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My skin care routine is a form of self-care. Layering on products I know are good for my skin and seeing improvements over time is satisfying. But I’ll admit — sometimes doing my entire routine feels like a chore.

There are times I’m simply too tired. I’m not a morning person, so I struggle with my morning skin care routine the most. And also, on nights where I get home late, the last thing I want to do is my entire skin care regimen.

When I can’t be bothered to commit to the entire routine, I always make sure I apply this one product: the KraveBeauty Great Barrier Relief. This is my holy grail product.

I have combination skin, so it’s taken me a long time to curate a skin care routine that works for me. After years of writing about and trying out new skin care products, I’ve nailed it down.

My morning skin care routine:

1. Rinse with water.

2. Apply hyaluronic acid essence.

3. Apply antioxidant serum.

4. Apply KraveBeauty Great Barrier Relief.

5. Moisturize.

6. Apply sun protection.

Cleansing twice a day can dry out my skin. I stick to hydrating cleansers, but I find that a morning cleanse usually isn’t necessary. There are exceptions though — I always cleanse after a morning workout.

I rotate between a vitamin C and niacinamide serum for the antioxidants. On days I’m feeling bold, I’ll use both. Niacinamide can make my makeup pill, so I only use it on makeup-free days.

My nighttime skincare routine:

1. Cleanse.

2. Double cleanse if needed.

3. Apply hyaluronic acid essence.

4. Apply glycolic acid exfoliant or antioxidant serum.

5. Apply KraveBeauty Great Barrier Relief.

6. Put on eye cream.

7. Moisturize.

I keep my daytime routine simple, but my nighttime routine is where I mix it up. There’s a general blueprint I follow, but it’s not the same every night since certain active ingredients shouldn’t be mixed.

I’m around the age where I should start using retinol to promote graceful aging, but I haven’t mastered retinol yet. For now, my main ingredients for graceful aging support include chemical exfoliants. I exfoliate every other night. On nights where I don’t exfoliate, I use an antioxidant serum in its place.

In a perfect world, I would do my skin care routine in the AM and PM every day. But some days I’m just too tired. On those days, I never skip my KraveBeauty Great Barrier Relief. It’s a nourishing serum that my combination skin tolerates very well — it’s moisturizing but doesn’t feel heavy.

This serum is designed to help support skin barrier health. You can use it on days where skin needs some extra TLC, but I use it every day, twice per day (or just once if I’m feeling lazy). It’s especially soothing on sunburned or irritated skin.

The consistency is heavier than a typical serum but lighter than your average moisturizer. Though it’s classified as a serum, I use it as a light moisturizer on days when I’m too tired to do my whole routine.


KraveBeauty Great Barrier Relief is made with vegan and cruelty-free ingredients. It’s also free of fragrances, essential oils, and dyes.

The key ingredient is 10% tamanu oil, which is derived from tamanu nuts. It’s a moisturizing oil that’s rich in fatty acids to support skin barrier health and lock in moisture.

Tamanu oil is the active ingredient I never knew I needed because it promotes collagen production, contains antioxidants, and smooths texture. It also has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and wound-healing properties that make it great for acne.

It’s also powered by a cocktail of beneficial actives that include:

  • niacinamide
  • squalane
  • sodium hyaluronate
  • ceramides
  • rosehip oil

A double dose of niacinamide in the same routine can be irritating to some, but my skin handles it well. Ceramides support skin barrier health while sodium hyaluronate adds hydration and squalane and rosehip oil lock it in.

What it does for my skin

After learning about the importance of skin barrier health, I use this serum to support skin barrier function. A healthy skin barrier prevents water loss and protects against external stressors, such as allergens and irritants. This product has helped balance my skin, so it’s less likely to become overly oily from dehydration.

I also notice fewer breakouts when I use this serum. The anti-acne benefits are a pleasant surprise.

After using the KraveBeauty Great Barrier Relief consistently for more than 2 years, my skin is visibly clearer and healthier.

If I have time to reach for only one product, this is the one I go for because it’s nourishing, moisturizing, keeps acne at bay, and contains antioxidants.

The Great Barrier Relief is designed to support skin barrier function, so are these alternative serums.

PURITO Centella Unscented Serum

This serum contains two of my favorite ingredients for skin barrier health: peptides and ceramides. Peptides are great for supporting graceful aging, and ceramides help seal in moisture. It’s also powered by centella asiatica extract, which helps heal wounds and soothe irritation and inflammation.

Aveeno Calm + Restore Triple Oat Serum

Oat extract soothes skin and fortifies a compromised skin barrier, making this serum great for those with sensitive skin. It has a lightweight texture that feels soothing on dry, irritated skin. Some users with rosacea have found relief with this serum.

EltaMD Skin Recovery Serum

The EltaMD Skin Recovery Serum also contains centella asiatica leaf extract for its ability to support skin barrier function. It contains a blend of amino acids, vitamins, and sodium hyaluronate to help repair skin barrier and increase skin hydration for soft, supple skin.

Doing my skin care routine makes me feel like I’ve done something good for myself. I enjoy it, and I enjoy seeing the results even more. But no one’s perfect, and it’s normal to skip some days.

If I have time to apply only one product, I reach for KraveBeauty Great Barrier Relief. For me, it’s a multifunctional product that helps support my skin barrier health, offers antioxidant benefits, and keeps breakouts at bay.

Lacey Muinos is a health, wellness, and beauty writer based in Southern California. She holds a BA in English. Her work has appeared in digital publications like Livestrong, Verywell, Business Insider, Eat This Not That, and others. When she’s not writing, Lacey is likely pursuing her other interests: skin care, plant-based cooking, Pilates, and traveling. You can keep up with her by visiting her website or her blog.