The skincare routine post is a staple of AB blogs, and I’ve done my fair share. Routine posts are challenging for me because my own routine changes constantly as I choose what my skin needs the most from my unreasonably large beauty stash. Most of the time, I prefer to document what I’m using on my Instagram instead of in a lengthy post that will be outdated pretty much the next day. But when a commenter on one of my (more excessive) routine pics asked for a walkthrough of my routine, I got to thinking. Even if the products change from day to day, maybe I could write something helpful by talking about my decision-making process. If you’re curious about how I put together a morning skincare routine, read on!
Some products listed here were provided by Fifty Shades of Snail sponsors and are marked with double asterisks(**).
The Importance of My Morning Skincare Routine
I chose to talk about my morning skincare routine because I customize it much more than my nighttime routine. At night, I have the leisure and freedom to slap on whatever I want, which usually ends up being Almost All The Things and generally takes Quite A While. I can’t do that in the mornings unless I want to just stop leaving the house or participating in society altogether. My morning skincare routines have to address my highest-priority skincare goals efficiently and without messing up my sunscreen, makeup, or schedule.
When putting together my morning skincare routine, I consider not just my skin’s current condition and what it needs over the long term, but also the weather and my plans for the day. I live in coastal southern California. The air is sometimes very very arid but at other times pretty damp, and these different situations demand different skincare. When the air is dry, I’ll want to protect my skin’s hydration levels with at least a couple of fatty moisturizing products, such as a richer serum or a heavier cream. When the air is damp, I can go lighter.
I also need to take my sunscreen into account, though. That’s what I meant by having to consider my plans for the day. I rotate between several different sunscreens. Some are lower SPF or PA but more cosmetically elegant, easier to use when I know I won’t be going out that much. Others are more challenging to pair with skincare but offer better protection for more outdoorsy days. If I use a more moisturizing sunscreen, I’ll stick with a light emulsion or maybe even no moisturizer at all. Alcohol-heavy sunscreens or those with very matte finishes demand a heavier moisturizer to prevent the sunscreen from drying my skin out.
Sound complicated? Eh. It becomes second nature after a while. Depending on the state of your beauty stash, you may even find that you already have all the building blocks you need to adjust your routine for whatever your day might bring.
Yesterday was a very mild and pleasant day, not too dry and not too hot. I knew I didn’t need a lot of moisturization, but I also knew I’d want to be outside a lot and therefore needed my super-strong sun protection. This is what my morning routine looked like:
This is a very typical morning routine for me. It contains some beloved staple products and some at various stages of testing and delivers not just the light consistences I’m looking for, but also a variety of beneficial ingredients to improve my skin’s health and protect it from UV and environmental stressors.
- Cleanser: Sulwhasoo Snowise EX Cleansing Foam, a very beloved staple product that foams up beautifully and gets my skin fresh and clean without stripping or drying. This is a pricier cleanser than I generally like to use, but on mornings when I’m just not feeling right, the more luxurious experience it provides gives me extra motivation to wash my face, which forces me to do the rest of my routine afterwards.
- First essence: I’m currently testing out Naruko’s Face Renewal Miracle Essence**, which currently takes the FTE slot in both my morning and evening routines. I like to pat on a big splash of it to quickly hydrate my skin and get that FTE glow.
- Toner: The toners I have provide varying levels of hydration or moisturization in thin, quickly absorbed layers, making them great for quick routine customization. I just started testing Derma Dr. Lab Hydromoist Essential Toner**, whose weightless gel consistency works well for a routine like this one. This toner also contains brightening, barrier-boosting niacinamide and antioxidant-rich fermented plant extracts. If my skin or the weather had been drier, however, I would probably have gone for a fatty toner like Banila Co Miss Flower & Mr Honey Toner to get a dose of moisture without adding greasiness or shine.
- Essence: My key skin concerns right now are aging and sunspots, so I use treatment products that target those concerns. Naruko La Creme Platinum Bright Essence Repairing Complex** has ingredients to tackle both issues and an almost watery consistency that won’t feel heavy or take forever to absorb.
- Serum: I use Sulwhasoo Snowise Brightening Serum** every day for the same reasons as the Naruko La Creme essence: it addresses both my aging and pigmentation issues without being too rich for a light and quick morning routine.
- Snail: I always have a snail step in my routine. Snails keep my skin soft and supple and help repair and ward off sun damage. No sunscreen can protect from all UV radiation, so I like to use extra reparative steps every day. My snail step is pretty much always COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence–this must be my fourth or fifth bottle! I’ve been using it nonstop since last fall. The snail is where I stop on days like yesterday, but if I’d needed extra moisture, I’d add a heavier serum after this step.
- Moisturizer: Based on the weather and my sunscreen plans, I knew I needed a medium-weight moisturizer, something that could keep the hydration sealed in under the somewhat drying and very matte Biore milk sunscreen but wouldn’t feel suffocating. I took a bit of a risk choosing the Dr G. Hydra Volume Cream**, which is new to me but seemed to have the right consistency. Luckily, it worked out perfectly. Any lighter and my skin might have started to feel dry before the end of the day; any heavier and I might have gotten oily in the temperate weather.
- Sunscreen: When I expect to be outside for more than a couple of hours, I always use my Biore UV Perfect Bright Milk, which provides high UVA and UVB protection and lasts all day.
This routine was a total success for me. My skin kept its hydrated plumpness and dewy glow all the way through the day to my evening routine, neither drying out nor getting oily. That’s what I look for in a daytime routine!
What’s your morning skincare routine? Do you adjust it based on your skin or the conditions of the day? And do you want to talk about my evening routine, or was this quite enough for you?