Hey Katarina. What’s Your AM Skincare Routine?
Routine: noun. A sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program. Let’s get down to business. Commitment is a tough thing, and resistance to it isn’t exclusive to all the eligible bachelors on dating apps. I’ve routinely never been able to stick to one thing in my life: even my Enneagram (type 7) results illuminated the apparent low-attention span engrained in personality. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that consistency is key to success, and become more of a minimalist in most factions of my life. That said, when it comes to skincare, I’ve had a more challenging time scaling back mostly because I am always eager to try the next best thing. For the last nine months, I’ve honed in my perfect morning routine. I won’t say this has been an easy discipline because some mornings I get up and can barely muster enough motivation to put regular clothing on, but what I will say is that it works.
I won’t bore you with the amount of R&D that went into the discovery of this routine, but suffice it to say; it was an expansive and arduous journey. If you’ve read some of my other posts (good for you, xoxo me), you know that my skin tends to be dry, so if you fall into the normal/dry camp, these products should do the trick for you, too!
Nine Steps To Great Skin
STEP ONE: Skip the cleanse, wash face with lukewarm water
STEP TWO: Vitamin C Serum
STEP THREE: Tone
STEP FOUR: Hyaluronic Acid
STEP FIVE: Moisturizer
STEP SIX: Sunscreen
STEP SEVEN: Facial Oil
STEP EIGHT: Tinted Moisturizer w/ Sunscreen
STEP NINE: Lip Balm
Step One: Skip The Cleanse Sweetie.
Splash face with water 2 -3 times and pat dry. Trust me; this one took some getting used to for me. It almost felt like I had to un-learn my usual routine, but after a week of adoption, it caught on. Our skin has a natural moisture barrier, and as our skin ages, it gets drier. With my skin type and most aging skin, it’s entirely unnecessary to use a cleanser in the morning. Overusing face wash can destroy your skin’s natural barrier by stripping away all its moisture, thus causing potential redness, oiliness, inflammation, and worsened breakouts. Since I’ve been skipping the am cleanser, my skin’s rarely irritated and much less prone to feeling dry throughout the day.
Step Two: Vitamin C, Please.
The most important antioxidant. Take four drops and firmly (no tugging please) pat into face and neck, until your skin no longer feels tacky. You want to wait 2-3 minutes between each product application to ensure it fully absorbs into the skin. I apply in the morning to protect against free radical damage, even skin tone and promote collagen production throughout the day. I’d be open to applying at night, but because I use my retinol, I opt to use my Vitamin C in the morning to allow both products to work as effectively as possible. Either way, consistency is the key and always apply after cleansing. Honestly, there’s only one Vitamin C product to buy; others, in my humble opinion, are obsolete in comparison to the results and efficacy of CE Ferulic.
C E Ferulic
Don’t bother buying any other Vitamin C. If you’re thinking, “well, this product has a virtually identical ingredients list,” you’d be correct in that it exists. Still, SC’s patented formulation (how the ingredients are mixed and what concentration is included), is what makes it the gold standard. Vitamin C is inherently unstable and reactive, and in most products, it easily loses its antioxidant properties when exposed to heat, light, and air. Not the case with this guy. after 40 years of academic research, SkinCeuticals created their patented formulation that checks all the boxes. SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic has changed my skin, I have less fine lines, my dark spots have faded, and I’m almost angry at how good this product is. The bottle should last you 3-4 months if you use it properly. This is a great example of “you get what you pay for.“
Step Three: Tone It, Gently.
After waiting for my Ce Ferulic to absorb, I spray a generous layer of the Avene Thermal Water to both tone and prep my skin for hyaluronic acid. When you have dry skin like me, you want to avoid using alcohol-based toners like witch hazel (literally throw it away) because they overly strip the skin and aren’t necessary for your morning routine. Generally, I’d think twice about toning with anything acidic in the morning and consider using it at night instead – when your skin goes through its super cool regeneration period.
