A 3-Step Morning Skincare Routine


Since posting about the ultimate nighttime skincare regimen all women should try, I have been getting questions about what a good AM routine looks like. I don’t know about you but I am nearly always rushing in the morning to get out the door and to the hospital on time. I like to keep my morning regimen confined to the bare necessities. These 3 steps can actually be potentially one combined step, making it even easier!

Step 1: Cleanser (if needed)

There’s a lot of controversy over whether or not you need to wash your face again in the morning. Some dermatologists argue that overwashing the face actually dries out your skin, leading to easier wrinkling. The AAD (American Academy of Dermatology) recommends washing the face twice a day (once in the morning, once at night) and after sweating. I personally decide based on what products I used the night before. If I used a simple night cream, I don’t need to wash my face the next morning. If I use an ultra thick steam cream or prescription strength retinol, then I want to wash the excess oil or medication off my skin before putting on more product. I typically use the same cleanser that I use at night, which is the Fresh soy face cleaner. This face wash is very gentle and doesn’t irritate my eyes, a plus since I like to put in my contacts before washing my face.

Step 2: Moisturizing lotion (can be combined with step 3)

I like to put some sort of moisturizer on my face in the morning, and I usually go for a simple sunscreen moisturizer duo (see below). On days when I want a bit more coverage I use my favorite tinted moisturizer by Laura Mercier, which evens out my complexion without looking cakey. It only contains SPF 20 though, so I need to apply extra sunscreen on top of that. I don’t suggest using night cream as your daytime moisturizer because it is too thick and may clog your pores as you unavoidably sweat throughout the day.

Step 3: Sunscreen with SPF of at least 30.

This is the MOST IMPORTANT step to prevent sun damage and aging! I use the Cerave AM moisturizer with SPF 30, and I top that with Laneige BB cushion on areas of highest sun exposure where I have freckles (cheekbones, nose). Use SPF 50 if you’re going to be outside all day, and remember to reapply every two hours. It is hard to reapply liquid sunscreen over makeup that is already done, so I suggest turning to mineral or powder makeup with SPF that both protects against the sun and provides additional coverage, such as the Bare Escentuals Mineral Veil.

After all that is done, then you are ready to put on your makeup! This regimen is short and sweet and it takes me 15 minutes flat from the moment my alarm rings to the time I exit the front door. What is your morning regimen? Any favorite products or tips and tricks to share?

Here are some of the products mentioned in this post:

9 Comments on A 3-Step Morning Skincare Routine

  1. Ying
    April 9, 2015 at 11:11 am (3 years ago)

    Can you do a night time routine post? I’m in the market for a good night cream that will help prevent those pesky eye wrinkles.

    • Joyce
      April 12, 2015 at 10:44 am (3 years ago)

      Hi Ying, thanks for stopping by my blog. I actually did a night time routine post: . Would love to know what you think about it :)

  2. Petiteish
    April 9, 2015 at 7:21 pm (3 years ago)

    I’m sensitive to some of the chemical sunscreens or other additives, and have had rashes/breakouts in reaction to oil of olay’s nonsensitive skin formulas and eucerin spf moisturizers. The only one that doesn’t seem to cause any reaction is the olay complete for sensitive skin, which has mineral spf, but it’s only spf 15 :( Any suggestions for a good moisturizer for sensitive skin with spf 30? (I haven’t tried cerave…)

    • Joyce
      April 12, 2015 at 10:42 am (3 years ago)

      Petiteish, the ones that dermatologists often recommend are Cerave and EltaMD. I’ve never personally tried EltaMD but I’ve heard great things about it since it is designed by dermatologists. Here is the link to their sunscreen line: http://eltamd.com/sun-care/. I have been using Cerave for a year now and I haven’t had many issues with it, even when my skin is hyper-sensitive from retinoid application. Hope this helps, and let me know if you find a brand that works for you!

  3. Susan
    April 10, 2015 at 9:47 pm (3 years ago)

    Thank you so much for posting this! I’ve tried all the other skin products you recommended and so far so good. Especially, love the Shiseido eye creme and face wash.

    Any recommendations on how to get rid of big pores? Lately, I’ve been getting these! How many times do you do face mask/week? Which works best for you?

    • Joyce
      April 12, 2015 at 11:36 am (3 years ago)

      Hi Susan, great questions. I don’t have an awesome answer for the pores issue yet, as I’ve been struggling with the same issue. What I’ve found helps me is investing in a good cleaner like the Clarisonic Mia2. Pores become enlarged when filled with dirt and oil, and cleaning those out well does help. I’ve also tried pore strips from Biore which I’m not sure has or hasn’t helped.

      For face masks, I’m working on a post putting together my favorite products. Stay tuned!

  4. Khaing
    July 6, 2015 at 2:26 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi thanks for this! I love all your skincare posts! So informative! I just switched to shiseido benefiance line after reaching my 30. I usually follow almost exact same steps as you here but one question I have. They really recommend using ultimune between the softener and moisturizer. Not exactly sure what it does but given that it’s very expensive product (in addition to sheisiedo being not cheap) I’m a little reluctant to go with it. Thoughts?

    • Joyce
      July 6, 2015 at 5:14 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi Khaing, thanks for your question! I myself was not familiar with the Shiseido Ultimune serum, so I did a little digging. Turns out one of the premiere ingredients in this serum is actually denatured (broken down) alcohol, which is a very dehydrating product to use on skin. Given that it is so expensive and does not have proven effects on improving skin quality and slowing skin aging, I would recommend trying other products.

      Click here for some more information

      • Khaing
        July 6, 2015 at 5:58 pm (2 years ago)

        Thanks so much for your prompt and informative response! I’ll stick to old school 3 steps skin care for day and your suggested routine for night time for now :)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment *

%d bloggers like this: