How We Get Ready: R29's Morning Beauty Routine

Georgia Murray

How long is your morning beauty routine? Are you a 10-step planner, meticulously layering serum upon serum, only ready to leave the house once your SPF is on and your brows are brushed to perfection? Or are you a roll-outta-bed type, juggling your coffee with a quick swipe of mascara before catching the bus? Perhaps the evening is when you focus on your beauty regime, allowing everything to work its magic overnight; or maybe you just want an extra 30 minutes in bed (we feel you).

Morning routines are a constant source of fascination for us at Refinery29; we'll take any chance for a look into how other people spend their time – a voyeuristic glimpse of another world. To keep things fair, we've revealed our morning routines – from snooze button to out-the-door – which include all the products we rely on to get us looking fresh and ready to tackle the day ahead.

Click through to see how 10 staff members at Refinery29 get ready in the morning.

Georgia Murray, Fashion & Beauty Writer

After the distressing sound of my alarm gets me up, I hop in the shower and shampoo my hair with Christophe Robin's Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea-Salt. I only use this three times a week, and it's pretty miraculous. It massages my scalp and cleanses my hair without stripping it of natural oils. I do, however, have fairly thick hair, so always follow up with Maria Nila's Luminous Colour Conditioner, which smells divine and takes care of my balayaged ends. I wash with Aesop's divine-smelling Geranium Leaf Body Cleanser, give my skin a quick cleanse with Tata Harper's dreamy Refreshing Cleanser – which has cleared my skin up massively, and wakes me up in the morning – and hop out the shower.

Next, I simply part my hair, tuck it behind my ears and let it dry naturally. In the meantime, I squirt some of Shiseido's Future Solution LX Concentrated Balancing Softener on a cotton pad and wipe over my skin – this stuff makes my skin feel so soft, and the bottle is very aesthetically pleasing on my bathroom shelf. After that I smooth a tiny bit of Epara's Hydrating Serum over my skin, which beats every hyaluronic acid product I've ever used; its moisture packs a punch. Next up is sun protection from SkinCeuticals' Mineral Radiance UV Defense with SPF 50 – this pale skin isn't going to protect itself. It's not oily at all and doesn't have the white paste look of most sun creams.

Now onto my makeup: I've given up foundation, so I just use a lick of The Best Concealer Ever, aka NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, when I need it. I have my brows tinted and threaded every few weeks, but when they're more bedraggled I pencil them in with Clinique's blonde-friendly Superfine Liner For Brows. I've also just had a life-changing lash lift, so all my peepers need are one coat of Benefit's ultra-curling They're Real! Mascara and I'm good to go. Lastly, I spritz my favourite woody scent by Lola James Harper, Play Again Now, and I'm out the door.

Illustrated by Lauren Alexa.

Rose Lander, Executive Assistant to VP of International & International Co-ordinator

After years of acne, Roaccutane and harsh chemicals, I know my skin needs as few chemicals in my beauty products as possible. That means I always wash my face first thing with Cetaphil's Gentle Skin Cleanser and warm water before moisturising with whatever I'm using at the time. I like to leave a little time before I put makeup on so the products can sink in. I'm trying to wear less makeup but a hangover from having bad skin is that I don't really feel myself without some kind of foundation. I use Smashbox's Camera Ready CC Cream because it's non-comedogenic and has SPF 30. I then use Benefit's Erase Paste Brightening Camouflage under my eyes – I hate looking tired.

I wear the same makeup almost every day, just like my mum. Another weird beauty inheritance from her is that I love wearing powder. First up, a very light brushing of Light Reflecting Setting Powder from NARS, and then Eve Lom's Mineral Powder, because the brand is really kind to skin. I finish it all off with some Antique Rose Eye Shadow from Bobbi Brown and Benefit's They're Real Mascara – I've tried so many other mascaras but keep coming back to Benefit. This sounds like a hell of a lot when I write it down but I can actually get this all done in about 15 minutes and fit it all in my handbag (which is a must because I'm very lazy about beauty). Once I have a routine, I stick to it.

Illustrated by Lauren Alexa.

Natasha Slee, Social Media Manager

First, I fill sink with warm water and soak The Konjac Sponge Company's Facial Puff Sponge while I shower. I try and dry brush all over before showering if I remember, to really get the blood pumping and wake my body up. I'll massage my face with the sponge to remove sleep and any last pesky traces of mascara, before drying and spraying my face with Avène's Eau Thermale Spring Water Spray. I grab my Yu Ling Jade Roller from the fridge and gently hold it over my eyes if the bags are being really persistent. I'll give the jawline a good rub with the roller and pretend it's working...

