Skincare Routine Steps: A Guide On How To Layer Your Products Correctly

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People who have received compliments on how great their skin is, sure have put in some work (genetics may be a factor but, there’s some work somewhere). Great skin is a product of a great skincare routine. Your skincare routine is only as simple or detailed as you want the steps to be.

Skincare is more personal than it looks. Yeah, you may get recommendations from friends and colleagues on what to apply and how to apply it. What is most important is what works for you because, in the end, it’s your skin and you’re going to be in it for a long time.

How you apply your products matters and should be done religiously if you’ll maximize results and achieve your skin goals. Ahead, gathered from the best, is a detailed step-by-step AM & PM skincare routine guide that works for any skin type.

Morning (AM) skincare routine steps

1. Cleanser

The first step in any skincare routine (that will be effective) begins with cleansing. Using a cleanser during your morning routine helps to rid your skin of the oil your face produced during the night. Moreover, it creates a better canvas for the products.

Also, it increases the rate of absorption of your products. The type of cleanser you use depends on your skin type. Use a mild cleanser or micellar water to avoid stripping your skin of moisture.

2. Toner

This step is optional; some people replace it with astringents or essences or skip it completely. What do toners do? They restore the pH of your skin and prep it to receive the active ingredients in your serum and moisturizer.

They help to rid your skin of any residues left behind by cleansers. In addition, toners help to refine your pores and keep them clear. Generally, you should avoid toners that contain alcohol and fragrance.

3. Exfoliant

Exfoliation is also not a necessary step in your daily routine. Because the acids can be quite harsh on the skin, you should only exfoliate your skin 2-3 times a week.

Exfoliation is great for oily skin; it helps to dissolve oil clogs and slough off dead skin cells that also clog the pores. This is an important part of the acne skin care routine.

4. Serum

Serums are skincare products that serve treatment and protective purposes. They are highly concentrated with active ingredients, peptides, antioxidants botanical extracts, and sometimes oils. Some of the active ingredients include vitamin C, retinol, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide.

All these ingredients are combined in a water-based formula that penetrates deep into your skin and targets specific skin issues. Serums are also very hydrating and soothing. Choose a serum that works for your skin type and addresses your skin issues.

5. Eye cream

Eye creams are also skin care treatment products, especially beneficial for anti-aging skincare routines. However, you can use it to get rid of skin issues like puffy eyes, dark circles, and dry skin around the eye area.

Before an eye cream, you may use an eye serum to address wrinkles and sagging skin at the roots. Not every eye cream will work for your skin type; therefore, you need to take another look at the ingredient formulation before you buy the cream.

6. Spot treatment

Spot treatment is an exclusive step for people with skin blemishes like acne. These creams contain anti-inflammatory ingredients that soothe skin lesions and dry up zits. Spot treatments come before moisturizers so they can penetrate better and tackle acne properly.

Apply spot treatments, with a clean cotton swab, over the spots and allow it to dry before you apply moisturizer.

7. Moisturizer

Moisturizers are undisputable skincare staples, and this is regardless of your skin type. Moisturizers are thick creams that contain occlusive and emollient ingredients. They help to lock in moisture and boost hydration levels.

If you have oily skin, get a lightweight moisturizer that won’t make your skin greasy. The cream creates a protective barrier over your skin and prevents moisture loss.

8. Face oil

Face oils are occlusive and create a seal over all the ingredients you have previously applied; this keeps them from evaporating. More so, it makes the products effective as they’re rightly delivered into your pores.

Facial oils contain vitamins that provide a good degree of protection against environmental pollutants that can affect the overall health of your skin.

9. Sunscreen

Sunscreen comes as the last step of your skincare routine. They create a protective shield over your skin, blocking out harsh sun rays. This is one product on your routine that doesn’t absorb into your skin. Apply sunscreen of at least SPF 30 before you go out into the sun.

Evening (PM) skincare routine steps

1. Makeup remover

The first step of your evening routine starts with taking off your makeup. Use an oil-based cleanser to remove makeup residues. The cleanser loosens the bond between the ingredients in your makeup and easily lifts them off.

2. Cleanser

After taking off your makeup with an oil-based cleanser, follow up with micellar water or a water-based cleanser to do a final cleansing. The cleanser also moistens your skin for the application of serum.

3. Serum

The best serums for your nighttime routine are hydrating serums. These serums keep your skin hydrated during the night and leave you with plump skin.

The serum can also serve as a pre-treatment for spot creams, especially when they contain ingredients like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide which can be too drying for your skin.

