The 10 Skincare Rules Renée Swears By

Renee Rouleau doing her skincare

Updated 1/22/24. I’ve been an esthetician for over 30 years. That’s a long time to be immersed in the ever-changing world of skincare. As someone who is dedicated to learning and growing (but not one to think I’ll ever know it all), I’ve had to sift through a lot of nonsense, gimmicks, and false claims to find what I trust—based on experience, scientific research, and common sense.

In this post, I’ll share 10 skincare rules I swear by, in no particular order.

My Top 10 Skincare Rules

1. I Never Pick at Cystic Blemishes (But I Do Pick at Other Kinds)

For some blemishes, there is a time when it’s appropriate to pick or extract them. For example, when a whitehead is present and is ready to be popped. However, deep “underground” blemishes, like cysts, are always off-limits.

With cystic blemishes, the infection is not meant to come out through the surface of the skin. Eventually, the body will reabsorb it and the bump will go away. If you pick at a cyst, it will only lead to dark marks that can linger for months and months. Trust me, as someone who experienced hormonal blemishes for years, I learned this the hard way.

Make sure you understand the life cycle of a blemish. It will help you understand when it’s appropriate to pick a blemish and when it’s not. Finally, if you struggle with skin picking, learn how I followed my own advice to kick this bad habit. As with anything in life, it’s important to work with, and not against, Mother Nature!

2. I Avoid Using Traditional Cleansing Balms

The sole purpose of a cleanser is to, well, cleanse the skin. When your skin is fresh and clean, the product you apply after will work most efficiently. However, with the increasing popularity of cleansing balms and oils, many people aren’t aware that they’re actually depositing an oily residue on their skin. Sure, this provides moisture, but that’s simply not the goal of a cleanser.

Oils, like those that make up traditional cleansing balms, are made up of large molecules. You don’t want to layer a small molecule on top of a large one. Doing so would inhibit the small molecule from penetrating through to the skin. Toners and serums are generally made up of small molecules…see the problem? If you’re using a traditional cleansing balm or oil, you could unknowingly be creating a barrier between your skin and the rest of your products (Read my post about double cleansing to learn how to prevent this!).

This problem is the reason why I created our first ever oil-based cleanser, Better Than Balm. This innovative dual phase cleanser transforms from an oil into a milky gel– just add water! Its power truly lies in its transformation, and it’s that same transformation that gives you a proper double cleanse with just one product.

3. I Avoid Drinking Out of Straws

The road to good skin is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s the small choices that you make day in and day out that really make a difference. Everyone wants a quick fix, but when it comes to skin, it’s just not that easy. Take lip lines, for example. These are challenging to address once they’ve already appeared, so it’s better to prevent them if possible.

A big contributor to the breakdown of skin elasticity is constant movement (such as talking and smiling). In an effort to decrease this activity, I avoid pursing my lips around a straw. I also avoid drinking out of water bottles with narrow openings. Instead, I drink water out of a wide-mouthed glass. I’m certainly not going to stop smiling, talking, or kissing, so this is a small way to make a big improvement over time.

4. I Follow the Golden Minute Rule

Skin cells are like fish in that they need water to live. Without it, the skin is compromised, which is never ideal in the quest for plump, dewy, and bouncy-looking skin. Since I wash my face twice a day every day (that’s 730 times a year!), I never run the risk of dehydrating my skin by making this one cleansing mistake.

After washing your face and patting it dry with a towel, your bare skin is vulnerable to dehydration due to something called transepidermal water loss (TEWL). You have a 60-second window before moisture evaporation will occur, which is why I immediately follow up with an alcohol-free toner to deliver water to thirsty skin cells. Then, I follow up with a serum and moisturizer to lock the hydration in.

I call this skincare rule the “Golden Minute Rule,” and it’s one of the easiest ways to improve your skin.

5. I No Longer Neglect the Skin on My Neck and Chest

In the early years of my skincare career, there just wasn’t as much awareness of how to care for the skin on the neck and chest, so I didn’t pay too much attention to it. This has certainly changed, as many companies have added décolleté creams to their collections (including mine). However, I still don’t hear very many skincare professionals promoting the importance of caring for this area. Over time, I’ve become increasingly aware that the neck and chest are an extension of the face. When neglected, the signs of aging will catch up with you. That’s why caring for the skin on my neck and chest is one of my top skincare rules.

One of the challenges with the neck area is that the skin is generally thinner than that on the face, so it will show more wrinkles. In addition, the skin on the neck doesn’t have the bone structure to give it support, so it will sag more easily. As for the chest, this is a prime location for sunburns in younger years. Since this skin is also thinner in this area, sun damage will show easily.

How I Care For The Skin on My Neck and Chest

  • I apply sunscreen to my neck every single day. I also apply it separately from my face; in other words, I never apply SPF to my face and put whatever is leftover on my neck! If you’ve fallen into that habit, it’s one you want to change immediately. There simply isn’t enough left to give this area proper sun protection. If my chest is exposed, I’ll also do a separate application in this area as well.
  • I use a facial scrub on my neck twice a week. I apply it in upward circular motions to exfoliate and smooth any texture. Exfoliating acids can be a little fickle on the neck and sometimes cause my skin to look red, so I stick to scrubs. Plus, I actually think scrubs give a better result for making skin look smoother. At least for my neck, it does. I’ll do this at night and immediately follow up with the Intensive Firming Neck Creme. It’s formulated with peptides to help support the structure of the skin and give it a firming effect. Regular moisturizers may not give the neck exactly what it needs.
  • I use retinol on my neck and chest. Other than sunscreen, you just can’t get much better than this for truly creating a smoother look when used consistently.
  • I get occasional chemical peels on my chest. This is an effort to fade brown spots. Read more about how I repair sun damage on my neck and chest.