If I'm spotty, I swipe a cotton pad with Pixi Glow Tonic over my T-zone and let it dry while I tame my hair with Superdrug's Hair Serum (I go through vats of it). I wash the oily serum off my hands before applying the Avène Tolérance Extrême Cream. If I'm wearing foundation or concealer that day, I find it helps to get to work right away applying it before the moisturiser sinks in completely. Up next, I do my brows with Benefit Brow Zings, and brush them up with Gimme Brow, my new favourite product. If it's an important day, I'll apply a little taupe eye shadow and Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara, or if it's not, apply a lighter mascara – the classic Maybelline Great Lash, or Tarte's Lights, Camera Flashes. I grab my bottle of water and I'm out the door!

Illustrated by Lauren Alexa.

Fatima Jalloh, Editorial Intern

Even though I have the oiliest skin on the planet, it tends to feel quite dehydrated at times (I really need to get my six glasses a day in!) so I don’t use a face wash. Instead, I prefer to use a light cleansing milk like Lush’s 9-5 or Avène’s 3 in 1 Makeup Remover, they both do the job. As a self-proclaimed exfoliation queen, without fail I will do so 2-3 times a week with Lush’s Dark Angels face scrub. If you have oily skin and suffer from hyper-pigmentation, try it.

I then splash some cold water, just like they do in the ads, to tighten these pores of mine. I then use Lush’s toner (yeah, I’m a bit of a fan) Eau Roma Water to keep my skin even and smooth. Finally, I slap on a load of my homemade beauty skin pudding, consisting of Sierra Leonean shea butter infused with lemon essential oil (a saviour for hyper-pigmentation). Then I am finished and ready to slay the day.

Illustrated by Lauren Alexa.

Anna Jay, Art Director

My morning routine is quite minimal, mainly because I'm lazy with this kind of thing, but I also find that my skin responds better to less product. I splash my face with cold water a few times before cleansing with Alex Carro Facial Cleanser, and moisturising with Alex Carro Face Cream. I love these products because they're natural and super-light – plus they look great on my bathroom shelf, which is always a bonus! I've been doing this routine with these products for a few months now, and my skin has stayed clear and hydrated.

Usually I shower the night before, because I exercise most nights, and plait my hair to get some wave into it (straight hair problems) so in the morning I just spritz with Ocean Mist by Sachajuan. In terms of makeup, I use a dab of Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder Foundation which is really light, a quick brow groom with Bobbi Brown Natural Brow Shaper and whichever mascara is to hand.

Illustrated by Lauren Alexa.

Jess Commons, Health & Living Editor

I am very lazy in the mornings so prefer to do all the heavy-duty beauty rituals at night. I use La Roche-Posay's Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel, which lasts for ages and is my absolute favourite cleanser for combatting oily skin. I then do a quick layer of The Ordinary's Buffet Serum (which I do at night, too) because it is the only thing I feel has ever made a noticeable difference to my skin. Then I finish up with Formula 10.o.6 Picture Perfect Day moisturiser – it's really light and has SPF in it, and anything heavy will make my face slick like an oil spill.

My makeup is done on the train, so however much and what products go on depends on whether I can get a seat or how brave I'm feeling about drawing an eyeliner cat eye in front of a carriage full of strangers. My go-tos are Seventeen Semi Permanent Tattoo Me Liquid Eyeliner, Clinique's High Impact Mascara, and Tarte's Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Airbrush Foundation.

Illustrated by Lauren Alexa.

Meg O'Donnell, Photo Assistant

I wake up in the morning and I think 'Hmm, do I want more sleep or shall I make an effort with my appearance today?' The sleep almost always wins, therefore resulting in a 20-minute timeframe to get myself up and out the door, so my morning routine is super basic. As soon as I wake up I use Nivea Daily Essentials Micellar Water – I use this as a cleanser before applying my moisturiser, although if I sleep in for longer and forget to moisturise, my skin still feels super-soft and hydrated because of this wonderful concoction. This is my saviour at the moment as I have been waking up with really puffy and painful skin around my eyes (goddamn pollen) but have been using for over a year now as I found I was getting spots from make up wipes and cleansers.

Next, I apply my Body Shop Drops Of Light creams. The Pure Healthy Brightening Eye Cream is glorious, especially on my poorly eyes, I use a pea-sized amount on each eye and use the silver tip to massage into the under-eye. I then use the Pure Healthy Brightening Day Cream which again is a glorious product. I don't wear face makeup at all, so I feel I should make an effort with my skin's appearance! This really does brighten up the face and makes me feel all glowy and soft. I usually alter between this and Olay 2in1 Hydration + SPF15 Lightweight Day Lotion which is so great (and super-cheap!) Plus I love face creams with SPF, albeit a low factor – I still feel sun-protected, on my journey to the office at least!

