Today we’re talking about customizing a safer skincare routine! In order to achieve your skincare goals, it’s important to identify your biggest concern, identify with the goals that can help address your concern, and then learn about what thought goes into a custom routine. In this post, you’ll find my explanation behind choosing a skincare routine for acne-prone skin, dryness-prone skin, sensitive and redness-prone skin, aging skin, and folks looking for a really minimal (or homemade) routine. I hope you find it helpful!

safer skincare routine

Combat Acne:

  • BIGGEST GOALS: normalize oil production, reduce inflammation, and help draw impurities out of pores.
  • USE: Look for products that contain salicylic acid and activated charcoal to help draw impurities out of pores. To help normalize oil production, make sure you’re applying a toner after cleaning skin to help re-set surface pH (which will help skin normalize oil). Do not skip the moisturizer, either. Skipping a moisturizer can actually cause skin to over-produce oil in an effort to combat dryness. Lastly, don’t discount the benefits of using a moisturizing oil to help balance oil production! Healing oils like this one can actually help balance oil production. Lastly, topical products that contain green tea have also been known to help normalize oil production.
  • NOTE: fluctuations in hormones (menstrual, adolescent, or stress-related) and diet (dairy, processed oils, grains, etc.) can irritatingly aggravate acne despite topical routines. Though breakouts may occur, symptoms can be lessened with the right regimen.

If you’d like to see my complete “combat acne” safer skincare routine recommendation, please email me directly at!

Combat Dryness:

  • BIGGEST GOAL: Help the skin retain moisture by feeding it the right oils.
  • USE: Opt for a cleanser that won’t strip skin of natural oils (this one is my favorite). Find a moisturizer that contains hydrating acids (such as hyleuronic acid) that agrees with your skin (this one helped heal my dry skin) *and* incorporate a facial oil. The moisturizer will apply the needed hydration to the skin while the oils (like these) will help heal your skin’s lipid bilayer. The skin-nourishing oil is what actually strengthens the living skin underneath (the lipid bilayer). Strengthening this layer will help your skin hold onto more moisture naturally. Lastly, look for the occasional hydrating bonus weekly treatment. A hydrating acid-based peel can work wonders! Gentle acids will help remove the outer layer of dead skin that is blocking the healing ingredients from getting to the living skin underneath.
  • NOTE: Degrees of dryness will fluctuate with the weather, pregnancy, hydration, or even exposure to certain foods that you may be uniquely sensitive too! Do your best to stay well-hydrated and and consider food intolerance tests if dryness persists despite your using a customized safer skincare routine.

If you’d like to see my complete “combat dryness” safer skincare routine recommendation, please email me directly at!

Reduce Redness (also for Sensitive Skin):

  • BIGGEST GOAL: Reduce inflammation and soothe skin.
  • USE: Opt for a skincare routine that doesn’t have an abundance of skin actives (think: vitamin A found in anti-aging products). Non-foaming cleansers (like this cleansing milk) are a good option. Opt for a facial mist with a soothing property (like this lavender spray or this geranium spray) and a soothing serum to apply overtop. For a moisturizer, seek out those with the fewest ingredients and avoid scents. This moisturizer may be a good option or you could simply apply one of these oils. Gravitate towards gentle, hydrating products and avoid skin irritants (SLS, parabens, phthalates, and propylene glycol to name a few).
  • NOTE: Folks who suffer from redness in their skin (whether mild or severe) also qualify their skin as “sensitive.” This is my skin type, too! It’s important for everyone, but especially those with sensitive skin, to work slowly while introducing new products. In order to make sure that you don’t have a unique reaction to any one product, apply that product to a small spot on your chin or neck for several days. If no reaction becomes apparent, move onto the next product and so-on until you’ve batch-tested each product in your new regimen. If a reaction does present itself, first stop the products with the highest concentration of actives (any anti-aging moisturizer or an acid peel) and let your skin have a break for at least one week with a minimal routine.

