When the seasons change, I always take a second look at my skincare routine. With years of practice, I’ve gotten pretty good at adjusting my line-up depending on the climate and what’s been up in my life. But when I need a little extra help, I call up the experts. I recently checked in with my go-to facialist here in Zurich (Beauty Care for those of you who are interested), as well as my dermatologist. They helped set me back on track for the fall season ahead.

While embarking on this little reset, I figured I would share the details with all of you – both what I’ve learned over the years and how the pros have guided me. Finding a routine is actually pretty easy once you master the fundamentals. In 5 steps, you can create a stellar skin-changing routine. Seriously. Here’s what you need to know…

Step 1: Cleanser

In a nutshell – get all the gross stuff off your face

Cleansing isn’t optional, especially at the end of the day. Clean skin = clear skin. I’d say that out of the whole routine, the washing part is probably my least favorite, which is why I look for cleansers that quickly get the job done and leave my skin feeling sparkling and plump. You’ve got to find one that feels the best to you. Here are a few all-stars by texture:

Lotion – Even thought I’m personally not a lotion girl, I do really like Pai’s Gentle 2-in-1 Cleanser and Eye Makeup Remover. It’s great if you have red or sensitive skin and the packaging makes it perfect for travel.

Oil ­– My favorite oil cleanser is by One Love Organics. It’s a really like oil and it smells like pineapples and it dissolves everything. Tatcha’s one step Camellia Cleansing Oil is the runner up in the oil-cleansing department.

Sudsy – I love Indie Lee’s Brightening Cleanser because it creates a rich lather to wash away the day. It’s packed with antioxidants and rose hip (one of my favorite ingredients), so it leaves your face super tight after.

Double Cleanse – If you feel like you still have a bit of makeup from the day, I HIGHLY suggest Erno Laszlo’s tried and true Light Controlling Lotion. It gently exfoliates and tightens pores. I am obsessed with the smell. It reminds me of my childhood. It was the first skincare line I ever used, as introduced by my mom.

 

Step 2: Serum

In a nutshell – a concentrated potion aimed at treating your specific problem areas.

Serums are the key to retaining that youthful glow as long as possible. There are all different kinds of serums geared towards a host of issues: anti-aging, acne, dullness, fine lines, age-spots…You get the point, right? Here are my favorites by type:

For Hydration – You will love Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyluronic Acid Serum. This plumps skin and gives you a dewy finish.

For Targeting Redness & Acne – Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Calming Serum is also amazing. It’s good for just about anyone dealing with redness, uneven skin tone, acne. It does what it says and calms the skin right down. It’s a miracle product.

For Plumping – Tata Harper’s Concentrated Brightening Serum is still one of my favorites, because it makes my skin feel really tight and leaves a flowing finish. Also, you can’t not mention serum these days without mentioning Vintner’s Daughter. It’s won dozens of awards and is coveted by just about every beauty editor.

For Glowing – Odacite makes amazing serums. My favorites are the Wild Carrot Seed and the Rosehip Ylang Ylang.

 

Step 3: Moisturizer/ Cream

In a nutshell – lock-in hydration to keep your skin plump

Right now I am using Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Face Cream. It’s pretty no nonsense. It sinks right into the skin and leaves my skin looking hydrated and gets rid of the general redness. I’d say the holy grail of moisturizers is Blue Cocoon by May Lindstrom. It’s one of my all time favorites and it ails almost any kind of skin issue. Some claim it’s a miracle product and the smell and texture is so luxurious. From the French pharmacy comes Avene and it’s Skin Recovery Cream. I really love their creams, and this one in particular, for hypersensitive skin. And last but not least, Pai’s Chamomile & Rosehip Calming Day Cream is ideal for redness-prone skin. The gentle formula calms flair-ups of redness and irritation while hydrating delicate skin.

 

Step 4: Eye Cream

In a nutshell – keep your eyes bright and youthful

Yes, you need one morning and evening. Use your ring fingers to dab it into the delicate area around the eyes. I love Dr. Sturm’s Eye Cream the best. Followed by One Love Organics Eye Balm, which is so light. Royal Fern I actually just started using and it’s meant to reduce the effects of genetic aging. I feel like after only a few days, I can totally see a difference!

