Do you want clear, glowing, and age-defying skin? The secret to a good complexion is all about prevention. You want to clean, nourish, and hydrate the skin to maintain its plumpness and youthful glow.

With so many viral skincare routine order videos online, however, chances are you’ve gotten really confused about how to approach skin care. In this article, we’ll set things straight so you’ll know the ideal skincare order – from morning all through the night.

Cleanser in the Morning

Always the first step in your skincare order is the cleanser. You want to remove any dirt, oil, and grime that accumulated on your skin during the night. This will clear out your skin so that succeeding products can penetrate the surface.

Toner or Exfoliate

The toner and exfoliator both do the exact same thing – they exfoliate the face and help remove dead skin cells off the surface. Use these 2 or 3 times a week – too much would actually be worse for the skin. Some people skip this part entirely or use natural exfoliating scrubs.


Pat your skin dry so it gets ready for the serum! The serum is your first application because it’s supposed to penetrate the skin. Unlike a moisturiser which merely hydrates the skin, the serum actually has smaller particles that are meant to get through the pores and deliver important minerals underneath the surface.

Eye Cream and Spot Treatments

Let that serum seep in for a few seconds before applying the eye cream or other spot treatments you might need. This will help keep the eyelid elastic and give you a fresher look over the years. Note though that you can skip this step in the morning and just do it at night.


Next, you need to put on moisturiser to really hydrate the skin. Along with good diet and exercise, the moisturiser will keep your skin young and plump.

Most dermatologists say that if you want to keep things simple with your skin care, you can actually reduce the products to just three things: cleanser, moisturiser, and sunscreen. Some moisturisers come double with sunscreen benefits if you want to make things even simpler.


The sunscreen will help prevent skin damage resulting from the exposure. This is crucial even if you’re only under the sun for a few minutes each day. Make sure you get an SPF 15 or stronger depending on how often you’re exposed to the sun. Note that your routine in the morning is all about nourishing your skin and preventing further damage.

Cleanser at Night

When the sun sets and you’re getting ready for sleep, the focus shifts to repair. You want to use products that would help your skin recover from the ravages of the day. This starts by cleaning your skin again with the help of your favorite make-up remover, if you’re wearing one, of course. This is crucial – you do NOT want any make up lingering on your face.

Once removed, cleanse your face. Double cleansing is recommended where you use a cleansing oil first before using a water-based cleaner. Don’t forget to brush your teeth first before doing all your night time skincare routine order to prevent them from washing off.


Yes, you can apply toner at night but keep in mind that this is an “either or” situation. This means that you can use the toner in the morning or at night, but not both on the same day. If used often, toners can actually be harsh on the skin since this is an exfoliating step. If you have an exfoliating brush, it’s perfectly fine to skip the toner and use this instead.

Eye Cream

Start putting in your eye cream while the skin is still slightly damp. This will help the cream to really work its magic on your eyes. Putting the eye cream first prevents mixing with any other products you might put on your face, thereby making it less effective than it actually is. If you have any other spot-treatments, this is also a good time to use it.

Apply Serum or Use a Facial Mask

Next, you want to put in serum to your skin. Again, serum is supposed to penetrate and nourish the skin beneath the layer. This is why the serum cream is often light and transparent compared to moisturisers or sunscreens.

Now, if you want to use a mask at night, then there’s really no need to apply serum. A mask basically contains layers of serum that is left on your face for a few minutes at a time. Once done, peel off the mask and do NOT wash it off. Allow the serum to penetrate your skin.

Remember that we’re talking about facial masks and not peel-off masks. Peel off masks can be irritating to the skin if you do it every night. It’s suggested that you change your nightly products depending on how your skin is reacting.

If you feel like you’re getting puffy skin, a cool facial mask would work. If you think you’re getting dry skin, a hydrating mask would be a good choice. Or perhaps you’re too tired to use a mask and just want to slap on some serum directly on your face. This would work, too.

Moisturiser or Night Cream

Finally, put on your moisturiser or night cream before going to sleep. A night cream is typically a different product formulated specifically for repair of the skin. It can be quite expensive though, especially if it contains retinol. Otherwise, you can use the same moisturiser you use in the morning.

That’s it! It’s not uncommon to find a multi-step skincare routine order that contains all of these products, if not more. If you have the time and budget for it, there’s nothing wrong about including all these items in your daily skincare.

Nevertheless, if you want to keep things simple, sticking to the basic skincare order of clean, moisturise, and protect would be fine. If you’re at a loss, just keep in mind that finer products go first and thicker products go last.

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Nicola is always on the lookout for the best beauty tools and skincare products. She believes in "prevention is better than cure" so she is always trying to perfect her beauty routine to avoid premature aging. Fun fact about Nicola: She owns a lot of sunscreens as she carries a mini sunscreen in each of her handbags and backpacks.