my own heart! Went down that rabbit hole even before perfume. I too am hooked on The Ordinary after reading about it on various blogs. I swear the Niaciamide & Zinc has got rid of almost all blemishes! Haven’t tried the others as long yet. Unfortunately only the most common brands are available here and they are quite expensive. So I need to find out who send to Chile and if its going to cost an arm and a leg :). Or I’ll be stocking up every trip back home. January 16, 2017 at 8:17pm Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, that stuff is miraculous, in a word. At least, I’ve had great results using it. January 17, 2017 at 3:13am Reply

  • Maggie Mahboubian: So glad to see that you enjoy the simple pleasures and benefits of rosewater. Lovely post! January 16, 2017 at 8:20pm Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, definitely a favorite. January 17, 2017 at 3:23am Reply

  • rickyrebarco: Great routine, Victoria! I use Shu Uemura oil cleanser and toner/hydration I forget the name but it’s a K beauty product with tree sap in it. Awesome!

    I use the same Sisley lip and eye countour you use, it’s the best, hands down. I’m 65 and I look great if I do say so myself. I use Lancome extrait serum, great stuff. Overpirced but it’s good. My best new discovery is Perricone MD, great stuff, the best for keeping neck and decolletage looking ood, it’s called SubD, I use Perricone MD products with hyaluronic acid, too. Excellent products. I think Perricone is better than the uber pricey Sisleya, face moisturizer. January 16, 2017 at 8:37pm Reply

    • Victoria: Sisley is the only truly expensive skincare product I use. I’m sure there are other good and less expensive eye creams, but nothing I’ve tried works as well, and I’m fed up wasting money on the so-so stuff. My beauty counter often gives me Sisley samples of their moisturizers, but I don’t find them particularly interesting. Also, they’re far too scented for my liking. One of their face creams smells like a good chypre, which I wouldn’t mind in a perfume form. January 17, 2017 at 3:27am Reply

  • Irem: Thank you for this excellent post, Victoria. I’ve heard the name Ordinary before, but never knew they had extraordinary skincare at unbelievable prices. This is going to be a life changing recommendation, many thanks again!
    I am kind of a skincare geek too and reed dermatology publications in my spare time. I am a Paula’s Choice devotee and very happy with the results. I follow a similar approach by mixing several boosters from Paula’s Choice, but it is becoming an expensive habit.
    I have two questions for you. I would really appreciate if you could give me a short answer, I’ll do the rest of the research.
    1. What is the reason that niacinamide and vit C don’t go well together? I do not doubt it, but I am surprised.
    2. Is there a reason you save vit C for the evening instead of morning? There is numerous research indicating that vit C helps protect against sun damage used alongside a sunscreen. January 16, 2017 at 10:54pm Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, I see what you mean. It’s very tempting to add one serum and then another and then suddenly one ends up with 10 serums and the costs add up. I try to avoid it, because of costs and because the products don’t stay fresh. I prefer to use a simple combination (changing perhaps whether I use exfoliation or not and what kind of moisturizer I finish with) and see the results.

      You can definitely reverse them and sometimes I do. I save Vitamin C for the evening, because the formula of the Ordinary makes my favorite sunscreen peel. In fact, it’s not a very elegant formulation, but it’s so effective that I don’t mind.

      Vitamin C and niacinamide are most effective at different pHs. Now, it’s up for debate how/when/at what point layering two products will have this canceling effect, since it mostly depends on the concentration of two active ingredients and some other factors. Since the products I use are highly concentrated, I don’t layer Vitamin C and niacinamide serums. Generally, a good concentrated Vitamin C serum works best on its own, so whenever you use it, morning or evening, it doesn’t require anything else overly complicated. January 17, 2017 at 2:52am Reply

  • Irem: Dear Victoria, I’d also like to add a comment re: Drunk Elephant. I mostly adore the philosophy of that brand. And their ingredients are excellent. I wish many more companies would follow a similar route. However, I’d say you’re not losing out on DE. I’ve wanted to try that line for a very long time too. Finally I’ve got minis of all their products in cute sets at Sephora. I’ve tried the AHA (PC AHA and/or BHA is superior); the vit C serum (it is dark orange. it also contains pumpkin extract. I was very unsure how much of the color is pumpkin and how much of it is oxidation. I want my vit C clear!); the marula oil (100% marula oil, as good as any other brand); B5 moisturizer (I thought I am not going to like it since my skin is dry, but it was my favorite product from DE). I’ve also tied a lip product (OK) and their sunscreen (greasy, even for dry skin. And it has glitter in it. Huge chunks of glitter. Weird.) The cleansing bars I’ve skipped since they are Sodium Coco Sulphate based which is natural but mostly Sodium Lauryl SuIphate. I still need to try the richer cream. Again, most products are definitely not bad, but you can find (better) alternatives at better prices. DEs prices are definitely very high. January 16, 2017 at 11:03pm Reply

    • Victoria: Good to know! Thank you very much, this is very helpful. January 17, 2017 at 3:30am Reply

  • K: Thank you for this post! I’m always interested to know about skin care routines. There could be a product I was not aware of that is beneficial.
    I have been using Sisley for years as well as Skinceuticals CE Ferulic & Rosewater Toner. I recently started using Evan Healey serums & their whipped Shea butters. I’d like to try more products from the line. I also want to locate some of your suggestions as well as other contributors. This was a wonderful exchange of thoughts. I feel we were able to know each a little better! January 17, 2017 at 12:09am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for sharing as well. Yes, this is such a fun thread, and I’m enjoying all of the comments. January 17, 2017 at 3:31am Reply

  • Gabriela: Wonderful post.
    I am trying the Ema Hardie cleanser and very curious to try the DHC cleanser. I use the Body shop camomila cleanser ant it’s wonderful. Will check the La Rochay you mentioned Victoria. I am going to Paris next week, any tips on beauty products and shops?
    Another thought, I use Karite butter for my eyes and it’s really good and cheap! January 17, 2017 at 4:24am Reply

    • Victoria: Try to find a Biologique Recherche boutique, and if you can, schedule an appointment. It’s a fantastic brand and they offer many very good products. Their exfoliating PW50 lotion is my current favorite.

