skin care

How The Heck Do I Use This Stuff? A Six-Step Cheat Sheet

One of the most-often asked questions at my skin care studio is: How the heck do I use this stuff?

And by stuff, I mean products.

And by products, I mean cleansers, toners. exfoliants, facial oils, targeted treatments, eye creams, eye serums, scrubs, moisturizers, cremes and creams, polishes -  and the list of the myriad of the skin care arsenal continues...

It can be overwhelming. All of the stuff. And the order that the stuff goes in.

So today, I have created a handy (and pretty) tool for you to print out and tuck in your powder room drawer as a reference. It lists out a simple 6-Step routine (AM and PM) to get you on your way to being a pro at using your stuff.

Read on below for the nitty gritty info behind this cheat sheet...

1. Cleansing (AM / PM)

Cleansing is the first step to healthy skin. By removing the funk on the skin's surface, you are not only removing pore-clogging debris and environmental pollutants, but also allowing your skin to "breathe" and perform its natural functions.

Cleansing twice can boost your results even further - FIND OUT MORE ABOUT WHY YOU SHOULD BE CLEANSING TWICE HERE.

2. Toning (AM) / Exfoliating (PM)

Toning skin after cleansing not only returns skin to its proper ph, which is essential for proper function, but depending on the formulation, it also can help introduce hydration into the skin, for those who are dry, or help to temporarily decrease oil production with astringent action. People often ask if a toner is necessary. Truth be told, I notice a HUGE difference in my skin if I miss this step for a few days. 

Exfoliating skin after cleansing not only helps to remove any debris that cleansing may have missed, but also whisks away dead skin cells, revealing the fresher, newer ones underneath. Why is this important? Because these dead skin cells can clog pores, causing breakouts, and also keep the products you use after cleansing from working optimally. 

I prefer to exfoliate at night, but its ok if you do it in the morning, too. Just only do it 1-2 times a week total - more exfoliation is not better and can actually irritate your skin.

3. Serum / Facial Oil (AM) / Toner (PM)

Adding a serum or facial oil into your skin care steps can seem unnecessary, but, trust me, this is a key step in skin that glows with health. Serums and facial oils can deliver much-needed ingredients to your skin, in a very targeted way, to address specific concerns. They can also help to seal in the benefits of your toner from Step 2.

Using a toner in the evening offers the same benefits as using it in the morning (See #2).

4. Moisturizer (AM) / Treatment (PM)

Using a moisturizer is a thing. For everyone. Even if you have oily or acne prone skin. Moisturizer helps to seal in hydration and protect you from the elements (weather, pollution, etc). Acne can actually become worse if skin is not properly moisturized. If you are oily or acne-prone, a lighter moisturizer with ingredients like hyaluronic acid can be helpful.

Using a "treatment" in the evening, when your skin is going through its process of rejuvenation, can help support your skin in really great ways. This treatment could be your daytime serum or facial oil, or it could be a separate targeted product to address concerns such as aging, acne or redness.

5. SPF (AM) / Night Cream (PM)

Although it is a good thing to get a small amount of exposure to sunlight for Vitamin D, I recommend wearing SPF on your face every day of your life to avoid sun damage. Every day. This is even more critical if you are using treatment products that contain ingredients such as retinals or glycolic or salicylic acid. These ingredients make your skin more vulnerable to UV damage.

A night cream in the PM is always a good choice, especially for those with dryer skin. If you are an oily skinned gal, like me, you may only need to use a night cream a few times a week or less.

6. Eye Cream (AM/PM)

Eye cream can easily be a step that is overlooked in skin care, but, since our eye skin is thinner, it is desperately in need of protection to stay supple and healthy. Use your eye cream day and night. There are eye creams that work beautifully underneath makeup in the day and offer good hydration at night.

I hope you find this info helpful for your everyday routine! Happy skin! 




Spring Blossoms Facial Steam & "Tea"

Spring is abundant with skin-loving plants - many of them cooling, soothing and astringent. Just what skin needs after the winter months and headed into summer. 

