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Winter Skincare

Even in southern California, the winter months require a change-up in my skincare routine, so I thought I’d share what’s working for me lately! I use nearly entirely botanical or additive-free (clean) skincare products. I’ve broken it down by my daily, nightly and weekly routines.


Cleanse: Since I have combination skin, I always use an exfoliating cleanser that doesn’t dehydrate my skin too much. Right now I’m using Cosmedix Purity Clean, which contains salicylic acid to exfoliate as it cleans. I’ve been using this cleanser for almost a year now, and I really love it. I’ve never felt dried out after, but my skin definitely feels thoroughly cleansed!

Tone: I also use an exfoliating toner by Cosmedix. I’ve had trouble with other toners irritating my skin in the past, but this one doesn’t, so I’ve stuck with it. Toner is almost like doubling up on your cleanser as it helps to clear out pores. It also shrinks them so they aren’t as visible, which makes your skin appear more firm and smooth.

Moisturize: For me, this is a three-step process from a line called Jeffrey James Botanicals. I use an oil, serum AND moisturizer in the winter, but not all over my face. Their oil (called “The Glow“) is antioxidant, antimicrobial and super hydrating. The serum has hyaluronic acid and Vitamin C in it, which promote collagen development, diminishing fine lines and regenerating skin cells. Finally, their moisturizer (“The Creme“) contains glycolic acid to promote cell turnover, coconut oil and royal jelly to retain hydration, and vitamin A, which delays signs of skin aging. This cocktail leaves my skin glowing and never flaky.

Vitamin A supplement: Sometimes it doesn’t matter how many great things you treat the surface of your skin with, you still get hormonal breakouts. That’s because hormones aren’t excreted from the surface of your skin, obviously! After going off birth control (which had always kept my skin blemish-free) a few years ago, I was getting a couple of those awful cystic zits a month. My dermatologist suggested I start taking 10,000 IU of Vitamin A a day. That amount actually dried my skin out a little too much, so now I take an 8,000 IU supplement every other day, and it’s totally cleared my skin up. It’s kind of amazing!! I know this won’t be a remedy for everyone, but I’ve had a lot of luck with it so I thought I should share.


Before bed, I follow a similar routine to the morning, but in place of my toner, I use a 20% glycolic acid wipe which works overnight to exfoliate dead/dry skin cells. I LOVE Cane + Austin’s Miracle Pads.

I do sometimes use makeup remover towelettes rather than cleanser at night. I don’t notice a huge difference, as long as you’re getting your makeup off – that’s the important thing! I use Sephora brand wipes. They don’t irritate my skin like a lot of other wipes do, so I’ve stuck with those for years now. UPDATE: A reader, Kelly, let me know that Sephora’s wipes include a chemical called PHMB (Polyaminopropyl Biguanide), which is carcinogenic and has been banned from use in Europe. It’s commonly used in makeup remover products in the US. Now that I’ve learned this, I am definitely making a switch to Ole Henriksen’s wipes. Also, I recently discovered the app CosmEthics, which allows you to scan the barcode on any of your beauty products and tells you which contain any bad chemicals or if they’re vegan, allergenic, etc.


Microdermabrasion: I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again: the key to glowing skin year-round is exfoliation!! So, in addition to all the daily exfoliating I do, once a week (or every other week) I do a pro-strength microdermabrasian/peel treatment. It’s SO refreshing and my skin always comes out feeling totally new and deeply cleansed! My favorite system is this one by Ole Henriksen. It’s a three-step system (I guess I’m into those!) which consists of an almond scrub, lemon alpha-hydroxy acid peel, and soothing chamomile mask.

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So there you have my winter skincare routine! I will be posting my entire daily makeup routine next week, so stay tuned…. and let me know if there are any skincare products you’re really loving right now that you think I should check out!


  • Thank you for sharing your skin routine, you always look incredible and I have been waiting for such a post. I am looking forward to your makeup post next week!!

    I have oily skin but In my skincare routine, I’m currently obsessed with these beauties

    Sunday Riley-Martian mattifying melting water-gel toner

    Drunk Elephant- B-hydra intensive hydration gel (day time moisturizer)

    Josie Maran-ARGAN oil light ( night time moisturizer)

  • Hi lovely,

    Your blog post will be featured in Bloggers Issue Magazine.

  • I’ve always wanted to try some serums and yours sound like a great place to start! I agree that its so important to exfoliate and think about vitamins and stuff when it comes to skin. Can’t wait to see your next makeup post!

    xx, Pia

  • Love the vitamin A tip! I’m definitely going to try that!

  • I just started taking Vitex Berry to help with hormonal breakouts-and PMS- because like you, I stopped birth control a year ago, but struggling with the response. I am going to look into this vitamin A as well, thanks!!!

  • I know this is a skincare post, but could you include the link to your night gown!? It looks gorgeous!

