Step by Step Skin Care Routine


The basics of skincare routine summarized into 5 steps.

Clean > Exfoliate > Hydrate > Nourish > Protect

Skincare products are best applied from thinnest to thickest, with the final layers providing increased barrier function in your skin. As a beginner, it’s hard to follow which order comes first in your routine. But remember the 5 basic steps above and your all good.

Here are the “general rules of layering” to follow when deciding which products goes first.

  • Thinnest to thickest texture – This rule applies to all specially liquids. You might be confused with Essence, Toner, Serums and Ampoules but the rule is just simple > What goes first depends now on how thick/watery the product is. Normally, serums and ampoules have thick consistency so they go after essence, face mask and toners. . “First essence” usually goes before Toner. (notice the “First” word). Do note that these can be interchanged depending on its consistency.
  • Water-based before oil-based – take note if your creams are water-based (water is on the top ingredients), use it before your facial oils.
  • Lowest to highest pH – Acidic products / Actives (3.0 – 4.0) first followed by Neutral products (5.0 – 7.0)


When I was just starting, I was confused as hell on which to use first. I just know the basics (Cleanser – Toner – Moisturizer – Sunblock). So I researched on the complete list of routines out there and the closest one I saw was from “Mapple Tree Blog“. I tweaked it a bit and added more steps and details.

Hope this helps. A complete step by step skin care routine using the same categorization Sophie used: (beginners/ veteran / optional).

Special mention to @mapletreeblog and @theskinthusiasts for the additional info!

Let’s START!

This is a bit tricky part. Toner, Essence, Serums and Ampoules can be interchangeable depending on their consistency. As mentioned on the first part of the blog, “First Essence” is used before toners. (note on the word “First”). Then “normal” essence comes after toners. Since face mask contains essence, we use this after toning. There are also some instance that ampoules are thicker than serum and vice versa, just follow the Thin then Thick rule and you’re good.

Facial Oils and Sleeping Pack can also be interchangeable. There are some lighter oils (Squalene, jojoba, etc) that goes before sleeping masks/pack and there are also thicker oils that can go as the last step in your night routine. You can also mix your oils with your moisturizer / sleeping pack.

Here’s a sample of my skincare routine:

This post serves as a guide in case you’ll encounter these type of products and you have no idea when to use it. Please note that using more products doesn’t guarantee great results. Sometimes your skin needs a breather too. Remember the rule “less is more”, it also applies in skincare too.

If you have questions / clarifications / corrections on the topic, feel free to drop a comment here or message me on instagram @rosecoloredskin


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