      Otherwise, yes, most pharmacies offer many interesting lines and brands, including perfume and soaps. If you like the scent of carnation, be sure to stop by the Roger & Gallet flagship store to buy Oeillet Mignardise soap. It’s the soap version of Caron’s Bellodgia. January 17, 2017 at 5:22am Reply

      • Gabriela: Lovely, lovely tips! Thank you. January 17, 2017 at 6:39am Reply

  • Surbhi: A very interesting post and discussion. Thank you Victoria and everyone. I have very dry and sensitive skin specially in winter. So many times, specialist have recommended vitamin C to me but my skin is irritated with VItamin C (and generally with any brightening product in general). Now I use oil based serum at night in winter. I tried so many cheaper eye creams and they never worked. I received a la mer as gift once and it works so well that now I have to splurge. I generally get a gentle cleanser from lush or a company in India that makes skin care range based on essential oils and natural ingredients. Rose water toner. A light moistureizer in summer and heavier in winter. Most of these skin care products have rose, jasmine or sandalwood oil (real). I am very irregular about face masks.

    I am not as particular about sunscreen but trying to be more regular. January 17, 2017 at 4:57am Reply

    • Victoria: Starting with Vitamin C very slowly was the recommendation I followed–once a week for a month at first and then build up the dose higher. My skin also used to react to the Vitamin C products, which is normal, but not anymore.

      I don’t remember the name, but there is a wonderful jasmine toner from the Indian skincare brand I found in Mumbai. January 17, 2017 at 5:20am Reply

      • Surbhi: I will try to re-introduce vitamin c again.

        If you recall the jasmine toners name, please let me know. Thank you.

        I just realized I didn’t mention the name of brand above. It’s sand for soapholics. They do great hair mask as well ( hair smells of jasmine for a day if not more even after washing. But it makes me long hair super healthy). January 17, 2017 at 5:31am Reply

        • Victoria: Try to find a good stable formula (and build up your use slowly. It’s one of the very few ingredients that actually work (prevents sun damage, reserve some types of photoaging and increases collagen production.) It’s also anti-inflammatory. A difficult ingredient to use in a skincare formula, but if you find a good one, the effects are obvious. January 17, 2017 at 8:02am Reply

  • Tijana: Dear Victoria, I am also addicted to great skin care! Thank you for recommending The Ordinary Skincare, I cannot how affordable they are – I am just about to order a bunch of their serums. So excited to try them out, the look amazing based on various reviews! January 17, 2017 at 7:00am Reply

    • Victoria: They’re excellent, and the only difficult thing is to work out how to use them in a skincare routine. But it’s worth taking a moment to read up on the topic. January 17, 2017 at 8:05am Reply

      • Tijana: I was reading it all morning and I ordered 4 products: Vit C serum, Arbutin serum, Lactic acid 10% and 2% retinol. I cannot believe how affordable their skincare is – I am so excited! Once I use up my current Niacinimide from Paula’s Choice and my current oils, that is next on the list. January 17, 2017 at 10:50am Reply

        • Victoria: Great choices! I also love how affordable it is and also how effective. That’s in the end is the most important part. January 17, 2017 at 11:29am Reply

  • Austenfan: Great post, although I’m not as diligent about my skin care as you are, I don’t altogether neglect it either.
    I seem to remember reading somewhere that Vitamin C is better used at night as UV will make it less effective, do you know if that is true at all?

    Your tips about Japanese sunscreen led me to the discovery of a Japanese product that I actually use a lot more than those sunscreens; the Hada Labo premium hyaluronic lotion, thicker than their regular lotion. I enjoy using it a lot, but I will switch so something more easily obtainable when I’ve finished my bottle; your post has given me plenty of food for thought for that, so thank you! January 17, 2017 at 7:42am Reply

    • Victoria: Vitamin C is a very difficult ingredient for a skincare chemist to use. Because it’s such a potent anti-oxidant, it begins to bind to the free radicals of oxygen even when it’s still in the bottle. Which means that it actually becomes pro-oxidant! The sure way to tell is if your Vitamin C serum has turned color (which is why many brands cheat and add botanical colorants). Then, you have formulations in which there is so little Vit C, it makes no difference. Or if a type is used that doesn’t convert to the active form in the skin.

      Stable forms (Ascorbyl Glucoside, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate and Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, and others), however, can be used during the day, and they make sunscreen more effective. But skin also absorbs Vit C, and even if you use it at night, it’s retained in the skin the next day. Our skin is complicated. Wonderful and complicated. January 17, 2017 at 8:19am Reply

      • Austenfan: I know very, very little about dermatology, as for some reason it was not included in my theoretical training at all, and my internship only consisted of 7 mornings of outpatient clinics. Fortunately for me, 5 of those were spent with a very erudite and competent dermatologist who in that limited time did manage to pass some of his knowledge on to me. And we discussed classical music and literature.
        But it didn’t involve skincare of “normal” skin at all. I remember lots of eczema and some bad skin infections.

