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.
We all know about K-beauty, but what about J-Beauty? The minimalist Japanese beauty trend has taken off in full-force, in part thanks to innovators like Vicky Tsai. The founder of best-selling Japanese skincare brand Tatcha not only serves up luxurious skincare for dewy, plump skin, but also gives us a taste of the country’s skincare regimens in all their glory. But creating such a legendary brand doesn’t happen overnight—it takes constant flights between the US and Japan, endless business meetings, 5 a.m. call times, and so much more.
But when Tsai finally has a moment to herself, the first thing she dives into (of course) is her skincare and wellness routine—and luckily for us, she shared her surprisingly minimal regimen with us below.
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To me, beauty is less about how you look and more about how you make people feel. If you make someone feel loved, they will remember you as beautiful. That's what I have always admired about the inimitable Jonathan Van Ness (or @jvn), from @queereye – whether he's talking to a stressed-out father of six, a figure skating legend, or the starstruck founder of a little skincare brand, he has the unique ability to make you feel like the only person in the room. I'm constantly inspired by his ability to be gorgeously, energetically himself, and to make the people around him feel like they have permission to do the same. It was an honor to spend the morning with him on his awesome podcast #gettingcurious to talk about all things skin, which you can hear at the link in my profile! I'm curious—do you have anyone in your life who is your personal cheerleader?
What’s the first thing you do every morning?
I try to watch the sunrise every morning. After that, the first thing I do is wash my face so I can do my skincare ritual before my daughter wakes up—I always think of skincare as self-care, so it’s the perfect way to start the day.
Do you have a morning workout routine?
My travel schedule makes it hard to be consistent, but I do generally love working out in the morning—jogging, or even just a walk with the dog, is great.
Shower at-night, morning, or both?
Showering is my thinking time—I often jump in the shower if I have something I need to think through, so it can be at any time of the day. Oftentimes it’s both because I like to go to bed super-clean but I wake up with crazy hair.
Daily alarm time? How many times do you hit snooze?
I set my alarm for 5 but I’m generally up by 4:30. No need for snooze since I’m up before the alarm. I wasn’t a morning person but ever since my daughter was born I’m up early.
If you’re running late, what’s the one thing you have to do?
Even if I’m running late, I will always do my skincare ritual. It’s only five minutes and I can’t leave the house without it.
Vegemite on toast, ever since I got hooked on a recent trip to Australia.
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Weirdest morning beauty habit?
After my regular skincare ritual, I always apply The Silk Canvas, regardless of whether or not I’m wearing makeup. It’s protective for the skin; I would feel uncomfortable going outside without it on, and I won’t put makeup on without it.
What does your morning hair-care routine consist of? Go-to products?
I’m really low-maintenance when it comes to my hair; I cut it off so it doesn’t take much time to get ready. I do love Living Proof to keep it tamed and glossy.
How much time do you spend on your skincare routine? Go-to products?
In the morning, I start by gently exfoliating with The Rice Polish in Classic. Once that is rinsed off, I apply The Essence and let it absorb. It takes only seven seconds but makes everything that comes after work better. These days I am using the Violet-C Brightening Serum to help smooth and brighten my skin, then applying The Water Cream for lightweight hydration. I’ll finish with the Silken Pore Perfecting Sunscreen and The Silk Canvas. The whole thing takes five minutes.
How long do you usually take to get ready for the day?
20 minutes, including makeup and hair.
What’s the one product you could never leave the house without putting on?
The Silk Canvas.
The first word/thing that popped into your head this morning?
When I wake up, I can see the ocean and the sky from my bedroom. Every morning when I wake up and see that, I feel grateful.
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I’ll never forget the day that I got my first email from @makeupbymario . It was in 2010, after I sent out a few packages to artists I admired but didn’t expect to hear back from anyone, especially Mario who was already a rising star. To my amazement he not only took the time to write with kind words of encouragement but surprised me with sweet mentions in magazines whenever asked about how he created his beautiful looks. The first time we spoke on the phone, I wondered aloud why he went out of his way to help someone he barely knew and he shared his own touching story of his family, his career and those who had helped him along the way. Over the years, I’ve watched in awe as his artistry and career blossomed. His Masterclass is an expression of his soul – always wanting to inspire and share so that others might see their dreams come true. When he made the world fall in love with dewy, glowing skin, I was so touched that our Dewy Skin Mist was always in his kit and asked constantly what we could do to support him but he would just smile and say to keep making great formulas. He loved that he was helping to send girls to school around the world each time he supported @tatcha and shared how it made him think of his mom. Finally, about 2 years ago, we chatted about how he was always searching for the right rich, emollient cream to create the base for his signature glowing skin and I realized that not only were we missing this in our collection but we could finally show Mario how much he has meant to us all these years. As I watched Mario debut The Dewy Skin Cream at his epic Masterclass today from my phone in the back of a tuk tuk in Cambodia, I felt my heart swell with pride for all he has accomplished and gratitude that I get to call this beautiful, humble, tireless and talented man my friend. Mario, thank you for always believing in and inspiring us. Your friendship has meant more to me than I can express. I know that your mom is so, so proud of you. Please get some rest. Love you so much!
Your favorite morning read?
In the morning I’m mostly reading emails. I do most of my actual reading at night.
What’s on your nightstand right now?
I always have 8-10 books on my nightstand. Right now, I have books on Zen Buddhism by D.T. Suzuki and a journal my daughter and I are doing together every night.
What’s the current ringtone on your alarm?
“It’s a Beautiful Morning” by The Rascals.
Coffee, tea, or go-to morning drink?
What’s the last thing you did before you headed out the door today?
I gave my daughter a hug and checked what traffic would look like on the way to work.