My Skincare Routine

I’m going to preface this post by saying I am not an expert in skincare and up until recently, all I really did was wash my face at night and occasionally apply moisturizer before bed if I remembered it. I’ve always thought multi-step routines were ridiculous, expensive and only reserved for hardcore skin care junkies.

My previous AM routine basically consisted of cold water rinse, moisturizer with SPF then day makeup and my PM routine was to wash off makeup with a cream cleanser using my Clarisonic followed by a heavier moisturizer. That’s all I’ve ever done since I can remember.

Then last year my sister introduced me to Thayers Witch Hazel toner. She would not stop talking it up and even her husband chimed in saying he uses it too and how it has worked wonders on their skin. So I bought it, and a year later, it has been a staple in my AM/PM routine. The alcohol free formula is hydrating and it has helped significantly lessen my adult acne. I still occasionally get hormonal breakouts in my jawline but it’s not as bad as it used to be. My skin has been oily since I was a teen and occasional acne is a persistent problem. I would get random dry spots on my cheek during winter but in general, excess oil and large pores were my normal.

My skin isn’t perfect. I bear the marks and scars of someone who has suffered from persistent acne.

My skin isn’t perfect. I bear the marks and scars of someone who has suffered from persistent acne.

So everything new I’ve started doing and products I bought were after I binged on youtube videos by Renee of Gothamista. I discovered Renee after Megan of Undecorated Home mentioned her once on her Instagram Stories. I loved how Renee’s videos were honest in her product reviews and broke down routines and explained how one product worked with another. Sure, she’d mention ingredients with names I can’t pronounce but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t google and look up myself. I watched and rewatched several of her videos trying to determine which of the products she mentioned I would try. It was here that I also discovered The Ordinary. I’m incredibly late to this since this line has been out for a couple of years but what attracted me to their line was the price point. Every single product was under $20, most were under $10. For someone who was new to skincare and wasn’t sure where to begin, I wasn’t about to drop $75 on a miracle serum. The Ordinary’s products and packaging is no fuss with no flowery words like “Radiant Glow” or “Miracle Serum.” The names basically feature the key ingredient in each serum, and if you don’t know what those ingredients do, their website explains each one pretty clearly.

So my new routine is outlined below

AM Routine

  1. Cold Water Rinse

  2. Thayers Witch Hazel Toner

  3. Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1 %

  4. The Ordinary Buffet Peptide

  5. Cerave moisturizer with SPF - I also love Acure Brightening Day Cream

  6. Eye Cream - currently using Volition Helix AM/PM gel but also love Kiehls Avocado Eye Cream

  7. SPF - If using a moisturizer without it.


The concept of double cleansing was new to me but after I tried it, I couldn’t believe much better it was at removing the gunk off my face. I used to avoid any oil products since I thought that’s what I should do because of my oily skin but realized that oil is attracted to oil and is the only thing that can remove it. This discovery has been a game changer for me.

PM Routine

  1. Burts Bees Cleansing Oil

  2. Kiehls Oil-Free Cleanser - Also love the Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Wash

  3. Thayer’s Witch Hazel Toner - twice a week, I do the Seven skin Method

  4. The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

  5. The Ordinary Matrixyl 10% + HA OR Lactic Acid 10% + HA (Cannot be combined)

    I alternate these two since the Lactic Acid cannot be combined with a peptide so I use that 2-3 times a week at night and use the Matrixyl on all other nights.

  6. The Ordinary 100% Organic Rosehip Seed Oil mixed with a few drops of the Kiehls Midnight Recovery Concentrate (I do this mostly for the smell since the rosehip seed oil has an earthy scent to it)

  7. Kiehls Ultra Facial Cream

  8. Eye Cream

  9. Optional: twice a week I sleep with Laneige Water Sleeping Mask and recently I’ve been using a clay mask once a week. I have read great things about Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay so I got myself some and will try this week.

