Routines and rituals are such buzzwords these days and for good reason. The political and social climates in the world have most of us on edge, so having daily practices (no matter how small) can help us feel--and therefore be--more in control of our lives. Today I'm sharing with you my morning and night beauty routine. It may sound trivial, but starting and ending your day with a little self-care can make you feel mighty real.

Rituals are where the power is. They define us. They help us put our standards into action. Remember, when challenging periods come our way, we have the choice – to relinquish control, or to take action. - Tony Robbins


Rise and shine! You don’t have to be a morning person to start your day with a few beauty-boosting habits. Add these must-dos to your A.M. routine and reap the benefits all day long.

Use an antioxidant serum.
Dermatologists say antioxidants such as vitamins C and E help protect your skin from aging free radicals, which occur when you encounter UV rays, pollution and other stressors during the day. The end result is your skin looking more youthful and even-toned. Smooth on an antioxidant serum, such as this drugstore brand that rivals the more expensive ones, like: Neutrogena Ageless Intensives Anti-Wrinkle Serum

Eat some protein.
Trade your bagel or cereal for eggs or Greek yogurt. Eating a high-protein breakfast helps us stay fuller longer and avoid overeating later in the day.

Duh, sunscreen!
You know you need sun protection daily (even when it’s cloudy, even if you have brown skin), but do you realize that the SPF in your makeup probably isn’t cutting it? Yep — you need about a nickel-sized amount of sunscreen for your face alone, and most of us don’t pile on makeup that thick. Instead, double up on protection by using an SPF moisturizer under your foundation or powder. And don’t forget your lips, neck, backs of hands and eye area — all of those spots are exposed to aging UV rays just as much as your face. For the face, I'm partial to Oil of Olay's Complete All Day Moisturizer with Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 15, $9. 

Drink a big glass of warm lemon water.
Dehydration not only causes you to feel terrible, it messes with the way your skin looks — and after a night’s rest, your body needs fluids. Since starting every day with a tall glass of warm lemon water a few months ago, I've got to say, my skin hasn't looked better. Other benefits of drinking warm lemon water: it aids digestion, detoxes your body and skin, and boosts your vitamin C levels which keeps colds and flus at bay.

Move your body.
Studies have shown that women who exercise in the morning sleep better at night. Since I no longer travel for work, I've been consistent with my weekday workouts for the past four months. Life-changing! 

Choose a fragrance with citrus.
Using a citrus-scented perfume or body lotion can help jumpstart your day. Studies have shown citrus fragrances to reduce stress and even help boost immune function.

Mist your face.
Keep a can of mineral water mist in your fridge and give your face a cool spritz first thing. The chilly mist will help bring down morning puffiness and leave you feeling bright and awake. I've been using a rose water I ordered from Amazon and another spritz has aloe vera and flower extracts.

Drink green tea.
If you need an A.M. caffeine boost, green tea is a great way to get it. Packed with flavonoids, a type of antioxidant that has been shown to slow cell damage (read: aging). I haven't given up my coffee, but I will drink green tea after my lemon water in the morning ... and then coffee.


image: Hill House Home

image: Hill House Home



It turns out your body can do serious work for you while you sleep—you just have to give it a little help along the way. Try one or all of these treatments to wake up looking refreshed and gorgeous.

Remove your makeup—all of it. For real.
The most important thing to do to wake up looking fresh is to remove all of your makeup before bedtime, clean pores and eyes free of eyeliner crust is where it's at.  I swear by Neutrogena Make-up Remover Cleansing Towelettes because they remove all traces of makeup--even waterproof mascara--and dirt plus they're gentle on the skin and leave it feeling and looking fresh. For the past few months, I've also been using cold-pressed almond oil and coconut oil to remove my makeup if my skin is feeling really dry. I just put a small amount of oil on my fingertips and rub over my face and the makeup melts away: first use a tissue to wipe away the makeup and then I use a cleanser to remove excess oil, sometimes with a washcloth, other times just splash my face to rinse. #freshtodeath

Use two pillows
Prop your head up on an extra pillow to prevent puffiness. Gravity helps you with lymph and blood flow so fluids won’t accumulate under your eyes and in your face.

Turn on a humidifier
Living in a building where the heat is always pumping in the winter, I'm big on having an air humidifier in the bedroom to help moisten the air. Bonus: it produces durably hydrated, plump skin which is more resistant to irritants and allergens but also to stop the skin from appearing dry and fine-lined. By working on your skin’s hydration overnight, you don't have to go so hard with your daytime moisturizer and may be able to skip it altogether.

Go to town with body cream
Moisturizing your hands, body and feet with a thick, plain, somewhat greasy oil or cream will keep your hands, body and feet looking their best first thing in the morning. My skin gets dried out throughout the day with exposure to dry air and excessive washing, and I don't know about you, but I rarely apply hand cream every time I wash my hands. Now, I keep it on my work desk so that when I return from the bathroom, it's there as a reminder. Night is also a chance to try to undo some of the damage, which will also keep cuticles, heels, and all the skin in between moisturized so you'll peel less.

Sleep on a luxe pillowcase
Wash your hair with a silicone-free shampoo and use a silk pillowcase—sleeping on a silk or satin pillowcase also helps your hair’s overall health. Fibers on most cotton pillows are rough against the hair cuticles. Don’t want to splurge on silk? Changing a cotton or linen pillowcase every one to two days can also bring an improvement.

Pin your hair back
You probably don't need this reminder, but just in case... Your hair contains oils and dirt that can get on your face and pillowcase and cause breakouts. Braid your hair, throw on the scarf or pin it up into a bun every night to keep it off your face as you sleep.

Get seven hours of sleep
Catching a good night’s sleep is key. I'm at the point where lack of sleep really affects the way I look, so I try not to play myself with less than six hours of sleep a happens though. The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get a minimum of seven hours of sleep a night.

Use eye cream
No doubt you’ve heard it a million times, but eye cream is important. Start using great moisturizers and eye cream at night (even if you’re in your 20s). When the morning rolls around, your skin will be plump and hydrated.