Morning & Nighttime Skincare Layering Steps

I think the one thing that confuses everyone…

Is which order they apply their skincare products.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to google “do I apply oils before moisturizers?” or…

Can I layer all my active ingredient skincare products in any order I choose?”

Long story short.. It’s confusing. 

Whether you have a simple 3 step skincare routine or an elaborate 8+ step routine, the order in which you layer your skincare products does matter. 

After all, we don’t want to be spending tons of money on products and not getting their full benefits. 

I’ve finally grasped the right order in which you should apply skincare products and I felt like it was a super beneficial post to share with you all.

Below, I break down the correct order to layer your skincare products for both your morning and night time skincare products. 

Lets jump in. 

General Rule to Follow

Something I’m sure you have heard before, and a general rule to follow (especially if you are completely lost on how to layer your skincare products) is to layer them from thinnest consistency to thickest consistency. 

This rule isn’t always 100% true but it’s an easy rule to follow. 

How to Layer Your Morning Skincare Products

Step 1: Cleanser 

Using a cleanser in the morning is just as important as it is at night. 

It helps to remove any excess sweat or sebum that has accumulated overnight. I like to use a gentle cleanser in the morning, so my skin isn’t instantly stripped. 

Try this one from Mario Badescu. 

Step 2: Toner

So many people are intimidated by toners, especially those with dry or sensitive skin because they assume they are all alcohol based, and used by those with acne.

This could not be further from the truth. 

Toner can be used to hydrate just as much as they are used to treat certain skin conditions. In the morning try and use a hydrating toner or even a rose water spray

Step 3: Antioxidant Serum (Vitamin C)

Vitamin C is the star of the show in the morning and a crucial ingredient everyone should be using. 

This powerful antioxidant is used to help brighten the skin while also protecting against damage caused by free radicals. 

Step 4: Eye Cream 

As you get older I would urge you to use an eye cream. 

You can opt to use it once a day at night time, or if you are like me, I have dark under eye circles so I like using eye cream twice a day to help treat and combat those dark circles. 

The undereye area is the thinnest skin on your face, so choose a product meant for the under eyes and one that suits your specific needs. 

Step 5: Moisturizer 

Moisturizer is crucial in the morning because it will hydrate your skin, while also preparing it for makeup. 

My newest obsession is this moisturizer from First Aid Beauty. 

Step 6: Sunscreen 

Sunscreen should always be the last step in your morning skincare routine. 

You want to find a sunscreen that is meant for the face, is non comedogenic and contains zinc oxide. 

Step 7: Base Makeup (Primer, Foundation, etc)

How to Layer Your Nighttime Skincare Products: 

Step 1: Oil Based Cleanser or Makeup Remover 

I talk a lot about double cleansing and its importance in this post. But…

You always want to remove your makeup before going in with your typical cleanser. I like oil cleansers because they help breakdown and remove all your makeup, sunscreen, etc in a gentle manner. 

You could also remove your makeup with something like micellar water. 

Step 2: Water Based Cleanser

At night I like using a salicylic acid cleanser because I have combination skin and I find using a more intense cleanser at night works best for me. 

However, you can use the same cleanser as you would in the morning again. 

Step 3: Exfoliator (2-3 times a week) 

Exfoliation is a key skincare step if you want glowing and blemish free skin. 

Exfoliation will help remove dead skin cells and remove debris from your pores. 

I exfoliate 2-3 times a week, but if your skin is irritated or sensitive try starting with once a week and adjust from there if needed. 

Step 4: Toner

For toner at night I like starting with a hydrating toner and following with an acid treatment like glycolic acid. This is what works for my skin, so it may not work for everyone. 

Either way apply your favorite toner with a cotton pad or your hands! 

Step 5: Serums

Serums are the showstoppers of your nighttime skincare routine. 

I won’t go in depth about layering active ingredients here but in general I use Niacinamide, Alpha Albutitn, Retinol and Hyluronic acid for my serums at night. 

Step 6: Eye Cream 

I use the same eye cream in the morning as I do at night. However, opting for a thicker, more moisturizing eye cream at night may be a good option for you if you have dry under eyes. 

Step 7: Spot Treatment 

Next up, is spot treatment for anyone who has active breakouts. 

Skip this step if you are pimple free or your skin is irritated from prior spot treatments. 

Step 8: Moisturizer 

I use the same moisturizer at night as I do in the morning.

Step 9: Facial Oil 

I’ve heard some controversy about whether oils should go before or after a moisturizer. 

In conclusion, I think thick oils should be used after a moisturizer whereas those that are a bit lighter should go before moisturizer. 

I use rosehip seed oil at night and have always applied it after my moisturizer and I love it. 

Step 10: Sleeping Mask 

If you have extra dry skin then a sleeping mask would probably be a game changer for you. 

They are light masks suitable to be slept in, and hydrate the skin like crazy. They seal in all your prior products and plump up your skin. 

I use a sleeping mask whenever my skin is feeling dry. 

Step 11: Lip Mask/ Balm 

Last but not least, pop on your favorite lip balm and you are ready to hit the sheets. My favorite lip product is the Laneige lip sleeping mask

Well that’s it for now! 

Remember if you are struggling with your skin, it is best to seek help from a professional. 

Let me know in the comments below what other skincare posts you guys would like to see.