Actually, Your Skincare Needs a Spring Clean, Too—We Swear By These Expert’s Tips

Glowy serums to the front

By Langa Chinyoka
Sanne Vloet Spring Clean Skincare

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The magic eraser is my go-to tool in my spring cleaning arsenal. Picture me sweating—scrubbing down my walls, shower, and every surface to fulfill that clean-slate feeling. That’s the kind of intense urge I get to reset and restart this season. And while most of us kick off the new year in January, making resolutions, detoxing, and trying all the new things, it’s always a sluggish time for me. I’m catching up on sleep from the holidays and the short days aren’t exactly motivating. That’s why a spring refresh is my MO. And as a beauty editor, a spring clean skincare ritual is my favorite restart.

It’s no wonder that many cultures—not to mention the natural world and even the astrology calendar—understand the spring as the start of the year. And with the equinox barely behind us, it’s easy to understand why. This is a time of renewal. It’s when I revisit the goals I made in January, relish the extra hours of daylight, and prepare for a more social season. Like many people, I also feel the urge to clean literally everything. My skincare routine included.

Spring clean skincare routine.

Why It’s Important to Spring Clean Your Skincare Routine

PSA: Your winter skincare habits don’t work for you year-round. That’s right, while other parts of spring cleaning may feel arbitrary, it’s important to tailor your skincare to the season.

Begin with rotating your products. I donate, declutter, or give away products I don’t use. Then I rearrange my vanity so my glowy spring/summer essentials are front and center. Think lightweight oils and brightening serums over thick creams.

I also take this time to refresh old products. Verify your expiration dates. Look for a little symbol of a jar on the bottom of the packaging. The number shown should tell you how long you have to use it up after opening—usually between 6 to 12 months. As a fan of clean beauty products with a shorter shelf life, I try to be diligent about these dates to avoid breakouts caused by potential bacteria. For the same reason, I make sure to clean my makeup brushes and sponges each season.

TL;DR—consider this your spring clean skincare checklist:

  • Clean or replace your makeup brushes and sponges.
  • Check your expiration dates.
  • Give away products you don’t use.
  • See if you can repurpose something. (Ex: Any face creams you can use for your hands?)

With housekeeping done, it’s time to choose the best products for your spring skincare routine.

Iskra Lawrence skincare.

Tips to Transition Your Skincare Routine to Spring

Winter is for the skincare maximalists. The colder evenings see us lathering on the heavy creams, lush oils, and retinol. With less sun exposure, winter is also the perfect time to start or increase your actives like retinol or chemical exfoliants. But in order to keep your skin barrier intact and combat winter dryness, you have to pile on the protective ingredients, too. Ceramides and barrier serums are wintertime skincare essentials.

But in the warmer months, increased sun exposure is your cue to streamline. Focus on anti-pollution skincare and pare down the actives. Taking it even further, to prep for this change in my skincare routine, I like to do a complete reset. Yes, a spring skincare clean, if you will.

Sanne Vloet Spring Clean Skincare

How do you take care of your skin in the spring?

Your skin is in its winter thaw—and your routine needs a spring-ified overhaul to align with the change in temps. For expert insights on perfecting this transition, I spoke with Maegan Griffin, a Nurse Practitioner and the founder of Skin Pharm in Nashville. As she notes, the process mirrors that of every other seasonal shift. “Just like your wardrobe changes seasonally, your skincare routine should, too.”

Maegan Griffin Skin Pharm Founder
Maegan Griffin

Founder and CEO of Skin Pharm in Nashville, a nurse practitioner and mother of three, Maegan Griffin brings over a decade of aesthetic medicine experience to Skin Pharm, a modern cosmetic dermatology practice offering in-clinic treatments and at-home skin care. Maegan founded Skin Pharm in 2017, aiming to create a clinic environment and product line she wanted as a patient herself.

Choose a Lightweight Moisturizer

Maegan recommends a lightweight moisturizer with ingredients that can “help calm and soothe inflammation and redness caused by too much sun exposure.”

Where the winter is for heavy-duty ingredients like tamanu oil and shea butter, in the spring, I switch to lighter lotions that combine hydration with moisturization. Depending on your skin type, choose water-based gel creams or moisturizing serums packed with ceramides and hyaluronic acid.

Dieux Skin Instant Angel

This moisturizer repairs and protects damaged skin without feeling heavy while addressing fine lines, dryness, and dehydration.

Tatcha The Water Cream

This cream’s lightweight texture refines pores. As a natural BHA alternative, it’s great for daily use.

Ursa Major Fortifying Gel Moisturizer

Not a serum, but a silky gel moisturizer that locks in hydration and nourishes skin.


Add a Vitamin C Serum

Another must for the springtime is vitamin C. “Vitamin C serum offers essential protection against UV damage,” says Griffin. “Not only does it boost collagen for a healthy, glowing complexion, but vitamin C also combats oxidative stress that comes with increased sun exposure—decreasing signs of aging like fine lines, wrinkles, and sunspots.”

As you dial down on your retinol usage, vitamin C is a great active to keep your skin bright. Alternate with your exfoliants for best results minus irritation.

iS Clinical Pro-Heal Serum Advance+ Antioxidant-rich Vitamin C Serum

This antioxidant serum features vitamin C, copper, olive leaf extract, and more to refresh and protect your skin from the elements.

Klur Brilliant Light Serum

This 20% vitamin C treatment employs a calming complex of plant extracts to help illuminate skin without irritation.

Dam Dam Vitamin C + Hyaluronic Serum

This morning must-have combines two of our favorite skin-supporting ingredients: hyaluronic acid and vitamin C.

Add a Brightening Product

From physical to chemical exfoliants to cleansers and masks, springtime doesn’t mean you have to give up on actives altogether. Instead of focusing on retinol, add brightening serums or skin milks and even a brightening mask to keep up your spa-like results. Griffin recommends looking for “antioxidants that inhibit pigment production.”

Skin Pharm High Beam Brightening Lotion

“Made with hexylresorcinol, arbutin, and a blend of botanical extracts, this lightweight formula is super hydrating, helps minimize unwanted dark spots and stops pigment from forming in the first place,” says Griffin.

Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser

Filled with antioxidants and fruit enzymes, this cleanser gently exfoliates while nourishing for instantly brighter, glowing skin. Plus, it’s gentle enough for every day.

goop Beauty Dark Spot Exfoliating Sleep Milk

This skin milk gently exfoliates while you sleep to reveal softer, smoother skin.

Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment

This resurfacing treatment is like a microdermabrasion session in two minutes (and for a fraction of the cost). It combines chemical and gentle physical exfoliation to buff away dead skin cells and keep your face bright.

Sofie Pavitt Face Mandelic Clearing Serum

Mandelic acid is the next big thing. This daily exfoliating serum gently targets acne while balancing your skin with calming and nourishing ingredients like panthenol and hyaluronic acid.

Don’t Forget the Sunscreen

“With an increase in sun exposure during the spring, the most important product to keep in regular rotation is an easily wearable SPF.” If you’re looking for something simple but effective, Griffin recommends one formulated with vitamin E and hyaluronic acid” for hydrated, deeply nourished skin.

Kinship Self Reflect Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 32

This probiotic sunscreen deeply moisturizes and protects while giving your skin ample coverage and a bright, reflective finish.

Cay Skin Isle Glow Face Lotion SPF 45

This SPF lotion contains nourishing ingredients like panthenol, niacinamide, and ferulic acid to work as both a serum and an SPF.

Supergoop City Sunscreen Serum SPF 30

To protect you from UV rays, this serum features vitamins E and B5 alongside glycerin to give you plump and protected skin.