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Photofacials, Spin for Perfect Skin & my summer beauty routine

It's officially feeling like summer with all this sunshine and warm weather. Since I did a whole skincare series (No 01 | No 02 | No 03 | No 04) back in January with a post all about my skincare routine and tips for how to load up on moisture for the dry, cold weather, I've reviewed a ton of messages asking whether my routine has changed and if I do things differently for summer. It's time to talk about my current routine: what's changed, what I'm loving, and how I've updated my routine for summer.

My skincare routine is constantly changing and evolving as I try new things.

On a monthly basis, I have a lot of products going in and out of my circle of favorites. I love trying new things, so as I keep up with my beauty blogger besties, I'm constantly swapping in some of their most highly recommended products into my routine. Not only that, but I also get sent a wide variety of products by different brands to try out and share my experience with. Let me tell you, some of them are try-it-once-and-fall-in-love amazing, and some are well....meh. 

But first, the Photofacial

Before we chat about my new routine and what products are in my favorites circle, let me first tell you about a facial I had recently that is a GAME CHANGER. This is important because I feel like it has really changed my skin and gave me a clean slate to build a new and improved skin care routine from. So the facial I'm talking about is an "Intense Pulsed Light" (IPL) or Photo facial

I never even knew this was a thing until I went to Vitahl in Denver for a consultation and they suggested I try it. Essentially, this facial uses light pulses to target damaged skin cells, dark spots, and redness. These damaged cells come to the surface and are cleared, which leaves skin looking younger and less damaged.

I chose to do this treatment because I had a lot of sun (read: tanning bed) damage and spots from my high school and college years, plus a few broken capillaries around my eyes plus redness on my cheeks (not the cute rosy kind). 

The whole process was simple. They cleansed my skin, applied a cooling gel and gave me some protective eyewear. Each of the little light pulse felt like someone snapping a rubber band on my face. It wasn't comfortable, but it wasn't too painful. Afterwards, my skin felt super sensitive and a little red, and I had to be careful with it for a couple weeks after while it healed.

It's been about 4 weeks and my skin is noticeably smoother, has no redness, the dark spots are  either gone or substantially improved, and my pores are so much smaller. I totally forgot to take a before and after picture, which I'm still kicking myself for because the difference was major.

So fresh, so clean

I tell you all this because getting this treatment was a turning point for me. No, it's not a magic bullet that cured all my skincare woes, but seeing the transformation and improvement in my skin plus taking the time to chat with a professional about my routine and the types of things I should be doing in order to make my skin look and feel it's best was so encouraging.

I'm guilty of putting trust in every new and improved product that promises to do big things for my skin, and find myself feeling let down and a little stuck when it doesn't deliver. It made me realize that there are a ton of amazing products out there, but just are few are the ones that are going to be perfect for my skin and routine. 

All that being said, here are my favorites, but don't get bogged down with suggestion overload. Just because these are my drop-dead favorites, doesn't mean they are going to be perfect for you. My best advice...go get a sample before you buy them! Sephora will give you three free samples each trip, so take advantage of that.


farmacy | night cream | Hydrating moisturizer | natural beauty | eco beauty | best skincare products | sephora

Summer Skincare Routine

My primary focus for summer is protecting my skin from the sun and heat. This means a serious sunscreen regimen, packing on antioxidants to protect skin from UV rays, good exfoliation to keep dirt and sweat away, and a nighttime retinoid. So let's break this down:


1. Wash my face with FRESH Soy Face Cleansing Milk 

This cleanser is very gentle and soothing, so it's a perfect start to the morning. It cleanses without stripping, smells like cucumber and has amino-acid rich soy proteins to support elasticity.

Lazy Day Option: Cleanse with ALBA Botanica 3-in-1 Face Wipes - These smell awesome and have pineapple enzyme to exfoliate and cleanse.

2. Apply Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum 

I can't tell you how much I love this stuff. It's packed with Vitamin C and antioxidants to protect skin from sun damage and free radicals. Vitamin C is an anti-aging must-have to firm and brighten, and it's suggested for everyone, whether as a preventative or anti-aging regimen. They also have this in a little travel / test size here.

3. Apply Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Hydration Gel OR Nip + Fab Dragon's Blood Hylaronic Shot

Just because it's summer doesn't mean you can skip the hydration. I switch to lighter hydration products instead of heavy creams and lotions. I like both these hydration gels equally, so I switch between them depending on the day. They both give moisture without weight or feeling greasy. The Nip & Fab shot has hylaronic acid, which is amazingly hydrating. The B-Hydra gel has vitamin B5 and pineapple ceramide to attract / boost moisture. It also comes in that little travel-size duo.

Lazy Day Option: Apply June Jacobs Neroli Hydrating Mist - This stuff smells amazing and gives my skin a quick and easy hydration boost.

