Skincare Routine vs. Makeup Routine: Which Products to Use For Each

Skincare Routine vs. Makeup Routine: Which Products to Use For Each

9 minute read

The rise of the beauty industry has made it easier than ever to keep up with a steady skincare and makeup routine. But with so many products on the market, it can be difficult to keep track of which are most important, which products need to be used daily, and in what order to use each product.

We'll compare the components of a skincare routine vs. makeup routine and help you understand the difference between the two, as well as give you some recommendations for must-have items to keep your skin looking healthy and beautiful.

Components of a Good Skincare Routine

The beauty world has evolved tremendously over the years and while makeup can be used to cover almost any imperfection, having a proper daily skin care routine is essential for a healthy, natural glow. Since our skin is the largest organ in our body, healthy skin is an absolute must, and you want to make sure that you have a consistent daily routine with all the essentials.

Skincare products are the preventive products that you use daily to keep your skin healthy and looking youthful. They're more about taking care of the health of your face than enhancing it with makeup products.

Your skincare routine should be customized to your skin type and current skin goals and should include, at a minimum:

- facial cleanser
- toner
- daily moisturizer
- sunscreen

For those who want to take their skincare routine a step further and focus on anti-aging or skin enhancements, you can also include:

- eye cream
- facial serum
- eyelash serum and/or eyebrow serum

Depending on your skin type, you'll want to look for a natural product that contains key ingredients like salicylic acid for oily or clogged skin or hyaluronic acid for dry skin. If you have sensitive skin, it is especially important to look for all-natural products that don't contain harsh ingredients like phthalates, parabens, or synthetic ingredients. Instead, opt for natural ingredients like green tea extract, coconut oil, or jojoba oils to moisturize and hydrate your skin.

1. Facial Cleanser

A good skincare routine starts with a thorough, customized cleansing. You should use warm water and a gentle cleanser as part of your morning routine and your nighttime routine to remove dead skin cells, dirt, and bacteria. Avoid using very hot water, as this can lead to moisture loss and irritate your skin.

Recommended Product: CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser

2. Toner

After you wash your face in the morning, use a cotton pad to apply facial toner to remove any final impurities, tighten pores, and brighten up dull skin. Look for active ingredients like salicylic acid or witch hazel. If you have dry skin, opt for a toner with glycerin or hyaluronic acid for added moisture. Avoid alcohol-based products, as these can irritate sensitive skin.

Recommended Product: Thayers Alcohol-Free Original Witch Hazel Facial Toner

3. Moisturizer

Following the cleansing step, it is important to moisturize and nourish the skin with a daily moisturizer. You can use a regular moisturizer under your makeup in the mornings to provide hydration and a protective barrier. Additionally, you may choose to moisturize with a nighttime moisturizer in the evenings. In addition to providing hydration, night creams often contain active ingredients that assist with collagen production and tighten and strengthen delicate skin. Look for active ingredients like hyaluronic acid or lactic acid for added moisture.

Recommended Product: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration

4. Sunscreen

Sunscreen should always be a mandatory part of any skincare routine to protect the skin against UV exposure that can lead to skin cancer. If your regular moisturizer contains SPF, there's no need for an additional product. But if your moisturizer doesn't have SPF, use a small amount of broad-spectrum SPF sunscreen on your face after moisturizing.

Recommended Product: Sun Bum Mineral SPF 30 Tinted Sunscreen Face Lotion

5. Eye Cream

Eye creams are essential for anyone wanting to keep the skin around their eyes looking youthful and luminous, especially as we age. For the delicate under-eye area, an eye cream can improve dark circles, offer extra hydration, and even out discoloration. The combination of hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, and vitamins found in eye creams helps to rejuvenate mature skin with increased texture, firmness, and clarity, while fine lines will significantly reduce with routine use.

Recommended Product: Paula's Choice C5 Super Boost Eye Cream

6. Facial Serums

Facial serums can provide an extra boost of hydration and nutrients. They can also act as boosters to promote collagen production, reduce dark spots and brighten skin tone, or fight against acne or other skin conditions. Facial serums often contain concentrated doses of active ingredients that can penetrate deep into the skin and deliver a very targeted treatment to address specific skin concerns. For dark spots, look for a Vitamin C serum. Use an antioxidant serum to prevent signs of aging. For oily skin or acne-prone skin, look for specific acne serums with key ingredients like glycolic acid or salicylic acid.

