The Ultimate Guide to a Morning Skincare Routine
Having a morning skincare routine won’t just get your day started on a great note — it’s one of the foundational blocks of great skincare habits. If you’d rather hit snooze several times than navigate a complicated skin routine, rest assured that your morning skincare routine doesn’t need to be time-consuming or overly complex. In this ultimate guide, we will break down everything that you need to know about putting together the perfect morning skincare routine for your unique skin — from choosing a long-lasting sunscreen to deciding whether or not eye care products are important.
Get to know your skin type.
While every person’s skin is unique, most people fall into one of five major skin type categories: dry, oily, combination, sensitive and normal. Understanding these skin types and which one(s) you fit best is key for putting together a skincare routine that works for your face, both in the morning and at night. For example, using products meant for oily skin on a dry face will only lead to irritation and redness, while using products meant for dry skin on an oily face can clog your pores and cause extra shine. If you’re not sure what your skin type is, do a basic skin type test at home to help you start narrowing down your options and put together the perfect morning skincare routine.
Understand the basic skincare steps.
Do you ever feel overwhelmed by elaborate 11-step skincare routines that you see on TikTok and YouTube? Don’t be put off by the idea that your morning skincare needs to be a complicated hour-long ritual because it doesn’t. In a nutshell, every skincare routine really only needs to consist of three steps: cleansing, treatment and moisturizing (plus sunscreen in the morning). That’s why we have made 3-step skincare sets the foundation of our Lancer Skincare. Obviously, there are additional products that you can add in beyond these steps that will be beneficial — but even if you only stick with the three basic steps, you will still see results from your morning skincare routine if you are consistent.
Know that you don’t have to use a cleanser.
Double cleansing in the evening with a makeup remover and then a facial cleanser is non-negotiable. You need to remove sunscreen, makeup, dirt, pollution and other debris that can gunk up your pores before you hit the sack. However, in the morning, it’s really up to your discretion whether or not you want to cleanse your face using a wash or not. Some people with sensitive or extra dry skin like to stick with a gentle micellar water to avoid stripping their face, while people with oily skin often find using a morning face wash to be beneficial for skin management. We do recommend rinsing your face at the very least to remove the products you put on during your nighttime routine. This will ensure that you are applying your morning skincare products to a bare face, allowing them to penetrate the skin more effectively and get you results quicker.
Apply leave-on products from thinnest to thickest.
If you’re the kind of person who enjoys putting on a dozen different products in the morning, it can be difficult to determine what order they should be applied. A great rule of thumb to follow for any skincare routine is that leave-on products should be applied in order from thinnest to thickest. If you use a more watery toner or essence, apply that first and then follow it up with serums, a moisturizer and, finally, sunscreen. Applying a super thick lotion before a serum will stop the serum from getting to the skin as much as it should, so by following this guideline, you’ll be maximizing your chances that your products will work effectively.
Prioritize antioxidants for your treatment.
When it comes to choosing a serum for your morning treatment, we recommend prioritizing antioxidants, specifically vitamin C. Vitamin C helps to protect your skin from free radical damage caused by sun and pollution exposure during the day. Ascorbic acid is the most potent form of vitamin C and is the most well-studied form as well, but it can be sensitizing for some people due to its potency. It’s also unstable and breaks down quickly, so it needs to be formulated well and stowed properly, away from sunlight. If you have easily irritated skin and/or tend to leave open skincare bottles out on your counter, look for a gentle and more stable vitamin C derivative. it won’t be as powerful, but you’ll still get some benefits without the drawbacks.
Top it off with a lightweight moisturizer.
Wearing a moisturizer day and night is key for preventing water loss from the skin and maintaining a plump, youthful appearance. Many people prefer to use a lighter-weight product in the morning so that it absorbs easily while still preventing water loss from the skin. If you have oily skin, try to find a gel moisturizer for use in the morning. If you want something a little heavier than a gel moisturizer (but don’t want to jump up to heavy cream), then go for a midnight lotion instead. So if you’ve been skipping moisturizer in the morning because it makes your face sticky during the day, then you’ve been using the wrong moisturizer!
Consider adding in an eye cream.
Like the toner, an eye cream is a bonus product that isn’t strictly necessary for your morning skincare routine but can still make a big impact nonetheless. Eye creams can be especially beneficial if you suffer from puffy eyes and/or under-eye bags right when you first wake up. Eye creams moisturize the skin, helping to smooth out fine lines, plumping up the skin and giving you a great base over which to apply your eye makeup. If you are looking to take your morning routine to the next level, definitely look at adding some eye care products to take care of the delicate skin of your eye area.
Try Our Long-Lasting Sunscreen
Finish up with sunscreen — always.
Sunscreen should always be the last step of your morning skincare routine. Even if it’s cloudy outside, or even if you plan to stay indoors all day, you will still be exposed to UV rays that will accelerate the visible aging process. Protecting yourself from cumulating UV damage every single day will help to delay the aging process and keep you looking youthful for many years to come. Choose a long-lasting sunscreen with at least SPF 30 (though higher protection is never a bad thing). Either mineral or chemical sunscreens are great options. Select the one that you will be motivated to wear every day. Reapply every two hours when you are outside, sweating and/or getting in the water.
Avoid certain ingredients in the daytime.
Certain ingredients can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, especially when used as a leave-on treatment, which is why it’s better to use them at night than in the morning. Retinoids as well as chemical exfoliators (both AHAs and BHAs) are the two most popular categories of ingredients that make your skin sensitive to the sun. They are usually okay in a morning wash-off treatment, such as a cleanser, since they’re only on your face for a few seconds in that case. However, we recommend waiting to use leave-on treatments with these ingredients until the evening when you don’t have to worry about sun exposure.
Give the products time to absorb.
If your morning skincare products are pilling or otherwise causing issues, you might not be giving them enough time to absorb before slathering another layer on your face. We recommend waiting at least 60 seconds between each step before applying the next products. You might also want to wait longer before and after applying your sunscreen for better results. If you wear makeup, we suggest waiting at least five full minutes after applying the sunscreen to ensure that it will be fully set before you apply your primer and/or foundation. This will stop your makeup from sliding around and help to keep your face in place.
Make sure your products play well with your makeup.
Speaking of makeup, using the wrong skincare products with the wrong makeup products can quickly turn a perfect beat into a melting mess. Taking a close look at the ingredient labels will reveal whether or not your products are compatible. Silicone-based skincare products should be worn beneath silicone-based makeup, and water-based skincare products should be worn beneath water-based makeup. If you try to wear silicone makeup with water-based skincare (or vice versa), they will repel each other and quickly ruin your makeup, through no fault of your own. They just aren’t chemically compatible.
Don’t forget about your body!
The face gets a lot of attention when it comes to creating a morning skincare routine, and with good reason. However, it can be nice to include the body in your morning skincare routine, whether that’s putting on hand cream to combat cracked cuticles, applying some glycolic acid body lotion to rough elbows or spritzing yourself with some perfume. If you are still working to establish your morning skincare routine for your face, then these add-ons can be fun bonuses for lazy weekend mornings when you have more time and aren’t rushing to work.
At Lancer Skincare, we sell research-backed skincare products featuring tried-and-true ingredients that will get you results. From three-step skincare sets to long-lasting sunscreen to eye products, we offer everything that you need to put together a gentle yet effective skincare routine for both morning and night. Try our products and get free shipping on your U.S. order, plus a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee so that you can buy with confidence.