4. Apply Elta MD Sunscreen & Let dry

If you do nothing else do this!!! Seriously. I got a wakeup call through the photofacial process when I realized just how much sun damage my skin had at just age 24! Luckily, the facial was pretty effective at reversing some of that, but I'm finally committed to a no-exceptions sunscreen routine. You don't have to eat your veggies, but you do have to wear your sunscreen. I like this Elta MD sunscreen because it's tinted, non-greasy and offers SPF 41. Another favorite is the COOLA Classic sunscreen in the cucumber scent.

5. Apply makeup



1. Rub in CLINIQUE 'Take the Day Off' Cleansing Balm to melt away makeup, wipe off with cotton round.

I used to like to use coconut oil to do this, but I got a sample of Clinique's makeup remover and fell in love. It is a balm that melts into an oil in your hands and does literally melt of your makeup. It's great for anything waterproof, which I find myself wearing pretty often in the summer. I also love this product because you just have to use a little bit to get all the day's makeup off.

2. Wash my face with FRESH Soy Face Cleanser + Exfoliate with the 'Spin to Perfect Skin' by Vanity Planet

The Cleanser gives a deeper cleanse than their cleansing milk, but is still gentle enough to use everyday. It has the same amazing smell also. I love to use it with my spin brush from Vanity Planet, which I'm going to share all about (+ a 70% off coupon) next. I get the brush wet and apply some cleanser directly to it, then give my face a good scrub.

3.  Apply Hydropeptide Nimni Cream

This is my hands down favorite night cream, which is funny because it was gifted and I don't think I would have thought to buy it for myself. It's got retinol, which is best to apply at night since it becomes ineffective in the sun and can also make your skin more sensitive to burning. I really love how this cream smells and it also has some other good vitamins and antioxidants for an extra anti-aging punch. 

4. Apply Farmacy Sleep Tight Serum

I let the Nimni Cream dry, then apply this lightly if my skin feels like it needs some extra moisture. It's oil based, so I usually apply a little on just the areas that are feeling dry instead of smothering it all over. I'm a big fan of all of Farmacy's products. If you want a little into before you commit to the full-size, they have a discovery kit here.

vanity planet | exfoliator | spin brush | exfoliating brush |dry brush | spin for perfect skin

Spin for Perfect Skin

My current favorite beauty tool is Vanity Planet's 'Spin for Perfect Skin' brush.  I love this system because it uses the same handle with interchangeable brushes. The set comes with two different facial brushes: one for daily cleansing and one for deeper exfoliating. I use the deep exfoliating brush about 2-3x a week, and the regular one every night.

There is also a larger body brush which I actually use a lot for dry brushing before my shower, plus a pumice stone for smooth heels.

If you'd like to take this exfoliation kit for a spin (paha) and add it into your beauty routine you can use coupon code BBSFPS70 for 70% off this brush or any of the ones you see HERE. I know, crazy right? Plus, they have a 60 day money-back promise, so if it doesn't work for you, no sweat.



What's skincare favorites do you have in your summer routine? Ready to try out some of my faves? Leave a comment below or use #NeverSkipBrunch

P.S. The Spin for Perfect Skin Brush was gifted & some shopable links are affiliate links.


vanity planet | exfoliator | spin brush | exfoliating brush |dry brush | spin for perfect skin
vanity planet | exfoliator | spin brush | exfoliating brush |dry brush | spin for perfect skin
vanity planet | exfoliator | spin brush | exfoliating brush |dry brush | spin for perfect skin


I'm Cara, the designer & Chief Creative Enthusiast behind Never Skip Brunch. I'm a color & prints obsessed DIY queen who's here to help you create a beautifully lived-in life through home design advice and chic DIY tutorials


  1. Alyssa says

    I so needed to read this! I love all the tips, but mostly the fact that I don’t have to get discouraged if the products that work for someone else don’t work for me! And I looove Vanity Planet spin brushes!
    Also, I am in Denver too! We should totally meet up sometime 🙂


    • NEVER SKIP BRUNCH by Cara Newhartneverskipbrunch says

      Good! So glad it was helpful.
      Thats awesome, we should grab coffee! Just shoot me a text, 720.507.4022

  2. Sue says

    I got so excited to read a possible photofacial option for me.. but.. ugh.. I’ve gone to two professionals after a friend of mine got burned and ended up with white skin after IPL – aparently certain types of skin can not have this treatment – which mine happens to be! So I am still on a search for solutions for brown spots and evening out tone and zapping some wrinkles!
    I love and have the spin brush you recommend – and MY favorite product for summer is Colorscience sunfogettable tinted mineral sunscreen which doubles as foundation/sunscreen and is great for hot humid weather and oily skin!

    • NEVER SKIP BRUNCH by Cara Newhartneverskipbrunch says

      Oh no! Sorry to hear that. It doesn’t work for all skin types, which does really stink. I’ll have to give that sunscreen a try!!

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