Skincare has always been a part of my life. I grew up in a southern house that made it very clear, eye cream was just as important as our nightly prayers. However, my knowledge and want for great skin eventually succumbed to the lethargic college years. You know– the never washing or even thinking about a moisturizer anymore because I am doing good to make it to my 8am class. There were many a morning I woke up with smeared mascara and what makeup I had left on my face… real classy. In the morning, I would “clean” my skin by running a cotton pad and toner over my face and call it good. I am in a constant state of kicking myself when I think about how terrible I was to my skin then.

I ultimately got tired of looking 5 years older than I was and realized it was becoming increasingly harder to blame my acne or terrible pores on “teenage puberty” when I was 22. I knew I wanted something easy, so I went back to my high school go to, Clinique. For a lazy face washer, I felt I could handle three steps twice a day. I mean I was already using their toner—why not add actual face wash and a moisturizer to the mix. Let me tell you, just doing this helped so much!!!! Consistency is key. Like weight loss, good skin doesn’t happen overnight.

When I started it was such a hassle but the more I kept doing it the more second nature it became. I started to venture out and try different products and even added more steps into my routine to help benefit my skin for what I needed. Through a lot of trial and error, I found what works, what doesn’t and what my skin loves and what it hates. Believe you me, it hates a lot. My skin is SO sensitive, but I think it is just getting back at me for treating it like turds for five+ years. Since investing more love into my skincare routine, I have added five more things, give or take. Which seems like a lot, but it really isn’t. I love how it wakes me up in the morning and gets me ready for bed at night.

Since talking to people about their skincare, I have found the biggest reasons for not doing it is time and money. BOTH INVESTMENTS. I do understand. But you are fooling yourself to think that

1) investing in good skincare isn’t adding to your overall self

2) you don’t have FIVE minutes in the morning and evening and

3) all good skincare products are expensive.

There are really, really, great products that are expensive, yes. BUT there are just as great products that are not going to break your bank. I am going to share with y’all my 8ish-step skincare routine with my current favorite on the pricier side AND its more affordable counterpart. I think that all steps are great, but you do not have to do each one. It is important to find what works best for you.

TIP: if you are going to do steps, sequence matters. You don’t want to put on your moisturize then a serum because your serum will not get through to your skin. You want to make sure that the products that need to penetrate the skin go on first and the ones that sit on your skin go on second– thinnest consistency to thickest.

Step 1: Oil cleanser. Dermalogica | Neutrogena

This step is an evening only to take the days makeup off. There are a lot of people who think just using face wash is going to clean off your makeup, but it doesn’t. Especially if you are using primers and setting sprays. I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE going full glam and wearing my falsies like the next ho but there is nothing better than coming home and taking it all off. Let that skin breathe, girl! I cannot tell you enough good things about Dermalogica Precleanse. It is pricey but so worth it. If you don’t want to shell out the big bucks, Neutrogena has a great option that is affordable. I have even just used coconut oil before. Garnier Micellar Water is also a great makeup remover. Find something that you like but be sure to take your make up off!

Step 2: Foam Cleanser. La Mer | Cetaphil

After you are makeup free, it is time to wash your skin. (In the morning, this is my first step.) This is what is going clean your skin of dirt, any leftover makeup and prep it to fully absorb the next products. There are so many great face washes out there but at the higher end my go to is from Le Mer. I have dry, sensitive skin and this cleanser is light, moisturizing and a little goes a long way. It is gentle enough to use every day and I have never had an issue. To save some (a lot) of money, my drug store fav is Cetaphil. I know… you are thinking what is this $10 Target cleaner going to do for me? A LOT! Just get passed the fact that it smells like your grandmother and realize that for an incredible price it is cleaning the heck out of your face… in a gentle, errr day kinda way. Honorable mention in the category goes to Tula! It used to be online purchase only but just in the last few months Ulta started selling it. It is a nice middle of the road price so definitely give it a try.

Step 3: Exfoliator. Kate Sommerville | No7

This step is a at night only and depending on your skin. For me, I exfoliate twice a week and I worked up to that. My skin is just too sensitive to exfoliate it more, but I have a friend who can do it every night if she wanted. I have noticed that doing this step has immensely helped my under the skin forehead blemishes that just add texture to my face and annoyance to my life. For me, this is a necessary step, and if it is for you, these are my go to products. Oh, and again, always a night. Let your skin calm down and relax while you are sleeping. Much better than walking around looking like a hot mess of red blotches.

