Skincare Routine Order – Step By Step Guide & List

With so many skincare products out there it’s SO easy to get confused and frankly frustrated with understanding what to put on and when.

No fret my dear friend…. I’ve got it right here for you no matter what your skincare need is – just follow these steps.

Be sure to reach out to your doctor/dermatologist for any skin condition that is of concern.

Skip to the good part …..

Here is an easy morning 3-Step routine:

To keep it as simple as possible here is a simplified 3 step skincare morning routine order if you don’t use any treatments, serums, or need to exfoliate your skin.

  1. Cleanse
  2. Moisturize
  3. Sunscreen

The full basic skincare routine order:

Use this 10 step skincare routine order if you want the whole kit-n-caboodle for your everyday preventative and proactive skin regimen needs.

  1. Clean
  2. Cleanse
  3. Exfoliate
  4. Tone
  5. Serum
  6. Eye Cream
  7. Treatment (acne, retinol, etc)
  8. Moisturize
  9. Face oil
  10. Sunscreen

skin care routine order Pinterest Pin
The Correct Day and Night Skincare Routine Order

Here we’ve broken that basic skincare routine down to give you more of an idea of what it covers.

We’ve even separated it by daytime and nighttime routine so you can do exactly the right things at the right times to get your best skin ever that glows, is smooth and you can age gracefully (but not look like your age at all!)


Daytime/Morning Routine

1. Remove makeup –

Use makeup remover wipes

2. Cleanser –

Deep cleaning/foam/gentle cleanser – wet skin/apply damp skin to remove dirt and excess oil from the skin without overdrying it, rinse with lukewarm water

3. Cleanser #2 (optional) –

For deeper clean, try double cleansing – washing the face twice, 1st with an oil-based cleanser to remove dirt, oil and makeup, then 2nd with a foaming cleanser to penetrate the skin to ensure a deep clean

4. Exfoliation-

After cleansing but before toning – use to brighten and soften skin with an exfoliation scrub

5. Toner –

Apply to clean & dry skin – toner is to remove any oil, dirt, and residue left on the skin and then to prepare skin for additional treatments like a serum (alcohol-free)

6. Face Mask –

After cleansing & toning but before the rest of the routine –

7. Serum-

Use targeted products to improve any specific skin concerns with highly-concentrated formulas – best to maintain healthy-looking and healthy feeling skin. Keep as close to the skin as possible.

8. Eye Cream –

Apply daily, if not 2x a day (starting in your 20s) to maintain the health and thickness of the eyelid skin. Ensure that the eyelid skin does not easily lose laxity and its smooth appearance later. Consistency can keep the elastic and improve or prevent fine lines and collagen loss. This is not a quick fix, but over time will work.

9. Spot Treatment (acne) –

Should be put on as close to the skin as possible. Can dry out the skin so only apply on spots needed.

10. Retinol (PM only – see nighttime routine below) –

Before moisturizer

11. Moisturizer –

Depends on your skin type – yes, everyone needs it even if you have oily skin. Our body has its own natural lubricating system in glands that secrete an oil (or sebum) to maintain a protective coating. This is also what can build up under blackheads (using a blackhead remover only removes the top layer leaving the sebum underneath)

11. Face oil –

Daytime or nighttime

12. Sunscreen –

use a proper 15spf or more

Nighttime Routine Order

As a special note, you need only apply based on that day’s activities, not what you have in your stash

1. Cleanse (x2 optional)-

Use a wipe, then double cleanse with a face wash

2. Toners-

Toners and layer other skincare boosters like mists, essences, beauty waters or hydrating (hyaluronic acid) serums. All should be lightweight and water-based.

3. Eye cream-

Apply a dedicated eye onto the eyelid the corners and under the eye

4. Treatments, retinol, serums, peels –

Skin does a bulk of repairing, restoring and regenerating when we sleep. Use prescription meds, retinol creams, exfoliating treatments (peel pads and masks), and anti-aging serums (infused with peptides, growth factors and other biologically active ingredients) at night.
**Don’t use retinol creams on the same night as exfoliating treatments. Choose ONE between prescription meds or exfoliating treatments (pads, peels, detoxifying masks) to prevent highly increase of irritating the skin.

5. Moisturizer-

Use an evening moisturizing that fits your skin type or purpose


Skincare Routine Order Cheatsheet Chart

Here’s a quick reference for you to make your skincare easy.
PRINT it and place it in your skincare area for quick reference or SAVE it on your phone.
skin care routine order Pinterest Pin

Items mentioned in this article:

*We sometimes use affiliate links on our site for items that I use, recommend, and love. The links are free for you to use and it helps support my site by providing a commission for the recommendation. I greatly appreciate you clicking on any recommended links I provide.*


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