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Building Your Ultimate Skin Care Routine: Order, Products, & More! | Indianapolis Skin Professionals

Developing a skin care routine is a personal process. We’ve all been there going through trial and error trying to figure out how to keep our skin looking fresh so we can always put our best face forward. Having a solid foundation can even help your skin be more receptive to aesthetic treatments like laser skin resurfacing and broadband light.

The expert aestheticians at Phases Skin Care and Laser Center are just like you. That’s why we put together this guide with everything you need to know about building a skin care routine: order, products, day to night, and everything in between!

Why does my skin care routine order matter?

When you don’t have a regular skin care routine, your skin will show its age sooner rather than later. The skin is one of the first places that we start to see signs of aging. Beyond aging, did you know that your skin is your largest organ? It plays an important role in protecting your entire body and it deserves to have its health prioritized. 

To make sure your skin care products are being as effective as possible, it’s important to apply them in the correct order. Some products will create a barrier to protect your skin, which we love, but that barrier prevents everything from penetrating, including your other skin care items!

As a general rule products should always be applied from lightest to heaviest directly after cleansing.

Your ideal skin care routine order for day and night:

The overall structure of your skin care routine order won’t change much from day to night. However, your morning routine should be focused on protecting your skin from sun damage, while your nighttime routine should address skin concerns like acne or aging.

It’s important to leave a few minutes in between the application of each product, too. Give your skin time to absorb each product’s unique benefits!

Morning routine ☀️


Just like brushing your teeth, it’s important to cleanse your face once or twice a day. Even though you’ve cleansed the night before, your skin continues producing oil throughout the night. If your skin is on the dryer side, cleansing at night then using just water in the morning is fine. Your skin can also collect dead skin cells and other debris that have accumulated on your pillow case. 

Eye Cream

Applying your eye cream twice a day ensures that you’ll see the best results from using it. A pea-sized drop smoothed gently around your eye is all you need! Applying more product won’t give you more benefits, you’ll just run out of cream faster.

Growth Factor

For addressing wrinkles and skin firmness, we can’t recommend a growth factor serum enough. 

Any other serums you plan on using should be applied during this step before you moisturize.


Your moisturizer is arguably the most important step of your skin care routine and should be last in the order. Keeping your skin hydrated is a fundamental part of its health. Further, your moisturizer seals in your other products and protects your skin throughout the day.


Using a daily SPF of at least 30 is crucial to maintaining your skin. 90% of skin changes are caused by the sun’s rays. Yes, even on cloudy and cold days.

Evening Routine 🌙


Remembering to cleanse your face is an important part of getting ready for bed, whether or not you wore makeup during the day. While you’re out and about your face is exposed to the elements, producing oil, and collecting debris. Plus, cleansing your face provides a blank canvas for the rest of your skin care products!

Exfoliate (2 times a week)

Exfoliating helps freshen skin by removing debris and dead skin cells. By exfoliating you clear the first layer of skin so that your other skin care products will be able to penetrate more deeply. This is another moment when the order of your skincare is important!

You also don’t need to exfoliate more than 1 or 2 times a week. Over-exfoliating your skin can make your skin rough and dehydrated.

Eye Cream

You use your eyes all day! Think about it: blinking, squinting, side eye. The skin around your eyes is delicate and feels the effects of all those muscle movements. By applying eye cream at night you can counteract them and give your eyes some needed refreshment. 

Growth Factor

At night our body is resting and our skin starts rejuvenating and repairing itself. Using your growth factor at night partners with your skin’s natural processes and results in glowing, healthier skin.


While it’s great for anti-aging, retinol actually makes your skin more sensitive to UV rays and sunlight makes the product less effective. That’s why retinol serums should only be used at night!


Just like in the morning, your moisturizer at night seals in all the goodness of your other products and protects your skin throughout the night.

Ready to start your skin care routine? 3 things to know first:

Find out your skin type

Everyone has unique skin that’s all their own, but most people fall into one of a few types: dry, oily, combination, and/or sensitive. 

There’s also the Fitzpatrick scale, which is particularly useful when we’re consulting patients on laser skin treatments and other aesthetic procedures.

At Phases Skin Care and Laser Center we offer Skinprint Analysis, which allows us to measure the real time aspects of your skin. We can use your results to develop a customized skin care regimen for you.


While daily skin care is important for everyone, it’s good to know if there are specific concerns you are trying to combat. Are you wanting to treat acne or lessen the appearance of wrinkles? Different products address different issues.

It takes time

When you first start a new routine your skin will take some time to adjust. During this time it’s important to pay attention to how your skin reacts, just in case you have an allergic reaction or if your skin starts breaking out abnormally.

Most active ingredients take at least 2 months to show optimal results, so be patient and stick with it.

It may take a little trial and error to figure out your perfect routine, although coming in for skin consultation or Skin Print analysis can help you skip some of that hassle! 

You can also use our skincare routine quiz to get introduced to our favorite products based on your unique concerns!

Frequently asked questions about skin care routine order and more!

Our expert aestheticians are always ready to answer any questions you might have about building your skincare routine. Here are some of the common ones we get:

Is medical-grade skin care worth the investment?

Short answer: yes! Medical-grade skincare products have a higher percentage of active ingredients, which leads to better results. More potent ingredients also means you don’t have to use as much, which makes them last longer. They’re also held to higher standards of safety by the FDA.

Should my skin care routine order change from summer to winter?

While your basic skin care routine order won’t change from season to season, some other aspects might. In winter you might need extra moisturize to combat the drying effects of the cold. During summertime you could opt for an oil-free cleanser because your skin is oily or sweaty.

And of course, your skin will change as you age. So you should always be ready to adjust your routine accordingly.

Why do I need an eye cream and a moisturizer?

The skin around your eyes is much more delicate than the rest of your face. Weighing it down with moisturizer can cause more harm than good. Using a product specifically designed for the eyes provides the best care.

When should I do my night time routine?

It’s best to do your night time skin care just before bed. Make sure to give your products time to fully absorb before you actually hit the sheets, otherwise you risk getting more product on your pillow case than your skin!

Where should my acne treatments go in my skincare order?

Acne treatments, especially spot treatments, should happen after cleansing and before other serums. This allows the acne medication to address blemishes directly without anything else in the way.

Ready to level up your skin care? Schedule your skincare consultation with Phases.

This guide is a great place to start if you’re ready to start showing your skin the love it deserves. Nothing replaces coming in for a professional skincare consultation with one of our trained aestheticians at Phases Skin Care and Laser Center. We can provide you with personalized recommendations based on your unique skin.

Schedule your consultation

Don’t forget to try our skincare quiz to help you start building your routine from the comfort of your own home!

Take the Quiz

Interested in our aesthetic procedures? You can use our virtual consultation tool to explore all of our cosmetic offerings. It lets you self-select your areas of interest and receive customized treatment recommendations right to your inbox!

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