In today’s post, I’m sharing how I’m successfully battling my dry skin with a safer routine this season!

My skin and I have had a long, arduous relationship. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t NOT love my skin …we just have history. Growing up, I was the kid who started getting pimples and blackheads WAY before my peers. Those small pimples quickly escalated into full-blown Acne Vulgaris when I was in high school. It was TOUGH having such a painful (physically and emotionally) acne during those formative years. But, to be honest, I’m grateful for the experience. I think it taught me a certain brand of grace, grit, and humility I don’t know that I would’ve learned otherwise. After more rounds of ineffective antibiotics than I can remember and a few attempts at too-painful topical solutions (like Retin-A), I made the decision (with my parents) to go through Accutane. I think I was about 16 when I went on my first round. We signed all the paperwork and hoped for the best. IT WORKED (it’s like a nuclear bomb for severe acne) and I almost couldn’t believe it. At the time, I didn’t care about the potential for long-term dry skin, I was just happy to have a face that wasn’t constantly in pain.

So, there’s my history with acne! My skin is left with an uneven texture (from the 2+ years of heavy acne scarring), but the color of my scars have mostly faded.

Having said all that, I was also born with sensitive skin …made even more sensitive by the several rounds of “trying to fight the acne” antibiotics and Accutane. It’s sensitive and it is dry, dry, dry. Maybe the dryness is a leftover side effect from the Accutane or maybe it’s a combination of factors, but my goodness it is THIRSTY.

When I “cleaned up” my skincare + makeup routine about 4 years ago, in an effort to reduce my daily exposure to toxins, my dryness worsened. I avoided wearing makeup whenever possible because I was afraid that it accentuated the dryness. In my late 20’s, the chronic dryness even caused me to start to see the early signs of aging. Note: I’m SO not afraid of aging, but I also want to do it gracefully. If there is *something* I can do to nurture my thirsty skin, I want to do it!

I went from a really crunchy homemade oil cleansing routine (cleansing + moisturizing with oils) to looking for products with a little more hydrating power.

I kissed a LOT of frogs over the years. A LOT of frogs. BUT, I’ve finally found a routine that works for me. Like any girl, I like to keep my routines fresh, rotating through new products as they’re available. The products all listed in this post are what I’m using now with GREAT success! My skin usually starts to show extreme dryness when the weather starts to cool down, but I’ve been able to stave it off with this routine. I lean on products from a couple of my favorite safer skincare brands and have been REALLY happy with the results.

I’m breaking down my routine into face and body. I hope you find it helpful!


  • Step 1 – Cleanser: Cleansing Balm. I have found this to be a MAJOR help with my dry skin during the cooler months. I apply a dime-sized amount to my hands, rub it all over my face (it’s great for taking off makeup), and wipe it away with a warm washcloth. These organic white muslin cloths are GREAT! I bought 2 packs and keep them in my towel closet. The wipe with the cloth also helps as a mechanical (vs. chemical) exfoliator.
  • Step 2 – Toner: the Everything Spray by Primally Pure. A note to my fellow sensitive and dry-skinned friends: do NOT skip your toner! It plays a critical role in helping your skin’s pH reset.
  • Step 3 – Countermatch Serum. UPDATE: I am in LOVE with this serum and really, really think it adds incredible hydrating power. I’ve started using it day and night. Admittedly, I do sometimes skip this in the AM and jump straight to the Day Cream.
  • Step 4 AM – Moisturizer: I am LOVING the Countermatch Day Cream. I use about 1.5 pumps.
  • Step 4 PM – Moisturizer: the Countermatch Night Cream is wonderful, but you could still use the day cream here if you like. In the night cream, I also use about 1.5 pumps.
  • Step 5 AM – SPF: the Dew Skin Moisturizer. This is a tinted moisturizer with SPF 20 that has a dew-like finish. I apply 1.5 pumps and rub it into my face with my fingers. This goes on BEFORE makeup and, some days, I’ll wear it alone with a swipe of mascara.
  • Step 5 PM – Eye Cream: again, from the Countermatch Line (I really love it). I’ve found that my skin is too sensitive for the powerful actives in the Rejuvenating Eye Cream (Beautycounter’s “aging gracefully” line). Note: if you’re a skincare routine minimalist, you can absolutely skip the eye cream!
  • Bonus 1 – Extra Daily Moisturizer (if you feel like you want it, it goes on last): Brightening Oil  UPDATE: I now believe that the Primally Pure Soothing Serum w/ CBD is even better for those of us who endure dry skin! Though I do still like the Brightening Oil on some days, this one is especially great for adding extra moisture.
  • Bonus 2 – 1x Weekly Treatment: Charcoal Mask. The salicylic acid present here could really help soothe irritated skin. I’d go through steps 2 – 5 after a mask treatment.
  • Bonus 3 – 2x Weekly Treatment: Blue Tansy Beauty Cream by Primally Pure. I will lather on a THICK layer before I go to bed (instead of the Brightening Oil).

