How to Update Your Beauty Routine for Fall

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Fall is unanimously everyone’s favorite season. We finally get a reprieve from the sweltering summer and a reintroduction to all things cozy, spooky, and pumpkin spice. While you’re rotating all your sweaters and moto jackets to the front of your closet and digging your fall-scented candles out of storage, it’s also time to consider prepping something else for the shifting season: your beauty routine.

The beauty woes we experience thanks to fall’s dry air can be mitigated with a few simple steps and new additions to your existing routine. Here are the five easiest ways to transition your beauty routine this fall:


1. Incorporate More Moisture

We all know that dry air means trouble for our skin, but we often forget that central heating indoors also causes a lot of drama as well. In other words, fall might be our favorite season, but our skin isn’t nearly as excited about the fact that, for lack of better words, winter is coming. In the months leading up to the real cold, it’s important to focus on the problems you will have then, now.

For every month following August and leading into the depths of winter, you need to incorporate an additional moisturizing agent into your skincare routine. This might sound overwhelming, but hear me out. Moisture is absorbed into the skin through a variety of different molecular structures, meaning that different formulations will penetrate the various layers of your skin differently to deliver their moisturizing benefits.


Hydrator B5 Gel

Use a hyaluronic acid serum like this in your morning and night routines to add layers of moisture without adding bulk. This will never break you out or clog your pores—it’ll just make your skin glowy and smooth!

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Water Sleeping Mask

Invest in a cream moisturizer or sleeping mask to lock in essential moisture overnight while your skin undergoes its critical regenerative processes.

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Peach Slices

Hydrate Sheet Mask

Stock up on moisturizing sheet masks to use two to three times a week. Drugstores in the U.S. are finally catching onto the trend, making sheet masks readily available and very affordable, like this one from CVS that our editors love.

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Three Ships Beauty

Buttercream Hydrating Lip Mask

Don’t forget about your lips! Lips are notoriously dry and chapped this season, and a lip mask will keep them plump and moisturized all day without feeling sticky or goopy.

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2. Focus on Exfoliation

Dry air leads to dry skin, which leads to flaking, discomfort, and uneven makeup application. If you wait until it’s too late to work on the excess of dead skin that develops in colder months, you’ll be playing a never-ending game of catch-up for the rest of the season. Opt for a mix of chemical and physical exfoliations to bring dead skin to the surface and slough it off. 

The Ordinary

Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution

If you have dry skin already, opting for a gentle glycolic acid solution will help disrupt the bindings in dead skin cells while avoiding irritation from more intense alpha hydroxy acid exfoliators.

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Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare

Alpha Beta® Extra Strength Daily Peel

Glycolic acid is beneficial for normal, combo, and oily skin types as well, but if you want something a little stronger, a weekly at-home peel with AHAs and BHAs will help combat dry skin as well as the breakouts that can occur due to the sudden imbalance of dead skin cells and oil production.

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Day Maker Microcrystal Exfoliator

A physical exfoliator that can slough away dead skin doesn’t have to be harsh and irritating (*cough cough* St. Ives). This exfoliator has superfine, biodegradable crystals that are safe for sensitive and acne-prone skin and will leave you soft and glowy.

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3. Be Mindful of Water Temperature

It’s hard enough to leave the toasty heaven that is your bed to face the bitter cold of the outside world during fall and winter, and it’s even harder to do it without a long hot shower as a rewarding incentive. Hot water is unfortunately really stressful on your skin, especially your face. Overly hot water increases circulation to your face, which disrupts your natural oil balance, causing dehydration and your oil production to kick into overdrive, which can lead to breakouts. If you want to keep up the natural moisture of your skin a little longer, turn down the temp a little bit. 

Youth to the People

Superfood Antioxidant Cleanser

Taking a super hot shower for short time intervals is admissible every few days for your body skin, but be sure to cleanse your face at the sink before stepping into your steam room and avoid the hot water on your face as much as possible.

