My Morning Skin Routine

morning routine

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a morning person. It’s not something I’m proud of, but I’ve always been this way. 

In fact, almost nobody in my family is. We have a rule that we NEVER schedule anything before noon. And if we are all together over the holidays or something, the mornings are slow as molasses. Inevitably 1-2 people will take one for the team and wake up early with all the kids and lay cemented to the couch with a coffee cup in hand, only to be accompanied hours later but a steady stream of lion-maned blondes stumbling one by one towards the kitchen. 

When I was little, I never got used to waking myself up for school. My dad came in not once but twice (and even three times some days) to get me out of bed–every morning until the day he dropped me off at college in his Ford Club Wagon van. 

I really don’t think I grew up too spoiled, and I always thought my parents did a good job of preparing me for independence/adulthood..but this was one area none of us could ever get quite right. 

As you can imagine, motherhood hit me hard and fast, and now I don’t really have a choice but to get my act together bright and early. 

If I don’t start my day on the right side of the bed, if you will, I am frazzled and have a hard time getting my bearings when Charlotte is making constant demands. 

Fortunately, Tyler and I have been married almost five years now so he knows the drill. 

He usually wakes up before Charlotte and then takes care of her whenever she decides to start her day. 

Then, when it is about 45 minutes out from when he needs to leave for work (or lately, when he needs to lock himself in his office at home to start the work day), he brings me a cup of a black coffee and my ice roller, gently wakes me up, and leaves and closes the door behind him. 

I have the next 30 minutes or so to get centered and ready for the day. And these 30 minutes, for me, are absolutely crucial for my success as a mom. 

(I know that not everyone has the luxury of an extra set of hands in the morning, so I do feel very grateful). (AND I KNOW THIS WILL CHANGE WHEN I HAVE TWO BABIES AT HOME BUT JUST LET ME HAVE THIS FOR NOW). 

 A huge part of my little alone time each morning involves my skin care routine. Something about taking the time to take care of my face when I wake up just calms me, what can I say? 

But first: Ice roller + eye pads + chug water 

I always wake up with a puffy face. Always. And I know I just mentioned this on another blog post, but that just shows how *essential* my ice roller is. 

I store this in the freezer and gently roll it across my face for a few minutes each morning the SECOND I wake up. I focus on my jaw area, and it feels absolutely heavenly. 

At the same time, I grab my trusty Purederm collagen eye pads and slap a couple on under my eyes. 

I spend the next 10 minutes either journaling or scrolling Instagram (a true toss up) and chugging water from my 40 oz Stanley water bottle like my life depends on it (although it really does, in a way). 

I emerge from my sheets after my few minutes of chill time and make the bed. If I don’t make the bed every day, my brain overheats and malfunctions. 

The products I use every morning 

Face massage

After the bed is made, I make my way over to the sink in our bathroom and begin to massage my face in a light circular motion with my Glossier Milky Jelly cleanser

I love this face wash because it leaves my skin fresh but not dry. The consistency is PERFECT for about 45 seconds of massaging before I rinse it off–another crucial step in fighting the puffies. 

I also love the Green Clean cleansing balm from Farmacy. Talk about luxurious!

Serumtologie Vitamin C Serum 

This step is very important! Vitamin C has a ton of benefits: it boosts collagen, protects skin cells, and helps refine tone and texture.

I always say if you are going to do just ONE thing to start taking care of your skin–outside of wearing sunscreen–to start with a vitamin C serum. But don’t take my bossy amateur word for it: read more about its benefits here

My absolute favorite is from Serumtologie. I did a ton of research a couple of years ago and discovered that Serumtologie’s formula is very similar to Skinceuticals who makes a very expensive holy grail serum (Serumtologie’s costs $35, so I call that a win!). 

In addition to 22% vitamin C, this serum contains both ferulic acid and vitamin E as well as hyaluronic acid, one of the most important ingredients you can add to your routine. Hyaluronic acid helps your skin hold onto water, therefore keeping it moisturized, plump, and youthful. 

