The Ordinary Summer Skincare Routine

Since I’ve shared my general skincare principles, many of you asked me to describe in more detail my summer routine. In many ways, even as someone who dislikes hot weather and burns easily, I find that taking care of my skin in the summer is far simpler than in the cold, dry months.

Why is that? First of all, any of the exfoliating treatments that you might indulge in during the winter have to be put on hold. When I talk of exfoliation, I mean only chemical exfoliation with acids like lactic acid, AHA (alpha-hydroxy acids) and BHA (beta-hydroxy acids). Retinoids and retinols have a different function other than exfoliation, but they are also included in the group of skin sensitizing ingredients. The risk of sun damage is too great to use such products on a regular basis in the summer, even at night. The same applies to any aggressive brightening treatments. I find that most people overdo the exfoliation anyway, with the result being sensitized, easily reddened skin, so it’s a good item to scale back in the summer.

The same applies to using too many layers of products. If in the winter I might layer a couple of different serums and top my moisturizer with a drop of oil, all such products go in the fridge for the summer to bide their time till colder months. I pare down my routine to the essentials.

Vitamin C and Antioxidants

One such essential of summer skincare is Vitamin C. This active ingredient is one of the few scientifically proven to build up collagen and protect against the effects of UV radiation. In my Guide to Vitamin C I talked in more detail about different Vitamin C properties and listed my favorite products. Vitamin C accumulates in skin for over 8 hours, so you can use it in the evening and still benefit from its antioxidating effects.

In the same vein, serums with ingredients like green tea extract, resveratrol, evening primrose oil, and Vitamin E are especially useful in the summer when you want products that will protect and repair your skin.

Rose water is my favorite ingredient in summer or winter, but year after year I become convinced that for skin irritated by humidity and heat, few ingredients are more soothing.

Sun Protection

Since we’re talking UV radiation, we might as well touch on the subject of sunscreens. I wear sunscreen all year around, but in the summer I pay even more attention to sun protection. I prefer alcohol-free products that offer a mixture of chemical and physical sunscreen ingredients and don’t leave a shiny finish or a white cast. Sunplay is the sunscreen I’ve been loyal to for years, and it still doesn’t disappoint. I reapply my sunscreen every two hours when I’m in the sun, and if I’m in direct sunshine, I wear a hat.


Moisturizing for those of us with combination/oily skin is very easy in the humid season. My skin doesn’t require anything heavier than a layer of hydrating lotion. I use a separate undereye cream, since that area is thinner and needs more care. You may find it unnecessary. Look out for products containing hyaluronic acid, a superb hydrating ingredient that has a weightless feel. Glycerin is another popular ingredient in moisturizers. While it gives a pleasant texture to a lotion, it’s a humecant, so it attracts moisture from the air–a boon for those in hot, dry climates, but a layer of stickiness for those of us blessed with humid summers.

Double Cleansing

Cleansing is another essential step, especially double cleansing. I double cleanse only in the evening. First, an oil based cleanser goes onto a dry face and after a brief massage it’s rinsed off with warm water. Last, I use a gentle cleanser like Johnson & Johnson Purpose or La Roche-Posay Toleriane. If you prefer balm cleansers and your skin is dry, you might want to try a product like Pixi by Petra Nourishing Cleansing Balm or No. 7 Beautiful Skin Cleansing Balm. I also avoid anything like cleansing brushes, cleansing pads or cloths, because I don’t like anything harsh or anything that pulls on skin unnecessarily. Again, your skin might dictate your own preferences.

Double cleansing is essential, because it is the only way to remove all traces of sunscreen. Many sunscreen ingredients aren’t water-soluble. If you use products with silicones, some of which aren’t soluble in water, double cleansing is highly recommended. It doesn’t take much time, and it does cleanse perfectly. Those with dry skin may not even cleanse in the morning with anything other than water, but again, hard and fast rules on this subject don’t exist. Experiment and see how your skin behaves.

Fruit Masks

Take advantage of the summer bounty to do weekly masks with strawberries, apricots, grapes, melons or tomatoes. I described the technique in Strawberry Mask. These fruits and berries contain Vitamin C and acids, and they have a nourishing and gentle brightening effect on skin.

Finally, whatever you do to your skin will determine its looks only to a certain extent. It’s a cliché to advise drinking lots of water, eating well and getting lots of sleep, but some things are clichés because they’re true. Lately I’ve been enjoying water mixed with lemon slices and mint leaves. First thing in the morning, it’s as refreshing as a splash of cologne.

So, how does a summer skincare routine look in practice? In my last post, A Guide to Skincare Layering, I shared a version I’m using right now, and below I give you two different versions. They are both simple and aim at protecting and rejuvenating. I mention The Ordinary products, because this is what I currently use. They’re trustworthy, inexpensive and effective.

Summer Routine 1

Morning: Cleansing. Vitamin C serum (any from my list) on clean, dry skin. Wait for a couple of minutes. Hydrating lotion and moisturizer as needed. Sunscreen.

Evening: Double cleansing. Toner. Repairing or hydrating serum (for instance, Mizon Hyaluronic Acid 100Tata Harper Concentrated Brightening Essence or Deciem Hylamide Subq Anti-Age). Moisturizer.

On evenings when you do decide to use exfoliation, use it after your toner has been absorbed. Once it has been absorbed, I follow it with my favorite moisturizer.

