The Morning Beauty Routines of Sydney’s Top Skin Therapists

Lisa Patulny

Recently I got to talking with an incredible Sydney-based facialist about why it is women are so fascinated with the *exact* beauty products skincare experts use on themselves. At first blush, it seems obvious. As industry insiders, therapists have access to just about every skincare range on the planet. It makes sense that what they elect to use at home would be deemed the "best of the best" in their eyes. Still, I think there's a little more to it. Taking recommendations from an expert in the field means cutting through the noise of beauty advertisements. You know the kind. They promise us baby-soft skin with zero pores and fine lines, and an A-list glow. (See: Everything but the proverbial kitchen sink.) Then there's the fact these professionals depend on not just their expertise, but also their own faces, to make bank. Think about it—when's the last time you let someone with a wonky haircut come at you with scissors? It's the same way with skin. Lastly, there's something about being solely responsible for the glowy complexions of celebrities and models that infers ultimate proof that their products of choice really, truly work. Think Lara Worthington's therapist would slather her face with an untested or ineffective product? No sireee. All this means that whenever we're lucky enough to peek inside the skincare routines of top skin therapists we follow any and all product praise all the way to the checkout. Not long ago we dove into the nighttime regimes these flawless women follow, now it's time to find out what they use in the AM.

Keep scrolling for the morning beauty routines of Sydney’s top skin therapists.

Describe your morning skincare routine.

Mornings are quick and easy for me. Currently I wash my face in the shower with Nuxe's Comforting Cleansing Milk ($25), it's gentle, well priced and smells amazing. Next, I apply Ultra MD's Brightening Serum which contains fruit acids that dissolve dry surface skin and cleans out my pores. (It tingles on application and instantly soaks into my skin and doesn’t leave any residue.) Next, I apply a couple of drops of Shemana's Face Serum ($44); I sometimes add this oil to my moisturiser and/or foundation to give my thirsty skin a fresh dewy finish. I finish with Ultra MD's Bio Repair Moisturiser which is a super-healing and nourishing cream that is lightweight but lasts all day. Ultraceuticals' Ultra UV Protective Daily Moisturiser SPF 30 Sheer Tint ($79) is my go to sunscreen. I love wearing it on the weekends sans make up—it has good coverage but looks natural. 

How does your morning routine differ from your nighttime routine?

My nighttime routine is intensive and active because our skin rests at night and soaks up everything applied before bed. Morning routines should be easy and light in texture and application, unless you have super-dry skin. Our skin secretes more oil during the day than at night, so day time products should be kept minimal and lightweight.

What’s one product you’d never apply in the morning?

I never apply vitamin A in the morning because it can make your skin more photo-sensitive. Most active ingredients are best left for an evening routine so if you’re using strong products apply them before bed and keep your daytime routine simple, hydrating and protective.

What is one skincare product all women should use in the AM?

Always apply sunscreen before leaving the house, regardless of what the weather is doing. The Australian sun causes premature ageing, pigmentation, sun damage, fine lines and wrinkles. We need a full spectrum sunscreen rain, hail or shine. Everyone should wear sunscreen—it honestly does not matter which product you use, so long as it’s factor 30 (or more). Find a few sunscreens you like the texture and feel of, sample them on your skin and wear each for a day to make sure they’re not too heavy, rich or tinted. Skin is individual and different skin types require different sunscreens. There are so many options, including chemical and physical, to choose from. 

What is the most common mistake you see women make with their skincare in the morning?

Most women think it’s okay not to cleanse their skin in the mornings. It’s important to wash away overnight build-up and debris, particularly for oily and congested skins.

Describe your morning skincare routine.

I cleanse in the shower with a gentle cleanser to prepare my skin for my day serum and moisturiser. Next, I apply an antioxidant serum to protect my skin from free radicals and environmental damage. (Recent research has proven free radical damage from air pollution can be just as ageing as UV rays.) I then apply an eye cream under my SPF moisturiser to finish. Occasionally I’ll dab concealer underneath my eyes. I never wear foundation or powder on my skin during the day.

How does your morning routine differ from your nighttime routine?

