The Best Skincare Routine For Day-time & Night-time – In The Correct Order

Our site is reader-supported. When you buy a product via our links, we may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Read full disclosure here.

Share the love

You love to have a flawless skin right? Then you have to work for it. You see those celebrities with beautiful skin tone? They aren’t perfect, however, they worked towards it to achieve their skin goals. Although, most of them underwent expensive skincare treatments, such as cosmetic surgery, laser treatment and expensive facials, but regardless, they still worked towards their skin goals. And you know what? You can too — maybe without the luxurious skincare treatments.


But the thing is, with or without using expensive skincare topicals and treatments you can still achieve that gorgeous-looking skin, all you need is to build a solid skincare routine using the right skincare-products suitable for your skin type.

Building a skincare-ritual and being dedicated backed-up with consistency and patience should be your priority to indeed achieve a beautiful-looking skin. But the question is, “how can this be done?”. Relax, we’re here to help you create the best skincare routine for both day and night time, and how they should be applied or layered in correct order.

Therefore, if you’re in the ocean-of-confusion on how to build a decent skincare routine for both day-time and night-time, we gat you. As this content entails an in-depth guide on the best skincare routine for daytime and nighttime and how they should be properly applied or layered in the correct order to avoid possible occurrence of irritations or breakouts, as too much layering of skincare topicals can cause hypersensitivity which triggers redness, it can also clog skin pores which erupts breakouts.

How to Layer Your Skin Care Products: A Step-by-Step Guide.

Have you been asking yourself how to properly layer your skincare topicals? Worry no more, your taste of curiosity is about to be quenched.

The simplest and easiest way to layer your skincare products to achieve or enjoy their full potentials or benefits is following the correct layering order of skincare.

Skincare layering rule is, layer your skincare products from thinnest to thickest. That’s to say, endeavor to first start with applying skincare products with thinner texture up ahead to the ones with thicker texture.

Start with your most watery products, such as toners, serums and essences. Before moving to heavier or more moisturizing ones—like lotions, creams and then oils comes next, followed by sunscreen.

Following this layering order ensures your skin sucks up all skincare products efficiently for effective results.

Applying a heavier cream before a lightweight serum will reduce the penetration of the serum which leads to less or non-effective desired results, you wouldn’t want that right? So……follow the proper layering method — thickest to thinnest.

Now without much ado, let’s dive into the best skincare routine for daytime and nighttime.

Day Time Skincare Routine.

Step 1. Cleanse.

Before starting off your morning skincare routine, first thing first, you cleanse!. This step is very important to get rid of beauty products residues applied (during your night-time routine) and sebum (oil).
You wouldn’t want to apply your skincare products on an uncleansed skin, gross!! who does that?.
Start by splashing clean water on your face, using a gentle facial cleanser (suitable for your skin type), apply some drops on your palms, gently massage onto your face for 2-3 minutes, then wash off using a clean running tap water. You can read: How to choose facial cleansers suitable for your skin type.

Step 2. Toner.

Applying a face toner is very essential as it helps balance the skin pH level. When you cleanse your face using a facial cleanser you may have slightly stripped the skin of its natural oil, thereby reducing its pH level, that’s where a facial toner comes in handy. A facial toner helps normalize skin pH level.

According to Dr. Heather Rogers, a board-certified dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon. “Toners were created to help return the skin’s pH after it became too basic from harsh soaps.” although she further explained that toners can be skipped as some cleansers are now designed to cleanse the skin without reducing pH level. Her words “Face cleansers are now so much better balanced that toners are not a required step for me.” That said, if you have a toner that you like using, there’s no harm in sticking with it”
But regardless, using a facial toner after cleansing your face is recommend. You can try: PCA Skin Nutrient Toner ($40)

Step 3. Antioxidants Serum Treatment.

Applying an antioxidant serum such as vitamin C is highly recommended, as vitamin C protects and neutralizes free radicals, protects the skin against environmental aggressors and reserves skin damages. It exhibits skin-brightening and anti-aging benefits to the skin.
The good thing is, vitamin C is good and suitable for all ages, which makes it commendable to be used daily irrespective of your age. However, those with sensitive skin should stay off L-ascorbic acid form of vitamin C, as it may tend to cause irritation. If you have a sensitive skin type stick with Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate or Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate as they are more stable and mild on the skin. Read more on vitamin C.

Step 4. Eye Cream.

