Skin Milk: James Kicinski-McCoy Shares Her Routine In Detail

Who better to share her Skin Milk routine other than Bleu’s very own CEO and Editor-In-Chief James Kicinski-McCoy. After all, she tests just about every new beauty product that comes on the market and takes pride in making skincare a top priority. Today, the newly 40-something shares the cult favorite products that have made it into her regular lineup, and she’s sparing no detail.

Tell us a bit about your morning routine:  “I wake up early. Usually around 5:30, sometimes earlier during the work week. This is very new to me, as I have never been a morning person up until this year. It has changed me. That time when it’s still dark outside and everyone is still asleep is sacred. I make coffee, read a little, stretch or do a short morning yoga session on YouTube (it really wakes me up), and then I throw on a sweatshirt and leggings and am out the door at 6:45 to drop my oldest daughter off at school and catch an early pilates class. The weekends are a whole different story. When I can, I try to sleep in and spend my mornings in bed for as long as I can get away with.”

How long does your morning routine typically take you from start to finish?  “In terms of getting ready (beauty or skincare), it’s generally around 20-30 minutes.”

Tell us a bit about your (A.M.) skincare routine:  “If I’m showering in the morning, I’ll cleanse in the shower with my Clarisonic, using whatever is on rotation — perks of being an editor. My go-to is Kate Somerville’s ExfoliKate Foaming Wash. If I’m not showering, I’ll use a Bioderma cleansing cloth to do a speedy cleanse. Next, I tone with Lotion P50, apply a serum — right now I’m using Tata Harper’s new Boosted Contouring Serum. It’s really good. Another one that I love is Good Genes by Sunday Riley. Then I moisturize, put on a little eye cream, chapstick, and done.”

Shop James' A.M. Skincare

How do you approach aging?  “Aging is interesting, but growing older is a part of life and a part of all of our stories. It’s honestly something I have always feared and I think turning 40 this year was somewhat of a challenge for me mentally, but I am welcoming it with open arms. I am working on being healthier in all areas of life, and learning more about myself every day. I hope to live for a very long time, to age gracefully, and to stay very active — forever young at heart.”

Holy grail beauty product? “I have a few, but I think Lotion P50 is pure magic and has really transformed my skin. It has a PH of 3.5, which is very strong, hence why it works well. A close tie is Lucas’ Papaw Ointment. I buy it in bulk and keep it everywhere — my bedside table, office desk drawer, in my car, and I have one in almost every purse.”

Shower in the morning, at night, or both?  “Both, depending on my schedule and what’s easiest.”

Tell us a bit about your makeup routine:  “I usually only wear it a few times a week. When I do, it’s pretty minimal unless I have an event or something outside the norm that I want to feel a little fancy for. But, my general makeup routine goes something like this: Nars tinted moisturizer, a little concealer under the eyes and around my nose (I love Clé de Peau and Westman Atelier), Soleil Tan de Chanel bronzer to give myself a little ‘sun’, and then I fill in my non-existent brows with Milk’s Brow Gel pencil, throw on a couple coats of mascara, a little Papaw, and that’s it. For nights out, I’ve been loving this lip plumper by GrandeLips. It really works! I’ll either wear a red lip and keep the eyes minimal, or go for a cat-eye liner and a bare lip.”

Shop James' Makeup

Tell us a bit about your haircare:  “My hair is very fine and on the thinner side, so my routine is really simple. I shampoo and condition with whatever products are currently on rotation. Playa and Oribe are my favorites because they smell amazing. I wrap my hair in an Aquis towel while I do my skincare, which takes most of the moisture out if it. Then I blow dry my cowlicks down and the top of my head which only takes a couple of minutes. I have a hair trick that I have been doing for years, which has been coined the #bleubirdhairtrick on Instagram. First, I divide my hair into two sections and tuck my hair behind my ears. Then I twist the two sections towards or away from my face and secure under my chin or on top of my head with a couple of metal hair clips. After I finish getting ready, I take the clips out and have subtle, natural looking waves. It’s literally the easiest thing to do. I have photos of how I do it saved in my IG highlights if you want a visual. [Laughs]”

Shop James' Hair / Body Care

Tell us a bit about your body / beauty from the inside / wellness:  “Ahh, wellness. I have a half-written essay on the subject that I am hoping to finish and publish soon, but I truly believe that wellness is so much more that what most of the world defines it as. To me, wellness encompasses so much more than diet and exercise. Happiness is wellness. Doing the things that bring you great joy is wellness. Surrounding yourself with good people that lift you up instead of suck you dry is wellness. Laughter is wellness. I have many thoughts on the subject, but I will dive more into that in another story soon on Bleu.

