For me, fall starts with a feeling. A craving to get back into my healthy habits and daily routines, to be more productive again (in a non-toxic way), to take stock of my life and press reset. Because resets aren’t just reserved for the new year. It’s always a great time to check in with what is—and isn’t—serving you, and to return to the rituals that keep you grounded and inspired. That’s why I swear by doing a fall skin reset routine for looking and feeling my best.

Featured image from our interview with Mary Ralph Bradley by Michelle Nash.

What is a fall skin reset?

After getting a little lax with my skincare over the summer—vacation is vacation for a reason—I always dedicate the beginning of fall to a full skin reset. I’ll liken it to an everything shower. It’s the latest term for that long, steamy shower you take to do everything: a hair mask and scrub, shave and exfoliate, and finishing things off with a face mask.

A fall skin reset is like an everything shower for your face. It’s a much-needed answer to that craving for a clean slate. And while you can’t transform your skin completely overnight, you might be surprised what a dedicated reset routine can do.

Instead of sporadically throwing on a clay mask, a targeted reset ritual performed with quality (read: not stripping) products in the right order is like doing a facial in your own bathroom. And good news! You don’t need to feel bad if you can’t carve out the time for it every day—you’re not supposed to. Committing to a fall skin reset just once a week, or even every other week, might be all you need to detox your pores, slough off the rough summer living, and get glowing for fall.

Image by Michelle Nash

How to Do a Fall Skin Reset

A fall skin reset focuses on two main goals: detoxing your skin to get all the bad stuff out and nourishing your skin to put good nutrients back in. You want to do your best to scrub away any damaged skin from the summer sun and UV exposure, while fortifying your skin barrier to prepare for the cooler months. But don’t overdo it! While a long spa-like treatment for your face is one thing, trying to hard to overcompensate with strong ingredients can backfire.

The Best Spa Treatments to Reset Your Skin

The easiest way to completely reset your skin for fall is to treat yourself to a facial. Your aesthetician is trained to strike the delicate balance between repair and reinvigoration. And there are countless peels, lasers, and tools to support any skin type and concern.

If you go the professional route, these are the best in-office skincare treatments for a fall skin reset.

Best treatment for hyperpigmentation: Chemical Peels

Chemical peels are a step above any acid serum you can apply at home. I’m a proponent of the bi-annual chemical peel—once in January to ring in the new year (new skin, new me I always say), and once in September to strip away the sins of summer.

Though the in-office process only takes a couple of swipes, the healing process is pretty extensive. For 7-10 days, your skin will literally peel off. Arrange your schedule accordingly.

Best treatment for uneven skin texture: Microneedling

Just as it sounds, microneedling involves a tool of tiny needles that puncture into your skin to stimulate cell repair and collagen production. It addresses texture concerns like fine lines and scarring. Right after a microneedling treatment, expect some redness and maybe some swelling. However, you can get back to your routine right away with minimal downtime.

Best treatment for redness: Intense pulsed light laser

This laser is the best solution for sun damage. Whether you’re targeting sun spots or redness from broken vessels or rosacea, this laser treatment sloughs off damaged skin with more targeted peeling than a full peel. But you still get those dramatic results.

Image by Hadley Rosenbaum

The Ultimate At-Home Fall Skin Reset Routine

While I love the luxury of occasional professional treatments, they’re not the only way to get glowing, healthy skin for fall. These treatments are pricey—and they’re a nice-to-have, not a need-to-have. Especially when, with an hour or so dedicated to just your face, you can give yourself an at-home spa treatment that will leave you just as reinvigorated. Here’s how to make the magic happen for your skin, from the comfort of your home.

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Step 1: Double Cleanse

Give a little extra oomph to the first step of your routine by trying double cleansing. A double cleansing ritual gets past the surface of your skin to deeply cleanse your pores. For your first step, choose an oil cleanser to help give back moisture to your skin and prevent drying it out.

DAMDAM Silk Rice Makeup-Removing Cleansing Oil

This silky, lightweight cleansing oil uses the J-Beauty secret of rice bran to purify the skin and fortify it with Vitamins B and E.


