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. Find a schedule that best suits your needs.
Courtesy of Dr. Lamees Hamdan
"When I first wake up, I drink warm water with a squeeze of lemon and a teaspoon of honey," says Dr. Lamees Hamdan, founder of Shiffa Beauty. "Then, 15 minutes later, I have breakfast. During those 15 minutes, I do my morning skincare routine.
"I cleanse once with Shiffa Aromatic Facial Cleanser and then I use Floral Facial Toner to help with my pores. I use Rejuvenating Eye Remedy under my eyes, White Tea Moisturizer on my face and neck and finish off with Elta MD Oil-Free SPF 45 on my face and neck. For makeup, I use RMS Lip2Cheek on my cheeks and Nars Dolce Vita lipstick. I make sure I have excellent skincare so I never need to use foundation.
"Once a week, I do Iyengar Yoga, which has really helped me with shoulder pain. I also do personal training with Alicia Storm (my PT), who makes me long and lean and strong. I also meditate at least once a day with Transcendental Meditation.
"I have an office at home, so by 3 p.m., I try to be at home, working from my office. The kids come home from school during that time, so I like being there to see them."
2. Consider being a morning workout person.
"Since my days are super jam-packed, I value being able to make the most of my mornings," explains Nancy Twine, founder of Briogeo haircare. "The most important aspect of my morning is being able to have a good balance of me-time and productivity. Most mornings, I'm up by 6:30 a.m. and I like to start my day with some quick meditation. It helps me relax and prepare for the day. A few times a week, I'll squeeze in an early Soul Cycle or a yoga class. I get such a burst of energy when I'm able to work out in the morning! In terms of makeup, I like to keep my beauty routine fairly streamlined. I mainly use tinted moisturizer, a few dots of concealer, and some blush, but I always finish with a pop of color on my lips! Right now I've been wearing the Tinted Lip Conditioner in Arabian Nights by Ilia. Before I leave for the office, I use my Vitamix to blend a superfood smoothie (with things like collagen powder, kale, blueberries, and MCT oil) to make sure I get a healthy dose of greens to power me through my morning meetings. Then, I hop on the train and start to check and answer emails right from my phone. I typically arrive to the office by 8:30 a.m. and the first thing I do before resuming e-mail or jumping into a meeting, is prepare a large glass of green tea—there's so many antioxidant benefits to green tea and its a great way for me to drink more water and stay hydrated throughout the day. By the time my first meeting starts, I'm fully focused and ready to conquer the day."
3. 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.”
4. Engage in quiet time.
“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 the kitchen and pour myself large glass of water and add a lemon wedge. Take my supplements. Turn the 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.”
5. 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."
7. 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.
8. 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 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.”
9. 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.”
10. 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.”
11. Don't be afraid of good fats.
"I meditate first thing in the morning and before I physically get out of bed," says Naomi Whittel, CNC, New York Times best-selling author of Glow15 and founder of OMI Skin Nutrition. "Because our cortisol (major stress hormone) levels are the highest in the morning, meditating, even if only for a few minutes, decreases cortisol while increasing feel-good brain chemicals like serotonin, GABA, and endorphins which makes all the difference in my day.
"I also use a dry brush in the morning right after I wake up and before I exercise. I believe it activates my lymphatic system and invigorates the skin, allowing my skin to sweat effectively while I work out and get rid of toxins. I begin brushing on the sides of my rib cage, move toward my heart, then up to my neck.
"I enjoy starting the day with a 16-ounce glass of ice-cold water. Incorporating ice water into our daily routine can boost our metabolism, burn a few extra calories, improve insulin sensitivity, our workouts, and give a natural and fresh glow to our skin (hydration). Since improved insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism naturally sets us up for the work of autophagy (our cellular detox process), drinking ice cold water is one of my favorite go tos in the morning.
"I later shower and move to caring for my skin. I always start with my OMI Renew Fresh-Faced Cleanser (it's packed with resveratrol, collagen and a natural, plant-based retinol), it helps to purify while its skin-nutritive blend firms and rejuvenates, and then my top tip (and the product I can’t live without) is the Renew Wrinkle Lifting Power Serum as it works miracles at lifting even deeper lines and wrinkles to leave my skin smooth, firm and glowing. While applying the serum, I like to do a stress-busting facial massage just for a couple of minutes, making small circles on my forehead with the index and middle fingers, going down to the jaw line. I also rub fingers up the bridge of my nose toward my eye sockets—these small movements are effective at releasing stress and tension within the face.
"I typically don’t wear a lot of makeup, but when I do, I like Thrive Cosmetics Lip Hydrating Serum and Triple Threat Color Stick. It's vegan, clean, cruelty-free and the brand makes a point to support organizations that empower women.
"When it comes to nutrition, my mantra is fat first, fat most, every day in every way. I’m talking about the good fats like MCT (medium chain triglyceride) oil and omega-3 fatty acids as they do not spike blood sugar and they’re great for keeping you satiated and fueled. I either start my day or break my intermittent fast with avocado or creamy MCT oil (like Simply Goodfats) in my coffee, usually around 10 a.m. or so."
12. Start your beauty routine with a splash of cold water.
Courtesy of Vanita Parti
"When I wake up, the first thing I do is drink a cup of hot water and lemon with a sprinkle of fennel seeds—an odd combo, but it has become an addiction!" muses Vanita Parti, founder of Blink Brow Bar. "It is always a desperate rush to get my youngest daughter, up, dressed, and to school. We often walk, and when I come back, if I have time, I try to do a few pilates moves to keep tone before getting ready for the day. Breakfast is always porridge with chia seeds, flaked almonds, and berries drowned with a healthy dose of coffee to wake me up. I have a quick cleanse, moisture, and make up routine, which starts a splash of cold water followed by Sarah Chapman's Dynamic Defense Moisturizer. Then I move onto my brows (color and gel) a tinted moisturizer, and eyeliner. I then begin my journey into work but can be delayed by calls, emails, or just the fact that I feel like a cycle through the park on my way in."