    • Thank you! It’s actually a romper from Urban Outfitters, but I bought it about a year ago so I’m not able to find it online now :/

  • Great post, Kaitlynn & so informative! I never even thought about Vitamin A for skincare so I am ordering some right now. I also have a botanical based skin care regimen so it was so neat to read about the products you use (in fact, I haven’t even heard of any of these and am so intrigued). That 3 step microdermabrasion sounds amazing & easy to travel with. I currently use the Egyptian Magic for moisturizer and LOVE it (only 6 ingredients). I am on the hunt for a serum so I will def give the one you mentioned a try bc I love anything with hyaluronic acid!! x Shannon

  • I really love M-61’s PowerGlow Peel. I use it a couple times a week and always wake up glowing! You can find it at Bluemercury– it’s actually the founder’s line!

  • I literally mentioned in conversation the other day how my lifelong goal was to have your skin lol… so thank you, thank you over and over again!!! You must have felt my winter drab skin vibes. I legit just ordered everything you posted.

    I’ve had terrible hormonal acne lately and they were contemplating putting me on sporanaloctone but I am hesitant so I will be getting vitamin A tomorrow and hopefully it will help.

    One product I recently fell in love with is c-lester topical vitamin c20 serum by dermaesthetics. It’s amazing but I can’t wait to try the products you recommended. Great post thanks!!!! Please post your spring/summer regimen 🙂

  • I recently moved to Colorado from California and I am definitely needing to up my skincare routine this winter! Even in winter the sun shines bright, especially when reflecting off snow. Do you have any favorite sunscreens for face and/or body? Thanks, love!

  • Thanks for this post! Really great products. Just wanted to let you know though that the Sephora cleansing wipes have a chemical called PHMB or polyaminopropyl biguanide that is banned in some countries. It’s a preservative that is known to be cancer-causing and bad for the environment. Just wanted to pass this information along!

    • Oh my gosh, thank you for letting me know! I just read up on it. I will definitely be switching to a different wipe!

  • Hey kaitlynn!
    You mentioned that when you use the 3-part oil, serum & moisturizer combo you don’t use it all over your face. Where do you reccomended oil and serum to be used? Moisturizer all over face though? Thanks, I’m especially excited to try the Vitamin A!!

    • Hi Holly! I use the oil primarily around my under eyes, cheeks, tip of my nose and forehead (where I tend to be more dry), but I avoid my jawline, chin and rest of my nose where I used to get breakouts cause they just don’t really need it. I use the serum and moisturizer all over though.

  • How long did it take you to see results with the vitamin A? Going through the same thing and just ordered some after reading this!

    • Hi! It took about 2-3 weeks. At first my skin actually got worse because it was “purging” aka pushing out all the build up under my skin. I also initially was taking 10,000 IU each day and found it to be a little too much for my skin – I got some serious dryness. So I’ve ended up taking 8,000 IU every other day and that’s been the right amount for me. So I’d definitely give it a few weeks to settle in and then figure out how much is the right amount for you.

  • great post!

  • Hi! Love this post and definitely am going to be trying some of the tips you shared! Was really excited about the app you mentioned in your “update” note. Unfortunately though I am unable to locate it in the App Store and have received error messages saying that you cannot utilize it in the U.S., is that true?! Do you know of any other similar apps to it? Thanks!

  • I have been looking for a new Vitamin C and Hyaluronic Acid serum/oil for a few months now. I was previously using Image, which is a great brand, but the oil was leaving my skin a little sticky. I switched to my Dermatologist’s personal line, but her products are super expensive and I didn’t notice much of an improvement to warrant spending 3x the cost. After reading this post, I took the plunge and bought the Jeffry James serum, glow oil and the toner. So far so good! My girlfriends at dinner told me my skin looked “glowing” which was awesome to hear! I live in Colorado and it gets so dry here in the winter. These products are also twice the size of the usual serum and oil sizes, so it’s really a lot of product for the cost. Thank you so much for your recommendations; I always buy with more confidence when a product line is working well for someone who has similar issues to my own (I also have combination skin, hormonal break outs, etc.). Take care =)

  • Hi Kaitlyn! I love this post and appreciate the great skincare advice. I’ll be following your blog from now on!

    Anyway, I’m pretty sure I have really similar skin to you based off of this. I started taking the vitamin A, because I too just went off birth control and am pretty worried about cystic pimples (already have one on my chin a few weeks after being off). So I’m wondering, what tips would you have for handling cystic pimples in the meantime?

    Also, makeup wipes irritate my skin a LOT. I started using hemp oil before washing to remove my makeup (it’s not pore clogging) and my skin looks SO much better. You should check it out.


    • Honestly before I started Vitamin A I was going to my derm to have my cystic pimples injected with cortisone, but that isn’t a good regular treatment for dealing with them. You just need to get on a routine that won’t allow them to develop in the first place. The one thing I wouldn’t do is pick them!! I learned that the hard way – I ended up with a few scars that took nearly a year to fade!!

  • I have always had issues with breakouts. I started using the vitamin a and the ole henriksen power peel you suggested. My skin in the last month has remained clear which NEVER happens and I’m 32 yrs old! The peel is the best facial treatment I have ever used. I’m obsessed. Thanks for sharing your tips and tricks!!

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