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How to Build a Skin Care Routine

Having a solid skincare routine can help to address your skincare concerns and improve your skin’s appearance over time. If you’re not sure where to get started with skincare for beginners, you’ve come to the right place! In this skincare guide, we’ll break down the essential skincare routine steps that you should be following morning and night.

Morning Skin Care Routine

Your morning routine can encompass up to six steps: cleanser, toner, serum, eye cream, moisturizer, and sunscreen. Here’s the order you should apply them in:


This step is actually optional depending on what your skin type is and what products you put on at night. Most people with oily skin like to wash their face first thing in the morning to get rid of any shine. People who wear very heavy skincare products at night also like to wash their face in the morning to remove any residue and ensure their morning skincare products can penetrate the skin properly. On the other hand, some people with very dry skin just rinse their face in the morning with plain water and then go about the rest of their routine. When in doubt, just use a gentle face cleanser in the morning and then pat your face dry to get it ready for the rest of your morning skincare routine.


A toner is also optional, but it can be a great addition to either your morning or nighttime routine. Toners were originally designed to counteract super alkaline well water that could leave soapy residue behind on your skin, but thanks to advances in filtration that isn’t really an issue anymore. Instead, these skincare products can impart benefits from hydration to oil control depending on the ingredients. Toners have a water-like consistency and absorb quickly, making them a great pick for summertime or people with oily complexions who are worried about looking shiny during the day.


Treatment serums are the heroes of both your morning and night skincare routine, delivering results and improving the appearance of your skin. For our morning routine, we love using a vitamin C brightening serum that provides antioxidant benefits and protects our skin from free radical damage like pollution and UV rays. Check out our guide to vitamin C serums to learn more about why you should be wearing vitamin C during the day.

Eye Cream

Do you wake up with puffy eyes or dark circles? If so, using a cooling eye gel in the morning can help to reduce the swelling and make you appear more awake. For even better results, try placing cold compresses on your eyes for a few minutes early in the morning and washing your face with cold water. This will reduce the puffiness even more and prep your skin for the eye cream.


Moisturizers help to prevent water loss and seal all your other skincare products in place. As the next to last step in your morning basic skincare routine, we recommend applying a lightweight moisturizer to ensure that your face doesn’t dry out during the day. Note that if you have very oily skin, you may be able to skip this step and just use a moisturizing sunscreen instead of two separate products.


The last step of any morning routine should be applying sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher. There are many different types of sunscreens to choose between, including chemical vs. mineral, tinted vs. untinted, and water resistant vs. non water resistant. You may need to try out multiple different products until you figure out which sunscreen works best for your skin. If you are exposed to the sun during the day, then you should reapply your sunscreen every two hours. Also be sure to protect your face with sunglasses and a hat, and try to stay out of the sun whenever possible.

Night Skin Care Routine Steps 

Your nighttime routine can also feature up to six steps, though they differ slightly from your morning routine: double cleanse, toners, serums, eye cream, spot treatment, and moisturizer.

Double Cleanse

As the name indicates, double cleansing involves two steps: first removing your makeup (if you wear it) and sunscreen, then washing your face with a facial cleanser. You can choose from multiple different makeup removers, including cleanser balms, cleansing oils, micellar water, and makeup remover wipes. Generally speaking, balms and cleansers are more effective at removing heavy makeup and stubborn sunscreen than micellar water and wipes. Next, you’ll want to follow up your makeup remover with a facial cleanser to remove any lingering traces of dirt and debris and to prep your skin for the rest of your routine.


Like we said in the section above, toners are optional for your night skincare routine steps too, so you don’t have to use them. But if you do want to incorporate this skin enhancer into your routine, we like using a hydrating face spray at night to complement the rest of our routine and prevent water loss while sleeping. You could also use an exfoliating toner if you don’t like the texture of thicker serums.


Speaking of serums, you should absolutely be using these in your nightly routine — the lack of sun exposure means that you can use some really powerful products without worrying about sun exposure. The two most popular serums to use at night are a retinol cream to promote skin cell turnover and a chemical exfoliator to dissolve dead skin cells. Both of these products are very potent, so you should alternate nights instead of using them in the same routine.

Eye Cream

Some people like to include a dedicated under eye treatment as part of their simple skincare rowutine so they don’t have to slather a thick moisturizer all over their face at night. If you want to use powerful ingredients like retinol around your eyes, it’s also usually wise to seek out an eye cream that is specifically formulated for the area to avoid irritating the delicate skin.

Spot Treatment

Spot treatments for blemishes can be tricky to use during the day since they’re so visible, which is why many people prefer to use them at night instead. Spot treatments typically take the form of topical creams that you apply to blemishes to dry them out, or pimple patches that pull debris out of your pores while protecting them from dirt and germs. If your skin is easily irritated by spot treatments, you might want to apply moisturizer first, and then follow it up with the spot treatment to help reduce the potency a little.


You should definitely be wearing a face moisturizer at night while you sleep to prevent water loss, otherwise you’ll wake up with seriously parched skin. Oily skin types tend to prefer lightweight gel creams that soak in quickly, while dry skin types benefit from heavy creams that provide a lot of moisture. Normal and combination skin types often enjoy a midweight lotion that falls in the middle.

Extra Steps for a Bonus Boost

Ready to take your basic skincare 101 routine to the next level? Try some of these optional products to supercharge your routine!

Lip Mask

Think of a lip mask as a super hydrating lip balm that is designed to be used overnight. Lip masks help to prevent water loss, restore moisture, and heal your lips from damage sustained during the day.

Face Masks

Face masks come in both wash-off and sheet mask formulations and make for a fun addition to your routine. Their benefits range from hydrating to exfoliating to soothing to brightening, so you can choose one depending on your skin’s needs.

Body Products

While the face gets a lot of attention, the skin on your body absolutely deserves the same kind of care, starting with a nice body wash packed full of beneficial ingredients. Follow it up with a moisturizer once you get out of the shower for soft skin. Be sure to choose a nourishing shave cream to prevent nicks and cuts as well.

Not sure which Fieldtrip skincare products are right for you? Get to know our skincare ingredients or take our personalized skincare quiz for personalized recommendations.


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