The Right Skincare Routine Order and Steps to Follow
The Right Skincare Routine Order and Steps to Follow

The Right Skincare Routine Order and Steps to Follow

10 minutes read

Basic Routine | Morning RoutineNight Routine | Skincare Routine Steps

A skincare routine might seem familiar, yet there’s more than meets the eye. It involves not only picking the right products and formulations for your skin type but also mastering the proper sequence. Overlooking this detail can lead to frustration and skin irritation. This essential guide will lead you through choosing the right products and the correct daily skincare routine order.

infographic listing the skincare routine order day and night which includes these steps - Steps · Step 1: Cleanser · Step 2: Toner · Step 3: Eye Care · Step 4: Serum · Step 5: Moisturiser · Step 6: Sunscreen · Step 8: Spot treatment

Starting a skincare routine

Starting a skincare routine yields instant glow and long-term benefits like even tone and reduced lines. No one-size-fits-all routine, individual factors matter. So, determine your skin type (dry, sensitive, oily, combo) before you decide on your personal skincare sequence.

Tip: Use Clarins Beauty Diagnosis tool to identify your skin needs.

Basic Skincare Routine Steps

  1. Cleanser
  2. Moisturiser
  3. SPF 30+ sunscreen

Read: Basic Skincare Routine for Beginners

Advance Morning Skincare Routine Steps

Further your routine with eye cream, pH-balancing toner, serum.

  1. Cleanser
  2. Toner
  3. Eye Cream
  4. Serum
  5. Moisturiser
  6. SPF 30+ sunscreen

Read: Morning Skincare Routine Everyone Can Employ

The importance of layering skincare correctly

Choosing effective products are crucial, and how you layer them matters too. Applying a pricey serum on unexfoliated or dead skin isn’t ideal. We get it, following steps might feel tedious, but the payoff – for your skin and wallet – can be huge.

When you know how to correctly layer skincare products, you’ll see and feel the results – improved absorption and all-round better performance of each product whether it’s designed to treat dark circles or breakouts.

Skincare layering precautions

Potent active ingredients in today’s skincare clash if applied in the wrong sequence. Some combos are a no-go.

  • Don’t mix brightening vitamin C serum with retinol – it can irritate skin.
  • Apply toner after washing to rebalance skin microbiome and pH.
  • Remember, each product plays a specific role.

Skincare Routine Steps

The rule of thumb for skincare is to apply the lightest product first and the heaviest last, since thinner products can’t penetrate through thicker ones.

Morning Skincare Routine should focus on prevention and protection for the day.

Nighttime Skincare Routine should focus on cleansing and repairing.

Step 1: Cleanser

Morning and Night

Eye Cleanse (Eye-make-up remover)

Before you slather on skincare products, make sure your face is spotless – grime and oil-free – so the ingredients you layer will have better absorption. Start with make-up removers.

Whether you wear eye-make-up or not, Jason Roberts, Clarins Commercial Training Manager, says an eye-make-up remover is a good addition to your cleansing routine. Using one designed for the eyes assures you that it is ophthalmologist tested and gently formulated for the contours of the eyes.

Roberts says, “I am a firm believer of an eye cleanse even if you don’t wear eye make-up. Clarins’ Eye Make-up Removers, £23, contain an ingredient called cornflower that strengthens the eye contours. If you use waterproof eye make-up, you’d want to opt for a heavy-duty make-up remover that doesn’t sting or irritate the eyes. People with sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers, on the other hand, would benefit from a gentler, more refreshing and non-irritating formula. These both are enriched with cornflower, along with rose water and aloe vera, which have moisturising, and soothing properties perfect for the delicate eye area, plus it is part-lash care. Win-win! You can also sweep it over your lips too.”

After the eye cleanse, reach for your preferred face make-up remover.

Face cleanse (Face make-up remover)

A double cleanse is super beneficial – as the first removes make-up and, the second clean ensures you remove impurities and clear out the pores.

Beauty Daily recommends starting with an oil-based cleanser or cleansing milk to properly break down foundation, surface SPF, pollutant particles, and face make-up. Follow up with a water-based cleanser or cleansing Micellar water that dissolves any remaining make-up residue without stripping your skin.

If you are more of a foaming cleanser fan, opt for sulphate-free or SLS free gentle formulas that balance the skin’s natural microbiota – the normal bacteria levels in healthy skin—even after rinsing.

Read: Is Double Cleansing Necessary? Experts Weigh In

Step 2: Toner

Morning and Night

Finish cleansing by applying a toning lotion. Toners are used to remove any last traces of impurities, but they are also designed to specifically restore your skin’s pH balance.

It doesn’t end there. Some toning lotions are even formulated to keep your skin microbiome (bacteria in your skin) happy and healthy. Steer clear from alcohol-based toners that will irritate or sting your face. Look for ingredients like the marine prebiotic and flower polyphenols. Both are proven to rebalance the skin microbiome. These are found in Clarins toning lotions and are also tailored to your specific skin type, ensuring you’re getting the nourishment your skin needs.

So don’t listen when they say you don’t need a toner – you do. It just depends on what to use – so pick wisely.

Step 3: Eye Care

Morning and Night

After applying a toning lotion, continue with an eye product: either an eye serum or an eye cream.

