Lately I have gotten really into dry skin brushing. Why? Well, I heard that you can dry-brush when pregnant. Now there are sooo many things that you can’t do when pregnant, aka basically everything, so I thought to myself, if this is something that is allowed, well then I’m going to do it! I’ve always been an obsessive exfoliator, and while I’ll always continue with that routine, I have made time, at least once a week, for this slightly more holistic treatment.

Important note for those who are expecting: get the OK from your doctor first before dry-brushing. Also make sure to be extra gentle, especially around the stomach. Use very light strokes or avoid the stomach area completely if it feels uncomfortable.

What is dry-brushing?

Dry skin brushing is one of the most natural, effective and inexpensive methods for reducing cellulite and promoting healthy, glowy skin. It buffs away dead skin, boosts circulation and lymphatic drainage and rids the body of toxins. Interested? Uh, who wouldn’t be.

I spoke with Joanna Vargas, New York City based esthetician, celeb facialist (clients like Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz, NBD) and skin care expert, for the low-down on dry brushing.

Why: “The main purpose of dry brushing is to stimulate collagen production, which will help thicken the skin and lessen the appearance of cellulite. It also increases blood flow to the skin, and helps the lymphatic system release toxins by aiding digestion and kidney function. It also dramatically increases elasticity, so it’s great for lifting and toning problem areas. Results usually appear within the first two weeks!”

How often: “Dry brushing every day on heels, elbows and knees considerably improves their texture. Dry brushing immediately increases circulation, so you will feel warmer when you are done—perfect for winter! Try it before you get into the shower in the morning and you will see a difference in your skin quality and cellulite in days. But you can also just attempt to do this once a week.”

Type of Brush: “Look for a course bristled brush. The bristles should be natural, not synthetic, and preferably vegetable-derived. Find a brush with an attached handle for hard to reach spots.”

Direction: “Start at the tops of the feet and brush upwards towards the heart, making long sweeps, avoiding an overly harsh back and forth motion. Start at your feet, moving up the legs on both sides, then work from the arms toward your chest. On your stomach, direct the brush counterclockwise. Spend extra time on areas that tend to be more stagnant, like the inner thigh, and don’t forget to include the backs of the arms and your back.”

Post brushing: I like to follow with a nice body butter containing Shea and Cocoa Butter, especially in the winter for ultimate softness and hydration.”

Thanks Joanna for your incredible insight! I recommend this brush from Cap Beauty and clean body butters by Tata Harper, Earth Tu Face and Susanne Kaufmann.

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.