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How does your morning routine differ from your evening routine?

I’m new to skincare and have a few products that I’ve been working with but I’ve been doing the same products day and night and I’m reading that a lot of you mix it up. So what are some types of products you use during the day and what do you use at night? Also any good recommendations on exfoliating? Thanks BIC!

Re: How does your morning routine differ from your evening routine?

Cleansing: I typically do not cleanse in the morning as my skin is too dry to cleanse twice a day. I will typically just splash my face with water and pat dry, or at most use a micellar water. Whereas at nighttime I typically double cleanse, first with a oil or balm cleanser to breakup my sunscreen (and makeup on the rare day I wear it) followed by a cream cleanser to wash everything off.


Serums: I use vitamin C in the mornings and at night time I will off and on use a brightening serum just over my hyperpigmented areas. I follow both of those up with a hydrating serum.


Moisturizer: I tend to use heavier moisturizer/cream at nighttime as well as mix it with a facial oil for extra hydration boost. Daytime, I’ll go for something lighter and typically skip the facial oil to avoid looking super shiny when I first get to work.


Miscellaneous: SPF everyday. I work at an entirely indoor job, typically not by a window, but I SPF every morning as it’s just a good habit. I do not reapply unless I am by a window or outdoors. In the evenings, I end my routine with tretinoin every night. And if my skin is extra dry, I will put an occlusive over dry patches (ie aquaphor, cerave healing ointment).



Re: How does your morning routine differ from your evening routine?

@KehDee  I hope you're doing well! I've missed seeing you around BIC. 🙂 


My AM routine is mostly about prepping my skin to handle the day's environmental stressors. I focus on antioxidant-heavy products, skin soothers (I have inflammation issues), hydration, moisturization, and sunscreen. 

If I wash my face in the morning (I usually do), I use a gentler cleanser than I do at night: either a Paula's Choice cream cleanser or The Inkey List Oat Cleansing Balm. This gets the morning job done without causing any irritation. 

I use vitamin C in the morning instead of night because it does its best antioxidant duties during the day: helps protect my skin from free radicals, boosts sunscreen efficacy, and brightens my face. If my surface redness is worse than usual, I'll apply a centella asiatica (cica) serum: cica is an antioxidant source known to reduce inflammation, and my skin responds very well to it. I like to apply niacinamide in the morning. I'm still trying to get into the habit of sheet-masking in the morning but man, that's hard for me. 😂 I'm too used to doing it at night. Most sheet mask serums contain antioxidants, so it makes more sense (for me) to use them in the morning for maximum benefit. I'm trying! 

If I need to treat acne during the day, I use either azelaic acid (another good antioxidant source) or BHA as a spot treatment. I limit chemical exfoliation to no more than 3 times a week, so I don't use BHA each morning. (Azelaic acid's not an exfoliant.) 

My mostly-dry combo skin needs all the hydration and moisturization it can get, so I keep my skin damp throughout my routine and apply hydration-boosting ingredients like hyaluronic acid, PCA, trehalose, carrageenan, panthenol, urea, etc. If my skin loved honey, I'd also apply that in the morning. Peptides can also boost hydration. Ceramides make my skin super happy, and my current moisturizers contain them. I sometimes layer a facial oil under my moisturizer to act as an additional antioxidant source (or to calm inflammation, in the case of CBD oil) and provide a bit more emollience to my cream moisturizer. 

If I plan to go outside or sit near windows indoors, I apply sunscreen. I rotate through several different sunscreens, but my skin prefers physical ones. I've yet to have a bad reaction to Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen, though. 

My PM routine is more about recovery and restoration: create and reveal new skin, degunk pores (if I haven't already that morning), and soothe my cranky skin. 

My nighttime cleanser is either Paula's Choice Hydralight or CeraVe Hydrating Cleaner Bar. Both are very effective without stripping my skin. If I used a physical sunscreen, tinted moisturizer, or powder foundation during the day, I double-cleanse, starting with The Inkey List Oat Cleansing Balm. 

I apply retinoids at night to boost skin cell turnover. (I currently use one around my eyes and a different one everywhere else on my face.) Nighttime is usually when I exfoliate with either AHA, BHA, or my Foreo—again, keeping exfoliation to just 1-3 times a week. I like to use a licorice root serum at night to calm my skin down. I sometimes apply a niacinamide serum at night, and I use an essence that contains ferments and hydrating ingredients. (To me, "essences" are basically hydrating/antioxidant-delivering toners.) And of course I use a moisturizer at night, sometimes with a facial oil around my eyes. 

About moisturizers: since my skin's mostly dry and my oily zone is prone to dehydration, I need moisturizers that are truly occlusive. They must contain at least one occlusive ingredient that can seal in hydration and prevent moisture loss. The most occlusive ingredient you can get in a moisturizer is petrolatum, which is in 4 of the moisturizers I currently rotate in my routine. (I've been testing moisturizers since October.) My face is kinda meh about shea butter, but that's also a good occlusive ingredient. Squalane is a good occlusive, especially if combined with other occlusives like sunflower oil, safflower oil, etc. Not all plant oils are occlusive, though. They're all emollient, but some don't prevent moisture loss. 