6. I Wear Makeup Every Day (and I Consider It a Form of Skincare)

Up until the age of 26, I spent my whole life living in the North. I lived in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts, respectively. At 26 years old, when I was seven years into my career as an esthetician, I moved to the South. I initially moved to Dallas, and then I moved to Austin, which is where I live now.

One thing that I noticed soon after moving to Texas was how much better the quality of skin was for Southern women compared to Northern women. Southern women who were 65 and beyond, had generally smoother texture and less visible signs of aging. Why would this be? I mean, the Texas sun is strong and there are way more opportunities to spend time outside since we don’t get the snow that traps us indoors. In theory, Southern women should show more sun damage, right?

I eventually figured it out. It’s because many Southern women wear makeup every single day and have been for years. It’s called “putting your face on.” In doing so, these makeup wearers had an unknown advantage dating back to the 1950s when they first started using Max Factor’s pancake makeup. The ingredient in pancake makeup and most makeup used today is titanium dioxide. This is the same ingredient commonly used in sunscreen. How lucky to have been essentially wearing sunscreen long before there was awareness about photoaging!

I make it a point to always wear some sort of liquid or powder foundation. It’s a skincare rule I swear by, as it offers a little extra sun protection on top of my standard sunscreen. Read more about how makeup can be good for your skin. Then, check out the best foundations for oily skin.

7. I Limit Exfoliation

It’s a fact that hydration is the key to healthy skin. If you’re exfoliating too often (or too aggressively), it can damage your skin’s protective barrier. This allows moisture to escape, which causes the skin to look dull and dry and even causes redness and irritation. Trust me when I say that overusing exfoliating products is making your skin worse. I see it all the time.

Sure, I love a good exfoliating acid peel, facial scrub, and exfoliating serum as much as the next person, but I give my skin a break in between using them. In fact, I won’t use an exfoliant more than five times a week—sometimes less depending on how my skin feels, but I certainly don’t do more.

The Renée Rouleau Products I Use to Exfoliate My Skin

8. I Never Get a Sunburn or Tan Even Though I Spend Plenty of Time Outdoors

This is one of my most important skincare rules of them all. Even though I live in Austin and do a lot of running, hiking, and biking, I make it a point to never get a tan or burn. I’m super diligent about reapplying sunscreen. Depending on what I’ll be doing, I’ll sometimes even wear sun-protective clothing to block out UV rays.

I would much rather age gracefully than have to resort to potentially extreme measures to undo what was SO preventable in the first place. Since UV light (even daylight that comes through clouds in the winter) is the skin’s greatest enemy, sunscreen application and reapplication are key.

Keep in mind it is NEVER too late to start practicing good skincare habits. It is well known that your body is continually working on your behalf to repair itself from everything that you are exposed to in day-to-day life. Particularly in the case of wearing sunscreen, if you stop sending a signal of damage to your cells with UV light, it can attempt to rebuild and repair itself.  The human body is incredible that way.

9. I Never Go Without 3 Specific Skincare Products

Without a doubt, the three most well-researched skincare products that really deliver on their promises are these:

There will always be new, trendy ingredients that hit the scene, but the above are tried and true. If you really want to guarantee you’re using products that work, these are it. As for retinol, if you haven’t started using it in your routine and you’re over the age of 30, get on that NOW! You will thank me! Read my beginner’s guide to using retinol.

10. I Practice Self-Acceptance

As I’m now in my 50s, I’m definitely noticing changes in my skin, and ones that I don’t particularly like. Since I’m the face of my company and the spokesperson for my brand, people will inevitably judge my product line based on how my own skin looks. This can put some pressure on me to have so-called “perfect skin.” However, I insist that I keep a good, healthy balance of continuing to pursue treatments that can improve my skin, but not go so far as to do things that make me look unnatural.

I don’t put all of my focus on my looks and book a dermatologist appointment every time a wrinkle shows up. Instead, I do things that bring me pure joy and confidence. Whether it’s riding my Triumph motorcycle, setting a fitness goal, or challenging myself to new experiences like I did when I moved to Austin! I try to embrace all that life has to offer and the fuel this gives me on the inside is what brings me confidence on the outside. Through this skincare rule, I have learned to love the skin I’m in.

I sincerely hope you enjoyed this post and learned a few things that you can add to your own set of skincare rules.

Next, check out my at-home beauty routine from head to toe!

Disclaimer: Content found on and, including text, images, audio, or other formats were created for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website or blog.


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  1. Renée Rouleau’s 10 skincare rules are a blend of practical advice and personal insights accumulated over decades in the field. Her emphasis on understanding blemish life cycles, the significance of sunscreen, and the nuanced care for often neglected areas like the neck and chest showcases a holistic approach to skincare. Incorporating makeup as a form of sun protection and advocating for self-acceptance in the pursuit of healthy skin adds a refreshing, realistic touch to the beauty industry’s often elusive standards.

    Posted By: Michelle Fisher  | 


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