I was raised by a mom who isn’t about girly, frivolous nonsense. She was more of a “beat the boys” kinda leader, but she does appreciate quality when it comes to anything feminine. If she spends money on something superficial like beauty products, it’s an essentials-only routine and it’s not from the drugstore. I admit I’m a bit of a hybrid - part product junkie, part minimalist, but she rubbed off on all of us girls her appreciation for quality and hyperawareness of all things sensory. When Carlita asks you to curate a 3 step max, morning and night skincare routine, you have to deliver.

Ok but seriously, this really tested me. Narrowing it down to 3 products in the morning and 3 at night basically eliminates eye cream and lip balm automatically, which is borderline criminal, mom. Per Carlita's request, however, I’ve curated my 3 no-bullshit am & pm products.



Botanic Tree Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Cleanser - This cleanser's energizing peppermint & tea tree scent is perfect for the morning. The texture is amazing because unlike some scrubs, this one feels like it's actually exfoliating properly. It doesn't dissolve too quickly and it also doesn't feel too abrasive. This one wakes me up and feels like a mini facial in the shower after my morning workout.


Drunk Elephant C-Firma Vitamin C Day Serum - Ok, so to get this out of the way...I actually think Skinceuticals C E Ferulic Vitamin C Serum wears the crown in this category, but this Drunk Elephant serum is a VERY close second. It's also less pricey than Skinceuticals. I don't love how either smells, tbh, but they do what they say they're going to do.

*I'm a Gemini, so you’re going to get 2 comparable alternatives here, because I think variety is fun/needed. I use or have used these others and love them almost as much. Summer Fridays CC Me Vitamin C Serum & Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum (this one is listed as the cleanest of the 4 on the Think Dirty app if that's something that matters to you).


IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream Hydrating Moisturizer - This is the newest member of my arsenal. I love how emollient and creamy she is. This product feels so luxurious and the smell is subtle and fresh. It's the perfect moisturizer for winter when you need a little something extra to keep skin hydrated.

*Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Moisturizer is worth mentioning as well. It's what I use in the summer, simply because it has a lighter consistency. Depending on your skin type, this may be a better option for you through the colder months. It also has a really cool pump function, which I love. Respect to thoughtful product design.



Elemis Pro-Collagen Rose Cleansing Balm - I am completely in love with this product. It has this beautiful rose scent that I honestly look forward to every single night. I apply it all over dry skin first because it melts into a thick, oily consistency that really helps loosen makeup. Then, I rinse with a clean, warm washcloth.

*pro tip: my esthetician recommended I buy a stack of facial washcloths for single-use cleansing. Apparently, we transfer bacteria onto our skin by using air-dried towels more than once. I Primed mine and keep them in my bathroom cabinet for face only. She suggests machine washing them on a sanitizing setting.


Elemis Dynamic Resurfacing Facial Pads - I discovered these toner pads a few months ago and have no idea where they've been all my life. Not only do they help to completely remove any residual makeup left after cleansing, but they have helped to resurface and smooth my skin noticeably. They come pre-moistened and don't dry out. I'm obsessed with these and recommend them to absolutely everyone.


Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil - Because I'm limited to only 3 products, I've chosen this oil in particular because it contains anti-aging, firming and moisturizing properties in one. I cannot say enough good things about this brand. Every product I've ever tried of theirs, I've adored. This product is beautifully packaged as well, which matters.

*I press this product in with a warm jade roller for added anti-aging benefits, a little facial massage and lymphatic drainage. I especially roll around the eyes with the smaller side if I'm not using an eye cream.

Hopefully these products get the seal of approval from Carlita...and you. Let me know what you think if you work them into your routine. I have a feeling you're going to love them.

Xo, Kristen