fall skincare routine
Show your skin some love this season. | Photo illustration by Polly Haas for LIVEKINDLY; products courtesy of retailers

How to Update Your Skin Routine for Fall

All the leaves are brown, and your skin is... dull? Never fear, here's how to care for your skin as the seasons change. Bonus: Every pick is cruelty-free!

From digging out our old favorite knits and knee-high boots to ordering that first PSL, fall gives us much to be excited about. But there’s a downside: drops in humidity and temperature, mixed with more radiator heating inside, can spell drier, flakier, and sometimes itchier, skin. But fear not, there are plenty of cruelty-free cleansers, moisturizers, and serums on the market to help you glow right through until Christmas. Together with dermatologist Dr. Hope Mitchell, we’ve selected these cruelty-free and vegan skincare products to add to your beauty routine—and help your skin transition from summer to fall.

Face Theory fall skincare routine
Moisturize your dry skin with this nourishing night cream. | Facetheory

Editor’s choice: Facetheory Relaxing Night Cream

When the air gets colder and thinner, cells lose moisture, leading to tiny cracks and tears on the surface—that’s why our skin can feel itchy, dry, and scratchy. If there’s one word you remember this fall, it’s this: moisture!

This nourishing night cream is formulated with vitamin C, a vital antioxidant for detoxifying skin cells, and vitamin E, argan oil, and hyaluronic acid, each of which is a cell super-plumper, acting to repair and hydrate the skin. (Sidenote: If you’re prone to anxiety or restlessness at night time, Facetheory also offers a soothing lavender version.)

Milk Makeup
This moisturizer is another skin savior during the colder months. | Milk Makeup

Dermatologist Pick: Milk Makeup Vegan Milk Moisturizer

Milk Makeup’s Vegan Milk Moisturizer is another skin-nourishing elixir perfect for the colder months. With a blend of various plant milks, including fig, oat, and Milk Makeup’s own fruity Desert Milk, it’s basically a vitamin-rich, super-hydrating smoothie for your face.

“This moisturizer is a favorite,” says Mitchell. “It’s great for normal to dry skin as we transition our skincare regimen during the cooler seasons. And although it has a thick creamy consistency, a little bit absorbs well without leaving a greasy or heavy feeling.”

Frank Body
This salt-based scrub contains real coffee grounds. | Frank Body

Editor’s Choice: Frank Body Coffee Scrub

Fall is the season for warm coffee. But, instead of just drinking it all the time, why not rub it all over your body? This salt-based scrub contains real coffee grounds, which help to stimulate blood flow and collagen production. Blended with sea salt and sweet almond and soybean oils, the coarse mixture will slough off dead cells, helping to combat flakiness and assisting in clearing up rough spots and blemishes.

While you may associate them with summer, body scrubs are also important in fall. Exfoliating helps to strip your skin of the dead cells that build up over time and clog up your pores, helping with that all-important moisture absorption. It will also help to remove discoloration, even out skin tone, and smooth the surface of the skin.

Versed
Cleanse, rinse, and treat your skin with this acid-based formula. | Versed

Dermatologist Pick: Versed Skincare Doctor’s Visit Instant Resurfacing Mask 

This resurfacing mask by Versed Skincare is a “facial in a jar,” says Mitchell. But it’s considerably cheaper and less time-consuming than a trip to the beautician. The dermatologist explains: “It contains glycolic and lactic acid, as well as papaya and pineapple enzymes, which provide chemical and enzyme exfoliation and helps to promote cellular turnover and smoother skin.”

Every week, set aside a few minutes to cleanse, rinse, and treat your skin to this acid-based formula. It’s particularly effective at reducing hyperpigmentation, and will leave your face feeling soft and fresh. (Note: If you’ve not used acid-based products before, or you have sensitive skin, make sure you do a patch test before use!)

Herbivore
This versatile serum, suitable for all skin types. | Herbivore

Editor’s Choice: Herbivore Prism 12% Exfoliating Glow Serum

Who says you have to give up your summer glow just because the seasons are changing? This versatile serum, suitable for all skin types, protects skin from the cold wind—and dryness that weather causes—with an ultra-hydrating formulation that includes aloe leaf juice and willow bark. It works by dissolving the “glue” that helps dead cells stick, retexturizing flaky, dry patches, and calming down breakouts and irritation.

It’s super easy to use, just massage in four to eight drops after cleansing, between two and five days a week. (If you have very sensitive skin, try a spot test first.)

Pacifica Beauty
Easily remove oil and makeup with this gel cleanse. | Pacifica Beauty

Dermatologist Pick: Pacifica Vegan Cream Creamy Gel Cleanse

Formulated with flower extracts, including orange and jasmine, as well as vegan collagen (collagen proteins produced through plant-based fermentation), this cleanser is “creamy and gentle on the skin,” says Mitchell. Suitable for daily use on all skin types, it will remove makeup as efficiently as it removes oil and general daily residue, whilst simultaneously giving a boost of hydration. 


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