From AM To PM: Demystifying Skincare Routines For All Times Of The Day

Sunrise to Sunset Skincare (3)

Brace yourself, the word “consistency” is on its way to you for the millionth and one time— yeah, I’m rolling my eyes too. Alas, it remains the key to our never-ending cycle of skin issues. A tad dramatic? Trust me though, as someone who’s been in the acne trenches, it is your way out.

Over the years, from dermatologists and wise grandmas, the message is crystal clear: a healthy skin barrier is all about sticking to the plan of a good skincare routine. Let us break it down for you step-by-step from sunrise to sunset. Don’t worry, this guide does take into account the days you are tired too. Look no further for all your skincare routine questions, from mastering the art of layering skincare to post afternoon workout skincare solutions, it’s all here.

Ante-Meridiem Routine

“A good morning routine sets your day for success” — how many times have we heard that? A good A.M. skincare routine sets your skin for success.

Step 1: Start with a gentle cleanser to remove any products from the night and the dirt that has most likely accumulated on your pillow. If you have the time, do this slowly and for about 60 seconds, then consider giving yourself a gentle massage as well.

Step 2: I recommend adding an ice facial. I find it an extremely refreshing and fun way to start my day and it has incredible benefits from reducing acne and acne pain to leaving a glowing complexion. Do you know who else starts their day like this? Katrina Kaif, Alia Bhatt and Jennifer Anniston. Need I say more? If an ice facial isn’t your thing, try a good hydrating face-mask or eye mask to refresh and replenish your skin.

Step 3: Keep the products simple with a serum, moisturiser and sunscreen. The easiest way to remember layering is lightweight products always come first and then we move to thicker products. A good serum containing hyaluronic acid or Vitamin C, a simple non-comedogenic moisturiser, and an SPF 50 sunscreen will work wonders. And yes, sunscreen is the most important, and we can thank our collective environmental habits for it.

Also, do not forget to hydrate in the A.M. Maybe have a glass of water as soon as you’re up.

Midday Routine

Now I know I should start talking about the P.M. routine, but we’re going clockwise, and everyone I know is always curious about noon. We always seem to skip it. There is so much advice on A.M. and P.M. routines that no one discusses what to do in the afternoon, post a workout, lunch outside with friends or just to relax.

Here are 2 simple steps:

Step 1: If you’re at home, remove your makeup and wash your face with a gentle cleanser. If you’re at work, consider spritzing your face with a refreshing mist.

Step 2: Re-apply your sunscreen since it is the sunniest time and UV radiation is usually strongest around noon (you may re-apply moisturiser if you’ve taken off your makeup)

If you have some time and energy saved up, you could use a face-mask, and some green tea bags for your eyes.

Post-Meridiem Routine

Finally, we arrive at the highly anticipated P.M. routine. I enjoy this routine because it helps me unwind after a long day. Some of you may find it frustrating, which is understandable; for years, I couldn’t take off my makeup before sleeping, and now I do even when I’m exhausted. The key to this routine is to keep the steps simple and consistent. Practice adding them one by one.

For when you have time:

Step 1: Dermatologists recommend double cleansing, beginning with an oil-based cleanser to break down makeup and grime, followed by a water-based cleanser to ensure a thoroughly clean.

Step 2: Nani recommends following this with two facemasks: a nice fruit facial, a multani mitti mask, or haldi. Whatever is good for you / around you to help you relax after a long day.

Step 3: Some of you may be wondering about all of the AHAs and BHAs, such as retinol or lactic acid. I didn’t forget. I would recommend including these alternate days, and yes, always, in your P.M. routine because they cause skin sensitivity.

Step 4: Finish with a thick moisturiser, preferably containing peptides.

For when you’re low on time:

Step 1: Double Cleansing.

Step 2: Apply a thick moisturiser.

These routines live in harmony and are the key to promoting a healthy skin barrier. It’s simple: you can’t apply retinol in the morning, and you don’t need sunscreen at night hence the need for an Ante-Meridiem and Post-Meridiem routine. They support one another. I mean, how cute is that? Midday may not be the main character, but they are the enjoyable side character that we all need more of.

Having said that, don’t feel pressured to perfect this; completing any one step or routine can take you well beyond what you can imagine. You can build it slowly, write it down on a post-it note and place it in front of you on a mirror, or record yourself saying each step calmly and play it back to follow, whatever suits you. Most importantly, always consult your dermatologist; I know I need to because there is no one-size-fits-all solution; there are procedures ranging from peels to lasers that provide monthly maintenance and promote a healthy skin barrier.

- Intern, Elle India

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