When it comes to moving my body, I try to get in a pilates class a few times a week. It does my body and mind so much good! I also walk my neighborhood a few mornings a week. It’s a little over three miles in total, so I’ll just put on a podcast or one of my playlists and go. I like to stream an online LEKfit Bounce class here and there, too because that shit is so fun! Especially in the winter when it’s too cold to go outside. As far as my diet, I love to cook delicious meals at home, but I also love to eat delicious meals out. I’m a sucker for tacos and seafood, and I love peanut butter and chocolate in any form. I’ve spent too much time over the years obsessing about what I eat, and am really focused on eating what I want, when I want it. I cut WAY back on drinking alcohol this year, too. It has done wonders for my mental and physical wellbeing.”

Tell us a bit about your (PM) skincare routine:  “I love my nighttime skincare routine. I have a long version and a short version, but this is Skin Milk, so I’ll share the longer one. When I have the time (a.k.a. when I’m not dead tired before falling into bed at night), I’ll cleanse with Eve Lom oil cleanser and follow it up with a foaming cleanse afterward. I exfoliate with the Rice Powder from Tatcha and then tone with Lotion P50. I use these unbleached cotton pads from Muji and swipe my entire face and neck. Next, if I feel like I need it, I’ll apply a face mask — either a random sheet mask or a mud mask — and then layer on a couple of serums for face and eyes. I like to massage the serums in with either my fingers or this little stone Gua Sha tool. Then I apply Shani Darden’s Texture Reform (game changer!) and I’ll moisturize using either an oil (I have many that I love and bounce between, but I love Orlane’s B21 Extraordinaire and Vintner’s Daughter) or I’ll use Augustinus Bader’s The Rich Cream. It’s seriously worth every penny. Lastly a little eye cream and then sleeeeep! If my skin is really in need of some extra love I’ll apply the Black Rose Cream Mask by Sisley and wear it overnight. When I do, I wake up with baby skin.”

Shop James' P.M. SKincare

Signature scent?  “I have a few that I rotate depending on my mood, but the one I wear most often is Baccarat Rouge by Maison Francis Kurkdjian. It gets all the compliments.”

Biggest beauty secret / advice?  “Sleep. Drink more water. Drink less alcohol. Laugh!”

Written by: The Editors

Bleu's team of seasoned writers and editors at your service.


  1. jenny

    November 5, 2019 at 1:46 pm

    Drinking less alcohol is the main tip for staying young, because everything else falls into place. After a night of drinking you eat poorly, are less likely to wash your face and the next day you definitely don’t feel like exercising. It’s hard to cut back because it’s all around us, but I feel so much better!

  2. Dree Harper

    November 5, 2019 at 3:45 pm

    Okay, James! I just bought the P50 Lotion and am excited to try it! Noted a ton of your products and look forward to trying. Thinking the next splurge might be the rose mask by Sisley!
    Xx Dree

  3. Chantal

    November 6, 2019 at 2:10 am

    well now I want everything…

  4. C

    November 6, 2019 at 1:43 pm

    Why did I think the P50 was like $400?? I wish I didn’t know it was actually semi affordable.

  5. Micaela

    November 25, 2019 at 5:02 pm

    Would you guys be up for doing a post on best eye creams? I was excited to try the Susanne Kaufman cream you mention here because, at 28, the ‘crow’s feet’ around my eyes are the thing I most regularly notice. I’ve tried different eye oils and creams in the past year to address this. However, the ingredients for the SK cream includes rosehip oil and hyaluronic acid, two ingredients I already apply to my face through the Pai rosehip and a La Roche Posay B5 Serum with hyaluronic acid. Anyway….! I’ve been looking to you for years in terms of products, and would happily read your thoughts on this!


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