The Consistent Routine that Cleared my Skin | Steps for Morning & Night

by Kaya Marriott

Managing my skin has been a roller coaster for as long as I can remember. In an attempt to get my acne under control, I was somehow simultaneously doing the most and not enough. It took me way too long to realize that the key to getting my skin under control was primarily nailing down a consistent routine.

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When anyone asks me what got my skin under control, the first word out of mouth is usually “consistency”. Then the second thing is usually The Ordinary Skincare. But while the products I purchased from The Ordinary really did turn my skin around, I think it was more that they gave me the tools (or products) to develop a proper skincare routine for the first time in my life.

Related Post: Breakdown of The Ordinary products I used to clear my acne-prone skin.

The below Instagram photo is my 4 month progress shot of having a strict skin care routine. If you swipe, you’ll see some shots of my skin throughout 2019. The pictures show varying degrees of acne and scarring.

Did you know skincare regimens are actually pretty universal?

Disclaimer: I’m not a dermatologist. But from a lot of my research, I’ve discovered that when it comes to the actual steps, skincare routines are actually pretty universal. It’s just that the actual products you use will differ, and will be specific to your skincare needs/concerns.

So what we’ll do below is breakdown my morning and nightly skin routine into individual steps, and I’ll give an example of the products I use for each of them. (And keep in mind, my skin is combination, acne-prone, and prone to hyper-pigmentation).

Steps of my Morning Skincare Routine

Even though it may seem like I have quite a few steps below, my morning skin routine usually won’t take longer than a few minutes.

In the mornings, I like to sleep in until the last possible minute, so I promise you this routine isn’t that extensive in practice.

1. Cleanse

I cleanse my face every single morning. At night, your face rolls around in the sweat and drool on your pillowcase, as well as the products and oils transferred from your hair. It’s best to kick off the morning with a clean slate.

Product Recommendation: I use a gentle oil cleanser like The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser.

2. Tone

I’ve heard mixed opinions on the necessity of toners, but my skin LOVES THEM. And I learnt a lot about finding the right one, from LABeautyologist.

The purpose of toners are to hydrate the skin, reset its pH balance, and prime the skin for absorbing serums.

There are tons of different toners out there, with different added benefits. But in the morning, I use a toner primarily to hydrate, and prep my skin for serums, so I make sure to use a gentle one that doesn’t do extra, potentially irritating things.

Product Recommendations: I’ve begun using the cocokind Rosewater Facial Toner, which is pure Rosewater, no added ingredients. A cheaper alternative is also the Heritage Store Rose Water Toner, which has added ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid, and Aloe.

3. Apply a serum

After toning, I always apply one to two serums. I pick my serums for the morning based on whatever skin concern I have. I apply only a few drops to damp skin, and massage in.

Product Recommendations: In the morning, I usually rotate between the following The Ordinary Products: Niacinamide + Zinc, Alpha Arbutin, Hyaluronic Acid, and Ascorbic Acid 8% + AA (Vitamin C).

Related Post: Customized Skincare with the SkinCeuticals Custom Dose

4. Moisturize

Regardless of your skin type, it is so important to moisturize. I have acne-prone, combination skin, and for most of my life I held the misbelief that moisturizing would make my acne worse.

Moisturizing helps keep the skin balanced, it prevents the skin from getting too dry or too oily, both of which will cause acne breakouts.

Product Recommendation: I’m actually still on the hunt for the perfect moisturizer, but for now, I’m still using The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors.

UPDATE: I have been using the Olay-Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream, and my skin loves it! It stays hydrated all day long, and contains peptides, a powerful anti-aging ingredient!


Okay. I’m going to tell you guys a secret.

I don’t put sunscreen on. And I know I should. So don’t be like me, go get yourself some sunscreen, protect that beautiful skin you’re working so hard to maintain! Especially if you’re using chemical exfoliants, retinols, or vitamin C serums, all of which make the skin more sensitive to the sun.

Black Blogger with Clear Skin Sharing Steps of morning and evening routine

Evening/Nightly Skincare Regimen Steps

Alright, time for the night routine! At night I really like to indulge in the process. I find that taking care of my face in the evening is so relaxing, and a true act of self care.

1. Double cleanse

I always make sure to double cleanse at night, especially when I wear makeup. This ensures I remove all traces of products and dirt built up throughout the day before going to bed.

A. First, I cleanse with an Oil Cleanser

Oil cleansers melt the makeup off my face, and remove any dirt. I apply and rub in for a minute as per the 60 second rule coined by LA Beautyologist. The 60 Second rule has been a game-change for me, and has helped remove any stubborn oil plugs.

Product Recommendation: Same as in the morning, I use The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser.

B. Second, I use a foaming Cleanser or Treatment Cleanser

To ensure all remaining traces, I follow up with a second cleanser. On the days that I wore makeup, I’ll usually reach for a gentle foaming cleanser to get make sure my face is squeaky clean.

On days that I didn’t wear makeup, or when I want to give my skin some extra TLC, I’ll do a treatment cleanser like the Benzagel Acne Wash second.

Product Recommendation: For a foaming cleanser, I use the Cerave Foaming Facial Cleanser.

2. Tone

At night, I like to tone with a product with a little more oomph than my morning toner. Usually I’ll reach for something that also acts as a chemical exfoliator.

Product Recommendation: I’ve been successfully using The Ordinary’s Glycolic Acid Toning Solution.

*Bonus* Apply a Mask

1-2 times a week, I’ll apply a face mask to target different concerns. I rotate between a clay mask, a hydrating mask, and a chemical exfoliating mask.

After using a mask, I tone again afterwards. The pre and post-mask toning is something I also picked up from LABeautyologist. Although when I do a mask that is either a clay mask, or an exfoliating mask, I tone instead with a gentle hydrating product (like rose water), instead of one that is a chemical exfoliant.

Product Recommendations: Clay Mask – The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow, Chemical Exfoliating – The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution. Hydrating masks – I usually just pick up a sheet one from the drugstore.

Skincare Routine Clay Mask | Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask from the Body Shop

3. Apply serum/treatment

Again, I will apply serums depending on specific skin concerns. Usually rotating between the same serums I use in the morning.

This is also the step where I might apply a heavier-hitting treatment. I may apply Benzoyl Peroxide gel on a budding pimple. Or a dark spot cream for my hyper-pigmentation.

Product Recommendations: I’ve been using the Benzagel Acne Gel to spot-treat breakouts, and the MDacne Dark Spot Remover.

4. Moisturize

Similar to the morning, in the evening I follow my serums with a moisturizer. At night, I actually prefer to use a heavier Moisturizer, because it doesn’t matter if my skin is looking extra shiny or greasy.

But that being said, I’m still looking for a favourite, so I have nothing to recommend right now.

5. Apply oil

At night, I like to really lock in the moisture, so I layer on a face oil after my moisturizer. I don’t mind that my pillow ends up a bit stained (if you have Natural Hair, that’s nothing new).

I find that whenever I use a face oil, my skin look so much more radiant the next day.

Product Recommendation: I absolutely LOVE The Ordinary’s Rose Hip Seed Oil. I always wake up with a glow.

Final Thoughts

And there you have it, those are the steps I try to follow every morning and night to keep my skin clear. Being consistent has really been the key to maintaining my skin.

As long as I follow the above steps, I find I can switch the products I use pretty seamlessly (granted I pay attention to the ingredients, and see what plays well with what).

Just note that if your skin is more sensitive, you’ll want to take extra care in what you put on your skin. Read the ingredients, and find gentle products.

Related Post: My Pre-Period Skincare Routine – How I Tackle my Hormonal Acne

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