Summer Routine 2

Morning: Cleansing. Regenerating serum with peptides or antioxidant ingredients (The Ordinary Buffet or The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin serum followed by The Ordinary Niacinamide serum). Wait for a couple of minutes. Hydrating lotion and moisturizer as needed. Sunscreen.

Evening: Double cleansing. Vitamin C. Moisturizer, as needed.

For break out control or spot treatment, consider benzoyl peroxide lotion for the evening. Paula’s Choice has a good one, Clear 5% Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Treatment. Don’t use it together with Vitamin C, however.

As always, I’d love to hear about your tips, your routines, and your favorite silicone-free products.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin



  • sandra: You know, I love these skincare posts! I get so much helpful information from you and other readers.

    Would you ever layer Buffet and Alpha Arbutin ordinary serums. Have you tried the hyaluronic acid serum from the ordinary? June 5, 2017 at 7:20am Reply

    • Sandra: My skin is reactive, sensitive. In fact if you look at it the wrong way it will act out 😉

      I use the same face wash, Purpose. I use a toner or lotion, thermal water and then moisturizer. If I have time I use some ordinary serums also.

      Some tips I got through a dermatologist is not to spend a lot of money on face wash, so Purpose fits the bill or Paula’s Choice website says Clean & Clear sensitive skin face wash fits the bill. (thank you V for the tip). Also during the summer months I should take vitamins A, C & E at night, and Micellar water should not be left on the skin. So after I use it I either wash my face or use a cotton pad with lotion and/or thermal water to take it off. June 5, 2017 at 8:31am Reply

      • Sandra: And at night, I either us Paula’s BHA or Vitamin C from the ordinary only 1 or 2 times a week and the rest of nights nothing or my moisturizer. June 5, 2017 at 8:39am Reply

      • kpaint: I’m confused about how you’re using micellar water. Your derm says it shouldn’t be left on the skin? But you use it AFTER toner or lotion to remove the toner or lotion? If your skin is sensitive and reactive, I’d think using 2 cleansers would exacerbate those conditions.

        (I also happen to strongly disagree with your derm re: cleansers, but that’s just my own opinion. 🙂 ) June 5, 2017 at 3:38pm Reply

        • Sandra: She means if I use the micellar water all over my face to take off my makeup to either wash it off or use a lotion/thermal water afterwards, but not to just leave it as is.

          My routine seems to be working, I get a lot of compliments from my friends and from SA’s in department stores at the beautify counter, some have even taken me aside and asked me what I use. My response is usually nothing you sell here 🙂 June 5, 2017 at 3:57pm Reply

          • Jillie: I think your dermatologist is right, Sandra. I finally realised that even the mildest of micellar waters would cause a reaction on my skin if I didn’t rinse them off with plenty of water. I think it’s because they leave behind a bit of an oily reside which can irritate sensitive skin. There are some I can’t use at all, even if I wash them off, as they provoke soreness and redness (Simple being one of them). They are perhaps not quite as gentle as we believe! June 6, 2017 at 12:42am Reply

            • Victoria: My skin is not sensitive, but I really dislike the way micellar waters feel on it. When I travel and I have to use them, I rinse my face with plain water afterwards. June 6, 2017 at 4:19am Reply

          • Victoria: That’s how I use micellar waters, if I do use them (usually, my first cleanse is done with an oil or cream cleanser). I use them to remove makeup and the first layer of sunscreen. Then I use a gel cleanser. June 6, 2017 at 4:17am Reply

          • kpaint: Oh, got it! You’re using it as a makeup remover, then following with a cleanser. Makes sense now. June 15, 2017 at 3:49pm Reply

      • behemot: Sandra, why micellar water should not be left on skin? I have never heard about it. June 6, 2017 at 7:03pm Reply

        • behemot: I read more comments so now I know. The only one micellar water that works fine for me is La Roche Posay. I will try to rinse other ones with water and will see if it helps. June 6, 2017 at 7:13pm Reply

          • Victoria: I usually use them as an interim step, so they get rinsed off anyway. June 7, 2017 at 12:33pm Reply

    • Victoria: I haven’t layered them, because they are much more effective when used on clean, dry skin. I’m usually too rushed to wait for each layer to be perfectly dry before I apply the next. For me, it’s either one or the other.

      Thank you! I’m glad that you enjoy them. More to come. If you have any specific requests, please let me know. June 6, 2017 at 4:21am Reply

      • sandra: my specific requests are only waiting for Japanese beauty secrets 😉 June 6, 2017 at 1:07pm Reply

        • Victoria: Gotcha! It’s in the works. June 7, 2017 at 12:26pm Reply

  • RA: I wasn’t pleased with The Ordinary Retinol and The Buffet… So I’ll not be trying more from that brand. June 5, 2017 at 10:18am Reply

    • kpaint: I’ve been using the 2% Retinol for a couple of months and didn’t appreciate it until about a month in when I noticed how ultra-soft my skin was. It was the only change I’d made in my p.m. routine, so I’m chalking it up to that product.

      I quite dislike all of their Vit C products I’ve tried, though, and find the Buffet drying. Is that your experience with it as well? June 5, 2017 at 3:24pm Reply

    • Victoria: What was your experience with them? June 6, 2017 at 4:18am Reply

  • Bonnie S.: I love Paula’s Choice Clear 5% Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Treatment. I use it once a week, underneath a very light-as-liquid gel moisturizer from the Body Shop. For sunscreen, I would highly recommend a product available online from Canada, from a brand I adore (vegan, cruelty-free): They just released Reflector SPF 30, a mineral facial sunscreen that does not annoy my very oily skin. Other facial sunscreens I swear by are Paula’s Choice Resist SPF 30 and the SPF 50 from Bare Minerals. I wear sunscreen under my primer, which is Mineral Veil by Hourglass, the one and only primer I will ever use again! It’s a godsend for us oily skin types.

