It’s been a lot of self-care over the last few weeks since we’ve been quarantined; there’s something so relaxing and therapeutic when it comes to taking time to take care of yourself, especially in times when it seems like a lot of out of your control.  Ever since I turned 30, I shifted a lot of my morning prep time away from makeup and much more into skincare.  I had quite a bit of hyper-pigmentation as a result of hormonal changes from both my pregnancies, and so I’ve sought out and tried numerous products to try and get my skin back to its youthful glow.

After sharing a run-through of my morning skin care routine recently on my Instagram Stories, I’ve had quite a few questions come in via DM so I thought it would be best to share everything here permanently in a post.  Skincare can be a bit tricky especially when it comes to knowing what products to invest in and even what order to apply them!  I swear by the 7-step method below, and while every now and then I may add in a few additional steps here and there (such as using a face roller!), the following steps I never skip.  Read on for more!



Before we get into the specifics of products I use, I figured it would be best to have a general understanding of how to layer skincare products to maximize their effectiveness.  After cleansing, skincare is always applied from thinnest to thickest.  Start with products that have a thin, watery consistency such as toner / essence before moving on to serums, oils, and moisturizers that have a thicker consistency.  This will ensure that the skin absorbs the maximum amount from your product and therefore gets the most benefit!

And now on to a breakdown of my anti-aging skincare routine:


I used to think that I didn’t need to wash my face with a cleanser in the morning because all I did was sleep right?  Wrong.  Dead skin cells shed overnight which can lead to clogged pores if not washed.  I have naturally dry skin so I seek out products that don’t make my skin feel tight or stripped of its natural oils.  The TULA Purifying Face Cleanser has completely won me over since I started using it a little over 2 months ago.

I go in with my Clarisonic using the radiance brush head and it’s the most refreshing feeling after I wash my face!  This TULA cleanser is also packed with anti-inflammatory ingredients such as turmeric which has actually really help keep some of my eczema at bay.  (Use my code CUTENLITTLE for 15% off all TULA.)


I first started using toner wayyy back in college when I started using ProActiv to deal with adult acne and at the time, I was always shocked at how much dirt I was seeing on my toner cotton pad even after washing my face (obviously I wasn’t washing my face very well! 😆).  But now that acne is no longer an issue for me, I’ve since turned to a toner that helps fight aging with ingredients such as glycolic acid.

I used to swear by the Pixi Skintreats Glow Tonic with it’s 5% glycolic acid but switched about 2 months ago to the TULA Pro-Glycolic Resurfacing Gel with it’s 10% concentration of glycolic acid and have seen a big difference in how my skin is glowing!  I haven’t had any issues with using the TULA toner both day and night — the addition of ingredients such as natural mushroom and beet extract actually hydrates 400x more than hyalauronic acid and it’s perfect as a gently daily exfoliation for my skin.


I didn’t realize how much I love my essence until I recently went without!  On a week-long trip, I decided not to pack a travel-size version of my Fresh Black Tea Kombucha Essence and omg, I definitely noticed a difference as my skin felt dehydrated and textured.  The Fresh Black Tea Essence is my fave as I just love how it is formulated with hyaluronic acid to add moisture as well as kombucha to help fight pollution / free radicals.  For essence, the application is super simple as I just put 2-3 drops into my palm and press it into my skin with a slight upward motion.

I’ve tried a good number of essences and while my favorite is the Fresh Black Tea Kombucha, I wanted to give a couple other options at different price points that I also love and recommend.  A splurge is definitely the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence that is formulated with the pitera and has amazing anti-aging benefits.  A great budget option is the Laneige Power Skin Toner (see my Laniege Korean skincare review!) — it has a luxurious soft feeling and is great for hydrating!


Serums are KEY when it comes to really transforming your skin as they are super concentrated, nutrient-dense treatments that really target specific skin concerns.  Hands-down the must-have daytime serum is L-Ascorbic Acid or Vitamin C as it protects your skin from UV rays and damaging environmental pollutants.  I am obsessed with the Skinceuticals C+E Ferulic serum as it is packed with 15% Pure L-Ascorbic Acid and works for all skin types — it is a bit on the pricey side but a single bottle does last me about 6 months, making the cost breakdown totally worth it in my opinion!

For a more affordable option if you’re just curious about Vitamin C, I recommend the Pixi Vitamin C serum.  Results come slower as the concentration is less, but you can’t beat the drugstore price!


The skin around the eye is much thinner than the rest of your face and always needs extra TLC.  Eye creams can be pricey but for me, it’s one of the first areas that can make you look older than you really are, so it’s a worthwhile investment in my opinion!  Again, I choose a vitamin c serum as it’s proven to reduce the appearance of under-eye circles (mine are darrrrk, y’all 😬), plus it also helps brighten age and sun spots.

Dermalogica recently released their Biolumin-C Eye Serum and it’s good.  The formula is lightweight, absorbs quickly, and really does help brighten that stubborn undereye area!  Another budget-friendly alternative that I’ve used and loved in the past is the Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Cream — the consistency is a much thicker cream and I’ve found it takes about 5 days of consistent use before I notice a difference, but it’s another great option!


After I’ve treated my face with serum, I then lock it all in with a good moisturizer.  I love the TULA Breakout Star as it’s formulated with 2% salicylic acid to prevent acne as well as azelaic acid to brighten existing acne scars.  I do occasionally get a pimple here and there around that time of the month, but since using this lotion they’ve literally stopped!


I’m still paying the price for the days of my youth when I wasn’t diligent about putting on SPF everyday and as a result have a good splattering of freckles and sunspots that I’ve been working to fix.  I recently switched to using the TULA Protect + Glow and love that it protects against both UV rays as well as blue light!  I may not be outdoors very much now that we’re quarantined, but I am facing computer screens for 8-10 hours a day (if not more!).  I had no idea blue light from technology screens could actually cause wrinkles so I’m so glad to have this TULA sunscreen on hand.

And if you’re like me and hate the smell of sunscreen and/or don’t like the white cast that it leaves, you’ll be happy to know that the TULA Protect + Glow has neither!  The scent is a like that of a light tropical pineapple and my skin literally has the most beautiful and subtle glow to it.