Skincare Stacy

Skincare Stacy
The Ultimate AM and PM Skincare Routine Guide

The Ultimate AM and PM Skincare Routine Guide

Skincare might seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Generally, this is the order in which you can apply skincare products and which time of day:

When to Use Skincare Products

  • Cleansers (AM & PM)

  • Toners (AM & PM)

  • Treatments (AM & PM)

  • Retinol (PM)

  • Serums (AM & PM)

  • Eye Cream (AM & PM)

  • Moisturizer (AM & PM)

  • Sunscreen (AM)

  • Facial Oil (PM)

This article will explain everything you need to know to develop the best morning and evening skincare routines for your needs.

AM Skincare Routine

Your morning skincare routine should be focused around prevention and protection.

Preventing excess UV exposure, preventing premature aging, preventing hyperpigmentation, you get the picture, right?

These are the best skincare products to fit into your routine.

Step 1: Cleanser

Cleansers are used to remove impurities from your skin like dirt and excess oil.

Some people with dry or sensitive skin may prefer to skip the morning cleanse and instead rinse with plain water. Others with an oily skin type may benefit from a gentle, hydrating cleanser or foaming face wash.

Step 2: Treatment

This is the best spot in your skincare routine to take care of any specific skin concerns.

For example, if you’re suffering from acne breakouts, you can try applying a leave-on acne treatment. Alternatively, this is the best place to layer vitamin c in your routine to boost collagen production and even out your skin tone.

You can also layer hydrating skincare products here to protect your natural barrier and improve your skin health.

Step 3: Eye Cream

Contrary to popular belief, eye creams really do have a purpose.

They’re often formulated with ingredients like caffeine to help reduce dark circles. Additionally, they can include blurring agents to soften the appearance of the skin around your eyes and set a base layer for your makeup.

These are three great eye cream options to check out.

Step 4: Moisturizer

Since sunscreen is just moisturizer with UV filters in it, you may be able to skip this step and just head straight to number 5.

That being said, I love layering a lightweight gel moisturizer underneath my SPF for all day comfort. All three of these are great options.

Step 5: Sunscreen

The last step in your morning skincare routine should be sunscreen.

SPF can help protect your skin from excess UV exposure and fight the development of dark spots and hyperpigmentation.

Here are three of my favorite sunscreens for everyday wear.

PM Skincare Routine

Your PM skincare routine should be focused around rejuvenation. This is when we focus more on treating specific conditions, and when we can safely apply retinol!

Step 1: Cleanser

The cleanser for your PM skincare routine should be used to properly cleanse your skin by breaking down SPF and makeup from the day.

You can use the same cleanser from the morning if you wish, but you may prefer to pick something better at cleansing your skin after a whole day.

If you’re into double cleansing, you can go ahead and use Paula’s Choice Cleansing Oil first, then pick of these cleansers to follow up.

If you have acne prone skin, you may prefer a cleanser with active ingredients like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.

Step 2: Treatment

If you’re choosing to use a cleanser without exfoliating ingredients, this is a great place to use a leave-on chemical exfoliant.

Exfoliants like Paula’s Choice 2% BHA are great for fighting blackheads and textured skin. You can also consider using an AHA exfoliant to turn over dead skin cells.

Alternatively, you could choose to use a adapalene or a retinol treatment here. Retinol is the gold standard in anti-aging and has benefits like:

  • Speeding up skin cell turnover

  • Boosting collagen production

  • Fighting fine lines and wrinkles

Step 3: Eye Cream

While eye creams for the morning are used to brighten your appearance and reduce dark circles, night eye creams are used to fight aging. They often include peptides to fight fine lines and crow’s feet.

This product from NIOD is one of the best eye treatments on the market, combining a bunch of peptides with different functions.

It works similar to Botox by slightly inhibiting muscle contraction and preventing the formation of wrinkles around your eyes. Further, it contains peptides to boost collagen and elastin production to fight fine lines.

NIOD Fractionated Eye Contour Concentrate


Fractionated Eye Concentrate

Step 4: Moisturizer

Your night cream can include retinol if you’re not using a dedicated treatment. For example, Stratia Night Shift is a great moisturizer that includes encapsulated retinol and other skin loving ingredients.

Alternatively, this is a great time to use a heavier moisturizer to replenish your skin with nutrients overnight.

If you’re using a strong active ingredient like Tretinoin, you definitely need to be using a good moisturizer at night.

Step 5: Facial Oil

If you have dry skin or using active ingredients like retinol, you can consider layering a facial oil on top of your moisturizer.

Oils are heavy and help lock in moisture to keep your skin hydrated. Therefore, they can work well in your nightly skincare routine to prevent irritation.

Comparison: AM and PM Face Routine

Your AM and PM skincare routines have different purposes.

Generally, your morning skincare routine should be focused around protecting your skin. Then, your evening routine should be focused around treating specific skin concerns.

For example, you may choose to use a vitamin C serum in the morning to protect your skin from free radical damage and excess UV exposure. Later, you can apply a retinol serum or exfoliant to help with anti aging or dull skin.

Certain ingredients, such a hyaluronic acid, are suitable to be used in both your AM and PM skincare routines. Others, such as retinol, must only be applied at night.

That being said, there are few hard and fast rules in skincare. The best thing is to experiment with different products and active ingredients to figure out what works for you.

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