Morning skincare routine

Last Updated on August 18, 2021
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written by nail expert Jess Rowley

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In need of a new morning skincare routine?

When it comes to morning routines, I could never be those girls who wake up at 5am and have done a workout, fresh juice, and 20 step morning skincare all before 8am. These days it seems everybody has a perfect morning routine.

When it comes to building your personal morning skincare routine, everybody will have a different one. Not only because our skin is different. but because some of us can spend an hour getting ready whilst others can only spare ten minutes.

This is where I come in.

There is an abundance of skincare products out there, and you might have a few in your collection already. From anti-aging serums to moisturizing facial oils and cleansing toners, what is worth including in your morning routine, and in what order?

I am going to be taking you through how to build the best morning skin care routine that is simple, but effective. I’m going to show you which products you should be including for your skin type, as well as how to incorporate them in the morning.

Here’s a tip- Less is more. If you know you don’t want to be spending half an hour doing skincare, try a basic routine that takes 5mins of your time. The key is to be consistent and realistic, you can always add more products over time.

Keep scrolling for all the good stuff!

Why do you need a morning skincare routine?

It seems that some people can do whatever they want and their skin is naturally radiant, despite having never had a skincare routine before. If that’s not you, having a morning skin care routine is a way of looking after your skin, and it might just be the answer to some or all of your skin problems.

The goal of a daytime routine is to provide protection for your skin and to prep your skin for the day ahead.

Your morning skin care routine should have as a goal to look after your skin and provide a layer of protection against the day ahead. The key to a good skincare routine is to make realistic skincare routine steps. For a daytime routine, it has to be something you can do every morning before going to work, so it’s not worth making it too long. The morning skin care routine order is also important.

It’s a good idea to use lighter products so you can do your makeup over it or you can leave the house quickly. You want to use products that nourish and protect the skin such as SPF, but not products that can make it more sensitive in sunlight for example exfoliating chemicals or acids.

Why does the order to apply products in skincare matter?

When you buy a variety of products, serums, creams, and cleansers for your skin, it might not seem a big deal in what order to apply them in as long as they are all going on your face. Let me tell you right now, it makes a big difference.

Whether or not you buy expensive skincare, none of us want to be wasting any of our products. But when you apply them in a random order, you risk them being rendered useless because they can’t reach the skin well, or even mix with other products. Each product does a job, but the texture is often what makes it go in a specific place. As a general rule of thumb, products that are thinner such as liquids and serums should go first to be absorbed directly into the skin, and thicker products such as creams and moisturizers should go last as they take longer to absorb and sit on the skin surface.

When you get the order right, not only is it easier to apply the products, but you know your skin is getting all of the benefits from each product, meaning you’ll get to see results in your skin!

Daily morning skin care routine

As a reminder, your morning skin care routine should be tailored to you and your habits. Some of these steps are optional, so if you know you are often running low on time or you are on a budget and don’t have all the products, stick to a basic routine, it will still make a huge difference!

Step 1- Cleanser

Why include this- To clean your face and break down bacteria or unclog pores from the night

How to use it – When you wake up in the morning, wash your face with a cleanser to get rid of bacteria and to wake you up. Use warm water and gently wash your face in circular motions. Finish off with a clean towel so you don’t transfer bacteria to your face, and pat dry without rubbing. This is going to help prevent premature wrinkles.

Which product to use- Don’t use hand soap or your regular shower gel. Go for a cleanser suited to your skin type, for example, a hydrating facial cleanser if you have dry skin, and a cleanser with salicylic acid if you have oily or acne-prone skin. The key is that it is a gentle cleanser you can use daily, it shouldn’t have any exfoliating particles or irritating ingredients in it at all.

Step 2 – Toner

Why include this- Brightens and deep cleans your face

How to use it -This is an optional step 2, some people prefer to use it only in the evening to reduce sun sensitivity. Toners help to repair the skin’s ph after cleansing and help to prevent breakouts. Simply take a cotton pad, and put some toner on it. You can swipe the pad all over your face particularly your T-zone. That’s it, no need to rinse or rub it off. It can help to get rid of dead skin without damaging the skin barrier, like a cleansing oil.

Which product to use-If you want to treat a skin issue as you can buy a toner specifically for your skin type. You can buy a toner containing glycolic acid, and this will help to brighten dull skin. Most people have healthy skin after cleansing and don’t need toner in the morning at all.

Step 3 – Serum

Why include this- Provide additional moisture or essential vitamins your skin needs for the day ahead.

