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Steps in Daily Skincare Routine

Updated: 4 days ago


Skincare routine depends a lot on what your skin needs and what skin type you belong to but the most constant questions I get asked are should I apply oil before or after moisturizer or when should I apply eye cream or when is the right time to apply sunscreen so here I'm gonna list out the routine in sequence it should be followed but remember sometimes there are some products that tend to not fall in sequence in that case you need to read in the instructions and see the consistency and properties of the product. I'll obviously give examples and explain why a certain product is used or after a certain other product. I hope this sorts out your issues.


Day Time {AM Routine}

Your morning routine can differentiate between when you are going out or staying indoors. A lot of you work in offices with AC which tend to be drying so the moisturization level needs to be adjusted according to that. Also, the traveling means pollution and sun so using SPF is super important. The AM routine should be short and simple something you can do quickly since we all run out of time in the mornings.


1. Face wash:

Using a good face wash is important after you wake up since it removes all the product build-up that was caused during the night. Use energizing face washes in the morning helps perk up the day.


2. Toner/ Mist:

I never skip toner since the toner works as a stepping stone for your other skincare products. Toner keeps your skin moist enough that the serum or moisturizer sink in better and do its job the whole day. Since in the morning you don't have time for cotton pads and applying toner you can stick to mists. My fav will always be Rosewater mist or it can tea tree if you suffer from oily acne prone skin basically you can use any mist since it's easy and quick to apply. Mists can also be used to feel refreshed throughout the day.


3. Serum (optional):

Now in the morning, this step is totally optional since we are doing a quick routine but if you have the time or stay indoors then you can obviously do this step. Also if you have dry skin you may need the extra moisturization. If you have oily skin you can either use serum or moisturizer depending on your needs.


4. Eye cream:

This is optional since we don't remove a lot of time in the morning routine but if you are above 30 years I would recommend not skipping this step. Also if you are someone who likes to use an under-eye concealer a touch of eye cream will really work for you. But see that eye cream is lightweight and not heavy. Mostly gel-based eye creams work the best for day time.

Check out few under eye creams I have already reviewed under All About Eyes: Click here


5. Moisturizer (Interchangeable):

Again you can either do step 3 serum or do this step which is moisturizer. I usually like using gel-based moisturizers since they don't get heavy in the day especially if you live in a humid place. If you have a very oily skin what you can do is use a lightweight serum and then directly go-to sunscreen. If you are gonna be in an indoor setting with AC then you should not skip this step.

*If you prefer using a tinted moisturizer then use it after the sunscreen or after primer depending on whether you use a primer or not. Or if you like to mix your foundation with your moisturizer same rule applies to use it after sunscreen or primer depending on your needs.

Check out a few moisturizers that I have reviewed already: Click here


6. Sunscreen:

This is a very important step and please don't skip it. Even if you stay indoor use a mild SPF which also moisturizes. If you are traveling out then use a higher SPF. Apply SPF 15-20 mins before you step out and carry a mini with you for touch-ups. If your SPF also works as moisturizer then you can do serum and directly come to this step. It totally depends on the formulation of the sunscreen you are using.

Check out the review on few sunscreens: Click here


7. Primer (if you want to apply makeup or just want a poreless look)

Now if you are someone who applies any kind of base makeup and wants poreless feel then you need to use a pore filling primer or if you have very dry or dull skin then you need to use an illuminating hydrating primer. This you can use after the sunscreen is blended and absorbed into the skin. This step is obviously option and doesn't really fall under skincare routine but I feel if you are someone who uses makeup on a regular basis this should be your final step in skincare in your morning routine it really helps. Also, if you are someone who likes using facial oils then you can add that step in here or interchange it with the moisturizer before sunscreen. It works both ways. Sometimes I even add in the facial oil into the sunscreen.


Night Time {PM Routine}

Now your nighttime routine the one you do before you sleep is the most important. When you sleep your skin repairs itself by using the right routine your skin can repair it faster and better since we can use products that target your basics concerns. But quick tip doing skincare one night or two in a week you can't expect amazing results. The routine needs to be consistent and you need to do every single night. If you skip one day here or there it's okay. Also, it's not necessary that you have to use the same products every night there are times when your skin needs something else and according to that you can do a different routine every now and then.

I have dry and dull skin so I mostly use products that cater to that but in between, I also use products that keep unwanted acne at bay or I use products that cater to my sudden skin change. Understanding your skin is the key here.


1. Face wash:

Also known as double-cleansing. So there is no hard and fast rule that double cleansing is only meant for night time you can do it in the mornings too but nobody has that kind of time since I always want to sleep 5 mins more. So I do the double cleansing method at night.

Now if you don't know or have doubts about double cleansing then check out the blog post I did on it which will solve all your queries: Double Cleansing

Use a face cleanser that will thoroughly clean your skin of all the dirt and grime at the end of the end. If your skin isn't clean the following steps will be useless.


