It’s been over two years since I posted my last morning skincare routine post. (I distinctly remember being 1 million weeks pregnant with Emmie while writing it).
Today, I’m sharing my updated morning skincare routine. I share a lot of products on my blog and newsletter, so I thought it would be helpful to walk through my daily lineup of products that I actually use every single day.
In most of the categories, I included a couple of options. I regularly try new products (I like to test things out and be “in the know”), so while this list may seem like a lot, I just wanted to be thorough. Even using just one product from each category would make a great routine. I’ll explain why I use certain things on certain days–maybe it will be helpful to those who are looking to update their own routines this year.
Here is a full breakdown of my morning skincare routine:
I always prep my skin with an ice roller and collagen eye pads. Call me extra, but ice rolling is an essential part of my morning routine. It instantly wakes me up and helps depuff my face while I drink coffee and write my “morning pages.”
I used the Amazon ice roller for years, but after having to replace it a few times, I decided to ask for The Skinny Confidential version for Christmas last year. The Skinny Confidential version is MUCH colder and lasts way longer. It’s also sturdier, so it doesn’t break if my kids get a hold of it. I never miss a morning–even (especially) when we are traveling.
I feel like the best advice is to actually not wash your face in the morning–no need to dry it out with face wash, etc. BUT, I usually do my morning skincare routine after I’ve worked out in the morning, and I like to cleanse the sweat and such off my face. My favorite face wash this year has been the Ocean Cleanser from OSEA. It’s really gentle but makes my skin feel so clean and fresh after. Since you only need a tiny pump of product, the bottle has also lasted me forever which is really nice.
(OSEA has become one of my favorite clean skincare brands this year, as you can probably tell with its heavy presence in my daily routine. I love the products SO much, and their team has been incredible to work with. They are also *officially* Ocean Positive as of this month which is so awesome. My discount code with OSEA is RUTH if you decide to try any of the OSEA products on this list!)
After I cleanse, I apply my serums. If you are going to splurge on a skincare product, make it on your serums. This is your chance to get all of those “active” ingredients really absorbed into the skin before you moisturize. Another tip: avoid retinol or any exfoliating serums during the day because you don’t want to make your skin even more sensitive to sun exposure.
Biossance Vitamin C Serum: Vitamin C is a major powerhouse, as it helps brighten skin and fight dark spots. While the “holy grail” is, of course, the CE Ferulic from Skinceuticals, there are plenty of affordable options out there. I’ve been using the Biossance Vitamin C serum for the last few months and really like it. Their formulas are all clean too which I love. I’m not totally strict about clean beauty, but it’s really nice when I do find things that are cleaner (not to mention better for the environment).
Osea Hyaluronic Acid Sea Serum: A hyaluronic acid serum can be really helpful for those with dry, dull skin (me). Hyaluronic acid helps your skin hold onto moisture, giving it extra hydration all day long. My skin DRINKS this stuff up. For what it’s worth, I didn’t bring mine on our recent roadtrip and I could definitely tell a difference without it. Lest we forget: hydrated skin = youthful skin. The more hydrated your skin is, the slower the aging process will be.
Asterwood Naturals Triple Repair Serum: This is a really affordable option that has it all: Vitamin C, hyaluronic, and Matrixol 3000. Tyler got me a facial (my first ever!) at Skinfood in SD for my birthday back in May, and my esthetician said she swears by this serum. I, of course, couldn’t resist grabbing a bottle. When I got home, I did some recon on it, and it turns out that it has a total cult-following! I recommend this if you’re trying to keep your routine as streamlined and simple as possible. I use this on mornings when I just need the bare minimum to get out the door.
Not everyone needs an eye cream necessarily; I think most products you can basically use on your eye area. I personally, however, have really dry/flaky skin around my eyes, and I do like a cream that targets the puffiness I get in my eyes sometimes (namely, after a pizza + beer night).