 

Stop 5: SPF

In a nutshell – protect your skin against harmful UV rays

I don’t like to use lotions that are made with SPF, I like to mix it in my day cream. It stays longer and doesn’t leave a weird residue. Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Sun Drops are intended for this exact purpose and make using sunscreen really easy. Avene’s SPF  is also very clean and mixes into my lotions really nicely. Goldfaden MD Sun Visor SPF30 is also super cool. It’s hypoallergenic and dries with a clear, matte finish. It’s made from organic, natural ingredients, free from mineral oil, alcohol, parabens and gluten and blends so easily into the skin. Also – make sure to use SPF that is oxybenzone-free. This is just the worst ingredient. Seriously, it’s pure poison. Oh, Susanne Kaufmann relaunched her SPF and it’s incredible. All the ingredients are harvested and cultivated organically from Austria’s Bregenzer Forest – I’ve been there and you can read my interview with Susanne here.

It’s been a while, to say the least, since I’ve shared my Glow Guide. In case you’re a new reader, my Glow Guide series is a curated monthly roundup of my favorite beauty products. The focus changes month to month, depending on the season and what’s trending. In the spirit of back to school, I figured I start it up again just in time for the fall.

I am still feeling skincare over makeup, and can slap on my daytime makeup in less than 5 minutes. I am addicted to essential oils and keep little bottles of them on me at all times. I have just switched to Dr. Barbara Sturm cream just in time for the cold and am using her super-rich body cream as well.

I discovered a new cheek and lip tint in the most perfect (and totally universal) tone and I am really into a red eye shadow situation for evenings when I want to look a little vampy. What else… Oh, perfumes and candles! Fall is all about finding your scent and creating a warm, cozy place to come home to. Read on for the full September beauty edit of the best products to try for the season ahead.

Ellis Brooklyn SciFi EDP

Raaw in a Jar Blue Beauty Drops


CAP Beauty Matcha Match Stick Box

Glass Dharma Glass Straw

001 Skincare London Pure Active Peel

Byredo Rose Of No Man’s Land Roll-On EDP

RMS Beauty Garden Rose Eye Shadow 19

 Charlotte Tilbury Matte Lipstick Amazing Grace

 Pursoma Earth Bound Body Mask

 Susanne Kaufmann Nourishing Herbal Whey Bath

Dr. Barbara Sturm Anti-Aging Body Cream

Living Libations Rose Glow Complexion Mist

 Olio E Osso No. 2 Balm in French Melon

 Rituel de Fille Ash and Ember Eye Shoot in Viscera

True Botanicals Antioxidant Booster

I recently drove to Austria to visit Susanne Kaufmann. I was on a mission to experience a few treatments at her glorious spa. During my Advanced Anti-Aging Facial, I learned a masking technique I’ll never forget. I loved it so much, I’ve incorporated it into my routine at home. (And you know I’ve very picky with my routine.) It only requires 3 products, takes 30 minutes max and is ideal when used as a pre-party, glowifying peel. 

Here’s the deal:

Step 1: Apply the Enzyme Peel to clean skin and leave on for 10 minutes. Suzanne loves using this mask first, as it opens your skin up for the other products.

Step 2: Next, combine the Nutrient Concentrate or the Skin Lightening and Radiance Complex with the Moisturizing Face Mask. Leave this on for 20 minutes to let the products do their magic work.

Step 3: Massage, massage, massage. During my facial, jade rollers were used to press the product deeper into the skin and to further encourage relaxation. I even bought a few rollers of my own so I could authentically replicate the treatment at home.

Whenever Tatcha launches something new I always pay attention. In case you need a refresher on this heavenly brand, let me catch you up.

This time last year I spent two weeks in Japan, in Tokyo, Kyoto and the surrounding countryside (you can learn everything about my adventure here and here). It goes without saying that the Japanese know their stuff when it comes to beauty. And Tatcha is proof. I was familiar with the brand before my trip, but became fully obsessed when I dove deeper into the line’s history. Tatcha’s founder Victoria Tsai, was even kind enough to share with me her favorite places in Kyoto which I of course shared with you in my Japan stories ;).

For over 300 years, Japan’s geisha have been held in awe for their enduring wisdom and breathtakingly beautiful, porcelain skin. Perfected through centuries, it’s widely believed that their beauty secrets were passed down from one generation to the next by word of mouth. These secrets are being resurfaced by Tatcha. All of their products are formulated with the geisha practices in mind.

