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A beauty guru’s guide to transitioning your skin-care regimen from summer to fall


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Photo: Stocksy/Jojo Jovanovic
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Real talk: Though the beach and pool floatie season is coming to an end (sad face), chances are you’re excited about the humidity going away. Because nothing’s more frustrating than spending your morning diligently applying your (natural) makeup only to sweat it off during your commute.

Enter the fall season, when your serums and BB creams are safe from the heat of the summer. But as you start incorporating your beloved leather and denim jackets back into your wardrobe, it’s also time to protect your skin from the dropping temperatures—so a skin-care regimen switch-up is in order.

“There’s a drop in the humidity and it’s getting colder,” says Cara Peloso, a healer and skin-care guru at the clean beauty boutique CAP Beauty (of New York’s West Village and soon-to-be Los Angeles). “You’re also not going to be in the sun as much, so it’s a prime time to start using stronger anti-aging products like retinol.” (That’s because active ingredients like that are typically photosensitive, leaving you more prone to sun damage.) Her go-to is Marie Veronique’s Gentle Retinol Serum.

“Try to start the season with a facial so you get a good exfoliation treatment.”

To begin on a good—and radiant—foot, treat yourself to a trip to the spa. “Try to start the season with a facial so you get a good exfoliation treatment,” says Peloso. “This will help your skin prepare for the upcoming weather and get all that sunscreen buildup off.” Not going to argue with that.

Another luxury you get to partake in now that summer’s ending? You can layer your serums just like you do your sweaters. “Your skin’s going to need more protection in colder weather,” notes Peloso. “You tend to stay indoors more so the air is dryer—especially in city apartments that have those metal radiators.” She also strongly advises getting a humidifier so your skin doesn’t dry out—because moisture is the essence of beauty, after all.

And, since peak hygge months are on their way back, Peloso points out that it’s the perfect opportunity to begin indulging in your self-care practice. “In the colder months, everything slows down,” says Peloso. “Spending more time massaging your face as you cleanse keeps your skin supple and relaxed.” That frozen-and-dry face dilemma will stand no chance.

Keep reading to find out how to transition seamlessly into a skin-care routine fit for fall.

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Fall beauty products
Photo: Stocksy/Leanardo Crespi

Cleanser

It’s a good time to start spending more time washing with a richer, thicker cleanser. “A cleansing balm is a good switch to make for the fall and winter,” says Peloso. “Generally, those you remove with a face cloth, so it becomes a ritual treatment where you can massage in the balm and then use a nice, warm towel to wipe everything off.” This then allows the rest of your routine to further penetrate your skin (and gives you an excuse to make your get-ready time feel more spa-like).

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Toner

A toner is like a palette cleanser for your face—and it should never be astringent. “After cleansing, you should use a hydrating toner,” says Peloso. “This preps your skin to transport your products past the top layer.” She recommends looking for those that contain hyaluronic acid (a serious moisture booster), glycerin, and salicylic acid. These will help keep your complexion dewy—especially when you spritz all throughout the day.

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Moisturizer

While you might have swapped a heavy moisturizer for something lighter this summer—or just used your serums to hydrate—the fall and winter calls for something with more oomph. “You should consider switching out your moisturizer for a balm or an oil balm,” says Peloso. “It’s more protective for colder weather. You can also increase the amount of product you’re using.” Think serums and your oil balm for all-day moisture.

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Exfoliation

You might not need to buff off chlorine residue and layers of SPF once the leaves start to change colors, but regular exfoliation is still key to a clear complexion (fall comes with its own pore-clogging culprits—sigh). Peloso recommends adding enzymes to your exfoliation regimen, which should ideally happen a couple times a week, if not more. “These just digest the dead skin but aren’t drying,” she says.

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Masking

Tis the season to hygge and mask, so look out for ones that have complexion-boosting ingredients to go with their Instagram-friendly hues. “Use hydrating masks with aloe as it gets colder,” says Peloso. “Anything hydrating is great to incorporate into your weekly regimen.” Think olive and jojoba oils, too—just slather on, #selfie, and reap the glowy benefits.

To keep that complexion clear, here’s the Traditional Chinese Medicine method for fighting acne. And these are the all-natural spot treatments you can find in your kitchen