This versatile facial blend - featuring violet leaf and flower, apple leaf and blossom, strawberry leaf, mint, ground ivy and chickweed - will calm, cool and tone skin with plant love. <3

Want an ready-made facial steam blend? You can purchase :SRING BLOSSOMS:: in the Autumn Moon etsy boutique - with botanicals from our pesticide-free family farm - carefully harvested by hand, by me, with love. <3

When harvesting plants for this blend, please make certain you have properly identified them and harvest them in a sustainable way. You can check the USDA Plants Database to assist in identification. 

Spring Blossoms Facial Steam / Tea

Violet Leaf and Flower

Apple Leaf and Blossom

Strawberry Leaf

Mint Leaf


Ground Ivy 

  1. Collect a few handfuls of each plant - whichever you have available.
  2. Dry the plants, gently, in a dehydrator or in the lowest setting on your oven until totally dry.
  3. Store your dried plants in a glass container with a tight fitting lid (like a Mason jar).


Cleanse skin. Place a small handful of your dried blend in a shallow dish. Pour boiling water over the blend, cover your head with a large towel and place your face over the steam coming from the bowl (not too close - you just want a warm, gentle steam - not hot). Follow with a facial mask (if desired) and then your favorite toner and protective moisturizer.

This herbal steam will rejuvenate the skin, allowing it to release toxins from the pores and tone tissues, as well as hydrating itself. 

Please note: Facial steams are not recommended for those with rosacea, broken capillaries or inflamed/irritated skin, as it can make these conditions worse. 


After your facial steam has cooled, strain the infused liquid and use it as a cool facial compress with a cloth, a facial splash or in a spray bottle as a toner. Keep the liquid refrigerated and use it within 48 hours, discarding unused liquid.

Using this "tea" will instantly soothe, tone and tighten skin. Follow with your favorite moisturizer.

WILD VIOLET (Viola papilionacea) LEAF & BLOSSOM are:
- cooling
- moistening
- comforting
- anti-inflammatory 

CHICKWEED (Stellaria media) is:
- cooling
- soothing
- anti-inflammatory

APPLE (Malus domestica) LEAF & BLOSSOMS from our family apple tree are:
- cooling
- astringent 

LEMON BALM (Melissa officinalis) is:
- anti-inflammatory
- antioxidant rich

WILD STRAWBERRY (Fragaria virginiana) LEAF is:
- astringent
- anti-inflammatory

GROUND IVY (Glechoma hederacea) is:
- cooling
- astringent

While this blend incorporates plants that are safe for internal use, this blend intended to be used externally, rather than being consumed.  






Springtime Beauty: Dandy Cream Mask


Springtime means dandelions. Soften your skin with this luxurious dandelion treat.

Dandelion has a soothing and toning property on the skin and it is a great addition to any facial treatment.

You can make an infusion (tea) of leaf and flower and apply it straight up with a cotton pad as a nice toner, or add a bit of the infusion when using any cleanser, scrub or mask. Dandelion infusion also works really well externally as a sunburn reliever and has been known to help clear up acne when taken internally as a tincture or tea (the root in particular).

My favorite way to enjoy dandelion in skin care is with a dandelion flower infused cream. It takes only minutes to make and is an absolutely luxurious, skin-softening treat! You can leave it on as a mask, but it can also be used as a gentle cleanser. The lactic acid in the cream gently exfoliates, smooths and softens skin to a petal-like feel.

I mixed this batch up with a little Johnny-Jump-Up (also known as a viola or European pansy) from our fairy garden since they also offer additional soothing properties and the fairy energy was calling to me! 

This cream would also be amazing with the addition of rose petals or lavender buds.


1 small handful dandelion flowers

Cream (the dairy variety - although you could experiment using coconut cream)

Place the handful of flowers in the top of a double boiler (or a pan that fits nicely inside of a larger pan, but does not touch the bottom). Fill the bottom pan with a few inches of water.

Add cream until the flowers are just covered. Warm the cream on low temperature for 10-15 minutes.

Strain the flowers out through a fine sieve and apply the cream to freshly cleansed skin with a cotton pad or cotton ball. Leave on for 15 minutes, remove with a warm damp cloth and a few splashes of warm water, followed by your favorite toner and moisturizer.

Touch your baby-soft face:)