I have been using the entire new Beautycounter Countermatch Collection and I really love how my skin has responded. It’s softer, more hydrated, and less irritated. The Countermatch collection is formulated to help HEAL your skin (especially your lipid bilayer) so that it can naturally hold onto more water *without* the constant use of products in the future. It is incredibly smart skincare that only delivers what your skin actually needs at the time. You can see the whole collection together HERE.


  • Everyday Lotion: Hand Lotion. It has a lovely, not-too-strong scent and has proven CRITICAL during dry months. I really love this lotion.
  • Night Cream (hands, feet, arms, and BABY BELLY!): The Body Butter by Primally Pure. My favorite scent is Vanilla Almond!
  • Exfoliator: 1-2x Weekly Dry Brush! Before hopping in the shower or bath, I’ll lightly “brush” my body from the outside moving towards my heart. The list of potential benefits is long, among them, helping with dry skin.
  • Soak: 1-2x Weekly Sea Soak! Though you can absolutely get by with a classic Epson Salt soak, I’ve found this Sea Soak by Primally Pure to be especially hydrating.
  • Body Oil: The Body Oil by Primally Pure is the best. I have tried and loved them all! The Lemongrass is my current go-to. These body oils are a “dry oil,” so it doesn’t feel like you’re applying olive oil. I will use a few pumps over each leg and each arm after I hop out of the bath or shower.
  • Daily Lip Balm: The Primally Pure Lip Balm is BY FAR my favorite. I have a tube of the “peppermint” stashed in every purse and almost every jacket pocket.
  • Aquaphor Replacement: the Balm for All by Beautycounter is a GREAT alternative to Aquaphor! Keep it on hand if you find yourself wanting something similar.

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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  1. Hello!! I have been eyeing Beauty Counter for a while now as I search for better products. I would love to have some good anti aging serums to help with fine lines and aging skin. I also notice my skin can be a tad dry but nothing super extreme. I am a public school teacher with 4 kids. For me to spend a lot on my skincare is a struggle. Does this company offer any sample sizes to try products? What about return policies if a product doesn’t agree with your skin or match skin color?

  2. Hi Cassy!! Thanks for the info on the latest Beauty Counter products. I just saw your Instagram post about your current skincare regimen. I’d like to give the Countermatch Collection a try. I was wondering by chance if you had a promo code going on right now to try out these new prod? I live your pists!!

  3. Hey Cassy!
    Piggy-backing off of the last comment… I, too, am newly pregnant and looking for a change in my skin care routine (currently use dermalogica but through some research looks like some of their products aren’t the best for pregnancy). I know you struggled with acne in the past, as have I, but since becoming pregnant the acne is coming in full force! Are you finding that the beautycounter products helped with not only dry skin, but acne prone skin, as well?

    1. Hi Shelby! That worsening acne is likely related to hormones, unfortunately. As you progress through your pregnancy, it will probably change as your chemistry continues to evolve. That being said, avoiding dairy (if you don’t already) and adding the Beautycounter Charcoal Bar in as a cleanser could help! IF you’d like more one-on-one skincare help, please shoot us an email to

  4. Hi Cassy,
    Thanks for all the info! I had a question. I’m newly pregnant and I love using the Beautycounter stuff for pregnancy, but I wondered if you stopped using any of their products when you found out that you were pregnant? Just trying to see what people use/thoughts that people have since I’m SUPER new to this whole “growing a baby” thing 🙂

    1. Hi Juliet!! No, I actually didn’t stop use on any of the Beautycounter products I was using earlier. The only thing I stopped using was a myrrh cream from another company. Hope that helps!

  5. Hi Cassy! Do you know what happened to the Primally Pure Rose + Mint Complexion Spray? I know you recommended it previously. Do you recommend any of their other mists now?? Thanks!

  6. Thanks for the tips! I just moved to Denver and my skin is struggling especially with the weekends in the mountains. I just invested in the countermatch line and can’t wait to get it in the mail in a few days. Still, Real quick just to clarify… you said the #1 brightening oil goes on last, after the dew skin?! I have the oil from a precious order but usually use it before.