Take their latest launch, for example. Their new Water Cream comes in a this cool mint green substantial jar and contains a mixture of history and science. At the heart of the cream is Japanese wild rose which is tightens your pores and smoothes your skin’s texture. What I love is that the cream is super lightweight but leaves the complexion quenched. It’s also made with 23-karat gold (seriously), so it leaves you with this amazing lit-from-within glow that’s not in the least bit shiny. The oil-free formula also doubles as one of the best makeup primers you skin has ever seen.

Even hours after applying it, there is still this perfect little dewy effect left on the skin. It’s like wearing makeup… without all the caky stuff. If your skin is dry (lets face it, it’s summer, so who’s isn’t?), but you hate the heaviness and greasiness of those grandma creams, this is the cream for you. I am really into this cream guys, I’ve gotta say, and you should be too. Try it out and let me know what you think in the comments!

Photo, Anna Ewers by Patrick Demarchelier for Vogue UK.

A few weeks ago, I had the most transformative experience I couldn’t wait to share with all of you. I had the pleasure of visiting Susanne Kaufmann at her spa at the Hotel Post Bezau. The blonde beauty comes from the Bregenzer Forest, a unique valley in the Austrian Alps, and has developed powerful, results-driven products (I’m sure you’ve heard of them) comprised of the cleanest, most refreshing ingredients. I was lucky enough to visit her picturesque hotel for a mini-detox and to test out her line and her treatments.

Here’s the scoop.

During my three night stay at the Hotel Post, I slept in one of the special “sleep therapy rooms.” My bed was made in a particular way to ensure deep sleep and at night, the wifi actually turns off to encourage further relaxation. The design of the room is very simple, no TV, just very zen. I ate from her Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Detox Diet, which was delicious and left me totally satisfied. The cuisine supports purification, detoxification and de-acidification of the body and the connective tissue. I could get down with that.

A typical menu sounded like this. Breakfast: hot oat cereal with fruits, pudding of chia seed with coconut and cardamom, juice freshly squeezed with linseed oil, and Susanne Kaufmann Detox Tea. Lunch: fennel tomato soup, quinoa with cucumber, bell pepper, olives and capers and SK Peppermint Tea. Dinner: stewed saffron fennel with celery, cream of parsnips and wild herbs, fennel tomato soup and SK Acid Alkalizing Tea. The teas became my addiction over the course of my stay, especially the Acid Alkalizing Tea.

The best part? I had the opportunity to meet with Susanne. I, obviously, asked her everything – from the inspiration behind her skincare line to her under-the-radar beauty secrets. Read on for my full interview with the guru.

Tell me about how you got involved with the spa.

“When I took over [the spa in 1994], there was one masseur, one therapist, a doctor, a little spa and a sauna. It was the typical European detox center, but very simple. I quickly realized I wanted to develop and focus on the spa.

A lot of the spas at the time were influenced by Greek and Italian architecture, very heavy, so I was always striving to be unique, which is why I decided to keep the spa clean, sterile, white and very medical. I wanted to have nothing in the rooms – no colors, pictures, sounds – so you can focus on yourself.”

When concepting the spa, how did you decide to develop your own line of products?

“We had tried all the big name brands – Shiseido, Estee Lauder, but nothing natural. And I was very lucky because I was told about a producer that was only 15 minutes from the hotel that has his own line using whey in his cosmetics. And at the beginning there were 24 products, now we have around 80 products. And people really came to the spa, and I didn’t know if they would like the products and would ask for Clinique or Estee, but they didn’t, they loved our line. So after a year, we fazed out all the other lines and we used only Susanne Kaufmann products. And that’s how it started.

How would you describe your skincare line?

“It’s about taking the best quality and bringing it into the skin in the most natural and effective way and really do something and work. When you bring something in very deeply, you have to be careful about what you take and which quality. For me, cooking and cosmetics are a bit the same. It all depends on the ingredients. If you make a fish that isn’t good quality, and you put on the best sauce in the world, the fish still isn’t good. And the same goes for cosmetics. You can disguise anything with fancy packaging, but if the quality isn’t right, it’s harmful.”

Susanne Kaufmann Spa Bezau Susanne Kaufmann Spa BezauWhat ingredients make your products stand out?