Wonder Valley Oil Cleanser

The thick, honey-like consistency sets this olive oil-based cleanser apart. Filled with antioxidants and botanicals, it nourishes and deeply purifies the skin.


CeraVe Hydrating Foaming Oil Cleanser

This drugstore miracle is a lightweight oil cleanser that emulsifiers into a foaming texture to cleanse deep into your pores.


Step 2: Exfoliating Treatment

Exfoliation is one of the best ways to see instant results. An exfoliating treatment can give you softer skin overnight—or even in minutes. AHAs work to refine dry, rough spots and BHAs clear out sebum from deep within your pores. Together, they create a fast-acting smoothing effect.

Over time, exfoliation also addresses skin texture and dark spots. But for the full reset feeling, try an exfoliating mask for baby-soft skin instantly after wiping it off. But use in moderation—too much of a good thing can deplete your skin barrier.

The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution

This favorite from The Ordinary has amassed cult fans for a reason. It’s pretty strong, so use it sparingly.


Sunday Riley Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment

If you’re not into exfoliating masks, try adding this serum to your nightly routine. Lactic acid is a gentle AHA that is effective even on sensitive skin.


Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment

This treatment combines the power of lactic acid with gentle physical exfoliation for a microdermabrasion-like treatment in two minutes.


Step 3: Detox Mask

With your skin freshly smooth and your pores unclogged from exfoliation, it’s time for the next step: deep detox. Use a clay mask to soak up excess sebum and leave your skin feeling squeaky clean. But although there might be something satisfying about the kitchen-sink clay masks, look for a formula that also contains nourishing ingredients so you don’t leave your skin dry or irritated.

Blue Lagoon Silica Mud Mask

Made of silica from Iceland’s famous blue lagoons, this white clay mask gently draws out impurities. It also helps balance and refresh your skin for an instantly glowing complexion.


Youth to the People Superclay Mask

Youth to the People is known for its superfood-enriched products. This combines gentle clays with clearing ingredients like kombucha, niacinamide, and gentle BHAs.


Renee Rouleau Rapid Response Detox Mask

Celebrity facialist Renee Rouleau developed this mask to effectively address hormonal acne and blemish flare-ups. It’s a great way to detox and treat inflamed skin without causing further damage.


Step 4: Hydrate

If you have drier skin, follow up your exfoliation with a hydrating mask in lieu of the detox mask. A fall skin reset also means preparing your skin for the cooling temperatures. The earlier you start drenching your skin with hydrating ingredients, the better.

Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask

This ultimate reset mask has been a cult favorite for years. Not just for jet lag, this mask is an instant facelift and wake-up call. It hydrates and nourishes with niacinamide, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and revitalizing antioxidants.


COSRX Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask

Somewhere between a high-quality moisturizer and an overnight mask, this K-Beauty treatment is a surprisingly lightweight but powerful moisturizer. Slather it on as your last step for overnight hydration.


LOOPS Beauty Dream Sleep Slugging Mask

Hydrogel masks are the new sheet masks. This slugging mask infuses your skin with intense hydration in just a 10-minute loop.

$35 for a set of 5 masks

Step 5: Fortify Your Skin Barrier

After piling on all those actives, you want to make sure you’re taking extra steps to help your skin barrier. Add barrier-boosting ingredients (think antioxidants, vitamins, ceramides, peptides, and anything hydrating) to your daily routine to keep your skin healthy and glowing through the fall and winter.

Tower 28 SOS (Save. Our. Skin) Daily Rescue Facial Spray

Forget what you know about face sprays. Whenever your skin is feeling irritated, this is the product you should turn to. Hypochlorous acid promotes wound healing and purifies the skin to soothe and prevent everything from breakouts to your skin barrier.


Good Molecules Hyaluronic Acid Boosting Essence

An essence might be the perfect step to add to your fall routine to increase your skin health and boost hydration. If you have drier skin, consider an essence like this hyaluronic acid-rich formula that locks in moisture for visibly plumper skin and deeply penetrating hydration.


Dr. Loretta Intense Replenishing Serum

This is one of my holy grail ingredients—especially when I’m trying to make up for a summer of skin damage. Use this every day for a week and watch your skin repair itself back to its glowy, healthy self.