The skin around the eyes is very thin and delicate which makes them vulnerable to puffiness (eye-bags), folds, creases, wrinkles and dark circles. Due to its delicacy and sensitivity, the skin around the eyes gets older first which makes it prone to stretching and sagging, so it matures faster than other parts of your face. Asides old age, other factors such as fluid retention, lack of sleep, allergies, smoking, sun exposure and heredity can also cause under-eye bags and puffiness. So to curtail and minimize under-eye bags puffiness, creases, wrinkles and dark circles, you need to apply an eye cream. See our favorite eye creams to try out.

Step 5. Moisturizer.

It’s time to seal off with a moisture-rich moisturizer. A moisturizer simply combines humectants and emollients or either of the two to deliver intense moisture into the skin, thereby keeping the skin optimally hydrated and baby-soft.
Even though your body has its own natural lubricating system consisting of glands that secrete oil (or sebum) to maintain a protective coating against harsh outside conditions and infections, most of us do need extra hydration after the havoc that sun, weather and harsh chemicals wreak on our skin. Moisturizer not only keeps the skin hydrated but also protects and strengthen the skin’s lipid barrier which helps minimize skin aging signs and promotes overall skin health.

It is always advised to apply your moisturizer on a damp or moist–not dripping wet–skin for optimum hydration effect. As humectants works even better when they come in contact with water (moist or damp skin).

Step 6: Sunscreen.

Most people skip sunscreen. You know what? If you’re one of those, then you’re making a big skincare-mistake. The sun is no friend to your skin. Infact in skincare we coin the sun as “the devil.” Its UV rays are so dangerous that when they hit the skin excessively, they can stimulate melanin production cells to produce more melanin which in turn cause darkening, pigmentations and discolorations.

Whatever you do, never skip sunscreen, as it serves as a barrier between the sun and your skin, thereby shielding your skin from the dangerous UV rays of the sun. Endeavor to use a broad spectrum sunscreen with atleast SPF 30 for adequate protection. You can check out the best non-comedogenic and broad spectrum sunscreens on the market.

Step 7: Lip Balm.

Your lips needs to be shown love too. Regardless if you’re putting on lip stick or not, you definitely need a lip balm to deliver intense moisture to your lips and also protect them from the environmental aggressors and harsh weather conditions.
You can apply lip balm first, then layer your lip stick on top. Some lip balms contains sunscreen (SPF) to protect your lips against the sun. You can check them out.

Night Time Skincare Routine.

Step 1: Double Cleanse.

After your daily activities and all sorts, it’s time for your night time routine. You have to cleanse your face, however this time you have to double cleanse. Why’s that? The reason is, a single cleansing can’t possibly take off make-up and sunscreen residue (which was applied during the day) therefore you need to double-cleanse to ensure a deep cleanse.

Double cleansing is a method of cleansing your face twice: First, with an oil-based cleanser and again with a water-based cleanser. This is to get rid of stubborn pore-clogging impurities and excessive oil.
Board certified dermatologist David Lortscher, M.D. said “The benefit of double cleansing is that the first cleanser will break down any makeup, remove dirt and excess oils from the day and clean your skin. The second cleanser will address your particular skin type or concern and should have ingredients to hydrate, smooth or exfoliate and treat acne.”

Facial cleansers with Alpha and Beta hydroxy acids such as glycolic, salicylic, lactic acid etc, are best recommended as second cleansers as they deeply but mildly exfoliates the skin by sloughing off dead skin cells, unclog congested pores which literally addresses the issues of acne breakouts and prevents possible future occurrence.

While exfoliation should be a priority in every skincare routine using exfoliating facial cleansers for second cleansing is highly recommended as dead skin cells will be ripped off and skin pores will be unclog, thereby increasing better absorption rate of your skincare products for more efficacy. See the best glycolic acid facial cleansers.

Ensure to cleanse your face for atleast 60 seconds before rinsing off. Although, double cleansing is not necessary for everyone. It depends primarily on your skin type and the type of makeup you wear. So, if double cleansing isn’t for you, then skip it and cleanse once instead. But ensure you take-off your makeup first, using the appropriate makeup remover before cleansing your face.

Step 2: Toner.

Of course you need to apply a toner to normalize the skin pH level. This step maybe optional but in an actual skincare routine it’s highly recommended.
And when it comes to double cleansing (during night time routine) I think you really need a toner to gently refresh your skin without stripping it of its natural moisture.

Step 3: Eye Cream.

Apart from addressing aging signs such as crow’s feet, wrinkles and fine lines your under-eyes needs pampering and extra care due to the skin-delicate area. Therefore, they need to be protected from susceptibility of potent skincare ingredients that may cause potential irritations. In this case, an eye cream is a must.
“Generally, you’d want to apply your eye cream before your treatments to protect your eye area against potent ingredients, which could potentially cause irritation,” according to Dr. Rogers.

Step 4: Spot Treatments.

