ADVERTISEMENT INFO: PRODUCTS ARE DISCUSSED IN THIS BLOGPOST ARE PR (GIFTED) AND LINKS USED ARE AFFILIATE LINKS. I RECEIVED NO MONEY TO WRITE THE BLOGPOST. PLEASE READ DISCLAIMER.
I just returned from a three week holiday in France with lots of sun – it wasn’t all beaches and croissants, we go there every year to help my father with the grape harvest – and for me returning home after these last few weeks in the sun marks the beginning of fall (or autumn, depending on where you live) and the need to reassess my skincare routine and see what needs to be changed to carter to the specific needs my skin has once summer ends and the leaves start turning.
While the backbone of my routine stays the same year round, there are some products I rotate in and out and some things I focus on more in terms of skin concerns. And because I am a really organized person, I keep my skincare in baskets – a morning basket and an evening basket. And a “to test” basket, but that will be ignored today. So let’s empty them out and see what will be replaced and what can stay.
Common skincare concerns in autumn
Obviously all skin is different, and so are the issues you’ll have now that summer is over, but very common complaints are hyperpigmentation, dullness and congestion from the sweat, sunscreen and maybe holiday indulgences. I am going to address them quickly, but won’t go into too much detail on each problem, most of them have dedicated blogposts on here already.
Hyperpigmentation is pretty common, especially if you have reached a certain age, and usually can’t be prevented completely by sun smart behavior, as the spots never truly disappear and tend to darken at the first bit of sun. Fall is the time to focus on fading them again. In short ingredients like retinoids, Vitamin C, Alpha-Arbutin (or Hydroquinone), Tranexamic Acid, Licorice Root Extract and Alpha-Hydroxy Acids are the ones to look for, obviously paired with diligent sunscreen application. (More info: The different types of hyperpigmentation and how to treat them, Everything you need to know about Vitamin C, Everything you need to know about Hydroquinone, Everything you need to know about Tranexamic Acid)
For dullness it is hydration you want to focus on as well as exfoliation, to give your skin back its smoothness – you have ingredient overlap to treating hyperpigmentation here, as Alpha Hydroxy Acids and retinoids work for both, and for hydration obviously your usual humectants are what you should look for, as well as richer formulations. (More info: Your guide to different retinoids, What is the difference between emollients and occlusives)
Congestion is again addressed very well with acids and retinoids, although here Salicylic Acid, commonly referred to as Beta Hydroxy Acid as opposed to the Alpha family, is probably more effective.
The last concern I want to mention that might not yet be as important as it will be at the end of October/ start of November when the temperatures start to drop, is barrier support. I am not calling it barrier repair, as you would ideally not damage it in the first place – if you did, I have a some tips here (More info: The 5 steps to take if your skin barrier is damaged) – but autumn and later winter can be difficult for our skin. Let’s give it a little love, both with obviously gentle treatment, but also with ingredients like Niacinamide, Ceramides and maybe fermented skincare. (More info: Everything you need to know about Niacinamide, The benefits of fermented skincare)
With these general tips out of the way, what am I changing in my routine?
My morning skincare routine
I will continue doing a morning cleanse for a little longer – I usually use water only when it gets colder – but would change my foaming options if they were stripping. As I currently use the Murad Environmental Shield Essential C Cleanser (200 ml for 42 $, full review here) and the 107 Chaga Jelly Low pH Cleanser (120 ml for 22 $, full review here) that both aren’t really stripping at all, they can stay, but the Beauty of Joseon Green Plum Refreshing Cleanser (100 ml for 13 $, full review here) is better suited for the really hot weather, so it will go into storage.
Still enough options, so no need to rotate something new in.
I will increase my chemical exfoliation, to help against hyperpigmentation, and for that the by wishtrend Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water (100 ml for 22 $, vegan, full review here) will come back. It also contains Beta-Glucan, Panthenol and Centella Asiatica which check the barrier support box. (More info: Everything you need to know about Centella Asiatica) Mandelic Acid is my acid of choice because it is gentler than other AHAs and pretty good at targeting pigmentation – with me using prescription Tretinoin, stronger acids are usually too much.
The Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant (118 ml for 36 €, full review here) will stay, but will probably be reduced from three to two times a week. And yes, I use both acids the same day, one after the other, so I will exfoliate three times a week at max.