Step 6: Switch Up Your Serums

The changing of seasons is like the changing of the guard. I rotate out my summer serums—mostly geared toward preventing hyperpigmentation and giving me a summer glow—to fall/winter serums. During this season, I prioritize antioxidant-rich blends that focus on healing and treating damaged skin.

Superegg Vitamin Collective Vitality Elixir Serum

This treatment serum brings brightness and vitality to any skin type with a cocktail of vitamins and antioxidants. It’s like a multivitamin for your face.


The Nue Co Skin FIlter Serum

This serum is a fall skin reset all in itself. It’s filled with a ton of transformative ingredients like bakuchiol, hyaluronic acid, and AHAs.


Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops

This TikTok-approved serum isn’t a Gen-Z favorite just because of its cute packaging (though, fine—that plays a big part). Niacinamide is pretty much a magic ingredient, especially when combined with hyaluronic acid and watermelon for bright, hydrated skin.


Step 7: Go for a Thicker Moisturizer

Another must to prepare your skin for the upcoming cold front is switching out your moisturizer for a more heavy duty formula. Whatever your skin type, add a thicker moisturizer than you use in the summer for soft skin all season long.

Dieux Skin Intsant Angel

The name of this product is no exaggeration. With ingredients like ceramides, glycerin, urea, and squalene, no wonder it gives you instantly soft skin.


Embrolysse Lait Crème Concentré

This French skincare moisturizer is a multi-use holy grail. It’s not just a moisturizer, it’s a mask, primer, cleansing milk, aftershave, and even an after-sun balm.


EADEM Cloud Cushion Moisturizer

For a moisturizer and treatment cream in one, this cushiony mid-weight moisturizer also addresses dark spots, dryness, and dullness.


Step 8: Seal the Deal with a Face Oil

The final step in your skincare routine should be a facial oil. It seals in everything that come before it with an occlusive layer to locks it all in. Don’t worry, any skin type can benefit from a face oil, so long as you choose the right one. And with winter coming, this could be the key to glowy skin all year round.

Kiehls Midnight Recovery Concentrate Moisturizing Face Oil

Like an overnight eraser for blemishes. Made with evening primrose oil and a blend of antioxidant-rich botanicals, this nighttime serum gives you a clean slate when you wake up.

$22.50 (reg. $30)

Ranavat Brightening Saffron Serum

Ayurvedic rituals are finally getting the recognition they deserve and this saffron-infused facial oil is a silky, glowy solution to any skin woe.


Supernal Cosmic Glow Oil

High in vitamin C and omega 3s, this facial oil is an instant brightener for your skin.


Step 9: Don’t Skip Your Lips!

The cooler weather is hard on your lips! Start showing them some TLC now to prevent dry, cracked lips when the temperatures drop.

Laniege Lip Sleeping Mask

The hype is real. This lip mask is like a blanket for your lips. A weighted blanket filled with murumuru seed and shea butter for intense moisture.


Fenty Beauty Lip Scrubstick

Exfoliate your lips with this on-the-go scrub. Removes dry skin for instantly plumper, smoother lips.


KNC Beauty All-Natural Collagen Infused Lip Mask

This hydrogel lip mask is infused with collagen to give your lips a plumper look and retain the sensitive skin’s youthful hydration.


Image by Michelle Nash

Bonus: Make a Spa Night of It

If you’re going through a full fall skin reset routine, you better make it something to look forward to. Adding some extra flair will encourage you to make your reset a sacred time for you to slow down and savor the skin-rejuvenating results.

Dr Dennis Gross Pro Facial Steamer

My favorite part of getting a facial is when they blow the hot steam on my face. It doesn’t just open up your pores and promote hydration, it also just feels super luxurious.


Skin Gym Rose Quartz Gua Sha

Finish off your routine with a five-minute facial massage. Using a gua sha provides instant relief from tension and puffiness, while also sculpting your face in the long run.


Too Collective Too Cozy Robe

This robe features adjustable sleeves and a soft, absorbent material to make it the perfect attire to complete your fall skin reset. Trust me: you’re going to want to be comfy.


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