        Our skin is a very complex organ, immunologically interesting as well. Thanks for explaining about the Vit.C. It makes sense that way. January 17, 2017 at 9:11am Reply

        • Cornelia Blimber: ”Our skin is a very complex organ.”,,,,that’s interesting.
          Maybe that’s why I have a good skin. It knows what it has to do, although I use Hema stuff for cleansing and L’Oréal daycream. Never nightcream or masks.
          Maybe it rerves me so well because I trust it.
          (I am serious). January 17, 2017 at 11:09am Reply

          • Victoria: The way skin looks is due only in a rather small part to skincare and a lot to diet, lifestyle, etc. And let’s not forget genes! January 17, 2017 at 11:28am Reply

            • Cornelia Blimber: Ah, genes! yes, my mother and my grandfather had good skins. January 17, 2017 at 11:38am Reply

        • Victoria: Sounds good to me, though. 🙂 January 17, 2017 at 11:38am Reply

          • Austenfan: He was such a nice man, and the mornings I spent there were fun. He was also highly intelligent and very aware of the limitations of his work. I would never have chosen it as a profession but I would have liked to have been trained in it a bit longer, plus it was genuinely enjoyable to discuss life in general, and medicine in particular with him. January 17, 2017 at 12:09pm Reply

            • Victoria: It’s an interesting area to be sure, with its own quirks. But what I find curious is how little dermatologists across the field tend to agree with each other, even on some basic topics like whether Retin-A is a useful skincare ingredient. Despite there being lots of independent studies showing its efficacy. January 18, 2017 at 6:14am Reply

              • Austenfan: Doctors never agree on anything. And I think a lot of dermatologists are not that interested in skincare for people with ‘normal’ skins.
                Although I think there is a lot of money to be made in cosmetic dermatology.
                The dermatologist I was talking about was most interested in bacterial skin infections, with a side-interest in acne. January 18, 2017 at 12:00pm Reply

        • kpaint: For this reason, dermatologists seem to be good at treating medical conditions but not at all knowledgeable about skincare – as in the daily upkeep of one’s skin.

          Aestheticians are better resources for this, though there are a lot of dedicated bloggers out there who are extremely knowledgeable about both the science and aesthetic concerns – moreso than a lot of trained professionals.

          When it comes down to daily upkeep, though, it’s really about what works for one’s own skin, so much like perfume, it requires lots of testing to find what works. And also accepting that what works one year may not work the next 😉 January 25, 2017 at 8:01pm Reply

          • Austenfan: Very true. It’s simply not part of their curriculum, dermatology is a complex enough field as it is. January 26, 2017 at 12:15pm Reply

  • Johanob: I love reading about everyones’ skincare routines and the products you use.I have recently become infatuated with the Vichy Rose Petals range,any thoughts on those Victoria?We do not have easy access to The Ordinary over here(yet),but they do sound very interesting.Today I bought everything from scrub to mask of the Vichy Rose petals range,mainly because of the gorgeous subtle smell.The toner definitely improved my skin tone overall,and I love the mask.There is a gel cleanser I am going to try tonight.P.S when do we draw for MSF??Hehe!Excited!!!x January 17, 2017 at 8:42am Reply

    • Johanob: Whoops.CORRECTION!It’s the Nuxe rose petals range,not Vichy! January 17, 2017 at 8:47am Reply

      • Victoria: Ah, I see! I’m going to see if our pharmacy has it. January 17, 2017 at 8:48am Reply

    • Victoria: I haven’t seen this particular one around here, but I like their body moisturizer. It’s one of those staple pharmacy brands that often get good reviews.

      Tallying up the total tonight and publishing the names of our winners tomorrow! I’m also very excited. January 17, 2017 at 8:48am Reply

      • Johanob: Yay!Awesome,cannot wait to see who wins the Mitsie! January 17, 2017 at 8:51am Reply

        • Victoria: Suspense! 🙂 January 17, 2017 at 11:30am Reply

          • Sandra: I am excited to see the winners as well but most important I would love to know the total amount that was donated to DWB.

            Thanks again for arranging this and for always radiating compassion. January 17, 2017 at 11:58am Reply

            • Victoria: And thank you for participating! I will be sure to share the total. January 18, 2017 at 6:11am Reply

  • rickyrebarco: Victoria’s best skincare recommendation of all is sunscreen!! I’ve been using it since I was a child, it goes on every day. I like Perricone MD’s chloroplasma sunscreen. January 17, 2017 at 9:59am Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, I can’t agree more. One can chuck all the rest out, but sunscreen is a must. January 17, 2017 at 11:29am Reply

  • Joy: Thank you for sharing your skincare program. It is interesting to me your comment regarding eye creams. I stopped buying them years ago because they always melt and run into my eyes. They, no matter the brand, really burn. I have been using Olay serum tapped lightly around my eyes with no problem. I get it at Costco, which I am certain that you do not have access to. I will try the Sisley. January 17, 2017 at 8:22pm Reply

    • Victoria: Sisley doesn’t run into my eyes and doesn’t burn. I have very sensitive eyes, and I wear contacts. I don’t know if it’s the eye cream to end all eye creams, but it works well for me. I can’t go without a proper eye cream, though, since the area under my eyes is large enough and its skin is thinner and different enough from the rest of my face to require a separate product. January 18, 2017 at 6:17am Reply

  • Jane: Can anyone recommend a U.S. website to order oils for my face such as grape seed and sweet almond? January 17, 2017 at 10:10pm Reply

    • Surbhi: Edens garden. It has many essential oils as well as carrier oils.

      Whole Foods also carries good sweet almond oil. I have not looked at grape seed one. January 17, 2017 at 10:35pm Reply

      • Victoria: WF should have it too. I used to buy it there for cooking. January 18, 2017 at 6:18am Reply

      • Jane: Thank you Surbhi for your suggestions. Whole Foods is certainly convenient enough! January 18, 2017 at 7:33am Reply

    • Victoria: Also, Mountain Rose Herbs, a great website for oils, herbs, essences, etc. January 18, 2017 at 6:18am Reply

      • Jane: I have heard good things about Mountain Rose. I feel more confident ordering from a recommended site so I don’t end up with inferior oils-thank you so much Victoria. January 18, 2017 at 7:35am Reply

      • Lavanya: I second Mountain Rose herbs. Also Garden of wisdom has a lovely variety and selection of carrier oils in large as well as trial sizes. January 22, 2017 at 5:29pm Reply

  • Eva: Hi! So excited to learn about the Ordinary serums! I already ordered some for myself!
    Does anyone by chance know what to recommend for my teenage daughter with acne prone mixed skin? She went to see a keratotherapeute and use – diligently I must say – the products of Dr Janka…. results are ok but not overwhelming and the products are VERY expensive…. January 18, 2017 at 6:06am Reply

