My Current Routine: Winter 2018

There’s something about the winter season that inspires what I deem “hibernative self-care”, which I loosely define as cozy evenings/weekends of take-out, and skin pampering while a Netflix marathon plays. To me, there is no better time to explore products; playing with their textures and exploring their intricacies in layering and mixing them with other potions.

As we all know, I’m unable to keep to a pared down routine. I didn’t think it made sense to talk about a single cleanser, or lone face oil that I’m using because by the time you read this, I’m already experimenting with another product. So I’m going about this more through the steps and processes in my routine to achieve plumped, radiant, well moisturized winter skin and the products I’ve been use regularly.


Cleansing is so important regardless of your skin type. I’m actually very turned off when I see a skincare brand founder say that they don’t cleanse their skin for whatever reason. There are impurities expelled through basically every orifice of our body including the pores of the sponge-like epidermis. Pollutants, smoke, oxidized residue from stale sebum and protein deposits, proliferation of microscopic mites and parasites, accumulation of dead skin cells, etc. are all reasons why every skin type should take cleansing seriously.  

During the winter, I like to rotate in the creamy cleansers. For a deep skin pampering session, I use Aurelia’s Miracle Cleanser, a very luxurious creamy cleanser that I massage for a good 5 minutes and remove with muslin. This has a familiar cold cream-esque texture and an uplifting, fresh scent that feels very spa-like.

If I’m looking for a quicker or less involved cleanse, the cream cleansers I go between are In Fiore’s Treate Gentle Cleansing Emulsion and Kahina Giving Beauty Facial Cleanser. For make-up removal and deep cleansing, I apply around 4-5 quick pumps and massage onto dry skin. This allows the cream to create a nice emollient texture so you’re never pulling or tugging at skin. As a daily cleansing step, I massage 2-3 pumps on wet skin and re-wet if it dries during massage. These creams both rinse off cleanly with water. While I love both cleansers and would repurchase them both, I really think everyone should try the Kahina Cleanser as it has really been an under-the-radar product which is a shame because it has one of my favorite cream textures, has an ever-so-subtle luxurious scent, and is a great price for the quantity. There really aren’t any negatives and I highly recommend it.


It may seem like I’m on a Kahina kick, but I first used the Kahina Giving Beauty Toning Mist 2 years ago. Since then, I’ve wanted to revisit it, despite the fact that there are already so many beautiful organic mists out there. What I really vibe with from Kahina is their gentle, sophisticated nature. This mist uses soothing and hydrating aloe vera leaf juice, rose water, and anti-inflammatory argan and white tea leaf extract. It’s lightly scented with Moroccan desert rose (very similar to MŪN Anarose Toner) which makes this hydrating mist impeccably luscious.


Serums are the power players of any routine. My MVP serum since it’s release in late 2017 has been YÜLI’s Ambrosia Beauty Nectar, a highly impressive hydration/anti-aging serum that is the topic of 80% of the e-mails I receive. On that note: I hear you, I’ll post an in-depth review for Ambrosia Beauty Nectar. I have to admit that receiving all the requests just makes it harder for me to start putting together a review as I feel like the expectations are at a point where anything short of writing a book will not be enough.

Ambrosia Beauty Nectar is a beast, it blows hyaluronic acid serums out of the water, it raises the bar for how anti-aging serums can work, and I’ve even seen others say it has the benefits of all of the immensely popular Kristina Honey+Marie Veronique serums combined.

The oil-free texture is engineered to be identical to skin’s natural moisture reservoir, a layer of cushion that depletes with time. It’s active but unlike active serums with ingredients like Vitamin C, Retinols or Acids, it works WITH skin rather than trying to overturn it, so there is a lot of support for things like restoring the barrier, strengthening cell immunity, rather than creating irritation or inflammation. Though YÜLI is smart enough to know their customers are probably also using actives like Vitamin C (a notoriously difficult active that can have side-effects when in contact with the wrong preservatives, pH, etc.), so the formula is one of the rare ones that not only plays well with others but also boosts functionality, making it wonderful as the essential serum that can be the base of any cocktail.

