A city girl has it pretty tough – air conditioning, UV rays, pollution, dust and stress. All of these factors can make your skin weaker, sensitive, dehydrated and more prone to ageing. So what do we need? Products that work first and foremost, and that are multi-functional. After cleansing, the most important factors to consider are UV and free radical protection, boosting your skins functionality and hydration. How do we achieve this? Antioxidants, moisturisation and sun protection.
Below is my morning face care routine. Hopefully it acts as a little bit of inspiration when it comes to layering skincare and what ingredients to look for. I should also mention for those who don’t know that I live in Sydney and am 26 years old (I was about to write 25, but no, sadly that was last year lol) and very focused on prevention. Prevention is key when it comes to anti-ageing. I also used to battle with acne and while I don’t use specific acne treatments anymore, I try and find products that will keep my skin clear and cell turnover high (without being to harsh and over exfoliating) while also dealing with other concerns (e.g did you know that vitamin C not only prevents pigmentation, but also stimulates collagen production and boosts your UV protection?). Keep reading if you are interested! 🙂
The first step is of course to cleanse. Splashing your face with water in the morning isn’t enough – it will rinse off sweat or surface dirt, but it won’t get rid of cell build up and deeper impurities. At night, our skin cells work hard to repair damage sustained during the day and create new skin cells. The build up of old cells can sit within your pores, along with trapped dirt and oil. With time, this build up can make your pores larger. Not cleansing properly will also with time make the process of cell renewal sluggish and make your skin dehydrated (because moisturiser will have a difficult time reaching the deeper levels of your skin if it is indeed clogged up). Here are my picks for the morning 🙂
Jurlique Clarifying Deep Cleansing Gel – If I have a little more time in the morning, I do prefer to use a cleanser that I can wash off with water. There’s something about using water that makes me feel ‘clean’. This gel cleanser is very refreshing for the skin – it’s clear and jelly like in texture and only foams up slightly. It also contains micro exfoliating beads, but these are very small and smooth (not rough at all). It smells a little herbal, but it’s still quite a fresh scent (thanks to rosemary, sage and peppermint extract). Jojoba esters are very high in the ingredient list and thanks to this along with soybean proteins, means that the gel isn’t drying. Oily skins would love this cleanser. Witch hazel, nettle and willow bark extract help clarify the skin. In summer, I often wake up a little sweaty and oily, so this cleanser ticks all the boxes in that regard. Once I use up this cleanser, I think I will change to a cream cleanser for the cooler months ahead, but I will keep you posted on that change once it happens 😉
Bioderma Hydrabio H20 Micelle Solution – For mornings where I am rushed or running late, Bioderma’s Hydrabio micelle cleansing water is a saviour! I reviewed this particular cleansing water ages ago (find that review here) and I am still using it, because it is simply great. I personally don’t use micelle waters for makeup removal as I then need to use so much product it almost feels like a waste (though for sensitive eyes and skin, it’s a God send!), however for morning cleansing I only need two cosmetic cotton rounds soaked in a little bit of product and my skin is left fresh and clean 🙂 It takes a little getting used to (cleansing without water) but it works a treat! I never ever use products which leave the skin feeling tight or aggravated, so this ‘hydrating’ micelle water is perfect! <3 I should also mention that it doesn’t leave a film on the skin and you will still need to use a moisturiser after cleansing, but it’s just less irritating and stripping compared to some other cleansers out there.
The second step of my routine is to tone. I don’t think toners are absolutely necessary (and I skip this step when in a mad rush) BUT they are lovely to use and if you use one which is full of antioxidants, then this extra step will provide you with more protection from oxidative stress (the more the better really!). Futurederm’s 7 Wonders Antioxidant Rich Toner contains a triple tea complex (white tea, green and red tea) and grapeseed extract (all great antioxidants) . Alternatively, you can pick a toner which will target a skin concern of yours (e.g. dryness, oilyness, pigmentation etc). Check out my Toners 101 post if you are not sure what toner to go for. I love that this Futurederm toner smells delicious. It’s a little pick me up in the morning and as I am not a morning person, every pick-me-up is welcome! I just really hope they haven’t discontinued this guy (I can’t seem to find it in the Futurederm shop atm). IF they have, I will be very upset 🙁
Next up is my ‘targeted’ pigmentation spot treatment and eye cream. Acids or any types of chemical exfoliants should be applied to clean skin before any kind of serum or moisturiser. Acids or chemical exfoliants should never be combined with vitamin A but can be used alongside products containing vitamin C. If you do use any kinds of acids or chemical exfoliants in your morning routine, make sure to be diligent with applying sunscreen in the morning also. Using chemical exfoliants in the morning may not be the best idea for sensitive skins (leave this for your night routine if this is you).