4. Eye cream

The eye creams for your nighttime routine are usually richer and heavier than the creams in your morning routine. It hydrates your skin over the night and smoothens out facial lines of tiredness and wrinkles. Eye creams also improve the appearance of dark circles that appear under your eyes.

5. Spot treatment

You may be told that spot treatments are best used at night for better effects. But using spot treatment twice a day can help speed up the treatment of zits and clear up your skin sooner. Apply the cream just like you do in the morning.

6. Moisturizer

The best moisturizer to use at night is retinol. This active ingredient stimulates cell turnover which is necessary for smooth, youthful skin.

Also, at night, your skin is hidden from sun exposure which makes it photosensitive to retinol. However, you may use other moisturizers if your skin doesn’t fare well with retinol.

7. Face oil

This is the last step of your evening routine and it is the best time to apply heavy oils. At night, your skin goes into auto-repair and makes use of the ingredients in your products to repair tissue and cell damage. Moreover, applying face oil at night provides your skin with intense hydration.

What is a skincare routine?

A skincare routine sums up the daily or weekly pattern you follow to care for your skin. A good routine guarantees healthy, glowing skin.

How you go about your routine depends on your skin type and skin-related issues.

This routine doesn’t include your daily bath; it encompasses the products you apply to improve skin health, texture, and appearance. According to various skin types, needs, and the time of the day, skincare routine steps vary.

Some people are fine with everyday essentials while others have very detailed routine steps for their skincare. Examples of skincare routine staples are facial cleansers, moisturizers, serums, and sunscreens for daytime protection.

What is the importance of skincare routine steps?

Your skincare routine steps are very important because they directly influence the quality of your skin. It is popularly said that the best form of treatment is prevention.

A good skincare routine prevents the onset of skin-related problems like premature aging, dehydration, and even acne.

No step in your skincare routine is a waste. No one product is one-size-fits-all; each product works in tandem with the others to influence the overall appearance of your skin. They keep your skin healthy, and glowing and can help extend youthfulness.

In addition, skincare routine steps are not overrated. When your skin looks good and flawless, it boosts your self-confidence. When you have clear skin, you can confidently go out with minimal makeup or even bare-faced.

How do you choose a skincare routine?

The skincare routine you follow must take your skin type and concerns into account.

There are four basic skin types; dry skin, oily skin, combination skin, and sensitive skin. Your skincare routine will include products and approaches that will improve your skin.

You shouldn’t assume a routine will work for your skin because it worked for someone else (it may happen but you shouldn’t). If you feel lost, see a skincare expert who will determine your skin type and tell you how to go about your routine.

What products should you use for your skincare routine steps?

Your skin type and concerns determine the products you use in your routine.

For instance, some products are classified as comedogenic because they contain pore-clogging ingredients. These products aren’t the best picks for people with oily and acne-prone skin.

While these products will aggravate oily skin, they may be the solution to the problems of dry skin. Conversely, the products in the dry skincare routine may not be able to keep the clogged pores of oily skin clear.

Moreover, you’ll find some products like salicylic acid and retinol too drying and irritating for your skin. This sums up to say that before you grab just any product, you should be sure about what it contains and what it can do for your skin.


skincare routine steps

At what age should you start a skincare routine?

You can start practicing a skincare routine from the age of 18-20, depending on your skin type and changes with growth and development. Starting a good skincare routine early guarantees a good anti-aging routine.

How long does it take a skincare routine to work?

You should begin to see visible changes in your skin after a month of consistent use of your products. However, you should continue with the routine for up to three months to establish the effects.

How many steps should your skincare routine have?

The number of steps in your routine depends on the number of products you apply.

Skincare routine is personal; use products that work for your skin type and concerns. Your skincare routine may have 3-5 steps as a minimalist or be as detailed as the Korean 10-step routine.

How long should you wait between products application?

Allow one product to absorb into your skin for up to a minute before you apply the next.

The waiting time allows the ingredient to absorb properly into your pores and prevents product piling. Also, it keeps the product from moving off the targeted part of your skin.


How you care for your skin is very important. Beyond the number of steps in your skincare routine, the brands, and how many products you layer, the right application determines the results you get.

The rule of thumb says that you begin with the thinnest products and work up to the thickest products.

This allows the products to absorb better and the constituent ingredients are more effective. Most importantly, always wear sunscreen. You do not want the sun’s rays ruining the minutes you spent before the mirror.

Thanks for reading.

Looking to get it right with your skincare routine? Look no further than Africanastyle for the best guides to help you achieve your skin goals.