Your Morning Routine

Hi Loves!  I’ve forgotten to post this for a few days now – I’ve been so busy with all the details for Avalon’s first birthday (which has me excited and emotional at the same time), this just keeps falling to the end of my list. I had a few minutes so wanted to get this posted and what better way to start the day then with a killer skincare routine that sets you and your daily look up for success!?!  Let’s dive into the deets!

A few months ago I posted my nighttime skincare routine and I’ve gotten a few requests to go over a morning routine so here we go!  It’s a long one so you’ve been warned!  And if you missed my nighttime post – read it HERE.

Before you cleanse – the best thing you can do for your skin is chug some water after your slumber.  I keep some on my nightstand and actually sip on it all night because I wake up thirsty a lot. But if you don’t do that, then drink some water before you make your morning coffee.  Unless you’re a person that doesn’t do coffee, and in that case…what????

Step 1 – Rinse or Cleanse your face

Now, I’m hoping you did NOT go to bed with a full face of makeup, because that’s a big no-no!  😉  I mean, it’s fine to do every once in a blue moon, but it shouldn’t be something you get in a habit of doing.  So let’s say you’re waking up after what should be anywhere between 6 – 9 hours of all your nighttime serums, oils, moisturizers soaking in & treating your skin. And btw, I read that sleeping any less than 6 hours WILL affect your skin and your appearance in a negative way – so some good sleep and a solid nighttime routine is SO IMPORTANT for your skin – I can’t stress that enough if you’re into making sure your skin stays youthful as you age. Okay, back to your morning cleanse.  A gentle cleanser is best in the morning, and some people might just need to rinse with water.  Crazy right?  I’ve actually done that a few times when my skin feels a bit dry and it was all I needed.  Another one of my very favorite products to use to cleanse my skin in the morning is micellar water.  It’s super gentle, doesn’t strip your skin and is so easy to use – especially if you’re on a non-shower day.  I use the La Roche-Posay one and love it.


A couple of my other fave gentle AM cleansers:

Burt’s Bees Radiance Facial Cleanser with Royal Jelly – I often buy this when I’m being indecisive about my next cleanser to purchase.  As you know, I love trying LOTS of different products so a repeat buy is often a rare occurrence for me.  And this one is easy to throw in the cart on one of my many Target runs, which makes it a go-to for me a couple times a year.

Mychelle Gentle Cleansing Wash – This one is another one that’s easy to buy which makes it something I lean to, anything that’s already at a store I go to regularly is key.  I grab it when I’m at Whole Foods or Vitamin Cottage….and the price point is awesome. I like this for my AM cleanse, but prefer a different cleanser for PM.  I know that may be a pain for some people, but I feel like your morning cleanse has a totally different purpose than a nighttime cleanse hence the reason for two different cleansers to have on-hand.

I will also say that so many people have heard that Cetaphil Gentle Facial Cleanser is a go-to for gentle cleansing, but I say STAY AWAY!   The ingredient list literally makes my skin crawl!  It’s full of parabens, SLS, alcohol and propylene glycol!

Step 2 – Tone

This step is identical to your nighttime tone.  This step is important to soothe your skin, nourish it, hydrate it and prep it for your next product that you’ll apply.  I have found my absolute favorite toner and it’s been a repeat purchase for me THREE times in a row…that NEVER happens with me.  haha  And you can buy it online at Amazon or pick it up at Whole Foods, but Thayers Witch Hazel is THE BEST!  I use the one with rose petal in it, but there are other options too – I’ve been wanting to try the one with cucumber in it too.


Step 3 – Serum

Serum selection will be different for everyone.  Depending on what skin condition you’re trying to treat, whether it be aging, acne, sun spots, redness or sensitivity – you’ll apply your serum next.  I know I’ve said it before, but this is a product that you should invest a little more money into so that you’re getting high quality, active ingredients that will improve your skin.  There are so many options are out there, but if you need help or want any suggestions, feel free to reach out to me on my contact page.  I’m listing a couple of my new fave serums, mostly for anti-aging and skin tone improvement.  I’m really anxious to start using a serum with Retinol in it (which is a derivative of Vitamin A that is proven to fight signs of aging), but it’s not recommended for use for nursing or pregnant women….so I’m being patient and using alternatives for the time being…because I’m nursing – not pregnant 😉

Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Vitamin C Anti-Aging Collagen Booster – this is new in my rotation and so far I’m loving it.  Vitamin C is such an amazing ingredient for our skin so this serum is great for people with acne, or to treat some discoloration from acne scarring, or people who just want to improve their skin tone and texture – and treat anti-aging.  So basically it’s an all-around amazing serum if you’re not sure what serum to go with if this is a new step for you.

