The Importance of Routine and 12 Products I Can’t Live Without

Routine, by definition, is a series of actions we do without much thought. For many, these repetitive tasks are considered the most mundane aspect of life, but for others routine is almost sacred- a ritual that keeps life glued together.

My daily wrestling match with ADHD means I have a love/hate relationship with routine. After I completely gave up on any semblance of structure (the lowest point was when I did not use an alarm clock), I waved my white flag realizing I desperately needed routine to function. I’ve come to gain a better relationship with the dull and mundane by slowing down and appreciating the nuances. One of the most enjoyable results to come out of this change, beyond treating myself to an egg white omelette before heading out the door, is a little self-pampering.

Today I’m sharing products from my morning/evening skin and haircare routines in hopes one or two products inspire you to indulge a little bit. Whether it’s a luxurious face masque or rich hand cream, it’s the little things that can turn your day around.

12 Products I Can’t Live Without:

1. Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Vitamin C Body Oil, $58

This body oil is the first thing to go on after the shower. Not only does it smell like a trip to Tulum bottled up in a jar, your skin looks instantly more supple. I’m tempted to say it’s the only accessory your sundress needs.

2. Aveda Tourmaline Charged Radiance Masque, $34

I was introduced to this clay-based masque by my estheticianChristen Hackettand it’s a life saver. The ingredient tourmaline smooths and refines skin for that I-just-had-a-facial glow.

3. Wide Tooth Comb, $2.50

Since I don’t brush my hair all that often, a wide-toothed comb keeps my day-old waves looking manicured, not homely. It’s good for keeping the dreadlocks at bay, too.

4. Konjac Sponge, $10

I had my first encounter with this natural sponge last month and I couldn’t believe how smooth and soft it made my skin. Any visible trace of fine lines (accentuated by dull skin) were scrubbed away. I won’t be going back to my Clarisonic anytime soon.

5. dpHUE Oil Therapy, $34

This stuff is truly luxurious. I like to rub a little bit into the ends of my hair to keep things hydrated and smooth. It makes my hair shiny again without weighing it down. Their shampoo and conditioner are great for fine hair as well- it makes my hair so weightless and bouncy!

6. Malin + Goetz Lip Moisturizer, $12

No one does scents quite like Malin + Goetz, and their lip moisturizer is no exception. Joe brought a sample back from his trip to China and I’ve been using it ever since. I love this creamy, colorless gloss and its slightly minty scent.

7. YSL Volumous Effects, $30

Hands down, the best mascara for adding volume and length. The package is beautiful, too.

8. Korres Lip Butter in Wild Rose, $12

You’ve all heard me talk about the amazingness that is Korres Lip Butter. I like the wild rose color because it gives me a perfectly stained look.

9. Aesop Parsley Seed Cleansing Masque, $39

Pair a big dollop of this with your Konjac sponge and your skin will be as fresh as a new borns. I love the way it lathers up, and the gentle exfoliants won’t damage your skin. The perfect cleanser-masque hybrid.

10. Aveda Pure Abundence Hair Potion, $24

The answer to almost every hair question I receive. It’s powder that turns to liquid with friction, adding the perfect amount of tackiness to your roots so you can fake an “I Woke Up Like This” moment. Be sure to use sparingly, and note this product doesn’t travel well. The only bummer factor.

11. Aesop Parsely Seed Antioxident Serum, $67

Slather a generous 4 drops of serum on your face after the parsley seed masque and you’re on your way to removing the damage those all-nighters in your early 20s has done.

12. Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm, $27

I like to keep a tube of this on my desk, mostly because the package is pretty and the smell is a nice pick-me-up.

* Leather Travel Bag by Cuyana, Set of 2 for $95

It should be noted: Cuyana’s travel bags, just like their totes, are a forever-and-for-always kind of bag. I’m tempted to stock up on them because they sell out so fast!