I then use the most beautiful Nuxe Multi-Purpose Dry Oil on my upper body and neck and if I am up for a morning hair wash (a very rare occurrence), I will brush this through the ends to avoid the consequential natural-dry frizz. This is such a gorgeous product, I started using it at Christmas and I can't see myself ever turning back. I recently started using The Body Shop's Ethiopian Green Coffee Firming Cream all over my body and I am already feeling and seeing results. The cream is really lovely to apply as it's quite light and smells just wonderful. Teamed with the oil it's a winning combination, although dressing super-quickly after all of the oil and moisturiser isn't always pleasant. I have a big thing for white teeth, so am always keen to try whitening products. I have been using Curaprox's Black Is White Toothpaste for a few weeks now – alternating with normal Colgate toothpaste – and I am super-happy with the results. I have been trying to cut down on my coffee intake for the sake of my teeth, but I definitely think my whiter gnashers are a result of this marvellous toothpaste.

Illustrated by Lauren Alexa.

Sarah Raphael, Editorial Director

First up, I wash my face in the shower with SkinCeuticals' miracle Gentle Cleanser before applying Phyto Corrective Gel serum which evens out discolouration, also by SkinCeuticals. I went for my first ever facial 18 months ago and my beautician recommended these products – I can't get enough of them. I hop about brushing my teeth, getting dressed and doing something I should have done before bed (like hanging up washing) for about 10 minutes, allowing the serum time to dry, then apply a gentle daily moisturiser. Now I've turned 30, I've started to apply some SkinCeuticals anti-ageing Eye Cream (someone sent it to me kindly – or cruelly – on my 30th birthday at work).

I usually don't wear makeup to work, but if I have a meeting or if I slept particularly badly and look like death, then I'll slick some mascara on. I've used YSL's Faux Cils Luxurious Mascara for all of my adult life which I've concluded gives my tiny, weak lashes the most oomph. Then I blot some Mac lipstick in Dubonnet onto my lips so that they look a slightly different colour, but it doesn't look like I'm wearing lipstick. It's basically pointless but makes me feel more distinctive. Sometimes I use Benefit's Gimme Brow, but it depends on my level of CBA that day. Finally, in summer I spray a generous spritz of Byredo's Gypsy Water.

Illustrated by Lauren Alexa.

Sadhbh O'Sullivan, Social Media Assistant

My morning routine has evolved over time – over the past year, since my skin turned against me and brought back my cystic acne with a vengeance, I've really found what I need and what works for me. I start with Tata Harper's Purifying Cleanser (the nicest smelling thing I've ever owned): a single pump onto a dry face, massage in and rinse off. I can't overemphasise how good this smells, and how effective it is. I'd eat it if I could without getting sick. In the mornings I use a relatively gentle AHA toner – at the moment I'm using the Clinique Anti-Blemish Clarifying Solution. I sweep that over my face with a cotton pad and it makes me feel zippy and clean without being drying.

Then I put my benzoyl peroxide gel directly on whatever cheek spots are acting up that morning. I haven't worked out the best time to do this yet as it's white and dries up, but I prefer to give it time to absorb then remove the rest. It's definitely working though – have gone down from about five cystic spots to just two right now. On the rest of the face I put a couple of drops of The Ordinary Niacinamide, which is working wonders for texture and more common whiteheads. I still get the few deep cystic spots that the benzoyl peroxide deals with, but the other types of spots have disappeared because of this stuff. Once it's all absorbed, I moisturise with Murad's Blemish Control Skin Perfecting Lotion – it's not greasy, comedogenic or too heavy, but keeps me nice and hydrated without encouraging oil production. It also gets rid of the mirror-like shine left behind by the Niacinamide (the one downside of that product).

I finish up with suncream that I wear no matter what the weather – I really like Eucerin's Mattifying Face Fluid. If I'm having a greasy day, I'll also go over it with Murad's MattEffect Blotting Perfector, which is this liquid compact that you dab over your skin and it absorbs excess oil. It's MAGIC.

Illustrated by Lauren Alexa.

Tamar Riley, Marketing Manager

I soak two massive cotton pads in Garnier's Micellar Cleansing Water, and sweep around my face after the shower. Pixi's Glow Tonic To-Go Makeup Remover Pads are a game-changer – if you have congested skin they are perfect to exfoliate with, without being too harsh. I use these twice a week and make sure I'm protected with an SPF afterwards. Once a week I'll wake up early and potter around the house spilling coffee with Kerastase's Masque Force Architecte on my hair. If I've got a meeting, I'll put some effort into blow-drying my hair. Shu Uemura's Art of Hair Blow Dry Beautifier smooths my thick mane without weighing it down.

I'm overly concerned about sun damage to my skin (a guilty conscience left over from wearing factor 6 every summer aged 17-21) so having SPF combined into my everyday products is a must, like this DCL Profoundly Effective A Cream with SPF 30. I'm much happier in less makeup when the sun is out. I switch my 10-layers-deep foundation for a tinted moisturiser and a bit of concealer. Clarins' Hydra Quench Tinted Moisturiser is my current obsession, it's got just the right amount of coverage. Lastly, I'll use Charlotte Tilbury's Legendary Lashes Mascara – it gives me buildable spidery lashes.

Illustrated by Lauren Alexa.

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