Take your routine and flip it.
In the weeks ahead, the verdant leaves we’ve peeped at all summer will dry out and shrivel up—and we don’t want our complexions to do the same. Keeping skin healthy during these transitional times requires making small adjustments to your routine, and we consulted holistic esthetician Tammy Fender—who has been in practice for nearly three decades has an eponymous skin-care brand—for her recommendations for maintaining radiance as summer shifts to fall.
Her top tip is actually a really simple one: exfoliate, but with a twist. “You should exfoliate before you wash your face this time of year,” says Fender.
Though “cleanse first, scrub second” is a commandment most of us live by, there’s a good reason to flip the script come autumn. Because of all the outdoor time you clocked during the warmer months, you’ve likely accumulated some post-summer buildup on your complexion. “Whether it’s from perspiration, dead surface-cell build-up, or a lot of sunscreens, all of that has an effect on the skin,” says Fender. “Early fall is a really good time to focus on a little bit of extra exfoliation.”
She explains that the skin may have a hard time “breathing” with all of that gunk sitting on top of it, so it’s imperative to give it a good scrub at the top of your regimen. Starting with exfoliation will set the stage for your face wash to whisk away any oil and bacteria that otherwise would have been trapped under the surface, giving you a deeper clean overall. Plus, this remixed routine will better prepare your skin to receive active ingredients from serums and moisturizers.
While you should be exfoliating all year round, you’ll want to up the frequency as we head toward dryer weather. So if you’ve been sloughing once a week in the summer, “increase that exfoliation to about three times a week in the early fall months,” says Fender. You can use a peeling masque, mechanical exfoliant (like a scrub), or clay-based cleanser to get rid of those dead cells.
While this trick works with any gentle exfoliant you’ve got on hand, Fender recommends this peeling mask from her line. It combines rosemary (which regulates oil production), spearmint (which acts as an anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory), and clay (which detoxifies the skin) for a triple-threat of actives that will resurface skin without irritation.
Of course, don’t forget to follow up with plenty of moisturizing ingredients. “As we move into fall, we’re always thinking about nourishing the skin,” says Fender. Ingredients like ceramides, squalane, and probiotics will help keep your skin strong so all of that extra exfoliation won’t have any irritating effects.
So to combat that dulling complexion, a little resurfacing action is just what the doctor (or at least, the holistic esthetician) ordered.