3 Resources For the Best Skin Care Routine Order

skin care routine order

Discovering the best skin care routine order is a challenging task that can take a lot of trial and error. This post will teach you everything you need to know about discovering the best skin care routine for you.

Your skin care routine does not need to be made up of so many steps you can’t remember what they are. Although it is good to use multiple products, you don’t have to incorporate everything at once.

Basic skin care steps include cleansing, treatment, exfoliating, and moisturizing. If you are new to skin care, look for products that correspond with these four basic steps. It is easier to start with a few products and gradually add to your routine as you learn more.

Below are some tips and resources to make this process easier. After you develop a skin care routine that works for you, see 5 Clean Skin Care Tips to Supercharge Your Routine for inspiration.

Questions to consider before starting a skin care routine or making changes to an existent routine:

  • What is your skin type? (oily, dry, combination, or normal)
  • Do you have existing skin conditions (eczema, rosacea) that require professional attention?
  • Do you have sensitive skin?

Skin Care 101 for Beginners

The best place to begin is by using what you already have to create a routine. Take time to research products, and make gradual changes to your routine to prevent overwhelming your skin. Stay tuned for an extensive list of skin care steps below and resources below.

Skin Care Routine Steps

Let’s start with the basics. What does a basic skin care routine consist of? According to Dermstore, there are several steps to include. The NYTimes Magazine is also a great resource. Cosmopolitan also has a great resource: Everything You Need to Know About Korean Skin Care Routines. Since every skin care routine is different, here is an example of what I do based on the resources above (please refer to the resources directly for more details):

  • Cleanser
  • Mask
  • Toner
  • Essense
  • Treatment
  • Oil
  • Moisturizer
  • Sun Block

According to Ipsy, it is best to apply the lightest products first and the heaviest products at the end of your routine: “After cleansing, skincare should always be applied lightest to heaviest (with the exception of SPF which always comes last). So because of its water-like consistency, toner is meant to be applied immediately after cleanser and before serums, moisturizers, and oils.”

In addition to this, you can add eye creams, specific oils or moisturizers to target skin conditions. Tools such as a jade roller in the morning to reduct puffiness underneath the eyes. Toning and essence are important steps to incorporate after you are more familiar with the process.

All of this can be overwhelming for those of you who are new to skin care. Start with what you know, use the resources below to understand how to use what you already have before adding new products.

3 Skin Care Resources

The following skin care resources are designed to help you find products that work for you, determine what your skin needs, and to assess how your products fit into your skin care routine.

Each person has unique skin, and the process of discovering a routine, sorting products, and creating cheat sheets will look different for everyone. Please use the following resources as a guide to help you.

Product Sorting Tools

For those of you who already use multiple products, use a “sort” engine to help you arrange your products in the best order for morning and night use. Finding an order to apply skin care products will be simpler with this virtual tool when you are starting out.

The SkinSort Routine Creator is a great place to start. The organizer does the heavy lifting for you, and helps you arrange the products you already have into the correct order.

Skin Care Cheat Sheets

A cheat sheet is probably the most underrated tip. When I started, I found it especially difficult to apply products without some kind of cheat sheet. Whether it’s your phone, a card, or on the side of your vanity, I recommend something to help you remember which products to apply first.

Skin Care Routine Trello Board Tracker (Bundle)

Download the daily and weekly skin care routine Trello board trackers to document your skin care journey and to keep track of your products for your specialist.

Skin Care Routine Quizzes

If you are uncertain about what your skin needs, there are several skin care quizzes available to help you find the type of products you need to add to your collection.

I recommend using popular skin care quizzes such as those from Sephora, Allure, Total Beauty, or Ulta to begin. If the recommendations aren’t all clean beauty products, you can always find clean alternatives with search engines such as Think Dirty or The Environmental Working Group.

Skin Care Routine Order: Morning and Night

Daily skin care steps at home usually involve a customized version of the steps listed above. Your morning and night routine will differ because overnight masks and treatments will restore your skin overnight.

Morning Tips:

According to Healthline, products applied in the morning are not the same as products applied at night. The order differs as well.


Toners purifies the skin, and minimizes pores. According to Neutrogena, toners also work to balance pH levels and increases the ability of the skin to absorb products.

Moisturizer and Sunscreen

In an interview with Faith Xue, Byrdie’s editorial director, dermatologist Jessica Wu said “Daytime moisturizers have SPF to protect you from UV rays when you’re walking around outside. They also tend to be more lightweight, so you can put makeup on without feeling greasy or looking shiny.” For more of her recommendations, please see the complete interview: Do You Really Need a Daytime Moisturizer? We Asked a Dermatologist.

Nighttime Tips

Night treatments are crucial to restoring skin according to Karen Hammerman who has an MD in Dermatology from Vanguard. In an interview with Glamour’s Beth Shapouri, Hammerman explains that moisturizers serve different purposes at night.

In the interview with Shapouri, Hammerman said “your skin’s needs differ in the morning versus the night. During the day, your skin becomes highly stressed as it is exposed to dirt, oil production, makeup, UV rays, pollutants, and bacteria from touching it, from holding your cell phone to your face, etc. All of this wears at your skin cells and your skin’s collagen.” For the complete interview and tips from Glamour, please see Exactly How Your Morning and Nighttime Skin Routines Should Differ by Beth Shapouri.


Face serums can be used in the morning or at night. However, some face serums are specifically made for nighttime- this is good to know if you want something light weight.

Face serums can be used in the morning or at night. However, some face serums are specifically made for nighttime- this is good to know if you want something light weight.

In the interview, Tanzi described serums as “It’s a highly concentrated formula that usually contains vitamins and nutrients.”

Serums will supercharge your skin care routine by adding extra nutrients to the skin to target concerns and repair the skin from the inside out. 

Night Creams

Night creams are an intensive treatment for the skin. Some prefer to use an overnight mask, while others need creams for hydration.

Goop, the skin care company founded by Gwyneth Paltrow covers the topic extensively. According to Goop’s article Do You Really Need a Night Cream?, night creams are an important step in skin care: “All the skin-reviving active ingredients, oils, and extracts can go to work unperturbed without getting broken down by sunlight or perspiration or simply getting rubbed off during the course of a day, which is another reason night creams can make such an enormous difference.”

If you are unable to resolve your skin concerns, or have a condition, seek professional care. Whether you go to an organic spa and speak to a certified specialist or you visit a dermatologist, it is always best to consult a specialist before making changes to your skin care routine.

Similar Posts