How to use it -In the morning it’s best to use non-oil serums, save those for the evening routine. When using a serum, simply take the dropper and squeeze it while inside the bottle. Then you can squeeze a couple of drops onto your fingertips or face. The key is to not let the dropper touch your skin, so you don’t transfer any bacteria into your bottle. Then lightly spread and tap the product into your face so it gets absorbed easily. As they have so much good stuff for your skin, it’s best to put it on early in the skincare routine, after cleansing your face, so your skin can absorb it all.

Which product to use– Serums such as alpha arbutin, niacinamide, vitamin c serum, or hyaluronic acid are great for the skin and lightweight, so you can use them in your morning routine very easily. They help to minimize pores, brighten skin (vitamin c serum), and lock in moisture. Serums are concentrated and full of nutrients so you can buy one specifically for your needs for example anti aging or acne.

Step 4 – Cream

Why include this-Target wrinkles or acne or treat problem areas

How to use it –No, I’m not talking about moisturizer yet. This is where you apply your eye cream, or spot treatment cream, or anything else that has a cream like consistency. If you often wake up with bags under your eyes or dark circles, an eye cream can help a lot, but since eye cream is thicker than serums, you need to use it after. If you suffer from acne, this is the time to apply your spot treatment cream. Simply use a small amount on clean fingertips and tap it into the area. This does not need to go all over your face. Remember, if it has active ingredients you may want to use it in the evening so your skin doesn’t become sensitive to sunlight.

Which product to use-You can also use azelaic acid cream or vitamin c cream to brighten your complexion and reduce dark spots. Vitamin C can help to brighten your skin, but vitamin c is an active ingredient so may not work well with others such as niacinamide. Use an eye cream with retinol for mature skin. Eye cream is designed to reduce wrinkles, so using eye cream every day will make a difference. For acne treatments use benzoyl peroxide or azelaic acid, or a prescription cream.

Step 5 – Moisturizer

Why include this-To hydrate your skin and seal in moisture

How to use it –Every skin type needs moisturizer, even oily skin or acne-prone skin. In fact, it can help to balance out the oil production. When going through the day, your skin will come into contact with wind, rain, pollution, chemicals, and all sorts, so having a protective barrier of hydration is going to prevent it from drying out too much. The best way to put on moisturizer is on damp skin, so it’s a good idea to get through the serums quickly so your skin is still damp from washing it earlier, to lock in moisture. Simply put a few dabs around your face and smooth into your skin in circular motions

Which product to use-You can choose a moisturizer with ingredients that suit your skin type for example with hyaluronic acid for hydration for dry skin, or ingredients that fight fine lines and wrinkles with anti-aging properties too. Go for an oil-free moisturizer that has water as its main ingredient for oily skin, or an oil-based cream moisturizer for very dry skin.

Step 6- Sunscreen SPF

Why include this-Protect your skin against harmful sun UV rays and free radicals

How to use it –The last step is actually the most important one in a morning skin care routine, even though many people forget. This is not only going to significantly reduce the risk of skin cancer, but it protects your skin cells by proving a layer of protection. This is key to your health and beauty, so don’t skip it! All skin types should use sunscreen, but it is especially important if you have sensitive skin. Simply apply around your face and on your neck, chest, ears, and hands. You should be generous when applying, and bring it with you to reapply later on.

Which product to use-If you buy sunscreen, ensure you buy a facial sunscreen as this will be easier to absorb and won’t leave a white cast either. Experts recommend using sunscreen with SPF 30 or more on your face every day, no matter the weather.

You don’t need to be a board certified dermatologist to make your daytime routine tailored to your habits and skin needs. It can include every single one of these steps, or just the cleanser, moisturizer, and SPF. When you follow this order of application, your skin will be getting the most of these products.

Know your skin type

When building your skincare routine, it’s crucial that you know what your skin type is. Not only will you be able to purchase skin care products that your skin will love, but you will know which steps to include in your routine, and which ones are less important for you. Here are some skin types:

Normal-The easiest to look after, you don’t really have any issues with your skin such as acne, and it doesn’t feel dry or get shiny during the day. Most products don’t really irritate you.

Oily – Creams and lotions can feel heavy or make your skin greasy, and during the day you are always shiny and sometimes get breakouts too.

Mature – If you’re 30 years of age and above, and start getting fine lines and wrinkles particularly around the eyes and mouth.

Dry – Your skin feels dry and tight throughout the day, you might feel the need to apply lotion multiple times throughout the day. Your skin is not shiny and stays matte.

