Editor Julia Alfert talks about her morning beauty routine including 10 mins of yoga, a coffee “to go” and hot water with lemon
For me, my time in the morning before I leave the house is sacred. I wake up pretty early, about half past six. Not because I have to be sitting in my office at eight, but rather so I can have a good two hours of peace and quiet at home by myself before I start my workday.
Whereas my boyfriend practically jumps out of bed and is on the street 10 minutes later, I need this time to roll myself over again, survey the weather, and finally leave the warm blanket behind.
And then everything kicks into its usual gear. This morning ritual that I follow more or less stringently, with few exceptions, makes it possible to get an easy start into the day and is the best opportunity to see everything in the right light and bring everything into balance.
After getting out of bed, the first stop is the kitchen, where I make a glass of hot water with a few spritzes of lemon. That flushes impurities from the body, stimulates digestion, and warms from within – and is a small compensation for having to leave my warm bed behind. With my water in hand, usually I start up an aroma diffusor, and mostly with a few drops of citrus-scented oil (bergamot, mandarin, or orange).
And at the moment, I’m mixing in Make a Wish Come True by Saint Charles Naturals. Mandarin and frankincense fill the room with wintery coziness. Unfortunately, it’s already been some time since this oil made especially for MDC was available. But you can find all kinds of alternatives by Primavera or Maienfelser.
Oil pulling is next on the program. I used coconut oil for a long time, but now I’m using sesame oil because a friend passed on the tip that it’s the best oil to use during the cold seasons – and especially for me, as someone who is always cold and has low blood pressure. Keep about a teaspoon full of it in your mouth for around ten minutes, swishing it back and forth and pulling it through your teeth. This healing application has its origins in India and Russia. It cares for your gum health and has a detoxifying effect. Not very sexy – but yeah, anyhow I’m at home alone.
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In The Shower
Before I get in the shower, I dry brush my entire body. To do this, I take the Japanese Spa Sisal Detox Brush by Hydréa London and glide it from my feet over my thighs to my stomach, and then from my hands over my arms to the chest – always in circular motions and in the direction of the heart. I got the inspiration to do this from the Susanne Kaufmann Spa in the “Das Stue Hotel” in Berlin. And I had also already heard about the advantages of regular body brushing at many such an address: Stimulating circulation and smooth skin are just a couple of them.
Once I’m in the shower, it usually goes fast: shampoo, apply conditioner and let it sit a few minutes. Soap up with primarily herb, rose, or citrus-scented soap, and finish with a cold rinse. Only when I’m really motivated do I go for an alternating shower, meaning alternating between hot and cold water. In any case, I always finish with cold water. Because then I’m – first of all – really awake and – secondly – really warm once I’m out of the shower.
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Sprays And Creams
Next I spritz some facial tonic on my still damp skin. At the moment, I’m using the refreshing Mist Olive by the Korean certified organic cosmetics brand Whamisa. This spray serum with extracts of olive leaf, bergamot, and Aloe Vera bathes the skin in moisture and prepares it for the nourishing treatments to come.
The next five minutes are dedicated to my favorite beauty ritual: oiling and creaming. I mostly use many different oils and creams. At the moment, I can’t get enough of the Sweet Vanilla Dry Oil by The Organic Pharmacy. It smells so nice and really natural, like vanilla – actually, I often find this scent too sweet, but in this oil it’s perfectly measured and simply good in combination with the other plant scents. In addition, it absorbs quickly and leaves the skin lightly shimmering and velvety soft.
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Then, dressed in my bathrobe or a sweater, it’s time for a moment on the yoga mat or the sofa. Sometimes I do 10 minutes of yoga with the virtual Michaela, but I actually like it much better “live” at the yoga classes I go to. And besides, these minutes of silence in the mornings are mostly still computer-free time – it’s also well-spent simply with a cup of tea and a comfortable seat. I try to let any thoughts that come up pass right by and just be at peace. That’s how I best arm myself for the tasks ahead and the hustle and bustle of the day.
Back in the bathroom, I brush my teeth and devote myself to my facial care. Then it’s also time to end the silence and mostly I’m listening to loud music. At the moment, it’s the playlist by Benedict Wells that I’m playing in the morning over and over again. First, I apply a face oil or serum – right now that’s the Glowskin Active Vitamin C Oil by Dr. Duve, which smells wonderful and is the perfect wake-up call for your skin (it looks fresh and firm afterwards).
For the next step, I massage in a moisturizing cream – sometimes with a lightly shimmering lotion or primer mixed in, and then follow with a dab of eye cream around the eye area. The Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream by Sensai is rich without being heavy and, as I see it, the perfect eye care when it’s so cold right now. Generously applied, it works like a mask over the whole day that keeps absorbing, moisturizing, and protects your eye area skin.
Alongside an eyelash curler, concealer, rouge, and a highlighter – my favorite is still the one by RMS – I always use something to bring my eyebrows into shape. A combination of the Couture Brow Palette by Yves Saint Laurent in dark and the Light Brunette Eyebrow Mousse by Blinc works the best. And lastly, I round it all out with a glossy balsam.
I wanted to try the Pommade Divine for its name alone, and I’m thrilled by the consistency: not too heavy, not too sticky, not too fragranced. It makes your eyelids and cheeks lightly shiny, tames stubborn eyebrow hairs, and smooths out those dry areas where maybe a little too much concealer landed. The balsam is also good on your hands and lips.
I finish by spraying the Flash Defense Anti-Pollution Mist by Ren Skincare on my face. It offers all-day protection from environmental factors and free radicals, both of which mean unnecessary stress for your skin. A gloss spray on my hair, a few spritzes of my favorite perfume – and done.
I leave the house relaxed, creamed, and headed straight for my first coffee of the day. After all the peace and quiet of the morning, I can happily take that to go and drink it on my way to the office. With my morning routine, my “slow time” is practically built up in reserves.
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Translation: Melissa Frost
Originally from Hamburg, Julia Alfert moved to Berlin from Paris in 2010. After completing her studies in Art History and trying out different jobs, her path led her to Harper’s Bazaar, where she worked as Fashion & Beauty Assistant until mid 2015. While she’s harboured a love for all things beauty-related for as long as she can remember, her discovery of the written word is recent. When Julia isn’t busy trying out different creams, oils, and sprays she writes and styles for an assortment of magazines and websites.