My Morning Skincare Routine

Considering that I have been through quite a lot lately–stress, emotional rollercoasters, irregular sleeping patterns–my skin has held up really well. I can’t even remember the last time I had a breakout. I used to get at least a couple of hormonal spots during that time of the month, but I haven’t seen any of those in a while either–and I’m not complaining.

Beside using products that work really well for me, I believe that my current diet, but more specifically, the elimination of the foods that I am sensitive to, has made a difference. It is probably since I quit eating those foods that I have seen the biggest difference in my skin. And guess what, the list of foods includes (beside dairy and wheat–no surprise there) tomatoes, walnuts, pineapple, green beans, all types of peppers, and even vanilla (fjiugtigfbfioshwqlkqe???!!!). I was definitely eating all of the above, so it makes perfect sense to me that my skin improved after removing foods that cause an inflammatory response in my body.

Back to my morning routine (but I would dedicate an entire post or two to food sensitivities & skincare, if you were interested–it is one of my absolute favorite topics), I have kept things quite simple and minimal. I stick to a daily regimen that includes very few products, but good ones–so good that they are almost irreplaceable.

A Few Considerations

As you guys will notice (especially those of you who have been reading my blog for a long time), not much has changed. Yet, my skin looks a million times better now. Which means a few things:

  1. Less is more. At least for me. For some people the whole ten steps routine works–but it doesn’t necessarily work for everyone. If layering several products cause your skin to get congested, like it did to mine, you might want to try to use less. Please, don’t get caught up in what your skincare routine should be like according to the Internet. Unless you consult a dermatologist and they give you specific product recommendations, you are the the one who should tell how much products your skin needs. I use less products than I ever have and my skin is healthier than it’s ever been.
  2. Diet and lifestyle are VERY important. And I don’t mean just eating healthy, drinking juices, herbal teas, and doing pilates. What I mean is: identifying nutritional deficiencies, food sensitivities, and lifestyle factors that may be causing inflammation in your body. I know so many people who eat plants-only, do yoga, but cannot get rid of acne. Sometimes working with a functional doctor or nutritionist may be necessary to improve certain skin conditions.

With that being said, here’s exactly what I have been using.

The Products

YÜLI Halcyon Cleanser I have remained loyal to this cleanser throughout the years, because I simply haven’t found one that works the same for me. I just started testing another cleanser that is less expensive, but it will be a little while before I can review it. This cleanser for me is still the best. You can read my full review here.

MUN Anarose Toner I know that some people don’t really care for toners/face mists, but I am a fan. This one helps to balance my skin after cleansing and allows the following product to work better. Full review here.

Kristina Holey + Marie Veronique Barrier Restore Serum*. The texture is super-light and almost gel-like. It feels soothing and refreshing, hydrating, and non-greasy. It also leaves a lovely luminous finish on the skin, so it looks great under makeup. Dare I say, this has become my foundation. I practically only use concealer at the moment. It is very expensive, unfortunately, so I am treasuring every drop of this bottle. If it fits your budget, it is worth trying. Full review here.

And guess what?! I’m back on Youtube, so you can watch the whole skincare routine I just described below :)


*gifted/PR sample

  • Jenna

    Who doesn’t like face mists!? They’re probably my favorite items to purchase and the first thing I test at stores.

    Love your simplified routine. And have all three products. Yuli Halcyon, for me, remains holy grail. I’ve used cheaper cleansers, more expensive cleansers, even one that the Kerri at CAP Beauty told me was “made due to the success of Halcyon” (clue: they use the same base as Halcyon but don’t have any of the fancier ingredients), and they all have left me going back to Halcyon.

    MUN’s toner for me also is top 3 status. Smells good, feels good and missed it when it ran out. I don’t think it is as active as something like an In Fiore, Tata Harper or Yuli mist, but it gets the job done and is so nice to use.

    The Barrier Restore Serum, I wanted to like so much because I am a fan of Kristina Holey. However I happened to have half a bottle of Glossier’s Super Pure and the results were almost identical, except Super Pure is $28 to their $110. I don’t mind paying for luxury but I think that while the Marie Veronique serum has better quality ingredients, it’s just too hard to not stick with Super Pure.

    • Hi Jenna, thanks for reading and for your comment. I totally agree with you about face mists! They are a very important step in my routine, and when I apply serums on dry skin after cleansing, I feel the difference (and regret it). I have a question for you, if you don’t mind telling me: what is the cleanser you tried that is supposed to be similar to Halcyon? I will likely continue to use Halcyon forever and ever, but I would love to try it, especially if it’s cheaper (I would like to be able to suggest more affordable options to anyone who needs them, and I would like to test it out myself first). Also, I am definitely going to try Super Pure for the same reason, so thank you so much for mentioning it :)

      • Melinda

        Hi Lilly, I think I found the answer. I asked the CAP Beauty ladies recently and they said they don’t carry the line anymore due to low sales, so I did some snooping for lines that were dropped. The ones I found were LBF and Laurel. I was on the Laurel site and noticed they used a lot of the same naming conventions as YULI and sure enough found that a lot of their products seem to draw “inspiration” from YULI. I think it is the Laurel Cleanser but I personally have used it and found it to be… not good. I do not mean it in the “bad imitation of Halcyon” sort of way, I mean it as in.. it’s just not good even as a standalone product. There are so many waxes and even coconut oil and essential oils, and you have to shake it otherwise it separates, just a mess.

  • Guilly

    I would love it if you would delve into food sensitivites and skin. Thanks.

