How This Rihanna-Approved Model Gets Her Glow

Very few moments in the day are as bare as the moment you wake up. We each have our own kinks and quirks that help us get out of bed, but few of us are brave enough to share them with the world. Introducing A Cool Morning, a deep dive into the intimate daytime rituals of our coolest friends and beauty innovators.


Model and London-turned-NYC native Alva McKenzie is truly taking over. You may recognize her serving some lewks for a plethora of our favorite brands (do Savage X Fenty, Chantelle,  and Rimmel ring any bells?), and has graced her face for just about every major publication that exists.


Speaking of her face, how does she look so put together for early morning call times and long commutes around the Big Apple? Via the usual: a spritz of rose water, a few dabs of her go-to moisturizer, and a quick “check for boogies” before she heads out the door. Below, we take an intimate look at Alva’s go-to AM beauty routine.


A Cool Morning: Alva 1

Ace Amir


What’s the first thing you do every morning?

“The first thing I do in the morning is open my curtains to see what the weather is saying, make coffee and drink it in bed while I check my phone before getting up properly.”


Do you have a morning workout routine?

“Not really, I’ll have a good stretch and then I’m always running for that J train!”


Shower at-night, morning, or both?

“It depends. If I’m shooting, it’s both. I like my showers really hot and listening to music. I always think the morning one is a rush situation and the evening one is relaxed I come out looking like a prune!”


Daily alarm time? How many times do you hit snooze?

“Every day is different, sometimes my call time is super early and on days that I have castings I set my alarm for 7-ish. I like to take my time in the morning.”


If you’re running late, what’s the one thing you have to do?

“I’ll put on a hat of some kind, I recently bought a brown leather cowboy hat that will be my new late morning friend!”


Favorite breakfast?

“It has to be a cheeky full English. I like putting cayenne pepper on my baked beans. But I only really have one when I’m back in London. My favorite NYC breakfast is a bacon egg and cheese and a coffee with oat milk!”


Weirdest morning beauty habit?

“Checking for boogies.”


What does your morning hair-care routine look like?

“I love Moroccanoil, and I keep fantasizing about cutting it all off so I have been wearing it slicked back a lot. I use Palmer’s Coconut Oil Super Control Gel!”


View this post on Instagram

with sweet @elizabethwirija 💜

A post shared by ALVA (@alvaclaire) on


How much time do you spend on your skincare routine?

“I spend a good 15 minutes. I love the Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream SPF 30 and Clinique Smart Custom Eye Treatment.”


How long do you usually take to get ready for the day?

“About an hour, I always have an idea of what I’m going to wear the night before.”


What’s the one product you could never leave the house without putting on?



The first word/thing that popped into your head this morning?



Your favorite morning read?

“BBC news and then I save a lot on my reading list, I roam through that.”


What’s on your nightstand right now?

“I keep all my jewelry in little boxes on my nightstand like a magpie. My ashtray, vitamins and a big glass of water.”


What’s the current ringtone on your alarm?

“That annoying iPhone one! I need to go back to when my pink Motorola my

ringtone was a song!”


Coffee, tea, or go-to morning drink?

“Coffee in the morning, but I love a cup of tea on my weekend mornings.”


What’s the last thing you did before you headed out the door today?

“Spritzed my face with rose water.”



Moroccanoil Treatment



Super Control Gel for Edges


Kiehl’s Since 1851

Ultra Facial Cream SPF 30



Smart Custom-Repair Eye Treatment



Classic Lip Balm Tube – 3ct


Mario Badescu

Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater



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