First Aid Beauty Anti-Redness Serum – This is another affordable serum ($36 or a 1 week trial for $6.50) that is great for anyone who is new to serums or if you’re in your 20’s and basically just need to start taking care of your skin, but you don’t have any major skin conditions to treat. I feel like the calming ingredients in this would be great for any skin type.  I’m really loving everything I try from this line.

Step 4 & 5 – Moisturizer or Sunscreen?   Which is it???


This is where things can get complicated!  Okay, bare with me as I go into a little detail to help you make sure you’re doing your order properly.  If you use a chemical sunscreen (meaning a traditional sunscreen with chemicals in it), then it needs to be applied BEFORE your moisturizer.  The reason being is that it takes time for those ingredients to soak in and bond with the skin in order for them to work. (Which is why we were always told as kids to apply sunscreen 30 minutes before we go outside.)  They won’t work if you do your moisturizer first.  So if you use a chemical sunscreen, that’s the next step and THEN moisturize.

What if you use a sunscreen that is more natural and has ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide?  If you do then you should apply your moisturizer first and THEN your sunscreen.  The reason for this is because these two ingredients form a shield for your skin so if you try to apply your moisturizer after, it won’t penetrate the sunscreen layer to moisturize your skin. So in this case, you would apply your moisturizer and then your sunscreen.  Another little tid-bit about natural sunscreen – no need to wait for it to do some chemical reaction with your skin in order for it to work so there is no lag time to wait before going outside – your skin is protected the minute you apply it.

Now, I have yet to find a sunscreen that is a great moisturizer in order to combine these two steps – so if you have any reco’s – I would love to hear them!  But I currently keep these steps separate.  And I also stay away from chemical sunscreens so I moisturize and then apply my sunscreen.  These are a few of my faves:

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream – I love this stuff!  I love that it’s uber moisturizing, it absorbs quick so I don’t have to wait a long time before applying anything else (like makeup) and it’s not overly heavy for being a cream.

Mychelle Sun Shield – This sunscreen is awesome!  I love that it’s safe for the reef (because you know, I’m always in the ocean snorkeling)  LOL  But really, that actually is important and makes me feel good supporting a product that cares about our world and protecting the environment.  I also like that this stuff isn’t too white and doesn’t take forever to rub in (which is common with anything with zinc in it).  This one absorbs pretty quickly – I only have to wait about 1 minute before applying my next product and it feels lightweight on my skin.

BeautyCounter Protect All Over Sunscreen SPF 30 – This stuff felt so good on my skin!  I fell in love with it right away.  It was extremely lightweight, so easy to rub in and just was so creamy without being thick.  I’m a fan!!!!

I’ve also had my eye on the FAB Ultra Repair Pure Mineral Sunscreen Moisturizer to purchase when I run out of the two above products….so if you’re up for trying a product that combines two steps into one, you could try this one.

Step 6 – Primer

Some people don’t use primer because they see it as an extra non-necessary step.  And I’m here to tell you that you know those people whose makeup still looks great at the end of the day?  Well…they are using a primer!   It’s an extra step but worth the extra time and effort because it truly helps your makeup last much longer.  Here are a few of my favorite primers.

Smashbox Iconic Photo Finish Primer – A little goes a long way with this one, and I really like to use this one when I’m doing makeup for events or photoshoots because it photographs well.  I like how this fills in pores and fine lines and smooth’s out everyone skin for a flawless look.  It is slick feeling, blends really easily into the skin and makes makeup last all day.

Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer – One of my besties turned me on to this one because I always loved how her skin looked.  Compared to Smashbox, this one is more creamy and hydrating – so if that’s what you’re looking for – try this one!

Makeup is next – and there is a specific order for that too….but I’ll save that for another post so this post doesn’t turn into a major novel. Right??!!

If you’re a two product type of gal, this post is probably a little overwhelming so you can always start by adding one thing at a time, get comfortable using a toner if you haven’t before – or a serum…and then once that becomes habit, add something else.  That’s always a better approach than going from 0 to 100 (real quick) overnight with a ton of extra steps and products that might just end up in the back of your medicine cabinet.

I hope this post is helpful for you to keep track of the proper order to apply all your skincare products in the morning. My sister literally started with a cheat sheet because she couldn’t remember, so just put a note in your phone with the order and it’ll become habit in no time.

Have a great day!

Kisses from Sarah K







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