Can’t start your day without a hot shower? You’re already on the right track, says Howard Sobel, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City. The steam of a morning shower will open your pores and allow your cleanser to work better. But don’t use the same soap you do at night. “Your skin is nowhere near as ‘dirty’ in the morning as it is at the end of the day,” says Sobel. “If you use the same routine in the morning, you run the risk of stripping essential oils from your skin.” Choose a gentle clarifying cleanser for your a.m. washes—if your skin feels uncomfortable and tight afterward, your cleanser is too strong.
Dark under-eye circles can also make you look tired. Deal with them by applying an eye gel or cream containing caffeine. Blood in the capillaries can pool under the eyes and cause the shadowy look, but “products with caffeine can make a huge difference in the microcirculation around the eye,” says Elizabeth Trattner, D.O.M., an acupuncture physician and integrative medical practitioner in Miami Beach, Fla. Use your ring finger to apply, as it will exert the least amount of pressure and pulling on the sensitive eye area.
Because skin takes much more of a beating during the day than at night, take steps to protect it from the elements. Use a sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection (to block both UVA and UVB rays) before you apply moisturizer, or look for an SPF/moisturizer combo. For best results, consider one that contains hefty antioxidants like vitamins C and E for extra fortification to fight against the barrage of free radicals you’ll face throughout the day.
1. Origins VitaZing SPF 15 Energy-boosting moisturizer ($35; origins .com) moisturizes and protects skin from daily sun damage in one step.
2. Vichy Purete Thermale 3-in-1 Cleanser ($18; vichyusa.com) combines cleansing milk, toning lotion and eyemakeup remover.
3. Pharmacopia Verbena and Green Tea Body Lotion ($12; vitaminshoppe.com) earned a seal from PETA, ensuring it is completely cruelty-free.
4. Olay Pro X Eye Restoration Complex ($47; drugstore.com) contains caffeine, which minimizes puffiness and dark circles.
5. Garnier Nutritioniste Moisture Rescue Refreshing Gel-Cream ($7; ulta.com) penetrates skin instantly with grape water extract and vitamin E.
6. Aveeno Positively Nourishing Hydrating Body Wash ($6; ulta.com) with fig and shea butter cleanses and moisturizes all skin types.