I have been using this Medik8 White Balance Click treatment on some seriously stubborn pigmentation spots (which I believe to be sun spots). The treatment is made up of 7 strategic acids/ingredients (Kojic Acid, L-Lactic Acid, Niacinamide, Linoleic Acid, N-Acetyl Glucosamine, Sepiwhite andL-Leucine). It is meant to work on freckles, age spots, sun spots, blotchiness and uneven skin tone. How is it doing? Ok. I’ve already used up one little bottle of this (I dropped the bottle as I was reaching the end of the serum – it’s glass you see) and am now onto my second (you receive two little bottles in one pack – this keeps the acids ‘fresher’ and more active for longer). The pigmentation has faded, but hasn’t totally gone (yet). I don’t have a lot of issues with pigmentation, but the few spots I do have irritate me greatly. After I finish off this spot treatment, I will probably give my pigmentation spots a break (for the time being…). I thought this treatment would make my skin sensitive or more prone to irritation, but it hasn’t actually. It’s also very thin in texture and sinks into the skin quickly, without leaving a film on the surface – so it’s perfect for using under other skin care products. You could use this treatment all over the face, or as a spot treatment as I do.
My choice for morning eye cream is the Futurederm Vitamin CE Eye Cream 10.0. I think it’s worth having and using two eye creams in your beauty cabinet (one for morning use and one for evening). Check out my Eye Care 101 post here if you want to read more about why. The Futurederm eye cream is phenomenal because it contains 10% vitamin C and 1% vitamin E (most eye creams don’t contain anywhere near this amount), which has been proven to work at decreasing dark circles, pigmentation and uneven skin tone – brightening the whole under eye area. Products containing 10% vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) have been found to decrease the depth of wrinkles with consistent use over the course of three months. By combining vitamin C with 1% vitamin E, each antioxidant can borrow an electron from the other, renewing itself in the process. This is why you should use a product which contains vitamin C and vitamin E in it’s formula. The eye cream has a cream texture, but it is very light and sinks in incredibly quickly.The cream also contains avocado oil (fatty acid) and grape seed oil (antioxidant)
The only time I have experienced some irritation while using it, was when I used to much cream and it got into my eye (my eye just felt itchy but it wasn’t red or inflamed thankfully). I have been using this eye cream for a few weeks now (a little over a month) and my under eye circles do look less ‘bruised’ and purple. I would definitely call this eye cream my morning ‘staple’. The only slight negative when it comes to this eye cream is that if you don’t apply makeup over the top of it (and you go au natural instead) and you rub your eyes, the formula left on top of your skin does ball up and you will find white flakes under your eyes. I believe this is one of the slip agents which makes the eye cream easy to apply. It isn’t a big deal (but worth noting as we shouldn’t be rubbing our eyes anyways – but something I clearly fail at 😉 ).
The next step in my routine is my all over vitamin C and E serum. At the moment I am using the SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic serum, but I do slightly (and I mean ever so slightly) prefer the Futurederm Vitamin CE Caffeic Silk Serum 16+2 (full review of that product here) because of it’s formula and price. I had to revert back the SkinCeuticals version because Futurederm was out of stock of their serum for a while (I have two bottles being shipped to me as we speak!). While the SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic is twice as expensive as the Futurederm offering, it does last a looong time, so you are getting your monies worth (longer than a bottle of the Futurederm CE Caffeic serum – it just hurts paying $174 all at once).