Our skin has different needs and requirements at night, so my nighttime routine is more targeted. I double cleanse with an oil cleanser first, followed by a lactic acid cleanser. I then apply a night serum—I alternate between a retinol and restorative antioxidant treatment serum depending upon how my skin is feeling at the time. Next, I apply an eye treatment and a moisturiser over the top. Two or three times per week I also like to exfoliate with an enzyme mask or a scrub, and apply a mask while in the bath.

What’s one product you’d never apply in the morning?

I wouldn’t use a retinol serum in the morning as the ingredient itself becomes unstable in sunlight. (Not because it makes your skin more sun sensitive—this is a common misconception.) A good rule of thumb is to apply your protective, preventative products in the morning and save your corrective, restorative products for night when your skin regenerates and repairs.

What is one skincare product all women should use in the AM?

There are two non-negotiables; an antioxidant serum and a broad spectrum, high SPF sunscreen. For me both are as important as each other. Totally essential, and a no-brainer.

What is the most common mistake you see women make with their skincare in the morning?

I definitely see a lot of overcomplicated, unnecessary 10-step regimes. I think this is probably coming from the K beauty trend of layering multiple products. The problem with this is most of us will become inconsistent and irregular as it can be far too difficult and time consuming. It can also cause hypersensitivity in the skin due to product/ingredient interactions. The other common mistake I see is women believing the sunscreen within their foundation is sufficient protection. It’s not.

Describe your morning skincare routine.

I cleanse with Cosmedix's Purity Solution Cleansing Oil ($52) which is great for dry skin, followed by Aspect Dr's Multi B Plus Serum ($124) for antioxidants. I then double layer my moisturisers. The Clinic's The Moisturiser ($80) for hydration then Societe's Prime and Defend SPF 15 ($76) which also doubles as a primer under makeup.

How does your morning routine differ from your nighttime routine?

My night regime is all about repairing and hydrating and I keep it very simple. As in the morning, I cleanse with a cleansing oil, however I apply a retinol serum before my moisturiser. I use Cosmedix's Serum 16 ($130) on my face and Cosmedix Elite's Serum 24 ($155), which is a little stronger, on my décolletage.

What’s one product you’d never apply in the morning?

Anything with vitamin A/retinol.

What is one skincare product all women should use in the AM?

SPF! Sun protection is so important for everyone, not just those with fair Irish skin like myself! Women really need two sunblocks for their face—one for everyday and a stronger formula for times you’re out in the sun. SPF 15 is sufficient during the day and I like to top up with mineral makeup, which has SPF in it as well. Aspect's Gold Envirostat SPF 50 ($26) is a great option for when you're in direct sunlight; it's so light and smooth and affordable as well.

What is the most common mistake you see women make with their skincare in the morning?

Not moisturising enough. A lot of people are scared they might break out from overdoing it the hydration is needed to balance and correct the skin. Don’t be afraid to layer it on!

Describe your morning skincare routine.

I cleanse with Cosmedix's Purity Clean ($53), which is very purifying and detoxifying. Then I use the Aspect Dr's Active C Serum ($124) for its antioxidants, followed by The Clinic's The Moisturiser ($80) for hydration. I cannot live without my eye serum Cosmedix's Opti Crystal ($126); it’s a rich formula so you don't need much. I use it both morning and night.

How does your morning routine differ from your nighttime routine?

At night I need extra hydration, so I swap out the serums I use but the rest of my regime stays the same. I use Aspect Dr's Redless ($100), and Cosmedix Elite's X Cell + ($132) as my retinol cream for brightening and repairing.

What’s one product you’d never apply in the morning?

Anything with retinol because it makes you sensitive to the sun.

What is one skincare product all women should use in the AM?

Anything with Vitamin C. It’s a powerful anti-ageing antioxidant and is great for cell renewal.

What is the most common mistake you see women make with their skincare in the morning?

Not using enough moisturiser. That is one of the reasons we created The Clinic's The Moisturiser. It’s a triple emollient packed with stem cells and peptides and can be used for rich hydration in most skincare regimes.

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