Sometimes, the order of things isn’t important. Like, how breakfast food is perfect for any time of day (shout out to brunch and breakfast for dinner). But when it comes to your skin, the order of skincare products you use can make a big difference when done right—or wrong. The last thing you want when testing out a new skincare routine is to reduce its efficacy by using it in the wrong order. By following this order for anti-aging skincare and using our recommended products, you’ll be able to set your skin up for success for lasting results.
The order in which you use skincare products can enhance or even limit their effectiveness. And when it comes to your skin health, every drop of serum or sunscreen counts. This guide will take you through the best skin care routine order morning and night.
What is the Correct Order to Apply Skin Care?
The correct skincare order breaks down to five key components in the following order:
- Renew and Restore
You should spend between 30 seconds to a minute on each step. The entire process shouldn’t take more than a few minutes of your morning or evening. It’s probably less time than you put into your makeup routine (on a good day, when no one is late for school or work).
But your day and night skin care routine have different goals. Having a successful morning routine and night routine will target the skin’s changing needs.
Here’s what the correct order of skin care for morning and night looks like:
ALASTIN’s Recommended Morning Skincare Routine
Throughout the day, your skin goes through a lot. It takes in the UV rays of the sun, protects your body from air pollutants, and keeps dirt and grime from being absorbed into your system through the skin. A well-executed morning skincare routine has one job: give your skin its best defense to take on the challenges of the day.
Washing your face and neck first thing in the morning with a daily facial cleanser can clear away surface-level oil and grime that your skin accumulates while you sleep. Once cleansed, your clean skin will be prepared to absorb all the other beneficial ingredients in your skincare regimen.
ALASTIN Recommends: Use a cleanser that will remove pollutants without completely stripping your skin of its natural healthy oils. Our sulfate-free and self-foaming Gentle Cleanser is calming cleansing, and ideal for sensitive skin. Plus, this gentle cleanser also helps to dislodge dead skin and other contaminants that contribute to clogged pores. No matter your skin type, using this type of skincare product is the best thing you can do to ensure clean skin day in and day out.
2. RestoreAt this step, you’ll want to apply products that can do the following:
- Improve skin elasticity and plumpness
- Supports natural hyaluronic acid levels
- Support production of collagen and elastin
- Diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
- Reduce puffiness and dark circles around the eyes
- Brighten and improves skin texture
- Calm redness
ALASTIN Recommends: You may be wondering, “How many different creams, ointments, and unguents am I going to need to do all of that for my skin?” Well, less than you might think. You’ll need a product that can do it all while targeting the unique needs of the features most vulnerable to signs of aging: face, neck, and eyes. For this there’s:
- Restorative Skin Complex with TriHex Technology® – restorative skin care with active ingredients that can help improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and evens skin tone. Its hydrating formulation can also help the skin clear out damaged collagen and elastin and bolster the skin’s ability to produce new, healthy collagen and elastin to plump and lift skin. Restorative Skin Complex is also formulated with two of the most powerful anti-aging ingredients:
Use one pump during your AM and PM regimen and massage it gently into your face.
- Restorative Neck Treatment with TriHex Technology® – This neck and décolleté treatment can improve hydration, smoothness, tightens, and evens out skin tone on the neck and chest. Apply one pump of our skin tightener for neck treatment in the morning and at night in upward strokes. The result? Supple skin perfect for a date night dress with a plunging neckline.
Food, water, and the occasional glass of wine—all required for a functioning human woman to survive (okay, maybe the wine is optional). What isn’t optional is water. Not only is it a necessity to survive, but it’s also key if you want to achieve healthy skin.
All skin types need a good moisturizer, whether it be a regular or help lock in the skin’s moisture and prevent water-loss throughout the day. Because moisturizers tend to be thicker, they need to be applied last to seal in your other products and maximize their effectiveness.
ALASTIN Recommends: The best anti-aging moisturizers have peptides. Peptides are the building blocks that power up your skin’s ability to produce collagen and elastin1 . Put a little peptide in your step with our Ultra Nourishing Moisturizer with TriHex Technology®. A little goes a long way with this moisturizer, so just apply a pea-sized amount to the face and gently massage into the skin each morning and night.
When it comes to your arsenal of skincare products, there is one product that rules them all. In an action movie, this product would be a giant asteroid-destroying laser beam that saves the day from total destruction—it’s sunscreen. Sunscreen absorbs and protects your skin from sun damage, such as the aging effects of UV radiation.