If you’d like to see my complete “reduce redness” safer skincare routine recommendation, please email me directly at!

Slow the Signs of Aging:

  • BIGGEST GOAL: Even skin tones, hydrate, and reduce fine lines.
  • USE: Try to avoid harsh oil-stripping skincare treatments and instead, focus on helping your own natural beauty heal and shine through. Gravitate towards botanically-infused oil-based cleansers (like this Cleansing Balm) that will cleanse, but not strip. Don’t skip your toner, either. Opt for a toner that will apply vitamin C and other hydrating acids so that your skin gets a good dose of antioxidants before you lock-in with moisturizers (these Toner Pads are THE REAL DEAL; pro-tip: cut them in half so you get double the applications per jar). If you’re looking to even skin tones (think: melasma) those toner pads are a must-have. Opt for a vitamin C-packed serum to apply after your toner and then don’t skimp on the moisturizer either. Adding an oil in your routine is also a good idea (for the same reasons I mentioned above) as healing your skin’s lipid bilayer will help your skin hold onto more hydration naturally. Lastly, don’t skip the eye cream! If you do NOT have sensitive skin, I recommend this eye cream. If you do have sensitive skin (like me), then I recommend this eye cream. The occasional weekly hydrating peel is also a fabulous idea! Do your best to not over-scrub your skin, either. If you want to exfoliate, try to lean on chemical exfoliators (like this peel) vs. mechanical ones (harsh salt/sugar/sand)
  • NOTE: It’s easy to be tempted to buy ALL THE THINGS when you’re looking to combat fine lines, wrinkles, and uneven skin tones. I SO get this, but I caution you to remember that sometimes, less is more. By using a handful of very strategic, carefully crafted safer skincare products that WON’T further damage your skin, you can actually slow the signs of aging by allowing your skin to truly heal. There are a LOT of skin-damaging ingredients found in other conventional “anti-aging” skincare products. Be a savvy shopper – avoid the parabens, the SLS, and the phthalates (to name a few) so that your skincare products are only HELPING (not hurting).

If you’d like to see my complete “slow the signs of aging” safer skincare routine recommendation, please email me directly at!

A Semi-Homemade or Minimal Product Routine:

  • BIGGEST GOAL: Strike a balance between cost-saving homemade products with strategic high-performing purchased products.
  • USE: The three things that even the most minimal skincare routine needs are: cleanser, toner, moisturizer. The cleanser CAN be homemade, especially if you’re comfortable with oil-cleansing! Coconut oil is great for acne-prone skin and I recommend olive oil for dryness-prone skin. There are a number of oil cleansing “recipes” out there, so get to Googling if you want something fancier! Your toner can also be homemade. All you need is a little acid in some water. Apple cider vinegar mixed with water and put in a spray bottle will get you there. Lastly, for the moisturizer, my suggestion is that this is a good place to snag one pre-formulated for you (as in, store-bought). This one is a good option for almost all skin types. You can also play with homemade oil blends as a moisturizer, if you prefer.
  • NOTE: It’s important to remember that one advantage of “safer” (formulated) skincare products over “natural” products is that the safer products are (generally speaking) normalized and stabilized. Natural products tend to fluctuate as the source fluctuates. Tallow-based balms can have slight variations in micronutrient qualities as the sources vary whereas formulated products won’t vary. This is important to note before pursuing a homemade or totally natural skincare routine if you tend to have sensitive skin OR if you experience a random reaction one day.

If you’d like to see my complete “semi-homemade/minimal” safer skincare routine recommendation, please email me directly at!

For a quick list of my favorite safer skincare brands, these two makeup the core of my personal routine and recommendations:

About the Author

Cassy Joy Garcia, NC

Cassy Joy Garcia, a New York Times best-selling author, of Cook Once Dinner Fix, Cook Once Eat All Week, and Fed and Fit as well as the creative force behind the popular food blog Fed & Fit.

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