This is where you have to tackle pigmentations or discoloration issues (if you have any). Although the skin undergoes self repair and regeneration process while you sleep, but using a spot treatment will literally add a boost to tackles skin-discolorations such as dark spots, brown spots, age spots sun spots and melasma (also known as mask of pregnancy).

You can use potent de-pigmenting skincare topicals such as alpha arbutin serumvitamin C and kojic acid serums.
Serums for hyperpigmentations are potent, they hit the skin with easy penetration to deliver their potentials that’s why they are highly recommended for spots treatments. You can also read on the best serums for hyperpigmentations (dark spots & melasma).

Step 5: Retinol.

Now, when it comes to building the best skincare routine incorporating retinol or retinoids is highly recommended. We cannot keep stressing this, we always recommend introducing anti-aging products in to your skincare routine as early as age 21, this will perfectly control and prevent skin aging signs before the age of 30 downwards. Remember The earlier the better.

Retinol is a vitamin A derivative which has been in skincare for decades. Retinol helps promote skin regeneration process, encourages cell turnover (which hinders dead skin cells from clogging the pores thereby causing pimples, blackheads and cysts), helps minimize aging signs by boosting collagen and elastin production, which enhance elasticity and firmness.

Therefore introducing retinol serum  or cream into your skincare routine is highly commendable. Note: Always apply a pea size.
Other skincare ingredients that aids minimize skin-aging signs and works well alongside retinol (or retinoids) are hyaluronic acid, ceramides & peptides. See our picks on the best creams to smoothen wrinkles & fine lines.

Note: Don’t use retinol or retinoids in general with AHAs/BHA skincare products or any other exfoliating skincare topicals (like AHA/BHA pads, cleansers, peels or detoxifying masks) on the same night as this may cause irritations or hypersensitivity such as severe dryness, redness or even sore. It’s either you alternate between using AHA/BHA based skincare products or retinol as both are potent acids which can cause Irritations when used together.

“If you use both on the same night, you significantly increase your risk of irritating your skin,” warns Dr. Rogers.

If you must use retinol, then use a mild facial cleanser instead of AHA/BHA based cleanser. And if you must use AHA/BHA facial cleanser or skincare products then skip retinol for the night.
To incorporate both acids into your skincare routine without complications. Use any of the below mentioned technique.

  • Option 1: Use acids in the morning, retinol or retinoids at night.
  • Option 2: Alternate nights, such as: use acids one night, retinol or retinoids the next night.
  • Option 3: Use acids one night, retinol or retinoids the next, then a night off with just a moisturizer.

Note: while applying retinol the skin goes through a purging phase called “retinization“. which includes micro-peelings, flakes, burning sensation and redness. This is absolutely normal but may be more intense on individuals with sensitive skin. Therefore if you have a sensitive skin and you’re concerned about the likelihood of experiencing the retinol purging phase, we gat your back. Here’s a trick on how to avoid retinol irritations.

Step 6: Moisturizer.

Then seal off with a moisture-rich moisturizer. This is the last phase of your skincare routine. When applying your moisturizer, try to be generous. As a well hydrated skin is a happy skin.

Your moisturizer could contains emollients and humectants to pull and retain moisture in the skin. Keeping the skin hydrated all night long (while you sleep). A moisture-rich moisturizer also protects and strengthen your skin barrier which also adds to anti-aging benefits. Everyone loves to wake up (in the morning) with a supple, plump and baby-soft skin. I’m sure you aren’t excluded. So, see the best moisture-rich moisturizers to try out.

Timing Is Essential.

Aside layering your skincare topicals in the correct order for the best skincare routine, it’s also advised you should lay more emphasis on the time it takes for your skin to absorb each skincare product before layering another. This is very important, as the skin has to absorb the product first (before the skincare product can do its job). So, gently massaging your skincare-products into your skin and allowing them absorb before applying or layering another is advised. This is to ensure proper absorption.

Possible Questions & Answers

A Is this skincare routine suitable for all skin types?

Q: This is a basic skincare routine which is ideal for all skin types. However we still stick to skincare standards that recommend performing a patch test prior or before commencing any skincare treatment.

Q: How long should I wait in-between products before layering or applying another?

A: You have to wait a little bit until each skincare product absorbs before applying another. Although each product is different, but wait until the tackiness of the product has subsided. A good rule of thumb is to wait about one minute in between each product.

Best skincare routine
Best skincare routine in the best order to be applied. Pin it. Or Save it.
UP NEXT: Skincare Tips: 11 Skincare Mistakes You’re Making Without Knowing It.


How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 5 / 5. Vote count: 1

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Share the love
You May Also Like