Rodan + Fields / Blog / Doctor's Notes

What You Need to Build Your Morning Skincare Routine


When it comes to skincare, consistency is key. Using the right products to align with your skincare goals a.m. and p.m. is important to keeping your skin clear and youthful. Here, we’ll discuss everything you need to know to build the perfect morning skincare routine for you. We’ll cover everything from the differences between washing your face in the morning and evening, to why a particular face serum may be right for you, the benefits of key skin ingredients, like Vitamin C, to whether you really need eye cream twice a day, and more.

Steps in An Effective Morning Skincare Routine

Step 1: Wash Your Face

Let’s start with the fundamental step: washing your face. The first step in your morning routine, cleansing helps you start afresh and prepare your skin for the active ingredients you’ll apply later. At night, cleansing is all about removing makeup, dirt, oil and pollution skin accumulates from being out and about throughout the day. But overnight, your skin encounters less dirt and fewer aforementioned potential pore-clogging agents. Cleansing in the morning and cleansing at night serve different functions, notes dermatologist Dr. Vivian Bucay. “In the morning, it’s more of a refresh with the purpose of establishing a good pH in the skin,” she explains. Dr. Bucay notes that 5.4 to 5.5 is the ideal pH to absorb products. Washing your face in the morning is also important when it comes to preserving the acid mantle in the skin, which contributes to having a good barrier, she adds. “The purpose of the morning skincare routine is to prevent and protect, while the purpose of the nighttime regimen is to repair and renew,” Dr. Bucay says. In other words, cleanse your face to refresh it and kick off the day in the morning, while a more thorough cleanse and exfoliation session is better for your nighttime routine.

Step 2: Tone The Skin

Set the tone for your skin with a good toner. Toners refine your skin’s surface, providing what it needs to look smoother or hydrated. If your skin is combination or oily, a toner can reduce the look of large pores and excess oil. If your skin is normal, dry, or sensitive, toners can address redness and flaking. Target your skin concern with a toner tailored for your desired results. UNBLEMISH Clarifying Toner is perfect for oily, acne-prone skin. REDEFINE Pore Minimizing Toner helps minimize the appearance of large pores. REVERSE Intensive Brightening Toner is for those looking for radiance and more even tone. If you have dry skin or if aging skin is a concern, opt for the REDEFINE toners.

Step 3: Apply a Face Serum or a Complex Serum

If you feel your skin needs a bit more hydration, a face serum is an additional step that makes a big difference in the morning. Adding Active Hydration Serum to any morning regimen instantly boosts hydration levels by 200%. You may find you need this step in the fall and winter and not in the warmer months. Or if your skin feels dehydrated most of the time, adding it year-round can help. It’s formulated with 30% Glycerin and cross-linked Hyaluronic Acid to draw moisture from the atmosphere and lock it on the surface of the skin for deep and continuous hydration throughout the day.

Complex: REVERSE Dual Active Brightening Complex includes two products meant to be used together. One offers Vitamin C, the other provides Retinol. This power pair works together to enhance your radiance and reveal noticeably brighter skin while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Dr. Bucay explains that it takes only ten minutes of unprotected sun exposure to deplete the skin’s natural vitamin C and vitamin E. “Only 1% of your diet is actually getting into your skin so putting things on your skin is essential to protect and combat damage,” she says. It’s important to note that Vitamin C is a supreme multi-tasker, but it does get used fairly quickly, she adds. Vitamin C decreases sun damage and helps neutralize free radicals

Step 4: Apply a Face Moisturizer with SPF Protection

Next, you want to moisturize your skin and protect it from UV rays with a moisturizer enhanced with a sunscreen of at least SPF 30. You want to make sure to use an SPF every day—whether you leave the house or not (windows!) to counteract photo damage. REVERSE SPF 50+ Sunscreen protects and brightens instantly, providing radiance-enhancing benefits as it defends against the dulling and discoloring effects of sun damage. This is the formula for you if you’re looking to address dullness, uneven tone and texture or fine lines and wrinkles. If you have oily skin, use a mattifying SPF like UNBLEMISH Invisible Matte Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 30. You want to apply your SPF as your last step of your routine so that it can protect your skin.

Step 5: Apply Eye Cream

Do we really need an eye cream twice a day? If you want to see maximum benefits, you do! Active Hydration Bright Eye Complex nourishes and refreshes the eye area by brightening, hydrating and improving appearance of under-eye puffiness and dark circles. Bright Eye Complex is formulated with 3D3P Molecular Matrix technology, also found in Active Hydration Serum, that contains 30% Glycerin and cross-linked Hyaluronic Acid to draw moisture from the atmosphere and lock it on the surface of the skin. It also contains caffeine, phytonutrients and brighteners to nourish and refresh the eye area. Since only a tiny amount is needed, even a twice-daily application won’t involve much product. In the morning, gently apply the eye cream to the under-eye area and allow the product to dry prior to applying any additional products. For evening use, tap the eye cream on alone or layer it under REDEFINE Multi-Function Eye Cream. Formulated specifically for the delicate eye area, REDEFINE Multi-Function Eye Cream Visibly helps reduce fine lines, crow’s feet and loss of firmness around the eyes. Peptides work to minimize the appearance of fine lines and expression lines, while provides deep, long-lasting moisturization.

How do these products work together?

It’s all about Drs. Rodan and Fields’ Multi-Med Therapy approach. This means controlling a skin concern like acne by creating a system with a focus on prevention, as opposed to treating individual pimples. The Multi-Med Therapy approach is at the core of all of Rodan + Fields skincare regimens and it takes the guesswork out of skincare. No single ingredient can effectively address a complex skin concern. From the doctors’ years of research, they saw that it takes the right ingredients, in the right product formulations, used in the right order, to improve any skin. With this approach, Rodan + Fields combines pharmaceutical ingredients with active cosmetics and formulates them into elegant, aesthetically pleasing textures to deliver powerful results. Each Multi-Med Therapy solution is tailored to the appropriate age group to effectively address acne based on the individual’s concerns. Your morning routine is crafted according to the skin concerns you’re looking to address.

Breaks in Between

Do you need breaks between each step? You want to wait a minute or two in between layers of toner, serum and moisturizer/SPF. After you apply your final step of SPF/moisturizer, you want to wait about five minutes or so before applying makeup. That’s a good time to get dressed, make your coffee, etc., before returning to your bathroom or vanity to let your skincare soak in and do its thing.

Building an efficacious morning skincare routine is essential in helping to achieve your skincare goals. As with any routine, consistency is the key factor to seeing visible results.

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