How to Tailor Your Morning Skincare Routine - and my Favourite Products

Your morning skincare routine is crucial and tailoring your routine to your unique needs goes a long way to having healthy, radiant skin.  

Your skin is most active overnight - and after all that hard work regenerating your skin cells while you sleep, your morning routine is how you prepare your skin for product effectiveness and having a glowy canvas for your makeup routine. 

Below are 6 key steps and products to consider for your morning skin care routine.

Each step and product has a different purpose and only you will know what works best for your skin type and what it needs.  I’ve also put them in the order that I personally tailor my own routine and products. 

You don’t need to include absolutely every step in your routine, but as a minimum I would recommend paying specific attention to cleansing  and hydrating, nourishing and moisturising. And sunscreen of course! 

 

6 Steps for your Morning Skincare Routine 

 

Step 1: Cleansing 

You may have cleansed really well the night before and I know of some people who only splash their face with some water in the morning, saving their (double) cleanse routine for the evening, but I believe cleansing, both morning and night is actually the most important step in your skincare routine.  

There are several methods of cleansing, ie. using your hands, a hot cloth on its own or with a product, konjac sponge, using some sort of electronic device, cleansing wipes etc.  There are also several product types to cleanse with, ie. cleansing oil, balm, cream, gel, clay, foam or grainy exfoliating cleansers.

My preferred cleansers at the moment are the Oskia Renaissance Gel Cleanser and the Liz Earle’s Hot Cloth Cleanser. I use the hot cloth with both products and that doubles up as my exfoliation. I've stopped using harsh, grainy exfoliants a couple of years ago - partly for environmental reasons, but also because I've found them too harsh on my skin since I'm now in my fourties.  

Your cleansing method and product will be determined by your skin type and needs, so it’s really important that pick what suits you best. 

 

Step 2:  Liquid Exfoliation / Acids :  BHA’s and AHA’s 

a)  Beta-Hydroxy-Acids (BHA’s)

Personally I love Beta-Hydroxy-Acids (BHA’s), also known as Salycilic Acid as a liquid exfoliator in the morning. My combination skin can become dull and congested and BHA’s can mimic the skin’s natural exfoliation process through unclogging and clearing pores.  Because BHA’s are oil-soluble it can penetrate beneath the skin’s surface, clearing out excess sebum from the pores and reducing oiliness.

I find that using a BHA in the morning and then following with my nourishing / moisturising product (in my case Glow in a Bottle Facial Oil) it prepares my skin beautifully for my makeup routine.  

My preferred BHA Liquid exfoliant is the very well known Paula’s Choice 2% Skin Perfecting BHA Liquid. 

 

b)  Alpha-Hydroxy-Acids (AHA’s, Glycolic, Lactic)

The other liquid exfoliant is Alpha-Hydroxy-Acids (AHA’s, Glycolic, Lactic).  As AHA’s increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun, I’d suggest using this at night.  If you use a AHA in the morning, always make sure to follow with a broad spectrum sunscreen. 

AHA’s work on the skin’s surface, gently dissolving the bonds between dead skin cells so that they can be easily removed, making way for a softer and smoother surface. They’re water-soluble, so they don’t penetrate deep below the surface of the skin, but are capable of reducing the appearance of fine lines, acne scars and dark spots. 

My preferred AHA is REN’s Ready Steady Glow with Lactic Acid, an AHA, as its key ingredient, and I use this 2-3 times a week at night. 

 

Step 3:  Toners 

I don't tend to use a separate toner between my liquid exfoliant and serum, but if I'm somewhere really hot and dry I may do.  Hydrating your skin after using an exfoliant is an important step and helps to rebalance the pH balance and prepare for your serum and / or oil/ moisturising step. 

For this step I would typically use a Rose Water Spritz and my preferred option is the Burts Bees Rose Water Toner.  

 

Step 4:  Serums / Elixirs 

Serums contain a host of the most multi-active, potent anti-ageing ingredients and are designed for specific skincare concerns and/ or issues.  They are also non-oil based which means you can use them before your facial oil and / or moisturiser - but there are also different schools of on this. Personally I prefer to apply my serum first and then my facial oil. While serums are effective and can enhance your routine they are not a necessity. 

When your search for a suitable serum you will come across something for virtually every skincare concern and it may be hard to choose the right option(s) for you. Some typical active ingredients include 

  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Vitamin C
  • Retinol (Vitamin A) 
  • Vitamin E
  • Peptides

A key point to remember:  Serums need to be used consistently. Seeing results may take several weeks, so don't give up unless your skin is reacting in a negative way! 

Also, while they have moisturising properties I wouldn't recommend replacing your moisturising step with a serum. 

My preferred serum is the Ané Radiance Serum with Vitamin C and Hylauronic - Acid - launching October 2018! I've been testing this for months now and it's one of very few Vitamin C Serums that my skin tolerates and responds to wonderfully.  It's the perfect companion to my Glow in a Bottle. 

 

Step 5:  Moisturising and Nourishing 

Moisturising and nourishing is the last step in your routine, both morning and night (although I’ll actually add sunscreen as the last step in the morning). We can typically divide the products for this step between facial oils and moisturising creams - and there is ongoing debate as to whether oils or creams are better for skin.  I believe creams have a role to play in skincare, but given my personal preference for more natural products I definitely lean towards using a facial oil.  

Natural plant oils deliver healthy nutrients, vitamins, antioxidants and essential fatty acids that are absorbed directly into the top layers of the epidermis, repairing and improving the skin's lipid barrier.  

Creams are made up mostly of water,  waxes, preservative and fillers that form an occlusive layer on the skin. In the short term creams can help hold moisture in, but the wax barrier can also prevent the truly beneficial oil component of the cream from penetrating the skin to the lipid barrier.  Wax can also clog pores and lead to breakouts. 

Since I switched to using Facial oil I haven't had the breakouts I used to have - and this is a key factor in choosing between the two options. 

My preferred moisturising / hydration product is Glow in a Bottle Facial Oil and I find that it gives me all the nourishment my skin needs.  

You can of course always use a few drops of Glow in a Bottle in your preferred moisturiser, I know that's a popular option with a number of my customers. 

 

Step 6:  Broad Spectrum Sunscreen with SPF 

I count sunscreen as part of my skincare routine - every single day, regardless of the weather! 

My favourite Sunscreen range is Heliocare and I've been using it for years. My preferred daily sunscreen is the Heliocare Factor 50 Mineral Formula

There you have it! It may sound like a lot, but my skincare routine takes my less than 5 minutes (morning and night) unless I use a face mask of course. 

What does our morning skincare routine look like?  And what are your favourite product?  I would love to know!