AM vs PM Skincare Routines

introduction: am and pm skincare routine

Do you have a skincare regimen? Do you wash your face at least twice a day when you wake up and before you go to bed? Do you moisturize?

If you answered no to these questions, you might want to continue on to discover why AM and PM skincare routines are so crucial to our skin’s health as we combat the aging process. While both routines stay mostly the same, they each serve different purposes for the skin. Therefore, putting on products in a specific order is not only beneficial to be aware of but ensures that your skin is reacting in the best possible way to the products that are penetrating your skin and reversing the aging process for you.

genereal routine steps for you

This is a quick cheat sheet that breaks up what order each routine should be done. Certain products, while recommended, are entirely optional, such as toners, serums, eye creams, face oils, and spot treatments. The basics such as cleansers and moisturizers should always be applied within each routine.


  • Cleanser
  • Toner
  • Serum
  • Eye Cream
  • Spot Treatments
  • Moisturizer
  • Face Oil
  • Sunscreen


  • Cleanser
  • Toner
  • Serum
  • Eye Cream
  • Spot Treatments
  • Moisturizer
  • Retinol
  • Face Oil

People are usually more active during daily activities and at their jobs, which dehydrates the skin overall. This is where the AM routine comes into the picture, as it’s a preventive measure to assist in adding moisture to the skin before starting the day and protecting the skin from environmental factors it will soon be exposed to.

Before your skin is even exposed to external agents outside, your skin needs to be cleansed from agents that came into contact with your skin overnight during rest. Pillowcases, for example, are hot spots for dust mites and germs from the dead skin cells you shed as you sleep.

Our multi-balm black caviar sticks are a great way to get the day started. Even with makeup, these sticks are able to be reapplied throughout the day with ease and you don’t even need to use your fingers, which can get germs and grime on them as you go through your daily routine.

While your AM routine gets you ready for the day and prepares your skin’s protective barrier, your PM routine, ideally done right before bed, is meant to repair and relax your skin from the stress it has been put through.

Nowadays, with different foods our bodies are exposed to and the pollutants in the air that penetrate our skin, our skin’s protective barrier is constantly at work to ensure we remain healthy from bacteria. Due to this added stress, we see the results of aging such as puffy eyes and fine lines.

Not only is the nighttime routine a restorative one, but it is better to use the PM to target certain skincare conditions with various serums as opposed to applying them in the AM. Your body regenerates itself during the sleep cycle with the guidance of products applied during your nightly skincare routine. This is why not skipping skincare before bed is so crucial, as your body needs to hydrate and repair itself so that your barrier is ready for the next day.

Now that you’re aware of the basic steps of each routine, what does each step contribute to ensuring the overall process is successful at showing results?

Cleanser (AM & PM)

You should always be cleansing your face before both routines to prepare your body for your routine and to essentially give your skin a “fresh start” before further products are applied. It is recommended to use a lightweight cleanser, especially in summer, as you will be layering your skin with various products.

In the PM, makeup cleansers and removers should always be applied first if necessary. This allows the products you use to penetrate the skin quickly and work faster. Whether or not you wear makeup, you should do a “second cleanse” in the PM, as the “first cleanse” is essentially washing the dirt and grime off your face that you came into contact with throughout the day. This extra cleanse essentially preps your skin for your nighttime routine, leaving it fresh.

Toner (AM & PM)

Toners are an optional method to incorporate into both routines. If you decide to test their benefits, they should always be applied after facial cleansers. Toner can particularly be helpful in the PM to remove any residual makeup that wasn’t removed in your first two cleanses.

The goal of toners is to assist in prepping and nourishing your skin for the rest of your routine. Think of it as “pre-gaming” for your skincare routine.

If you are new to daily routines, gentler toners that contain lactic acid and a higher potency may be beneficial to start out with. As you get more experienced, you can rotate between different types of acid toners to combat different skincare issues.

For example, alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) help to support collagen in the skin and reduce the apperance of aging signs, while polyhydroxy acids (PHAs) are for those with sensitive skin and act as non-irritants.

Serums (AM & PM)

This is another part of the skincare process that is optional and can also be more intimidating. There are countless serums that tackle certain problems and areas that it can be hard to keep up with. How are you supposed to know which serum is most beneficial for you?

Serums are often used for defeating signs of aging, treating acne and dark spots, as well as inflammation. This is only scratching the surface of the benefits of serums, and it will take some trial and error and research to see how your skin reacts to different products.

