The Proper Order of a Skin Care Routine

Picture middle school science class. That classic scene where someone’s about to mix the wrong additive and create an unfavorable chemical reaction. On the path toward clearer skin, we encounter endless advertisements for the best face serum or best facial wash. And while there are some incredible products available as chemistry and technology evolve, the order of skin care routine is essential.


Taking care of your skin boils down to basic biology. Literally. 

 

Why does the order of product application matter?

Any esthetician or dermatologist will tell you the important order of operations when it comes time to layer your skin care, especially if you’re using a magnifying glass on those pores every day. Our skin is the largest largest organ on her body and exists to protect us from the outside, in. 


There are very few ingredients that are able to deeply penetrate your skin. Even when the formula is perfectly dialed in, and perfectly applied, you won’t see the results that you’re hoping for unless you couple them accordingly.

 

The basics of a skincare routine

When we peel back the layers of skin care routines, they all come from the same basic foundation.

 

Try to receive personalized product recommendations

Dialing in the perfect skin care routine that fits your needs requires more than a quick skim on Reddit. When you’re working with an aesthetician, they can help identify your skin specific needs. Just because a certain product tremendously improved another person's hyperpigmentation does not mean that your chemistry will receive that product in the same way. 


There are plenty of opportunities for your skin to break out, cause redness and irritation. Still, the fact remains that you won’t know unless you try, and you won’t know what to try without the guidance of a trained professional.

 

General routine order rules

With a myriad of rules to follow, skin care routine tends to feel out of reach. The ideal situation is one that is cost and time effective. In order to reap all the benefits you can from your skin care products, layering them it’s just one way to go about it. One thing you can consider is the amount of time that goes by between applying each product. 


You can make this easy for yourself, especially at night. With the more intensive routine saved for your evening, you can enjoy reading your book or watching your favorite show and slowly apply all of your products before you go to sleep. It can be a 10 minute process or an hour, but it all depends on how quickly your skin absorbs each process.

 

How to order your daytime routine: step-by-step instructions

Every single step you take toward healthier skin counts. And there’s a specific order of operations that allows you to take advantage of each ingredient in the best way it can be utilized. Little effort, big results.

 

1: Cleanser

Starting your day off right can look a little different for everyone, but washing off the sweat, dead skin cells and exhaustion from a good night's sleep is the best place to begin. Cleansing your skin, especially with warm water, not only clears away dirt and grime, but warm water can help open up your pores, leaving them in an even better position to soak up the delicious products you’re about to layer on your face. 

moisturizer

Makeup wipes simply will not do it. Getting your face lathered up with warm steam and unclogging those temperamental sebaceous filaments leaves you with the perfect, supple morning skin that you’ve been dreaming of. 

 

2: Toner

Toners are the classic step two in nearly every single skin care routine you’ll encounter. After cleansing, your skin has the opportunity to expel dirt and grime and using a toner can help wipe some of that residue away.


There are plenty of misconceptions about toners. Toners are to be used in moderation at a frequency of around 2 to 3 times per week. This gives your skin enough time to create some build up so that you’re not over exfoliating and leaving your skin susceptible to inflammation and redness.

 

3: Serums targeted for skin concerns

Everyone loves a good serum. And even when we have three in one serums that knockout all concerns at once, layering them is too fun to just use one. But the truth is that using multiple serums that target different levels of skin health can be incredibly beneficial for skin cell turnover and regeneration.


Serums are intensely concentrated vitamins, minerals, actives and other goodies that your pores love to soak up. They help us to ditch damaged skin, treat hyperpigmentation, hydrate and more. Hyaluronic acid is the crown jewel of the serum world. Doubling its weight in water, applying hyaluronic acid to damp skin can pack and seal your pores with proper nourishment and hydration.

 

4: Eye cream

Eye creams are going through an era of being foolishly disregarded and undervalued. As one of the final steps in your skin care routine, the right eye cream can buff up your order of operations. It’s true that dragging your moisturizer around your eyelids and under eye is a great way to keep your eye area hydrated. But certain eye creams have concentrated amounts of actives that hold anti-aging properties like retinoids or vitamin C.


Since our eye areas are so sensitive, being intentional with what we put around them is crucial. Eye creams are specifically designed to treat the thin, delicate skin around our eyes. So don’t skip out on the best step in your routine.

 

5: Spot treatment

Spot treatments are truly the fairy godmother of skin care products. They waltz on in with a purpose and typically exceed expectations. Whether you’re treating zits, dark spots or other skin concerns, layering your spot treatment between serums and moisturizers gives it a sweet spot of canvas to work with.


Pairing the spot treatment with something like niacinamide can take anti-acne care up a notch. Niacinamide keeps inflammatory forms of acne at bay. No papules and pustules over here.