    I used to use a Clarisonic but I too have grown tired of harsh scrubbing of my skin; I used CeraVe cleanser alone and I’m quite happy with it. It too is cruelty free and kind to my skin. June 5, 2017 at 10:59am Reply

    • Victoria: My mother bought a Clarisonic for me, but even though I used the most gentle of bristles, I didn’t like how harshly it cleaned my skin. Seemed unnecessary.

      Thank you for the extra recommendations! June 6, 2017 at 6:56am Reply

      • behemot: I have Clarisonic, but it sometimes irritated my skin. It worked fine only when I used it with LaPrairie foaming cleanser (I received one as a promotion from Nordstrom), but it seems too expensive to get a full size. June 6, 2017 at 7:07pm Reply

        • Victoria: I also had a sample of that cleanser. It was very nice, but I can’t persuade myself that a full size would be worth it. June 7, 2017 at 12:33pm Reply

          • behemot: Exactly 🙂 June 7, 2017 at 1:01pm Reply

  • Cornelia Blimber: Off topic: Victoria, there is a new series on history: ” A Short History Of”, I am reading ” A Short History of the Phoenicians”. Ecxellent.
    Updated, new insights in all those books, by renown experts.
    No Persians, alas. There are the Etruscans, Babylon, Muslim Spain, etc. etc.

    Maybe you know it already. June 5, 2017 at 11:24am Reply

    • Cornelia Blimber: ed. I. B. Tauris, London. June 5, 2017 at 11:26am Reply

    • Victoria: I’ve seen these series, but I haven’t read any of them. A Short History of the Phoenicians should be on my list. Thank you! June 6, 2017 at 6:56am Reply

  • Trudy: I love these posts on skin care. I find the information and the comments so beneficial.
    My skin is probably a complete opposite from yours Victoria as mine is on the dry side and I’m way past breakouts. What I’m dealing with now are lines and loss of volume. I have been using some of Deciem’s products since January and like most of them quite a bit (although I stopped using the CAIS as I’ve read so many differing and confusing opinions on copper). I have been using the Ordinary Vitamin C which I particularly like. My skin looks so clear and vibrant since I started including it in my regimen. The problem is that I’m out of that product and it is on perpetual back order! I’ve been waiting over two months for it to be back in stock. Can anyone recommend a similar product? Thanks again for including skin care in your topics. June 5, 2017 at 11:32am Reply

    • Debby: have the Vit C in stock. June 5, 2017 at 3:27pm Reply

    • kpaint: This might work for you:

      My skin may be similar to yours (mid-40s, needs lots of hydration, but otherwise normal.) I’ve been using vitamin C serums for ages and the one above is my current favorite. It’s really hydrating as the base is rich with hyaluronic acid, and I get great brightening effects. It’s also very affordable. June 5, 2017 at 3:30pm Reply

    • Victoria: Kpaint recommended The Best Vitamin C Serum for Your Face-20% Vitamin C, 1% Vitamin E and 1% Ferulic Acid, and it’s a good product. I’ve used up a bottle, and I really like it. June 6, 2017 at 6:58am Reply

      • Gabriela: I`ve also used it and its really great! Thanks Kpaint. June 6, 2017 at 7:12am Reply

        • Victoria: Isn’t it! I found it really well-formulated. June 6, 2017 at 7:23am Reply

          • kpaint: I recently switched to a MAP product, under the belief that it’s less exfoliating and photo-sensitizing. I’m not sure where I heard or read that, and now I’m wondering if it’s even true. Do you have any info on that? June 6, 2017 at 5:06pm Reply

            • Victoria: It’s a more gentle version for sure, and you can use it during the day with no problems. June 7, 2017 at 12:27pm Reply

      • behemot: My skin tolerates only Vit C serum from Ordinary. I couldn’t use any vit C serum before I learned about Ordinary from BdJ. thank you! June 6, 2017 at 7:15pm Reply

  • Austenfan: My wardrobe like my skin care is finally adjusting to higher temperatures and more light. 😉

    I wonder if you know whether Azelaic Acid is appropriate for summer use? According to some data I could find it is safe, but it does exfoliate slightly. I will miss using the Retinoid. Do you refrigerate all of the stuff you are not using?

    I’ve dry rather sensitive skin, so I’m still using quite a few layers. Another Deciem product I like is their Hylamide Hydra-Density Mist. Have you ever tried it? I’ve been dying to order the SubQ’s but I have to finish some other stuff first.

    And many thanks again for these skincare posts, they are very helpful. June 5, 2017 at 11:47am Reply

    • Victoria: Hylamide Hydra-Density Mist is very good, especially if you need a bit of moisture but not heft. I should have packed it before I left for my trip, since it would have been so useful on the road.

      I think that it’s safe enough, especially if you don’t go overboard on other acids. I was talking with a dermatologist friend recently, and she commented that the main problem she sees is not that people don’t exfoliate but that they exfoliate too much. You read some routines, and it’s all about acid cleansers, acid toners, followed by acid lotions and retinols. No amount of sunscreen can protect skin assaulted by so many products. Perhaps, in the short term the results are nice, but in the long run skin becomes overly sensitive.

