Skincare doesn’t have to be difficult – and to prove it, here’s a speedy morning routine that’s as effective as it is efficient. 

I get it, I really do: skincare is overwhelming. There are hundreds – probably thousands, in fact – of articles, TikTok videos and Instagram posts telling you what products are best, what you should be using and what products really are the holy grail – the ones that will make you glow brighter than ever before. But it’s a lot, even for somebody like me, a beauty editor who’s been learning and writing about it for years.

Of course, it goes without saying that I appreciate the intricate complexities of skincare and the fact that it really isn’t a case of one size fits all, but I’m passionate about simplifying things and making it accessible. And that’s the approach I take with my own routine: I want easy-to-use products that play well under make-up and will help me on my journey towards ensuring my skin is as healthy as possible.

Having spoken to hundreds of dermatologists and experts, I’ve learned that a good morning routine should be as quick as it is effective – nobody has time to layer product after product. Instead, focus on protecting your skin. Plus, most actives and targeted treatments are best saved for your evening routine anyway.

My morning routine goes something like this: after cleansing, an antioxidant serum is key (which will defend against skin-damaging pollution and free radicals) and that should be followed up with sunscreen (that’s at least factor 30). I know you’ve heard it a million times before, but protecting against harmful UV rays really is one of the very best things you can do for your skin. 

And that’s it: three straightforward steps.

Sounds easy, right? That’s because it is. Keep scrolling to find out which products I have used and loved. Pick one from each category and you’re good to go, trust me.

The best morning cleansers

  • Glossier Cleanser Concentrate

    Glossier Cleanser Concentrate

    Great as a quick morning cleanse or as my second step in the evening, a little bit of Glossier’s Cleanser Concentrate goes a long way (seriously, one bottle lasted me months). It’s packed with gentle exfoliators – including lactic and malic acid – that work over time to improve texture and instantly help perk up tired skin.

    Shop Glossier Cleanser Concentrate at Glossier, £18

    Buy now

  • Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water

    Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water

    Sometimes I can’t be bothered to cleanse properly in the morning and it’s really not the end of the world. I’ll saturate a reusable cotton pad with Garnier’s micellar water and swipe it over my face to wake me up while getting rid of any oil and residue. It feels refreshing and is gentle on skin.

    Shop Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water at Superdrug, £5.99

    Buy now

  • CeraVe Blemish Control Cleanser

    CeraVe Blemish Control Cleanser

    You can’t go wrong with any of CeraVe’s affordable cleansers, but this new launch has quickly become a favourite of mine. Ideal for my blemish-prone skin, it’s formulated with ceramides, niacinamide and salicylic acid to target breakouts and oiliness without stripping or drying skin out.

    Shop CeraVe Blemish Control Cleanser at Boots, £10

    buy now

The best daily antioxidant serums

  • Skinbetter Science Alto-Defense Serum

    SkinBetter Science Alto-Defense Serum

    Expensive, yes. But worth it? Absolutely. Skinbetter Science is a little-known brand rooted in proven science – which is why it’s loved by dermatologists. As well as protecting against free radicals and environmental damage, it visibly improves the look of skin, adds luminosity and reduces overall redness, something that I’ve definitely noticed in the time I’ve been using it.

    Shop Skinbetter Science Alto-Defense Serum at Get Harley, £134

    Buy now

  • Dr Sam’s Flawless Brightly Serum

    Dr Sam’s Flawless Brightly Serum

    If you’re not in the market to spend triple figures on skincare, consider trying Dr Sam’s Flawless Brightly Serum instead. Packed with a powerhouse blend of proven ingredients – including vitamin C, azelaic acid, niacinamide and bakuchiol – not only does it protect skin, but it also helps improve texture, hydration, pigmentation and redness. 

    Shop Dr Sam’s Flawless Brightly Serum at Dr Sam Bunting, £44

    buy now

  • Beauty Pie Superdose C C-Suite Rapid Action Power Brightener

    Beauty Pie Superdose C C-Suite Rapid Action Power Brightener

    Vitamin C is one of the most used antixoidants and there’s an abundance of serums with it in, but this one is up there with my favourites. The water-like texture absorbs quickly (I put a few drops in my hands, press them together and then press it into my skin) and doesn’t feel sticky, greasy or oily, leaves no residue and sunscreen can be applied on top almost straight away. 

    Shop Beauty Pie Superdose C C-Suite Rapid Action Power Brightener at Beauty Pie, £16.50 for members

    buy now

The best sunscreens to wear under make-up

  • Thank You Farmer Sun Project Light Sun Essence SPF50

    Thank You Farmer Sun Project Light Sun Essence SPF50

    My list of non-negotiables for sunscreen includes a lightweight formula, non-greasy, non-sticky, non-comedogenic (so it won’t clog pores) and the most vital of all is that it must sit nicely under make-up – and this formula from Korean brand Thank You Farmer ticks all those boxes. It’s also hydrating enough to skip moisturiser and is virtually weightless once fully absorbed into skin.

    Shop Thank You Farmer Sun Project Light Sun Essence SPF50 at Tonic15, £24

    Buy now

  • Shiseido Urban Environment Age Defense Oil-Free SPF30

    Shiseido Urban Environment Age Defense Oil-Free SPF30

    A recent discovery for me (and the sunscreen I’m currently using every day), I can’t tell you how quickly it absorbs into skin. Probably the most undetectable sunscreen I’ve ever used, it can be layered up without pilling and it creates a perfect base for make-up.  Plus it’s packed with added skincare benefits and antioxidant powers to further protect skin.

    Shop Shiseido Urban Environment Age Defense Oil-Free SPF30 at John Lewis, £34

    buy now

  • Supergoop! Play Everyday Lotion SPF50

    Supergoop Play Everyday Lotion SPF50

    One of my favourite sunscreen brands, I love everything about Supergoop! and Play Everyday Lotion SPF50 is my favourite fuss-free formula. Invisible, lightweight, fast-absorbing, the gel-like cream is hydrating and nourishing. Plus, it never leaves a white, chalky finish. 

    Shop Supergoop! Play Everyday Lotion SPF50 at Cult Beauty, £20

    buy now

Main image: Glossier; others courtesy of brands

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