    • Will do it, Guilly! Thank you so much for reading :)

  • Kcecelia

    Love the MŪN toner. No other toner makes my skin feel so good. I apply it with cotton rounds because I think it works better that way to lightly exfoliate. I use the MŪN cleanser as well. It doesn’t leave a residue on my skin. I’m curious about the Yuli line and would like to try to the Halcyon Cleanser, Metamorphic Elixir, and Liquid Courage. Currently, I use the Marie Veronique C on my skin before the MŪN serum (I’m a fellow proponent of a streamlined routine), and I’m impressed with the results. I’d love to see your evening routine.

    • Thank you for reading, Kcecelia. I am so glad to hear that MUN and Marie Veronique products are working well for your skin. I will have the evening routine up very soon :)

  • Jen

    Lovely simple routine. I have been to estheticians and all i got was a multistep regimen and left my skin red and irritated. Love seeing the less is more approach and really think this is the way to go with skincare… enough with the scrubbing, acids and chemical peels. I would love to see your nighttime routine!! hope everyone is doing well I am sure its a stressful time for you and your other.. god bless

  • maiastras

    Hello – I just came across your blog as I was looking for reviews about the Kristina Holey+Marie Veronique collaboration. I love reading about simple skincare routines! Unfortunately the Yuli cleanser never really worked out for me, but the Anarose toner is lovely. The barrier restore serum sounds like a wonderful treatment/moisturizer. I’m curious – how long does one bottle last for you?

  • lana

    Did you take a test to find out your food sensitivities? And if so, which one?Did you work with a holistic doctor/nutritionist to help you with this? I’m looking into getting a test done,it sounds like you’re feeling a lot better after learning which foods are causing you inflammation!

    • Hi Lana, yes, I had blood work done. I noticed that eating certain foods was causing me to have stomach cramps (I had already tried the FODMAP diet, which did not help) so I asked my functional practitioner to order food sensitivity tests for me and my husband. The testing was done at Immuno Labs in Fort Lauderdale, FL. I found out that foods that I did not suspect to be a problem were highly inflammatory to my body. Shortly after I removed them from my diet, my symptoms improved.

  • emily

    Do you use a special wash cloth for your face?

  • Carlos Keng

    Hi Lilly, just curious, what sunscreen do you use currently? I know a lot of bloggers love the Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream and I’m keen on trying that as well, though I’m afraid it will break me out (I’m acne-prone, and live in humid Singapore) due to the exhaustive list of ingredients, including essential oils. Have you tried that before?

    Also, I noticed you used to use the Yuli Liquid Courage as your mainstay in your day routine, how does the Marie Veronique serum compare to the Yuli? I’m thinking of getting the Barrier Restore serum as well. Actually I base most of my skincare on your recommendations as I also prefer a simple, fuss-free routine.

    • Hi Carlos, thank you for your trust :) Recommending a sunscreen is still a challenge for me, because there simply aren’t many great options out there, in my opinion. I also understand your concerns about wearing a heavy product in a humid climate (Florida is still quite humid these days as well). I am currently testing a new product that I really like, and it is a bit early to say that I love it, however I have been enjoying wearing it, which is rare for a sunscreen product. It’s from a brand called Luzern, and the product is called La Defense SPF 30 Urban Protect (I got it from Ayla Beauty). It’s lightweight, delicately scented, non-sticky, no white cast, and can work both as a moisturizer and spf. It is nice and I plan on reviewing it once I give it a proper test. I should note that the formula may not work for purists (it contains Cyclopentasiloxane, and a couple more ingredients that have not been researched much). Overall, I am comfortable with using it but I encourage you to look at the ingredient list before considering it–and feel free to ask me more if you have any questions about it.

      As for the Barrier Restore Serum, I honestly cannot recommend it enough. It has been a godsend for my skin. It’s lightweight like a lotion, non-greasy, and it feels soothing and balancing. Yuli’s serums are absolutely amazing in terms of providing the best quality nutrients for the skin; however I have realized that I prefer not to wear face oils during the daytime (their new Ambrosia serum, however, is fantastic!!). If you have oily skin, you will likely appreciate the Barrier Restore, too. I can’t compare Yuli’s oils to the BRS in terms of texture because they are totally different. As far as performance, the BRS provides the right amount of moisture for the daytime, while the Liquid Courage, although not an heavy serum, is an oil, and on some days can feel like a little too much moisture for my preference. I hope this helps. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask.

  • Natalie Johnston

    I have been wanting to try the Yuli brand, and your review and comments by others have pushed me to purchase. I still haven’t found an amazing cleanser so I hope this one works well. I also don’t use face mists. Are they really necessary? Is there really that big of a difference? Thanks!

    • Hi Natalie, thank you for reading. Great question about the face mists! I think that in skincare there isn’t one way that works for everyone, so in a short answer, no–face mists aren’t necessary. However, would your skin benefit from using one? Quite possibly. It really depends on your entire routine and how each product you use plays with each other.
      The most important function of a face mist in my routine is to”re-balance” my skin after cleansing–cleansing disrupts the natural pH of the skin slightly–hydrate it, and calm it with anti-inflammatory ingredients. After I use the face mist, I immediately “lock-in” the moisture with a serum (an oil-based one). If you use a typical moisturizer, (one that contains hydrating ingredients, moisturizing ingredients, and active ingredients) you may not need a face mist.
      I hope this helps. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have other questions, and please let me know if you need tips on how to use the cleanser, and how it works for you.

      • Natalie Johnston

        Grazie mille!