We recommend implementing Dēpology Matrixyl 3000 Collagen Serum into your daily skincare rituals. Our unique formula is designed to target and slow down the aging process.

Sunscreen (AM)

Sunscreen is not optional when it comes to taking efficient care of your skin. The sun’s UV rays can be harmful to your skin if heavily exposed and can also increase symptoms of the aging process. You shouldn’t be using anything lower than SPF 30 to venture outside, as anything lower will essentially be useless against the sun.

If you’re looking to condense your routine, there are moisturizers that contain SPF. This way, you can moisturize your skin while also prepping it to fight against the sun. Looking into products such as these will definitely save you time in the summer months when the days are longer and the sun’s rays tend to be stronger.

Eye Cream (AM & PM)

The skin around your eyes is the most delicate and thin layer of skin on the face. As a result, these areas are often among the first to show signs of aging and gather dark spots around the eyes.

It is common for people to wake up with puffy eyes in the morning, which is why people look to eye creams to make the area around their eyes appear less fatigued and brighter rather than darker.

Spot Treatments (AM & PM)

This step is up to the individual in particular, depending on what they want to get out of their skincare routine. If your skin is prone to redness, acne, or you have scars you want to get rid of, spot treatments can be beneficial to bring your skin back to its healthy glow.

Moisturizer (AM & PM)

Just as cleansing is the most important first step of having the best skincare routine possible, moisturizing is second in being one of the steps you must not forget when taking care of your skin. In applying moisturizer, you are allowing your skin to catch up and properly react to all the products you have previously applied to your face.

You can think of this step as applying a “coat” over your skin to act as an extra barrier and keep the products from escaping your skin quickly. Depending on your skin type, you can seek out the moisturizer that most benefits you, whether you have skin that tends to be oilier, drier, or a mixture of the two.

A bonus to your routine can be implementing facial mists, which are an additional method in hydrating your skin and further providing a layer to protect previous skincare products used. Ingredients such as glycerin and hyaluronic acids are going to be what you’re going to want to look for in a facial mist, as opposed to products containing alcohol, which will dry your skin.

Face Oil (AM & PM)

This is when the routines start to differentiate from each other. While you want to apply face oil before sunscreen in the AM, you’re going to want to apply face oil as the final step in your routine once you have moisturized.

Moisturizer is considered a barrier to prevent the products from wearing out too quickly, which also goes for facial oils. It is only natural for the products to evaporate over time (hence why we have to continuously complete our routines every day), but by applying moisturizers and facial oils, you’re allowing the skin to retain that moisture and those benefits from ingredients in your products.

Retinol (PM)

If you’re at all familiar with skincare regimens, you’ll know that retinol products are among the best to incorporate into your life. Retinoids are primarily used to speed up cell turnover, as these products work quicker than others and you are often going to see faster results within a few months or up to a year. They are normally targeted to reduce aging signs such as fine lines and wrinkles.

While Vitamin C is another ingredient that can be used for these purposes, you shouldn’t mix the two together, as this can cause further skin irritation and increased sensitivity. Your skin is already prone to redness and irritation from retinoids, especially upon initial use, so you don’t want to exacerbate the issue.

If you want to use both, vitamin C is recommended more for your AM routine while retinol should be applied at night before going to sleep.

Our Anti-Aging Retinol Night Cream
is sure to nourish your skin prior to sleep and increase cell turnover to revert your skin back to its youthful state. It is also able to be used on all types of skin so that everyone can access the benefits of retinol and combat the aging cycle.


Conclusion : AM vs Pm Skincare routine

Now that you’re a pro in both your AM and PM skincare routines and know the benefits of each, you can treat yourself with a face mask to help you unwind after a long day. You deserve it after working so hard to take care of your skin!

We recommend the Dēpology Derma Face Sculpting Mask, which allows you to go about everyday tasks such as watching TV or reading while the face-lifting mask tightens/reaffirms the jawline, promotes skin elasticity and adds moisture to the applicable area.

If you’re feeling extra ambitious, you can go one step further and include Replenishing Night Under Eye Patches following or prior to a mask. These are recommended to use nightly and can help re-energize the delicate areas around your eyes after a long day of stress and exposure to external agents.

Depology Derma Face Sculpting Mask for PM Skincre routine