Five Key Steps for a Proper Morning Skincare Routine

A new week, a new set of goals, and the first on the list for many of us is committing to our skincare routines day in and day out. It’s true that a nighttime proper cleanse and skin regimen is always of upmost importance. A morning regimen is all about protection and hydration. There are five key steps for a proper morning skincare routine that any one of us can commit to for just a few minutes of our morning everyday.

Yes, you can add in actives, tools, and extra steps along the way. But let’s imagine you’re either just dipping your toes into the confusing world of skincare, trying to narrow down your 15 step routine, or have literally three minutes designated to skincare every morning. Let us be honest, most mornings consists of early business meetings, carpools, workouts, etc, so creating a realistic lineup of products is huge!

Step 1: Light Cleanser

I personally do not do a heavy cleanse in the morning, because I do a deep cleanse at night. I choose a light and gentle, hydrating cleanser for the morning and use a pea size amount just to lightly slough off any residue from overnight. A couple great examples of a gentle morning cleanser are Exquisite Face and Body’s Soothing Cleansing Gel and Colleen Rothschild Radiant Cleansing Balm. Many times if I’m in a hurry or my skin is feeling extra dry, I just do a massive rinse with cool water. If you’re looking for a deeper cleanse for morning, try not to do anything to strip your moisture barrier. The best thing in the morning is to create hydrated, protected skin to shield your face from environmental aggressors during the day. We want to maintain adequate moisture in the morning to properly prep your skin for the day.

Step 2: Toner or Essence

When using a toner, you are neutralizing the PH of your skin so it is at the proper level for products to be applied. Our skin likes to live somewhere around an ideal PH (potential of hydrogen) balance of 5.5. Usually when we cleanse our face, the PH of our skin becomes unbalanced and can go anywhere up to a 10, which is far too alkaline. If we leave our skin that alkaline, this upsets our skin’s acid mantle and can be an invitation for breakouts and irritation. Toners bring that PH back down where they should be and prepare your skin for product application.

Let’s try to understand that further. When measuring PH, you can determine how acidic or alkaline something is. Water is neutral, at a 7. If measuring under a 7, your skin is more acidic. If measuring above a 7, the skin is considered alkaline. It is most beneficial to you and your skin to maintain a stable PH around 5.5. As we age, our acid mantle (skin barrier) begins to weaken and needs the extra assistance to maintain the correct PH for optimal hydrated, healthy skin. Additionally, toners gently exfoliate and allow products that follow to penetrate deeper into the skin. They rid your skin of any excess product/cleanser/impurities and completely prep your skin for the actives in your regimen. Using a rosewater spray is another way to lightly tone your skin.

Essences are another way to prep your skin before actives and cremes. Some cleansers have properties to balance the PH of your skin, one in particular is Beauty Bio’s The Balance. Therefore, you can use an essence rather than a toner to add extra hydration to your regimen. Name one person who doesn’t love an essence. Well, you probably can’t! Essences are extremely nourishing and hydrating. I tend to have dry skin, especially during the colder months. Thus, I have shifted to using an essence in the mornings to add that extra dose of hydration for the day ahead.

A few examples of toners and essences that I love are January Labs Daily Brightening Tonic, Environ Youth Essentia Vita Peptide Toner, Colleen Rothschild Matcha Tea Treatment Toner, Biologique Resherche P50V, Royal Fern Phytoactive Skin Perfecting Essence, and SKII Facial TreatmentEssence. A press and release technique is recommended with toners and essences, rather than rubbing it all over your skin. This allows the product to deeply penetrate in and neutralize your skin to the best of its ability.

Step 3: Vitamin C

Using a Vitamin C serum in the morning is a critical step to protect your skin from free radicals during the day. Acting as an antioxidant, Vitamin C shields your skin from UV rays, pollution, smoke, debris, blue light, the list goes on and on. It is one of the most crucial steps in your everyday routine to help slow the ageing process and protect your skin from harmful, irreversible damage. Additionally, Vitamin C helps prevent and treat pigmentation and brightens your skin. Vitamin C also plays a critical role in collagen and elastin production. It is your key to bright, clear skin! You may read more details about the benefits of Vitamin C and browse through a few of my favorites by clicking here.

Step 4: Eye Cream and Moisturizer

This dynamic duo is grouped together, because they share the same role. An eye cream is gently applied under the eye to decrease the appearance of dark circles and help smooth lines and wrinkles. An eye cream applied on the eyelid can dramatically improve the appearance of hooded eyes. Moisturizers, and eye creams for that matter, seal in the actives from your routine. They lock in the magic from the vitamins, antioxidants, and hydrators in your routine. A few of my favorite eye creams include January labs Advanced Eye Technology, Beauty Bio’s Beholder, Environ’s Youth Essentia Vita Peptide Eye Gel, Lacréme Beauté Eye Cream, and Kate Sommerville Age Eye Arrest. A few of my favorite current moisturizers include Lacréme Beauté Bee Venom Cream and Rose Cream, Environ AVST Moisturizer, and Beauty Bio The Quench.
**Little Tip I learned early on when training at Estee Lauder: ALWAYS apply eye cream before under eye concealer. The cream allows a smooth glide with concealer so you don’t pull that delicate skin.

Step 5: Sunscreen

Whether you choose a chemical or physical sunscreen, this should be your final step every morning. Vitamin C plus sunscreen is the protection duo your skin needs daily. Together, they work to fight UV rays and protect your skin from harmful damage and pigmentation. It’s always a good idea to reapply every 2-4 hours when exposed to the sun (that includes driving in your car or inside working by the window). Chemical sunscreens need to be applied 20-30 minutes before sun exposure. A few of my favorite sunscreens include Supergoop City Serum, Barbara Sturm’s Sun Drops 50, and Elta MD Tinted Moisturizer.

The Importance of Discovering the Five Key Steps for a Proper Morning Skincare Routine

Creating an AM skincare regimen can be a relatively easy process if you stick to these cardinal rules. Incorporating the featured five key steps for a proper morning skincare routine is crucial for hydration, protection, and overall efficacy of product usage. From this foundation, you can add in other actives and tools such as hyaluronic acids, peptides and growth factor serums, microcurrent tools, and facial contouring tools. However, the time allotted for the average busy mom is often narrow and maintaining a realistic morning routine is a habit every gal should make. Once you have it down, it becomes second nature!


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“Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.” - Coco Chanel

- Coco Chanel