    • Victoria: I recommend taking a look at Paula’s Choice skincare. A benzyl peroxide product coupled with a BHA exfoliating lotion, a gentle cleanser in the morning, a double cleanse in the evening, and an oil-free moisturizer saved my skin during my teenage years. Oh, and sunscreen! It’s a must if one uses any sort of exfoliating product, especially since acne scars tend to discolor without proper sun protection. Of course, it’s a general recommendation, and since everyone’s skin is different, perhaps some other combination would work best for your daughter. January 18, 2017 at 6:22am Reply

      • Eva: Thank you!!!
        She’s been so good about doing her new routine (I wake her up five minutes earlier so she’ll have time to clean her face etc) so I want her to continue but without emptying my bank account!
        I’ll look into Paula’s choice! (not the first time I hear that name) January 18, 2017 at 6:46am Reply

    • Ariadne: Hi Eva,
      My daughter suffers from adult acne and has tried EVERYTHING except Retin-A. She now swears by the Exuviance products for acne prone skin. January 18, 2017 at 4:01pm Reply

      • Eva: Hi! I’ll check that out! Her acne is not that bad but I’ve understood – from seeing how well she respects her routine – that it is really bothering her… She’s 15 and starts a new school in September so I hope we’ll find something that works until then! I ordered a test set from Paula’s choice for only 15 euros, great to test! Let’s see if Exuviance has the same…. January 18, 2017 at 4:10pm Reply

  • Kneale: Thank you for sharing your skincare routine, Victoria! I always find it such fun to learn about which lotions and serums everyone uses. I am now quite tempted by the Sisley 😉 I too am a devotee of The Ordinary line and appreciate the information about not using vitamin C and niacinamide at the same time. You have also inspired me to move my skincare out of the bathroom 🙂 Thanks for another marvelous post. January 18, 2017 at 12:37pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m very happy to hear this! My little shoe box with skincare also makes it easier to figure out what I have, what I’m running out of. Inside ofit I usually arrange products in terms of my morning or evening routines, so it also saves time. January 20, 2017 at 4:00am Reply

  • Cath: Hi Victoria,
    I love your simple steps. I have also streamlined my routine and use very little.
    Morning: gentle AHA foaming cleanser, it comes in a pump style recipient so no hassle to lather it yourself (time saving) Panna Pompa AHA morning face soap.
    Spritz with SO2S face mist. Toner is by Kanebo ururi うるり yaku-yo skin conditioner (they have three or more in this series, whitening etc but for my blemish prone rosacea skin I prefer the skin conditioner) しっとり. Next is my morning serum DDF wrinkle resist plus pore minimizer, and I finish with sunscreen. LRP is the one that works best for me Rosaliac UV legere in winter, once spring arrives I switch to Anthelios XL non perfumed dry touch gel cream. It keeps my skin fairly matte in the Japanese summer.
    Evening: you have to try this: Santa Marche green tea deep cleansing. Next Lissage Moist Clay soap. This lathers beautifully and will clear my pores. Then again the mist and toner, and in to my serums. Sometimes it’s LRP Rosaliac AR intense, but I think I prefer Olay regenerist regenerating serum fragrance free. I finish with a cream, depending on the season and my skin’s needs I use LRP effaclar Duo+, right now I’m using Chanel solution 10, and when my skin is parched and feels tight LRP cicaplast baume B5 is my rescue.
    Sheet masks: the ones to saturate with lotion, the Shisiedo ones are the best, they fit my face (other brands sometimes feel U conforming bc Asian faces are flatter and the eye holes don’t fit). I buy a cheap toner Naris skin conditioner with hyaluronic acid (they have one with vitamin C and one with collagen too).
    For the all in one masks, I recently discovered these cheapies that were quite good and didn’t irritate my skin: Absolution collagen essence mask for hydration. Their pearl essence mask is a little richer, as if saturated with serum.
    I’d love to be able to send you some pics too. There’s still so much to discover 🙂
    Hugs from Osaka. January 20, 2017 at 1:31am Reply

    • Victoria: Please send me photos! You can email me at editor at boisdejasmin dot com. Your routine sounds similar in terms of steps, and I’m now curious about several of your products.

      I didn’t realize that people might have issues with the shape of the Japanese masks until a couple of other readers mentioned it. Shiseido does make some of the best masks, however. January 20, 2017 at 3:55am Reply

    • Gabriela: Hi! Very curious about the Santa Marche green tea deep cleansing. Can you tell us a little more about it, please? January 28, 2017 at 8:46am Reply

  • Cath: Sorry for the typos 🙇
    U conforming was supposed to be uncomfortable. The auto correct changed it, bah.
    Btw, I stopped using eye creams bc I read, I think it was on Paula’s page, that your regular moisturizer is sufficient. January 20, 2017 at 1:37am Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, that’s one Paula advice I didn’t find useful. The skin under my eyes has a different texture and thickness from that of the rest of my face, so whatever I use to moisturize doesn’t suffice. On the other hand, this is not the case for many people, especially those who already use richer creams day to day. January 20, 2017 at 3:57am Reply

  • Lea: Hi,

    I’m a long time follower of Bois de Jasmin, but this is my first time to comment. Here goes my morning and night skincare routine – I’ll start with my favorite cleanser, LRP Toleriane, which I’ll remove with a washcloth; I don’t use a toner these days, since Clinique decided to break my heart and replace their Mild Clarifying Lotion… Next step in my routine is Caudalie’s Vinosource Riche, a beautiful moisturizer for my dry skin. In the morning, I’ll add a sunblock; right now I use one from Biosolis, Extreme Fluid SPF50. Another favorite SPF comes from Paula’s Choice, and it’s her Calm Mineral Moisturizer SPF30; before that, my favorite was Sheer City Block SPF25 from Clinique. I’ll rarely use a mask, but I’m very interested in face mists. I like to keep my skincare to a minimum; there are many interesting products on the market, I just feel overwhelmed by all the choice 🙂

