Step-By-Step Skincare: What to Use & When for Maximum Results

Step-By-Step Skincare: What to Use & When for Maximum Results

Whether your skin is dry or oily, breaks out here and there, or is a combination of everything, you’ll want to follow a regular facial routine. And if you’ve just started using AgelessRx facial products, you’ll want to make sure you’re applying them to clean (and most likely toned) skin and in the proper order.

Need help getting started? Here’s our guide to step-by-step skincare. This regimen includes eight steps, but how many you do may change depending on the season, where you live or what your dermatologist recommends.

That said, get ready to order up and glow on.

  1. Face wash.

    Experts have a lot to say about whether you should cleanse once, twice or even more during the day, but a good rule of thumb is twice a day (morning and night), less if you have sensitive or dryer skin (stick to once at night), more if you’re oil-prone, exercise (hello sweat!) regularly or wear a lot of make-up.

    Always splash your face with water first to prep your skin for cleansing. Rub a pea sized amount of a gentle cleanser on your fingers and massage all over your face. Use very light pressure. You can wash your face in gentle circles. Rinse until all soap is removed and pat (don’t rub!) your face dry. If you wear a lot of makeup, use cleansing oil or a hydrating micellar water before hitting the face wash.

    When? AM & PM, just PM if dry or sensitive, more often for some skin types.
  2. Toner.

    If you don’t have sensitive skin or very dry skin, you can tone your face day or night (or both!). It’s best to use a cotton pad when applying it and remember, a few drops go a long way. Wipe the toner gently over your face and move on to the next step in your skincare routine.

    Because aging skin needs more moisture, you’ll want to look for a toner that won’t strip your skin. Astringents and toners that include witch hazel or alcohol are no-nos. Here are a few more hydrating options we like: Paula’s Choice Replenishing Toner and Caudalie Vinoclean Moisturizing Toner has rose water in it.

    Pro tip: Swap in a facial spray for your toner step. Youth to the People makes a great one. We also love the smell and feel of everything by Mario Badescu. Here’s a whole bunch of facial sprays and mists to choose from.

    When? PM. AM, but only if you’re really oily.
  3. Serum.

    Look for a facial serum that’s chock full of protective antioxidants like Vitamin C or E or even magnesium. Anything with the word “brightening” in it usually means it’s full of C (ascorbic acid) or Vitamin B3 (sometimes called niacinamide). It might also have complexion-boosting agents like green tea or even or brightening acids. These acids include exfoliants like alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA), kojic acid, glycolic or lactic acid. Any of these will give you coverage for the day from pollution, dirt and any other free radicals that could damage your face.

    For nightime, look for a hydrating, moisturizing serum. Something with hyaluronic acid, which helps build back the skin’s moisture barrier and plumps your skin, is ideal. Whatever you’re using, always remember:

    When? AM & PM
  4. Eye cream.

    Look for a specialized eye cream and layer it on before your regular moisturizer since eye creams tend to be featherweight compared to heavier face creams and lotions. For an added benefit, use a jade roller in the morning as you apply. This will help jumpstart lymphatic drainage, aid under eye bags, dark circles and puffiness.

    When? AM & PM
  5. Sunscreen.

    We say this a lot, but we can’t help ourselves…don’t forget the sunscreen!

    It’s probably the most essential piece in any rock solid skincare routine if you want to prevent skin cancer and signs of aging. Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before you’ll be outside. Look for broad-spectrum SPF, meaning that your sunscreen protects from both UVA (causes fine lines, age spots and wrinkles) and UVB (causes sunburn) radiation. Stick to an SPF higher than 30. More great information can be found here courtesy of the National Foundation for Cancer Research.

    When? AM. (But, don’t forget to reapply throughout the day!)
  6. Moisturizer.

    Look for a lightweight lotion for the morning and if you’re using a combined sunscreen/moisturizer, don’t forget an SPF 30 or higher.

    In the evening, you can use a thicker night cream. If you suffer from very dry skin, you may want to use cream rather than lotion both morning and night. Your dermatologist can advise you on this. AgelessRx’s DMAE Firming Gel, for example, hydrates like a pro and helps lock in all the other layers of your skincare products.

    When? AM & PM
  7. Retinoid/Retinol.

    Retinoid and Retinol products, like AgelessRx’s Tretinoin Anti-Wrinkle Face Cream, are Vitamin A derivatives that can handle a multitude of aging skincare concerns. Here are just a few: age spots, fine lines, wrinkles, acne breakouts. Make sure to follow your dermatologist’s instructions on this one as retinol creams can irritate skin at first use and may not be suitable for all skin types.

    Your skin is much more susceptible to sun damage when you first start using any Vitamin A derivative. This is why many doctors recommend you only use them at night and make sure you’re using a powerful sunscreen during the day. The good news? Many of the icky side effects disappear after the first few weeks of use as your skin gets used to them.

    When? PM. AM & PM if recommended by a dermatologist.
  8. Face Oil. (optional)

    Daytime Face Oil:

    Note: Daytime face oil should be applied after serum but before moisturizer and sunscreen in the morning.

    A light-weight facial oil, preferably with antioxidants, will keep your skin moisturized throughout the day and won’t be greasy when you’re putting on make-up or sunscreen afterwards.

    We are big fans of Rosehip oils for daytime. Check out this one from Pai. For skin that’s more dry and reactive, we like this one because it adds in some ceramides for extra protection.

    When? AM

    Nighttime Face Oil:

    At night, you want an oil that’s richer and thicker. This will be your last step of the night. Oil should be applied over any AgelessRx gels or creams or other moisturizers you use at night.

    We recommend something like Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate which is specifically formulated to work with your circadian rhythm and repair skin overnight. Bonus: It has a lovely lavender scent. For a slightly richer product, Sunday Riley’s Luna Sleeping Night Oil smells delightful and has trans retinoic acid and calming chamomile.

    When? PM