I’m a big believer that the road to healthy, glowing skin is summed up in one word: routine. Even though things like microneedling and regular facials are what helped me get rid of my acne, it’s the products I use on a daily basis at home that keep it that way. So even on my busiest days, I make time for my morning skin care routine to keep things hydrated, protected, and clear.
There are thousands of incredible products out there, and we could easily get into the double digits with steps. But I think the ideal morning skincare regimen is simple, effective, and most importantly, quick.
Below, I’m sharing the AM skin care routine I’ve followed for years, including the exact products I use, the order I apply them, and why they’re important.
Simple Morning Skin Care Routine
Step 1: Cleanse
I always start my routine by pulling my hair back and using a headband or hair towel to keep my hair off of my face. Then, it’s onto the first step in my morning face regimen: face wash. I dispense a little bit into the palm of one hand, work it into foam with a touch of water, then apply it all over my face. One the gentle cleanser is good and foamy, I use my PMD Clean face brush to cleanse and get rid of any build up from the night before, then I rinse with cold water and pat dry with a clean washcloth.
Step 2: Tone
Next up, toner! This is such a misunderstood skin care step, and I didn’t fully realize its purpose until my aesthetician explained that a good toner helps balance your skin’s pH, hydrate it, and restore the natural barrier after cleansing. I grab a cotton pad and dispense a quarter size of calming toner onto it, then I press it in all over my face.
Step 3: Vitamin C (Antioxidant)
Before my toner dries completely, I dispense a dime-size amount of vitamin C serum and spread it evenly on my face. My aesthetician always says that a good antioxidant serum is the skincare step no one realizes they’re missing until 10 years later. You may not see an immediate result, but it protects you against all things aging (exhaust, dirt, blue light, environmental stressors, keeps your skin bright and firm, and both works to actively reduce the appearance of existing and future hyperpigmentation (sun spots, freckles, dark spots).
Step 4: Eye Cream
I squeeze a dab of eye cream onto the middle finger of one hand, then dab it gently underneath my eye area, reaching all the way down to the orbital bone, to the place where crow’s feet form, and above my lid. Mine is hydrating but not heavy and helps with dark circles, fine lines, and puffiness.
Step 5: Serum
The serum step can be customized to your skin type or your skin’s needs in a given season. For example, in the winter I sometimes use a hyaluronic acid serum to combat dryness. You could also sub something for elasticity, rosacea, or another skin issue. Most days, though, I’m reaching for a regenerating serum that does it all in one fell swoop: firms, brightens, tightens, hydrates, and improves texture.
Step 6: Moisturizer
I prefer a lightweight serum to a moisturizer since I have oily skin, but I recommend choosing a lotion based on your skin type (dry skin, combination skin, etc.). For my oily, acne-prone skin, I look for something that’s hydrating, anti-aging, brightening, fights fine lines and free radicals, promotes collagen production, and doesn’t clog my pores. Your skin can never be too hydrated!
Step 7: Sunscreen
The last step: sunscreen. Depending on my schedule for the day, I’ll wear a casual SPF, powder SPF, or a high-quality, tinted SPF cream primer. Most days, I’m reaching for EltaMD, a clear, broad-spectrum, zinc oxide SPF. I love this one because it’s relatively affordable and oil-free (won’t cause breakouts). If we have a photoshoot, I’ll use the SPF powder (especially love it in the summer) or the SPF makeup primer. Whatever you do, get your protection from UV rays and sun damage and use a sunscreen of least SPF 30.
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Morning Skin Care Routine Products
There you have it! Shop all of my morning skin care routine products in the widget below. And don’t miss my nighttime skincare routine post, where I break down the products I use for exfoliating, my favorite makeup remover, go-to retinol, and the salicylic acid, AHA, benzoyl peroxide, and spot treatment products I use to keep my acne at bay.