May. 15. 2015
Written By:
McKel (Hill) Kooienga
McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder of Nutrition Stripped® and the Mindful Nutrition Method™

Our skin does many things to protect our body and taking care of our skin is important to our health from what we eat, products we use, and how we treat our skin.

Did you know that our skin is considered one of our organs? Not only that, it’s one of the largest organs in/on our body! Taking care of our skin is crucial to maintaining our health and letting it do its job which is protection.

With that, the skin on our face is more delicate than the remaining skin on our body, both need to be cared for in different ways. I’ve had so many requests from the NS Community to do an article about my skincare routine both with face and body, so here is my face skincare routine!

For the sake of this post, this isn’t’ written by a dermatologist, this is purely my own experience and my personal routine. I always recommend you make an appointment with a dermatologist to find what products work uniquely for you and your skin health.

McKel’s Skincare Routine

Overall my philosophy about make-up and what we put on our bodies is parallel to my food philosophy, the simpler the process, products, and method — the better.

I think of my face skincare routine as a way to not only protect my skin but to nourish it and also enjoy the process of taking care of myself. It can be simple things like a facial massage I do at night, wearing sunscreen, to not wearing makeup, and letting my skin be free and breathe.

The Most Important Step In The Skincare Routine

Nourishing your body from the inside out is key! I’ve noticed over my decade of experience paying attention to the foods I put in my body and my lifestyle activities play a huge role in how my skin looks and feels.

I eat the Foundational Five whole foods as much as possible while having all freedom to enjoy the foods I want (that’s part of mindful eating!), additionally, I reduce stress, move my body in a way that feels good, hydrate, get enough sleep, laugh, and keep my hormones balanced.

7-Step Face Skincare Routine

1. Facial Massage and Double Cleanse

I’ve done some form of this for half a decade and can tell a huge difference physically, but also emotionally when I do this. It’s such a relaxing process that I do in the comfort of my home, but you can do it wherever and whenever!

Just like getting a massage for your body, it’s the same but with your face and the technique is more gentle. Facial massage will help increase blood flow, circulation, debloats your face of excess fluid, and relaxes your facial muscles.

It can take as little as 5 minutes to 30 minutes depending on how much time you have to devote — I try to do this 5 nights a week for 10-20 minutes depending on what I’m feeling.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. The key to facial massage is having a good emollient for your face, oil-based cleansers or face oils work the best. I typically use an oil-based cleanser and make this part of the first step of my skincare routine which involves a double cleanse.
  2. Start by warming the oil-based cleanser or face oil on your fingertips and then starting from the top of your face, working down massage your skin, and really get into the muscles here. You’re not giving your face a Swedish or deep tissue massage, it’s still gentle and incredibly effective.
  3. You can use any of these combinations of massaging moves or stick with one the entire time. I find that mixing it up helps: mini-circular motions, taps, scissors along your jawline, and forehead, anything that feels good will help stimulate the vessels and drainage points for lymph.
  4. I also use a gua sha tool which allows me to get into my jawline where I tend to hold tension and just make the experience more enjoyable.
  5. Since you’re using an oil-based cleanser, you’ll need to take a warm washcloth to rinse the oil off your face. My favorites washcloths: Bamboosa Adult Washcloths, Fairface Washcloths, Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Muslin Cloths, Dermalogica Ultimate Buffing Cloth.
  6. Your skin should be left feeling incredibly supple, radiant, smooth, and moisturized!
  7. Follow with the second part of a double cleanse or on to whatever is next in your routine. I’ll typically wash with another gentle cleanser to get the oil off or with warm water and a towel.

Tip: Watch Lisa Eldridge shows you a full how-to tutorial on facial massaging, she’s amazing!

Products I use: Tata Harper Face Oil Cleanser, REN Purity Cleansing Balm, Naturapathecia Honey Balm Cleanser, Pai skincare Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil, gua sha tool

2. Rinse and Pat Dry

As much as rinsing with hot water feels good, it’s not necessarily great for our skin. My dermatologist has always told me, lukewarm and cool water is best for keeping skin moisturized and supple.

I always notice a difference in moisture retention in my skin after doing this for years. Always pat your face dry with a clean cloth, never rub!

3. Exfoliate and Tone

After consulting with my dermatologist, I gradually built up to using chemical or manual exfoliants several times a week. This step in my skincare routine always leaves my skin feeling really smooth, evens my skin tone, and allows for my serums and other products to soak in best.

Exfoliating can help increase cell turnover which can decrease signs of aging, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, even skin tone, and makes my skin feel great enough to not need to use makeup or foundation.

Our skin is sensitive by nature and it’s important that we don’t overdo the exfoliation especially if you’re not used to it. I use both manual exfoliation such as a gentle scrub and chemical (whether it’s the use of AHA, BHA, found in toners or masks).

4. Mists

My favorite step! I love spritzing my face with rose water or some other type of water mist before putting a product on my face such as a moisturizer or a serum like a hyaluronic acid that helps moisturize your skin.

It’s a great primer and prep step for your skin to absorb more of the ingredients — I’ll also finish my entire routine with a mist too.

Products I use: Tata Harper Hydrating Floral Essence, Avene Thermal Water Spray

5. Serums

As my skin has changed as I get older, I used to skip the serums, but love adding them into my routine. Whether it’s a vitamin C serum or hyaluronic serum, my skin soaks it up and sees a huge difference when using them.

Ones I like: Tata Harper Replenishing Nutrient Complex, vitamin C serum, hydrating B gel, OSEA hyaluronic serum

6. Moisturize

My skin leans on the dryer side so this step is vital. If you’re skipping out on moisturizing your skin, you’re missing out on so much. Moisturizing with the right natural beauty products can leave your skin protected, feeling soft, healthy, radiant, and looking amazing.

Ones I like: Drunk Elephant, OSEA

7. Sunscreen

If you’re outside, traveling in a plane, commuting to work in a car, or even in winter, chances are you still need sunscreen!

Sunscreen has been part of my skincare routine for a long time and I’m glad I started early to protect my skin from harmful rays and limit early signs of aging.

Bonus! The most important part of my skincare routine…

Nourishing my body with nutrient-dense foods, paying attention to stress management, daily meditation, drinking enough water, laughing a lot, and a good night’s sleep.

Additional Occasional Treatments

  • 3-5 days a week I’ll use the ZIIP, which I’ve found to be incredibly effective! It’s a splurge item, but I’ve seen great results.
  • Face masks: Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask, OSEA mask
  • Facial: I’ll splurge on facials and make a day of it when I really feel like I need some rest and relaxation time or just time to love on myself.

This was a fun article to share since it was so highly requested! I would love to hear in the comments below or share with me on Instagram your skincare routine.