About eight/nine months ago, I heard about a Doctor Oz segment in which he talked about not needing to wash your face twice a day. He discussed how it was drying and just plain unnecessary (kind of like what I talking about in my recent shampooing discovery, only for skin). He suggested washing your face really good at night, and then waking up in the morning and just rinsing with water (because in reality, you'd only washed it right before you went to bed). I tried doing this method, but realized that using just water didn't make my face feel as fresh and awake as it did when I was washing it in the morning. So, I started looking into cleansing waters and toners. I found that using these sorts of products on my face in the morning to freshen up, after a really good cleansing the night before from my Clarisonic Mia II (which I had recently acquired for Christmas as a gift) made my face feel nice and clean, without being stripped. I have combination/dry skin, so those of you with more oily skin might not find this method effective, but it did absolute wonders for my skin. The combination of letting up on my skin and cleaning it better at night with the Clarisonic really cleared up my skin (as I did get very frequent acne breakouts on my forehead). My acne has decreased significantly ever since, and my face hasn't felt as dry. My forehead and nose were also a little less oily, since my pores weren't trying to overcompensate for the moisture it was losing by over-washing it (as it really wasn't necessary to wash it twice a day, since my skin never got that oily to begin with).
The current toner I'm using right now is the Boots Botanics Organic Rosewater Toning Spritz ($8 ~ 5oz).
I really like this product. I used to spray it onto a cotton pad and wipe my face with it, but I found that the cotton pad soaked up too much of the liquid for my liking, so I switched to spraying my face and then wiping it off with a pad. It's also more refreshing to spray it directly onto my face, and I find that it helps wake me (and my skin) up in the morning. This is also supposed to tighten your pores, but I'm not sure how well it's been doing that. It doesn't make my skin feel tight or dry, just fresh. If I look at the cotton pad, a little bit of sebum (or oil produced from your glands that you'll find on your face in the morning--gross, I know), so I feel like I'm doing my face a favor. When I was just cleansing my face with water, I noticed that my forehead and nose looked a little oiler than usual, because I wasn't cleansing off the sebum my skin had produced during the night. In this way, I'm not stripping my skin by fully washing it twice, but rather just having my skin start off fresh for the day. It also has a mild, pleasant smell that dissipates after a it soaks into your skin (which is basically in a few seconds). And it's organic! You can find this at Target, the magical land of beauty discoveries.
Next, I'll put in my contacts. My favorite contact solution is BioTrue ($11 ~ 10oz), as it's recommended by my ophthalmologist.
I find that it keeps my contacts fresher for longer, as opposed to Opti-Free or other drugstore brands. It's a few dollars more, but you can almost always find coupons online, and I think it's worth it. Your eyes are very important, so you want to make sure your contacts are clean and sanitary before putting them in. Good hygiene is important with any aspect, but especially your eyes, since they're especially sensitive.
Then, I brush my teeth. If you need me to tell you to do that (eek!), you should probably stop reading now. This might be too advanced for you.
After that, I moisturize. Even though my skin isn't necessarily feeling dry or tight, my skin always feels more hydrated after moisturizer (that's the goal!). I've been using Olay moisturizers for years, and the one I'm using right now is their Olay Complete Daily Defense All Day Moisturizer SPF 30 for Sensitive Skin ($14 ~ 2.5oz).
I feel like Olay moisturizers are always more expensive than other drugstore brands, but I find that they're absolutely wonderful for my dry skin. This one contains Vitamin E, aloe, and green tea extract for extra nourishment. I find that it's not too light for my dry areas (ex. my cheeks) and not too heavy for my "oily" areas (ex. my T-zone). My forehead and nose don't need this much moisture, but it's doesn't make them greasy.
I love the packaging of this product. It's in a pump bottle, making it very hygienic, and one pump is exactly how much I need for my face and neck (I love when that happens!). It also has SPF 30, which eliminates a step from my morning process (because ain't nobody got time for that). I'm pretty brain-dead in the morning when I first wake up, so having my routine be as simple as possible is ideal. I don't always go outdoors with sunscreen on my body--I live in theatre, so I never see the sun--but my face is more sensitive than my forearms or exposed body part. Plus, your face will more visibly show age than your arms over time. Right now, you're preparing for your skin 20 years from now, so I'm protecting my skin for when I'm 40. I don't want to look old and wrinkly when I'm 40!
That's everything. Wasn't that simple? It only takes me a few minutes every morning, letting me crawl out of bed and stumble to the sink later than I probably should.
What's your morning skincare routine? I'm almost out of my moisturizer, so if anyone has any good recommendations, I'd love to read them in the comments below!