NO, this isn’t just your run of the mill tap water fans. Thermal water is a type of mineral water found deep underground and contains healing properties exempt from bacteria and pollution. Naturally pure and rich in mineral salts, iodine, and CO2, thermal water therapizes your skin without the hourly fee your doctor charges. Thermal water is a 2 in 1 product (we love those) because it acts both as a moisturizer and toner. So, after you cleanse your skin in the morning/evening, use thermal water to tone as well as hydrate your face skin and get the most natural care.
Step Four: Hyaluronic Acid, Duh.
While my skin is wet, I apply 4-6 (let’s be honest, a dropper full) to the palm of my hands and pat into my forehead, cheeks, chin, and neck. Hyaluronic acid holds 1,000 times its weight in water, so for it to work, it needs to be applied to damp skin- it’s a moisture magnet. If you apply it to dry skin, it pulls any residual moisture from the deeper layers of skin as a means to hydrate, thus causing the opposite effect of what is intended, and leaving skin more dehydrated. Once hyaluronic acid comes into contact with water, she knows exactly what to do, leaving your skin supremely hydrated and plumped. Hyaluronic acid is a powerful natural humectant that helps regulate moisture levels in the skin. With age, skin experiences a gradual decline in hyaluronic acid levels, and production begins to decrease, contributing to signs of aging, so get on it sweetie!
Corrective Two-In-One Serum FTW. If you’re going to use Hyaluronic Acid, use it right, and use the best. This serum amplifies the skin’s hyaluronic acid levels by 30%. We love facts. I use this twice daily because the formulation contains a high concentration of pure hyaluronic acid, and SkinCeuticals patented proxylane™, along with botanical extracts that all are proven to support and deliver surface hydration. If you have time to check out the before and after photos of users 14 weeks after using this product as directed, you’ll need no convincing to try it.
Step Five: Moisturize Her!
After waiting 2-3 minutes for my Hyaluronic Acid to blend, I take a nickel-size dollop onto the palms of my hands, rub together to warm up the product (always get her hot and ready, like the pizza!) and gently apply to my face neck and chest. I have yet to find my ultimate favorite, ride or die moisturizer, and while this is one of the best formulations for normal to oily skin types, it just leaves my dry skin wanting more. I’m almost done with it, and would buy it for a backup, but prefer the SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore, which I use as my nightly moisturizer. Sidebar, PLEASE- If you’re using skincare that is potted, be sure to apply it with a re-usable spatula as not to introduce nasty bacteria and soiling the entire product. k Thanks.
Good For Everyone, Better For Normal & Oily Skin. Yeah, so what I don’t live by this moisturizer, but it’s still fantastic by most accounts. This fantastic face moisturizer provides normal to oily skin with lightweight, long-lasting hydration as it helps minimize the appearance of pores. If you’re looking for a light moisturizer for dry climates and want to avoid that heavy or greasy feeling most over the counter moisturizers cause, this is one for you.
Step Six: Sunscreen, Or Bust.
If you take anything away from this post, please let it be that you think this is the greatest blog you’ve ever encountered, and of course, to apply sunscreen to your face, neck, and chest every day! I take a quarter-sized dollop into the palms of my hands, rub together, and apply to the aforementioned areas with great, willful passion. I apply from the center of my face and gently rub upward towards the hairline to avoid missing any areas. Ideally, dermatologists want us to be re-applying sunscreen every 2 hours, thus the need for moisture underneath your sun protection products. Oh! I’m also always sure to apply to my lips ears, and HANDS before I go anywhere <3
The Best Around. Finally, a sunscreen I trust to put on my face and not make me feel like a literal raisin. This totally invisible, weightless, scentless Sunscreen with SPF 40 not only leaves me breathless but also with a velvety finish. I love this sunscreen for a lot of reasons, but mostly because its an overachiever, like me, teehee. Its antioxidant-rich unique oil-free formula glides onto skin while providing broad-spectrum SPF 40 protection. Somehow Unseen Sunscreen is also appropriate to use as a makeup-gripping primer under foundation when you want a little more coverage or on its own if you want a more natural look. She’s a game-changer fans.