      I refrigerate some of my products, but sometimes I forget. The best is to remind myself not to stock up on things I won’t use before the summer starts. My fridge is too small. 🙂 June 6, 2017 at 7:04am Reply

      • Austenfan: I thought it would be something along those lines. I was actually rather anxious about using acids, so was very careful and first started with the 1% BHA PC.
        Besides you have to be able to leave well alone.
        I’m glad that I’ve got a large fridge 🙂 June 6, 2017 at 7:23am Reply

        • Victoria: The 1% BHA PC is still my favorite acid product. It’s straightforward, without too many fancy extracts, but it works well. The budget price is another boon. June 6, 2017 at 7:32am Reply

          • Austenfan: I have the 1% Calm, but I think I will get the plain 1% next time. I had noticed the mark-up in Europe, but they are still affordable, although not quite cheap. June 6, 2017 at 7:42am Reply

            • kayliz: I’ve just eagerly checked out Paula’s Choice and saw silicones in this and everything else I looked at. Did I find the wrong things, or is it just me with the avoidance of silicone? (It’s in the foundation I occasionally wear, and in one of the sunscreens I’m rotating — I don’t want it anywhere else.) June 7, 2017 at 6:05am Reply

              • Austenfan: She uses it in a lot of her products. I have no problems with them, but others might. My skin is only very slightly younger than yours 😉 and PC’s BHA exfoliant Calm has worked really well on it. BHA’s without silicones are the Resist daily pore refining stuff, Clear Regular Strength 2%, SKIN PERFECTING 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant and I am sure others. The 1% lotions do have them.
                I also love her Earth Line toner and her BHA and AHA body lotion June 7, 2017 at 6:38am Reply

                • kayliz: Thank you for the silicon-free list, Austenfan, I’ll check those out!
                  I feel similarly to Victoria: if it’s the outer layer and not every day, that’s fine, but I’m not really comfortable with more than that. June 8, 2017 at 7:22am Reply

              • Victoria: Yes, she does use silicones, although not in all of her products. She argues that silicones don’t do any harm and don’t clog pores, but it’s not been my experience. June 7, 2017 at 12:39pm Reply

                • Austenfan: I seem to remember that you mostly use them sparingly because they can cause break outs? June 7, 2017 at 1:51pm Reply

                  • Victoria: Yes, but they bother me only if the products I apply directly on skin contain them. June 7, 2017 at 3:04pm Reply

            • Victoria: Yes, but the ones I like I’m still willing to buy at the higher EU prices. June 7, 2017 at 10:01am Reply

              • Austenfan: I can see that, her prices are still reasonable, even in the EU. June 7, 2017 at 11:04am Reply

  • Patricia: You are so good about taking care of your skin, Victoria! Other than using sunscreen on a regular basis and cleansing throughly with a mild cleanser, I don’t do too much. I have found an AHA-based moisurizer from Previse that I like pretty well, though. June 5, 2017 at 11:53am Reply

    • Victoria: I come from a long line of skincare experts (or nerds, however you want to call them), so taking care of my skin is natural to me. It doesn’t take up much time, although if I have a long evening, I like to do masks or some more serious pampering. June 6, 2017 at 7:06am Reply

  • Donna Kittredge: I love your skincare routine information and I’ve been using the Ordinary products which I love. Except for the Ordinary Vitamin C. It stings so much I can barely stand to have it on my face! Hence, I don’t use it. I tried splashing with cool water after cleansing and before applying it. Any tips or suggestions? June 5, 2017 at 1:51pm Reply

    • Austenfan: It took me a long time to adjust to the Vit.C, it helps if you put on some light moisturiser or maybe some hyaluronic acid serum first. I’m fine with it now, but it took me about 3 months or so. I only used it once a week for at least two months. June 5, 2017 at 2:14pm Reply

      • Sandra: Ditto
        I diluted it with my face cream June 5, 2017 at 4:08pm Reply

    • Debby: I have got used to the stinging from the Ordinary Vitamin C, perhaps try it every couple of nights or so and build up? I really like it, my skin looks much more rested in the morning after use. June 5, 2017 at 3:21pm Reply

    • kpaint: Maybe try a MAP product? It’s less exfoliating than L-Ascorbic Acid, as I understand it.

      I’ve been using this one occasionally: It seems quite gentle (but my skin is like iron in terms of reacting to chemical exfoliants) and the MAP concentration is fairly low.

      It’s also possible that other products you’re using are making your skin ultra-reactive to vitamin C (overexfoliation, or mixing it with other products with Niacinamide, for instance.) June 5, 2017 at 3:44pm Reply

    • Victoria: You should start with a small amount and build up gradually. Or use another form of Vit C as others suggested.

