Forget freaks and vampires: When it comes to beauty rituals, it’s our inner princesses who come out at night. It’s then that we languidly soak in tubs of skin-nourishing oils and mind-quieting aromatics and casually delve into nine-step Korean-inspired skin-care regimens. The mornings, on the other hand? Well, in that our hour of groggy discontent, count us lucky if we can brush our teeth before getting out the door in time.
While most of us know that, as a minimum, we should slap some SPF on our skin before heading out into the day, fewer of us are keyed into the idea that other airborne nanoparticles (like smog, cigarette smoke, soot, pollen, water droplets, and pollutants) contribute to aging skin. Research has shown that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) cling to these airborne nanoparticles, where they are converted to quinones — which can age the skin in the same ways that chronic exposure to UV light can. And, those who live in cities are more exposed to PAH. It’s a lot to consider — especially before coffee.
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The takeaway: When we talk a.m. skin care, SPF is only half the battle; we’ve got to clean our skin and arm it with antioxidants (then UV protection) to ensure we’re really ready to face the day. To figure out how to best protect our skin from good, old UV and the solid and liquid particles suspended in the air (many of which are generated during the combustion of fossil fuels), we spoke to Dr. Debra Jaliman, a New York-based dermatologist and author of Skin Rules, about the best way to handle our morning skin-care regimens. Regardless of your complexion, Jaliman advocates for cleansing, applying a serum, and, finally, SPF. Read on for her tips on how to tinker with the morning trifecta, no matter your skin type.
Photo courtesy of Dermalogica.
To wake up dull skin, cleanse with an exfoliating powder, which will help slough off dead skin cells to not only reveal a rosier complexion but also create a smoother canvas for makeup. “If you’re being photographed that day, take an extra step and exfoliate — your makeup will go on better,” Jaliman advises. Jaliman also likes products that use rice exfoliants, like Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant, which is gentle on the skin.
Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant, $54, available at Dermalogica.
Photo courtesy of May Lindstorm.
For daily cleansing, reach for hydrating products like this one from May Lindstrom, which is packed full of nourishing (and antibacterial) honey.
May Lindstrom Skin The Honey Mud Cleanser, $80, available at Spirit Beauty Lounge.
Photo courtesy of Amala.
Further, products with lactic acid, vitamin C, licorice root, ginkgo, and other antioxidants and anti-inflammatories help deliver nutrients and brighten skin.
Amala Rejuvenating Advanced Firming Complex, $24, available at Spirit Beauty Lounge.
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Vitamins C and E are ideal additions to your morning skin-care routine. When worn with an SPF, they provide even greater defense than sunscreen on its own. Layer on this lightweight serum from Avon prior to your moisturizer to reap its many benefits and make your skin look brighter.
Avon Anew Vitamin C Brightening Serum, $30, available at Avon.
Photo courtesy of Pacific.
A tinted moisturizer provides SPF adequate for those who spend most of the day indoors. We like the Pacific Everyday Sheer Coverage for its light tint, non-nanoized zinc oxide, and skin-loving nutrients like broccoli seed oil, green and white tea, glycerin, pomegranate, and vitamin E.
Pacific Everyday Sheer Coverage, $58, available at True Nature Botanical’s.
Many people think, If my skin doesn’t feel greasy, it must not be dirty. But, Jaliman says, even those with ultra-dry skin still need to cleanse in the morning. “There’s oil and bacteria that’s accumulated on the skin while you’ve been sleeping all night, so it’s important to cleanse in the morning.“
Eminence Coconut Milk Cleanser, $36, available at Dermstore.
Photo courtesy of ESPA.
Those with dry skin should look for a cleanser that’s creamy in consistency and stocked with hyaluronic acid, glycerin, ceramides, or other gentle moisturizers, Jaliman says. “The cleanser you choose is crucial in terms of not drying out your skin,” she says.
ESPA Nourishing Cleansing Balm, $79, available at ESPA.
Photo courtesy of Eve Lom.
After cleansing, continue to moisturize with a serum stocked with hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and/or antioxidants.
Eve Lom Intense Hydration Serum, $95, available at Nordstrom.
Since many with dry skin need a no-nonsense moisturizer to lock in the hydration, try adding an SPF booster to be super hydrating, like the instant cult classic Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream.
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream, $100, available at Charlotte Tilbury.
Photo courtesy of Dermalogica.
And don’t forget about sun protection!
Dermalogica Solar Defense Booster SPF 50, $48, available at Dermalogica.
Photo courtesy of Welda.
Everyone should wash the night’s bacteria and pillow gunk from their faces in the morning. But, for those with oily skin, morning cleansing is a particularly important step. Jaliman suggests cleansing with a powder or glycolic- or salicylic-acid-spiked cleanser (rather than a cream) and toning the skin as well.
Weleda One Step Cleanser & Toner, $19.50, available at Weleda.
And, though those with oily skin tend to shy away from “hydrating” products, Jaliman says the best way for this group to get moisturization in the day is via a serum, since a moisturizer will just up the grease factor. “If you’re very oily, you may need a little moisturizer at night but not typically during the day,” she offers.
Revision Skincare Hydrating Serum, $29.99, available at Amazon.
Photo courtesy of Mizon.
“Hyaluronic acid is a good moisturizer that doesn’t break anyone out,” Jaliman says. We found Mizon’s fast-absorbing serum is lightweight and also provides an intense punch of moisture.
Mizon Hyaluronic Acid 100, $42, available at Peach & Lily.
To see more about some of our favorite skin care products, click here.
By: Erika Stadler.