It’s safe to say that if you are a woman, even if you love skincare like me, that you end up opening your draw and staring at all these products that you’re not quite sure how to use. I call this the product graveyard, “where products go to die.” You spent money on them, you thought they looked promising, but then you weren’t quite sure where in your skincare routine they should go.
Raise your hand if at some point in your life you have done this?
It’s ok. I’m here to help because I have felt the same exact way!
If you are looking at a ton of cleaners, toners, serums, oils, creams of all kinds, sunscreens, etc. and you have no idea what comes first, middle, last, day or night — guess what? You aren’t alone.
And if you are a mom like me and struggle for me-time while getting the kids off in the morning and then fighting them to go to bed at night (and stay in bed) then, getting your skincare routine in and on before passing out yourself is probably a struggle, so stay tuned. You are my people and I got you covered.
Here is what I am going to do for you in this post:
- I am going to break it down for you in steps for day and night.
- I am going to suggest some products that I have used and liked (and are clean). None of these products are sponsored. They are my true opinions.
- I am going to tell you which ones are truly optional. Moms out there I know and hear you. We are the same.
- I’m going to give you a comprehensive low-down on other techniques and ways you can achieve great skin.
When I got the idea for this post, I started to research and one of the first things that I found is, “It matters the order the skincare goes in.” So, if you ever picked up a product and thought that it didn’t work, it might be because it wasn’t being used in your skincare line-up properly. Applying things in the correct order helps your skin get the most benefit from each product. You have products that are designed to keep things out, and you have others whose main duty is to let the nourishing ingredients in. Then I found that the in-between process is important too. Meaning, sometimes you need to let a step settle a minute on your skin before rushing off to the next product and other times if your skin is still damp make use of it because it is the perfect time to put on the next skincare step in the line-up for the most absorption.
It may sound like a lot, but I assure you when I break it down for you here you are going to feel so much better about all of this, and the most important part is —you will be informed! After this, you can run and tell your bestie, mom and sister all you know.
I’m going to start now with THE RULE that you need to keep in your back pocket when it comes to skincare and it is:
Put on lightest to heaviest, thinnest to thickest. Put the skincare on first that needs to penetrate and those that sit on top of skin last.
So, let’s get into this and truly give you the rundown.
- Daytime Skincare Routine
Step 1: Cleanse (optional for people who have drier skin types.)
I have drier skin, so I completely skip washing with water in the morning, and I move straight to the next step. But, if you have oily skin or you can’t get your head around not washing with water in the morning, here are a few that are good for all skin types. The best type of cleansers are the ones that don’t strip your natural oils and keep your PH balance. I call them the gentle cleansers.
- This is the one that I recently bought by Trilogy. (This is great for dry, reactive skin)
- This one is by Kypris I also have used and like (granted the times I have used them is at night not morning). (This is great for all skin types.)
- This one by Osmia is great for detoxifying. (Great for oily skin, if you have drier skin or skin with a condition like rosacea then this is great as well, but I only recommend using once a day, so if you wash both morning and night use it one time for either.)
- Either Monat’s Be Gentle (creamy) or Be Balanced (foamy) cleansers. I love Monat. Everything they make is quality.
Step 2: Tone
You want a kind toner that isn’t harsh. Toners help with the penetration of serums that you are going to use in the next step. Toners will help balance your skin’s PH balance after cleansing.
If you are using the same method that I use and move right to step two, I use a cotton round and wipe my whole face down after I spray my toner on my face and neck. If you don’t have a spray toner then put the toner on your cotton round and then wipe.
Here are some toners:
- This is the one I use by Averr Aglow. It smells amazing! Made with roses and cucumbers, I feel like it really helps my skin absorb the rest of my skincare after use.
- Another that I would like to try is by Herbivore Botanicals.
Look on clean beauty sites like Credo Beauty to browse the toners they have, read about them, and decide what is right for you.
Step 3: Serum (optional)
While your skin is still damp from your toner, apply your serum. This will give it maximum absorption. Serums are products that target specific skincare concerns. So, do you need brightening, acne control, mature skin or have inflammation issues? Let your serum do its thing before moving on with the next steps. Serums are thinner therefore always applied before moisturizers.
Here are some targeting different issues:
- Pai Instant Calm Redness Serum is one that I have been using for about 6 months. I have reactive skin that sometimes becomes inflamed or can break out into rosacea so this perfect for calming skin.
- One Love Organics Vitamin C Moisturizing Serum is another that I have used. It is great for boosting dull skin and helps support an even complexion.
- This one from Beuti Skincare called Beauty Sleep Elixir is on my list.
- This Monat Rewind Age Control Nectar is on my list too and let’s be honest, I’ll probably even try it before the one above because I know the line and everything I have ever used from this company has shown amazing results.
You can look up a ton of different serums. They cover all skin aliments—aging, dry skin, acne, resurfacing, brightening or balancing. You name it they have it.
Step 4: Oil (optional)
This is a step that I don’t think is for everyone. If you have reactive skin, it might be a good idea to skip this step as your skin might not like multiple products. If you have any skin condition like rosacea, dermatitis, etc. less is sometimes better. Since oils are thinner in consistency than a moisturizer, they go on first. Oils actually absorb into the skin while moisturizers stay on top to protect.
