Current Morning Skincare Routine | Winter 2017

Skincare often ranks amongst diet, exercise, dusting, etc – things that you keep meaning to focus on, but take a back seat to other priorities. Like Netflix.

I’ve mentioned before that I have struggled with my fair share of skin issues. In hindsight, that was likely due in large part to my skincare routine. An approach that could be best described as hoping that water might magically remove my makeup as it drizzled down my face while shampooing. Younger me just accepted the reality that “I had bad skin” as if it was not remotely impacted by my own behavior. (Spoiler: There were many a french fry and nights sleeping in makeup involved.)

As share this with you, I am currently 37 and really only got serious about taking care of my skin in the last two years or so.  Suffice to say, much of the damage is done. Like many, I woefully regret that sunscreen did not play a larger role in my life. But, here we are. As a point of reference, I have oily, textured skin, prone to dehydration. This is titled my current routine because I generally change items out as the weather shifts. I plan to update you when temperatures rise again and humidity strikes.

Morning Routine


I wash my face every morning. I realize many women do not. Lately, micellar water has been gaining momentum. If you are unfamiliar with micellar water check out this video, as she breaks down the science far better than I could ever hope to do. Micellar water is absolutely effective as a makeup remover or first step in a double cleansing routine. But, I would never use it as a sole cleanser. It will leave your skin clean-ish. I would recommend reading through this cheat sheet on double cleansing. It was published by Caroline Hirons, who is considered a titan in the skincare industry.

I wash my face with this cleanser. I can not in good conscience condone expensive cleansers. You literally rub it on your face and wash it off seconds later. This is not the place to invest your money. However, it is crucial to use a cleanser that is gentle and does not strip the skin. Your face should not feel squeaky clean or tight after you finish washing. I have been using the Cerave Hydrating Facial Cleanser for a little over two years now. I have researched and tried samples of other products at varying price points and continue to return to Cerave. It contains three essential ceramides and hyaluronic acid to help retain moisture.

I pat my face dry with a towel. Do not rub! Your skin is not the enemy.


My next step is to use a toner. The term toner can be a misnomer as it often conjures memories of either Stridex or the second part of Clinique’s much-touted routine. This is neither. I use an exfoliating acid toner. These pads are fabulous and inexpensive. You can also find them on Amazon, at drugstores and Ulta.


In the morning, I allow the toner to dry and immediately follow with 20% Vitamin C + E Ferulic Acid Serum. I have been using this serum for the last year and have been really happy with the way that it seems to brighten my skin. (I also bring it down my neck and chest.) Admittedly, I wasn’t sure what I could expect given the low price point, but I researched vitamin c exhaustively before selecting one. Without delving into a chemistry lecture, vitamin c is inherently unstable and what makes this particular product ideal is the presence of vitamin E and Ferulic Acid, used to extend the life and effectiveness of vitamin C. It also has a 20% concentration of L-ascorbic acid for maximum benefit. Within the last few days, I have begun testing out the Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum. I’ll report back in a month or so and let you know if it warrants the stroke-inducing jump in price. (The Sephora VIB Sale made it somewhat more palatable – but still painful. I’m also interested to see how long it will last me.)


There is a myth that if you have oily skin, you don’t need to moisturize. Oil and moisture are two separate things. In fact, if you fail to adequately moisturize, your skin will manufacture a greater amount of oil to compensate. Even being on the oily side, my skin tends to become dehydrated easily. I have come to love The True Cream Aqua Bomb by Belif. It is more of a gel consistency making it an ideal choice for oily/normal/combination skin. It is not occlusive, so I don’t risk clogging my pores.

I am very much an indoor cat. Because I work from home, I will often stop here if I am working in my office all day. If later in the day I have to run errands or meet with a client, I move on to the following steps just before I apply makeup.


I feel like this is something people lie about in the same way that they tell the doctor they exercise or round down the number of drinks they have each month… You need to wear sunscreen people. Finding a sunscreen that works for you is key. Some people can wear chemical sunscreen, whereas others have to stick with physical.

If you are firmly in camp “but sunscreen breaks me out”, it’s likely that you either have not found the right ingredient combination (I.E. Chemical vs Physical) or you are failing to remove it properly at the end of the day. (See double cleanse method above.)

Again, I’m going to spare you the science-yness of it all at the moment and just share what I use. I alternate between two products depending on what my sun exposure will be that day and how long of wear time I will need from my makeup. It is not at all uncommon for me to also layer a primer and even foundation that contains SPF on top of my sunscreen – you know, just for good measure. My go-to sunscreen of choice is Elta MD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46. This formula dries down quickly and to a matte finish that wears well under makeup. Remember, you need to use 1/4 tsp of sunscreen every day on your face.

The second of my tried and true is the Olay Regenerist Microsculpting Cream with Sunscreen Advanced Anti-Aging. This is more of your moisturizer and sunscreen in one product. This is often on sale at Amazon, Ulta, Walgreens etc. Either one is a great product. Neither seems to increase oiliness, create a white cast or move around under my makeup.

Do you have a standard routine? What products are you breaking out in light of the dropping temperatures?


Leave a Comment