Exfoliation: depends on how sensitive your skin is. If you're brand new to exfoliation, do it just once a week for a while, then build up frequency to no more than 3 times a week. (Some derms recommend only twice a week.) You do not want to over-exfoliate your skin. A broken skin barrier is painful and frustrating; I just finished healing my face from this issue, though not due to exfoliation. (I used a new-to-me product I shouldn't have, too soon after I'd increased my retinoid frequency.) 


If you want to try chemical exfoliation, some gentle yet effective starts are SEPHORA COLLECTION Clear Skin Days by Sephora Collection Brightening Peel Pads , First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads (use only if your skin can handle citrus extracts), and The INKEY List Polyhydroxy Acid (PHA) Gentle Exfoliating Toner (I hear Canada either just got The Inkey List or is getting this brand). PHA is particularly good for sensitive skin. You could also try a low strength lactic acid, which is an AHA... perhaps The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA . 


For physical exfoliation, I use a FOREO LUNA™ mini 2 . You could try a facial scrub that's not super abrasive... I'm not sure what to recommend since I don't use scrubs. Folks seem to like a Tatcha rice powder product (don't remember the name), and I know Paula's Choice makes something called The UnScrub that might work well. 


Re: How does your morning routine differ from your evening routine?

Thank you as always for your thoughtful response @WinglessOne i can never stay away too long but it’s nice when someone notices that you’re gone 💕

Re: How does your morning routine differ from your evening routine?

@KehDee The biggest difference for me is that in the morning I use BHA, while at night I focus on retinol/retinoids and hydration.  I might be a little unique in that I also have a midday routine that I do when I come home from work.  I'm not sure how good it's been doing me this year since I've been working full days and then some.  I saw you posted about oily skin.  I have that as well, so I thought I'd post my whole routine in case it might be helpful to you:



First Aid Beauty Pure Skin Face Cleanser 8 oz/ 240 mL 

Youth To The People Adaptogen Soothe + Hydrate Activated Mist with Peptides 

e.l.f. Hydrating Water Essence

Paula's Choice BHA 9 (all over)

The INKEY List Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Serum under my eyes when I'm feeling ambitious

Revolution Skincare Niacinamide 

CeraVe PM or in the cold months Cetaphil NIght Moisturizer from the Redness Relief line (I only use it when I need it)


After work:




BHA 9 only where I need it

Alpha Skin Care 10% Glycolic Acid Gel

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair® Hydrating Serum 






Paula's Choice Antioxidant Pore Purifier



Paula's Choice Omega+ Serum around my eye area

The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil 

Drunk Elephant Lala Retro™ Whipped Moisturizer with Ceramides only where I need it


*Oil blotting sheets are VERY helpful - I can't live without them. I use them midday at work, and before I leave work.  I also use VERSED Find Clarity mask 3x a week - it's a clay mask.


Good luck!  🙂






Re: How does your morning routine differ from your evening routine?

Re: How does your morning routine differ from your evening routine?

Thanks for your reply @SportyGirly125 apparently half of those products aren’t available in Canada so it doesn’t let me look them up. What do you use the rose hip oil for?

Re: How does your morning routine differ from your evening routine?

@KehDee At night for extra hydration 


Re: How does your morning routine differ from your evening routine?

Hi 😊 I agree with previous comments, your AM / PM routine would mainly vary by the actives you're using and SPF. 

If you want to try great and affordable sunscreen, I recommend innisfree Daily UV Defense Sunscreen SPF 36 It has a really lightweight texture. 

Personally, I do exfoliating steps in my PM routine (same would be applied to retinoids, if you want to start building anti-aging routine). I use Kate Somerville Liquid ExfoliKate® Triple Acid Resurfacing Treatment 4 oz/ 120 mL two times a week. 

I prefer doing vitamin C (brightening) serum in the morning and Niacinamide (oil control and evening out the skin tone) at night to get the most benefits from actives and not overwhelm my skin at the same time. Also, I use lighter moisturizer for the day, and thicker formula for the night. 

Re: How does your morning routine differ from your evening routine?

That sunscreen sounds perfect to try but isn’t showing available in Canada. I’ll have to look around. Thank you for your reply @sashasash 

Re: How does your morning routine differ from your evening routine?

@KehDee @The two biggest differences are probably spf and the serums I use. Of course, spf is needed during the day. At night, I generally use a chemical exfoliater like Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos™ Glycolic Night Serum or a retinol which are not safe to use during the day because they make you more sensitive to sun

Re: How does your morning routine differ from your evening routine?

Thanks so much for your help! @Kim888 

Re: How does your morning routine differ from your evening routine?

@Kim888 I’m not currently using spf. Should I be? And Amy cheaper alternatives to the drunk elephant? That one isn’t in my budget right now

Re: How does your morning routine differ from your evening routine?

@KehDee @Sunscreen is a must

Re: How does your morning routine differ from your evening routine?

@KehDee @Spf is basically the best preventive anti aging topical skin care you can use ! And try checking out The INKEY List Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Toner 

Re: How does your morning routine differ from your evening routine?

Hi @KehDee ! You want to use your sunscreen for morning skincare (sunscreen is super important to wear every day!). For exfoliating, I’d suggest Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow PHA +BHA Pore-Tight Toner 5.07 oz/ 150 mL . Let me know if you have any questions, have an amazing day 💕

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