Successful people around the world have their morning routines down to a fine art. So just how does Irene Forte, founder of luxury sustainable skincare brand Irene Forte and Wellness Director at Rocco Forte Hotels, start her day? Savoir Flair gets a peek into her morning rituals, from her trusted beauty routine to her where she seeks inspiration.
I usually wake up between 7 and 7.30 a.m. I’m not very good at jeopardizing sleep for work, so I always need eight to eight-and-a-half hours of sleep and go to bed quite early, if I can! I’m more of a morning person than an evening person, so I prefer to work in the morning and get things done. I tend to have quite a lot of energy first thing, but for the past few years I’ve had an underactive thyroid, so I do get quite tired and I haven’t been feeling refreshed when I wake up. But recently I started taking thyroxine (which I avoided for over 10 years) as I travel so much and I couldn’t handle it anymore. Now I’m super wired in the morning and I get so hyper!
Once I’m up I take my phone off flight mode and check my emails. That’s the first thing I do, just to make sure there’s nothing urgent that’s happened during the night. Sometimes I’ll then flick onto the BBC news app, and then I’ll go into Instagram, both my personal one and the brand one. It’s so funny though, I don’t tend to scroll anymore. I just view stories and see direct messages, and that’s about it.
With the skincare account, I tend to follow a lot of other beauty brands, retailers, and people who have launched their own retail stores, like Jessica Richards with Shen Beauty. I follow other brands to see what they’re posting, and I like to see what brands people are talking about. With my personal account, it’s more about following friends.
If I’m feeling really good, I’ll have a hot water and lemon or herbal tea, but usually, it’s a latte with almond milk – that’s what I crave in the morning. My breakfast is normally two soft boiled eggs with some rye bread and some water.
Then I’ll shower whilst listening to the news on BBC World or The Daily, depending on whether there’s a good daily article that I like. Before I get in the shower, I’ll put my ‘Almond Cleansing Milk’ on my face, which I’ll massage in during my shower. I also have the Labelle ‘Ultrasonic Spatula’ in the shower, which I use after my almond cleanser. In terms of body products, I’ll use a scrub twice a week. We have a Japanese sea-salt body scrub with olive oil in it. I also have a big tub of a shower gel that we haven’t launched yet, but it’s a shower oil so it’s really nice as it’s oil-based and like an emulsion, so it foams when you go into the water and you come out feeling like you’ve just put oil on your body.
I do like body brushing in the shower too, but I don’t do that every day. I know I should, but I don’t… it’s more like twice a week. I’m just always in a rush! Like, I used the NuFACE microcurrent mini every day for a while, and now I just use it once a week, if I’m feeling puffy…
I’m really bad at washing my hair… I only do about twice a week! But when I do, I use Virtue, I love their products. It’s funny, I’m not so particular about what I put on my hair. I have my Virtue products at home, but when I’m in the [family] hotels or traveling, I will use anything! It’s the one thing I’ve just never been that into.
Once I’m out of the shower, I use a toner on my face, usually, my hyaluronic acid one, which has a serum-like texture because I like to get rid of the water from my skin. I’m a bit obsessive about that! Then, I’ll use my ‘Hibiscus Serum’ – I never miss that step in the morning – and then one of my moisturizers to lock in moisture and prevent moisture loss. At the moment I’m using the ‘Prickly Pear Face Cream’, but I change depending on how my skin is feeling. I also always moisturize my body, and I love my rose body oil. I tend to take a lot of the stock that’s been damaged or scratched, so I switch up my body products, too.
When it comes to makeup, I’ve started using the Westman Atelier foundation sticks. I think what [Gucci] has done with that brand is amazing, and I love the branding. As the foundation is a little thick, I mix it in with a bit of my ‘Rose Face Oil’, and then I use the RMS ”Un” Cover-Up’ concealer. I’ve just started using the By Terry ‘Hyaluronic Hydra-Powder’ on top, and that’s about it!
I have lash extensions — always — and my eyebrows are tattooed. I just did a few strands, as I find filling them in doesn’t look great, so I prefer to just do a little bit.
I’m not very good at using perfume every day. I use it more in the evenings. I have the Le Labo 33, and I’ve been using Dolce & Gabbana ‘Light Blue’ since I was 16!
I work out in the evening, just because I like to get to the office on time and I don’t wake up early enough to do it in the morning. I go to Equinox every night. On the weekends, I go to the gym in the mornings and do one of the Equinox high-intensity classes, or when it’s warmer or summertime I like to go for runs.
I did a meditation course and I’ve done a lot of mindfulness with Terrance The Teacher, but I only really use it if I’m feeling really stressed, not on a day-to-day basis. But it’s a tool I have when I need it. I’ve been given a personal mantra, and you effectively just repeat it in your mind to get into a slight trance. I do that for five minutes, and if I am really stressed, I check into my breath – counting it in and out for 10 seconds, 10 times.
I’m really inspired by artisans in Sisley and I use a lot of Sicilian ceramics, so I look a lot at different tile prints and things the local ceramists create from near the resort where we have our organic farm. I also take a lot of inspiration from the design work that’s done in our hotels. Especially the new spas that we’re creating, like the one we just did in Rome and the one we’re doing in Palermo for a new hotel we are opening there.
We worked with Moschino and they’ve done some really interesting prints and colors based on my brief, and then I kind of take back from what they’re doing. I like Dolce & Gabbana and brands that use a lot of Sicilian elements. My brand is more Mediterranean and Italian inspired, so I like to add those elements to what I’m doing.
I’m a mega last-minute person unless I have a talk or an event or something, but I always wear some kind of flared trousers, high-heeled boots, and a shirt. I pack my gym gear and water bottle and that’s me done!
I always check my diary the night before and I go through my notepad and put an asterix by the things I need to prioritize the following morning. I also catch up on emails before going to bed, as I find the day – especially as I’m traveling a lot – is just full of meetings and appointments. So that kind of sets me in a good place for the next day. I also catch up a lot on the weekends, and I always work on Sunday afternoons. But working on the weekends doesn’t really feel like working, as I’ll be going through my emails with some really bad television on, something trashy like Gossip Girl. I just went through all six seasons again, it was so good! It’s so bad that it’s good. The outfits are fab. My partner catches me watching it and it makes me cringe!
If I’m in London, I’ll pop on the tube to the office. I’ll have music on during my commute to zone out and relax before getting into the office. I have the worst taste in music… I listen to really cheesy stuff on Spotify and I don’t even know what it is! It’s on that ‘Discover Weekly’ series and it just gets progressively worse and worse… I’ve never heard of any of the artists. It’s basically really cheesy love songs [laughs]. I’m in the office by 9.30 a.m. (so I can avoid that mad rush on the tube) and then it’s back-to-back from there.