I have dry skin, live in Chicago and I don’t like to wear makeup every day so I need my skin to look good without all the extras. And folks frequently give me props on my skin (thank you!) Since I get asked what I use, lemme tell you my skincare faves!

These are items I use to get clean, glowy skin. In case you’re wondering, most days take me less than 5 minutes from start to finish for my face. When it takes me longer is if I’m doing a strong exfoliant or a face mask. Otherwise, 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
  • Exfoliant
  • Mask
  • Toner
  • Serum
  • Eye Cream
  • Moisturizer
  • Oils
  • Sunscreen

My face, with no foundation. This is after my daily routine. All I have on (makeup-wise) is lipstick.

My daily routine

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 cleaser so it doesn’t strip it of any extra oils. If my skin is feeling really dirty (or I just wore makeup), I use a deep cleanser.

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. Win. Sometimes, my toner is a mild exfoliant (like the Paula’s Choice one).

Serum: Then I put my serum of choice. Usually, a vitamin C serum, because it provides INSTANT glow. If my face is feeling dry (or it’s winter), I also will add a hyaluronic acid serum on top for extra hydration.

Moisturize: With serum on, then I put on my moisturizer. Again, it all depends on weather and my skin at the moment. For winter time, I usually use heavier moisturizers and creams. 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.

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


Clean skin is the base of good skin. You can do it without stripping your skin of all its oils, doe.

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser: [$21.00] A small amount is all I use with this facial cleanser and it removes dirt without completely drying out my skin.

Drunk Elephant Jelly Beste: [$32.00] This is really good for all skin types and it’s super gentle but still lets your skin feel cleansed after. I use this one the most.

Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip: [$35.00] For those who don’t want an oil cleanser, but want deep cleaning that feels gentle, this is great. And it brightens!


Exfoliating your skin gets dead skin cells off, allowing your products to penetrate deeper, and for your skin to be brighter.

Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant: [$29.50] I put this on a cotton pad and wipe my face, and it keeps my skin looking like butter. I’m obsessed with this thing’s power of exfoliating dead skin. I see the difference in my skin on the days when I use this and it’s gentle enough for me to use daily.

Sunday Riley Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment: [$80.00] This is gentle for every day use but a silent beast. It smells all citrusy and leaves your skin feeling and looking smooth. I don’t know how it’s so gentle but so potent.

Drunk Elephant Babyfacial: [$80.00] This stuff is gold! A great exfoliating mask that I use once a week and leave it on for 20 minutes. When I rinse it off, my skin is baby soft and smooth! Note: It is not for the faint of heart. This exfoliant is super strong. It’s basically a perm for your face. Note: only to be used once a week.

Face Masks (wash off)

These are once a week treatments to give your face the boost it might need.

Bolden Clean Skin Clay Mask: [$16.99] This mask is the truth and once a week after cleanser is the perfect regimen! It’s a good way to pull impurities out your skin, so your pores are clean.

The Body Shop Ethiopian Honey Mask: [$28.00] Nothing like honey and olive oil together to replenish, restore and hydrate the skin! And it feels so good on.

Sometimes, I double mask. Meaning, I do the exfoliation (Drunk Elephant Babyfacial) and then I do the hydration (Body Shop Honey Mask).


Toners balance the pH level in your skin and essences target your problem areas. A lot of people don’t use either and that’s okay. If there’s a step I skip in my routine more often than others, it’s this one.

Caudalie Beauty ElixirMario Badescu Aloe Vera Water: [$12.00] I spray this on my skin as a refresher, and it is hydrating. It can also be used to set makeup.

Caudalie Beauty Elixir: [$18.00] This smells and feels like a spa so the whole experience really just adds to my morning or night routine.

Fresh Rose Floral Toner: [$40.00] This toner is hydrating, smells amazing and feels refreshing.

SK-II Pitera: [$99.00] It’s pricey, but worth it! It’s lightweight and lets other products absorb better.


Serums are concentrated and penetrate deeper in your skin. They help your other products work better and do their own magic. They’re great for targeting the problem your skin has, and you put them under moisturizers. Vitamin C serums brighten your skin and give glow. Hyaluronic acid intensely hydrate your skin. Retin-a serums address fine lines and wrinkles. Although, so do the other two, on a lower level.

Ole Henriksen Truth Serum: [$24.00] This is one of my fave vitamin C serums. It brightens my skin and it has collagen so it plumps it, gives a glow and helps with fine lines. This is the one I recommend for people who’ve never used Vitamin C serums, since it is also very cost effective.

Caudalie Vinosource Deep Hydrating Serum: [$49.00] Having dry skin means sometimes, moisturizer needs help. My facial lady recommended this to me one day when I showed up and my face was dehydrated. Ever since, I’ve been using this in the winter to keep the harsh weather from having my face dry up. It is amazing.

Drunk Elephant C-Firma: [$80.00] I am a vitamin c serum fanatic because using it brightens skin. It’s magic for your face and this one is one of my favorites. It makes my skin glow like no other, under my moisturizers. It’s one I recommend to people all the time.

Sometimes, I double serum, which means I use 2 or more serums. It depends on what my skin needs at the time. If you use more than one, layer them by using the thinnest serum first.

Eye Creams

This hydrates the skin under your eyes, since it’s more fragile and much thinner than the rest of the skin on your face.

Olay Brightening Eye Cream: [24.96] Best thing for dark circles and bags under the eyes.

Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado: [32.00] Locks in moisture overnight and goes beautifully under makeup. For me, it helps my concealer not crease.

Drunk Elephant C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream: [$64.00] A little goes a long way. Firms and brightens the skin under eyes.


The ESSENTIAL. Everyone needs to use a good moisturizer. No ash face!

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer: [$32.00] You cannot go wrong with this everyday moisturizer!

Caudalie Vinosource SOS Intense Hydration Moisturizer: [$42.00] This is definitely for those with dry skin type especially in the winter. It makes your skin feel so good, and not at all like the desert it might feel like otherwise.

Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Moisturizer: [$60.00] This is miracle in a jar, and leaves my skin feeling really moisturized and smooth. I love the texture!

Sunday Riley Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream: [$65.00] This moisturizer is light and feels really good on the skin. Can’t go wrong with Sunday Riley!

Face Oils

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.

Organic Bath Co. Enhance Face Oil: [$36.00] With a mind of its own, this helps keep my skin under control especially in the winter.

Drunk Elephant Marula Oil: [$72.00] Couple drops of this bad boy and my skin, hands, and feet feel baby soft.


Because it doesn’t matter whether you have melanin or not. YOU NEED TO USE SUNSCREEN EVERYDAY. A lot of our skin problems are due to overexposure to the sun, and this lets you address that.

Black Girl Sunscreen: [$15.99] Great formula, no white cast, and formulated specifically for those of us with melanin. It’s at Target and affordable.

Bolden SPF 30 Brightening Moisturizer: [$27.99] Has the SPF for protection without the heavy oil and build up that faces feels from the average sunscreen!

Night Routine Products

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.

Drunk Elephant F-Balm: [$52.00] Great as an overnight mask!

Drunk Elephant TLC Framboo: [$90.00] Up there in price, but definitely a game changer, as an exfoliator that makes sure your skin doesn’t accumulate dead skin.

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