How to Refresh Your Fall Skin Care Routine

by | Read time: 3 minutes

With the temperature dropping, you’ll no doubt begin the yearly ritual of switching over your wardrobe. Once you’ve overhauled your closet, turn your attention to your skincare products.

Just as you swap out tank tops and shorts for wrap sweaters and bootcut jeans, so too should you reexamine your skincare routine and make changes to the products you’re using this fall.

Woman with Glowing Complexion Outside in Fall |

“Fall is a time to reset the skin. We’re transitioning from the lazy days of summer to fall, which is when you get back into your regular routine, including getting back into good skincare habits,” says Renee Rouleau, celebrity esthetician and founder of Renee Rouleau Skin Care.

As humidity drops, skin can become dull and dry. That dewy, healthy glow you were rocking during the summer can fade as dry, dead skin cells form a layer on the surface of your face. Luckily, making a few small tweaks to your skincare regimen can revitalize your complexion.

Grab your favorite pumpkin spice treat, and take note of these fall skincare tips from the pros.

1. Rethink your cleanser and moisturizer

Rouleau recommends most people change their cleansing routine for fall. While gel cleansers are better in summer, a moisturizing cleansing lotion is more appropriate in the fall. “Use a milder cleanser. The air is dryer in the fall, so switch to a moisturizer that’s richer, thicker, and not greasy,” she says, adding that it’s a good idea to switch from a clay mask to a more hydrating gel-based mask.

Courtney Dunlop, former beauty editor and owner of Good Skin Day, an indie skincare shop in Springfield, Mo., tells customers the easiest tweak to make for fall is to switch to a different cleanser. “If you live in a dry climate, switching to a cream cleanser or cleansing oil can make a huge difference, even if you don’t change anything else in your skincare routine. Cleansing oils are gentle and clean well,” she says.

2. Use toner

A recent toner convert, Dunlop says many women don’t realize the benefits of this often overlooked skincare product, which should be used after cleanser. “Adding a toner to your routine can help you maintain moisture levels, but you have to choose alcohol-free ones,” she advises.

Dunlop likes to explain how toners work with a dry sponge analogy. Think of your skin as a dry sponge. If you put soap on a dry sponge, the soap just pools on top. But if the sponge is wet, the soap soaks right in. “The purpose of toner is to saturate skin with moisture, preparing the skin to absorb what’s next, which can be a serum or moisturizer. The toner helps skin absorb those products more effectively, helping you retain moisture,” she says.

3. Assess and repair sun damage

If you went overboard with sun exposure during the summer, don’t panic. “It’s possible to repair sun damage,” Rouleau says. “It’s a good idea to get a facial and have your esthetician tweak your routine to focus on more retinol use, as well as trying to resurface the skin and fade discoloration.”

She encourages women who stopped using a retinol serum in the summer to incorporate the product back into their routine. She explains that retinol products increase exfoliation and help to clear clogged pores and diminish the signs of sun damage.

4. Don’t forget SPF

Just because it’s cooler outside doesn’t mean you’re suddenly immune from sunburn. That’s the message Rouleau preaches to her clients each fall. “It’s really important to keep wearing your sunscreen every day. End of summer is also a good time of year to get a skin cancer screening,” she adds.