I built my routine based on this video. I incorporated new products with ones I already use but may switch my old arsenal up after I use them up to try others. I’ve only started this routine a couple weeks ago and it typically takes 8-12 weeks to see visible results but I can already tell the difference with regards to how my skin feels. My products may not be the same as yours since every one has different skin types. Renee also discusses in one of her videos about the difference about skin type and skin condition and how the latter is affected by environmental factors and seasonal changes and should be addressed accordingly.

I now look forward to my routines, specially at night. It’s like a mini spa day when I’m washing off my day. The multi-step routine that once seemed daunting and unrealistic has now become a crucial and relaxing way to end my day.

So that’s me. The few minutes each day that I now dedicate to skin care is like my little daily self care. Hope you find the routine that works for you.

cariPro Ultrasonic Toothbrush Review (Giveaway CLOSED)

I mentioned in my Instagram stories a couple weeks ago about receiving an electric toothbrush from Smile Brilliant. They reached out to me about trying out their cariPRO Ultrasonic toothbrush and of course I had to say yes. I was excited to try something different since I had only ever used a cheap electric toothbrush I bought from Bed, Bath and Beyond with one of their 20% coupons. I had no prior experience with an electric toothbrush before that so I had no idea what better felt like. I tried the cariPRO toothbrush as soon as I ripped the box open and I’m not going to tell you words such as “AMAZING! FANTASTIC!” because who really describes a toothbrush like that? Not me. You know how my mouth felt after though? CLEAN. Like different clean. My previous electric toothbrush had a round oscillating head that was fine because I didn’t know any different. Comparing the two brush heads made it seem that the cariPRO brush heads were a tad too big but that would be a quick misconception. The shape of the cariPRO brushes were great for reaching the back of my teeth, an observation shared by my husband which I will share a bit more about later.

CariPRO Brush Modes

The toothbrush has 5 modes, 3 cleaning modes and 2 other modes best paired with the other three. For a description of each mode, see the graphic I grabbed from the guide they sent me.

So the modes have been very helpful for me because I have slightly sensitive teeth. Blame it on aging plus I grind my teeth when I sleep so my teeth are particularly sensitive in the morning. I’ve been wearing a night guard for about three years now but the damage grinding has done for years prior to that isn’t something I can reverse. So my previous toothbrush can cause bleeding some mornings but I haven’t had that issue with the cariPRO brush. I typically use the Clean mode paired with the Gum Care mode every night. I love the four 30-second bursts that remind you to brush a different quadrant of your teeth giving your a total of two minutes which is the amount of time you should be brushing your teeth anyway. The head vibrates at about 40,000 vibrations per minute which is comparable to the leading sonic toothbrushes that cost about twice as much and significantly more than the cheaper electric toothbrushes on the market. I was almost swayed by an ad I saw on the subway for a $25 electric toothbrush that had an automatic brush head subscription until I realized it ran on AAA batteries. The cariPRO is rechargeable and has a waterproof housing that’s safe to use while you’re in the shower or bath.

Smile Brilliant sent over two brush heads so I decided to give the other one to my husband Vien and we switch the heads out whenever we need to use it and it’s worked great for him as well. He’s switched over from using a regular manual toothbrush. He’s not a man of many words but when I asked him how he likes it, he says his mouth feels a lot cleaner and he likes how it reaches parts of his mouth that he normally can’t clean properly with a manual toothbrush. His only gripe? He wishes the tongue scraper on the back of each brush head had a wider textured area.

***GIVEAWAY CLOSED***

So want to own one yourself? Enter through the link below to get a chance to win!

ENTER TO WIN your own Individual Toothbrush Package (worth $119) complete with TWO brush heads and charging dock

Open to all USA, UK, Australia and Canada residents.

Can’t wait to see if you win one? Use the code KARILOPEZ20 to get 20% off your package of choice! Everyone’s a winner!

You can find more information about the cariPRO toothbrush and Smile Brilliant through their website.

Disclaimer: I am not an expert on oral hygiene and my review is from the point of view of someone who is looking to improve on my oral hygiene habits. I did my own quick research on the benefits of sonic toothbrushes so feel free to do your own research.