The CEO of This Inclusive Skincare Line Starts Her Day With Political Activism

What's the first thing you do when you get out of bed in the morning? A well-rounded morning routine sets the tone for the day and gets you prepped—both mentally and physically—before diving into a packed schedule filled with emails, chores, happy hours, workouts, and more. Our series Morning Person profiles those who have mastered the art of the morning routine.

Tune in every Monday and Friday morning here and on our Instagram to learn exactly how the pros get it all done before the sun comes up, from their go-to breakfasts to their a.m. workouts.

If the news cycle and current state of affairs have left you feeling anxious, overwhelmed, and with a general sense of dread, you are not alone. For Nina Zilka, co-founder and CEO of the inclusive and clean skincare brand Alder New York, the current political and social climate has motivated her to prioritize activism in her daily routine.

In addition to her usual self-care rituals, such as giving herself a facial massage in the mornings, Nina also makes sure to call her representatives or write letters encouraging people to vote.

Keep reading to see the rest of her routine.


(Image credit: Courtesy of Nina Zilka)

These days, with no commute, I’ve definitely started sleeping in later and pushing my workouts till post-work in the evenings. So I’ve been able to focus my morning routine with a little more on self-care and easing into my day.

7:30 A.M.

The very first thing I do when I wake up is to check the news. Current events dictate both my company strategy for the day and my personal activism.

I have a lot of anxiety in general and about climate change and societal inequality in particular, and one thing I’ve found has helped is to try to do one political thing every day, be it calling my reps urging them to vote for a specific bill or writing letters as part of the Vote Forward campaign

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On a work level, whatever is going on in the world directly impacts my business, from supply chains to social media strategy. So taking in the news sets the tone for both my personal and professional goals for the day.

8 A.M.

Next up is feeding our two adorable cats who are absolute monsters in the morning. I’ve learned to sleep with earplugs because they start crying for food as soon as the sun comes up, which is early here in NYC these days. But once they see that I am up, they go into hyper-drive till they get fed.


(Image credit: Courtesy of @gene_and_george)

8:10 A.M.

Breakfast for me is almost always a smoothie. Starting my morning with one, I really do think my brain feels clearer. Right now, I am loving the combo of banana, spinach, mango, peanut butter, orange juice, and a splash of water to thin it out.


(Image credit: Courtesy of Nina Zilka)

8:30 A.M. 

Post-smoothie, I like to do a little bit of facial massage using Alder New York’s Black Obsidian Gua Sha Tool paired with our Fortifying Face OilBlack obsidian is a protective stone believed to clear cosmic smog, which is a good start to the morning!

A facial massage is great for toning features, boosting circulation, and boosting your lymphatic systemall things I like, so I’ve made it a daily-ish habit (sometimes I sleep in a little too long and then it gets left behind).

8:45 A.M.

Next up is my favorite part of my morning—a face mask while I bullet-journal my day’s action items. Right now, I’m using Alder New York Smoothing Face Mask.

It’s a great mix of gently exfoliating kaolin clay and skin-plumping ingredients like hyaluronic acid and sea botanicals.

I also love that it’s a super-quick mask, only three to five minutes, which means I don’t have to make it a big thing and put aside a lot of time for it. It fits seamlessly into my day, which is the only way skincare works for me.


(Image credit: Courtesy of Nina Zilka)

While I wait for the mask to work its magic, I map out my day in my bullet journal. I review any tasks I have leftover from the day before to bring them over to today and add in the one action item I want to do politically. These days, it’s largely been calling my reps to defund the police.

Then I hop in the shower and wash off my mask. Once I get dressed, I walk over to my dining room table (where I have my WFH set up), and I am ready for my day to begin!

Up next: I Founded the First Plant-Based Feminine-Care Brand—Here's My Morning Routine


This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used in the place of advice of your physician or other medical professionals. You should always consult with your doctor or healthcare provider first with any health-related questions.