Morning Routine: How Elissa Freiha Starts Her Day

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Polo Ralph Lauren Elissa Freiha
Photographed for Savoir Flair by Vivienne Balla

Successful people around the world have their morning routines down to a fine art. So just how does regional businesswoman Elissa Freiha of Womena start her day? From the beauty products she swears by to the podcasts that get her through the morning, Savoir Flair gets a peek into Freiha’s morning rituals.


On weekdays, I wake up at 8 a.m. to natural light coming in through my bamboo blinds. I can’t have blackout curtains or I’ll slip into a sleep coma and find it impossible to wake up happy. I’m convinced that I photosynthesize, because the sunlight wakes me up calmly and with a smile, but I do set an alarm for 8:30 as I like to stay in bed and check any WhatsApp and Slack messages, e-mails, Instagram, Snapchat (@freihahaha), and Facebook.

At 8:30, I kick myself out from under the covers and blast an Apple Music playlist dominated by Motown classics – Al Green almost always make an appearance – on my room speakers before jumping into the shower. I use the Davines ‘NouNou’ shampoo and conditioner, which I’ve had for years and always restock when I get to Paris, and a bar of Dove soap. My dermatologist swears by it and I do too – it’s the only bar that doesn’t dry out your skin.

After my shower, I wrap my hair up in a towel, apply moisturizer all over, and cleanse my face with Bioderma and Avène ‘Eau Thermale’ before applying Espa products – the ‘Hydrating Cleansing Milk’, the ‘24-Hour Balancing Moisturizer’, an eye serum, and a toning spray. This may seem like a lot, but the water in the UAE is a killer for my skin and the AC dries it up like you wouldn’t believe. With an expressive face like mine, I need to keep it moisturized, so it doesn’t crack and give me wrinkles in my 20s!

I towel-dry my hair and throw on whatever inspires me that day. No rules in the closet, just owning the inspiration that comes to me. I might wear a Hublot watch, I might wear a G-Shock. I might rock heels, I might rock Polo Ralph Lauren sneakers – heck, I might even wear cat ears to the office. It’s a new day people – anything is possible!

Elissa Freiha Fashion
Photo: Courtesy of @Freiha

Using mama’s chai recipe, I make a quick cup of tea to go – English breakfast with honey, hazelnut milk, and cinnamon – and hit the road. By 9 a.m., I’m in my car and ready to head to Dubai. I live in Abu Dhabi, so I spend an average of one hour (if not a little more) getting to work. That hour is the best. It’s a straight, meditative drive that I take advantage of, listening to one of my favorite podcasts along the way: Radiolab, Love + Radio, Kerning Cultures, WTF with Marc Maron, Mystery Show, StartUp, and Grownups Read Things They Wrote As Kids.

Once I get to the office, I grab a large iced Americano with vanilla syrup and rice milk, high five my team, and I am ready to kickstart a busy, busy day.

Elissa Freiha Morning Routine Coffee
Photo: Courtesy of @Freiha
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