My Vitamin C is a year round staple and will stay, I use the Geek and Gorgeous C-Glow (30 ml for 12,50 €, vegan, full review here) daily.
I do use an eye cream, but that doesn’t change throughout the seasons either, it is always my trusted The Inkey List Caffeine Eye Cream (15 ml for 9,95 €, full review here).
As long as it isn’t really cold, I use sunscreen instead of my moisturizer as last step. Over the summer I have almost exclusively worn the La Roche Posay UVMune 400 Invisible Fluid (50 ml for 21 €, full review here), as there isn’t a day I don’t leave the house and it not only offers ideal protection against UVA and UVB, but is also water and sweat resistant, meaning I don’t have to worry about it sliding off my face the second I start to move in the heat. It isn’t the most comfortable to wear though, so I gladly switch back to my “office sunscreens” like the Beauty of Joseon Relief Sun Rice + Probiotics SPF 50+ (50 ml for 18 $, full review here) for the cooler and eventually overcast days. That doesn’t mean La Roche Posay will leave the rotation completely, as fall is my preferred time to go for hikes and you obviously need the best protection you can get then as well.
For top-ups during the day I reach for the Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF 50+ (50 g for 8,39 €, full review here), which lives in my purse.
So no drastic changes, just a little more emphasis on exfoliation to target the sun spots and more gentle respectively more hydrating formulas.
My evening skincare routine
Just like I keep up my morning cleanse for now, I will do a Double Cleanse most nights, but will switch from Cleansing Oils to Cleansing Balms. The SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Light Cleansing Oil (200 ml for 22 $, full review here) conveniently is empty anyway, so it is time to open a new tube of The Inkey List Oat Cleansing Balm (150 ml for 11,99 €, vegan, full review here). It is formulated with Colloidal Oatmeal, which is soothing and I find it effective to remove makeup, but still to rinse clean should I not want to follow up with a second cleanse. (More info: Everything you need to know about colloidal oatmeal in skincare) As second cleanse option I use one that I also would pick in the mornings – one for each basket, so I don’t have to think too hard.
Now for the Tretinoin nights, which is every other night for me, year round. I will follow up with a barrier support serum, my current picks being the Geek and Gorgeous B-Bomb (30 ml for 8,50 €, vegan, full review here) or an old favorite, the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair (30 ml for 76 €, full review here) that features fermented ingredients, bisabolol and antioxidants. Both are staples in my routine, so a “keep in” rather than a new addition. Then a plain face cream, currently the almost empty Vegreen 730 Daily Moisture Cream (50 ml for 18,50 €, review coming soon) wth Squalane, and then, once everything has absorbed, a thin layer of Tretinoin. This is the same I have done through summer, I really don’t experiment there.
For the off-nights though I add another active, The Inkey List Alpha-Arbutin (30 ml for 10,95 €, full review here), to specifically target pigmentation, and use that after cleansing and before I use my NIOD Copper Amino Isolate Serum 3 (30 ml for 76 €, full review here), again a staple year round. It is more actives in one routine than I usually like, I am a huge fan of keeping things simple, but the only way I can combine everything I want to use. To keep them as separate as possible I apply the The Inkey List Alpha Arbutin first and the NIOD CAIS 30 minutes later – that is probably not necessary and some effort, but makes me feel better.
My lightweight moisturizers, The Inkey List Omega Water Cream (50 ml for 10,99 €, vegan, full review here) and the Murad Nutrient Charged Water Gel (50 ml for 67,99 €, full review here) are rotated out, and two slightly more substantial ones are rotated in, the Dr. G RED Blemish Clear Soothing Cream (70 ml for 31 $, full review here) and the SKIN1004 Madagascar Centella Soothing Cream (75 ml for 25 €, full review here). Both contain soothing ingredients like Centella Asiatica, Beta-Glucan, Niacinamide or Ceramides and are more hydrating without being really heavy.
My eye cream is usually the Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Eye Serum (15 ml for 89 $, full review here), but as this is currently empty, I will focus on using up The Inkey List Retinol Eye Cream (15 ml for 9,95 €, full review here) instead.
There you have it, all neat and ready to go!
How is your skincare routine changing now that fall is upon us?
Shop the post
Don’t forget to check out the Discount Code Page on top if you want to save some money on your next skincare purchase.
If you want to get a vote in the next Ask Doctor Anne Topic, Ingredient Spotlight or product I review, don’t forget you can head over to my Patreon account to get more involved!