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We’ve Found Them! These Are the Best Skincare Routines for Morning and Night

Photo by Jonathan Knowles / Getty Images

Most dermatologists on social media can be found preaching the absolute benefits of must-haves in a skincare routine, like vitamin C, retinol, and SPF. Of course, we need things like a cleanser to wash off the day and a moisturizer to protect our skin barrier, but the message is to encourage a less-is-more mindset, and to stick to the basics.

For so long we’ve been captivated by the popular Korean 10-step skincare regimen. There’s nothing wrong with these maximalist routines, but are they really necessary for great skin? The short answer: no! Brands are beginning to launch more products aimed to be multipurpose, so you can pare down your skincare routine to be as effective and as quick as possible.

So what do you really need in your skincare routine, how do you build the best morning-to-night skincare routines, and what are the best products to have tucked away in your skincare arsenal for whenever you need them? We spoke to dermatologist Hysem Eldik, MD, to get the essential tricks and tips we need to know about building the best skincare routines.

About the Expert:

Hysem Eldik, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist at Marmur Medical in NYC. He has a special focus in cosmetic dermatology and believes in tried-and-true skincare products and practices!

The Best Morning Skincare Routine

1. Gentle Cleanser

GLOW RECIPE Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser

Starting the day off with a solid face wash is important. GLOW RECIPE Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser has a totally unique texture—it’s a light, bouncy gel that builds into hydrating, micro-foaming bubbles—that deeply cleanse without over-drying your skin. Once you rinse, your face will feel supple. It’s great for all skin types and doesn’t strip your skin dry, even sensitive skin. Of course, if you need something a bit more hydrating for dryness—you can opt for a cream cleanser in the morning.

2. Light Toner or Face Mist

MAAPILIM Balancing Toner

You don’t necessarily need a potent toner filled with active ingredients in the morning. Your skin just replenished itself overnight and is likely very clean and without impurities. Your cleanser will help break down any excess oils and prep you for a clean slate. Think of a great toner or even a face mist like a primer to help get your skin ready for the rest of your routine. Go in with a pore-refining toner, like MAAPILIM Balancing Toner, to balance and energize your skin, gently clarify and evens without stripping the skin.

3. Vitamin C Serum

BEAUTYSTAT Universal C Skin Refiner

Having a vitamin C serum in your morning skincare routine is super important! It‘s an ideal brightening treatment to even your skin tone, and plump your skin with antioxidants. You‘ll be amazed at how healthy your skin will look with consistent use. It can also help with light hyperpigmentation, acne scarring, and dark spots.

BEAUTYSTAT Universal C Skin Refiner contains 20 percent vitamin C, which is super effective because you’ll often see products ranging from eight percent to 30 percent. If you need even more hydration, try layering it with a hyaluronic acid serum, which is a humectant that helps you lock moisture in all day.

4. Caffeinated Eye Cream

SUNDAY RILEY Auto Correct Brightening and Depuffing Eye Contour Cream

Understandably, our eyes need the most help in the morning. Perhaps you didn’t get enough beauty sleep and you’re feeling a bit puffy, or have dark circles showing. Watch them disappear with SUNDAY RILEY Auto Correct Brightening and Depuffing Eye Contour Cream. Not only does it instantly depuff and make you look more awake, it has a peachy pearlescent sheen that looks pretty on its own and under concealer.

This product also has great anti-aging benefits thanks to concentrated horse chestnut and acmella oleracea extracts, which work at targeting fine lines and smoothing skin. Cocoa butter, shea butter, watermelon extract, and sodium PCA work to plump the eye are with moisture, too. Your under-eyes will thank you when you use this!

5. Hydrating Moisturizer

WISHFUL Honey Balm Niacinamide Moisturizer

If you’ve long been searching for the perfect daily moisturizer, look no further. The best part of WISHFUL Honey Balm Niacinamide Moisturizer is its lightweight, jelly texture and ability to hydrate your skin. It’s formulated to feel weightless yet leave your skin hydrated and dewy all day long. It adds moisture with honey, brightens dark spots with turmeric, and minimizes pores size and uneven skin texture with niacinamide.

