May 11, 2024


I’m a firm believer in a tailored morning skincare routine for each skin type. I’m a minimalist with sensitive, dry skin, so I generally start my day cleansing with water only (I do my deeper cleanse at night), a balancing toner, an oil serum, and a thick layer of sunscreen, regardless of the weather. 

If you’re curious about personalizing your routine further, there’s much more to learn – let’s take an in-depth look into skincare morning routines and what you may benefit from the most. 

Checkout bareLUXE Skincare’s Vitamin C Serum.  A great addition to your morning routine!

Understanding Your Skin Type

Prior to choosing the steps of your skincare morning routine, it’s essential to understand your skin type, as it plays a vital role in selecting the right products for your skin. There’s a wild variety of skin types, including dry, oily, combination, sensitive, and normal. Each has unique needs and responds differently to various products and ingredients.

If you have dry skin, you’re likely dealing with tightness and possibly even flakiness. I know the struggle well. It’s not fun to have your skin feel like parchment. Getting your routine right is the best way to heal a damaged skin barrier. On the other end of the spectrum, there’s oily skin. If you’ve got it, you’re battling a constant shine and excess sebum production.

Combination skin is a tricky beast. You’ve got both dry and oily areas on your face, which requires a balanced approach. It’s like trying to juggle while walking a tightrope. Then there’s sensitive skin, which can react to a wide array of products, and normal skin, which is least problematic, but still requires care.

Knowing your skin type is the first step in choosing products that will work for you and help you achieve a healthy, radiant complexion. It’s all about balance and customization.

What Product Types Do You Need

The 3 key steps in a morning routine include

    1. Cleanse
    2. Care
    3. Protect

Within category #2 (Care), you can get as elaborate as you want. You can also keep it simple. Whether you’re a fan of a 10-step routine or not depends on your personal beliefs. However, I like to recommend keeping things simple.

This is my suggested approach:


bareLUXE Skincare Infographic - Best Morning Skincare Routine

Does the routine order matter?

Yes, but keeping it simple (as listed above) is the main thing. Cleanse first. Then do your treatments and moisturizers. Finish off with sunscreen. If you have any spot treatments, they would usually go on during the treatment stage.

Why Is Morning Skincare Different than Evening Skincare

Waking up fresh to start your day is very different than winding down and doing the prep-work needed to ensure a restorative period of repair and rest. There is no dealbreaker though, a person could use the same routine morning and night and still have an amazing glow.

With that said, here are some of the biological and environmental reasons you might want to optimize your skincare morning routine differently than your evening skincare routine:

Circadian Rhythms and Skin Health

Your skin’s natural rhythms affect everything from cell regeneration to sebum production. By understanding these cycles, you can optimize your morning skincare routine to complement them. Morning is a great time to fortify the skin’s defenses with ingredients that enhance barrier function and prepare your skin to face the day’s challenges. Products rich in ceramides and peptides can be especially beneficial in the morning to reinforce skin resilience against environmental stressors.

Impact of Cortisol on Skin

As cortisol levels spike in the morning, your skin might show signs of stress such as increased oiliness or irritation. Incorporating calming ingredients like niacinamide or green tea extract into your morning routine can help counteract cortisol’s effects by reducing inflammation and controlling oil production. This proactive approach helps maintain a clearer, more balanced complexion throughout the day.

Hydration and Lymphatic Drainage

Overnight fluid retention can leave your face looking puffy in the morning. Integrating a gentle facial massage into your routine promotes lymphatic drainage and helps diminish puffiness. Tools like cold jade rollers or gua sha stones enhance this process, stimulating blood circulation and making your skin care products penetrate more effectively. This not only refines your facial contours but also invigorates your skin to start the day fresh.

Antioxidant Protection Against Morning Pollutants

Outdoor air is laden with pollutants that can stress your skin. Using antioxidants like Vitamin C in your morning routine acts as a shield against these harmful particles. This essential step not only combats potential damage from environmental aggressors but also enhances your skin’s radiance. Applying an antioxidant serum under sunscreen can significantly boost your skin’s defense, keeping it healthy and vibrant.

Psychological Benefits of a Morning Routine

A morning skincare routine is more than just skin deep—it’s a ritual that can set a positive tone for your entire day. Taking those few minutes to care for your skin can provide a sense of calm and control, offering mental clarity and readiness. Embrace this time as an opportunity for mindfulness, allowing yourself to prepare both mentally and physically for the day’s challenges.

So, pour some tea, play some music, and use some aromatherapy to get your day started off right. 

Choosing the Right Cleanser

Regardless of your skin type, it’s important to seek out a gentle option that won’t strip your skin of its important oils. A gentle cleanser can effectively remove impurities without disrupting your skin’s natural balance. 

If you have very sensitive skin and you are sure to remove all makeup at the end of the day, starting with just water and skipping a product at this step is fine. It helps your skin barrier heal by avoiding using surfactants twice a day.

Not all cleansers are created equal. Avoid harsh options loaded with sulfates or alcohol. These can dry out your skin, leaving it feeling tight and uncomfortable. Instead, opt for cleansers that are pH-balanced. These maintain the skin’s natural barrier and prevent irritation.