Step Seven: Face Oil, Yum.
Speaking of game-changers. After my Sunscreen is nice and settled, I take four drops of this amazing antioxidant seed face oil, rub in between my palms, and pat onto my face, neck, and chest. I apply my face oil as the last layer of skincare because it acts like a topcoat- sealing and protecting all of the hard work myself and the lower level products are doing. It’s quite a repetitive process, but it works. I’ve spoken plainly about how adding face oil to my routine gave my skin a new lease on life. Regardless of skin type, dermatologists recommend everyone incorporate antioxidants into their skincare regimen, so get after it.
My Experience: I’ve tried a lot of popular face oils, but Juno has been part of my routine for two years now. My skin tends to be on the dryer side, especially because I use retinol at night. After double cleansing (depending on whether I wore makeup or not), and toning, I apply my retinol, moisturizer, and then the Juno oil. I’ve noticed my skin doesn’t seem to retain moisture when I forget to apply the oil as well. The texture of the oil is on the medium-heavy side and comes in a glass bottle with a pipette. I often use two to three drops of the oil before makeup to keep my disguise from budging. If you’re on the fence about introducing facial oils into your routine, I’d recommend giving this a try, only at night, with 3-4 drops three times a week. I’ve turned a lot of friends onto Juno, so I’m sure you’ll dig it too!
Step Eight: Lip Balm Dot Com.
You didn’t expect me to leave out my sweet lippies, did you?! I’ve tried every lip product legally available to me, worldwide, and this is my ride or die. I take a mini spatula, scoop up product to be about the size of a piece of rice (lol, visuals people, visuals), and apply to lips. Whether I decide to apply a tinted oil, lipstick, or stain, I always apply this to my lips to prep them any outcome, be it all or nothing. I think it’s pretty obvious that staying hydrated is going to make just about everything better, but this especially applies to the lips, so be sure to keep that in mind too cuties.
Pour La Bouche
BETH COLLINS MD
All You’ll Ever Need: This is a family secret. We buy in bulk, they disappear without a trace, but presumed empty because they are a savior in the winter months. You’ve probably never heard of this brand so don’t let the unknown prevent you from living your best life because wow, this is luxurious. Packed with lanolin, honey, lemon and peppermint flavored oils, keep Pour La Bouche stashed in every pocket, handbag and drawer. Your lips will be so happy, they’ll kiss you! – their words, my thoughts exactly! This beauty is thick enough to create a shield of moisturized protection, without being too sticky or heavy.Just buy it, I promise you’ll thank me later. To be honest at this point, you have a lot to thank me for. sheesh.
Step Nine: Finish Line, Tinted Moisturizer w/ SPF
BONUS ROUND. If you want to go the extra mile, but also forego the whole makeup concept, this last (I promise) step is for you. As I mentioned before, SPF is life, and clearly, you can never get enough of it. At the same time, it would be cool to have a hydrated, even, bronzed complexion to make your cautionary efforts go the extra mile. I take my handy dandy re-usable spatula and scoop out a quarter-sized dollop of my tinted moisturizer with SPF and apply GENTLY with my hands – and voila! I’m feeling accomplished and ready to take on all the curveballs the day will throw my way, like the impossible task of selecting what show I’ll be binging for the day jk, kinda.
Face Finishing & Firming Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30
Instagram Filter IRL. My mom came to visit an left this in my bathroom, to her knowledge, it was “lost” lol, no it wasn’t. I’m genuinely in love with this product. When you go to apply this product, it looks gray and grainy but has a cloud-like texture. The second it touches your skin, it turns to a warm, complimentary tone to your natural skin, creating a flawless, natural-looking finish. Takes the cake as far as a lightweight, fast-absorbing, tinted moisturizer with SPF’s are concerned. Did I mention that its also formulated with Alpha Lipoic Acid to reduce the appearance of lines, pores, and wrinkles over time? I mean, come on.