AM vs PM Skincare Routine: The Definitive Guide

by Frankie Cruz on Jun 03, 2022

AM vs PM Skincare Routine: The Definitive Guide

If you want to have healthy and beautiful skin, you should follow a skincare routine.

But did you know that there are two different types of routines, AM and PM?

Different skin care products are needed for each routine.

So here’s our definitive guide on the difference between AM and PM skincare routines!

Heads up: This blog post includes affiliate links. If you click and purchase we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. We only recommend products we have personally vetted.

AM vs PM skincare routine

AM Skincare Routine

The goal of an AM skincare routine is to protect your skin from the elements and prepare it for the day ahead.

The goal of an AM skincare routine is to protect your skin from the elements and prepare it for the day ahead.

A typical AM skincare routine will consist of:

Step 1: Cleanser:

Facial cleaners are important for keeping the skin on your face clean and free of dirt, oil, and makeup. They can also help to exfoliate the skin, remove dead skin cells, and unclog pores.

When choosing a facial cleaner, it is important to choose one that is right for your skin type.

For example, if you have dry skin, you will want to choose a facial cleaner that is gentle and does not strip the natural oils from your skin.

Our personal favorite is Cerave's foaming facial cleanser.

Step 2: Exfoliate:

One of the most important steps in any AM skincare routine is exfoliation.

Exfoliating helps to remove dead skin cells that can build up on the surface of the skin, leaving it looking dull and dry. It also helps to unclog pores and prevents them from becoming clogged with oil and dirt.

When used in the morning, exfoliation can help to brighten the complexion and give skin a healthy glow. 

We prefer chemical exfoliants due to being safer than physical exfoliants. If you need a chemical exfoliant you can't go wrong with Neutrogena's fragrance free 9% AHA liquid exfoliant.

Step 3: Vitamin C serum

Vitamin C serum is important for many reasons.

It can help to improve the appearance of your skin, make it look more radiant and even help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Vitamin C serum can also help to boost collagen production, which can help to keep your skin looking firm and youthful.

In addition, vitamin c serum can help to protect your skin from damage caused by free radicals, UV rays and other environmental aggressors. 

If you want an effective vitamin C serum you can try out TruSkin's Vitamin C Serum with hyaluronic acid.

Step 4: Moisturizer:

The importance of moisturizing cannot be understated.

Moisturizing keeps the skin hydrated, which is important for both maintaining the skin’s elasticity and for preventing dry skin, which can lead to cracking and infection.

Moisturizing also helps the skin to better absorb other products, such as sunscreen and anti-aging creams.

In short, moisturizing is an essential step in any AM skincare routine. 

If your in the market for one, EltaMD's face moisturizer with niacinamide is perfect for use in the morning.

Step 5: Sunscreen:

The importance of sunscreen for your AM skincare routine also cannot be understated.

Not only does sunscreen protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, but it also helps to prevent premature wrinkling and other signs of aging.

In addition, sunscreen can also help to prevent skin cancer. 

While it is important to use sunscreen every day, it is especially important to use it when you are spending time outdoors or in the sun.

Be sure to apply sunscreen liberally and evenly to all exposed areas of skin, including the face, neck, chest, back, and legs. And don’t forget to reapply sunscreen every two hours, or more often if you are sweating or swimming.

Instead of using a chemical sunscreen, we prefer zinc-oxide sunscreens. Like Blue Lizard's zinc-oxide sun screen.

Optional: Weekly facial
One of the best ways to take care of your skin is to use a weekly facial mask.

There are a variety of masks available on the market, so it is important to find one that is right for your skin type.

If you have oily skin, you should look for a mask that will help to absorb excess oil. If you have dry skin, you should look for a hydrating mask. There are also masks available for specific skin concerns, such as acne or wrinkles.

Once you find a facial mask that you like, make sure to use it once a week to keep your skin looking its best.

We may be biased, of course, but we feel our green tea mask is the best facial mask to add to your repertoire!

Now contrast the above AM skincare routine with...

PM skincare routine

Your skin works hard all day long to protect you from environmental stressors and prevent moisture loss. So, at night, it’s important to give your skin some much-needed TLC.

A bedtime skincare routine helps to repair and restore your skin while you sleep.

A typical PM skincare routine will consist of:

Step 1: Makeup remover:

A good makeup remover should be an important part of your PM skincare routine. It should be able to gently remove all traces of makeup without harsh chemicals.

You should look for a makeup remover that is suitable for your skin type. If you have sensitive skin, you might want to try a natural makeup remover.

There are many different kinds of makeup removers on the market, so you should be able to find one that works well for you. 

As a baseline, you could try out Garnier's makeup remover for all skin types.

Step 2: Cleanser:

Washing your face at night is important for several reasons.

First, it allows you to remove all the makeup, dirt, and oil that has built up on your skin throughout the day. This helps to prevent breakouts and leave your skin feeling clean and refreshed.

Additionally, washing your face at night gives you a chance to exfoliate and remove dead skin cells that can clog pores and lead to dull-looking skin.

Finally, using a face wash with a moisturizing agent at night can help to keep your skin hydrated and looking its best. So make sure to add face wash to your PM skincare routine! 

Step 3: Toner: 

After cleansing, the next step in a PM skincare routine is toning the skin.

Toner helps to restore the skin’s pH balance, which can be disturbed by cleansing, and it also preps the skin for the next steps in your skincare routine.

If you want the best bang for your buck skin toner to add to your PM skincare routine then you can't go wrong with Thayers alcohol free skin toner.

Step 4: Retinol

Retinol is a popular ingredient in many skincare products. It is a form of vitamin A and is known for its anti-aging properties.

Retinol can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots. It can also help improve skin texture and tone.

Retinol is available in many different forms, including creams, serums, gels, and pads. It is important to use a retinol product that is suitable for your skin type. 

Some people may experience some dryness or irritation when using retinol products. It is important to start with a lower concentration and build up as tolerated. 

If you want to add retinol to your PM skincare routine you should check out Tree of Life's retinol serum.

Step 5: Eye cream

Some people are born with great genes that give them perfect skin.

The rest of us have to take care of our skin and hope for the best.

One of the best things you can do for your skin is to use an eye cream. Eye cream helps to hydrate and firm the skin around your eyes. It can also help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

If your eyes need some extra love from your PM skincare routine you should check out Cetaphil's hydrating eye cream.

Step 6: Night cream

There are many reasons to use a night cream.

One reason is that night creams are typically more emollient than day creams, so they are better at hydration.

Another reason is that night creams often contain more active ingredients than day creams, so they can be more effective at treating concerns such as wrinkles and dark spots.

Finally, using a night cream can be a relaxing ritual that brings you joy and helps you wind down before bed.

If you need something to round out the last step of your PM skincare routine you should check out Aveeno's moisturizing night cream with soy and vitamin B3!


The main difference between an AM and PM skincare routine is that your nighttime routine should be more focused on repair, while your daytime routine should be geared more towards protection.

In the morning, you’ll want to use products that contain sunscreen to shield your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

At night, use products that contain active ingredients like retinol or glycolic acid to help improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, enlarged pores, and age spots.
Having trouble? If your skincare routine isn't working we've got you covered.
Was this helpful at all? Let us know down in the comments!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.