8 Ways to Update Your Fall Skincare Routine After Summer

a collection of Renee Rouleau fall skincare products

Updated 05/30/24. A change in season typically means a change in the way the skin behaves. Take the transition from summer to fall, for instance. Dryness, dullness, and hyperpigmentation are all common during this time. Breakouts are too. In fact, as surprising as it may sound, breakouts can actually increase during the fall season. (Yes, really. Read all about fall breakouts and how to get rid of them).

No matter which skin issue you’re dealing with, know that you don’t have to overhaul your current routine to address it. You just need to make some minor adjustments. Keep reading to learn eight fall skincare tips to transition into the new season after summer. Follow this advice, and your fall routine will be easy and effective!

1. Switch Up Your Cleanser

Changing your cleanser is always my first recommendation when it comes to creating an effective autumn skincare routine.

In the summer, certain foaming gel cleansers are great for use both morning and night. However, these cleansers may be too harsh once temperatures drop and less oil is being produced by the skin. This is especially true if your Skin Type is particularly prone to dryness and flakiness.

I recommend using a sulfate-free cleanser that barely lathers, like the Moisture Protecting Cleanser. As a general rule, the smaller the bubbles the gentler it will be. You can also use a cream-based cleanser, like the Vitamin-Infused Cleansing Emulsion. I recommend using it at night to effectively remove dirt, sunscreen, and makeup from the skin.

2. Boost Hydration With a Toner

So many people overlook the use of toner. They think they’re simply not necessary, believing they don’t provide any real benefit to the skin, when, in reality, they provide five important benefits. If you’re not already using one, fall is a great time to start. That’s because the air is getting cooler but it’s not very dry yet, so your skin is likely in need of water-based hydration. That’s exactly what toners are for!

Start by cleansing your skin. Immediately follow up by wiping an alcohol-free toner over your skin (you only have 60 seconds to apply your next product after cleansing before water loss occurs, which is why it’s important to complete this step quickly. I call this the Golden Minute Rule). Once you’ve applied your toner, leave it damp on your skin and apply your next product, whether that’s a serum or moisturizer. This will seal in hydration and active ingredients.

3. Use a Heavier Moisturizer

As fall approaches, it’s important to adjust your skincare routine to meet the changing needs of your skin. When the weather begins to change and temperatures drop, consider using a slightly heavier moisturizer to prevent moisture loss and keep your skin hydrated. While a lightweight moisturizer is typically sufficient for most skin types in the summer, this transition will help you maintain glowing, healthy skin year-round.

Moisturizers To Use in the Fall

If you’re using a gel moisturizer, consider switching to a lotion, like Skin Recovery Lotion. If you’re already using a lotion, consider switching to a slightly more hydrating lotion, like Sheer Moisture Lotion. Finally, if you’re using a cream, consider switching to something with a thicker consistency and ingredients like ceramides or lipid-rich oils. For that, I recommend the Glow Enhancing Creme.

Using any moisturizer is better than none. Even people with breakout-prone skin need to use it. According to one study, people with breakout-prone skin had lower lipid levels in their skin compared to people who didn’t have breakouts. Fewer lipids translate to water loss and a compromised moisture barrier (not good!).

Another option is to use face oil. The benefit of this is that you can add a few drops into the palm of your hand and pat it over your moisturizer as needed. This allows you to customize your moisturizer on days when you’re feeling drier than normal. When you’re not feeling dry, don’t use it! It’s that simple.

4. Protect Your Skin With SPF (year round!)

Sunscreen is an incredibly important component of any fall skincare routine. That’s because fall is a season during which a tremendous amount of UV damage is incurred. We often think that when the temperatures are dropping, the sun isn’t as harmful, but this is false.

While UVB rays (the ones responsible for suntans and sunburns) are not as strong, UVA rays (the ones responsible for skin cancer and premature skin aging) are just as strong as they are in the summer months. That explains why sun protection is a year-round job. Be sure to apply sunscreen to your face, neck, and any exposed chest area every single day, rain or shine!

5. Reincorporate Retinol Into Your Routine

I recommend using retinol all year round if you can. However, if you took a break from it during the summer, Fall is the time to reincorporate it into your routine.

Whether it’s non-prescription retinol or a prescription retinoid, it can help reduce the appearance of brown spots caused by the summer sun, as well as lines and wrinkles. I personally use this retinol serum faithfully. Before you start using retinol, read my beginners’ guide in order to prevent dry, flaky side effects.

6. Exfoliate to Remove Unwanted Pigment

Come fall, exfoliation is imperative to brighten the complexion and help reduce the appearance of discoloration brought out by the summer sun and heat. Certain skin types are prone to increased sensitivity in the summer from heat and sun exposure. These skin types should exfoliate minimally during summer to help avoid unwanted irritation.

I like using an at-home chemical peel and a well-formulated facial scrub. The latter is the most important. While the exfoliating acids in an at-home peel can dissolve and digest discolored cells, it’s the lifting action of a facial scrub that really works to help the skin appear more even in tone.

There’s one more thing I want to mention. Exfoliating is essential to help reduce breakout activity. It does so by removing dead skin cells that trap oil. It can also encourage cellular turnover, replacing dull, tired-looking cells with fresher, plumper ones.

7. Switch Up the Type of Face Mask You Use

Gel masks hydrate the skin, which means they’re best for oily, breakout-prone skin types that are in need of water but no additional oil. Also, because of their naturally cool temperature, they’re ideal for soothing sensitivity and redness.

When it comes to a fall skincare routine, though, consider switching to a cream mask if you experience dryness. These types of masks contain moisturizing oils that can help out normal to dry skin types. The Pure Radiance Creme Masque is a great choice. It contains lipid-rich oils that replicate the skin’s natural internal moisturizers, which can help improve elasticity.

8. Listen to Your Skin

Regardless of the season, the skin (like the body) is constantly adapting to internal and external changes. It’s important to be attentive to your skin, so you can recognize when it’s not getting what it needs. Tightness, dryness, increased breakout activity, and sensitivity are all signs that your current skincare routine isn’t working and a change is in order. You always want to work with Mother Nature, never against her. So, when skin problems arise, make sure you’re using products that are formulated to address your specific needs! You can always schedule a consultation with a Renée Rouleau esthetician for guidance.

Disclaimer: Content found on www.ReneeRouleau.com and Blog.ReneeRouleau.com, 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. Hello Mrs. Rouleau my name is Vanessa, I have combination/ normal skin prone to small breakouts on cheek area my breakouts linger for some time and my skin gets drier on the winter time and I also have a small spot of redness on my upper cheek in one side what cleanser should I use? Can I use the moisture protecting cleanser? What other products do you recommend for my skin because my skin is confusing?

    Posted By: Vanessa  | 

    • Hi Vanessa, The Moisture Protecting Cleanser can be used by any type of skin, it’s so incredibly gentle. I think you should look at the products for skin type #4.

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

      • Ok thank you I will and for the moisturizer for the winter time I should use the Hawaiian nourishing cream instead of the skin recovering lotion?

        Posted By: Vanessa  | 

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