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Post in Combination Skin

Night time routine

I need help! 
min trying to have a good skin care routine. I watch video after video. They tell me what I need but not a brand I could use. Plus the order to use it in. I’m on a very tight budget so the inky list is my main go to for skin care. I just don’t know what order to put it all in. 

Re: Night time routine

Do you already have products that you've purchased, @MrsC103121 or are you looking for help selecting which products to get? If you tell us what you have and what your skin concerns are, we can help you get them set up into a routine. I'd advise starting simply- with cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen before adding in too much so you can help keep your skin from getting irritated by newer treatments. 

Re: Night time routine

Hi @MrsC103121 ! A good way to start a skincare routine is to figure out what your particular skin needs: what are your skincare goals and/or issues? What exactly do you want products to do for your skin? That'll help you avoid buying lots of products you don't need, regardless of what beauty influencer videos claim you need. 


The Inkey List has a "Recipe Builder" at their site that recommends products in order of use. The Ordinary also has a "Regimen Builder" tool. My own skincare routine is a mix of various brands (including the 2 I just mentioned) because no single brand's entire product line works for me. But if you want to stick to just one brand, like The Inkey List, try their recipe builder and/or contact them for help. 


The general order of products in a routine (note that only 3 steps are mandatory): 


  1. Wash - this includes PM makeup removal and double-cleansing. 
  2. Tone (optional step) - old school astringent pH-balancing toners aren't needed much anymore, now that many cleansers are less alkaline than soap. Some of us do use hydrating and/or skin brightening toners that aren't astringent or alcohol-laden. An essence can also be used here. (I'm sure some K-beauty fans will disagree but honestly, today's toners aren't much different from essences in terms of what they can do.) 
  3. Exfoliate (1-3 times a week; optional step) - this is mostly a chemical exfoliant step. (Most physical exfoliants—scrubby cleansers, brushes, Foreo, terrycloth washcloth, etc.—happen during the wash step.) It's where you'd use an AHA, BHA, PHA, or enzyme exfoliating product. Some doctors argue that chemical exfoliation isn't necessary because the act of manually washing your face is a form of exfoliation, so... eh, whether or not you do this step depends on your skincare needs/goals and the other products in your routine. 
  4. Treat (optional, depending on your skincare goals/needs) - what's in this step depends solely on your skin's needs. Could be a niacinamide serum, hydrating humectant serum, peptides serum, hyperpigmentation treatment, acne treatment (instead of or in addition to BHA), etc. The general "rule" is to apply products from thinnest to thickest consistency, but that's not a necessity. It really depends on the products in question. Example: I frequently apply an azelaic acid cream before liquid serums with no issues. For some folks, retinoids (retinol, retinaldehyde, adapalene, tretinoin, etc.) are applied in this step. Other folks with more sensitive skin like to apply retinoids after moisturizer to buffer the irritating side effects. 
  5. Moisturize - make sure your skin's damp before you apply a moisturizer. This ensures your moisturizer's got some hydration to seal into your skin. 
  6. Sunscreen (AM only) - broad spectrum, at least SPF 30, applied to ALL exposed skin, regardless of season or weather. If your sunscreen has at least one good moisturizing ingredient, it can double as your daytime moisturizer—so you could skin the previous step. You'll need to reapply sunscreen every couple hours throughout the day; it's not a "one and done" application product. 


In addition to The Inkey List and The Ordinary, brands like CeraVe, La Roche-Posay, and Vanicream make some very good products that are reasonably priced. Depending on your budget, Paula's Choice is another option: they frequently have sales at their own site and they sell sample/travel sizes of several products. 

Re: Night time routine

Hi! Beauty blogger here. The reason we don't typically blanket recommend brands is because it is possible to like specific products within a brand and not like others. Nothing against a brand, but some products work for some people and not for others! That's usually why we call out specific ingredients/concerns that a particular product or set of products address and then whether or not it met those. It is more difficulty to wholly say "this is the brand you should use" because every person is different.


I'm not sure what concerns you are trying to address with your routine, but generally the InkeyList and the Ordinary are great affordable brands, and I've also heard good things about the Sephora Collection skincare! Overall, your products should go from lightest/thinnest to heaviest/thickest. I.e. a water based serum (like HA serum) then a treatment (i.e. retinol) then moisturizer. Hope this helps 🙂

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