Your skin carries out a number of different jobs, and these vary depending on whether it’s daytime or nighttime. During the day, your skin focuses on defence, working hard to protect itself from the many environmental stressors out there.

In order for your skin care to really be effective, you need a morning skin care routine capable of supporting your skin’s protective efforts while keeping your skin hydrated at the same time. Here’s how to put that together:

Step 1: Wake Up and Drink a Glass of Water

Drinking a glass of water immediately after waking up may not appeal to you at first, but wait until you hear the theory behind this trend…

Your body dehydrates while you sleep. This isn’t surprising when you consider the fact that it goes about eight hours without any fluid intake.

As you can imagine, dehydration is easily reflected in the skin, giving it a dry and lacklustre appearance.

Drinking a glass of water as soon as you wake up is a great way to quickly rehydrate your body, before you have properly started the day. Your skin cells will look and feel plumper, brighter, and smoother, giving you a natural glow before you have even used your first skin care product of the day.

Step 2: Gentle Cleansing

Woman cleansing skin

If your skin is dry, then this means that your skin’s protective barrier isn’t functioning in the way that it should. Its job is to retain moisture, and dry skin is a sign that that clearly isn’t happening.

Now, cleansing is a key first step to any skin care routine, but, when you’ve got dry skin, you need to be careful not to over-cleanse.

Ideally, you should only be properly cleansing your face once a day. This is best done in the evenings, since this allows you to wash off all of the toxins, dirt, and impurities that have settled onto your skin over the course of the day.

If you cleanse right before going to bed, and make sure that you’re sleeping on a clean pillowcase, then you probably won’t need to use a cleanser again in the morning.

Instead, gently splash your face with some lukewarm water to dampen it. Then, move on to the next step.

Step 3: A Hydrating Toner

Many people believe that toners have a drying effect. This is because, back in the day of the very first toner formulas, alcohol was commonly used, meaning that toners really did dry out the skin.

However, times have changed and the industry has moved on. There are so many alcohol-free toners out there that are not only designed to rebalance your skin’s pH level after cleansing, but also contain compounds that can help with hydration too.

As anyone with dry skin knows, help with hydration is always welcome!

Simply dab your toner onto your skin using a clean cotton pad.

Step 4: An Antioxidant-Rich Serum

Your skin is now prepped to receive your most potent skin care products, which is why serums are usually next in line.

There are two reasons why an antioxidant-rich serum is important in this skin care routine order: 

  • They protect against environmental damage, which is a must when it comes to a morning skin care routine
  • They help to repair the skin’s natural protective barrier, which is important for those dealing with dry skin

Which Antioxidants Should You Be on the Lookout For?

Some of the most effective include:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Resveratrol
  • Niacinamide
  • Green tea extract

Found a couple of different serums that you like the sound of?

There’s nothing wrong with using more than one serum in your skin care routine. The key is to layer them so that the serum containing the strongest concentration of active ingredients is applied directly to your skin, followed by the less potent formulas.

Of course, while multiple serums are great, there comes a point where applying too many ingredients causes some of them to end up diluted, meaning that they won’t work quite as well. Ideally, use no more than three serums in a single skin care routine.

Step 5: A Plumping Eye Cream

Woman applying eye cream

Do your eyes often look tired, shadowed, or puffy in the mornings?

This is common. It can be caused by a number of different reasons, with stress and sleep deprivation being the most common.

In an ideal situation, you would tackle your puffy eyes at the root of the problem. This means dealing with whatever may be causing your issues, be it a lack of quality sleep, a stressful daily schedule, a poor diet, a lack of hydration, or anything else.

However, these issues can sometimes take a while to properly rebalance. In the meantime, an eye cream can be a huge lifesaver.

Choose a hydrating formula, as this will give your skin cells a plumper and fuller appearance, immediately making your eye area look years younger.

Simply dot your eye cream around your eyes and then use your ring finger to pat the cream into your skin.

Wondering why you need to use your ring finger?

Well, the skin around the eyes is extremely delicate. In fact, the skin here can be up to 10 times thinner than the skin on the rest of your face. This means that you need to treat it gently. Your ring finger naturally exerts the least amount of pressure, saving you from tugging or pulling at this fragile skin.

Patting instead of rubbing is another important action to note. This technique actually originated in Japan, and is believed to help increase product absorption when compared to rubbing.

Wondering if you can just use a facial moisturizer instead of an eye cream?