    Lea January 20, 2017 at 2:09pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for sharing your routine, Lea! We have a few favorites in common. I like rosewater as a face mist. Orange blossom water also works well, and it’s great for sensitive skin. January 24, 2017 at 4:28pm Reply

  • Alte: Thank you for sharing your skincare regimen! Skincare is such a personal subject so I really appreciate you taking the time to share your routine with us. Now that I’m over 30, I’ve also started to use retinol but am gradually easing into it, with just 0.5%. I didn’t even know it went up to 2%! I’m curious about the Isehan Spf that you mentioned b/c I’m currently on the lookout for a new sunscreen after Shiseido changed its formula (which I had been relying on for over 10 years!). I also change my lineup of products every 3-4 months b/c I find that it helps reboot my skin (a bit like how one would change up an exercise routine after a certain period, to ward off plateauing). Thanks again! January 21, 2017 at 8:00pm Reply

    • Victoria: I agree. I also change my lineup, although not the basic products like cleansers. Sunscreen is something I change often, especially since new formulas come out all the time.

      The Ordinary also makes a 1% retinoid serum, although I haven’t tried it. My skin handles their 2% just fine, but if you started with .5%, it’s better to go with 1% first. January 24, 2017 at 4:31pm Reply

  • Elisa: You’ve got me curious to try the DHC cleanser and The Ordinary serums! My staples lately are Cerave SA or Neutrogena Ultra Gentle for cleanser (I can’t live without foam on makeup days but these are both non-drying for me); Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM; Clinique DDML and Paula’s Choice Resist Moisture Renewal Oil Booster for light moisture; when I need an extra layer of moisture I mix it up — currently using Korres rose and vitamin C overnight facial and Drunk Eleplant Lala Retro cream (both of which are silicon-free, FYI). My current go-to sunscreen is COOLA (also silicon-free! which is so hard to find!) but I also like the Tarte sunscreen. Fave lip balms are Aquaphor, 8-Hour Cream, or Weleda Everon (thinner and more matte, perfect under lipstick). January 23, 2017 at 1:38pm Reply

    • Victoria: The Ordinary is a great line. The whole company makes some of the most interesting skincare available today.

      I like lipbalms that come in a tube or a lipstick form, since otherwise I never use them. But those formats are rare for some reason. January 24, 2017 at 4:34pm Reply

      • Elisa: Everon comes in a stick! I think it’s really underrated. I’m picky about lip stuff because a lot of formulas (especially with heavy mint or certain kinds of sunscreens) irritate my lips. January 24, 2017 at 4:36pm Reply

        • Victoria: I definitely have to try it then. I also don’t like minty ingredients in my lip balms, since my lips are dry as it is. January 24, 2017 at 4:39pm Reply

      • kpaint: Doesn’t everyone prefer NOT to apply from a pot? Lip balm should always come in a tube or stick form, in my not-so-humble opinion. (I have always made an exception for By Terry Baume de Rose, however 🙂 )

        That said, I discovered I have a beeswax (propolis) allergy about a year ago, so at this point I’m open to just about any lip balm that doesn’t contain beeswax. My latest and greatest discovery is Clarins Moisture Replenishing Lip Balm – which thankfully comes in a tube!

        Prior to that I had tubes of Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment (in clear and rosé) and Advanced Treatment within arms’ reach at all times. Sadly, they contain beeswax and I miss them every day of my life. 🙁 January 25, 2017 at 9:07pm Reply

        • Victoria: I’ll check out Clarins, which should be easy to find.

          I don’t know why companies insist on jars. Perhaps, it’s cheaper for them. January 26, 2017 at 2:43am Reply

    • kpaint: DHC cleansing oil is mostly olive oil so you could try whatever’s in your kitchen first to see if you like it. Do you use skincare that’s entirely silicone-free? My scalp is super reactive to dimethicone so I stopped using hair products with dimethicone a few years ago. I think my face doesn’t tolerate it well either so I’ve been trying to go dimethicone-free with my skincare, but that’s much more challenging. It’s quite ubiquitous. And I’m only trying to eliminate 1 silicone. Avoiding all of them must be tough! January 25, 2017 at 8:50pm Reply

      • Elisa: Dimethicone IS the main one that is ubiquitous! I’m actually fine with dimethicone in makeup, maybe because it’s in smaller amounts. But anything with a LOT of dimethicone (like pore-filling primers) breaks me out. Like, every time I try a primer it breaks me out, unless it’s silicon-free. And sunscreens tend to have a lot of it, and those usually break me out. So I try to only use moisturizers without any because I put more of them on and never wash them off. I’ve found a reliable handful if you’re looking for recs! January 25, 2017 at 9:02pm Reply

        • Elisa: Serums are another product that tend to have a lot of dimethicone, so I’m careful with serums too. January 25, 2017 at 9:03pm Reply

        • kpaint: I’d love to hear what you’ve found. We can do this by email if you want, so we don’t take up a huge chunk of the thread. Unless you think other people might find it useful, too? Either way, hit me up, and I’ll share my finds as well – though I’m using almost entirely Asian skincare brands these days (which some people may find offputting.) January 25, 2017 at 9:11pm Reply

          • Victoria: Don’t worry. Many people would find it useful, so please feel free to share here. I’d love to hear what Asian brands you’re using. January 26, 2017 at 2:43am Reply

          • Elisa: Happy to share! So everything I mentioned above is free of dimethicone (the PTR serum, DDML but note that the cream version of the lotion is not, the Paula’s Choice oil, DE Lala Retro, Coola sunscreen). I believe the entire Korres line is silicon-free. I also believe the entire Andalou Naturals lines is silicon-free but if not, definitely the rose ones (I like both the day and night creams). Other moisturizers without dimethicone: Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentrè (I use this sometimes as a light “primer” like layer under makeup but note that it’s kind of heavily fragranced), Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream (not the heavier/richer one; this also works well under makeup); Caudalie Resveratrol Lift (this smells amazing, fyi). I’ve also found a few options from Paula’s Choice that don’t have dimethicone, but most of them do so it takes some digging and I can’t remember which ones they are right now. Also: Toleriane Ultra from LaRoche-Posay used to be dimethicone free but it’s not anymore. Alas! And I’m not a serum expert but it’s not too hard to find relatively inexpensive Vitamin C or pure hyaluronic acid serums with no silicon. Most “fancy” dept store serums have it.