6. Sunscreen Protection

NEOGEN DERMALOGY Day-Light Protection Airy Sunscreen

Of course, you can‘t forget about sun protection in your morning skincare routine. NEOGEN DERMALOGY Day-Light Protection Airy Sunscreen is the perfect lightweight sunscreen for daily use as it is not too heavy on skin and helps with oil control. It contains a broad spectrum SPF 50 protection and 20 plant extracts (like aloe, arnica, and damask rose) to help keep your skin hydrated, calm, and, most importantly, protected from the sun. Remember the three finger length of SPF rule and don’t forget to reapply!

The Best Nighttime Skincare Routine

1. Makeup-Removing Cleansing Balm

ITEM BEAUTY Slick Type Cleansing Balm

Cleansing balms are not just makeup removers. They’re effective cleansers when it comes to breaking down oil, sebum, dirt, and SPF. Double cleansing is essential in a night routine to make sure you’re heading off to bed with the cleanest skin possible. Nobody wants leftover impurities sticking around in their pores.

Apply ITEM BEAUTY Slick Type Cleansing Balm on a dry face, then add water to emulsify, rinse, and begin your second cleanse with a water-based cleanser. This silky balm is enriched with natural emollients, like olive fruit, grape seed, and rosehip oils to replenish your skin with essential moisture.

2. Calming and Hydrating Cleanser

KORRES Greek Yoghurt Foaming Cream Cleanser

Next is your water-based cleanser! Your night time routine should be all about hydrating and replenishing your skin before bed. With this, try KORRES Greek Yoghurt Foaming Cream Cleanser. It’s hydrating, gives your pores a deep clean, and targets any redness or irritation. Seaweed, honeysuckle, and Greek yogurt (or yoghurt for all the Brits out there) containing pre- and probiotics balance and calm skin for the ultimate reset.

3. Hydrating and Balancing Toner

PURE'AM pH Balance Calming Toner

Following the theme of hydration, PURE'AM pH Balance Calming Toner has a light milky texture. It contains triple hyaluronic acid, vegan ceramides, and cica extract. While the product provides intense hydration and is ideal for even dry skin types, it doesn’t feel heavy on skin and is practically as light as water.

Apply with a cotton pad or directly onto your skin by pouring into the palms of your hands first. This is a product that you’re going to want to reach for whenever your skin is stressed. You can count on it to hit reset, pH balance, and soothe any irritation that you may be experiencing. It will soon be a key component in your skincare regimen once you’ve tried it!

4. Anti-Aging Serum

JUICE BEAUTY Stem Cellular Anti-Wrinkle Retinol Overnight Serum

If you own one product with exfoliating actives that are meant to target aging, let it be JUICE BEAUTY Stem Cellular Anti-Wrinkle Retinol Overnight Serum. This ultra-light gel serum helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles with a formula full of well-known brighteners, like vitamin C, and potent dose of retinol (2.5 percent bio-retinol to be exact).

5. Anti-Aging Eye Treatment

MURAD Renewing Eye Cream

Protect your collagen with MURAD Renewing Eye Cream! This hydrating eye treatment helps brighten, minimize fine lines, and reduce puffiness in one step. Made with a mix of peptides and retinol, it also helps boost collagen production, making the delicate skin around your eyes feel more supple and soft.

6. Nourishing and Protective Moisturizer

BELIF The True Cream - Moisturizing Bomb

BELIF has some of our favorite moisturizers ever. Their cult-status BELIF The True Cream - Moisturizing Bomb is proven to leave normal to dry skin soft and fully moisturized for up to 26 hours—so your skin’s happy even if you’re up past your bedtime. It gives your skin the hug it needs with a surge of moisture and skin barrier protecting abilities. Your skin will look and feel supple and hydrated after just one use. If your skin needs the extra hydration, you can use this in your morning skincare routine, too.

Want to learn more about your skin concerns and the best products to keep in your skincare routine? Take our Beauty Quiz now to get your very own IPSY Glam Bag. Already an Ipster? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.

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About the author
Olivia Cefalu
Olivia Cefalu
Olivia is a freelance beauty writer. With experience in influencer marketing at Tata Harper Skincare and editorial at Very Good Light, she loves covering Gen Z beauty, wellness, and nail trends. Read her work on Very Good Light and Well + Good.
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Article Last Updated July 29, 2022 12:00 AM