Technically, yes. However, with the skin around the eyes being so much thinner and more delicate than the rest of your face, some facial moisturizers are just too strong and powerful for the eye area. This could end up making your problems even worse.

Eye creams are designed to effectively treat thinner and more fragile skin. They will also contain a special blend of plumping and brightening ingredients, which is exactly what the skin around your eyes could do with.

Step 6: A Strengthening Day Cream

Your skin has so much to deal with during the day – UV rays, wind, rain, indoor heating or air conditioning, pollution…the list goes on!

This can all really take their toll on your skin, which is why your skin needs to be fortified in the mornings, to help it to better protect itself from all that the world throw at it throughout the course of the day.

Those with dry skin need to look for day creams designed to strengthen and support the skin’s natural protective barrier. This means making use of ingredients such as:

  • Ceramides
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Fatty acids
  • Colloidal oatmeal
  • Probiotics
  • Plant oils

These ingredients will not only help to repair your skin’s natural protective barrier, which means that your skin will then be able to better defend itself in the future, but they also form an extra barrier layer of their own.

For this reason, those with dry skin will probably need to continuously moisturize throughout the day, especially in the winter. This helps to ensure that your skin always has an intact layer of protection, which prevents any damage from taking place.

Step 7: SPF

Woman applying face cream

Sunscreen is an ingredient that’s easy to remember in the summer months, but is often neglected during the winter. Those with normal skin types may not immediately notice any ill-effects from this, but those with dry skin will end up suffering greatly.


Because the sun’s UV rays are constant throughout the year. You may not be able to feel them as much in the winter when compared to the summer, but they really are still there. In fact, if you’re around frost, snow, or ice, then you need to be even more careful – those surfaces reflect UV rays, often doubling or tripling the amount of exposure you receive.

When it comes to sunscreen, SPF 30 is often recommended, but those with both dry and sensitive skin may need to go for something a little higher.

Either way, always ensure that SPF is the final step of your morning skin care routine. This helps to keep your skin protected right from the start of the day.

Don’t forget that you will also need to keep reapplying your sunscreen throughout the day, both in the summer and in the winter.

Your sunscreen will only be effective for two to three hours once on your skin, making reapplication so important if you really want to keep your skin protected.

What Happens if You Don’t Use a Sunscreen?

Sun damage will soon start to become visible, such as:

  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Loose skin and a loss of elasticity
  • Dark spots
  • A rough and leathery skin texture
  • Skin cancer

It goes without saying that nobody wants to experience the above, making sunscreen a must.

Wondering if you can use a moisturizer that also contains SPF instead?

Yes, so long as that moisturizer contains enough SPF. Those with oily skin types may find that an SPF moisturizer leaves their skin too greasy, since it will need to be reapplied every few hours. However, as already mentioned, it’s recommended that those with dry skin reapply their moisturizer throughout the day, so using a moisturizer with SPF means that you’re not only topping up your skin’s moisture levels, but sun protection too.

One thing to keep in mind if you’re using a moisturizer with SPF…

That SPF rating on the label will only come into effect if you’re using enough of the product. Don’t skimp out on how much you apply – slather your SPF moisturizer on quite thickly to ensure adequate protection.

Does Skin Care Routine Order Really Matter?

Wondering if your morning skin care routine order really matters?

This is a common question, and the answer is yes, it’s important to make sure that you order and layer your skin care products correctly, whether you use them in the morning or at night.

The general rule of thumb is that the thinner products are applied first, followed by the thicker formulas.


Because this ensures that the thinner products are able to properly penetrate into your skin, without being blocked by anything thicker.

Take rich moisturizers, for example. They form their own protective barrier over the surface of the skin. If you were to then apply a serum over the top of this, the serum wouldn’t be able to penetrate through the moisturizer, leaving it to go to waste.

Fortunately, this is easy enough to remember. You may need to refer back to a written list when trying to remember your skin care routine order to begin with, but this will soon become second nature.

Once you have a good understanding of how things work, you’ll be able to easily swap and change the products you use, without having to worry about where each one slots into your skin care routine.

It’s so important to get things right when it comes to your morning skin care routine, especially if you have dry skin. The right routine combined with effective ingredients will properly set your skin up for the day, keeping it hydrated and looking its very best. Don’t forget, once you’ve managed to establish a solid skin care routine for the mornings, it’s time to turn your attention to the evenings – nights are when your skin works to regenerate and repair itself from the damage that has been caused during the day, once again making it important to use products that will help it to do its job in the best way possible.