            Hope this helps! January 26, 2017 at 9:31am Reply

            • kpaint: I didn’t know that about Korres, but scanning a few products, it seems to be the case. I need to remember that when shopping in the future (!) Their Rose & Vitamin C cream is nice stuff – and smells soo good! All of the Caudalie products I’ve ever used smell really good, too, and the Lift line looks intriguing. Thanks for posting your finds – I’ll have to take some time to check them all out.

              I can’t remember whether I’ve used that PTR Retinol serum or not, but I just started using something similar that I found on Amazon for ~$13 per oz ( I’ve only used it a handful of times so I can’t attest to its efficacy, but at $13 it seemed worth a try! 😉 January 26, 2017 at 2:33pm Reply

              • Elisa: For $13 it certainly does seem worth a try! The PTR I like because it’s so gentle and the texture is so nice, but I usually wait to buy until the Sephora VIB sale.

                I have rebought the Korres overnight facial multiple times. Despite the name it works as a day cream too. I really like the texture and it just seems to work for me. January 26, 2017 at 2:42pm Reply

        • Victoria: I’m curious, have you tried double cleansing, using a cleansing oil? Because this solved my silicone problem with sunscreens. Some silicones are water-soluble (any silicone that has PEG before it), but some are not, and dimethicone is in that group. So, it can easily build up on skin and cause break outs. January 26, 2017 at 2:41am Reply

          • Elisa: I have tried and it definitely helps but I don’t think I’ve found the right cleansing oil so I will try the DHC. I’m also on the lazy side about double-cleansing so if I can find products without dimethicone I use them! January 26, 2017 at 9:20am Reply

            • Victoria: For me in the end it’s a must, since sunscreen, dimethicone or not, is hard to remove with just one cleanser. But I got used to it, since it doesn’t even feel like it takes much more time. January 26, 2017 at 12:30pm Reply

              • Elisa: That makes sense. I don’t actually wear sunscreen every day — but before you gasp in horror it’s because I often don’t leave the house during daylight hours! And my desk is no where near a window. I always wear sunscreen when I go outside though 🙂 Given the option I’d rather avoid sun than wear heavy sunscreens. January 26, 2017 at 12:40pm Reply

                • Victoria: Makes sense. I think that it’s a good idea. I use up most of my sunscreen when I travel. January 26, 2017 at 12:44pm Reply

      • Victoria: It’s not the same thing for one simple addition–DHC Cleansing Oil contains a surfactant and emulsifying agent (sorbeth-30 tetraoleate) that provides the kind of cleansing that oils alone can’t offer. That being said, pure olive oil is a great product for softening skin and it can also remove makeup.

        Silicone free skincare is not so complicated (none of my products contain it, apart from sunscreen), but makeup without silicones is fairly impossible. I stopped using some Paula’s Choice products, because they’re packed with silicones. Sure, the feel is wonderful, but if I can find the same thing without silicones, it made sense to switch. January 26, 2017 at 2:33am Reply

        • kpaint: Maybe it’s a US vs Europe thing, but the vast majority of (moisturizing) skincare products you’ll find in drugstores or Sephora-type retailers will have at least one, if not multiple silicones in them.

          At any rate, here’s my list of dimethicone- (but not silicone-) free products that I both use and would repurchase, in no particular order:

          Blithe Vital Treatment Essence for Hydrating
          Blithe Crystal Iceplant Pressed Serum
          Hyggee Balance One Step Facial Essence
          Erborian Yuza Double Lotion
          Erborian Ginseng Milk
          Oolu Orchid Emulsion
          Hadalabo JAPAN Gokujun Premium Hyaluronic Solution Lotion
          Scinic All In One Ampoules in Aqua and Snail
          Cosrx Galactomyces 95 Whitening Power Essence
          Naruko Magnolia Brightening & Firming Night Gelly
          Naruko Lupin Anti-Wrinkle Firming Night Gelly
          Cosrx AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid
          Cosrx Blackhead Power Liquid
          Hada Labo Gokujyun Alpha Lotion and Cream (the Serum and Milk do contain dimethicone)
          Kate Somerville RetAsphere 2-in-1 Retinol Night Cream
          REN Wake Wonderful Night-Time Facial
          Supergoop! City Serum sunscreen
          BURBERRY Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base (primer) January 26, 2017 at 3:33am Reply

          • Victoria: Thank you for sharing your list. I tried some products from it, and Hadalabo’s lotion is one of my staples. I just Blithe Crystal Iceplant Pressed Serum to replace my Japanese moisturizer, so I look forward to trying it. January 26, 2017 at 4:11am Reply

            • kpaint: I’ve been using the japan-only Premium Hada Labo lotion and it’s great stuff. It’s more viscous than the original and feels quite luxurious.

              I absolutely love the Iceplant Pressed Serum, am on my 2nd jar, and expect to buy many more. I started using it as my moisturizer last summer. Now that the weather’s cold and dry, I top it off with an emulsion or lotion, then a heavy cream. I hope you like it as much as I do! 🙂 January 26, 2017 at 4:16am Reply

              • Victoria: I just re-ordered Premium Hada Labo lotion, since I’m running low. Since I apply lotion with my fingers (in order not waste product on cotton pads), I like its thicker texture.