What’s your go-to routine entail? Any products I should try? Spill it.

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  • I love my facial sponge and use it daily (I use the Dr. Sponge version for oily skin). It’s worked miracles! I also love Korres body products – I swear by the body butter in Guava. Definitely worth a try if you haven’t already!

  • All of these products sound really lovely and I can’t wait to try many of them. I like using organic Argan oil for all sorts of things. Smoothing my hair when it gets a little frizzy, mixing with water and patting on my face for moisture in the morning and dabbing under my eyes before bedtime. I started using Mario Badescu glycolic acid toner every few days for super smooth skin. It’s all natural with a short ingredient list, which I like. I also love Tata Harper’s Be Adored lip balm which gives a subtle berry tint and hydrates completely.

    • Oh! I’m definitely going to check this out, Alecia. Thank you for sharing! It’s pretty scary how many extra chemicals are put into cosmetics and skincare products…

  • Routines are so important for me (I’m totally type A… oops!). I love looking forward to a little beauty ritual at the beginning and end of everyday. I just love the products you shared and I definitely need to pick up a few Aesop goodies (if only for the pretty packaging).

  • Kate, a few of good toners to try are Ren Clarifying Toner Lotion, Pixi Glow Tonic and First Aid Beauty Radiance Pads. Good stuff! Some of my can’t live without products are Sachajuan volume powder. That stuff is amazing and gives my hair so much volume. I also love Tata Harper’s Resurfacing Mask. This stuff gives your face serious glow. Another mask I love is Origins Clear Improvements charcoal mask. I’ve been really wanting to try the Aesop Parsley Seed mask. Sounds like awesome stuff!

    • Hi Robin! I find it absorbs great- not as quickly as a normal moisturizer, but that’s what I usually expect with an oil-based cleanser.

  • I have recently become a total Thayers Rose Water toner addict. Toner is one of those products that my mom has been telling me to use for my entire life, but naturally… I didn’t. Now, I can’t live without it! I’m still honestly not entirely sure what it does, but it smells beautiful and makes me feel fresh and awake first thing in the morning. I can’t wait to try some of your recommended products!

    • Kelly! Isn’t it funny how you come around after all those years? I find myself doing the same thing. As a huge fan of rose-scented anything, I’m really intrigued by this toner. Thank you for the recommendation!

  • I recently splurged on Aesop’s B & Tea toner and have already noticed my combo skin evening out. We will see if I’m still loving it come high summer in DC!

  • Love the Aesop skincare products as well. Their toner is amazing too! But the Rodin face oil has been life changing for me. The price tag is ROUGH, but it’s seriously changed my face for the better. Plumps, smoothes, softens, allll the good things. It took me a few days to get used to the strong smell, but once that passed, I can’t live without it.

  • Thanks, Kate! I love Avene thermal spring water spray as a toner. It works great with oils and serums. I use a lot of toner, and it’s priced just right!

    Yuli has great products as well, if you’re looking for something new.

  • Are you really using the cleansing sponge in place of your Clarisonic and finding the same results? I have been wanting a Clarisonic, but maybe I should reconsider…?
    I’d love to hear more of your thoughts on this!

  • I’ve recently discovered Lush products and I really like their “Let the Good Times Roll” skin cleanser. It is a gentle exfoliant that leaves my skin smooth and supple. I also like Josie Maran’s Argan Balm. I use it on my lips, hands and hair. I now want to check out the Korres lip butter you mentioned!

  • I clicked thru on your comb link but it doesn’t look the same as yours. Could you tell me where yours came from! Thanks for all the great tips.

  • We are kindred spirits as far as routine is concerned. Consistency is so hard for me. I almost find it impossible. I would give you some skincare suggestions, but alas it takes a serious commitment for me to even finish anything.

  • Kate- Do you have a good under eye concealer recommendation? I always have such dark circles under my eyes and my current concealer seems to melt off by mid day! Thanks 🙂