As someone who has struggled with skin issues like acne, dryness, and premature aging, I know firsthand how important it is to follow the right skincare routine order. It took a lot of trial and error to figure out which products work best for my skin and the ideal order to apply them in.
Properly layering skincare products helps them absorb better and work more effectively. With so many options out there, it can get confusing trying to determine the proper skincare steps for both morning and evening.
This comprehensive guide will teach you the ideal skincare routine order for day and night to help you achieve your best, healthiest skin.
Why the Right Skincare Routine Order Matters
- Why the Right Skincare Routine Order Matters
- The Ideal Skincare Routine Order For Morning
- Customizing Your Morning Routine for Your Skin Type
- The Ideal Skincare Routine Order For Night
- Enhancing Your Nighttime Routine
- Customizing Your Nighttime Routine
- Tips for Sticking to Your Routine
- Your Skincare Routine, Your Way
When I first got into skincare, I would just apply products in whatever order seemed right. I had no idea that the sequence actually impacts how well the products work! Applying them in the wrong order reduces their effectiveness, while the right order allows the ingredients to penetrate deeper and achieve optimal results.
Here’s why the skincare routine order is so important:
- Applying lighter, water-based products before heavier, oil-based ones allows better absorption.
- pH-dependent products like vitamin C and retinol work best when skin’s pH is properly primed first.
- Using treatments before moisturizers seals in the active ingredients so they absorb rather than evaporate.
- Products work synergistically when layered, boosting their effectiveness.
When in doubt, apply skincare products from thinnest to thickest consistency. Once you understand the reasoning behind the steps, it becomes second nature!
The Ideal Skincare Routine Order For Morning
Our morning skincare routine focuses on preparing and protecting skin for the day ahead. Follow these key steps in the proper order to start your day with a healthy skincare regimen:
The first step is always to cleanse skin to wash away any sweat, sebum, and dirt that accumulated overnight. Use a gentle cleanser that won’t strip the skin. Avoid soap or foaming cleansers in the morning.
For those with oily skin, double cleansing may be beneficial to thoroughly remove oil while still being gentle.
After cleansing, apply a toner to restore skin’s natural pH balance and prep it for the next steps. Look for toners with exfoliating acids like glycolic, lactic, or salicylic acid to gently resurface the skin as well.
3. Apply Serum
Next, apply any targeted serums to address your particular skin concerns. The right serum can brighten, smooth, firm or hydrate skin. With higher concentrations of active ingredients than moisturizers, serums pack a powerful reparative punch.
Try to choose a serum that complements the other products you’re using and apply it to clean, toned skin so it can penetrate optimally.
4. Eye Cream
Don’t forget to show some love to the delicate eye area! Apply an eye cream or gel to hydrate the thin skin around the eyes and reduce any visible puffiness, dark circles, or fine lines.
Next, apply your daily moisturizer to lock in hydration. Look for one that contains broad spectrum SPF of at least 30 to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UVA/UVB rays.
Using a moisturizer containing sunscreen means you get hydration and protection in one easy step.
6. Apply Sunscreen
Even if your moisturizer contains SPF, it’s a good idea to layer on an additional broad spectrum sunscreen for optimal sun protection. Apply one with at least SPF 30, making sure to cover all exposed skin.
For extended sun exposure, don’t forget to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours.
With cleansing, treatments, hydration, and protection, this morning skincare routine order covers all the bases!
Customizing Your Morning Routine for Your Skin Type
Those with different skin types may benefit from customizing their morning skincare routine order to their meet their skin’s needs:
If you have very oily skin, you likely can skip a separate moisturizer in the morning and just apply sunscreen. Opt for an oil-free, mattifying sunscreen instead.
For those with dry skin, use a thicker, more emollient moisturizer before applying sunscreen. You may also skip the toner to avoid over-stripping the skin.
Adding a hydrating serum can provide an extra layer of moisture as well.
No matter your skin type, tailor your morning routine to give your complexion exactly what it needs most!
The Ideal Skincare Routine Order For Night
At night, our skincare routine shifts focus to restoring, nourishing and repairing skin while we sleep. Follow these steps in order for maximum results:
1. Double Cleanse
Start by thoroughly removing all traces of makeup, sunscreen, sebum and pollution with a double cleanse. First use an oil or balm cleanser to melt away makeup and SPF.
Follow with a gentle water-based cleanser to refresh skin.