So why is a vitamin C and E serum such a beneficial and important product that needs to be included in your morning routine? Vitamin C as L-ascorbic acid stimulates collagen production in your skin. Luckily this serum contains 15% pure L-ascorbic acid (the Futurederm serum contains 16%). It also boosts sun protection four fold when used under sunscreen. As I wrote earlier, your morning routine should be full of products which help prevent damage before it occurs. The formula does contain alcohol, however this helps the product penetrate into the deeper levels of your skin and the drying nature of the alcohol is offset by the hydrating and antioxidant power of the vitamin C. As I mentioned above (when writing about the Futurederm vitamin CE eye cream), vitamin C and E work in a synergistic way to prevent and treat oxidative damage (and hence it is great for minimizing existing pigmentation – plus the UV boosting capabilities will prevent any new pigmentation from taking hold if you also use sunscreen daily). Vitamin C is also an anti-inflammatory and will be extremely beneficial to those treating acne or breakouts. Tick, tick, tick! 🙂 *If you can’t allow yourself to go for the SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic serum and don’t want to order goodies from overseas right this moment (cause the Australian dollar sux at this very moment and you can only order Futurederm goodies from their US based website) the other great option is the SkinCeuticals Serum 15 AOX+. It still contains a big dose of vitamin C (15%) along with hydrating sodium hyaluronate. It just doesn’t contain the vitamin E.*
After applying a serum, the next step has to be of course, moisturiser. You must moisturise no matter what skin type you have. If you don’t give your skin enough moisture, fine lines can start to creep in because of dehydration. Your skins primary function is to act as a barrier between you and outside ‘threats’ (bacteria, irritants etc.) and without enough moisture, your lipid barrier can become compromised, leading to hyper sensitivity and possibly, infections. I was using a gel moisturiser earlier (the Dr Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Moisture Cushion) but wanted to try something a little more hydrating plus with added antioxidants. This is where the Jojoba Company’s Hydrating Day Cream comes in. The moisturising ingredients in this daily moisturiser are superb – jojoba seed oil (contains vitamins A, D and E), glycerin (a humectant and occulsive moisturiser), beta-glucan (a moisturiser that promotes wound healing and reduces wrinkle depth and height), macadamia seed oil, shea butter and panthenol (vitamin B5). I love that this day cream contains loads of antioxidants – green tea extract, olive leaf extract, pomegranate seed oil, vitamin E (tocopherol), rice bran oil (oryza sativa). The moisturiser also includes a host of other extracts like Siberian ginseng (tightening and firming), silk amino acids, balckcurrent seed oil, chamomile extract and rosa damascena oil – to name a few.
The moisturiser comes in a pump bottle which is so handy and means that all the ingredients in the moisturiser will stay fresh and potent. The cream itself is a light lotion and spreads easily over the skin. The cream makes my skin slightly shiny, but this doesn’t bother me as it isn’t overly shiny. If you are very oily, you can of course use makeup over the top of the moisturiser to minimise the shine. The Jojoba Company do also make a daily moisturiser with added sunscreen – but I prefer to use a seperate sunscreen hence I went for the moisturiser without spf. This particular moisturiser also seems to include more botanical extracts and oils.
Finally, the very last step of my morning skincare routine 🙂 Sunscreen! Sunscreen is crucial for every girl – including a city girl as UV rays are uber sneaky… they come in through windows, bounce off buildings and pavements. My all time favourite sunscreen is the Neova DNA Damage Control Everyday SPF 44. Now this is a high tech sunscreen! Not only does it contain a combination of physical sunscreen and chemical sunscreen (a combination means you get the best of both worlds and the sunscreen remains stable) but it also contains a combination (which we know is best!) of vitamin C and E, PLUS L-Ergothionene (a powerful antioxidant) and Photolyase – a type of plankton which increase UV protection by capturing UV rays and helps repair DNA cell damage. If you’re not sure which sunscreen is best for you (and fits into your budget) check out my Sunscreen Battle post here and my Sunscreen 101 post here.
That wraps up my morning skincare routine Beauties 🙂 You will reap the benefits of a skincare routine if you are consistent. This routine takes around 5-10 minutes each morning and is quite easy to do once you form a habit of it, Let me know what products and steps you can’t live without in your morning skin care routine!
Catch ya next time,