      Splashing your face with cold water and then applying Vit C isn’t a good idea. It should be applied on clean and dry skin. June 6, 2017 at 7:08am Reply

  • Debby: Has anyone tried The Ordinary Argireline solution? Not an ingredient I’m familiar with, but the results it promises are intriguing. June 5, 2017 at 3:17pm Reply

    • Victoria: Not yet, but I’d love to hear what others think. June 6, 2017 at 7:08am Reply

      • Debby: Just ordered it, their things are so reasonably priced it’s so tempting to try it all! June 7, 2017 at 12:35pm Reply

  • Caroline: Re tretinoin usage (use rx from my derm’s office), am just the opposite of Victoria. Can use it every night during the spring/summer, but have to cut way back during the dry winter months. I use an 50 spf sunscreen every day no matter the season. June 5, 2017 at 4:06pm Reply

    • Victoria: I use sunscreen every day all year round, but I still limit my retinol/retinoid usage in the summer. Of course, it all depends on one’s skin type, lifestyle, etc. There are no hard rules. June 6, 2017 at 7:10am Reply

  • Elisa: Victoria, I’ve taken your advice and started double-cleansing whenever I’m wearing sunscreen. It really does make the face feel super clean! I use an oil cleanser first and then follow it up with Cerave hydrating cleanser. June 5, 2017 at 5:09pm Reply

    • Sandra: Which oil cleanser are you using June 5, 2017 at 8:19pm Reply

      • Elisa: I had a sample (from kpaint!) of a Korean one (a brand called Illi) that I really liked and may order, but right now I’m just using a drugstore one, from Burt’s Bees, and it seems to work well. June 5, 2017 at 10:12pm Reply

        • kpaint: I recently saw the Illi one on amazon for a really good price – under $20 IIRC. I’ll have to find a new source as the shop I used to buy tons of stuff at seems to have closed its (virtual) doors. I like that one as it rinses off so easily. I use it as my a.m. cleanser as well. June 6, 2017 at 5:10pm Reply

      • hajusuuri: I use this one from The Body Shop over a dry face, then follow-up with the Estée Lauder Perfectly Clean foaming cleanser. June 7, 2017 at 9:41pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m glad to hear it! 🙂 Burt’s Bees cleanser is very nice. I had a sample of it. June 6, 2017 at 7:10am Reply

  • Kate: Just wanted to say how much I enjoy your skincare posts! And also a word of thanks for recommending The Ordinary range, which is a godsend for me. Effective products at a sensible price – miraculous! June 5, 2017 at 6:42pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m so happy to hear this! And yes, The Ordinary has been a great discovery for me too. My skin has improved tremendously ever since I’ve been using it. June 6, 2017 at 7:11am Reply

  • Elizabeth: Slightly off topic but any recommendations for a tinted sunscreen? Even in summer, I could do with a little colour and….. I do get tired of moisturizing, sunscreen, foundation, etc. ( I am rushed in the mornings and not very awake.) Thank you. June 5, 2017 at 8:35pm Reply

    • Marianna: Quite a few 🙂
      Edward Bess makes very nice one – Ultra Dewy Correction perfector. It is on the ligher side.
      Glosser has very nice tinted products – they are very light and just give you a light touch of color.
      The Ordinary serum foundation is extra light as well. They are having issues with fulfilling the orders so you might have to wait for this one
      Cover FX CC Cream – it is hard to compete with Cover FX foundations. Their mineral foundation feels very light and can be thinned out to barely there coverage
      Smashbox Camera Ready – all of their CCs are awesome.
      Another optionif you are looking for a lighter color is to get color drops (Both CC and Clinique make them) – you add a drop into your moisturizer and you can control how much color you want or mix your foundation with moisturizer. June 5, 2017 at 9:04pm Reply

    • Victoria: Have you tried mixing a bit of your own foundation into your usual sunscreen? Sometimes it can work well, as long as you find the right proportion. June 6, 2017 at 7:12am Reply

      • Elizabeth: Thank you. I have started doing this in the last couple of days. It works. June 11, 2017 at 12:52am Reply

  • Gunilla gorman: Do you use the Recherche Biologique in the summer as well? June 5, 2017 at 10:37pm Reply

    • Victoria: Once a month or so. They have several exfoliating lotions that range in terms of their strength. I have PW50, for instance. June 6, 2017 at 7:14am Reply

  • Danaki: Since you’ve mentioned Hylamide. I have been using their C25 booster, which uses a stabilized form of L-Ascorbic Acid. It is a bit oily, acts a bit like a dry oil. But I apply it after Hylamide Anti-age sub-q and wait a few more minutes before I add anything else on top. I find the oil to be slightly softening so don’t need as much lotion/moisturizer afterwards.

    I also love the ordinary vitamin C serum at 23%. However, as it is a bit gritty and oily (it has squalene), so I only use it at night, when I have to wait at least 10 minutes before I can add moisturizer or oil.

    I have used retinoid from The Ordinary and have over the years found LRP redermic good, but the thing that made the biggest difference to my skin (which was sallow…almost grey and lifeless) has been vitamin C. June 6, 2017 at 6:07am Reply

    • Victoria: Same here. Vitamin C made the biggest difference, and even if The Ordinary’s has a gritty texture, I don’t care. It’s an ideal evening layer, and I wake up to soft, radiant skin. June 6, 2017 at 7:15am Reply

      • kayliz: Another thank you for recommending Vitamin C, Victoria!

        “sallow…almost grey and lifeless” describes my skin too up until a couple of months ago, and it’s Vitamin C that’s made the difference for me too. I noticed an immediate effect with the The Ordinary Vit C 25% HA Spheres, but I also use MAP (easier, gentler), and am finding the oil version (Tetraisopalmitate) gentle enough for the eye area. June 6, 2017 at 7:38pm Reply

        • Victoria: MAP is emollient enough for me to use without moisturizer, so I sometimes do that in the summer. Not this summer, though. It’s waiting out its time in the fridge. June 7, 2017 at 12:36pm Reply

  • Gabriela: Loved this post. Taking care of my skin really relaxes me in the evenings. I usually cleanse with DHC oil cleanser and then with a gel cleanser (La Roche or Nuxe).

