Successful people around the world have their morning routines down to a fine art. So just how does Maria Hatzistefanis – founder and CEO of Rodial and Nip+Fab – start her day? Savoir Flair gets a peek into her morning rituals, from her go-to beauty products to how she stays creative.
I usually wake up quite early – definitely by 6 a.m. at the latest. There’s a lot that goes on! The last few weeks have been a little unusual as I’ve just launched my new podcast, so I’ve been waking up around 4 a.m. as I’ve had lots to do and work on for that. I listen to the podcasts and do the edits and recordings, it’s when I put everything together, which is why I’ve been waking up earlier recently.
My new podcast is called Overnight Success following the title of my book, and my aim is to inspire, motivate, and entertain. We’ll have some very cool guests, and we’ll analyze their success and how they’ve achieved it. There’s a lot of celebrity insights as many of the guests will share celebrity stories. It’s business and entertainment together, served in a podcast format. I’m really excited about!
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One of my favorite books actually relates to morning routines! It’s called What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, and it’s super inspirational as it goes through the routines of everyone from Oprah Winfrey to big businessmen and women, so you get ideas and see how they start their day. They all get up early!
I tend to reread the books I love to find a new perspective. I sometimes reread my own book, too, as I forgot what I wrote and a chapter often relates to something similar happening to me right now, so I look back over my lists and how-tos to see how I handled it then. I also listen to a lot of podcasts. I love Girlboss Radio by Sophia Amoruso because she interviews a lot of inspirational women. There’s another one called How I Built This – it also interviews business owners, and you see how they started it and how they grew it. I love hearing about other people’s stories.
I am full of energy in the morning. I’ve never been one of those people who’s like, “Give me another half an hour.” If I’m up, I’m up! I love this time before all the craziness happens. Like this morning, I woke up and had this idea about editing one of the episodes for my podcast, so I couldn’t wait to get up and fix it – there’s always something! But it’s not always personal development. Sometimes, I might be in fashion mode and want to see what’s new, so I check all sorts of Pinterest accounts and read about new trends. I have something that excites me every day, and I go for it. Every day is different.
I pretty much always finish that “me time” around 6:30 a.m. and am in the gym right after. Before I leave for the gym, I like my house to be quiet, so I can hear the birds and have it super peaceful. Then, on the way to the gym, I have to listen to something to motivate me to work out! I’ll put on the latest hits on Spotify, or – as you can tell – I’m really into podcasts. There’s this new one I’m into called Casefile, which is real crime analysis and forensics. If I’m not in the mood to go to the gym, I’ll listen to an interesting story on the 15-minute walk there, and that will get me to it.
I like to do super light weights as I just can’t do cardio. I’m not the one who will be running or sweating! I want more of a lazy exercise and, with weights, you get the workout without having to tire yourself out. I also do Barry’s Bootcamp, which is super fun. I love the low lights and how they play the latest hits, and the trainers are super motivating. The reason I go to the gym so early isn’t just because I have to be in the office later, but because if I leave it for a bit longer, I won’t go. Your willpower diminishes as the day goes on! I work out four days a week, which is manageable. I’m back home from the gym by 8:30 a.m. and then boom – it’s business as usual.
That’s my pre-morning routine, then it’s morning!
I always have hot water with lemon when I wake up. I have a batch of cut lemons that I put in the freezer, so I have a slice ready to add. I then start each day with an espresso. Sometimes it’s one, but if I’m up at 4 a.m., it can be three or four! It might be decaf towards the end. If I’m hungry before the gym, I have some almonds or cashews. And when I’m back, I always have the same breakfast, which is a protein smoothie with some nut butter and coconut water. I’ll add frozen berries to it sometimes, too.
It has to be very quick, so I often have it on the way to work – I have to take some shortcuts. I’ve done all my podcast work, I’ve worked out, so breakfast has to be done in two minutes. I don’t have time to cook something elaborate! I also check my e-mails first thing as I have business in the US, so I make sure there are no emergencies there to worry about. But that’s about it, then I’m not really on my phone. I used to be on Instagram a lot, but lately, I’ve found more interesting things to do, so I leave that for later in the day. The morning is my most creative time, so I shouldn’t be spending an hour on Instagram.
