What Order Should I Follow for My Skin Care Routine?

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Whether you want a simple 3-step routine for the morning or have time for a full 10-step regimen at night, the order in which you apply your products matters.

Why? There isn’t much point in having a skin care routine if your products don’t get a chance to penetrate your skin.

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Read on to learn more about how to layer for maximum impact, which steps you can skip, what products to try, and more.

What should I use in the morning?

Morning skin care routines are all about prevention and protection. Your face is going to be exposed to the outside environment, so necessary steps include moisturizer and sunscreen.

What should I use at night?

Focus on repairing the damage done during the day with thicker products at night. This is also the time to use anything that makes skin sensitive to sunlight, including physical exfoliants and chemical peels.

Frequently asked questions

What routine should I follow for dry skin?

If your skin is dry, focus your routine on hydration and building a healthy skin barrier. Follow the steps above but swap out products that may be too harsh or acidic for those that add moisture to your skin and help it retain that moisture.

What is a basic skin care routine?
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A basic skin care routine has fewer steps than an expanded one but keeps your skin clean and healthy. The steps can depend on your needs and the amount of time you have. Usually, a basic routine includes removing makeup, cleansing your face, applying a spot treatment for any blemishes, using sunblock during the day, and putting on moisturizer.

At what age should you start a skin care routine?

It’s never too early — or late — to start a skin care routine. Even kids can practice taking care of their skin by washing their faces when they wake up and before bed and applying sunscreen during the day.

But, choose the steps and specific products in your routine for your skin concerns and age. Adolescents, for example, may need a routine built on products to help manage blemishes and oily skin. Adults may focus more on products that support their skin as it ages. Build a routine that’s right for you.

The bottom line

Not everyone loves a 10-step routine, so don’t feel pressured to include every step in the above lists.

For many people, a good rule of thumb is to apply products thinnest to thickest — for however many products that may be — as they move through their skin-care' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' >skin care routines.

The most important thing is finding a skin-care' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' >skin care routine that works for you and that you’ll follow. Whether that involves the whole shebang or a simplified ritual, have fun experimenting.

Read more on: skin, skin care, skin care routine steps

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