Apply a sunscreen with at least SPF 30 to finish off your morning routine.
ALASTIN Recommends: Sunscreen products have evolved from their early days of greasy and smelly white ooze. The new generation of all mineral sunscreen is lightweight, grease-free, reef-friendly, won’t sting your eyes, and can even hide blemishes. Use products that are formulated without oil and tinted for a smooth CC-cream effect, like the HydraTint ProMineral Broad Spectrum SPF 36 Sunscreen.
Bonus Skincare Tip: Before you jet off to your busy morning, be mindful of your body! Apply TransFORM Body Treatment with TriHex Technology® to areas that need a little enhancing. If you’ve undergone a skin treatment, this formula can help to accelerate the results of body contouring procedures and heightens the effects of skin tightening. You can also use this product as daily treatment (without a procedure) to improve skin texture, laxity, and even to address crepey skin.
ALASTIN’s Recommended Nighttime Skincare Routine
Good news! Your nighttime skincare routine order will look a lot like your morning regimen with a few exceptions:
- Unless you’re nocturnal, you won’t have to worry about UV radiation from the sun while you sleep—so there’s no need for sunscreen.
- As you sleep, your skin cells go into repair mode. Take advantage of these healing processes by adding renewing formulas to your skincare. It can help amplify the effects of dermatological healing2 .
Here’s what your night skincare routine should look like:
After a day of natural air pollutants, microscopic dirt and grime, and the oils pooling in your pores, your skin needs a good scrub. Don’t forget to use a cleanser that won’t strip your face and neck of its natural oils, like our Gentle Cleanser.
You’re cleansed, toned, and prepped—now it’s time to restore nutrients to your skin before you hunker down for sleep. In the evening, just repeat your morning restoration routine:
For your face, use our Restorative Skin Complex. Or, if you will be receiving any skin treatments or procedures, or you just prefer the feel of this serum, apply Regenerating Skin Nectar. One pump AM/PM will do the trick.
- For the delicate skin around your eyes, dab one pump AM/PM of our Restorative Eye Treatment.
- For your neck and chest area, apply one pump AM/PM of Restorative Neck Treatment in upward strokes.
While the body sleeps, your dermatological systems are in repair mode. Retinol (a type of retinoid) can put the collagen and elastin processes into overdrive to help create firm, plump skin by morning (great product to help combat orange peel skin). Now that’s beauty sleep.
However, some retinol products can be a bit drying and you may experience skin purging (which isn’t a bad thing). Use retinol products two or three times a week to start. See how your skin reacts to the ingredient, then slowly up the dosage. And don’t forget, just use a pea-sized amount every evening (PM only).
ALASTIN Recommends: To help combat the potentially drying effects of a retinol product, look for formulas that hydrate as well as heal. Try our Renewal Retinol—it’s packed with hydration and can help smooth away wrinkles, improve skin texture and uneven skin tone.
Finish off your evening routine with a cool drink of water for your skin. A moisturizing night cream is especially important after exfoliation or applying retinol. Exfoliation and retinol can dry out your skin if you’re not using moisturizing agents.
You’ll only need a pea-sized amount of our Ultra Nourishing Moisturizer in the AM/PM to give your skin hydration and a healthy dose of peptides before sleep.
ALASTIN Recommends: Right after your morning shower and again in the evening are great times to add two or three pumps of TransFORM Body Treatment to any part of the skin. This formula will help to boost your body’s nightly healing, resulting in tightened and smooth skin.
How Do I Find My Perfect Skincare Routine?
By understanding the best order skincare products, you can get the most out of your skincare routine. But a perfect skincare routine requires you to be patient and consistent. A regular skin regimen practiced over time will always give you the best results.
Consult with your skincare professional (such as a dermatologist) to learn more about the right skincare regimen for a specific skin concern or different skin types such as:
1. Combination skin
2. Oily skin
3. Dry skin
4. Acne prone skin
Don’t forget—skincare is self-care. The time and attention you give to your regimen is the time and attention that’s just for you. So be kind to your skin (and yourself) with a daily skincare routine, morning and night.
1. Ganceviciene, Ruta, et al. “Skin Anti-Aging Strategies.” Dermato-Endocrinology, Landes Bioscience, 1 July 2012, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3583892/
2. Sundelin, Tina, et al. “Cues of Fatigue: Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Facial Appearance.” OUP Academic, Oxford University Press, 1 Sept. 2013, academic.oup.com/sleep/article/36/9/1355/2453883