We all know the importance of nighttime skincare, but a solid morning routine is just as crucial. Nighttime skincare aims to address skin issues before the regenerative process of sleep begins, but daytime skincare is all about protection and preservation. You can’t create a youthful complexion later on, you can only maintain the one you have now.
There could easily be twelve steps to the most effective morning skincare regimen, but let’s be real… nobody’s got time for that. If all you can do each morning is hit the high notes listed below, you’re well on your way to a flawless face all day long.
Step 1: Cleansing Oil
If you’re using oil-based products at night, an oil cleanse in the morning is an absolute must to effectively lift away those products and whatever they have brought to the skin’s surface overnight.
Heat up two pumps of your oil-based cleanser in the palm of your hand before massaging into skin and down your neck, then take a minute to work in the product and stimulate circulation. Rinse with warm water and leave skin damp.
Step 2: Water-Based Cleanser
A low-PH water-based cleanser in your morning skincare routine helps to properly deep clean without causing redness that is hard to calm before makeup application.
While your face is still damp from step one, work your water-based cleanser into a foam and allow it to sit as a mask on your skin for a couple minutes if you have time (I usually use this time to brush my teeth), and rinse with cold water. Press a clean washcloth onto your skin to dry – do not rub.
Step 3: Toner
Toner is easily the most misunderstood skin care product and way more important than it receives credit for. Toner is the first barrier product you apply – good toner balances your skin’s PH, and is intended to hydrate – not strip your skin the way your astringent did in middle school.
PUT THE COTTON PADS DOWN. Anything you put between your fingers and your face has potential to irritate skin, so embrace the practice of pressing. Tap a few drops of toner around your face and press it in to even application.
Step 4: Serum
The most important (and expensive) step in your morning skincare routine – aside from sun protection – is an antioxidant-rich serum. Your face is up against a lot of agents that wish to do it harm throughout the day: exhaust fumes from the city bus, your dirty phone screen, your cortisol levels during a 3pm conference call, etc. Serums see to it that none of those stressors live eternally as fine lines between your eyebrows.
The best thing about serums is that a little truly goes a long way, making that hefty price tag a little easier to stomach. Press a couple pumps into freshly toned skin and allow to absorb fully before moving on.
Step 5: Moisturizer
There is no such thing as skin that is too hydrated, and your sunscreen should not be the stand-in for moisturizer. These two products serve vastly different purposes and are not interchangeable, no matter how moisturizing your sunscreen claims to be.
Press a thin layer onto skin and allow for full absorption.
Step 6: Sun Protection
If you only had time for one skincare product each morning, it had better be sunscreen. Daily sun protection is as important as drinking water and paying your parking tickets on time, so there are zero excuses for not doing it.
Press a quarter-sized amount onto your face, and an additional quarter-sized amount onto your neck and décolletage.
Primer is equal parts skincare and makeup, but an optional step if you aren’t planning on applying any pigmented products after your sun protection. Primer not only allows for a more flawless application of foundation, but it is the last barrier of protection for your skin.
Using a clean foundation brush with natural hair bristles to allow for full application of your primer, swipe an even layer over face and then press into skin with the brush. Rinse it clean for next day application.