    I used to wear Micellar water from Bioderma but now Im using an organic micellar water and its a great alternative for the skin (there are a lot of alternatives).

    I have purchased some Ordinary products and have placed a second order this week. Im really happy with their products, obviously some are better than others for my skin.
    On my list now are Paulas Choice products but can’t find them in Europe so the shipping is expensive.

    Good to know about the retinoid, I live in Spain and now the weather is too warm, Ill put it in the fridge for October.

    Thank you Victoria for the wonderful post! June 6, 2017 at 7:22am Reply

    • Austenfan: PC is available locally in many European countries.

      No affiliation. June 6, 2017 at 7:27am Reply

      • Gabriela: Thank you, will check it! June 6, 2017 at 7:37am Reply

    • Victoria: Paula’s Choice has an EU website, and it sometimes offer free shipping, but yes, nothing as budget-friendly as the USA site. Plus, the EU site doesn’t list all of the products she offers.

      Unless you have specific skin concerns (acne, etc.), the retinoid can wait. At least, I don’t use it during the hottest months, when I know that I won’t be able to avoid the sun. I use sunscreen and I wear a heat, of course, but it’s still a potent active ingredient. June 6, 2017 at 7:30am Reply

  • Maria: Hi Victoria and all the readers,
    What do you think about organic skincare? My skin is very sensitive, particularly to active ingredients as AHA, salycilic acid. I’m really allergic to retinol and vitamin C is ok just with Skinceuticals serum. For years I’ve used Clinique skincare which is pretty good but expensive. Since a year ago, for ethical reasons, I’m trying with different organic brands (Dr Hauschka, Pai skincare and two canadian brands, Consonant and Cocoon Apothecary) Strangely I don’t react to essential oils but I’m not sure this products are as effective (they are not always supported by scientific research and I love the parfums but I’m skeptical with essential oils properties). What do you think? June 6, 2017 at 9:31am Reply

    • kpaint: I’m no expert, but if you get good results, use what works for your skin. June 6, 2017 at 5:12pm Reply

      • Victoria: That’s my point of view too. June 7, 2017 at 12:28pm Reply

    • kayliz: Rosewater and oil – like rosehip and almond – are magic substances!

      With moisturizers it’s more difficult, I’ve found. I struggled for a long while to find natural-ingredient moisturizers that don’t dry my skin and eventually gave up. In theory I love Weleda and Dr. Hauschka but in practice there’s too much alcohol in them for me. Now I use Lush moisturizers and accept the parabens.

      Recently I came across this serum and thought the ingredients list looked interesting:

      Not organic, and I’m not convinced about the whitening (fortunately!), but I do like the look of much of that list.

      For sunscreen, I’ve landed on Algamaris SPF30, either the tinted face sunscreen or the face and body lotion (almost all “natural”, partially organic). It isn’t ideal but is the best balance I’ve found so far.

      Funnily enough, the Sunplay Superblock was my personal worst(!) It felt filmy, like an oily sealant, a strange and unwelcome feel. June 6, 2017 at 8:08pm Reply

      • Maria: Kayliz, I have the same feeling with Weleda and Dr. Hauschka moisturizers, they are nice, smell good and have a nice texture but dehydrates my skin. As you, I’ll give up with the moisturizer search. On the other side, I really like Dr. Hauschka make up remover and cleanser cream.
        I’ve always use rosewater as a tonic and I love it. On winters I use borrago, rosehip or calendula oils as serums (Montreal winters are not easy for skin), but only at night. How do you use them? Have you ever tried to replace moisturizer with oils? June 7, 2017 at 9:21am Reply

      • Sandra: No affiliation but I use Embryolisse Lait-Crème moisturizer light scent but goes away fast. It has aloe and shea butter.
        Avene Tolerance (light which is hard to find in the US) is also a good one for warmer months. June 7, 2017 at 12:14pm Reply

        • Sandra: I also have very sensitive/intolerant skin and found most natural/organic products do more harm then good for me. If it makes you feel better Embryolisse is not tested on animals. June 7, 2017 at 12:15pm Reply

          • Maria: I’ll check for Embriolysse! Not tested on animals is a good point for me. June 7, 2017 at 2:54pm Reply

            • kayliz: Maria, borage oil sounds glorious! I use oils only at night too, as the last step. Too oily during the day, although I haven’t yet tried jojoba for daytime — that absorbs exceptionally well so might work. June 7, 2017 at 6:58pm Reply

    • Victoria: For me the main concern are the formula, composition, and the ingredients themselves, rather than their provenance. So many labels use the term organic indiscriminately, so it doesn’t even mean much. Plus, organic doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s more gentle. June 7, 2017 at 11:56am Reply

      • Maria: That’s what I’ve discovered :-(. June 7, 2017 at 2:55pm Reply

  • Richard Goller: So many great tips, Victoria. I must try some fruit masks. Although if they are anything like your pics, I might just eat them. R June 6, 2017 at 9:53am Reply

    • Victoria: I also usually eat most of it, but some fruit does end up on my face. June 7, 2017 at 11:56am Reply

  • spe: Skincare is so individual and specific – to person, place,

    The range of products you all use makes my head spin! June 6, 2017 at 11:30am Reply

