There’s no science-backed formula for success—that’s for sure. And there’s no clear-cut, mapped-out way to find happiness or notoriety. There are, however, a few things that have been widely deemed helpful by the successful women we admire. Below, we rounded up nine different things successful women do during their morning routines; we’re skincare, wellness, fitness, mental health—you name it. Keep reading to find a few new tips to try; they’ll help you calm down your mornings and maybe even add to your success at your job. (You never know!)
1. Shift your priorities based on what makes you happiest NOW.
“When it comes to morning routines, efficiency has always been important for me,” says Hillary Kerr, co-founder and chief ideation officer of Clique Brands. “It used to be because I’m not a morning person and would snooze until the last possible second, leaving myself only 30 minutes to get up, showered, dressed, and out the door. These days I’m speedy for a different reason: I have a baby, and I’d rather spend time with him in the morning. Priorities, you know?
“I typically get up between 6 and 6:30 a.m., make coffee for myself and my husband, and then hang out with the baby until I have to leave for my trampoline class at LEKfit. That’s another thing that’s different; I don’t think I’d ever exercised in the morning before having a baby; now it’s my go-to because I have to be home to give him a bath and put him to bed every night.
“Most days I take a trampoline cardio and sculpt class at LEKfit, and then I shower and get ready for work. I try to pack everything I need the night before, but to be honest, most of my beauty products just live in a travel case these days. I use iS Clinical Cleansing Complex ($42) to wash my face in the shower, and Control Corrective Oil-Free Hydrating Lotion ($37) to moisturize afterward.
“I’m always in a rush, so I’ve pared down the rest of my routine to the following items: Supergoop! Daily Correct CC Cream SPF 40 ($32) in light/medium is my face makeup; then I use the blush and highlighter in the ISH Contour Kit ($32) in light/medium. I fill in my brows slightly with Burberry’s Effortless Brow Definer ($33) in No. 2 Sepia, line my upper waterline with Charlotte Tilbury’s Rock ’N’ Kohl Eyeliner Pencil in Marlene Midnight ($27), and finish things off with Dior’s Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara in Black ($30).
“To be honest, I’ve pretty much stopped doing my hair unless I have an event or have to be on camera, so most mornings I don’t do anything to it besides brush it and let it dry naturally. Sometimes I’ll spray it with a little Sachajuan Ocean Mist Spray ($31); sometimes I put some Aveda Control Paste ($29) on the ends; sometimes I don’t do either of those things.
“I used to be significantly more high maintenance and had a much more involved morning beauty routine—I dried and styled my hair with a curling wand every single day—but parental leave really changed my priorities and how I see myself. I didn’t wear makeup or do my hair at all when I was home with my baby, and I got used to seeing myself in a more natural state. Prior to having a baby, I definitely preferred a more ‘done’ look; now I’m more comfortable without all the beauty armor.”
2. Start your day with a calm, relaxed energy.
“I wake up at least two hours before I have to teach or be at the office in order to have a full breakfast without rushing, and I always leave off the TV, news, and music,” Elisabeth Halfpapp, co-creator of Core Fusion Barre at Exhale Spa, tells Women’s Health. “I find if you start your day with a calm, relaxed energy, it stays with you the rest of the day. Then I do some back and hip stretches, along with a two-minute plank, which helps my mind and body focus for the day.”
Try a large glass of water with lemon.
“At 5:45 a.m., my alarm goes off,” Keri Glassman, founder and president of Nutritious Life, tells Forbes. I am usually very fast to get up and out. I go to kitchen and pour myself large glass of water and add a lemon wedge. Take my supplements. Turn coffee pot on—on a good morning I already put the coffee in the night before.
“I go to the computer and usually edit one or two items. I do my best thinking in the morning so I save these for the early morning. Then I move on to the kids scheduling. By 6:45 a.m., I pour my coffee and make breakfast and then sit by myself in my living room. Sometimes with The Post or WSJ, sometimes the news, sometimes my iPhone. Breakfast could be a smoothie or Ezekiel toast with cashew butter, or oatmeal with chia seeds and almond butter. At 7 a.m., I do two sets of push-ups, and then I’m in the shower fast.
“At 7:15 a.m., I wake the kids up. While kids are getting dressed (this is done on their own now!) I make their breakfast and lunch. I am down to making one lunch so it goes faster. At 8:15 a.m. I say, ‘aaahhhh’ and then the rest of the day begins.”
