When you start getting into a real skincare routine — one that’s more complicated than your basic childhood “brush teeth, wash face” — figuring out exactly how and when to apply your products can get…complicated. Really complicated.
Generally speaking, a good rule of thumb is to work from the lightest-feeling product you’ll be using to the heaviest. Need more to go on? Here’s a solid beginners’ routine to try as you’re getting into the swing of things:
1. Cleanser. Use a pH-balanced cleanser. If you’re worried about overdrying your skin, try using a gel or oil cleanser or micellar water.
2. Toner or essence (or both!). Toners are water-light, but they’re not just water, we swear. Choose one based on your skin’s individual needs, but we love the skin-calming kind — it reduces redness. Essences are derived from classic Korean skincare routines, and they’re extremely light, hydrating and often packed with other goodies (like probiotics!). If you want to do both, apply the toner first, then the essence.
3. Vitamin C serum. Vitamin C serums brighten dark spots, fight sun damage and help reverse acne damage. They’re amazing for everyone’s skin — we’re true believers.
4. Eye cream. Using your ring finger, pat a little ultra-hydrating eye cream right where your skin is the thinnest and needs help the most: under your eyes. It can also be used on your lids if they’re feeling extra dry.
5. SPF. Doesn’t matter whether it’s winter or summer, we all need to leave the house with at least SPF 30 on during the day. We love to combine moisturizer and SPF into one step and find that these SPFs tend to lead to fewer breakouts.
1. Eye makeup remover. This is only necessary if, you know, you use eye makeup. And if you wear really light, natural makeup, a lot of cleansers will do the work for you. But if you’re using a heavy eye primer and a lot of liquid liner, for instance, it’s going to take more than that. We love eye makeup removers that are marula oil based.
2. Cleanser. You can use the same cleanser you use in the morning, or you can switch to something a little more hardcore. We like to change it up by season — a heavier oil cleanser in the winter and a lighter gel or micellar water in the summer.
3. Toner or essence. Same as during the day, you can choose to do a toner, an essence or both.
4. Retinol alternative. If you’re trying to get away from traditional prescription retinol for erasing your fine lines and acne scars, try switching over to bakuchiol (a retinol-like plant derivative) or a vitamin A serum.
5. Eye cream. Same as the daytime, but feel free to be a little heavier-handed with your eye cream. Since you’re just going to sleep, it doesn’t matter if it’s still kinda visible.
6. Night cream. Choose one that suits your own skin’s needs, but we love a nice, heavy moisturizer so we can wake up feeling hydrated.