Skin + Hair Basics

Rise and Shine: How to Start Your Mornings on the Right Foot

From skincare to food to music, follow these morning tips to set the right tone for your day. They’ll boost productivity and establish a positive, optimistic mood.
Rise and Shine: How to Start Your Mornings on the Right Foot

How you start your day often dictates how the rest of it unfolds. If you have the luxury and time to take things slow, then you’re luckier than most. Still, there are ways you can structure a quick morning, too, to set you up for maximum optimism, productivity, and more.

Let’s look at it like a layered, morning skincare regimen—not unlike the Korean grooming regimens that inspired Cardon. Below are two different morning approaches to a fruitful day. One is for those quick, 30-minute spans where you are racing out the door. The other for a more extended, steady approach. Ideally, you’ll have a chance to experience the latter on weekends, even if you’re typically positioned for the former. Either way, it always starts the night before.

The Night Before

Wash. Your. Face.: We’re not saying you have to do a detoxifying mask or even a hydrating sheet mask every night, but you should at least go to bed with cleansed skin, followed by an application of firming, stimulating eye cream and a protective, nourishing moisturizer. These will ensure that you wake up with skin that looks refreshed—void of any dark circles, puffing, dullness, and the likes.

Keep the bedroom humid: If you are in a cold, dry, or arid environment (including A/C), then sleep with a humidifier in the room to keep skin soft and fortified all night. This will also do wonders for your hair and breathing, too.

Set the mood: From winding down a couple hours before bed, to avoiding bright screens and lights, to journaling or reading, to casting relaxing, restful aromas into the room (like lavender essential oil in a diffuser), make sure that your bedroom atmosphere sets you up for a great night of sleep, so that you can spring out of bed ready for tomorrow.

Tidy up: You do not want to wake up to dirty dishes, foul garbage smells, or last night’s take out attracting flies on the table. Tidy up your apartment before bed, or steadily throughout the evening. It creates a happier environment and also gives you peace of mind prior to sleep.

Every Morning—Even Quick Mornings

These are the best morning practices for every day, even when you’ve got to race out the door.

Wash your face and rehydrate skin: Whether you shower in the morning or the evening (or both) is up to you, but a cool splash of water and a refresh on your mug should wake you up and have you feeling invigorated. (Make sure your daytime moisturizer has SPF, by the way!)

Make sure your alarm is soothing, and slightly out of reach: Don’t let a screeching alarm be the first thing you hear for the day. That’s a terrible way to wake up. Pick a soothing sound or song, and put your alarm just out of reach, so that you have to stand up out of bed to turn it off. No snoozing, either!

Don’t dawdle in the dark: Letting in the light will quickly acclimate you to the day, even if there’s no sun in the sky. A soft light in your bathroom or kitchen can suffice; no need for harsh, interrogation-style overhead lights.

Play your favorite podcast: Not everyone is ready for intellectual stimulation so early, much less conversation with their roommates or partners. So, pick a podcast you like, whether it’s The Daily from NYTimes or a guilty pleasure (we like Who? Weekly, which revels in the often cringe-worthy shenanigans of D-List celebs). Just listen to something you want to tune in for, for stimulation of some kind. You can even do this en route to work.

Pre-set the coffee: If you can have the coffeemaker ready to go, or invest in a Nespresso, or even pre-grind the beans and have them ready in the French press—make sure that your coffee routine isn’t going to steal precious minutes from you. 

Eggs, fruit, oatmeal, yogurt: These are the primary foods to prioritize for breakfast, in terms of getting the energy and nutrients you require for a productive, happy day. 

Apply your signature fragrance: This should feel like it’s part of your dressing regimen. Pick a scent that motivates you and helps tell your brain “it’s time to spring into action”. Cheesy, yes, but it can help to transition the mind from private and quiet to public and active. (Two unisex recommendations: Diptyque Orpheon is a powdery, invigorating, fresh scent that should jumpstart your own senses. And CoSTUME NATIONAL Scent Intense is magnetic and intellectual all at once. It’s a conversation starter and makes a welcoming first impression.)

The Extended Morning

Here are some of the small things you can add to round out a more thorough, relaxing, luxuriating morning.

Make your bed: Ideally you can fit this into the quick mornings, too, but having your bed made gives you a sense of self care and personal accomplishment. That’s a terrific victory to start the day, not to mention, allows you to crawl into a tautly made bed the next night, too. How sweet it is!

Aromatherapy: Whether it’s a candle, a diffuser, or incense, pick a scent that sets you up for the day. Citrus, herbal, and mint tones tend to awaken the senses and summon optimism, while palo santo, cedar, and incense can soothe the senses and calm the mind (also a good pick in place of lavender for the night before). 

Meditate / Yoga / Stretch: Do anything you can to build awareness of body and mind, and to open up that mental channel for the rest of the day. Even 10 minutes can significantly improve the tone for the day—but aim for 30 minutes at least. And if you can incorporate fresh air into the practice (via a head-clearing walk), then all the better! You could even do the walk alongside your morning podcast, before or after the meditation. Hey, you’ve got the time, so lay it all on thick!

Do a hair and face mask: With time on your side, you can hit that weekly goal of rejuvenating your scalp and hair, as well as purifying and nourishing your face. (Or maybe you aim for monthly on these things, which is a-ok.) You can do your hair mask and sheet masks in tandem, since they both tend to take just 10-20 minutes.

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