Summer Fridays Eye Cream: This is one of the best daytime eye creams I’ve tried. It’s really lightweight and goes on so smoothly (as opposed to the sticky kind of eye cream that you have to pat-pat-pat on in an unsatisfying way). The cream is tinted and provides a tiny bit of illumination, so my eye area feels tight and glowy after I apply it. I love that it kind of just smooths everything out, and the little bit of tint helps counteract my dark circles too. This is the closest I’ve found to my favorite-ever Tatcha Silk Peony eye cream, but this one costs only $42 as compared to $62.
Next up is a moisturizer. The goal here is to hydrate and prep your skin before it “faces the day,” so to speak. Some moisturizers pill under SPF and makeup which is absolutely out of the question for me. The two I mention below both lay perfectly and last all day.
OSEA Atmosphere Protection Cream: I’ve talked a lot about my obsession with OSEA, but this is probably my absolute favorite of their face line. This moisturizer is amazing–it’s hydrating and nourishing but not greasy at all. Best of all, this cream helps fortify my skin’s natural barrier which is awesome when I’m out and about all day.
As with all of OSEA’s products, this one is clean too (again my code is RUTH for 10% off). They are also, as of this week, officially Ocean Positive, meaning that for every ton of carbon they offset, OSEA invests in coastal ecosystem restoration projects with SeaTrees–SO COOL.
Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré: I first discovered this cream in an Into the Gloss interview with Karlie Kloss (I was freshly out of college, having just realized that St. Ives scrub alone was not going to be a sustainable skincare solution, I went on a bender of research). This cult-favorite French cream is THE standard for priming moisturizers–you can’t ask for a more effective boost of moisture as a base for makeup and SPF. I’ve told this story before, but once last year I did a photo shoot for a maternity brand based in SD and had to have my makeup done prior to the shoot. When the makeup artist went to apply this as a primer, she seemed very impressed that I had already done so that morning. You can’t imagine how proud I was of myself, lol. Fair warning, though: this cream is THICK (might not be a great fit if you have oily skin) and quite fragrant (smells good but it’s a little perfumy).
I use the OSEA Atomsphere Protection Cream on “normal days” and Embryolisse on special occasions, when I’m doing a “full face” of makeup.
This step is only necessary for those with really dry skin. I, for one, love to wrap things up with an oil to seal everything in and add a little extra glow.
Biossance Rose Oil with Vitamin C: This is one of the best products I’ve tried this year. This rose oil from Biossance is rich and dewy but absorbs really fast so you don’t feel like you’re drowning. This is typically the last step of my skincare in the AM; I apply it all over my face, neck, and chest before I put on my SPF.
I also like to add a drop of this to my foundation if I’m wearing makeup–I find that the added oil helps my foundation blend and lay better on my skin (this is one of my #1 beauty tips for glowy skin).
**pulls out megaphone**
Regardless of what you might read on the crunchier (and, strangely, fear-mongering) side of Instagram, sunscreen IS important. As someone whose family has been deeply affected by melanoma, I assure you that SPF is a crucial tool for protecting your skin from harmful UV rays. I use SPF every single day and try to be diligent about applying it all over my neck, chest, and tops of my shoulders too.
Supergoop Glowscreen SPF 40: This is my favorite SPF ever. I feel like Supergoop just really nails it with face sunscreens. They always lay well under makeup, and they seem to have a formula for every skin type (if you’re more on the oily side, for example, Unseen is incredible.) I personally love Glowscreen because it’s–you guessed it–glowy and tinted. BUT, it does have avobenzone in it which isn’t the greatest, so I’ve been on a big search this year to find the best mineral SPF on the market.
Elta MD Tinted SPF 44: This brings me to my next point. I’ve been using this mineral SPF from Elta MD all summer, after having picked it up at the checkout of my Botox appointment. This is a great product. It effectively protects my skin from the sun and lays really nicely under makeup. I also like that it’s tinted, so oftentimes I can actually get away without wearing any makeup at all. The only thing I don’t love quite as much about this one is that it’s missing the “glow” factor–the finish is smooth but not as dewy as I prefer. I still think it’s a really great mineral option though and would recommend it if you’re looking for something cleaner.
And that’s basically the gist of my morning skincare routine. If I have time for makeup, I’ll apply a little bit of Glossier Skin Tint and Saie bronzer and swipe on some Glossier Boy Brow and Thrive Mascara.