Now that we’re in March and we may have finally turned the corner from winter, it’s time for some spring cleaning and freshening up. Let’s talk skincare.

I have always had decently clear skin. I never really went through a bad acne phase in high school, but I’ve also had some other challenges. My biggest issue tends to be dryness, which is a completely different problem. I have what they would call “combination” skin (whatever that means). Facialists will also always tell me that I need to drink more water – which is SO ironic because that is literally the only thing I drink next to coffee. It’s infuriating, and I’ve had to make some changes this year to try to combat it.

In the past I have been asked about my skin routine, but I didn’t really have one until a few months ago. After dropping some knowledge on natural skincare and what would be best for my health, thanks to places like Follain and Heyday, I finally put together a plan and have found my skin to be thriving. New England’s winter will always be an outlier, but my glow has never been better. Here are five principles for keeping things fresh.

Get a Clarisonic. Due to my uber-dry skin, I can barely exfoliate during the winter months. I have a Clarisonic and recently had to stop using it because I could tell it was doing more harm than good – exfoliation strips away skin cells, which can make dryness worse. However, I highly recommend getting one for your routine. It’s a good tool to use to try to ease yourself into a daily deep clean, and I know that it will be helpful for me again during the warmer months.

Cleanse at least twice a day. I used to wash my face with water in the morning and then some light cleanser in the shower. I also deserve a slap on the hand because I was totally using Cetaphil. This was only mildly effective. I now wash my face in the morning, after a workout, and before I go to bed, no matter what I have done that day. If I am feeling dry, sometimes I will just cleanse with water in the morning, but it never feels right. Lately I’ve been using Bliss Spa’s  basic cleanser but I am going to be switching back to my favorite Ursa Major wash. Ursa Major is all natural and made in Vermont. Small business rules.

Take off your makeup. I am so bad at getting it all off, but it really makes a difference if you take the extra minutes to wipe everything off before bed. I use Neutrogena’s face wipes. Ursa Major also makes an all-natural equivalent. If you don’t take it off, you’re not letting your skin have any air time. It can lead to breakouts and all sorts of issues, so just don’t do it. Get clean!

Masque yourself. I use a face mask once a week. After having an insane allergic reaction over Christmas (product in question shall remain anonymous), I started using Manuka honey as a face mask. Yes, straight honey on thy face. Manuka honey is a very pure form of honey that is made in New Zealand, and it has been really making my skin glow. It is incredibly moisturizing and tastes pretty good. Best of both worlds.

Moisturize. I apply moisturizer MULTIPLE times a day during the winter months, but standard usage is twice a day, morning and night. During the day I wear a light Neutrogena moisturizer or something with SPF, and at night I lather on SW Basic’s Cream. I’ve liked this combination because I find that I don’t wake up with a break out. I’ve found heavy moisturizers to either be ineffective or too oily for my skin, but Cream has been a game changer. SW Basics is an all-natural company based in Brooklyn – yay small biz once again.

I may not have “problem” skin and I may have one of the simplest routines out there, but I can tell you that keeping it basic really does work. You don’t need to overcomplicate skin care, because healthy skin tends to come from your diet, hormones, and overall lifestyle. I am also an advocate for natural products. I am very lucky to live near a Follain, and my goal is to have a completely natural skincare routine by the end of the year. Yes, it costs money and is a little more expensive than your average drug store product, but it is SO worth it. I find it to be an incredibly important investment because I have lived to see the changes it has done for me in a very short amount of time. Your skin absorbs everything you put on it – do you want it to be chemicals and things you can’t pronounce?

Keep it simple, keep it clean, keep it fresh.