9 Things You Need to Do to Ace Your Fall Skincare Routine
It’s not just about slapping on a thick face cream. To help with your transition to fall skincare and prevent your skin from freaking out as the weather cools down, look for the right ingredients and maybe even incorporate a skincare trick or two. We show you how.
Hard to believe, but it’s that time of the year again. I feel like it was only yesterday that I was finally starting to get into mist toners and gel creams, and now it’s time to switch things up again.
Most people know to do basic things like adding more layers if they had pared down their routine for summer, or adding a heavier moisturizer to combat the effects of a drier, cooler climate and prolonged exposure to indoor heating, but there are a great many more things on the checklist for making a successful transition to fall skincare.
1. Switch to a milky cleanser
As Maria sang in The Sound of Music: “Let’s start from the very beginning, a very good place to start.” You might need to pull a switcheroo on your cleanser step depending on your skin type and the way the coming seasons usually affect it. While a foaming cleanser like the Purito Defence Barrier pH Cleanser might be gentle enough to work for all skin types unlike most foaming face washes, when the trees are bare and you can see your own breath, its cleaning power might prove to be too much for drier skin types. When that time comes, you could switch to gentler milky cleansers like the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser or Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser.
Another option to try is washing with a cleanser only at nighttime and using a gentle cleansing water like Neogen’s Real Flower Rose Water Cleanser in the AM.
2. Up the watery layers
The best thing about summertime, at least where I live, is that the humidity allows me to get away with watery layers instead of the heavy duty, thicker ampoules and serums I usually have to layer on to keep from feeling like the skin on my face is cracking off. The rest of my body might not enjoy the extra moisture in the air, but for my face, it’s super easy to achieve glowing, balanced skin.
When the sun’s out in full force, you might not have to worry about hydrating serums chock-full of ingredients like glycerin and hyaluronic acid, instead opting for FTE’s like the popular one from Missha, or the 107 Oneoseven Rose Vinegar Water. I myself thoroughly enjoyed using the Missha Time Revolution Artemisia Essence as a toner during these past warmer months. I’ll probably keep using it as an FTE because it’s amazing, and I love it so much.
For properly primed, hydrated skin as you transition to fall skincare, try the amazing SanDaWha Liposome Skin Softener. It’s a dream honestly, and editor Coco can testify to that. And despite its milky texture, it works great with the 7-skin method and will be a nice start to your routine every day.
The coming season is also a great time to try a product like the COSRX One Step Moisture Up Pad. You can swipe it on at the start of your routine to provide additional moisture, or use it as an all-in-one product when you’re in a hurry or too sick to do a full routine.
3. Add hydrating serums & ampoules
The same principle goes for your essence, serum, and ampoule steps. Switch from a product like the COSRX Galactomyces 95 Tone Balancing Essence to something that will infuse your skin with moisture and help with retention. Repairing, hydrating, soothing, and PIH-fighting, the COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence is a powerhouse of 96% snail mucin and hyaluronic acid, and is a favorite of many for good reason. The COSRX snail essence is a versatile product and, thanks to its thickness, can also be used as a light moisturizer step before an occlusive.
Look out for a serum or ampoule with actives like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, mushrooms, aloe, or ceramides. The richer, the better, so go for something like the Missha Bee Pollen Renew Ampouler or the SanDaWha Multi Action Intensive Essence.
4. Now’s the time to fight sun damage
If you were a little lax about SPF application over the summer and need to combat sun damage or lighten acne scars, any of the above recommended serums or ampoules will work. In addition, peruse the ingredients for brightening basics like niacinamide, licorice, arbutin, and ferments like galactomyces when you choose this skincare step.
5. Bring back the AHAs!
The transition to fall skincare is primetime for exfoliation, maybe because you’ve been avoiding the photosensitivity that comes with using exfoliants like AHA or retinol during peak sun season. It’s also because exfoliation buffs off dry and dead skin cells, renewing your skin by promoting cell turnover. Think of it as a rejuvenation process for your face. Not only will exfoliating even out texture and clarity, but also sloughing off the dead cells helps improve the efficacy of moisture absorption.
