Learn the importance of skincare routine order and expert tips for layering products effectively. Discover morning and nighttime routines for glowing skin.

The best skincare routine using exactly the right products still may not work if the products aren’t applied in the right order. But what exactly is the right order? In this blog, we’ll talk through the most important aspects of your skincare routine order to achieve maximum efficacy and keep skin looking and feeling flawless.

Why Skincare Routine Order Matters

Building a good skincare routine is like making anything else – following the right steps matters. Imagine if you tried to assemble a piece of furniture, but instead of following the directions provided, you just pieced it together in a random order. The odds aren’t good that piece of furniture is going to function as intended. The same is true for a poorly implemented skincare routine. Even if all the right components are present, it may not work as planned.

The Basic Order of Any Skincare Routine

While a skincare routine may require some flexibility, you can usually determine the best skincare order by following one rule – apply products from thinnest to thickest. The thicker the skincare product, the more difficult it’s going to be for anything applied after it to be fully absorbed. When applied properly, skincare products that have a lighter, thinner consistency should be absorbed quickly and completely. The thicker products, like moisturizers and sunscreen, are usually designed to stay on the outer layers of skin.

Your Daytime Skincare Routine

Keeping skin safe and healthy throughout the day requires a carefully selected product lineup that’s applied properly.

If you’re learning how to layer skincare products, you can consider the following routine:

  • Cleanser – there’s a fine line between cleansing skin effectively and over washing. That’s why it’s important to choose a gentle cleanser and wash skin using lukewarm or cool water to avoid stripping excess moisture from skin. SkinCeuticals Glycolic Renewal Cleanser offers gentle exfoliation to remove dead skin cells, smooth uneven texture, and thoroughly clean skin.
  • Toner – is designed to restore skin’s natural pH balance. It also deep cleans into pores preventing and breaking down clogs and allowing skincare products you apply after to be fully absorbed. The Revision Skincare Soothing Facial Rinse is an alcohol-free, non-drying toner that balances pH and improves skin’s ability to absorb skincare products.
  • Antioxidant Serums – antioxidants keep skin safe from sun and pollutant damage by neutralizing free radicals. In the short-term, this can give your sunscreen an added boost to prevent burns. Long-term, antioxidant use may slow the development of wrinkles and even reduce risk for skin cancer. MD Skin Essentials Fortify offers a unique blend of antioxidants with ferulic and lactic acid that work together to ensure optimal efficacy of ingredients.
  • Treatments – these are unique to your skin health needs and goals, and they may even be prescribed by a dermatologist or medical provider. You can also apply products like Epionce Purifying Spot Gel to spot treat acne blemishes.
  • Eye Cream – to reduce puffiness, dark circles, and fine lines around the eyes, finding a good eye cream is a must. Revision C+ Brightening Eye Complex offers soothing hydration and protects sensitive skin from sun damage.
  • Moisturizer – applying moisturizer adds hydration, and it also regulates the body’s production of natural, sebum oils, preventing oiliness. In the mornings, you can use a lightweight moisturizer like EltaMD AM Therapy Facial Moisturizer that is easily absorbed to boost hydration without leaving skin feeling greasy.
  • Sunscreen – finish up your morning skincare routine with a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Face Shield Glow SPF 50. offers protection against the sun’s UVA and UVB rays as well as blue light. It’s a fully mineral sunscreen that is easily absorbed and won’t leave behind a chalky residue.

Your Nighttime Skincare Routine

Nighttime skincare routines should rejuvenate skin. Healing and restoring damage, soothing and calming inflammation, and allowing skin to rest and rejuvenate.

Your nighttime skincare routine should include:

  • Cleanser – remove any cosmetics. Then, use the same cleanser from your morning routine, or you can switch it up to the Pavise Gentle Amino Powerwash. This cleanser was designed specifically to remove sunscreen without leaving behind residue or irritating skin. It’s a great product for use in the evening to thoroughly remove all dirt, grime, and product buildup on skin.
  • Toner – to deep clean into pores and balance pH, you can apply toner. If you have very sensitive skin or notice your skin looks or feels dry, you may want to skip toner at night or use a soothing option like the ZO Skin Health Calming Toner.
  • Retinol – it’s almost always recommended to use retinol as part of the evening skincare routine because it is considered a sun reactive product. Because retinol can be irritating, it’s best to start with a lower concentration, unless advised differently by a dermatologist. If you’re looking to build up your retinol, consider the SkinCeuticals Retinol It starts with a very low .3% concentration, and you can work all the way up to a 1% retinol formulation.
  • Eye Cream – the sensitive skin around the eyes should be treated with soothing, hydrating products in the evening to boost moisture, reduce puffiness, and prevent dark circles. The Revision Skincare Teamine Eye Complex provides advanced hydration that brightens and smooths skin around the eyes.
  • Moisturizer – last but not least, use a thick, cream-based moisturizer to drench skin in soothing moisture overnight. Sente Dermal Repair Ultra-Nourish restores skin’s barrier function, soothes, and hydrates.

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Skin Care Routine Steps

A dermatologist can help you find the exact products you need to achieve your specific skincare goals, but as long as you are consistent with your daily skincare routine, you’ll be much more likely to keep skin healthy. Use our quick reference skincare routine guide below as an easy morning and evening skincare checklist.

Morning Skincare

  • Cleanser
  • Toner
  • Serums & Treatments
  • Eye cream
  • Acne Spot Treatment if using
  • Moisturizer
  • Sunscreen

Nighttime Skincare

  • Cleanser
  • Toner
  • Eye cream
  • Retinol
  • Moisturizer

Create Your Ideal Skincare Routine

If you’re interested in building your ideal skincare routine, we hope you’ll explore all that Derm Skincare has to offer. We have a wide range of dermatologist-curated skincare products to meet just about any skin health needs. You can come back regularly to read our blog and learn more about how to care for your skin.