My Morning Routine When Using A Retinoid

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Building an effective morning routine takes a little more care and consideration when your PM plan is retinoid-focused. Whilst on the one hand you want to be careful of your skin barrier, especially in the early days of retinisation, you also want to make sure your skin is properly protected against environmental aggressors. Here’s how I make my morning routine count without leaving skin frazzled!

How should you cleanse when using a retinoid?

It’s vital to avoid unnecessary depletion of those essential skin lipids when cleansing the morning after your nighttime retinoid. Think gentle, non-foaming cleansing and tepid (not hot!) water using just your fingertips. Take your time, and use it to breathe and connect with your skin. After rinsing, pat skin dry with a clean towel without using friction.

Flawless Cleanser

What ingredient works best around the eyes?

I always protect my eye area with ingredients designed to nourish the skin barrier and brighten it’s appearance. For me, niacinamide ticks all the boxes. The beauty of using a moisturiser enriched with this wonder ingredient is that you can prime and protect the delicate skin in one step – what I call my Moisturiser Goggles™. It also helps shield the eye area from potentially irritating actives used elsewhere on the face.

What serum pairs well with a retinoid?

Choosing the right actives for daytime use to partner with your nighttime retinoid depends on your skin goals. For me, as an experienced retinoid user, I love to use multi-tasking ingredients to deal with redness, a tendency to breakout and pesky fine lines. That means “zoning” my actives. I use Flawless Neutralising Gel, enriched with 2% salicylic acid to clear pores and calm breakouts in my t-zone and on any rogue blemishes. Then I apply Flawless Brightly Serum, with 10% azelaic acid, to my cheeks to tame redness.

Flawless Brightly Serum

Should I moisturise when using a retinoid?

It’s vital to support my skin barrier function day and night when using actives twice a day. Even with combination skin (like 65% of us), this is essential to keep skin hydrated and dewy in cold weather, when central heating tends to leave skin depleted. I use a generous layer of Flawless Moisturiser all over, which my neck LOVES!

Flawless Moisturiser

Is sunscreen essential when using a retinoid?

An effective daytime routine is not complete without daily sunscreen use – and the dose is critical. Familiarise yourself with a quarter teaspoon so that you can measure it correctly every day and aren’t tempted to skip! That’s the correct dose for your face and then I use the same again on my neck. Flawless Gossamer Tint also does double duty as my coverage, leaving my skin dewy and even-toned without foundation.

Flawless Gossamer Tint 01 SPF 50

The key to a successful morning routine is, ultimately, the fewest number of layers for maximum impact – this routine is quick, efficient and works brilliantly for my skin.


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