The morning sets the rhythm for the day, and so does your skincare routine for your skin. It’s not about piling on countless products but selecting the right ones. When mapping out your morning beauty ritual, focus on what your skin needs during daylight hours: defense against environmental stressors, a splash of hydration, and a strong barrier. Whether you have dry, oily, or combination skin, these products are the cornerstone for a healthy morning skincare routine.
Morning is prime time for hydration, especially given that our skin naturally loses moisture during the night. Use a hydrating product with ingredients like glycerin or hyaluronic acid. This could be in the form of a serum or a lightweight moisturizer. Both of these ingredients are humectants, meaning they act as moisture magnets. They pull water from the air into the skin, providing the necessary hydration throughout the day.
However, there’s one thing. In dry climates (where the air humidity is less than 70%), humectants can sometimes work against us. They might pull moisture from the deeper layers of our skin when the air lacks humidity. This can dehydrate the skin cells as the moisture travels to the skin’s surface and evaporates back into the air. It’s a counterintuitive process that can leave our complexion parched instead of moisturized.
To combat this, use occlusives like squalane and natural oils. These ingredients form a protective film over the skin to lock the moisture in.
Instead of using one heavy moisturizer, consider layering a lightweight serum under a gel-based moisturizer. The serum should be filled with humectants and the moisturizer with occlusives. This provides the perfect amount of hydration without leaving your skin greasy or sticky.
Antioxidant and anti-pollution serum
Antioxidant and anti-pollution serums might seem like just another product in an already crowded skincare routine. However, they are necessary to protect our skin and maintain a healthy appearance.
Just think about it. Our skin is constantly exposed to various environmental aggressors like sunlight, pollutants, and cigarette smoke. These aggressors produce free radicals. At the most basic level, free radicals are unstable molecules that have unpaired electrons. Electrons like to be in pairs, so these molecules scavenge the body to find other electrons so they can become stable. When they steal an electron from a stable molecule, that molecule then becomes a free radical, and a chain reaction begins. This process is called oxidative stress and is known to cause anything from premature aging to dullness and skin cancer.
Antioxidants are compounds that donate an electron to these free radicals and neutralize them before they wreak havoc on the skin cells.
Now, here’s where the timing comes into play. Studies found that antioxidants work best when applied to the skin before exposure to environmental stressors. If they’re already present in your cells when you go out into the sun or walk through a polluted area, they can immediately neutralize these harmful molecules. This is because the antioxidants are already “on-site” and can act instantly. It’s like wearing armor—it’s more effective to put it on before the battle than during or after, right?
Every morning, apply an antioxidant-rich serum. Look for ingredients like vitamin C, vitamin E, ferulic acid, green tea, and niacinamide.
Lymphatic drainage massager
Do you know that fluids can accumulate in our faces? This excess fluid is the leading cause of puffiness, especially around the eyes. That’s why one of my favorite skincare hacks is doing a lymphatic drainage massage every morning to reduce puffiness. To do that, I simply use a facial roller. A lymphatic drainage massage moves the stagnant fluid and enhances circulation, giving the skin a more refreshed and radiant appearance.
I know this is a no-brainer, but I’ll say it.
For your skin’s sake, use sunscreen every morning. I know you probably think you don’t need it unless you go out. But today’s sunscreens are formulated to protect us from blue light as well, which, like sunlight, can prematurely age our skin. So whether you’re staying indoors watching reels or spending time in the sun, your skin is at risk without sunscreen.
Physical sunscreens with SPF 30+ and ingredients like zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, and iron oxide are your best options. They provide both UV and blue light protection so your skin will be safe throughout the day.
What not to use in your morning routine
- Retinol (makes your skin sensitive to sunlight)
- Sulfate-based cleansers (dry out the skin)
- Chemical exfoliants (increase the risk of photodamage)