(Use code RUTH20 for 20% off your purchase from Serumtologie! You won’t regret it). 

I usually brush my teeth after I put on my serum to let it soak in for a couple of minutes before my next step. 

Saturday Skin Eye Cream 

I have tried a couple of different eye creams over the years (Mario Badescu’s Hyaluronic Eye Cream is probably my favorite inexpensive one), but I always come back to Saturday Skin’s Wide Awake Brightening Eye Cream

(I also LOVE their cleanser which I talked about on my recent nighttime skin routine post) 

I use this morning and night and it lasts a really long time. All I need is a teeny tiny dot and my eye area feels so hydrated and refreshed. 

Also, the product comes in a bottle with a pump, not a jar, which is a very strong preference of mine–less bacteria growth and the ingredients stay fresh longer. 

Once the lady at the Le Mer counter told me that you are supposed *pat* eye cream in, not *rub* it in, and that has always stuck with me. So pat, pat, pat away. 

Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentrè + Drunk Elephant Drops 

Time for a little morning mixology. 

If left untreated, my skin is alligator dry. I used to have the worst problems with my skin drying out by lunchtime at work. I’d go to the bathroom and check my face in the mirror only to find that my makeup was cracking everywhere and that I may as well pack it up and head on home. 

I tried TONS of different moisturizers, all to no avail, until I discovered this “makeup artist’s secret” on Into the Gloss one day. I ordered Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentrè immediately and have never looked back. 

Now, this moisturizer is thick, perfect for those prone to dryness like myself. It *may* not work for everyone, but it really does provide such a smooth, dewy canvas for under SPF or makeup. 

I squeeze a pea-sized amount of the moisturizer onto the back of my hand and then add a pump or two of Drunk Elephant’s D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops. I mix them together and then apply the concoction all over my face and neck. If my skin is REALLY dry, I also add a drop of rosehip or argan oil. 

Normally, I do think Drunk Elephant is a bit overpriced for what you get, but this product is amazing. 

Designed to be mixed into a serum or moisturizer, these “drops” add the most subtle but perfect glow to your skin and help improve its barrier function to protect itself from environmental stressors. I LOVE this product. 

A Small speech about SPF

I have a history of melanoma in my family, so I really don’t mess around with the sun. 

You’ll be hard-pressed to find me in direct sunlight without a hat and sunglasses on, and I NEVER leave the house–or rather–my bathroom in the morning without protecting my skin with an SPF. 

Even for those who are less at-risk for skin cancer, SPF is absolutely crucial at ANY age. I once heard Dr. Dennis Gross say on a podcast that 20 minutes a day of incidental sun exposure (grabbing the mail, walking into the grocery store, etc) can add up to 120 hours per year–and yes that math is simple but I had never thought about it like that. 

UV rays cause damage to your skin in ways we can’t really see until it is too late: they damage the collagen and elastin in our skin which results in premature aging (not just aging–PREMATURE aging!). 

***steps gingerly off soapbox*** 

My absolute favorite is Supergoop’s Glowscreen with SPF 40. It is magical, although for those who don’t love a GLOWY sunscreen, I might suggest Unseen Sunscreen from Supergoop–this has more of a matte finish and is a great makeup primer.

If I have time (I don’t), some light makeup 

Being a SAHM (A handy acronym I learned recently that means “stay at home mom”), I don’t have a huge need for makeup outside of pure vanity. But some days I just need a pick-me-up, you know? 

So IF I have a few extra minutes, I will quickly slap on some Skin Tint from Glossier (like the “Paris” IG filter for your face, very light coverage but just enough for a low-key day of toddler-chasing), a couple of swipes of Glossier’s Boy Brow (gives your brows some life), and some mascara (I won’t stop until everyone I know is using Thrive but that’s a post for another day). 

And while this may seem like a lot, don’t be fooled by my wordiness. The above takes me 10 minutes tops and really helps me start the day off right. 

Read more about my nighttime skin routine here!

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