                For my winter moisturizer I have been using Oskia’s, but since it contains shea butter (too heavy for my skin), I mix it with one of my hyaluronic serums or emulsions. This lightens it up enough, but it’s still moisturizing in our dry winter air. January 26, 2017 at 4:31am Reply

              • Austenfan: I like it a lot too, but curiously I think it might be responsible for a few minor break-outs. I’m not sure though, those just might be hormone related as well. January 26, 2017 at 12:16pm Reply

                • kpaint: I’ve heard other people say the same thing about hyaluronic acid. Did you ever use the original lotion? I wonder if it would be less problematic. January 26, 2017 at 2:35pm Reply

                  • Austenfan: I’m using both, but on alternate days now, and only once a day. This seems to work better. But as I said, it might just be something else entirely. I’m heading towards menopause I think, and my skin seems less ‘stable’ for want of a better word. January 26, 2017 at 3:38pm Reply

  • kpaint: As a US-based frequent sheet mask user, I can recommend,, and without reservation. ships from Hong Kong, so it can take up to 3 weeks for an order to arrive; memebox and yamibuy are both located in California.

    I’ll also add that until I started looking around at other retailers beyond sephora and the like, I didn’t realize sheet masks were available at such a wide range of price-points. Since I use them anywhere from 1-5x per week, every week, I don’t like to spend a whole lot on them and most of my favorites are $2.50 or under.

    If I find one I really like and want to use on a regular basis, I’ll check amazon to see if they’re available by the box. That’s often the cheapest place to get them, often available with prime shipping, but I’ve also bought a lot of products from overseas sellers and had few problems (and the problems I did have were easily resolved.) January 25, 2017 at 8:59pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for these recommendations! I’ll send them to my mom, who is a big sheet mask fan. January 26, 2017 at 2:35am Reply

      • kpaint: I’ll also add beautibi to the list, which has some really interesting masks and other skincare items, mostly from Taiwan. It’s also based in California. January 26, 2017 at 3:00am Reply

  • Sandra: I wanted to ask, when do you use oils in your skin care routine? After you moisturize? January 27, 2017 at 8:54am Reply

    • Victoria: Yes. Please take a look at my evening routine. January 27, 2017 at 9:02am Reply

  • Sandra: Ah! I see! Right in front of my face!
    I bought an oil from Odacite when you reviewed it, I have been just adding it to my moisturizer, a few drops. But now I see its the last step to the skincare routine.
    Thank you January 27, 2017 at 9:08am Reply

    • Victoria: You can do that too, and it can be good, since it will make the oil go a long way, but I find that as a final layer it makes my skin feel softer. Which oils are you trying? January 27, 2017 at 11:44am Reply

      • Sandra: I am using Kypris 1000 roses & Beauty elixir II. After I finish these bottles I don’t think I will repurchase, because they are expensive and after I read that oils spoil easily, and I have two open, and they is a lot of product.

        My favorite from this line is the moonlight catalyst, a night serum January 27, 2017 at 11:52am Reply

        • Victoria: You can store one of them in the fridge, while you’re finishing the other. Yes, oils spoil rapidly, and rancid oils are not good for skin. January 27, 2017 at 11:55am Reply

          • Sandra: Ok! Will do
            Is the Odacite carrot product an oil or serum ?
            Do you have any oils that you enjoy that won’t break the bank?

            I have been using sunscreen everyday now January 27, 2017 at 12:02pm Reply

            • Victoria: It’s pure oil.

              Yes, extra virgin olive oil. January 27, 2017 at 12:07pm Reply

  • Anais: Hi Victoria,
    I hope it is not too late to give some comments and questions. I used to be a girl that only need soap, water, and sunscreen for my face until I tried Lotion P50, and found that it really improved my skin texture. Now in my early forties, I start to believe the layering/Asian approach is suitable for my combination skin. Our skincare regime is almost similar, and I even use some of the products that you are using, the cleanser, moisturizer, exfoliators, and sunscreens. I am really curious about the eye cream. My eyelids are oily but prone to skin tags. Will Sisley cream be too heavy? I also wonder, do we need to protect our eyelids with a special sunscreen for around the eye, or just put on sunglasses? February 5, 2017 at 9:34pm Reply

    • Victoria: Definitely not too late! Sisley’s is an emollient cream, but I use very little, and it’s enough to keep the under eye area moisturized but not to cause problems. As for sunscreen, I always wear sunglasses, since my eyes are sensitive, and I find that my regular sunscreen (the kind that doesn’t have alcohol) works fine. I don’t put it on my eyelids directly, though. February 6, 2017 at 3:32am Reply

      • Anais: Thanks for the tip Victoria. I’ll try if Sisley cream suitable. Btw, have you try Biologique Recherche Masque Vivant? It smells like marmite, but my skin likes it. February 8, 2017 at 11:28pm Reply

        • Victoria: Is it the one with yeast? I haven’t tried their masks, although I love their lotions and serums, horrible smell notwithstanding. 🙂 February 9, 2017 at 2:09am Reply

          • Anais: Yes, the one with the yeast, which is notoriously smelly. One of the most unpleasant mask in term of smell, look and texture, but it works. February 9, 2017 at 7:53pm Reply

            • Victoria: Some of their serums smell even worse. 🙂 February 12, 2017 at 2:55am Reply

  • Coe: Victoria, thank you for this post and for the discussion. I am especially interested in your comments on Retin-A, since I have used it for years. I thought Retin-A was the reason my face makeup “peeled” or looked flaky but your comments suggest that other products in my regimen may be causing this. I’ll experiment, since “peeling” is a daily problem for me. Thank you for sharing your expertise! February 28, 2017 at 10:45am Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, peeling is an annoying problem. It could also be different types of bases in your products that are causing this. It’s tricky to find the right combination at time, especially if you wear foundation. Otherwise, the trick is to apply thinner layers of whatever you’re using. March 1, 2017 at 3:45am Reply