2. Toner:

A lot of people still skip this I would say don't. From the time I added toner in my skincare routine, it has changed everything. The way your serum or moisturizer works totally depends on whether you apply toner or not. So get a toner according to your skin type. Now if you suffer from acne you can get something that has a tea tree or neem in it. If you have sensitive skin use something mild with no actives. If you have dry skin use something that hydrates. You can obviously use the same mist you use in the morning but at night I like to double down and use something more heavy-duty since I have dry skin. See that you don't wait for the toner to get completely absorbed before you go on with serum and moisturizer since those work better if your skin is already damp. The Korean way is to apply toner first with a cotton pad then follow it up 6 times with your fingers. I don't do this I just use a cotton pad first then one time hands and I am done but it has made a difference overall.


3. Essence/ Emulsion:

This step is completely optional and not something you have to do or buy necessary. A lot of times if your toner is thick and moisturizing it works as essence too. The essence is more a Korean trend which you may not follow. If you are oily skin and don't want to use a serum that you can interchange but I would say always use a serum you can skip this step.


4. Serum:

Now I feel this is a super important step in your routine you shouldn't skip especially at night. Serums are more potent and target a certain concern which helps in repairing your skin on a cellular level. But see that you don't apply the serum on a dry face apply it right after the toner that way the serum sinks in better. Use a heavy-duty serum as compared to lightweight in the morning routine. A lot of serums are oil-based and it's usually said to use oil-based products after your moisturizer like in your end step since the oil doesn't let anything else penetrate your skin. Now, this totally depends on the consistency of the serum. Even if a serum is oil-based if its light in texture then you can apply it before if its thick in consistency and doesn't absorb well then its more a facial oil then a serum and that needs to be used last.


5. Eye cream:

I never skip this step anymore. I am very close to 30 and I have bad under eye situations thanks to my unhealthy sleep and eating patterns so I do tend to take as much care as I can externally. I use a heavy-duty eye cream which will do its work till morning. Now a lot of people say to apply eye cream after the moisturizer, but I have noticed is nothing will get absorbed by your skin once you have done your last step so I have realized that the best time to apply eye cream is right before moisturizing and after serum. Obviously, if you are someone who prefers it after you do you but if you want to follow a proper routine this is how it's done that works the best.


6. Moisturizer/ Sleeping mask:

For me, at least sleeping mask does the best work for night time. This way you can use a lightweight moisturizer in the day and use a good heavy sleeping mask at night. Now sleeping masks are also moisturizers and don't have a hard and fast rule of only using them at night if it's lightweight you can use it in the day too but I like following the steps so I keep it for night time and I would suggest the same. If you are someone who prefers using both then go do you but use the moisturizer first then follow it up with a sleeping mask. I tend to stick to sleeping masks at least 4 times a week. It can be water-based or cream-based depending on your skin type but see that it doesn't clog your pores. Even if you have oily skin a moisturizer is important so don't skip this step at night time.

Check out a few moisturizers/sleeping mask/moisture mask that I have reviewed already: Click here


7. Facial Oil:

This is interchangeable with step 6 since you don't have to use both. Either you use a facial oil or you use a sleeping mask but if you want to use both then the oil is always after the moisturizer or sleeping mask. If you have very dry skin and you want the best of both worlds and you use a cream-based moisturizer or sleeping mask then you can add in a few drops of facial oil in the cream and then apply on your skin. Do this after seeing the consistency of the cream and how it works with the oil. Mostly if you are normal just use a serum and then go for this step. I tend to use oils in my skincare 2 times a week since I have dry skin but even oily skin can use oils just to find the right one for you. Just remember never to apply a facial oil on dry skin use a base like a toner/mist which will keep your skin damp enough that the oil absorbs better and doesn't just sit on your skin and clog your pores.

I have reviewed a few facial oils and I'll review more to check that out: Click here


**Sheet mask:

If you like using a sheet mask and don't know when to add it then you have to use it in place of serum. Sheet masks are basically heavy-duty potent serums and works as a serum so the day you use sheet mask you can skip your regular serum and follow it up with a sleeping mask or a moisturizer. The same rule applies to use a toner before you apply the sheet mask.


***The difference between morning and nighttime routine totally depends on how much time you have if you have time in the morning your skincare routine can be as elaborate as the night time but I'm giving this routine from a lazy person's perspective who likes to sleep in late. Also your summer routine and winter routine may change you may skip steps in summers but in winter you may need extra moisturization again it totally depends on what your skin needs. Till you don't understand your skin you won't know how to nourish it the right way. If you think a certain product is giving you a rash or allergy stop it for a few days and see. Sometimes your skin doesn't react well with some combo or some particular ingredient in the product.


I haven't spoken about actives in this since its something that goes in way more details which I'll do a blog post about. If you have any queries till then write it to me and I'll answer everything in that post. But for example, if you are using actives in your skincare the routine still stays the same. Like if your serum has actives then it's still used after toner and before moisturizer but see that the moisturizer is mild and doesn't clash with your serum which has actives. Actives are also present in face cleansers and toner so you can use the above routine plus and minus your actives.

Till then you can also check out a blog post my friend Rifat as done on skincare actives: Click here


I also have two types of routine recommendations up on my blog which you can check it out:

👉Oily acne-prone skin: Click here

👉Dry skin: Click here


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*P.S: All opinions are my own and honest. The above-mentioned products are bought and paid for by me. What works for me may not work for you. Trying before buying is always recommended. Check out a few reviews until your satisfied.

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