Step 4: Toner. SK-II | Clinique

YALL. OLD HABITS DIE HARD. I will always have this purple bottle of Clinique toner in my bathroom. Good lord, no matter what toner I use, I go back to it. It is so decently priced for what it is and while you can’t buy it at Target or other drugstores, it is still on the cheaper side. If you are wanting to have the best of the best and pay for it, hands down SK-II is the bees knees. There whole line while expensive, is magic in a bottle. For real. Toners originally started to help restore your facial pH level back to normal, but cleansers are getting so much better these days that this isn’t a must-do step. For me, I like it and have always done it, but by no means does it mean you have to. Be aware of alcohol-based toners because they will contribute to over drying your skin.

Step 5: Serums. OLEHENRIKSEN | Neutrogena

This step is my end all be all. I never was one for serums—ever. But once I started using them and seeing the difference these little time machine bottles held, I was a believer. Like most products, you can find what you are needing. Shampoo for example. Maybe you need volume, or moisture, or color treated protection… we all need shampoo but in different ways. Same with serums. They make spot treatments, brightening, moisturizing, antioxidant… etc. Whatever you are needing, find it and run with it. The two I have suggested are a good overall serum to start with. OLEHENRIKSEN is called truth serum and man is it ever. I get mine at Sephora and believe me, if you ask for the serum in the orange bottle, they will know EXACTLY what you’re talking about. I took no stab at pronouncing that name that I would inevitably butchered. If you are wanting a drugstore option, Neutrogena came out with a new line that I am loving. I had to stop myself from putting it in all categories.

Step 6: Eye Cream. Belief | Neutrogena

I am all about smile lines and what have you… but there are some fine lines and puffiness that I can do without ever having. The skin around your eyes is so delicate that it needs a little extra love and special moisturizer to maintain its elasticity and fight against collagen loss. I love these two products but again, find what works for you.

Step 7: Moisturizer. Boscai | Neutrogena

My face is in a constant state of a drought. No, it isn’t terrible, but I couldn’t live without my moisturizer. But even people with oily skin needs a moisturizer in their life. It really helps to protect our skin and give us the extra hydration we need. I know… again with the Neutrogena but y’all their hydro moisture products are sooooo good. I couldn’t believe they were Neutrogena when I was using them… that good. And this Cactus Water is my all-time favorite expensive brand currently. I love how moisturizing it is while fast drying so I can get on with my day. Big win.

Step 8: SUNSCREEN. Supergoop | Aveeno

Sunscreen is a day time only step and should be the last step of your day… EVERY DAY. If y’all aren’t protecting your skin from the outside elements and sun, then the rest is really all for nothing. I mean it is important to keep our skin clean and healthy but also to keep it away from the death rays of the sun. Mortia Adams had the right idea. Just remember we only get this body once and it is hard if not impossible to reverse damage we have done to it. These are my go-to for facial sunscreens. I like how they smell and how well they both work when I am applying makeup after. Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

Some tips!

  • Listen to your skin. For me, I know when my face isn’t happy about a hard exfoliation or a certain product. Find when and what works for you and rock it.
  • I will say when starting out, give it time to work. Don’t expect all your problem areas to go away overnight. If it is not causing any irritation, keep using the product to see the long-haul benefits.
  • Get regular facials. 4-6 weeks is best. Don’t just treat yourself to a vacation facial. Go out and treat your skin.
  • If you are in the Portland area, Shannon at Fraiche is fantastic!! Her top skincare product she couldn’t live without is cleansing oil. For real y’all—it’s a game changer. I used to get my lashes done here and everyone is amazing. Not to mention their new studio is in the most adorable house in NW Portland. They do their booking online, and you can get to it from their website!
  • If you are in the DFW area the best esthetician to go to is Kristen Bohon. She is at Lashes and Locks Beauty Lounge and does AMAZING facials. You cannot go wrong. (She also does fabulous makeup!) Her best advice for skincare is to keep it simple! Cleansing, moisturizing and sunscreen is a must. While the other stuff is great, doing those three will be the most beneficial. She also suggests finding a cleanser that works best for your skin type. Like I always say, you do you! You can contact her through her Facebook Page that I will link (Here) to set up an appointment.


If y’all have any questions or want more suggestions, please let me know! I promise to not take so long in getting this out to yall!

Cheers to better skin than we had when we were younger,

2 thoughts to “All About That Skincare Life

  • Amanda Shannon

    I love Avenos sun screen!

    • Emily | Life's Happy Hour

      It is one of my FAVORITES!!! When people always ask for a Target sunscreen suggestion, I say this one. So so so good. And never makes me break out which is a real win because most do.


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