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Belle's Skincare Routine: Morning Edition

Because I have what I will generously descrobe as problem skin, I try a lot of new beauty and skincare products.  Some become medicine chest staples, some go under the counter for occasional use and others go directly in the trash.  So it should come as no surprise that, over the past few months, several readers have asked what my daily skincare routine entails.  Here, is my morning skincare routine:

Step One. Get out of bed.  Walk to refrigerator.  Pretend that you don’t want to still be in bed.  Pretend harder. Procure a lemon from the bowl on the counter.  Slice lemon in half.  

Step Two. Grab a coffee mug from the cabinet.  Fill with water from your ZeroWater pitcher ($40, I’m in love with this thing.).  Heat water in microwave.  Stare at reflection in microwave wondering how young is too young for Botox.  Banish that thought, immediately, you don’t want to look like a Real Housewife.  

Step Three. Juice the lemon and squeeze the citrusy liquid into the coffee mug full of hot water.  Drink this.  (Lemon water first thing in the morning helps purge toxins from the body and rev up the metabolism.  At least according to my Derm who has me drinking this instead of coffee.)

Step Four. Proceed to the shower in the hopes you will emerge transformed into a person who wants to be awake at this hour.  Hope harder.  After washing your hair and body, lather up your bar of African Black Soap ($11) and apply to face, neck and decollatage.  Then, using your Clarisonic ($119 + 20% off) exfoliate your face, neck and chest.  Rinse well with tepid water.  (Not hot, tepid. So turn the temp down in the shower.)

Step Five.  Apply Clinique Even Better Dark Spot Corrector ($50). Allow this to absorb for five to ten minutes.

Step Six. Apply Ole Henriksen Truth Serum ($48). Allow to absorb for five to ten minutes.

Step Seven. Apply Ole Henriksen Vitamin Plus Moisturizer ($35). Allow to absorb for a few minutes before applying makeup.  

Step Eight.  While waiting, apply Kiehl’s Creme de Corps Body Lotion ($29).  Because the skin on your body needs just as much love as the skin on your face.

Step Nine. Wash hands before applying makeup.  You don’t want any of your heavy body lotion clogging your pores.

Step Ten. Drink a bottle of water on the way to work.  Blk Water ($55 for a case of 24) if you can get it.  It has antioxidants and other minerals that are good for skin, my dermatologist has been doling it out like it’s Xanax.


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  1. KC says:

    Have you noticed a difference with the Clinique Even Better Dark Spot Corrector? I religiously went through an entire bottle of it, but didn't noice any difference.

    January 18, 2012/Reply
  2. Belle says:

    KC- It took a LONG time. Like two bottles worth. However, I was just as happy with the Garnier version. It worked even better, I felt. The trouble was I'm sensitive to fragrance and it is quite odiferous. But if that isn't a problem for you, try that.

    January 18, 2012/Reply
  3. Nina says:

    Weren't you using that really expensive serum that Jenna from Jezebel recommended for awhile? Was it not worth the money or was there another issue? It's on my wishlist but I haven't had the courage to actually commit yet.

    January 18, 2012/Reply
  4. mcmc says:

    Belle- who is your dermatologist? I'm looking for a new one after recently moving to D.C.

    January 18, 2012/Reply
  5. Emme Gee says:

    Seriously, no coffee?

    January 18, 2012/Reply
  6. Belle says:

    Nina: Check back this afternoon for the Nighttime checklist. I only do serums at night.

    Emme Gee: I was never much of a coffee person to start with, but I find that the lemon water really helps my digestion, which has always been an issue.

    mcmc: Sadly, she does not live in DC.

    January 18, 2012/Reply
  7. jt says:

    I just sent this to my mom who is a physician, and she immediately sent back a laughing response at buying “mineral enhanced water” at 2.50 a pop. her exact words were:

    “The best source of the nutrients you need daily is in a healthy, balanced diet, comprised of fresh, whole foods and fruits and vegetables however a simple multivitamin with calcium at your age is perfect since you're healthy. They cost about 10 cents each You can even drink it out of that Sigg you got in your Christmas stocking with filtered water from your Britta.”

    I'm 27 btw. If you drink one of those everyday, 5 days a week you are spending $650 per year just on a gimmick of a water beverage company only popular because Carolines son's from Real Housewives of New Jersey do PR for it. I bet you could put that money toward that skirt you posted this morning…

    January 18, 2012/Reply
  8. Belle says:

    jt: Thanks for the input, but if it makes me feel better, I'll keep drinking it. And $2 a day is a lot less than most people spend on Starbucks. And I don't watch Housewives, so I wasn't aware of the connection.

    January 18, 2012/Reply
  9. Jill says:

    I don't know if this technical falls within the “morning skincare” category or in the makeup category, but I have been really happy with Smashbox BB Cream (but have only been using it for a few weeks). Anyone else using BB Cream? Can anyone attest to the longer-term results?

    January 18, 2012/Reply
  10. JS says:

    I'm not seeing the 20% off on the Clarisonic Mia. Am I missing something?

    January 18, 2012/Reply
  11. R says:

    Thanks for posting both rituals. Very helpful. I think I might try this new soap, the price is certainly right. I have problems with pimples, very hormonal. Terrible. FYI – I really like Skinceuticals Blemish and Age Defense for daytime as I think it helps. And my new pimple treatment is actually baking soda (make a paste) directly to pimple morning and night for 30 sec. Reduces redness big time and size somewhat.

    January 18, 2012/Reply
  12. Belle says:

    JS: Skinstore is currently doing 15% off, code 15Jan https://www.skinstore.com/index.aspx

    January 18, 2012/Reply
  13. M says:

    Any sunscreen in there? I have sensitive skin and chemical sunscreens make me break out, but this one from Lavanila is great. It just has zinc oxide – https://www.sephora.com/browse/product.jhtml?id=P261320&shouldPaginate=true&categoryId=5850

    January 18, 2012/Reply
  14. Belle says:

    M: I have 25 SPF in my Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer and powder. But that product looks like a good recommendation.

    January 18, 2012/Reply
  15. MJ says:

    Thank you so much for posting all of this! I have been wanting some new recommendations lately, as I have begun to feel that my current regimen is getting a bit tired. I notice you use your Clarisonic daily — have you always done this, or have you worked up to daily from a less frequent routine? I'm close to buying one but have heard widely varying opinions on how often they should be used. Thanks again for the fantastic info!

    January 19, 2012/Reply
  16. Belle says:

    MJ: It's really about your skin. I know people who use it twice per day, I know people who use it once a week. I started twice per day, cut back to three times per week, no I'm using it five days a week.

    January 19, 2012/Reply
  17. B says:

    Belle, do you still use the glytone body wash for acne? Or do you think the black soap works better?

    January 20, 2012/Reply
  18. Belle says:

    I use glytone sporadically because it is very strong, and the black soap every day. The Glytone does such a good job, that after a bit, you don't need it every day.

    January 20, 2012/Reply
  19. A says:

    Can you elaborate on the benefits of lemon water. I've seen it pop up here and there. Is there a benefit to drinking it hot vs cold?

    January 23, 2012/Reply
  20. Belle says:

    A: I find it more palatable hot, so I can drink it stronger. As for benefits:


    I don't attest to all of the benefits in the article, but my derm certainly mentioned a few of them.

    January 23, 2012/Reply