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Elements of Comfort Body Oil

Replenish the natural oils you strip from your skin in the shower with a lightweight body oil to avoid dry patches on the skin below the neck.

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4. Supplement Your Lack of Sunshine

Unlike every other vitamin that our bodies benefit from, vitamin D does not exist in the food we eat. Your body synthesizes vitamin D through sun exposure, which becomes increasingly difficult during fall and leading into winter.

Vitamin D benefits a plethora of bodily functions—everything from mood stabilization to the health and vibrancy of your skin. Vitamin D supports your skin’s ability to deflect free radicals thanks to the antioxidants present in its chemical structure and is also a powerful anti-inflammatory.

Hum Nutrition

Vitamin D

Supplementing with vitamin D can help combat dryness-induced breakouts, keep your hair growing healthily, and even stave off the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

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5. Keep Your Hair Moisturized

The damage that a season of dry air does to your hair will, unfortunately, linger long after the first blooms of spring come out of hiding. Brittle strands and busted ends can be easily avoided with a few inexpensive fixes. Make sure you’re clarifying your scalp once a week and deep conditioning as often as your hair needs it. 


Leave-In Conditioner

Layer on a leave-in treatment for extra protection before drying and reserve your stickier and stiffer styling products for after you’ve heat styled instead of applying them before. A cool water rinse, despite how terrible it might sound when it’s cold out, is especially important to seal your hair follicles and keep moisture locked in.

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Kristin Ess

Instant Exfoliating Scalp Scrub

A scalp scrub will get rid of all the dirt, oil, product buildup, and flakes from your scalp, leaving you with volumized, healthy strands.

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No. 8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask

An intense moisturizing mask you can use once a week that won’t weigh your hair down and works on every hair type? We found it.

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Fall 2021 Hair Trends: 30 Colors, Cuts, and Styles to Try This Year


Did Your Skin Just Become So Dry, or Are You Normal?



Glossier’s First-Ever Retinol Makes My Skin Absolutely Glow

A diptych of three bottles of Glossier Universal ProRetinol on an offwhite background and a selfie of Allure senior...Courtesy of brand / Sarah Han for Allure

All products featured on Allure are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

It wouldn't be a stretch to say that retinol and I have a tricky relationship, where one tests the other more than the other. (I'll let you guess.) But as someone who has somehow found herself navigating her late 20s, retinol (a form of vitamin A) is one of those catch-all ingredients I find myself being increasingly drawn toward. With regular use, this dermatologist-approved ingredient tackles a vast range of skin issues, including texture, tone, fine lines, acne, and hyperpigmentation. But because it's shrouded in a lot of scientific terms and myths, I've hesitated to make retinol or, rather, retinoids (more on that later) part of my daily routine. That is, until I discovered Glossier's brand-spanking-new Universal Pro-Retinol

"We were craving a more straightforward experience [of retinol]," Chenaya Devine-Milbourne, senior director of product marketing and development at Glossier says in a global press Q&A. "One that didn't compromise on powerful, visible results, but held your hand a bit more — whether you're a first-time user or a retinoid expert looking for the ultimate forever formula." As someone who falls in the middle of that spectrum, I can guarantee you it's one of the most gentle retinol products I've ever used. 

OK, now let's back it up a little bit and dig into the science that I personally find not the easiest to swallow. (There's a reason I didn't go into medicine. Sorry, mom and dad.) "Retinoids are vitamin A derivatives and come in three primary forms: retinol, retinal and retinoic acid," Camille Howard, a New York City-based board-certified dermatologist and entrepreneur, explains via the press Q&A. "They bind to receptors in our skin and facilitate multiple physiological cascades essential to building collagen and supporting the layers of the skin," including increasing cell turnover and producing natural hyaluronic acid. And that's not even all retinol can do. "From an acne standpoint, the increase in cell turnover helps unclog pores," Sheila Farhang, an Arizona-based board-certified dermatologist and founder of Avant Dermatology & Aesthetics, previously explained to Allure. "This also helps decrease the appearance of brown or red post-acne spots — post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation — as well as help collagen synthesis for acne scarring." Have your ears perked up yet?