Depending on how I feel, I either pump enough Ambrosia to create a thin layer before mist or mist and then apply a cocktail of Ambrosia + Face Oil. Ambrosia does for hydration, what face oils do for nourishment, so you want to use both. This is why one of the most common complaints I hear from readers who use primarily oils and balms, is this feeling of chronic depletion that is often mistaken for dryness but is really due to incorrectly relying on oil-based products to target hydration and reverse trans-epidermal water loss. If you are using a face oil by itself or only with a mist, Ambrosia is not only going to quench that underlying thirst for moisture but it’s also going to really elevate the way the entire system of products comes together.

When I want to go heavy hitting, my face oil of choice to pair with Ambrosia is YÜLI Liquid Courage Antioxidant Serum. Spirit Demerson refers to this more as a serum in oil form rather than a face oil because it’s not a straight blend of oils, there is pure Vitamin C (for glowing skin), Ferulic Acid, biofermented plant extracts that make it kind of a super-oil. I like to mix it or layer it after Ambrosia because they both contain concentrated, potent antioxidant complexes. Liquid Courage contains an antioxidant seed complex derived from the most nutrient dense seeds of superfoods while Ambrosia contains pharmaceutical grade antioxidants like Astaxanthin, so their concoction delivers the richest antioxidant cocktail. These two products combined are skincare nirvana and delivers such a radiant glow.

If I’m going more minimalist, I pair Ambrosia with African Botanics Neroli Infused Marula Oil which is a very pure Marula oil topped with Neroli for a very crisp, refreshing fragrance. African Botanics has the best Marula oil that is organic and comes from protected South African reserves. It’s so beautiful to just massage and lightly press into my skin. It’s really lightweight and sinks in quickly while feeding skin with all the necessary omega-rich goodness that comes with marula oil. Just very simple, high quality and beautiful.


I’ve been all about textures lately and the African Botanics Cloudburst Micro-emulsion Balancing Moisturizer is this ingenious creation that is light as a serum but tops up perfectly after applying face oil. My skin is never left dry or thirsty. Thicker creams can clog pores, or dull the complexion, this one is quite different. The ingredients include marine algae, copper and plant peptides, and skin loving minerals like magnesium and zinc. The green gel is also immediately cooling and calming, thanks to wonderful anti-inflammatories like green rooibos tea, resurrection plant, and chamomile. It really is a serum level product, but intelligently utilizes molecular science to act as a moisturizer.

If I want something heavier or just crave that rich “slather on” feeling, I reach for the MV Skincare Rose Soothing & Protection Face Moisturizer, which is full bodied and indulgent without making skin feel suffocated. There are times where I get a little lazy and skip face oil, and this is that rescue product that really works well even by itself. When used alone, my skin is soft and comfortable. When layered after serums, my skin is glowing and has that extra oomph.

For daytime, I finish with Suntegrity Natural Face Sunscreen & Primer SPF 30. It’s a great, green sunscreen that uses only Zinc Oxide as it’s active sunblock. I like the texture compared to other physical sunblocks in that it’s easier to apply without leaving white streaks over my skin. I actually use this almost like a highlighter to take advantage of the white Zinc Oxide cast.  One tip is that the initial white cast does fade within 2 minutes, so don’t let that scare you. In fact, it wears incredibly well to the point that it “blurs” imperfections.

That’ll do it! Please leave a comment if you want to share your experiences with any of these products, your winter skincare tips or have any questions!



  1. Lina
    February 4, 2018 / 4:53 pm

    Just purchased Ambrosia and Cloudburst. If anything, my top shelf is going to have some pretty sounding products!

  2. Sarah
    February 4, 2018 / 5:33 pm

    Oh my god, I seriously want to buy everything you wrote about. I seriously take notes when I read your blog.

    • February 5, 2018 / 2:57 pm

      Take notes, or bookmark it! I totally do the same when I read a June Godfrey piece or old school ITG post.