Eye creams are specifically formulated to treat the more delicate skin around the eyes – they’re generally lighter, gentler and designed to help reduce puffiness, dark circles and fine lines.

Roberts suggests applying eye care before face serum or cream. He says, “It will act as a protective barrier around the eye area and protect it from anything else you put over. It is the best skincare order as it is a reminder you’ve done the eyes.”

Eye cream should be applied morning and night as an essential part of your skincare routine.

Step 4: Serum

Morning and Night

Serums are concentrated nutrients, hydrators, and antioxidants, which are beneficial for your skin’s health.

So, layering something like a serum before your moisturiser is a good idea. Clarins Double Serum, £85, is a cult-fave for a reason. It is perfect for day and night as it is formulated with 21 plant extracts including antioxidant powerhouse turmeric that will protect your skin from signs of ageing. It has a magic bunch of ingredients to protect, prevent, replenish and repair the skin.

Or try myBlend Radiance Superserum which is suitable for all skin types and is packed with vital molecules and vitamin C to revive fatigued skin.

Explore serums in-depth

Step 5: Moisturiser

Morning and Night

After applying your serum, move on to moisturising. While you could be forgiven for using the same moisturiser day and night, why would you given the now dazzling choice pf products specifically designed to deliver the different level and type of care your skin needs when you’re running around vs getting your beauty sleep?

Your day cream provides a layer of protection and helps to lock in moisture – but remember to give it a few moments to sink in to ensure it has fully absorbed before applying any other products such as primer or your foundation.

And at the end of the day, the benefits of night cream are too compelling to ignore. These richer, thicker moisturisers pack a more potent punch when it comes to hydrating, nourishing and reviving your skin overnight.

Dive deeper into moisturisers for skin types

Step 6: Sunscreen


All skincare experts and dermatologists pledge their allegiance to one thing: SPF, and its ability to improve your skin. Slathering yourself is the best thing you can do to protect your skin from all the harsh environmental stressors, the sun and pollution being the two biggest threats.

Sun protection should be a non-negotiable part of your daily skincare routine and should always be the last step of your morning skincare routine.

Experts recommend using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher every day.

The best all-rounder is UV PLUS Anti-Pollution SPF50 in Translucent, £34, this sunscreen protects you from the sun and other forms of pollution including blue light.

Read: A Guide to the Best SPF for Your Face & Body (and How to Use Them)

Step 8: Spot treatments


If you need to know how to treat spots, then there’s an additional step to be added to the routine mapped out above. Experts say you should apply your spot treatments (for pimples, acne scars, or dark spots) at night because that’s when the body is working hardest to repair itself.

Make sure to tap your spot treatment on before your night moisturiser so it can penetrate your skin and leave a few moments to sink in.

Advanced skincare routine steps

Face oils


Face oil treatments are a little secret weapon that can supercharge your skincare routine.

Don’t take face oils literally; they are easily absorbed and won’t leave the slimy, icky feel. Instead, they rebalance skin’s moisture levels and prevent moisture loss and fine lines from forming.

Adding a few drops of face oil into your moisturiser or mask will give an extra boost of skincare benefits to address several issues, may it be hydration, protection, soothing or even oil control.

Sarah Joan Ross, Editor Beauty Daily

Sarah Joan Ross, Editor of Beauty Daily suggests: “Adding a few drops of face oil into your moisturiser, or masks to give an extra boost of skincare benefits to address several issues, may it be hydration, protection, soothing or even oil control. Not convinced? Here’s the lowdown on the best essential oils for your skin to make it glow.”

Another thing to note is that face oil acts as an occlusive layer that locks in the hydration and helps to nourish and protect the skin – so should be applied over your moisturiser.


Once or twice a week

Make sure to exfoliate once or twice a week. Exfoliation increases skincare product absorption by 70%. It is an essential part of your routine, to ensure dead skin cells are out of the way, meaning everything else you apply will be absorbed by your skin. If you are a self-tan fan – it’s also a good way to thoroughly remove fake tan.

Face mask


Pamper yourself once or twice a week with a face mask for your skin type, but make sure you apply the mask after double cleansing and exfoliation.

Robert’s top tip: post-mask, make sure to blot your skin dry after rinsing with water or sweep over a toner to balance out your skin’s pH. This will also prepare your skin for the next treatments and improve the product penetration of your serums and moisturisers.

Want glowing skin that shines from within? Experts reveal proven ways to unlock your inner glow.

Skincare Routine Order Recap

Morning daily skincare

  1. Cleanser
  2. Toner
  3. Eye Care
  4. Serum
  5. Moisturiser
  6. Face Oil
  7. SPF

Nighttime skincare

  1. Cleanser
  2. Toner
  3. Eye Care
  4. Target Spot Treatments
  5. Serum
  6. Moisturiser
  7. Face Oil

Read: The Ultimate Night time Skincare Routine

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Weekly skincare

  1. Exfoliate
  2. Facemask

Seeking more Skincare Advice

Book an online consultation to receive product advice and recommendations on putting together a personalised routine. Or check out our guide to personalised skincare routine here.

Explore more Skincare Routine Tips

Morning Skincare Routine Everyone Can Employ

Basic Skincare Routine for Beginners

How To Layer Your Body Skincare Products

The 5 Best Skincare Sets You Need for Your Daily Routine 

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