A closeup shot of three bottles of Glossier Universal ProRetinol and a product swatch on an offwhite backgroundCourtesy of brand

At its core, Universal Pro-Retinol is a lightweight cream formulated with 0.5% Retinyl Sunflowerate, a pro-retinol derivative composed of retinol and sunflower seed fatty acids, and stevia leaf extract — both of which have impressive texture- and fine-line-smoothing abilities. True to its name, Universal Pro-Retinol is gentle enough to use on all skin types, including sensitive folks. It's spiked with nourishing, plant-based humectants like glycerin and mondo grass root extract to deeply hydrate skin. Mona Gohara, a board-certified dermatologist and associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine, says that these soothing ingredients "mitigate the irritation and redness that may occur with initial retinoid use." 

I don't know about you, but the copious amount of time I've spent indoors since March 2020 has really driven up the dullness of my skin, so I'm all for a resurfacing treatment that kicks uneven tone and texture to the curb. (As much as I think aging is something to be embraced, I would like to prevent fine lines from popping up for a while — if I have any choice in the matter.) Plus, with mask-wearing and heightened levels of anxiety and stress, I've had my fair share of breakout-induced dark spots and scars that, if left to their own devices, wouldn't disappear for months. 

Well, Universal Pro-Retinol did the damn trick and my skin was noticeably more smooth, glowy, and overall more even after two weeks — and my makeup honestly glided on like silk. I'm especially excited to continue using and monitoring this treatment to see if it can tackle my most stubborn, sometimes-self-inflicted dark spots because the best skin-care results happen over time. (I have high hopes.) I go through my usual double-cleanse, toner, and essence routine before slathering on UPR and then sealing everything in with a layer of moisturizer. I gently work in the formula with my fingertips in circular motions until every last centimeter is covered — even around the eyes. Every night, it absorbs quickly and seamlessly into my skin, never leaving behind any residue.

A diptych of two selfies of Allure senior commerce writer Sarah Han holding wearing and applying Glossier Universal...

Just wearing Universal Pro-Retinol, sunscreen, and nothing else (aside from a bit of mascara and lip tint.)

Sarah Han / Allure

Let's take a moment to talk about sensitivity now. As with many potent skin-care treatments, mild reactions are pretty common — which is to say, patch test first and give your skin two to three weeks to adapt to and tolerate the new product. Gohara recommends a pea-sized amount to cover your entire face and to work your way up gradually from once or twice a week. (You can also use the "sandwich method" and apply moisturizer before and after to ease your way into retinoids.)  I've had some experience using retinoids in the past — though not as consistently as I would like — and experienced zero irritation throughout my daily use of Universal Pro-Retinol. I can't emphasize how surprising this is. My skin has definitely looked a bit reddened and raw after using certain retinoid products that shall not be named. 

Oh, and the last piece of very important information? "Since retinol brings your skin back to its normal balance, it can make your skin more easily prone to burning," Caroline Chang, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Rhode Island Dermatology Institute previously explained. "The way to combat this would be to wear sunscreen daily while using a retinol." While I wear sunscreen every day with or without retinol, I've been particularly diligent about reapplication ever since I started Universal Pro-Retinol. SkinCeuticals's Daily Brightening UV Defense Sunscreen SPF 30 and ZitSticka's Megashade Breakout-Proof SPF Serum are two current favorites if you're looking for a new lightweight, nongreasy, and white-cast-free SPF. 

Glossier Universal Pro-Retinol on light gray background

Glossier Universal Pro-Retinol

$35GlossierShop NowSkinCeuticals Daily Brightening UV Defense Sunscreen SPF 30 on white background

SkinCeuticals Daily Brightening UV Defense Sunscreen SPF 30

$54Shop Now

Universal Pro-Retinol is as gentle as retinol creams get and my complexion is looking more even-toned than it has in months. Whether you're new to retinol or want to switch to a milder formula, you can buy a bottle for $35 at starting today, August 31.