Transitioning Your Skincare Routine from Summer to Fall

Your skin can love autumn weather, too, and the transition from summer-to-fall doesn’t have to be as brutal as spring-to-summer.

Summer is great for a lot of things: sweating, bug bites, sunburn, general lethargy. (Can you tell I’m not a big fan of the season?) But in all seriousness, one thing that can be great about summer is how your skin behaves. Sure, it may take a few weeks for your face to transition from the milder weather of spring (and another few to settle into the new normal of heat and humidity), but once your skin gets the hang of summer…hot damn, do you glow! All the extra moisture in the air is uber-hydrating for skin. And the fact that you may have ditched a full face of makeup means your extra-hydrated skin also got to breathe.

So of course Labor Day hits right as your skin is finding its summer stride. But don’t fret! Your skin can love autumn weather, too.


Step 1: Clear out the gunk.

You (hopefully) spent the last few months slathering SPF on your face and sweating and having makeup melt into your pores. Sure, you had a dewy-ness about you and you were diligently double-cleansing, but a deep clean is the best place to start as you get ready for fall. And what better way to clear out the gunk than with a mask routine? Start by clearing out the cobwebs with a cleansing mask that contains charcoal, mud or clay to pull the gunk out of your pores. A few nights later, luxuriate in a hydrating mask packed with aloe or green tea to balance it all out. If you’re more the DIY type, Mandi Nyambi’s “Fresh Face” will be your seasonal skin bible.

Step 2: Commit to a morning and evening routine.

I know, I know: two separate, different skincare routines in one day is asking a lot. But if you’re serious about acclimating your face to the changing weather, it’s going to need a little help…morning and night.

In the AM, consider skipping your morning cleanse in favor of plain ol’ water. Less humidity means your skin could probably use the extra moisture that builds up overnight so if you can stand it, just go straight into a hydrating mist, a brightening and plumping serum, and an SPF/moisturizer combo.

At night, you’ll want to swap your foaming cleanser for something creamier. (All that foam is great during the summer to remove excess oil but, as things get drier, the suds will likely be too much for your skin to take.) Look for a gentle, milky cleanser to remove impurities while it moisturizes and soothes. You’ll also want to exfoliate once a week with a chemical exfoliant like AHA to help reduce any discoloration you’re dealing with post-summer-in-the-sun. (Stay away from heavy hitters like retinoids as they can be a little heavy-handed for the cooler, drier temps.)

As far as serums go, vitamin C is a great option this time of year. Not only will it keep things bright, it’s also deeply hydrating and full of antioxidants. Just remember to follow it up with a thicker-than-your-summer-moisturizer moisturizer. The lightweight, oil-free cream you’ve been using doesn’t stand a chance against the changing seasons. It’s time to switch to something thicker and full of ceramides — the essential fatty acids that occur naturally in our skin but need to be replaced in colder temperatures.

Step 3: Don’t freak if your skin does.

Transition is hard. If your skin starts to act up on account of the changing weather and/or your new skincare routine, cut it some slack. Skin is a living, breathing thing, which means it needs time to adjust and adapt. If you’re worried about flare-ups, transition in baby steps by changing up one element of your routine every few days. Or if you just want to go with it and deal with blemishes if they happen, consider keeping a trusty spot treatment on hand, just in case.

Step 4: Stay hydrated.

Honestly, this is true year-round so don’t be surprised if I lean on it again when we talk transitioning from fall to winter, but one of the most important things you can do for your skin, no matter the season, is to stay hydrated. When you’re getting enough water, things just work better, skin included. So invest in a cute reusable water bottle. Drink from it often. Refill it. Drink from it again. I promise you’ll notice a difference.


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Thank you for the tips! It’s still hot and humid where I live but I can already see signs of my skin freaking out!

Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

Salma Suleyman
4 years ago

I want jeans in pic! Help!

4 years ago
Reply to  Salma Suleyman

Hi Salma! This jean is called the Dakota straight leg – it will be available online in October, so please check back at your convenience! Thanks for asking. XO

4 years ago

my skin ‘transitions’ just fine through the seasons because I don’t burn the sh*t out of it.
don’t use chemical peels, foaming cleansers or makeup.
there’s no such thing as a healthy tan, only a skin cancer risk.