Some oils you can try are:
- I have not tried this Goop Enriching Face Oil yet, but I have loved everything that I have tried from this line. It adds extra moisture and is made to super charge your moisturizer. If you are in cold weather for the next few months try this!
- Juice Beauty USDA Organic Treatment Oil is a multi-use product, so you get more for your money. It can be used on your face, body or hair. This is also made for extra hydration.
Step 5: Moisturize
We are almost at the end now. Moisturizers lock in moisture and help to create a barrier against the elements. Moisturizers are great applied right after the previous step, since it is great to apply them to damp skin to lock in much needed moisture.
Here are some that I have used and love:
- Osmia Purely Simple Face Cream is great for all skin types and will not bother reactive or sensitive skin.
- Be Balanced Moisturizer is a great daytime lotion because it is lightweight. Great under makeup because it isn’t heavy.
Step 6: Sunscreen
I feel like this is the most important step out of a daytime routine. It should always go on last to protect your skin from UV rays.
Here are a few I rotate and really like:
- The one I am currently using is this Coola Classic Face Organic Sunscreen. It works great with my skin and it has never broken me out. I put it on right before I put on my makeup.
- Another I have used, and liked is this Hynt Sun Prep. It is another one that is a great primer to your makeup application.
With this you have a complete daytime routine at your fingertips, and you can customize which steps you want to use and which ones you would like to leave out.
Now, onto the night routine…
- Nighttime Skincare Routine
Ok, so this will differ slightly than your daytime routine so let’s chat about what you should be doing pre zzz’s.
Step 1: Cleanse
Wash away your day! I usually use something like a rosehip oil or jojoba oil to take off my eye make-up and all traces of make-up on my face. You can use something to get your make-up off first and then cleanse OR you can find a cleanser that does double-duty, it’s just your preference. I always take my make-up off first and I switch out my cleansers depending on the time of the year.
Here are some cleansers that I have used:
- If you don’t like to use the types of oils I mentioned above to pull off makeup and pollutants from your day try this Kypris Cleanser Concentrate or this Elemis Cleansing Balm. The second one isn’t as clean as the first, but I have used it a lot in my past and love it for cold months.
- For regular cleansing afterward I would use this one by Osmia which is great for detoxifying. (Great for oily skin, if you have drier skin or skin with a condition like rosacea then this is great as well, but I only recommend using once a day, so if you wash both morning and night use it one time for either.)
- Either Monat’s Be Gentle (creamy) or Be Balanced (foamy) cleansers. I love Monat. Everything they make is quality, but I prefer the Be Gentle at night for the extra hydration.
Step 2: Tone
I use a different toner at night that has some anti-aging benefits, but you could definitely use the same one you do in the morning for this step. This will prep your skin for your nighttime serum. I use this toner because it helps me with bumps I get on my skin if I don’t get enough exfoliation in my routine. The kicker is that my skin usually reacts poorly to physical exfoliation so I need something that chemically will exfoliate.
- The toner I use: The Ordinary Glycolic Acid Toner. I love it. There is no going back for me. It exfoliates my skin without scrubbing and improves the texture which is something I struggle with.
And some others I like:
2. Monat’s Skin Revitalizing Essence. It replenishes skin and helps prepare it to take in the next steps.
3. This is the one I use in the morning but it is also great at night by Averr Aglow. It smells amazing! Made with roses and cucumbers, I feel like it really helps my skin absorb the rest of my skincare after use. I switch on and off with this product and 1 above.
Step3: Eye cream
This will help your delicate eye area regenerate while you snooze. Apply this before any treatment products to protect skin from any potential irritation.
Some of the creams that save my peepers since I’m a mom and I never get enough sleep:
- Eye Smooth by Monat. It comes with its own little eye roller. I love this for night. Basically, it does everything you would want an eye cream to do.
- Alpyn Plant Genius Line-Gilling Eye Balm is one of my favorites for extra dry skin.
- Goldfaden Bright Eyes. If you struggle with the genetic disposition of dark circles under your eyes, this cream might become your best friend!
Step 4: Serum
Just about every dermatologist or esthetician you go to will recommend retinol. It’s the super product that is supposed to improve your skin overall. Many people suffer from irritations and reactions from it though. If what I’m describing is you, there are alternatives! Apply every night or a few times a week as your skin needs and you will, for sure, see a difference in your skin texture and overall appearance. I need to use a retinol each night because my skin needs that cell turn over more than most. When I don’t, I feel like my skin is bumpy looking.
Here are some to try:
- This one is an alternative, so if you suffer with sensitive skin or very reactive skin, try this one first. It’s called Kypris Moonlight Catalyst. It’s a herbal alternative to renew and revitalize the skin at night.
- Marie Veronique Gentle Retinol Night Serum. Gives your skin the retinol you need without being harsh.