Combination- A mix of dry and oily, you tend to get shiny around your T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin) but the rest of your face stays matte and dry.

Sensitive- Most products irritate your sensitive skin, you may have allergies to certain ingredients or get itchy and red skin after applying products. If you have sensitive skin you need to be careful with what products you use.

Your skin can sometimes be multiple skin types. for example, oily skin often gets acne, and dry skin is often sensitive, and of course, mature skin can be anything. If you’re still not sure, try washing your face with a cleanser and dry it, then wait around one hour without doing anything to it. If you have shiny skin, it will be oily, if it stays tight or feels dry, it’s dry skin etc. Knowing your skin type can help you choose the right skin care products to have better looking skin.

Make your life easier when it comes to skincare.

Morning skincare routine for dry skin

If you have dry skin, your morning skincare could look like this:

Cleanser- Go for a hydrating gentle face wash with peptides, to wash your face without drying it out. If your skin is very dry, try washing your face with a cleanser only once a day, in the evening.

Toner and serum– I would avoid a cleansing toner, but you can use a toner filled with anitoxidants to nourish your skin. Choose an oil based serum such as rosehip oil to hydrate your skin and boost it with vitamins. You can also include a hyaluronic acid serum to increase moisture in your face. A face oil can be a good serum too.

Cream- If you have areas of your face that are more dry, such as the eye area, put on a dab of rich cream to hydrate this area for longer. Eye cream can do a lot if you have mature skin or dry skin.

Moisturize- To moisturize, ensure your moisturizer is oil based rather than water based as this is going to hydrate your skin much more. Look out for moisturizing agents such as hyaluronic acid and shea butter or other face oils. Avoid products containing drying alcohols.

SPF- No matter your skin type, finishing off with a chemical or mineral sunscreen is a good idea. Try to use one with broad-spectrum SPF.

You can also follow these steps if you have sensitive skin, ensure you choose products that are free from irritating ingredients such as fragrances, parabens, and alcohols. If your skin is more sensitive than dry, go for oil-free products and water-based creams or moisturizers. Choose a mineral sunscreen as this is more natural and less irritating for the skin.

Morning skincare routine for oily skin

This is an example of a skincare routine for oily skin:

Cleanser- Don’t cleanse more than twice a day. Choose a cleanser that has salicylic acid in to get rid of dirt and oil that could be clogging pores. At nighttime you can do a double cleanse by using a cleansing oil and makeup remover to get rid of dead skin and buildup, then follow up with a night cream.

Toner and serum- Go for a toner that also has salicylic acid it glycolic acid for a better cleanse. Avoid oil-based serums, instead, choose water-based ones such as niacinamide serum and hyaluronic acid. These are vitamins that will nourish your skin without clogging your pores. Avoid using a face oil as this can make your skin look shiny even with makeup.

Moisturizer- I would skip any heavier creams especially in the morning, and go straight for moisturizer. Never skip moisturizer, your skin needs to be hydrated. Instead go for a water-based, oil-free moisturizer that will provide moisture without adding extra oil. It also helps to repair your skin barrier.

SPF- Including sunscreen as the last step is a must even when there is no sun, go for a chemical sunscreen to avoid the white cast. Choose a broad spectrum spf for better protection. They are more easily absorbed into the skin. When you layer your products like this, you know they will work the best.

If you have acne, include a spot treatment before the moisturizer, but be sure to only use it on acne and not your whole face. Allow it to absorb before putting on moisturizer. Using ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid will help to deep cleanse your skin and avoid breakouts.

These are just some examples of skincare routines for the morning based on skin types. You can adjust it to your skin needs by adding more products that are specific to your skin concerns, such as vitamin c serum for brightening dark spots.

Final Thoughts

Skin care doesn’t need to be complicated even when you’re not a board-certified dermatologist with loads of skin care products, but it’s a good idea to understand your skin’s needs and what each product does. Starting off with a daytime routine, and having a separate nighttime routine that includes makeup remover and a night cream is already going to make a difference.

Having a daytime routine that includes face wash. serum, cream, and sunscreen will already make your skin look great and you will feel good. You can also experiment and make it your own by adding treatment for your acne or wrinkles, especially your eye area and around your eyes. Cleaning even when you don’t wear makeup is super important as well as using sunscreen daily.

Above all remember to be gentle and consistent, it’s all about moisturizing your skin to protect it from the day ahead!

What does your skincare look like?

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