  3. Marquel
    February 5, 2018 / 2:12 pm

    What do you think of Vintner’s Daughter and how does it compare with the Ambrosia Nectar?

    • February 5, 2018 / 2:58 pm

      Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum is a face oil and Ambrosia Beauty Nectar is a hydration serum, so it’s comparing apples to oranges. A more apt comparison would be VD to the Yuli Skin Fuel which is a face oil that in my experience delivers the same level of results with half the price tag.

  4. Ryan
    February 7, 2018 / 1:25 pm

    I’ve purchased sample sizes of both Yuli’s Liquid Courage and the Skin Fuel (currently using the Skin Fuel). I really liked them both, but am still confused about the benefits/what each does. Both include antioxidant serum plus nutrient cocktail in the description. LC says it’s for all skin types and SF says it’s for blemish prone/normal skin which seems a wide range to me? Would love to know your thoughts. Thanks!

    • February 16, 2018 / 10:29 am

      To me Skin Fuel is better for problematic skin like acne, inflammation and is what I overall recommend for sensitive skin because it has no EO’s or actives that can irritate. Liquid Courage is definitely active (Vitamin C, Ferulic Acid, black garlic ferments etc.) and the one I recommend for anti-aging and repair.

  5. Renee
    February 16, 2018 / 7:46 am

    The price of the ambrosia is a little steep, is there any other product, perhaps from Kristina Honey+Marie Veronique that is comparable ?

    • February 16, 2018 / 10:36 am

      Hey Renee, at $185 for 1.7 oz, I know the price isn’t the most budget friendly but for what you get, YULI has always provided a stellar value. It’s pretty much on par with the Kristina Holey Marie Veronique serums due to it being a larger size. Unfortunately the only other serums I’ve used that are similar are the Skinmedica TNS Essential Serum ($281 for 1 oz) and Dr. Sturm Super Anti-Aging Serum ($350 for 1 oz), both of which are more expensive (and not exactly cleanly formulated).

      • Renee
        February 22, 2018 / 8:58 am

        Thank you I decided to bite the bullet and order it. I can’t wait to try it out!

  6. Renee
    February 22, 2018 / 8:23 am

    So many great products but I can’t seem to decide between the kahina giving beauty cleanser and the Yuli halcyon cleanser. My skin is combination and I’m currently using the Cerave foaming cleanser which has been good to me for years. I’m looking to try something more natural at least in the mornings since my skin is still adjusting to retin A. Which do you prefer and why ? Does one clean better than the other ? Thank you

  7. Erin
    March 23, 2018 / 1:17 pm

    Tip for anyone wanting to save money on Suntegrity: I discovered by accident that TruKid’s Sunny Days SPF 30 is nearly the exact same formula as Suntegrity! I had been using TruKid and got a sample of Suntegrity and noticed that the scent and texture were identical. The ingredients are nearly identical, with just a couple of minor differences. I’m positive they’re made from the same base formula at the same lab, but there’s a huge price difference.

  8. Natalia
    March 8, 2019 / 2:20 pm

    Hello, look, this post is 100% copy of your post. From 5th February. OHHH!

    And the question. Marie Veronique CE serum with Ambrosia will work well together, what do you think? Previously wanted to buy all three MV serums. My skin is combination.
    Have you tried MV retinol serum?
    Thank you! Your blog is very informative!

    • March 12, 2019 / 9:55 pm

      Oh no – I’m a contributor on GW, nothing shady there! If you go to the top bylines, you’ll see it’s listed under my name and everything 🙂

      I like Ambrosia for many reasons, one of which is that it was made for an actual skincare junkie who likes layering. Their serum is one of the only HA serums that have a preservation system that works well with Vitamin C. Other preservatives can chelate or react with Vitamin C, even clean ones. So I think those two should go great together.

      Have not tried the retinol serum though!

  9. Natalia
    March 8, 2019 / 2:34 pm

    Oh sorry, the author of the article in garconsworld is shown, you, just saw the title. 🙂

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