Keeping Skincare Simple with Her Cardinal Rules

written and photographed by Tara Cardinal of Her Cardinal Rules

“Love the skin you’re in.”  It’s Olay’s slogan and my current obsession.

For years, I have scrutinized my diet, making sure that I ate the best food for my body (plant based, organic, and non-GMO whenever possible). The simpler the better. But while I was consciously choosing what I was putting in my body, I completely neglected what I was putting on my body. My face was almost always made up with the best cosmetics and products available.

So, here’s the deal – our skin is the largest organ of the body and it is magical. It protects us from harsh chemicals, the sun, toxins, and so much more every day. Since the skin absorbs a great deal of what is put on it, I decided that it was time to start consciously taking care of it.

What blossomed out of this change was a beautiful, almost meditative, routine of self-care.  


Here is what I do for my skincare routine/self-spoiling session.

AM Skincare Routine

  1. A quick face wash with a washcloth and a little bit of facial soap. If you feel like your current product is leaving a residue,then it probably is and you might want to change.
  2. A cotton pad filled with Thayer’s Witch Hazel. I run this over my nose, forehead, and chin.
  3. Follow that up with a lovely, super indulgent hydrating face mist.
  4. As the icing on the cake, one or two drops of my favorite orchid scented facial oil.
  5. A deep sigh of appreciation.

    PM Skincare Routine


  1. A thorough face wash at the end of the day is a must. To start that process, I use Bioderma Sensibio H2O Cleansing Water on a cotton ball. It is the best, most gentle makeup remover and face wash that I have ever used.
  2. It is really important to me to remove all of the dirt and toxins off of my skin before bed. So the next step is a deeper clean with cleansing oil. I’m currently enjoying Burt’s Bees Cleansing Oil.  
  3. Repeat the morning toning routine with Thayer’s Witch Hazel. It actually now comes with a wide variety of options: cucumber, lemon, lavender and more.
  4. Gentle lip polish (or scrub) followed by a lip conditioner. This has been one of the most surprising and rewarding new practices. If you haven’t been taking care of your lips, now is the time to start.
  5. A light layer of hydrating natural lotion.
  6. Two – three drops of my favorite bedtime facial oil.
  7. Two to three deep sighs of appreciation.


At least twice a week, I spoil myself completely rotten with a face mask. I sneak it in between steps one and two in the PM routine. A great face mask will exfoliate (remove dead skin cells) and support the new skin cells underneath. The end result is skin that feels fresh, hydrated, and healthy.


Here are the five products that will always be on my counter because they support the “skin you are in” without any harsh chemicals.

  1. Herbivore Botanicals Lip Polish and Conditioner ($22 each)
  2. Burt’s Bees Honey & Grapeseed Hand Cream
  3. Thayer’s Witch Hazel Alcohol-Free Toner ($12)
  4. Bioderm Sensibio H20 Cleansing Water ($17)
  5. Herbivore Botanicals Blue Tansy Face Mask ($48)

It would be easy for me to spend all day talking through the benefits of these products and why it will completely change your skin. My mom has always said it best: “Keep it simple, sweetheart.” I couldn’t agree more, especially when it comes to the ingredients in your makeup and skincare routine. Now, go spoil yourself!



Tara Her Cardinal Rules


Who am I?

A little bit about me – I am a thirty something with big dreams. I want to change the world by bringing us all back to the basics: health, happiness and home. I believe in listening to your instincts to discover the best things in life. In my spare time, I’m a business owner, blogger, wife and cultivator of wellness. You can find more skincare tips and guides to achieving health and happiness at home on Tara’s blog Her Cardinal Rules.