    • sandra: Ditto, I try to keep it simple. what is your routine? June 6, 2017 at 12:54pm Reply

  • Nick: Fruits will probably never make it to my face because I would mostly definitely eat all of them. On the other hand, my mother swears by the brightening and exfoliating effect of apple fibre obtained from her juicer 😉 June 6, 2017 at 11:45am Reply

    • Victoria: That would be a great tip! June 7, 2017 at 12:25pm Reply

  • Rina: What a timely post! I’m right now comparing The Ordinary to Sunday Riley Good Genes! I know GG works well for me but I want to try TO Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2%. Thoughts? Thanks! June 6, 2017 at 1:29pm Reply

    • Danaki: Question actually. When in your routine do you use LA or Good Genes. I’m always confused as people suggest before serum/after essence or even after serum.
      Would love to hear how you use yours. June 7, 2017 at 10:36am Reply

    • Victoria: I haven’t tried Good Genes, because it contains silicone, and I try to avoid it in my serums. June 7, 2017 at 12:26pm Reply

    • ana: Hello Rina, don’t know if it helps since I’ve no experience with GG, but since no one else has piped up … I’ve been using the TO lactic acid for two months and love the results. My skin is combination and not fussy about acids, but I wanted something milder and more hydrating than glycolic and it seems to be checking those boxes. As far as holding up to GG, I saw a few vlogs doing comparisons, gothamista and inthenameofskin I think, but perhaps you’ve already seen all YouTube has to offer … 🙂 June 19, 2017 at 8:19pm Reply

      • Rina: Thanks Ana! I just ordered the LA, Niacinamide, Caffeine eye and SA. Arrives tomorrow, very excited! I got the 10% LA, which one are you using? June 20, 2017 at 11:10am Reply

        • ana: Yay, how exciting! Hope you also love the results! I’m using the 10% LA, and it’s so mild and clears my skin so nicely I have to keep myself from using it every night. Don’t want to spoil anything, but found the salicylic acid ok, no better and no worse than other such spot treatments. But I also got the niacinamide and although it’s subtle, I think it’s made a huge difference in making my skin heal faster (can’t leave pimples alone) and use it religiously every day. Big shout out to V for her recommendations! If you feel like it, I’d love to hear how the Caffeine Solution and all the other products work out for you! June 20, 2017 at 11:37am Reply

          • Rina: The SA is for my daughter’s acne and I think we’ll share the niac. I’ll for sure let you know how the caffeine works. I’ve heard great things about it but I’ve tried every anti-puff it seems so I’m cautiously optimistic… June 20, 2017 at 12:32pm Reply

            • ana: Thank you! And I hope the SA helps to clear up your daughter’s acne, poor dear! It might be a little strong for her, but I’ve read really good things about the AHA 30% + BHA 2% peeling solution and will definitely include it in my next TO shopping spree, along with the Glycolic Acid Toning Solution (if they ever restock :-)). If body acne is a concern, I got experimental and mixed a few drops of SA with a handful of body lotion and am quite pleased, it’s made everything less noticeable. June 25, 2017 at 8:52am Reply

              • Rina: Ana, that’s a great idea for the body acne! She has a few spots on her shoulders, I’ll def try that. I got my haul last week and I’m SOLD! The caffeine works great and the LA is lovely! Maybe even better than GG. I don’t feel like I even have to wear foundation this weekend while on vacay. And YES, waiting for the tonic to come in (and the vit c) is a bummer. Hope the infusion from EL fixes the production problem. June 25, 2017 at 11:39am Reply

  • kpaint: I’m looking for a sunscreen spray or mist to use on my face. I like to carry one in my purse to apply over makeup during the day. Does anyone have recommendations?

    I’ve used Supergoop! rosemary-whatever and found it drying. Same with 2 by Re:Cipe. My skin is such that it can’t tolerate alcohols or anything potentially drying, and I’d like to avoid powders. In fact, if it’s hydrating or moisturizing, all the better.

    La Roche Posay Anthelios Anti Brillance Ultra Mist SPF50, Bioderma Hydrabio Eau De Soin Spf 30 EXP, and Kose Suncut UV Protect Spray SPF50+ look like they might be good options but I’ve never tried them.

    Thanks! June 6, 2017 at 5:21pm Reply

    • Rina: I currently have the Supergoop and like it but I’ve heard great things about the Coola SPF30 setting spray so it’s my next to try (not to mention, it’s much more affordable!). June 7, 2017 at 9:54am Reply

    • Danaki: I have the bioderma spray, I like it although it does go on a bit oily/sticky. I don’t mind it though as I tend to use it the way you indicate, as an spf refresher mid day. June 7, 2017 at 10:34am Reply

    • Victoria: I tried La Roche Posay Anthelios Anti Brillance Ultra Mist SPF50 and liked it, although it was a bit drying. It’s hard to find a spray sunscreen that isn’t, because of the delivery system. June 7, 2017 at 12:29pm Reply

    • kpaint: Thanks all, for your input! June 15, 2017 at 3:45pm Reply

  • Safran: Thank you for another fantastic skincare post! I actually started layering due to your posts just a few months ago and I am quite pleased with the results, while I mix Paula’s and The Ordinary products. Only now, while it’s getting hotter and I started to go swimming almost every day I struggle a bit with layering. So your post is just in time! My question is, could you (and of course other readers) recommend 1 or 2 more moisturizers? The Natural Moisturizing Factors +HA from TO get’s a bit sticky with warmer weather and the other one I use (Resist anti-aging clear skin hydrator from Paula) has too many active ingredients for sun exposure, I assume. Even under the Biore sunscreen that I use. So I’d love to hear about other moisturizers, which are easy to obtain in Europe. Thank you! June 7, 2017 at 4:01am Reply