    1. Good question! It goes on last of your skincare, but not makeup. I’d consider the dew more of a makeup. I hope that helps!

  7. This is soooo helpful Cassy!! I ordered the Countermatch Day Cream from you and have used it about 4 times now. I’m using it at night but I’m wondering if I should use it during the day since I’m awake longer than I’m asleep lol. I haven’t felt a big difference yet in my skin….I struggle with this specific dry patch on my face when the weather turns colder (and it’s about to get much colder because I’m moving from North Carolina to Germany!). I use a combination of more natural products (not all 100% natural) and that day cream is the only Beautycounter item I’m using on my face. I’m wondering if I need something more hard-hitting in the moisturizing department.

    1. Good question, Malori! Are you using a toner, by chance? I would start by adding that in and then I would absolutely use the day cream during the day, too. In the more dry months, I’ve started to use about 2-3 pumps for each application. You could also try out one of the oils I’ve mentioned above as a bonus moisturizer to go on last before bed. I hope that helps!

  8. Thanks so much for this info! Dry skin is my life during this time of year! Just got the counter match serum in the mail. How much do you usually use? My dropper doesn’t fill much! Also, do you find that the masks dry out your skin? I love using them but they make my skin so tight and dry!

    1. Good questions! The dropper only fills for one application, which is all I use. The masks *could* dry, which is why I like to follow up quickly with a robust moisturizing routine that finishes with an oil (#1 Brightening). I hope that helps!

  9. Hi Cassy! Thanks for sharing your story and skin care routine. This really helps. My daughter and I are on both sides of your story. My daughter is 17 and has tried both dermatologist prescriptions and natural products(primal life Organics acne routine), but still her skin is acne covered and super sensitive. Dermatologist wants to start her on accutane. I’m concerned but hate to see her struggle with this. I’m hoping you might have some advice since you have been through this yourself. Would you do accutane again? Thanks for your help!

    1. Oh what a great question, Kelli! That’s really difficult to answer. It really comes down to what *you’re* most comfortable pursuing. It has been years since I researched the adverse effects of Accutane (there’s so much more literature available now then there was when I went through Tx), so I would start by writing out all the pro’s/con’s. If after that, you’re both still comfortable with Tx, then by all means follow your gut! I wish I had a better answer for you.

  10. Have you ever tried the rejuvenating night cream? I also have sensitive skin, but have noticed some signs of aging with my crunchy oil only routine, but have had little luck with creams. Was wondering if you had a preference, countermatch vs rejuvenating for super moisturizing. My creams always seems to soak in too fast and make my skin feel tight and dry still. Thanks!

    1. Hi Erin! I have! The Rejuvenating Night Cream did *not* leave my skin feeling tight (I know what you’re talking about with other products). It’s really lovely and what I’d recommend for a more robust anti-aging routine. I started using Countermatch products because I was interested in moisture (#1) and healing my lipid bilayer (#2) so that I could potentially hold onto more moisture naturally. So, if you’re looking for true anti-aging (age spots, fine lines, dry skin, etc.) go Rejuvenating. If you’re interested in really just adding more moisture to your skin, I’d go Countermatch. I hope that helps!

  11. Hi Cassy! I’ve been intrigued by Beauty Counter products for quite some time now, and have come close to trying some. However, I look at the ingredients and wonder how safe they are still?? There are a lot of things on them I can’t pronounce, and have no clue what they are. I use a lot of Primally Pure products, and compare most beauty items to these. It’s hard to go from 5 ingredient identifiable lotion to one with about 20 things in it. Thoughts?? How do I find safety ratings of some of the Beauty Counter ingredients?

    1. Great question, Lauren! Beautycounter is *not* a natural line (like Primally Pure), but they do source very carefully to make sure that they’re using safer components. Even though not all ingredients are natural, they’re only selected for inclusion if there’s abundant data supporting their benefit (not harm) to health and human safety. Some of these more complex derivatives are what give Beautycounter products their high-end performance capabilities. I love them because I really wanted high-performing products, but didn’t want the harmful toxins. Beautycounter solved that problem for me by eliminating the most offensive that are often found in personal care products. I do still use Primally Pure (and other natural brands) whenever possible (toner, deodorant, lip balm, etc.), but rely on Beautycounter for more robust capabilities (moisturizer, serums, eye cream, etc.). I hope that helps!