My Essential Skincare Basics

On the most recent episode of The Readerly Report, we chatted about skincare. It prompted me too start considering the products that are my essentials and skincare basics. As part of her 2019 Everyday I Write the Book Blog challenge Gayle had to read a self-help book and she chose Paula Begoun’s The Best Skin Of Your Life Starts HereBusting Beauty Myths So You Know What to Use and Why.

As a skincare newbie, Gayle found it to be informative and helpful, with clear ideas on how to organize your skincare products, what they do, and how to form a basic skincare routine. In looking at the Goodreads comments, it seems that this book offers lots of tips and tricks and is perfect for beginners. Advanced users might want to try the more comprehensive books that she has written on the subject– The Original Beauty Bible: Skincare Facts for Ageless Beauty or The Complete Beauty Bible: The Ultimate Guide to Smart Beauty.

I mentioned a few things on the show that I wanted to note here for listeners.

Skincare Essentials


I have rotated through a bunch of things. I tend to look for gentle cleansers that leave my face feeling light and clean but not stripped of all its softness and moisturizer. I have been using this Sephora collection clean gel cleanser. It’s mild and gentle on my skin, doesn’t have much fragrance and a little goes a long way. It’s also very reasonably priced. I alternate cleansers and have also been using Youth To The People’s Superfood Antioxidant Cleanser or Purity by Philosophy. They all have the same properties of mild and gentle cleansing. Since it’s winter now, I’ve been doing more double cleansing, so sometime before either of these cleansers, I use this oil cleanser by Skin & Co. It’s so helpful for dry skin.


Toners are the next and final step in the cleansing process. Not only do they remove the final bits of makeup and stubborn dead skin cells, but they brighten your skin and prepare them for the essence, serum, moisturizer and any other additional steps in your routine. I use Pixi Skintreats Glow Tonic Exfoliating Toner, which I follow up with this essence after it dries a bit. I also like using witch hazel. An old school habit courtesy of mom. I see that lots of people love the rose-scented version from Thayer’s but I find it too fragrant; I prefer the unscented.


 I love Caudalie products. I was introduced to their Vinoperfect line when I wandered in Sephora looking for help after a breakout and I bought the set of products that came with essence, serum and moisturizer. I love their Vinoperfect Radiance Serum, it has grapefruit extracts that help soothe discoloration from breakouts, it exfoliates and also leaves my skin feeling smooth and moisturized.

When I was looking to rebuy this essential serum I got the wrong thing and ended up with the Vinopure Skin Perfecting Serum. It’s good too–a more lightweight serum that is perfect if you have oily skin or want to make your pores look smaller. I can attest to that! I tend to have a few serums on hand and alternate according to what my skin needs, and I also rotate them, either by season or to try new things. Among those are African Botanics Resurrection Cell Recovery Serum,  Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum and Paula’s Choice Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum


I’m pretty loyal to my moisturizer. I like something light, not too much fragrance and that goes on smoothly without leaving a film on my face. I almost always use the Laneige Sleeping Mask when I moisturize at night. During the day I tend to use wither this oil-free one from Mario Badescu or my Supergoop! City Sunscreen Serum (I love the way it blends in so easily). If I’m using the sunscreen as my moisturizer then I’ll skip the face oil.

Face Oil

To lock all that serum, moisturizer and goodness in, you top it off with a drop or two of face oil. I’m recently obsessed with this one from Kiehl’s. The bottle goes a long way, it’s light on fragrance, and has oregano oil–which is so good for your skin. Next I want to try this similar one from Herbivore.


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Image Credit: Nicole Bonia

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