  • André: Hi Victoria! I see you know the ISDIN fusion water. For what I can see on blogs and YouTube many people don’t know about the brand and in my opinion it is the best texture I have ever found in a sunscreen. I am considering moving to a 100% mineral one but I am afraid that in the days I’m wearing a stable it may accumulate in the hairs.
    I also like the toleriane but I find it dries my skin a bit sometimes.
    Have you tried any of the tata Harper moisturisers? I am so curious about them! My night routine after cleansing is followed by Avène triacneal which contains 0,1% Retinal (direct reticoic acid precursor), a mist of Avène thermal water and I close everything with argan oil. Ordinary HA serum may be applied after the retinal I feel need an extra hydration boost. Like you mentioned above I’m trying to reduce the amount of silicones and take advantage of products full of nutrients rather than fillers hence my interest in facial oils at the moment. However as the summer is coming, and where I live in Portugal the average temperature is around 25 C, I’m not sure an oil would be ideal. During the day I guess it will be impossible but for night time I am very undecided between an oil or a moisturiser. Since we have (apparently) a similar skin behaviour, do you have any past experience that could help me decide my routine?

    Thank you for you lovely posts, skincare and beyond! 🙂 March 22, 2017 at 8:27pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m so glad that you also found it a good sunscreen. Too bad it’s more difficult to find outside Spain and Portugal. I love the texture, and it actually makes my skin look better unlike many sunscreens, even with reappilications.

      My skin can’t handle too many oils. I really think that a good hyaluronic acid based moisturizer is the way to go. I will have to write a separate post on this topic alone. As for Tata Harper, I’m only starting to test their products. March 26, 2017 at 2:20pm Reply

      • André: Definitely the isdin has a beautiful matte/satin finish! I am curious to try the Josh Rosebrook SPF. May be I can get a sample when I order the hydration acceleration.
        Argan oil agrees with me but I also do think something more moisturising as and less emollient might work better for summer. I have yet to find a good hyaluronic acid based product as the ordinary one does not fit me well (found that recently). No matter how I layer it I find the finish to be very tacky and it even drew out my face comparing to the base point. I found the Skinceuticals way more moisturising and cosmetically elegant but now I don’t see the point to pay that amount of money for such a basic formula.
        I am looking forward to know your opinion on the tata Harper products! March 26, 2017 at 2:51pm Reply

  • Gina P: Victoria, have you tried any of the blurring or mattifying products of Hylamide?

    P.S. I’m so psyched about adopting some of your suggestions and routines. As a 56 year old, I’m finding that I look better with zero foundation or any other make up, especially during the day. Right now, I’m down to a sheer lipstick (and of course perfume). So thank you very much for your great posts! March 28, 2017 at 6:27pm Reply

  • Sophie: Thank you for this superb recap!
    I need advice since I plan on using The Ordinary products. Please let me know if you see anything that doesn’t make sense from a molecule point of view.


    Tone with Rosewater
    Facial treatment essence by SK-II
    Alpha arbutin
    Physical sunscreen by Skinceuticals

    Evening on odd days

    Tone with Rosewater
    Facial Treatment essence by SK-II
    Retinoid or retinol

    Evening on even days

    Glycolic or Azelaic Acid
    Vitamin C23% or derivative depending on sensitivity
    Rosehip oil

    I’m wondering if the rosehip oil would better follow retinol and HA would follow Vitamin C better. Also, is it better to follow a direct acid with retinol or pure vitamin C?

    Thank you! May 5, 2017 at 4:39pm Reply

  • Lee: This is great! I really appreciate your skincare routine. It also helps me realize im on the right path, im only 24 (oily/normal with hyper-pigmentation) and live in sunny florida so my biggest concern is finding the perfect sunscreen!! SO i will deff check out your recommendations!

    In the morning is: Splash of water, The Ordinary Toner (acts a bit like a exfoliate too), moisturizer, sunscreen, makeup.

    Night: Oil Balm, Green tea cleanser, Pacifica Toner, Caffeine Solution (using it up since it does nothing for me either :/), Alpha Arbutin, niacinamide 10%, and Pacifica Overnight Moisturizer Mask.

    Im thinking of upgrading to the hylamide eye serum (my undereyes are really bad!), getting the vit-c serum to use once a week, and getting the rose hip oil right before Moisturizer for anti-aging and hydration benefits!!! May 25, 2017 at 1:36pm Reply

  • sandra: is it possible they are phasing out the sisley eye cream? went to the website and could not find it. September 4, 2017 at 12:10pm Reply

  • Sheryl: Hi there, just wondering if you think hyaluronic serum from mizon or the ordinary s better for dry skin? Thinking of getting one (: April 6, 2019 at 12:07pm Reply

    • Victoria: Either one is good, but if you have very dry skin, you should follow with a heavier cream afterwards. April 8, 2019 at 7:53am Reply

  • Shannon: Victoria, I came here to reorder the trusty Ishizawa Lab Urea and Hyaluronic Acid Lotion. I often forget the name and come back here to get it right and then order. I discovered that it’s been rebranded and is much harder to find! I wondered if you had any similar suggestions, or had found another moisturizer you like better for combination/oily skin. I have so enjoyed using my bottle of the Ishizawa lotion on your recommendation. So sad it is gone March 13, 2020 at 9:26am Reply

  • Joey: Hi,
    1. Can i mix Alpha Arbutin & Niacinamide “The Ordinary” serum in the morning and night ?

    2. After applying both “The Ordinary” serum is it suitable to apply cream which contains Vitamin B12 ? March 31, 2020 at 9:24am Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, you can do both! And a cream on top would be fine too. March 31, 2020 at 11:15am Reply

  • JD: Great post & reviews!

    I also use The Ordinary’s products:

    Alpha Albutin,
    then Niacinimide
    Moisturizer w/ sunscreen

    Vit C Suspension 23%
    then Alzelaic Acid

    But..can’t find answers to the following:
    1. In the PM, is Vit C applied first, or vice versa
    2. I usually wait 5-15 mins (sometimes I forget and it might be 60 mins) between cleansing and also between application of all serums – is this necessary?

    Thx – May 31, 2020 at 4:24pm Reply

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