How to Build Your Morning Skincare Routine
According to best practices and expert consensus, as well as the personal experience of those behind MEiiYO, we’ve outline the perfect beginner friendly 8 step morning skincare routine. We know how intimidating skincare can be for, well, all of us. Now, the fuss and fluff is gone, and glowing skin is possible for everyone.
While we recommend application styles or ingredient focus, we advise you to be sure to do what works for you by listening to your skin and body.
The first step in your morning skincare routine is to obviously cleanse. This step strips away dirt, grime, bacteria, and excess oil from all the sweating and living you’ve been doing (or make-up wearing). Cleansing is vital because without this step, you’d essentially go straight into adding products on top of buildup.
The cleansing step is also a great opportunity to approach those blackheads if you’re having them, or even spot treat acne with pimple patches.
Every product used in this step should be very gentle, because while we want to lift and wash the grime away, we don’t want to completely strip and deplete the vital natural elements in our skin that keep it strong and resistant.
The Lilac Cleansing Gel from Elvis+Elvin ($20) is a must-have cleanser that is sweet on skin, tough on buildup, and has salicylic acid, making it perfect for shutting down breakouts while breaking down impurities.
Your cleansing product should be applied to a very soft exfoliating sponge, brush or clean hands, and applied with warm (not hot) water in circular motions. No force or scrubbing is needed. For a good cleanse, the power lies in the product, not the application.
Pat dry with a clean towel.
Next, you’ll want to tone. A toner is an astringent or astringent-based liquid application that reduces oiliness, fades dark spots, and increases the appearance of an even skin tone. This is especially helpful in sanitizing skin and treating discoloration from acne or hormonal problems.
The best toners are natural and wholesome, and not too concentrated that they cause irritation or strip the skin. The Serumide toner is a vegan serum-based skin toner that releases antioxidants and doesn’t leave greasy residue.
Because toners are often astringents, they can be quite strong, therefore, only a moderate amount is needed. The best way to apply a toner is with an applier made specifically for the face such as a cotton pad (NOT cotton ball), with gentle upwards motions.
Many skincare newbies think oil is hydrating to the skin. While oils get the face shiny and soft, they act more as a sealant that either protects existing moisture or keeps excess from getting in. What you really need is a water-based hydrator.
Essence is a vital step often skipped due to the aforementioned assumption above, so be careful not to make the mistake of thinking your oil is enough. Skin should be well hydrated, simply because our bodies need water for function, and the largest organ in the body—the skin— is no exception.
This step is special since it requires a different application. Only 2-3 pumps (or squirts or drops) are needed. Essence should be applied by tapping it into the skin for a more even and thorough absorption over the standard rub.
Essence is perfect for treating problem areas and sensitive zones. Remember to always apply upwards, starting from the chin and jaw.
Serum is like fertilizer— a little goes a long way. It doesn’t need to be lathered on as serum tends to be very concentrated. A simple 1-2 drops on each side of the face gets the job done, especially if you don’t skip the other steps. And if you’ve made sure not to skip your essence, you won’t feel the need to over-apply in this step.
Serum is not a cream or moisturizer, so it shouldn’t be treated as one. Serums are highly potent extracts concentrated for fast-acting results. In layman's terms, it’s a little medicine droplet for your face that is like all medicine— great in moderation, awful in excess. Never over-do it.
As always, be sure to apply gentle upward, circular motions when gifting serum to your skin.
5. Face mask (optional)
This is an optional step in your skincare routine. If you have the extra time to spare, or are in the mood to make your routine more therapeutic, face masks are that simple luxury.
Since you’ve already applied your essence and serum at this point, the face mask you choose should be no rinse, as in can be left on. For glowing skin, we recommend using a jade roller while the mask is on— this really helps to cool the face, reduce redness and ease lymphatic puffiness.
The best face masks for the morning are the ones equipped to protect your skin throughout the day. With ingredients like vitamin C, anti-oxidants, and probiotics, your skin will receive the extra boost it needs to generate cells and accomplish that dewy vibrancy. The Grape Revitalizing Treatment Mask is a great mask for beginners that covers all the basics while foregoing the junk and harsh chemicals.