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I wash my hair every other day. Every Monday – this is a recent thing – I have a hairstylist come to my house for a professional blow-dry, so I start my week with nice hair. It goes into a bun on the second day, and then I wash it the day after. I do style my own hair in between, obviously! But I like to have nice hair on a Monday. I love tea tree shower gels; they’re really refreshing after the gym and I find that they cleanse better. I normally buy a mega size from Amazon from some random Australian brand.
When it comes to my skin, I’m really into cleansing balms, and my latest favorite is our ‘Pink Diamond Cleanser’. My skin tends to get quite dry, and I found that foaming cleansers really dried out my skin. We also have a new collection that I’m using right now, which are our ‘drops’. They’re single-ingredient formulas, and we have a 30 percent collagen that I mix with the ‘Soft Focus Glow Drops’ to give myself a plumping effect and rosy glow. I also love the ‘Bee Venom Moisturizer’ as it’s super thick and nourishing.
I only have about five minutes for my makeup because – again – you have to make your choices, and I don’t have time. I know the tricks, so I can do a decent day look in a few minutes. I always use the Rodial ‘Skin Tint’, which has SPF 20 and gives you a little bit of color, and the ‘Diamond Concealer’ that I sometimes use as a foundation, too. I use the ‘XXL Mascara’ and ‘The Icons Collection Palette’, which has blush and contour, all in one. My routine is super quick.
I usually forget to use fragrance, so I have a whole collection in the office – everything from fresh scents to ouds. I get gifted a lot of fragrances, and I have some really great ones from a brand called Clean that does really light scents like ‘Reserve Skin’, so I’ll come into the office and spray myself!
If it’s a day at work, I have two or three things that are my go-to uniform, and I wear the exact same thing almost every day. Again, my priority is to get ready super quickly and not to have to put in a lot of thought into what I’m wearing. I wear a lot of high-waist trousers with oversized sweaters, or I’m really into long knit dresses with sneakers. I want to be comfortable when I’m in the office, not making a fashion statement. Now, if I have a meeting or it’s Fashion Week and I’m involved with the British Fashion Council, I need to put in more of an effort, but that will only take me half an hour.
I rarely go to the shops, so I do all my fashion shopping online. All my deliveries arrive at home, but when I go back in the evening, I’m not in the mood to try on anything – you’ll see me try everything on, ballgowns and all, at 6.a.m.! That’s when I have high energy and I’m excited. In the evening, I’m like, “I don’t know what’s in those boxes and I don’t care right now!” I do return a lot; I think I’m probably the worst customer! It drives me crazy to have things lying around, so in the morning, I’ll make sure I pack them up and organize those returns. That way, they’re done and out of the way.
I like to send myself e-mails. If I have an idea, I’ll send an e-mail as that’s an action – it’s not in my mind. I also use the ‘Notes’ app in my phone to write down my ideas. If I have an idea for my team in the early hours or before I go to bed, I draft an e-mail, but don’t send it. I don’t want them to receive an e-mail at that time of day if it’s not urgent, and I don’t want them to worry about responding immediately if they’re up – the same goes for weekends. I’ll type up the e-mails, save them as drafts, and send them all at 8:30 a.m. I feel like I shouldn’t be bothering that person until a reasonable time if it’s not an emergency!
As for inspiration? I can’t force it. It often comes at very unusual times, and I do get a lot of inspiration when I’m out and about or visiting the in-store teams and getting their feedback. I also get more ideas when I travel – not in my day-to-day routine – because my mind is a bit more free. Every time I return from a trip, my team is ready for me like, “Maria’s back with another thousand ideas!”
Depending on what meetings I have, I’m probably out of the house by 10 a.m. I try to plan things roughly ten days in advance, and then go through everything the day before with my PA. I want to make sure every week is balanced, so if there are a lot of external meetings, I’ll try to keep it to two or three meetings a day. If not, I’ll book a lot of internal meetings and some store visits. I don’t take on more than I can manage as I need to be available for my team. All sorts of last-minute emergencies happen, so I need to be present in the office every day.