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Advice on my morning skincare routine

Hello! I would love some feedback on my AM skincare routine. The topic of layering products and pH always confuses me. Mainly, am I using my products in the correct order (listed in the order I use them below) and am I over-exfoliating my skin? I use AHAs in my toner twice a day. I have combination skin, my cheeks feel very dry but my forehead and chin always get shiny. Skin concerns are dullness and hyperpigmentation from acne scars. I do not have sensitive skin and my skin seems to handle this combination well so far (have been doing this routine for about a month). 


Cleanser: Origins Checks and Balances Face Wash

Toner: REN Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Toner

Serums: Drunk Elephant Vitamin C Serum and the Ordinary Niacinamide Serum

Moisturizer: the Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors

SPF: Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen


At night I also use the Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution followed by the Inkey List Retinol Anti-Aging Serum. Thank you so much in advance!


Re: Advice on my morning skincare routine

Hey Pumpkin!  First, the good... Daily SPF is so, so, so important. That helps those dark spots from deepening, and from developing new ones. I would stick with your cleanser, moisturizer, and SPF. But... I will echo the other comments and say...girl... pump the brakes with your “extras.”  Recalibrate your expectations. Take a breath. Mmmkay? What are your goals? What are going for? Dark spots, obviously, but what is “dullness”? How would you define that? How would you measure progress? Companies use vague terms like “dullness” as a catch all for problems ranging from dryness to uneven pigment to sagging skin. Define what you want to achieve.


First, skin is alive, it takes time to change. And you’ve been using these things for a month?  Not enough time. Second, if you’re using a bazillion all at once? You will not know which one is helping, and which one just smells and feels good. 

My advice? (You’re not going to want to hear it 👂) Stop. All. Of. Them. Just use your trusty base (cleanser, moisturizer, SPF) for one month... and then... add just one back at a time, giving it TWO WHOLE MONTHS. Not exciting, I know. What should you bring back?  Dealers choice, but I really think you should just leave the toners alone, and stick with the serums. I’d like to see you eventually alternating a niacinamide with a retinol serum at night, because niacinamide targets dark spots, and retinol has multiple benefits, like helping with acne, smoothing wrinkles, and improved skin tone/plumpness from an improved extracellular matrix. 

I don’t know if this is the case, but I think there’s a lot of pressure from social media, and the beauty industry to throw a bunch of (the newest, bestest) products at your skin. And if you aren’t, you aren’t doing “enough”. And if you’ve got any skin issues, it’s your fault from not having the “right” product. The danger can be just piling on product over product. You might not have sensitive skin now, but exposure to all these actives, or trying out new ones all the time, might set you up for that. It’s fun to try new things, but keep this in mind. Good Luck! 🍀 

Re: Advice on my morning skincare routine

+1 to @quspork comments about using Vitamin C first and being careful with so many actives. I would switch Niacinamide to evening and don’t use it with Vit C. The Ordinary has an excellent Regimen Guide on their website about how and when to use their products and which ones you should and shouldn’t combine. 

Re: Advice on my morning skincare routine

@carlyw13 I'd move the vitamin C serum to right after cleansing in the morning. It works better at a lower pH than AHAs. Also, I'd be really careful with the amount of actives you're using (five daily between the vitamin C, Ren, azelaic, glycolic, lactic/retinol). That's a lot! For some people, it's not a problem to use that many but for a lot of people that would lead to irritation and overexfoliation. It's highly dependent on your skin. Also, there's really no need to use both glycolic toner and lactic acid serum in the same routine. They're both AHAs so it's pretty redundant.

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