This is the recipe I use for soft, pretty skin -- for best results, do it at night and wake up looking bright and glowy:
The first step is clearing the surface with some gentle exfoliation. St. Ives Apricot Scrub is a classic, a great little drugstore gem that I've been using for years. I know that grainy exfoliators have become a bit unpopular (some say they're a little too rough on delicate facial skin), so use a small amount and use it sparingly (not more than once a week -- I aim for just twice a month).
As an extra safeguard, I start by coating my face with a thin layer of a very gentle cleanser like Cetaphil. This acts as a little barrier between the apricot scrub and my skin and reduces the friction of the scrub against my face. I rub the cleanser/scrub mixture in small, gentle circles for a minute or two -- it's a little mini facial massage that feels great! Rinse with cold water and pat dry with a soft towel.
Now that my skin is clean and flake-free, this is the perfect opportunity to apply a little treatment. I use Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate, a lightweight serum that helps make skin brighter, plumper, and softer. Apply a few drops to your fingertips and massage it on to your face and neck until it's fully absorbed -- your thirsty skin will drink it up.
Last step is to seal everything in with a great moisturizer. I'm in love with Dr. Hauschka Day Rose Cream. It's rich and luxurious without being too heavy or greasy -- it sinks right in and you can feel the effects IMMEDIATELY. Oh my god, it just makes your skin feel like velvet. This is the moisturizer I use most nights, but I especially love it after this little dry skin cocktail.
And that's it! Your skin will feel great almost instantly, but I like to let it all sink in while I get a good night's sleep. Sweet dreams....