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Night Skincare Routine: What Is the Correct Order?

Medically reviewed by Sue Kua, MD · Dermatology

Written by Hello Sehat · Updated Oct 12, 2022

Night Skincare Routine: What Is the Correct Order? 

A proper night skincare routine helps you have a healthier-looking, supple, and glowing skin in the morning. What products should you use in the evening, and in what order should you apply them? Find out here. 

Night Skincare Routine: What Is the Correct Order? 

Did you know that cell division, a prerequisite to skin healing, takes place more quickly at night? The skin is also less exposed to external factors while you sleep. Therefore, your night skincare routine is slightly different from your morning routine.

Below is the correct order of skincare products in the evening. 

1. Exfoliate

Celebrity dermatologist Dr. Harold Lancer says that the first step you should do after removing makeup residue is to exfoliate. You can choose a mechanical exfoliator, such as a scrub, or a chemical that contains AHA, BHA, and PHA.

The purpose of exfoliation is to strip away all the remaining dirt and dead skin cells that stick to your face. This will make it easier for the cleansing soap to penetrate the layers of the skin, so that washing your face becomes more efficient.


You don’t need to exfoliate everyday. In most cases once or twice a week is enough. 

If you have dry or sensitive skin, exfoliating twice a week may be too frequent and might cause skin irritation.

Meanwhile, if you live in a warm climate or have naturally oily skin, you may need to exfoliate more frequently. Do it 2-3 times a week to deal with the buildup of dead skin cells.

2. Cleanse

The second step in your night skincare routine is to wash your face with a gentle cleanser

Cleansing is necessary not only because it gets rid of dirt and excess oil, but also because it helps the skin absorb the active ingredients in your next skincare products.

For best results, clean your face with a facial cleanser that specifically targets your skin problem. 

For example, people with dry and sensitive skin should choose a gentle facial cleanser without foam and fragrance.

Also, pay attention to the temperature of the water. Wash your face with lukewarm water. Hot water will dry out the skin, while water that is too cold can close the pores that dirt is not removed completely.

3. Tone

A toner is a water-based product containing active ingredients that help treat certain skin problems. Toners may also help moisturize the skin, reduce blemishes and redness, and smooth the surface of the skin. Like cleansers, toners also prep your skin for the next skincare products. 

After washing your face, immediately wet a cotton pad with toner. Then, lather it evenly all over your face.

4. Use a Facial Mask

Facial masks are actually not mandatory as long as you adhere to the proper sequence of facial treatments for the night. Still, depending on the type, face masks can provide benefits for specific skin needs.

There are face masks that help open facial pores, smooth wrinkles, and accelerate the absorption of subsequent products. Some types of masks also contain aromatherapy, which helps you sleep better.

You are free to choose between commercial masks or homemade natural masks. Whatever type of mask you use, the important thing is that the ingredients match your needs.

5. Apply Facial Serum

After removing the face mask, the next product in your night skincare routine is serum. Facial serums are important because their active ingredients work more powerfully on specific skin issues.

For example, a hyaluronic acid serum helps moisturize your face by locking water in the layers of your skin. There is also an alpha arbutin serum that brightens the face, retinol that fights signs of premature aging, and others.

Apply the serum while your face is still half damp. Then, wait for about 10 minutes for all the serum to be absorbed into your skin before moving to the next step.


Serums may be too strong if you have sensitive skin. Instead, you can use a similar product in the form of essence. An essence functions like a serum, but the concentration of the ingredients is lower, so it is relatively gentler.

6. Use an Eye Cream

Incorporating eye cream into your night skincare routine is a simple way to keep your face looking youthful. This product specifically protects and moisturizes the skin around the eyes, which is thinner.

Most eye creams are formulated with caffeine, niacinamide, and moisturizing agents. Besides being effective in reducing puffiness and dark circles, the combination of these three substances can increase water content, which helps keep skin from drying out and prevent wrinkles.

Apply a small amount of cream directly to the skin around the eye using your ring finger and gently pat until the ingredients are absorbed into the skin. Wait 3-5 minutes until the remaining eye cream is completely absorbed.

7. Finish with a Night Cream

Strong products, such as face serums or those that require a prescription, are often drying to the skin. Night cream will help protect your skin from these effects.

Night creams are basically a form of moisturizer. Instead of using your morning moisturizer, you use a night cream in the evening.

Look for a cream with a texture that suits your skin type, then check at the composition. As much as possible, choose a night cream that contains antioxidants, peptides, and vitamins A and C to help repair the damage you experience during the day.

Apply the cream evenly to the entire surface of the face and neck. Then, gently massage your skin until all the ingredients are absorbed and there are no more remaining cream residue.

Final Reminders

After your night skincare routine, don’t forget to sleep well as it’s also important for your skin health. The next day, do your morning skincare routine to protect your skin all day long.

A night skincare routine aims to repair any damage to skin cells caused by pollution, sunlight, and stress during the day. The products you use will also moisturize your skin because you lose more body fluids from your skin while you sleep.

Learn more about Skincare and Cleansing here


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Sue Kua, MD


Written by Hello Sehat · Updated Oct 12, 2022

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