Morning Routine: 5 Quick but Essential Steps

Creating a skincare routine with multiple products may seem daunting, but each step has a particular purpose and supports and treats your skin in a different way. Morning skincare routines are crucial, as our skin is actually most active at night. It is when our skin cells regenerate and old skin cells are shed. Your morning routine will remove these dead skin cells, re-balance your epidermis and prep your skin for the day ahead. So here it goes:


Although some might think their skin is clean in the morning, cleansing is the most important step of your routine. Evaluate what your skin needs—i.e. if you are dry, dehydrated or feeling like your skin is tight, choose an oil cleanser. If you feel oily, reach for a clay or non-foaming gel or cream-based cleanser. Picking a cleanser is often like choosing out your outfit for the day. Remember that double cleansing is not part of your morning routine.

Acid/Exfoliating tone

While strong Alpha-Hydroxy-Acids (AHA’s: glycolic, lactic, etc) increase your sun sensitivity and are better left for nighttime, it is still important to tone and exfoliate in the morning to help lift off dead skin cells. This resets your skin’s pH after cleansing and can be targeted to a certain skin concern (breakouts, dehydration, etc). Exfoliation makes your skin come alive—it is what makes you glow. Exfoliating powders or a toner without alcohol and with with a low-AHA concentration are good options for this step. Note: certain acids, such as salicylic, do not increase sun sensitivity, but will also help keep your pores clean. They are known as Beta-Hydroxy-Acids (BHA’s) and are a safe option for morning use.

Nourishing/Re-hydrating tone

After cleansing and/or exfoliating, rehydrating and nourishing your skin is necessary. These products are commonly known as “spritzes,” and often contain ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, glycerin and rose water (or other floral waters). The goal is to rehydrate your skin after cleansing and exfoliating, balance the pH and prep for the following steps of your routine. If on a budget, this is the best place to save some cash and go for budget options.


Serums are known as potent treatment products, designed for specific skincare conditions and/or concerns. When on the search for a proper serum, you will find everything from brightening serums designed to help fight and correct hyper-pigmentation, to serums designed to provide an extra boost of hydration. They are your "workhorses", containing the most active ingredients with the most punch. Something to remember is that unlike cleansers, it might take longer to see the effects of certain serums, such as serums fighting hyper-pigmentation or wrinkles as their effect is cumulative over time. For others, like hydrating serums, the effects will be instantaneous. They are the best skincare product to invest in as they contain the highest concentration of active ingredients.


Moisture is the last step of each and every skincare routine, whether from an oil or cream. Creams and oils nourish in different ways, as oils usually contain more skin identical ingredients. Oils heal and replenish the skin from within the epidermis, while creams often sit more on top of the skin and protect externally. For the A.M., remember to follow with SPF (or choose a moisturizer containing SPF.)

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