 

6: Moisturizer or hydrator

Where would we be without moisturizers? The truth is that if you’re not applying a daytime and nighttime moisturizer yet, we’re gonna need to sit down and have a talk. Your skin does its best work at night. 


While you sleep, your body goes to work repairing itself and that includes our largest organ. Moisturizers lock in all the layers like the cherry on top. If you’re prone to dry skin, your body is automatically producing excess oil. Excessive oil can end up clogging your pores and leading to a breakout. If you keep your skin moisturized, there’s no need for it to work overtime to hold onto that hydration. Moisturizing goes far beyond simply keeping your skin feeling smooth.

 

7: Sunscreen

If you don’t know much about sunscreen, you’re going to be so mad when you finish reading this section. Sunscreen is the beginning and end of all of your skin care. If you do not protect your skin from harmful ultraviolet rays, no amount of serums or moisturizers will save you. 


Sunscreen is a preventative, and the very definition of that word is to keep your skin from experiencing external damage. If you can remember to apply sunscreen every day, and you don’t already, you’re going to notice an enormous shift in the quality of your skin. Plus, your face will thank you with a beautiful glow and supple touch.

 

8: Foundation (optional)

Depending on your skin care needs and skin type, foundation may or may not be applicable to your routine. If it isn’t, congratulations! You’ve just reached the end of your skin care routine in chronological order. If it is, you want to save this step for last. If you’re hoping to make the switch to a lighter foundation, tinted moisturizers are an excellent option. Many have buildable coverage and do an excellent job at keeping your skin hydrated.

 

How to order your nighttime skin care routine: step-by-step instructions

Just like your daytime routine, your nighttime skin care routine is only as good as the awareness you have around what to layer, when. At night, your skin can walk back free radical damage, repair itself and offer a renewed slate to work with the following morning. 


Our skin tends to produce less see them in the evening, so by adding in your hydrating serums and moisturizers, you’ll prevent transepidermal water loss. It turns out that beauty rest is a very real thing.

 

1: Cleanser and makeup remover

There’s nothing better than putting on your pajamas and getting ready for bed. Your first step before you climb into your dream scape is to cleanse your face thoroughly and use make up remover to touch up any remaining traces. 


Priming your skin for a good night's sleep can go a long way.

 

2: Exfoliator

Though there's an almost endless amount of exfoliators on the market, each one has a certain goal or area of improvement. Exfoliation could be anything from alpha hydroxy acids to a gentle oatmeal scrub. 


Exfoliators exist to knock loose excess dirt and grime in the pores and create a clean slate to work with.

 

3: Toner

Following up from an off day of toner can be super beneficial at night. Giving your skin space to breathe and renew can help even your skin tone and even address uneven texture.


Toners help minimize the appearance of pores, tightening them post cleansing and reducing the long term exposure to air pollutants and contaminants we battle each and every day. Any leftover makeup from your day can be removed through toners, and if you're ready for smoother looking skin, this is the perfect place to start.

 

4: Treatments, including peels, retinol, serums, and others

Before bed is one of the most ideal times to lay your extra delicious, super hydrating skin care products. Whether you’re opting for a chemical peel after your facial or hoping to slowly introduce retinol into your routine, we’re here for it.

 

5: Hydrator or hydrating mask

Do not overlook the potential that a face mask can have. While you’re living your life, your face mask is doing the work. Choosing a hydrating mask to support your skin time is a game changer. That’s the type of accessibility we’re hoping to inspire.

 

6: Eye cream

Remember that eye creams are your best friend. They can act as an occlusive to seal off what we’ve already worked so hard to protect. Adding this staple into your nighttime routine will address morning puffiness and dehydration.

 

7: Face oil

Face oils are truly a gift from the goddesses above. In an effort to strengthen your stratum corneum, or your outermost layer of skin, face oils can step in as a softener and sealant. Packed with antioxidants, adding a face oil into your nighttime skin care routine creates hydration benefits that can be felt far into the next day. 


Face oils are the masters behind that healthy, beautiful glow we get when we follow a routine. They can also assist and the application of foundation. Oils pass through your skin quickly, trapping water and balancing your skin's natural oil production.

 

8: Night cream

Ending your skin care routine with a night cream really ties the process together. 


Night creams can help boost collagen production adding a sensitive firmness and plump, hydrated cheeks. They cream skin target wrinkles, fine lines and are suitable for all ages. Offering a little extra moisture to the dry patches on your face, your night cream is the pretty bow you tie a gift up with.

 

Skincare products from It’s a Beauty Ritual

The good news about creating a skin care routine specific to your skin type is that there’s so much hope and so many benefits that you’re bound to see incredible results. 


Working with a specialist or esthetician on identifying your skin type and needs can help you whittle down the perfect range of products to add to your routine. If you’re curious about how to get started, connect with our website to learn more about how to get the most from your skin care routine.