4. Leave time to linger.
“I’m a bed-lingerer, a habit I thought for sure I’d have to break when I became a mother,” Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, a New York Times best-selling author, told Women’s Health. “Only I discovered that spending some extra moments in bed, centering myself toward the day, wasn’t so much a habit as an essential way of being, and it made me much more productive as a thinker and writer. I’m lucky that my husband has a flexible schedule—one we’ve shifted to accommodate his love for the early morning hours and my preference to stay in bed. Sometimes I'll sleep and other times I’ll meditate, but more often than not it’s a cuddlefest with my kids or a chance to catch up on reading. Even if I’m not putting my work at the center of this time, starting out with quiet time always pays dividends later in the day.”
“I’m an avid meditator,” says Alexandra Bonetti, founder of Bari Studio. “And I fake-meditated for years. I used all the apps, all the videos, all the classes… I’m loud, I love to dance, and I’m always moving at a hundred—that’s just the way I am. I thought, Maybe meditation just isn’t for me, because you have to sit there and be quiet. I really struggled with it for years; it just didn’t click with me.
“Then I did a course when I had my first son. He was a dream during the day and then turned into this monster at night who didn’t sleep. I didn’t sleep for weeks. It was really getting to me, and I had a lot of stress at work. I was like fainting because I was so tired. I hit rock bottom, and I went to this meditation course and started doing that. It’s a commitment like a workout. I meditate for 20 minutes a day, twice a day.
“That was over a year ago, and I can say it truly changed my life. I went from having really, really bad anxiety. With meditation, I have zero anxiety. I don’t remember what it feels like. I’m a genuinely happier person—I get along better with everyone in my life, from the people I work with to my husband and my kids. I’m so much kinder to myself. Things don’t really faze me the way they did before."
6. Have coffee, but wash it down with a green juice.
After she wakes up, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley spends quality time with her husband, Jason Statham, reports MyDomaine. By midmorning, the model walks her dogs, prepares breakfast, “a preferably Paleo meal,” and works out. “I’m addicted to Body by Simone and Ballet Bodies in L.A.,” Huntington-Whiteley told Harper’s Bazaar. Then it’s green juice, replying to emails, and hair and makeup. That, and coffee, of course. “I’m totally useless without coffee,” the model admits.
7. Check only the urgent emails at first.
“First thing in the morning when I wake up, I lie in bed and check Instagram. My management is in NYC, so by the time I wake up, I’m already behind on emails, so I check the urgent ones from my phone in bed as well,” says Marianna Hewitt of Life With Me.
“I take out my Invisalign (my adult version of braces)—I’m almost done—and brush my teeth. Next, I wash my face and apply SPF, which I wear every day. Then I head to my kitchen for my morning liquids. I grab my liquid chlorophyll drops and add them to a bottle of water; they have tons of benefits.
“I also usually have a coffee from my Nespresso machine, which I can’t live without, or make a Be Well smoothie that has a protein, fat, and fiber to keep me full until lunch. Finally, I take my dog for a walk and then get my day started.”
8. Listen to music.
“I wake up and start the day with an espresso followed by eggs,” supermodel Claudia Schiffer told us, adding that every breakfast comes with a side of good music. “I love to listen to ’80s music—right now, the Eddie the Eagle soundtrack that Gary Barlow produced. I had so much fun watching this album being put together. I also like Elton John, Queen, Macklemore, Prince, David Bowie, Adele, and Christine and the Queens.” After breakfast, before launching into work, Schiffer takes the time to get active. “I work out by doing long walks with our dogs, tennis, yoga, or Pilates.”
9. Take a refreshing, renewing shower.
“A shower is like my morning cup of coffee (although I almost always have that, too), so it’s the first thing I do upon waking," Keiko Lynn told us. “Actually, first I take out my Invisalign retainer (so sexy) and brush my teeth, but I kind of feel like the latter is a given in morning routines, right?
“I then wash my face with Avène Gentle Cleanser ($24), warm water, and a muslin cloth. Then I use an exfoliating acid—usually Pixi Glow Tonic ($15) or First Aid Beauty Radiance Pads ($30)—followed by Tata Harper Eye Creme ($95). Next, I apply either Darphin Orange Blossom Oil ($80) or a serum (currently loving First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum, $36), and then moisturizer (Avene Recovery Cream, $21 or Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer, $48).
“I know most people advise applying oil after moisturizer, but my skin responds best to oil before, and if I’m planning on wearing any makeup, I like it a little better with moisturizer on top. Last step: La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 ($34), my SPF of choice. It sounds like a lot, but it’s second nature.
“Since journeying into the world of microblading my brows, my daily makeup routine has been pared down to a little concealer around the eyes and nose, some blush and highlighter, and a lip color of choice—plus eyeliner, if I don’t have lash extensions (annnnd now I sound like the most high-maintenance girl ever). I love a full-glam look, but I almost always go for less.”