Skincare Essentials: My Guide to Flawless Skin
I’m Luvvie Ajayi Jones, and I’m obsessed with skincare. But check it out, though. It’s because I wanna be able to walk out the house, doing minimal things and still look semi-decent. I don’t wanna have to wear foundation every day and I don’t wanna look like what I’ve been through. I will often simply throw on a lipstick, some eyeliner and call it a day. For my really tired days, I’ll do concealer too.
But glassy, glowy skin is my goal.
My skin is more on the dry side, and I live in Chicago, where our winters are brutal! So making sure I’m not walking around ashy is super important to me. Folks frequently give me props on my skin (thank you!) so lemme tell you about my skincare routine and product faves.
In case you’re wondering, my skincare routine on most days take me less than 5 minutes from start to finish. Cuz I’m not about to do 15 steps and be in the bathroom for 2 hours. When I’m being extra, it’s on my self-care Sundays, and even that takes me less than 30 minutes. And it’s just because I do a 20-minute face mask. Otherwise, I’m in and out.
Routine order (what’s in BOLD are the steps I do daily. The others are either as needed or once a week):
Cleanser | Toner/Mild Exfoliant | Mask | Toner | Serum | Eye Cream | Moisturizer | Face Oil | Sunscreen
The Daily Routine for Flawless Skin
Cleanse: I wash my face for at least 30 seconds with my cleanser of choice. If my skin is feeling really dry, I pick a gentle cleanser so it doesn’t strip it my face of extra oils.
- Optional: if I’m wearing makeup, I cleanse first with a makeup removing balm. My fave: Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm
Tone/gentle exfoliate: After cleansing and towel drying my face, I put toner on a cotton pad and wipe upwards on my face. Often, I’ll find extra dirt coming off on the pad. Exfoliating your skin gets dead skin cells off, allowing your products to penetrate deeper, and for your skin to be brighter. My daily exfoliant is Paula’s Choice 2% BHA exfoliant. It’s truly my holy grail skincare product that I recommend for everybody! Now, everybody’s skin might not be able to handle it daily. Definitely kick it off by using it once ever 2-3 days.
Serum: Then I put on my serum of choice. Serums are good because they specifically target concerns you have. If you’re using more than 1 serum at once, layer them in order of thinnest to thickest. There are 2 types of serum I usually use:
- Vitamin C serum – Vitamin C on skin provides INSTANT glow. It is my must-do serum and I can tell the difference on days I don’t use it. Also, it’s an anti-oxidant.
- Hyaluronic acid serum – If my face is feeling dry (or it’s winter), I also will add a hyaluronic acid serum on top for extra hydration. Btw, don’t be fooled by the name. It’s not a real acid, and it’s gentle.
Eye Cream – I put an eye cream on to help my dark circles and to help me depuff. The skin under our eyes are really delicate so it deserves some love. If I’m feeling extra dry, I use a hydrating eye cream.
Moisturize: With my serum(s) on, then I put on my moisturizer of choice. In the summer, I use thinner moisturizers. I bring out the heavy hitters/face creams in the winter! NO ASH OVER HERE.
Sunscreen: This goes on last. Because humans have killed the ozone, you need sunscreen to top it all off, even if you have melanin. Black don’t crack is a myth, because sun damage can definitely cause it to. My sunscreens of choice don’t leave that dreaded white cast. They go on clear. My daily routine takes me no more than a couple of minutes to do.
Once a week (self-care day)
Exfoliate (strong): I do this after I cleanse, and before any serums. Gets dead skin off, so new skin that’s chilling underneath can come through. This is usually a mask that stays on my face for 15-20 minutes. When I rinse it off, my skin feels soft and renewed. It’s different from the daily exfoliant I use because it goes even deeper.
Hydrating mask: Again, I have dry skin. It doesn’t hurt to put on a mask that infuses extra hydration into it.
So now you know my routine, below are my TRIED AND TRUE products. They are my favorites. No, you don’t need to buy and own them all. Start by picking the choices you think most applies to you under each category.
My Favorite Skincare Products
Biossance Squalane + Amino Aloe Gentle Pore-Minimizing Cleanser – This is truly gentle and it’s good for all skin types. A little goes a long way so the bottle lasts a long time.
Drunk Elephant Jelly Beste Cleanser – Good for combination or oily skin. I use it sometimes when I wanna deep cleanse my skin, without double cleansing.
Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant – They were not kidding. This is the holy grail skincare product because it does so much! Not only is it a good toner, but you can use it under your armpits and it will help you with sweating and the hyperpigmentation there. Use it on your feet too, to help gently exfoliate between your pedicures. It is just everything. I’m probably on my 10th bottle. I KEEP this on deck.
Fresh Rose & Hyaluronic Acid Deep Hydration Toner – Good for all skin types, and helps minimize the look of your pores.
Innisfree Green Tea Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Toner – This is actually really good for those with oily skin. I recommended it to someone and they said their aesthetician applauded their skin once they started using it, because it helped them balance the oils in their skin.
Paula’s Choice C15 Vitamin C Super Booster – I love this vitamin C serum because it is potent. It makes my face even feel firmer.
Caudalie Vinosource-Hydra SOS Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum – This is my winter go-to serum, to make sure my face stays hydrating all day, no matter how cold the elements are. It’s also great to use when you travel, cuz of that really dry airplane air.
Kiehl’s Since 1851 Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado – This eye cream is my favorite, because for the dry skin under your eyes, infusing it with this brings it to life. It’s also good to use under concealer to prevent creasing. I always have a jar of this on hand.
Youth To The People Superfood Air-Whip Lightweight Face Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid – This is good for summer time or combo skin.
Caudalie Vinosource-Hydra SOS Intense Hydration Moisturizer – My go-to winter face cream.
Kiehl’s Since 1851 Super Multi-Corrective Anti-Aging Face and Neck Cream – This is thick and also is anti-aging so I love it. It targets fine lines while keeping your face moisturized. I take this with me on my trips.
All of these are phenomenal on all skin types, and won’t leave you with a grey or white cast. They melt into your skin.
TULA Skincare Protect + Glow Daily Sunscreen Gel Broad Spectrum SPF 30 – This sunscreen leaves you looking dewy, and gives you glow. On really hot summer days, I skip moisturizer and use this, because it is hydrating.
Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 – This sunscreen is a CULT CLASSIC and for good reason. It has the texture of a mousse, and helps mattify your skin. Also, it is a dope primer that blurs your skin so it works really well under makeup. Cannot miss with this.
Night time Skincare Items
Experts say our skin heals and rejuvenates the most at night. Having a nighttime routine also makes sure you don’t go to bed with the day’s gunk on your face.
These seal in moisture! And they do provide some glow. If there’s a step you want to skip, this can be it. Bit for me, I love putting oil on top of my skin when done with it all.
Farmacy Honey Grail Ultra-Hydrating Face Oil – Anything with honey in it is going to have your face hydrated and this oil is yummy. Put it on at night as the last step on your routine and your skin will be bouncy when you wake up the next day.
Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Face Oil – This is an amazing oil that I always have ob hand. The biggest bottle will last you a long time because a little goes a long way. You can even use it on your hands to seal in moisture and softness there too.