The Best Morning Skin Care Routine, According to a Top Dermatologist
Does your morning skin care routine need some assistance? We talked to board-certified dermatologist, and Skincare.com consultant, Dr. Dendy Engelman for her tips on how to create the best morning skin care routine—plus, the steps you should never (ever!) neglect—ahead!
Creating a skin care routine that works for you is no easy feat. Finding the best products for your skin is hard enough, let alone figuring out when to use them and in what order. But if there’s anyone out there who knows how to build the ultimate morning skin care routine (products and all), it’s the skin pros— aka dermatologists. To that end, we tapped board-certified dermatologist, and Skincare.com consultant, Dr. Dendy Engelman to share her tips on how to craft the best AM skin care routine. Ahead, Engelman shares a step-by-step guide to an A+ morning skin routine, plus the products that should always make a cameo when the sun comes up.
STEP ONE: START WITH A CLEAN SLATE
We all know how important it is to cleanse skin morning and night. Doing so helps remove unwanted dirt, debris, and impurities that can clog pores and dull the look of skin, or worse, lead to unwanted breakouts. When you wake up, kickstart your routine with a gentle cleanser before applying the targeted products in your routine. “Start by cleansing the skin and then move on to a serum that targets your skin needs, whether it is anti-aging or brightening or improving skin texture,” Dr. Engelman says.
Psst—need a rec? After cleansing in the morning, we love reaching for a serum formulated with vitamin C to help deliver an antioxidant defense to our complexion, especially when paired with Broad Spectrum SPF. Prefer a more hydrating option? Try a serum formulated with hyaluronic acid—like Vichy’s Mineral 89.
STEP TWO: HYDRATE WITH MOISTURIZER
Finding the right moisturizer for your skin depends largely on your skin type and formula preferences. If you have dry skin, a heavy-duty moisturizer may be right for you, whereas an oily-skinned gal may benefit from a lightweight gel moisturizer. Regardless of the formula’s texture, Dr. Engelman emphasizes that all skin types—yes, even oily!—require daily hydration. “This layer serves as a barrier protection against harmful environmental assaults,” she says. “Essentially, [moisturizer] is your first line of defense.” To keep your skin balanced, hydrated, and comfortable, always reach for a moisturizer after cleansing and applying your serum(s) of choice.
STEP THREE: PROTECT WITH BROAD SPECTRUM SUNSCREEN
You probably already know this, but just in case: one of the most important steps in any skin care routine is applying Broad Spectrum sunscreen. Damage from unprotected exposure to UV rays is one of the biggest contributors to visible signs of skin aging, including wrinkles, fine lines and dark spots, and even some cancers. To protect against these unwanted side effects, applying (and reapplying!) Broad Spectrum SPF 15 or higher daily is a must. Dr. Engelman suggests finishing off your morning skin care routine with a liberal coating of Broad Spectrum sunscreen on all exposed areas of skin. Aside from offering Broad Spectrum protection, the AAD recommends reaching for a water-resistant formula that also boasts an SPF of 15 or higher. Reapply at least every two hours.
Editor’s note: As helpful as sunscreen is when it comes to protecting our skin against UV rays, there’s currently no SPF formula out there that can fully protect us. In other words, your sunscreen needs reinforcements—a back-up plan, if you will. In addition to applying sunscreen, take additional sun protection measures like wearing protective clothing, seeking shade, and avoiding peak sun hours.
STEP FOUR: REFRESH THROUGHOUT THE DAY
Congrats! You made it through the basics of a solid morning skin care routine. Once you’re done, Dr. Engelman suggests reaching for a facial mist to help refresh your skin throughout the day. Especially in the summer when the temperatures rise, having a hydrating and refreshing facial mist in tow can be a total lifesaver! “Hyaluronic acid mists are great, especially for those with drier skin or those who work in a dry work environment,” says Dr. Engelman. We carry a hydrating face mist in our purses and spritz often during the course of the day, whether we’re standing on the subway platform or shuffling about the office. We list a handful of our favorite facial mists, here!