Recommended Product: January Labs Triple Active Reclaiming Serum

7. Eyelash Serums and/or Eyebrow Serums

Eyelash and eyebrow serums are an excellent way to give your lashes and brows a bit of extra lift, speed up their growth, or aid in complementing other beauty treatments. These formulations work by stimulating the natural process that makes eyelashes and eyebrows longer, thicker and healthier. In addition to helping you achieve the desired appearance for lashes and brows, these products are also beneficial for strengthening and nourishing each individual hair strand. This helps make both your lashes and brows less prone to breakage or thinning due to everyday activities or makeup removal.

Recommended Product: LasLuxury Daily Eyelash Serum

An Everyday Makeup Routine

While a good skincare routine is all about health, a makeup routine is about adding a little bit of fun and creativity to your look. Makeup is an art, but everyone should have a go-to everyday makeup look for easy and quick application. Achieving the dream everyday makeup look is easy if you have the right components and follow a few basic steps.

You can achieve a beautiful, natural look with a few simple products:

- primer
- contouring kit
- eyeshadow
- mascara
- lip gloss 

Just like with your skincare products, you should look for products that cater to your skin type. If you have oily skin, stick with powder-based products rather than liquid.  Be sure to remove your makeup every night to avoid acne and clogged pores, and be sure to cleanse your makeup brushes regularly.

1. Primer

Primer is a cream or gel-like product that is applied on the skin before applying your makeup. It creates a smooth canvas for your foundation and other products to go on. Primer helps keep makeup on longer and fills in fine lines, so makeup looks better throughout the day. Additionally, it reduces shine and creates a protective barrier between your skin and the other products you apply. This helps prevent clogged pores and discoloration and provides an even appearance all day long.

Recommended Product: Too Faced Primed & Poreless + Pore Banishing and Blurring Face Primer

2. Contouring Kit

A contouring kit can help enhance your facial contours and shapes. It usually includes two or three shades of cream or powder foundation, a highlighter, and a blush. The lightest shade is used to highlight areas of the face, while the middle shade is used to define facial features like cheekbones. The darkest shade can be used for shadowing, and it helps give an overall dimension and structure to the face. Together these products can help your makeup look more natural yet glamorous, depending on your desired look.

Recommended Product: Smashbox Cali Contour Face Palette

3. Eyeshadow

When choosing an everyday eyeshadow, we recommend a matte eyeshadow that has a more natural finish and is often longer lasting than shimmery or metallic shades. If you prefer a metallic effect, then opt for an eye shadow with shimmer particles that still has some muted tones so that it doesn’t come across too bright or overbearing.

Recommended Product: Tarte Tartelette™ In Bloom Clay Eyeshadow Palette

4. Mascara

Mascara helps frame and set off the eyes and adds additional texture to your lashes, accentuating their shape. Mascara lengthens, thickens and darkens the eyelashes while also adding volume. Use just one or two coats for a natural look.

Recommended Product: Too Faced Better Than Sex Volumizing & Lengthening Mascara

5. Lip Gloss

Finish off your look with a moisturizing lip gloss with a slight tint similar to your natural lip color. Natural waxes and oils nourish your lips while providing shine, and a tint that accentuates your skin tone can make your lips look more prominent.

Recommended Product: Thrive Causemetics Glossy Lip Hydrating Serum™

If you want to go a step further in your daily beauty routine or if you are looking to mask imperfections or acne, you can add the following:

- BB cream: for added blemish coverage and to reduce the appearance of pores, use after primer and before contouring
- Concealer: to cover acne spots or dark spots
- Setting spray: to reduce shine and extend the longevity of your makeup

Which is more important: skincare routine or makeup routine?

Your skincare routine should be considered a non-negotiable, just like brushing your teeth and bathing. Taking good care of your skin is something you should do every day, regardless if you plan to leave the house or see anyone. A makeup routine, on the other hand, is great to have and can boost your confidence, but isn't always necessary, and you may not need makeup every single day.

Be sure to cleanse your face with warm water and a daily cleanser and use moisturizer both morning and night as part of your skin care routine. And if you use additional products like acne treatments, spot treatments, or face or eyelash serums, include these as part of your daily skincare routine rather than your makeup routine, as results will be best if you use them every day with consistency.

Daily Eyelash Serum

Daily Eyelash Serum


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