My Morning Routine

⇾ Raúl Castillo, Actor

My Morning Routine

⇾ Raúl Castillo, Actor

The indie favorite and rising action star jump starts his day

Actor Raul Castillo

The way Raúl Castillo tells it, he didn’t exactly set out to be an actor. But he was always something of a performer. And more than that, an observer with plenty of hustle. The son of first-generation immigrants, he was raised in Texas and says he picked up a headstrong work ethic from his parents. He was industrious enough to teach himself bass guitar in order to join a punk band in his youth. And despite his success as an actor, he's happy working behind the scenes as well—writing and directing. In other words, this is a guy who knows you have to put in the work to get fulfillment out of life. And it sure seems to be working. Some readers might recognize Castillo from his breakout role in HBO's Looking or indie films like We the Animals. He's since gone on to back-to-back action roles in Guy Ritchie's Wrath of Man and Zack Snyder's Army of the Dead. And this month, he's fighting against an uprising of artificial intelligence with Chloë Grace Moretz in Hulu's anticipated sci-fi thriller, Mother/Android. We caught up with Castillo to learn more about how he gets it all done and looks so relaxed and cool while doing it.

The Series

Those moments between turning off the alarm and getting into our work routine can be the most defining 60 minutes of our day. Benjamin Franklin set a day's worth of plans by 5 am and Steve Jobs asked a simple question: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" Our rituals are a reflection of us. So we've ventured out to discover how some of our most influential and fruitful peers get started.

Raul Castillo illustration

My Routine

I definitely consider myself a morning person.

I like the stillness and the tranquility in the early hours. I live in Brooklyn, so normally I try to enjoy the quiet before the city starts to wake.

I could always use more sleep than I get.

I try to aim for eight hours, but average maybe five to six most nights.

Unless I have to get up early for work, I don’t use an alarm clock.

And when I do use it, I don't like hitting the snooze button. Once I'm awake, my mind is working. I wake up ready to go. I'm not the kind of person who drags in the morning—something I probably inherited from my parents who had and maintained an incredible work ethic.

Every day is a surprise, depending on what I’m working on at the moment.

I haven't been home much in the last few months, so I miss my own bed and my things. At home, my nightstand has a salt lamp and a little porcelain plate for my jewelry. There's a picture of Alexis, my partner. And copy of the galley for my buddy Fernando A. Flores's new collection of short stories called Valleyesque, which I'm so incredibly excited to read.

Dreams fascinate me.

If I had any dreams the previous night, I try to remember them. I focus on as many details as I can and try to remember the feelings that washed over me. And normally I carry that with me throughout the day.

I try to keep the first hour of my day nice and simple.

I drink water first thing every morning. I brush my teeth, I stretch out a little here and there, I start to check emails, slowly, read the news. Maybe I'll start the New York Times crossword puzzle to kickstart my mind.

Advertisement

Coffee is an important part of my morning.

I worked my fair share of coffee shop jobs back in the day so I've developed a taste for good coffee. I like it black, no sugar. I grind my own beans. Normally, that's the Brooklyn Heights blend from Damico's Coffee on Court Street. But if I'm out and about, I like an oat-milk latte too.

I don’t really eat breakfast a whole lot.

Look, I'm from Texas so nothing beats a good breakfast taco. Normally, I don't eat till after I've worked out. And to be honest, a lot of times I drag my feet on that.

I used to shoot off my emails first thing, but now I wait.

I've learned it's better to send them later in the day when people are actually at their desks and mine isn't one of a hundred emails.

I could be more organized when it comes to my calendar.

I wish I could say I utilize a smart calendar or to-do list, but I don't.

But I do prioritize fitness in the morning.

An old boxing trainer I worked with years ago talked about “waking up on the run.” Just getting out of bed, putting on your gear, your socks and shoes, etc., and hitting the road as you're wiping the crust from your eyes. If I can bang it out first thing in the morning, then great. The rest of the day is set. Either way, I do like to get sweaty at some point, whether it's running (treadmill or on the road) or just simple calisthenics and yoga to stretch.

Advertisement

My grooming style would be described as pretty functional.

At the end of the day, I'm a Mexican man, and I like to look good. But I wouldn't really say I have a grooming routine. I just make sure to keep it tight. Trimming stray hairs, checking on my nails, always making sure I smell good. I don't use cologne, but I do use deodorants and creams, etc.

Raul Castillo's favorite grooming products

Clockwise, from top left

City sunscreen serum SPF 30,
$42 by Supergoop

Natural deodorant,
$11.97 by Native

Basil face lotion,
$43 by Le Labo

Classic shaving cream,
$7 by Mario Badescu

Full shampoo,
$29 by Living Proof

Signature sampler pack,
$10.99 by D'Amico Coffee

Night Rider matte hair paste,
$32.22 by Kevin Murphy

ProNamel Gentle Whitening toothpaste,
$7.99 by Sensodyne

Raul Castillo's favorite grooming products

Natural deodorant,
$11.97 by Native

Basil face lotion,
$43 by Le Labo

Classic
shaving cream,
$7 by Mario Badescu

Night Rider
matte hair paste,
$32.22 by
Kevin Murphy

Full shampoo,
$29 by
Living Proof

Signature sampler pack,
$10.99 by D'Amico Coffee

ProNamel
Gentle
Whitening
toothpaste,
$7.99 by
Sensodyne

City
sunscreen
serum SPF 30,
$42 by
Supergoop

Clockwise, from top left

Natural deodorant,
$11.97 by Native

Basil face lotion,
$43 by Le Labo

Classic shaving cream,
$7 by Mario Badescu

Night Rider matte hair paste,
$32.22 by Kevin Murphy

Full shampoo,
$29 by Living Proof

Signature sampler pack,
$10.99 by D'Amico Coffee

ProNamel Gentle Whitening toothpaste,
$7.99 by Sensodyne

City sunscreen serum SPF 30,
$42 by Supergoop

I don’t plan what I’m going to wear until I’m getting ready to head out.

Then I just trust my gut. Whatever makes me feel good at that moment. I may have an idea of what I want to wear for a specific audition or meeting, say, but nothing beyond that.

I think we all forgot how to dress during the pandemic.

For the first six months, I basically wore the same three or four things cause there was nothing to be dressed up for. And wearing more clothes only meant having to do more laundry and that was the last thing I wanted to worry about during the height of quarantine. It's like I had to re-learn to dress myself when things started to go back to some normalcy. As for routine, I tend to call my mom more often these days, because checking in with one another became even more vital when everyone felt so far away.

Never leave
home without ...

Never leave home without ...

I have a silver link bracelet from New Mexico that I bought myself while we were filming Bless Me, Ultima in Santa Fe. That’s normally always on my wrist, I feel naked without it.

NOTE: Items featured in this story are independently selected. Purchasing via our links may earn Valet. a portion of the sale, which helps fund our editorial mission.

The Smart Way
to Start Your Day

The Daily Valet. is your cheat sheet to what you need to know right now. Never feel caught off guard again.

More Morning Routines

Advertisement