    • Danaki: I like the Clinique moisture surge and find it light for summer. they now launched a more liquid type HA hydration lotion which would be ideal in summer under spf. A dupe is Neutrogena Hydro boost gel-cream or water gel (depending on your skin type). This one is much cheaper. Loreal hydra quench is scented, I regret buying it. June 7, 2017 at 10:33am Reply

      • Safran: Thank you, I will try them out, they sound perfect! June 7, 2017 at 11:17am Reply

      • Victoria: I’ve had my eye on the light version of the Clinique moisture surge, a moisturizer I really liked. June 7, 2017 at 12:42pm Reply

    • Victoria: I liked La Roche-Posay’s Double Repair Moisturizer from their Toleriane range. I’m not sure if I mentioned it before or not, but it’s very nice. To be honest, my favorite layering moisturizers, especially for the summer, are the moisturizing emulsions from the Asian brands. I’m using up my bottle of Ishizawa emulsion, but since it’s been discontinued, I need to find a replacement. The search is on. June 7, 2017 at 12:37pm Reply

  • parkerscout: Love this kind of post! Now in my 40’s what I can’t skip is cleaning, but in a gentle way, moisturizing and sun protection. I have normal-combination skin, and the routine is pretty much the same all the year round, although I try softer and lighter textures in the sunmer. In the mornings the routine is: micellar water from La Roche Posay + Vinosource serum + Toleriane Ultra fluide or Slow age from Vichy if i “need” something richer + Isdin Fusionwater. At nights, I double cleanse with a delicate cleansing milk, like the one from Caudalie or Darphin Intral and micellar water. Then I just add a facial oil: Polyphenol huîle detox (Caudalie), or a Darphin Soin d’arome (rose, chamomile or jasmin). Aways the eye contour, right now Premier cru, and lip balms.
    The routine doesn’t take me a lot of time and I enjoy that moment so… June 9, 2017 at 11:59am Reply

    • Victoria: Sounds like a great and effective routine. Keeping things manageable is important, otherwise you won’t carry it through. That being said, I do enjoy masks and things like that when I have a bit of time. It feels relaxing. June 12, 2017 at 11:05am Reply

      • parkerscout: Me too! Specially sheet masks. I use them twice or even more a week, in the evening. So easy to use! I prefer sheet masks to the jar ones although one of my favs is the moisturisink mask by Avène. I also don’t exfoliate a lot, from time to time if I feel my skin needs it. I find much more effective a gentle by daily cleaning June 22, 2017 at 10:48am Reply

        • Victoria: Yes! These sheet masks are also perfect for traveling. June 22, 2017 at 2:10pm Reply

  • Aurora: Your timely reminder makes me realize that I should stop using The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid drops, I’m going to place the bottle in the fridge like you. I will carry on with MAP and Vitamin C + HA Spheres. I love your idea of the fruit masks. Also, my mother used to make a very interesting mask with one egg white whisked, do not rinse off.
    Still very happy with my new cleanser, Neutrogena Gelee Milk Cleanser (contains hyaluronic acid) and have never had any problem using Bioderma micellar water. I am thinking of buying Bare Mineral Foundation powder with SFP 15 but following your advice I also use sunscreen everyday. And I’ll change my rosewater + essential oils by adding more lavender and niaouli (less rose and geranium) to the mix for enhanced antiseptic properties. And yes, it smells divine. June 10, 2017 at 5:08am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for your recommendation. I’ll have to try Neutrogena Gelee Milk Cleanser, since it’s always a good idea to mix things up, especially when it comes to the affordable skincare products. June 12, 2017 at 11:10am Reply

  • Carla: This is why I love your blog. For beauty products I want to be informed, not entertained. It is the only blog I read regularly as I try to severely limit my time online. I crave more elegance, beauty and romance and I find it here…just the opposite on most other blogs. June 12, 2017 at 8:57pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Carla. I’m grateful for all of you who are reading and sharing your thoughts. June 15, 2017 at 1:38am Reply

  • Ann: I love your posts on skin care – you take such beautiful care of your skin – I’m actually catching up on several of your post now

    I have fair skin and always struggled with sunscreen – I very much appreciate your post on the Japanese lines

    What sunscreen do you use on your arms & body?

    Also – I had no idea there were exfoliating skin care products that you could layer – do you use this in the a.m. and p.m.? And then you layer moisturizer on top? It just seems counterintuitive to not wash your face after your skin was exfoliate it – but I am a newbie

    Also – I think you read that you use eye cream in the morning – is that right? also something I never thought of – I am so behind 🙂 August 19, 2017 at 2:00pm Reply

    • Victoria: Ann, I have a separate articles on skincare layering, which will answer your questions. Please take a look at it. It talks more about exfoliation, but when I use this term, I don’t mean physical exfoliation with scrubs, but rather exfoliation with acids. If you find the right product, it’s safe and gentle. And no, you shouldn’t wash it off.

      I use Avene sunscreen on my body. For this I’m not that particular, although I prefer something non-greasy. August 20, 2017 at 4:10am Reply

      • Ann: Thank you! I will continue to read up on the archives! August 20, 2017 at 10:00am Reply

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