When it comes to skin care, the only thing more important than the ingredients you use is the order that you use the products in. Knowing the right skincare routine order sounds daunting, but we promise you that it isn’t! Learning what order to use skincare products in has never been easier with this guide.
What’s the Right Order to Use Your Skincare Products In Your Routine?
Your skincare routine order should vary between day and night. Not by much, but there are some key differences. At night, you’ll need to thoroughly cleanse your skin from being out and about during the day, including removing your makeup. During the day, you’ll need to protect your skin from the sun properly. These little nuances make a huge difference in your skin!
Use daily. Morning & Evening.
PRO tip: get double the benefit with an oil cleanser, which also removes makeup.
Cleansing your skin well sets up your entire skincare routine for success. The order of a good skincare routine starts with cleansing with gentle, skin-appropriate cleansers.
Start your night routine order with an oil cleanser. They're gentler on the skin and provide a much more thorough cleanse. A good cleansing oil will remove all makeup effortlessly so you don’t have to use separate makeup remover.
Cleansers are also a great way to add a short treatment to your routine. Some are formulated with ingredients to provide a quick shot of exfoliation or nourishment, such as our Glycolic Acid Cleanser.
Exfoliant / Exfoliator
2-4x a week. Morning or Evening.
Everyone’s familiar with this term, but not everyone knows how to do it right. First off, it’s easy to go over the top and try to exfoliate every day, twice a day to ‘speed things up’. This is a recipe for disaster and irritated skin. Daily exfoliation isn’t necessary, but regular exfoliation goes a long way. 2-4 times week is a great starting point for exfoliation to help get rid of any excess dead skin cells that are clogging pores.
The correct face care routine order for exfoliation is right after cleansing when your skin is clean and ready to make the most of your exfoliant. Chemical exfoliants, like lactic acid and glycolic acid, can be gently swiped on with a cotton round once a day as part of your night skincare routine. Correctly-formulated physical exfoliants can also help make skin glow by physically (and gently) buffing away dead skin cells.
Optional. Morning & Evening
Toners balance the skin pH (or acidity level). Toners are only recommended if they have ingredients that can make a difference to your skin, such as Hyaluronic Acid, CoQ10, or other beneficial extracts. If not, you can totally skip this in favor of more concentrated products such as serums.
The skin around our eyes is the thinnest on our entire bodies. And shows more signs of aging than any other area. It's important to use eye creams before there are too many layers of other products on your skin. The best skin care routine order includes applying eye cream on as close to naked skin as possible. When choosing an eye cream, look for these peptides that have proven to work for dark circles, eye bags and crow’s feet.
As needed. Morning OR Evening
Serum / Treatment
As Needed. Morning OR Evening
Serums are formulated to give your skin a targeted dose of a specific ingredient. They’re usually thinner in texture and target a specific skin concern. For example, a Vitamin C serum is designed to target the signs of aging and brighten skin, thanks to its antioxidant-rich formula. Serums can also target hydration by including hyaluronic acid. These serums can be used morning OR night.
Serums themselves can also be layered on top of each other depending on their texture, or used at different times during your routine. Most serums are water-based and can be layered easily, just wait until your first serum is absorbed before applying the next one. If you’re using any oil-based serums, they should go after any water-based ones.
Use daily. Morning only
80% of all signs of aging - from dark spots to wrinkles - are due to sun exposure (year round). Using proper sun protection daily is an essential step to skincare! When it comes to your morning skin care routine order, this should be the final step. That’s where using a properly rated SPF comes in. A minimum SPF 30 is recommended, and that protects skin against 96% of ultraviolet rays. Higher SPF 50 protects skin against 98% of them!
Moisturizer / Cream
Use daily. Morning & Evening
Moisturizers and creams provide slower absorption for a sustained moisture boost. They also lock in all the hydration and treatments that you’ve already put on your skin. They can come in light, gel formulas for oily and combination skin and heavier, richer formulas to nourish dry skin.
Some moisturizers also provide double-duty by containing skin-nurturing ingredients in their formulas like retinoids or collagen peptides - two of the most powerful anti-aging types of ingredients.
A retinoid cream is great for targeting both acne and anti-aging thanks to its ability to encourage skin cell turnover, something that reduces the look of fine lines and gets rid of acne.
Peptides are great for targeting wrinkles for a more firm and smooth looking skin.
Optional. Morning OR Evening
We’ve come a long way from the days when oils were not recommended for ANY skin type to use, at all. Oils actually have a lot of great benefits to skin—providing moisture, healing damaged skin, and even antioxidant benefits. However, not all oils are created equal.
You can use them instead of moisturizers. While they’re not recommended for a daytime skin care routine for oily skin, dry-skinned folks might enjoy using oils during the day.
The most important part
When it comes to knowing what order to use skincare products the most important part is to listen to how your skin reacts to products. Adjust accordingly. There is no guide that will work perfectly for you, all the time. Your skin's doing well with exfoliation? You could increase to 3-4 times a week. Do you want to prevent under-eye wrinkles? Add an eye cream.
As long as you pick the right ingredients at high enough concentrations and follow the correct skincare routine order, your skin will be glowing!