Build Your Perfect Skincare Order | Cleveland Skin Experts

Developing a skincare routine is a highly personalized process and essential to maintaining your skin’s health, as well as looking good 😎 You’re smart. You probably already know this, but in case you didn’t, the order of your routine is just as important as the products you use. 

At Radiant Divine Medical Spa we’re here to help you nail the perfect skincare order for your skin and leave you feeling, shall we say, divine

Why does your skincare order of operations matter?

It really comes down to one big reason: getting the most out of your skincare products so that your skin sees the biggest benefit. 

Using your products correctly means that they will work the way they’re supposed to and create a perfect, harmonious skincare routine that leaves you glowing. It also ensures your skin is protected and able to properly absorb all the goodness.

The rules of skincare application

1. Apply products from lightest to heaviest.

In general, you should always apply your products from lightest to heaviest. Heavier, thicker products prevent lighter ones from penetrating and actually affecting your skin. 

Spoiler alert 🚨 we’ll dive into this in just a moment! 

2. Sunscreen goes on last!

No matter what the rest of your skincare routine looks like, you should always include sunscreen and it should always be the last product you apply before putting on makeup. 

90% of skin changes are due to photoaging caused by the sun. SPF protects the investment you’ve made in every other step of your skincare order.

Check out our comprehensive sunscreen and skincare guide!


The ingredients for an ideal skincare order

Now, we know that not everybody wants to have a dozen-step skincare routine that takes away precious time from the rest of the day. We also know there are skincare enthusiasts who are always down to try new products. 

Part of building a skincare routine is mixing and matching until you find what works for you! 

Plus, as we age, our skincare routine is bound to develop as our skincare needs change. Someone in their 20s is going to have a different skincare routine than someone in their 50s, but the basic steps will always be the same.

We’re going to walk through what a starting skincare routine looks like, and also talk about how and where you can add in those extra ingredients for your specific needs.

The basic steps:

  • Cleanse
  • Moisturize
  • SPF

If you did nothing else for your skin except cleanse, moisturize, and protect it from the sun you would still be doing a world of good for your skin’s health. Of course, you can add other products into your routine to address issues like acne, wrinkles, and other concerns! 

Everyone’s skin is unique and needs tailored care, you can get started with our virtual skincare consultation to speak with one of our expert aestheticians about your needs.

Your perfect morning skincare routine ☀️

Starting your day pampering your skin is a great mood booster and foundational for your skin’s health.


Just like brushing your teeth, it’s important to cleanse your face regularly. Even if you’ve washed the night before, your skin continues producing oil and can collect various debris from your pillowcase.

If your skin is on the dryer side you can probably get away with cleansing either in the morning or the night. But it’s an essential step in everyone’s skincare order!

Eye Cream

Most eye creams show the most benefit if you apply them twice a day in the morning and the night. A pea-sized drop dabbed gently around the eye is all you need! Applying more product won’t give you more benefits, you’ll just run out of your cream faster.

Treatment Products

Whether you’re applying a growth factor serum or acne spot treatments, they go on while your skin is still fresh from cleansing. This means their ingredients get right to the source and provide the most benefit to your skin.


Arguably the most important step in your skincare order (except for sunscreen!), moisturizer provides the finishing touch. It seals in the goodness of the products before and protects your skin throughout the day. 

Our skin is 60% water, just like our body, so it needs hydration too! Even if you’re not using other products, you should always keep your skin moisturized.


Last, and certainly not least, is applying sunscreen. Using a daily SPF of at least 30 is crucial to maintaining your skin’s health. Yes, even on cloudy and cold days!

Learn More: How to Properly Apply Sunscreen

A soothing nighttime routine 🌙

Taking care of your skin before bed can be a great way to unwind and give your skin time to recoup from the day.


Whether or not you wore makeup during the day, it’s important to cleanse your skin each night! While you’re out and about your face is exposed to the elements, catching rays and debris, plus producing oil! Cleansing your face provides a blank canvas for those extra nourishing nighttime products. 

Exfoliate (2 times a week, or less)

Freshen your skin by removing debris and dead skin cells. Exfoliating gently clears the first layer of skin so your other products can penetrate more deeply. This is another moment when the order of your skincare is important!

Don’t over-exfoliate though! You really only need to once or twice a week. Any more than that and your skin will end up 

Treatment products

At night our whole body is resting and repairing itself, including our skin! Using your treatment products at night helps that process. 

A note for retinol users specifically: retinol is great for anti-aging, but makes your skin more sensitive to the sun! Some retinol serums should only be used at night for this reason!


Just like in the morning, use your moisturizer last to seal in all the healing properties of your other products and protect your skin through the night.

3 things to know to perfect your skincare order

Your skin type

Everyone has unique skin that’s all their own, but most people fall into one of a few types: dry, oily, combination, and/or sensitive. Knowing your skin’s baseline state can help guide your skincare choices.

Your specific concerns

While daily skin care is important for everyone, it’s good to know if there are specific concerns you are trying to combat. Are you wanting to treat acne or lessen the appearance of wrinkles? Different products address different issues.

It takes time

When you first start a new routine your skin will take some time to adjust. During this time pay attention to how your skin reacts, just in case you have an allergic reaction or if your skin starts breaking out abnormally.

Most active ingredients take at least 2 months to show optimal results, so be patient and stick with it!

You can use our virtual skincare consultation to get started with recommendations and treatment at Radiant Divine!

Frequently asked questions about skincare order and products

Is medical-grade skin care worth it?

Short answer: yes! Medical-grade skincare products have a higher percentage of active ingredients, which means better results! It also means you don’t have to use as much, which makes them last longer. 

Should my skincare order change from summer to winter?

Your basic skincare order doesn’t need to change from season to season, but some other aspects might! For example, in winter you might want a more nourishing moisturizer to combat dry winter air. However, during summertime, you might opt for an oil-free cleanser because your skin is oily or sweaty.

Do I really need eye cream and a moisturizer?

The skin around your eyes is much more delicate than the rest of your face. Weighing it down with moisturizer can cause more harm than good. Using a product specifically designed for the eyes provides the best care.

When should I do my nighttime routine?

It’s best to do your nighttime skincare just before bed. Make sure to give your products time to fully absorb before you actually hit the sheets, otherwise, you risk getting more product on your pillowcase than your skin!

Where should my acne treatments go in my skincare order?

Acne treatments, especially spot treatments, should happen after cleansing and before other serums. This allows the acne medication to address blemishes directly without anything else in the way.

Ready to level up your skincare game? Schedule a consultation with Radiant Divine Medical Spa!

This guide is a great place to start if you’re ready to start showing your skin the love deserves. However, nothing compares to coming in for a professional skincare consultation with one of our trained aestheticians at Radiant Divine at one of our four convenient locations in the Cleveland area.

We can provide you with personalized recommendations based on your unique skin type plus use VISIA skin analysis to measure your skin’s unique biometrics.

Schedule your consultation to get started.

Don’t forget you can always use our virtual skincare consultation to let us know more about your specific concerns upfront.

Interested in exploring all of our skincare and aesthetic options? You can use our general virtual consultation tool to see all we have to offer! Developed by our expert providers, it lets you self-select your areas of interest and receive customized recommendations right to your inbox 💌