What’s the Best Daily Routine for My Skin?


When it comes to skincare, there are so many products to choose from, so how do you know which products to use and when? Skincare products promise many things from reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles to clearing up blemishes and cystic acne. However, unless you understand how to use products correctly, and what products are right for you, you might not get the best results you’re looking to achieve. Here’s my top five key skincare products that offer everything you need to know about how to keep your skin looking beautiful.


Cleansers are a staple in every skin care routine and are often an unsung hero of the daily regimen. Because there is so much innovation and “newness” in other skin care categories, such as moisturizers and serums, cleansers are often misused or overlooked. If you’re using the wrong cleanser for your skin type, you may be stripping moisture out of the skin causing your moisturizer to do repair work to put back in what you just took out! It’s important that your cleanser be gentle, sulfate-free and not leave your skin feeling tight and dry. And bar soaps are the worst since the binders that hold a bar of soap together naturally have a high pH which will dehydrate the skin–even if it says it’s a moisturizing formula.

See the collection of Renée Rouleau sulfate-free gel cleansers and cleansing lotions.

A common misconception of cleansers is that they only need to be used at night. I often hear people say “I don’t wash my skin in the morning because I did it the night before and there’s nothing to wash off.” I do understand the reasoning but this is actually incorrect. It’s important to cleanse your face in the morning because while you sleep, the skin secretes toxins and sebum (oil) that can prevent your daytime products from getting into the skin and working most effectively. Washing your face gives you a clean canvas to allow your sunscreen (Daily Protection SPF 30) and antioxidant serum (Vitamin C&E Treatment) to absorb and protect your skin efficiently.

Read: Five Things to Know About Cleansers


Toner is an important step in any skincare routine with many benefits for all skin types. When left damp on the skin after cleansing and before applying serum or moisturizer, toners provide an instant boost of hydration. Toners also remove drying chlorines, minerals and chemicals found in tap water that can be dehydrating to the skin. (Think of that white film that gets on glass showers doors. That stuff is being sealed into your skin–yuck!) Healthy skin is hydrated skin so by supplying your skin with essential hydration and nutrients found in alcohol-free formulas, your repair the skin’s protective barrier making it less sensitive and resistant to environmental damage. Tip: Always apply toner with a thin cotton pad or Toning Cloth and wipe over the skin; never spray it on the skin. The wiping action ensures that the chlorines and salts are properly removed from the skin. See the collection of Renée Rouleau alcohol-free toners.

Read: What’s the Difference Between a Toner and Astringent?


A serum is a skin care product that has a higher concentration of active ingredients, usually comes in a gel or creamy gel form and is meant for use under a moisturizer or mask. While cleanser, toner and moisturizer are a must for your daily routine, serums can be useful when you feel like your skin is in a rut and you would like to increase the results of your basic products. Skin fact: Moist and damp skin is 10% more permeable than dry skin so when you leave your alcohol-free toner damp on the skin and immediately follow with a skin serum for your skin type, the active ingredients will absorb deeper within the skin giving you even better results. Ingredients like white tea for calming rednesspeptides for firminghyaluronic acid for hydrating and vitamin c for brightening are all beneficial ingredients found in serums. See the collection of Renée Rouleau serums.

Read: Can You Mix Your Face Serums and Use Them Together on Your Skin?


Because moisturizer is a staple in a day and evening skin care routine, it’s important to use the right one. A moisturizer should absorb in the skin, and not just sit on the surface. Tip: Apply your moisturizer, wait five minutes and touch your skin. If you can still feel the heaviness on the skin, then it very well may be too rich for you. Lighter is always better. During the day, look for a moisturizer with an SPF like Daily Protection SPF 30. Sunscreen should be worn 365 days a week, rain or shine, inside or out to prevent premature skin aging like lines, wrinkles and brown spots. At night, use a moisturizer without SPF, to let your skin relax while it’s in repair mode and be sure to apply to the neck, too. See the collection of Renée Rouleau moisturizers.

Read: What’s the Best Moisturizer for Dry, Flaky Skin?

Read: How to Apply Sunscreen to the Face and Neck


By removing dry skin cells with an exfoliating product, you reveal healthy, plump cells and vibrant skin. Out with the old, in with the new is what exfoliation is all about. It also helps to reduce blemishes and break outs, lessen clogged pores, rid the skin of dryness and lighten brown spots–all while smoothing the skin. There are two types of exfoliants. A chemical or acid exfoliant does the work for you. Meaning, when it’s applied on the skin it dissolves and digests dry skin cells chemically. With physical exfoliants, such as facial scrubs and brushes, you manually do the work by manipulating the grains, beads or bristles over the skin. A combination of both will yield the best results. I recommend using a chemical exfoliator like AHA Smoothing Serum 10%17% or 20% three nights a week alternating with a hydrating serum and a physical exfoliator like Mint Buffing Beads twice a week.

Read: Exfoliating Acids: Skin Tips for Using Them Correctly

Read: Is the Clarisonic Brush Harmful or Helpful to the Skin?

With so many products it can be confusing which products to use when. A simple trick to remember how to apply products after cleansing is to apply them in order of viscosity. Toner has a consistency similar to water and should be applied first. Next, apply your serum which is similar to a thin gel. Finally, add your thicker cream moisturizer.

People always ask me, “Renée, what is the secret to beautiful skin?” And my answer is simple. You have to be willing to do the work by committing to caring for your skin every day with a good skin care routine exclusively formulated for your skin type. Let me show you the way.

Read: The Lazy Girls’ Guide to Beautiful Skin

Which products are right for your skin? See our nine skin types and get products recommended.

Need expert advice from a licensed esthetician? Schedule My Skin Prescription to get personalized advice in person, over the phone or via Skype or Facetime.

For more expert skin advice, check out Skin Source–the A-Z guide on all things skin. Also sign up for our skin tip e-newsletter, follow Renée Rouleau on Twitter and join the discussion on our Facebook page. You’ll be your own skin care expert in no time.

Renée Rouleau

Celebrity Esthetician & Skincare Expert
As an esthetician trained in cosmetic chemistry, Renée Rouleau has spent 30 years researching skin, educating her audience, and building an award-winning line of products. Trusted by celebrities, editors, bloggers, and skincare obsessives around the globe, her vast real-world knowledge and constant research are why Marie Claire calls her “the most passionate skin practitioner we know.”