- I will say here that if you have questions and if retinol bugs your skin, go see your dermatologist. My skin would get red and angry from it and I spoke with my derm and she found me one that works amazing for my skin type. And total disclaimer here if you don’t already know, I’m all about balance. I use almost all clean, natural and plant derived products however if I can’t find a natural product that does what I need it to do I will compromise and use a product that isn’t 100% clean. I am always be transparent with that!
Step 5: Moisturizer or Night Cream
You can use the same daytime moisturizer or choose a heavier cream to prevent water evaporation as you wake up. I’m going to list a few night creams since if you want lighter moisturizers you can look at the daytime ones in the beginning of this post. It’s going to really depend on your skin and what you like and what goal you are trying to achieve. Also, for me, I take into consideration the time of year. Right now, it is cold as we approach winter so I am opting for a heavier cream, but during the summer I might reach for a lighter lotion since I may not be dealing with dried out skin. This is also a perfect time to put on your favorite face oil. Or you can layer as I do. I put a little moisturizer in my hand and then of few drops of my favorite oil, then mix together and put on my face. Go to bed glowing, wake up shining like a star.
Some products I use:
- I just ordered this brand-new night cream from Monat and it can’t get here soon enough. I can’t wait to try it!
- Another brand I love is Goop. Everything I have tried from them has been really good. This Replenishing Night Cream helps to moisten the skin and give you a healthy glow.
Step 6: Overnight Masking or Mask once a week (optional)
Personally, I love to mask, but overnight masking isn’t always my jam. I do like a good mask once a week and I will put my favorite mask below. When doing research, it said that overnight masking was a thing. There are definitely some masks that this would work with so I will put a few suggestions below, but if you are like me and it’s just not your thing, that is cool.
Some masks to try:
Once a week masking: this is my go-to by Goop. It makes you look like you just had a facial. I always do it at night because it can make your skin a little red…not irritated, but it brings color up as it exfoliates.
- This Aver Aglow Clear Skin Elixir is great for acne prone skin and you only need a thin layer. Can also be used as a spot treatment.
- Tata Harper has her Hydrating Floral Mask that is gentle and great to use as an overnight mask if you need that extra hydration, give this one a try.
And, if you have been reading this blog long enough you know me. I need to also give you the scoop on facial rollers while we are on the topic. I have been using one for over a year morning and night.
Here’s why—I see a decrease in inflammation and puffiness under my eyes and in my face in general when I use it, and it increases circulation. And for more less vain reasons, it just feels really good on my skin. I use a rose quartz face roller. Google all the different stones and pick out which you like. Here are some other options: Jade, Amethyst, Clear Quartz, and Black Obsidian. You can use them before or after product. I like using on a clean face, but it is just preference.
I’m here to remind you not to forget about your neck in your skincare routine am and pm. Make sure you use your products on your neck, so it stays nice and smooth and matches your face texture. At night, I always put my night cream on my neck too. A cream that I really love to use on my neck is this one. I can’t use a lot of essential oils on my face and that is way you don’t see more Young Living products in this post. My reactive skin just doesn’t take well to them being applied directly on my face, even if it is in a skincare product that Young Living makes. The products are amazing but don’t work with my particular body chemistry. I can always help you decide what Young Living skincare products would work for you if you want to go that route.
The more I dig deep into skincare the more I learn that is isn’t just what you put on top of your skin. Yes, it helps and sometimes a whole lot, but really caring about what you put into your body does even more wonders and helps contribute to your overall skin care.
Some supplements that I love and use specifically for my skin (most are also great for hair):
Evening Primrose: Helps moisturize the skin from the inside out. Helps fight redness, and irritation.
Sulfurzyme Capsules: Helps maintain the structure of proteins, helps protect cells and cell membranes, replenish the connections between cells, and preserve the molecular framework of connective tissue. What does this mean? It means it may help with anti-inflammatory issues, reduce the signs of acne and help smooth skin.
Collagen: Helps skin’s structure, helps support dry skin with hyaluronic acid to give gentle hydration to skin.
That is my complete comprehensive research on skincare. So, it might seem like a bunch of steps if you are a minimalist, and that’s why I’ve outlined the ones that you can safely skip. But once you get in the swing of it and get the art of layering it really becomes second nature and is cake. Always listen to your skin because it truly does speak to you. It can have a dry patch and that might be saying, “I need more hydration and moisture.” It can get blemishes and might be saying, “Stop eating junk or your hormones are changing, or your cycle is coming, or please clean your make-up brushes or even you are stressed.” It may look really dull and be screaming, “Please put a mask on me.” Make sure you answer your skin accordingly and use this guide, but also layer your skincare in a way that works for you. You know the basics now, so go ahead and customize it to your likes. You are a pro now and know your skin best!
I love skincare and I research all the time, but please do what is best for you. This post is my study and suggestions, but you know yourself and your skin, so do what is best for you and take what is applicable from these points.
If you are interested in natural products that will facilitate your skin’s health, please reach out to me here.
If you like my reviews, please follow me on Instagram.
And if you enjoy my posts, scroll down to the bottom of the page and fill in your information under “connect.” You will get my monthly posts sent right to your inbox. I would love to have you as part of this community and help you get started on a naturally balanced lifestyle or just give you tips and tricks to help you begin.
Here’s to healthy skin!