Once the face mask is removed, just pat the remaining excess into the skin and wait for it to fully absorb before moving on to the next step.
Moisturizer is like essence— it’s what you hoped your oil would be. To get that glowing, hydrated and fresh look, your skin needs a light-base moisturizer. The perfect moisturizer will be more cream (extracts and water) than oil.
This ensures that the moisturizer doesn’t just rest on the skin, but actually penetrates deep and gets those hydrogen molecules to where they need to go. A well kept secret is that moisturized skin fights loss of elasticity— it keeps wrinkles and drooping at bay!
Moisturizing your skin as a step in this skincare routine is also the chance to fight the unique challenge of inflammation. Inflammation in skin often looks like redness, irritation, swelling, or stiffness in the face. It can occur due to hormonal imbalance, UV ray over-exposure, or from immunological complications such as seborrheic dermatitis. Inflammation is best fought with the reduction of mucous, which is accomplished with hydrogen and alkaline level pH ingredients (like turmeric, watermelon, and lime).
The ILLUME Radiance Enhancing Moisturizer ($58) boasts concentrated ayurvedic oils known for their anti-inflammatory power. With neem and turmeric, this hydrator helps reverse cell damage and alkalize excess sebaceous mucous in the face.
Applying moisturizer is simple: take two dime sized (or fingertips worth) allotments of your product, and with circular motions going upwards, massage it into your skin, and spend a few extra seconds applying to those inflamed areas.
7. Eye cream
This is the step in your skincare routine that’s going to set you apart. Many people don’t think to use eye cream until they’re struggling with crow’s feet, wrinkles, or eye-bags. One may get ahead of said issues with intentionality and treating her skin care as a prevention as much as a treatment.
Your eyes are the throne of the face (and yes, this means the eyebrows are the crown). It is where you both emote the most and take in the world around you. They are the first thing people gravitate towards when face-to-face, and the eyes tell your story.
The best care for them therefore is preventative care. The thinnest skin on your face is the skin around your eyes, which means repairing bags and sagging is not always the most straightforward task.
A favorite eye cream is: elvis + elvin Lilac Eye Gel ($36).
To further protect your eyes, we recommend reducing stress and long-term exposure from blue-lights and UV rays such as that from phone and computer usage.
Eye cream should be applied in little dabs around the eyes, being careful not to oversaturate because you may begin to sweat the product which can cause irritation of the eyes. The eye would be the under-eye, upper cheek, outer corners, and browbone (not eye-lids). Continue to pat and dab, and if you need to massage in any excess, be sure to use gentle, circular and upwards motions with the fingertips.
Sunscreen does so much more than keep you safe from melanoma— the most lethal skin cancer, and the one caused by UV damage. Sunscreen has the potential to protect your skin from free radicals in the environment, even out your tone, and help to fade dark spots, often quicker than specialty dark spot treatments.
And contrary to popular belief, sunscreen is necessary even when one plans to remain indoors, simply due to the toxic amount of UV and pollution we’re exposed to each day.
The best sunscreen is color-free and mineral oil-free so as to not clog the pores, and should contain zinc oxide to retroactively treat burns. From Plants offers an outstanding natural, vegan, and hypoallergenic sunscreen lotion that fights inflammation, reflects light off the skin, and reduces signs of aging: Sunshine Days Glow Drops Sunscreen can and should go all over the body, but especially the face since this is the peak of our body and typically the most exposed.
Apply evenly in generous portions, and as always, use gentle circular motions to ensure thorough application.
Taking the confusion out of skin-care is as simple as having a routine that is practical enough to manage day in and day out. Eight steps can seem like a lot, but the step that takes the longest (face masks) is totally optional. While the rest don’t take more than 3 minutes each, one must be weary not to search for shortcuts as there are none when it comes to achieving healthy, glowing skin. You can, however, make 8 steps more manageable by creating a therapeutic environment with relaxing aromas and easy-going music, so that this labor of love becomes enjoyable.
Take your time, be intentional, and have patience with the skin that is uniquely yours.
And if there’s one step we recommend you never skip, it’s definitely putting on that sunscreen!