Ectoine. It’s a wonderful cell repair ingredient. When it comes to anti-aging and radiance and beautiful skin, it’s always about helping your cells work better. After we turn 25, the cell regeneration diminishes. The ectoine helps the cells regenerate and protect themselves. We have it in the whole A-Line, the advanced anti-aging line as well as well as the sun production creams. It’s from an algae, so they do it in the lab. They put the algae’s under stress by freezing them. To prevent the algae from dying, they give the algae a little ‘coat,’ which is the ectoine. This protects from the coldness. So when you go back and de-freeze them, they release the ectoine! It’s so natural and it’s a wonderful botanical active.

I also use arnica. In the summertime as a child, my parents would send me and my cousins to the mountains [to visit my grandmother]. We always had time to collect things. There were blueberries and ingredients for tea. And my Grandma was obsessed with arnica. She would make arnica schnapps. And whenever you had something, if it was a scratch, a sore throat, if you had problems with you knee – arnica cured everything. So whenever we would go up into the Alps, she would ask us to bring it. And it wasn’t for drinking; it was just for the cure.”

Have any favorite products in your collection?

“The Line A Eye Cream (which contains that entoine) and also the Skin Lighting and Radiance Complex. It makes your skin really even and removes the sunspots and age spots. But it takes time to really remove the pigmentation. If you really have those dark spots, it takes a year but it works. You don’t need lasers; the creams and serums will really work.”

You are known to be fascinated by Traditional Chinese medicine. How does that influence the spa?

“I was looking for something a bit deeper than only doing facials and massages. I always thought there was more more about being beautiful or healthy, so I tried a few different courses. I went to a Panchakarma course [aka the most effective healing modality in Ayurvedic Medicine] and it was a really wonderful experience but I couldn’t introduce this into the Hotel Post. Your hair needed to get really oily and this was more of a retreat, so it wasn’t right kind of experience.

Traditional Chinese medicine is all about preservation. You basically go to prevent getting sick. I thought this was the right thing. I didn’t want to be a medical center but I did want to prevent people from getting sick. If you come to the hotel for the whole detox program, you are seen by a Chinese medicine practitioner and your plan is based on your diagnosis.

From there everything falls into place and you get specific cuisine, treatments, movements and products. It’s a 360 degree approach. We see beauty in a holistic way. You have to look at the whole picture – not just at the skin. It’s what how eat and sleep, so we try to integrate all of this into your treatment.”

Susanne Kaufmann Spa BezauHow did you choose the hotel’s menu?

“The food was really important to me because I love food. If I have a 5-course menu or if I just have some cheese and potato, I always look for good quality. Food is how you feed your cells, everything. It’s really the base. Now we see, that people eat to much yogurt and have these sugar shocks so again, its so important what we give and feed our bodies from the inside.”

What’s the deal with your famous Whey Bath?

“We are doing so much cheese here in this area. If you have 1 liter milk you are only doing 90% cheese out of this, so the remaining 10% is the whey. And there are so many vitamins and minerals in this whey. My grandmother made all these different things with whey, because it was so good for you. She even made whey soup, which I never liked. She lived to 99. The reason that it’s so good for you is because of the lactic acid. We have heard all these theories about how Cleopatra bathed in milk. Well she actually bathed whey.”

Are you now as obsessed as I am with Susanne? I thought so. To give you a little mini crash course in her skincare line, I put together a shortlist of my favorite discoveries….

It was really hard to choose, but because I am such a bath addict, I love her Whey Bath (duh) and her Mallow Blossom Bubble Bath. Both look and feel incredible and actually make your skin more hydrated. The cooling and warming foot creams are really incredible products too. I bought the warming cream for myself and the cooling for my mom and she absolutely loves it.

For skincare, I am an Hyaluronic Acid lover, so it was only natural that I gravitated towards her Hyaluron Serum. The super concentrated plant-based formula is enriched with Hyaluronic Acid to help the skin retain moisture, as well as Citric Acid to reduce the appearance of fine lines.

After experiencing the anti-aging facial at her glorious spa, I knew that I needed the power trio in order to get my pre-party facial on. This means that the Enzyme Peel, the Moisturizing Mask and the Skin Lightening and Radiance Complex are now integral parts of my skincare routine. I’ll have a tutorial on how to do this coming up!

Susanne Kaufmann Spa BezauIf you try any of my recommendations, you have to keep me posted! I know they will help you get that lit-from-within glow in no time.