Go easy though, because some exfoliants can dry out your skin and do more harm than good if used incorrectly. Start slow, and increase the frequency of application if you feel like your skin can handle it. The COSRX AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid is a good place to start if you’re new to the chemical exfoliation game or don’t really need anything too hardcore or complicated. If you’re feeling adventurous, Purito offers a combination of AHA, BHA, PHA in the form of its ABP Triple Synergy Liquid, which claims to be perfect for all skin types including sensitive skin.
6. Seal it all in
Next stop on the overhaul train: moisturizers. Move on over gel creams, mama’s bringing out the big guns. The big gun in question is an occlusive like COSRX’s Balancium Comfort Ceramide Cream. It was my go-to last winter, and its ceramide-heavy goodness helped my makeup stay fresh and gave me supple, balanced skin in the mornings. Its balm-type texture is really thick and so eliminates the need to wear a sleeping pack over it. Mix in a few drops of your favorite face oil, and you’ve got yourself the perfect final step.
Want an even more supple finish? Use a sheet mask beforehand and apply the cream while your face is still damp from the essence. In addition to ceramides, it also contains Centella asiatica extract, glycerin, madecassic acid, and hyaluronic acid — everything you want in a good moisturizer.
Another great option is Swanicoco Swan Cream Intensive Vital. It’s loaded with antioxidant-rich, moisture-retaining mushroom extract, as well as aloe and sodium hyaluronate. Need more options? Try the Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalizing Mask EX. Yes, it’s a sleeping pack, but it works like a charm in place of your nightly moisturizer or over a lighter lotion. You might be late in the morning because you won’t be able to get over how lifted and bouncy your skin is.
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7. Yes, you still need to wear sunscreen
It goes without saying that your SPF use should remain the same. I mean, we’ve talked sunscreen use to death, and we all get it by now right? Sunscreen is extremely important and you shouldn’t skip it for any reason, except maybe if you’ll be staying indoors, away from windows and out of the reach of those harmful UV rays.
Sunscreen consistency is just as important as that of your serum or moisturizer. If you pick the wrong one, you might have trouble layering it over all your other steps. It might pill, leave a white cast, or turn your face into a greaseball. Good thing there are a number of options to choose from nowadays. While UV protection like the Earth’s Recipe Waterful Sun Gel might serve you well in the warmer months, you may need to switch to a cream type like the Blanc & Eclare Serein Essential Sun Cream. This is a YMMV thing, of course.
Personally, the only sunscreen texture that works for me is a gel type. And so no matter what the weather is like outside, formulas like A’Pieu’s Pure Block Aqua Sun Gel or my fave Isehan Sunkiller are my ride-or-dies. Long story short, it doesn’t really matter what kind you use, as long as you do use it, and it works for you.
8. Add a boost by adding a humidifier
It’s not just the topicals that we need to switch up for our transition to fall skincare; our humidifier should also come out of hiding along with the layers and outerwear. All the artificial heat from space heaters and boiler systems might feel cozy and will keep you warm, but it can dry out your skin like crazy. To counteract that, place a cool mist humidifier next to your bed to increase the moisture levels in the air and keep that hydration you work so hard for in your skin where it belongs.
As an added benefit, it’s great for your respiratory system and will help with ailments like allergies and respiratory infections. Just don’t forget to descale and disinfect it regularly so you’re not breathing in harmful mold.
9. Don’t forget your body skin!
There’s all this attention to your face, and it’s great, but don’t forget about the rest of your body. Your torso is just as susceptible to cold weather dryness as your face, so make sure to pay attention to it, too. Just because it’ll be under wraps doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve to be cared for.
Exfoliate with scrubs at least once a week, making sure that your body polish of choice is environmentally friendly and won’t end up in the oceans where marine life will mistake it for food. Scrubs made from salt, sugar, coffee, or oatmeal are great, but stay away from those containing micro-beads. Switch your light, summer-y lotion or dry oil to a rich body butter.
I hope you’re feeling as excited and prepared as I am about all the changes to come. There’s something about seeing the results from all the extra effort that makes me feel better about my commitment to healthy skin. I guess it’s because I’m at a stage where it’s less trial and error, and more of a blueprint. The journey looks different for each of us, but we’ll all get there at some point. Also, who else is pumped for boot weather?
Let me know how you’ll be switching things up for your transition to fall skincare routine. Are there any hydration hacks that you’ve discovered over time? Please share!