2-3 times per week, use either a physical or chemical exfoliant after cleansing to slough off dead skin cells. This reveals brighter, smoother skin by accelerating cell turnover.
Choose a scrub with jojoba beads or a peel pad with glycolic acid based on your preference and skin’s needs.
3. Apply Treatment
Treat any skin concerns like dark spots, wrinkles, or acne by applying the appropriate treatment after exfoliating. Using treatments at night allows the actives to penetrate better.
Retinol, benzoyl peroxide, alpha arbutin, and vitamin C are all common overnight treatments.
4. Eye Cream
Follow same as morning routine – apply an eye cream to hydrate, nourish and reduce any visible signs of aging around the delicate eye area.
Apply a nourishing facial serum at night to wake up to glowing, hydrated skin. Hyaluronic acid, peptides, ceramides are all beneficial ingredients to look for.
Slather on a nourishing night cream or moisturizer to lock in hydration as you sleep. Using a moisturizer addresses dryness, prevents transepidermal water loss and keeps skin plump.
Look for moisturizers with anti-aging ingredients like retinol or peptides for added repair. Heavier creams and occlusive ingredients like petrolatum work well at night.
7. Facial Oil
For an extra dose of moisturization, apply a nourishing facial oil like marula, rosehip seed, or jojoba oil after your night cream. Oils penetrate deeply to hydrate while also strengthening the moisture barrier.
8. Spot Treatment
If you deal with breakouts or other localized skin concerns, finish your routine by applying a targeted spot treatment. Benzoyl peroxide, adapalene, salicylic acid, and tea tree oil can help tackle spots.
With cleansing, nourishment, treatment and hydration, this thorough evening routine leaves skin looking rejuvenated by morning!
Enhancing Your Nighttime Routine
In addition to your core routine, you can take your nighttime skincare a step further with these tips:
Acne Spot Treatments
If you deal with breakouts, apply a spot treatment containing acne-fighting ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid or tea tree oil after cleansing and before moisturizing. This treats existing zits while keeping new ones from popping up.
To ramp up collagen production and fade lines and wrinkles while you sleep, use a treatment containing retinoids like retinol 1-2 times per week. Always wear SPF the morning after using.
Alpha hydroxy acids and vitamin C also help stimulate collagen and reduce visible signs of aging.
Customizing Your Nighttime Routine
Tailor your ideal evening skincare routine to your particular skin’s needs:
If your skin tends to be very dry, opt for a richer moisturizer and facial oils to provide deep hydration. Use gentle, non-foaming cleansers and avoid harsh scrubs or acids that may overstrip the skin.
For oily skin, stick to oil-free, non-comedogenic products to avoid clogging pores. Use a salicylic acid cleanser and/or toner to cut through excess sebum and clear acne.
With combination skin, tailor your routine based on your different skin zones. Use a more nourishing moisturizer on cheeks and a lighter gel formula on the oily T-zone, for example.
You can also spot treat – use nourishing ingredients on dry patches and acne treatments on oilier areas that break out.
If your skin is easily irritated, stick to fragrance-free skincare products with minimal ingredients. Avoid common irritants like fragrances, dyes, alcohol, glycolic acid, and retinol.
Focus on gentle hydration and soothing antioxidants like oatmeal, green tea, and chamomile.
Tips for Sticking to Your Routine
Achieving your skincare goals requires consistency. Here are some tips for sticking to your routine each day and night:
- Keep products by your bathroom and bedroom sink to remind you.
- Incorporate skincare steps into your getting ready and wind down routines.
- Start with a basic routine, then gradually add steps like serum, eye cream, etc.
- Apply products you enjoy using – skincare should be relaxing!
Following your customized skincare routine order consistently, both day and night, leads to visible improvements in your skin’s health, hydration and radiance over time.
Your Skincare Routine, Your Way
While the basic skincare steps generally remain the same, the specific products and routines work differently for everyone. Do some trial and error to find the sequence and formulas that nourish your unique skin.
Pay attention to how your skin looks and feels and make adjustments as needed. A glowing complexion awaits you!
With this complete guide to the ideal skincare routine order for morning and night, you now have all the tools to start caring for your skin properly. Just remember to cleanse gently, apply treatments, moisturize thoroughly, and protect from the sun for healthy, radiant skin that lasts!
Founded by Sophia Rodriguez, IGXO Cosmetics is a PETA-certified, cruelty-free, and vegan makeup brand.