Esthetician’s Guide to AM Skincare Routine

Your AM skincare routine is very important to ensure your skin is protected and has what is needs throughout your day!  Your skin encounters a lot of things you can’t see with your eyes.  Using the correct products will keep it from being damaged as much as possible.   


Cleansing your face in the morning not only wakes you up but removes sweat and oil from your beauty sleep.  You want to make sure your face is clean before you start applying your products.

If you are sensitive or dry, it’s not always necessary to cleanse in the morning, unless you have been sweating in your sleep.  Some people skip the cleanser and go right to SPF and this is completely fine.  If you’re on the oily side like myself, you will find cleansing your face in the morning is a must!

Gentle cleansers are ideal for all skin types.  A great choice for oily, combo or sensitive skin types is the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Purifying Foaming Soap Free Cleanser.  One of my personal favorites.  For acne prone or oily skin types, the CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser provides a gentle exfoliating cleanse without stripping the skin.

VaniCream Gentle Facial Cleanser is great for people with dry skin or very sensitive skin.  This cleanser does not suds up, but it doesn’t need to in order to clean impurities away.  CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser is great for normal to dry skin types, or even oily.  It really depends on how you react to the product.

SECOND STEP: Serum/Treatment

This is the fun step, where you can apply your active ingredient to treat your specific skin concerns.  Whether it be a serum or treatment toner.

I’m not big on toners because they’re not necessary, but some carry active ingredients like salicylic acid or glycolic acid.  These exfoliants can be helpful throughout the day, to keep skin smooth and help prevent pores from clogging.  Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant is a great option for someone with acne breakouts, blackheads or whiteheads.  The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution is another great option to keep pores clean and hydrated throughout your day, whether you’re combo, oily or dry.

Serums are the best!

I always recommend using one, they are a great add on.

Antioxidant serums like vitamin c or niacinamide are fabulous options for daytime use.  Antioxidants scavenge free radicals, that lead to skin damage and aging.

My top Vitamin C pick would be the Skin Ceuticals C E Ferulic Acid.  I feel strongly about the performance in this patent formula, its only downfall is the price.  The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% serum is another goodie as well as the Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster or the 20%.

Niacinamide is very tolerable and has loads of skin benefits.  It helps to control sebum production, combat redness, strengthen the skin barrier and helps with hyperpigmentation.  Niacinamide and Vitamin C are a dynamic duo and can be used together!  For more info on Niacinamide, this blog post goes into more detail.

You can also find ones with acne fighting ingredients like BHA, or hydration properties like hyaluronic acid to suit your skin care needs.

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% and Indeed Labs Hydraluron Moisture Serum are fabulous options for added hydration and plumpness before your moisturizer.


THIRD STEP: Moisturizer

Moisturizing the skin is essential to keep skin hydrated and happy.  All skin types need a moisturizer.  They come in all different forms to target your specific needs.

Oilier skin types gravitate towards light weight formulations or gels.  During summer months you can get away with just using an SPF after your serum.  Otherwise, moisturizers like La Roche-Posay Toleriane Sensitive Skin Fluid or La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Soothing Repair Moisturizer are oily skin friendly.

Combination skin types might enjoy those same moisturizers as oily peeps or something a little heavier.  It just depends on how well your skin reacts to a product.  Something a little heavier would be the La Roche-Posay Double Repair Face Moisturizer.

Dryer skin types favor more occlusive ingredients.  Moisturizers like this sit on top of the skin and act as a barrier to keep water from evaporating from the skin.

You could get away with the previous recommendation, but a heavier option would be the CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream. If you are very dry and peeling from retinoids or weather conditions, the CeraVe Healing Ointment or La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Balm are great options.  They are  very thick and create a nice seal on the skin barrier to prevent transepidermal water loss.

The Cerave healing ointment can be used on patchy, dehydrated areas, chapped lips, or around the eyes or mouth.  It is so versatile and is the best ingredient-based product for extremely dry or peeling skin.

Sensitive skin individuals lack a strong skin barrier and do best with moisturizers that are fragrance free and formulated with ceramides.

Ceramides replenish the skin, helping to strengthen the barrier while providing hydration.  PHAs are also sensitive skin friendly.  These are gentle exfoliants that also act as humectants to keep skin hydrated.  They’re ideal for sensitive or reactive skin types!

The La Roche-Posay Toleriane Sensitive Skin Fluid is a lightweight option, Cetaphil Redness Relieving Daily Facial Moisturizer is a bit thicker, and lastly Neostrata Restore Bionic Face Cream which is a wonderful PHA moisturizer with a thicker texture as well.

FOURTH STEP: Sunscreen

Ladies and gents, no matter what age or race you are you need to be wearing a sunscreen every day.  This should be the last step in your am skincare routine.  You want to make sure you are using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with 30 SPF or higher.

Apply to all exposed areas.  This is the most important step in an am skincare routine, and if you’re not applying one, you’re doing it all wrong!  Check Why You Should Wear Sunscreen Every Day to see what sunscreen is best for your skin type!

elta MD skincare UV DAily Broad Spectrum SPF40 sunscreen

With Love,


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