If you have dry skin, a cream or oil-based cleanser can add an extra layer of hydration. Meanwhile, for those with oily skin, a gel or foaming cleanser might be more suitable. These can help control oil production without leaving your skin dehydrated.

I like to do some mechanical exfoliation in the mornings. Since I don’t use a soap or cleanser, I just gently rub my skin with cold water and a reusable bamboo round or konjac sponge to remove any dead cells that accumulated overnight. 

The Role of a Toner

I didn’t use to believe in toners, and you can indeed skip this product type if you’re into pure skinimalism. However, as my skin has aged and become drier and drier, I’ve realized this extra product type is essential to giving my skin balance. I’ve also written more about menopause skin changes if that applies to you. 

Toners balance the skin’s pH after cleansing, paving the way for better absorption of the products that follow. They minimize  the appearance of pores and tighten the skin, leaving it looking smooth and refined. But the magic doesn’t stop there. Toners can be incredibly hydrating, with ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerine providing the much-needed hydration for a plump, dewy look.

Exfoliating toners, boasting ingredients like AHAs or BHAs, loosen dead skin cells, revealing a brighter and more radiant complexion. They’re a game-changer, encouraging cell turnover and keeping your skin looking fresh and youthful. However, I prefer to use my chemical exfoliators in my nighttime skincare routine and I’ll explain why in the next article.

Targeting Treatment with Serums

Just as the toner sets the stage for better absorption, serums offer a potent punch of nourishment to address specific skin needs like dark circles, skin tone, acne, and texture. 

Serums are concentrated with active ingredients like vitamins, antioxidants, and peptides. These active ingredients offer targeted solutions for various skin concerns like hydration, brightness, and anti-aging. I’m a huge fan of them because they’re specifically designed to penetrate deeper into the skin, delivering these high-performance ingredients where they’re most needed.

One of my go-to active ingredients is vitamin C. It’s a game-changer that brightens the skin, providing that sought-after glow, and offers antioxidant protection.

Hydration is another essential aspect of skin health. A serum rich in humectants, like hyaluronic acid, glycerine, and beta-glucan, can provide the hydration your skin needs to look plump and feel comfortable all day long.

Eye Cream Tips

Eye creams can be skipped if you’re following a minimalism plan. However, there’s something to be said about paying special attention to the most delicate area on your face. Applied correctly, eye cream can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and hydrate and nourish this sensitive area.

Now, let’s explore some eye cream application tips to maximize the benefits.

First, always use your ring finger when applying eye cream. It’s the weakest finger, which helps guarantee you’re not tugging or pulling the skin too hard.

Second, start from the inner corner of your eye and gently tap the cream outwards. This movement helps combat fine lines.

Finally, remember, a little goes a long way. You don’t need a large amount of cream to experience the benefits.

Moisturizer: A Must-Have Item Not Just for Dry Skin

Everyone needs to moisturize, even if you have oily skin. The key is to get the product choice right so it’s well-suited for your skin type. Even oily skin can be dehydrated and have a damaged barrier, and that’s where moisturization can help.

I’ve seen firsthand how a good moisturizer can transform your skin, improving its texture and creating a protective barrier against environmental stressors. 

Moisturizers range from lightweight to heavy. The key is that moisturizers contain lipids and they will range from a thin lotion to a thick cream. The heaviest creams tend to be saved for your nighttime routine.

Face oils are excellent moisturizers and can definitely be used during this step of your skincare routine. On fact, I personally prefer to use an oil serum so that my vitamin C serum and my moisturizer are just one step.

SPF: Your Skin’s Best Friend

We all know UV rays are bad news for our skin. They cause premature aging, sunburn, and even skin cancer. But don’t worry, with a broad spectrum SPF, you’ve got the ultimate protection. Broad spectrum means it shields your skin from both UVA and UVB rays, the two main culprits of skin damage.

SPF will be your last step. After moisturizing, apply an SPF of at least 30. And remember, no matter if it’s cloudy or sunny, your SPF is non-negotiable.

Sunscreen is where Korean skincare products have really started to shine in my own personal routine. I love the protection level and their ability to sit on my skin without piling or causing my eyes to feel irritated.

Many sunscreens also include ingredients that block both UVA/UVB rays and blue light. This added layer of protection is crucial for those who spend their mornings in front of a computer or smartphone, safeguarding your skin from premature aging.

How to Make Your Morning Skin care Routine More Sustainable

While we nurture our skin with our morning skincare routine, we can also take steps to nurture our planet by making that routine more sustainable. As someone who’s passionate about both skincare and the environment, I’ve found a few ways to make my routine eco-friendly without compromising on results.

One easy change is to swap out single-use products with multi-purpose ones. Not only does this reduce waste, but it also saves time and money. This is where skinimalism can really have advantages. As an example, my oil serums act as both a serum and a moisturizer. They also give a smooth skin feel underneath makeup, so they have a priming effect—three in one!

Another great tip for the morning routine is to use lukewarm (or even cold) water. It helps wake you up, is more gentle on your skin barrier, and uses less energy. Win-win!


Checkout bareLUXE Skincare’s Vitamin C Serum. 

A great addition to your morning routine!


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