Ask Jean: Skin Routine Order?

Ask Jean

We want to answer your most pressing questions—or, you know, just the things that you’re curious about. Please keep them coming to: [email protected] Below, a q for our beauty director, Jean Godfrey-June.

Dear Jean, I can never understand in what order I’m supposed to put things on—morning or night! Serum first, then moisturizer? When does SPF go on? What about eye cream?—Jillian F.

Dear Jillian, Everybody’s essential products differ, so naturally routine and order do, too. That said, I’ve done a bit more trial-and-error in this department than most—take it for what it’s worth! As you’ll see, I believe in waiting a few minutes between layers; nobody has studied this, to my knowledge, but it makes common sense: Why dilute (or cause interactions between) one skincare item with another? Here are my skincare-layering routines (morning and night), in order:


1. I don’t cleanse in the morning; I start with a splash of water that I mix vitamin C powder from True Botanicals into. It’s the most-potent way to get the amazing power of vitamin C working on your skin that I know of. I think it seriously enhances glow, clarity, and smoothness, while discouraging breakouts and dullness—and generally waking up my skin.

  • Skin-Routine Order True Botanicals Vitamin C Booster goop, $90

    This brilliant bottle is pure powdered vitamin C—which, added into your daily serum treatment, helps to stimulate collagen production, brighten and even the skin tone, and leave skin looking noticeably healthy, glowy, and firm. Because vitamin C degrades in water, even preservative-packed formulas don’t stay effective for long; this brilliant powder, however, remains fully potent until you mix it with water or moisturizer (it’s truly amazing combined with the Cellular Repair Serum, RENEW). It’s also fantastic for travel—but the real reason to use it are the (serious) results.

2. I wait maybe five minutes and smooth in face oil from goop by Juice Beauty. Vitamin C always feels a bit drying to me, so the oil is a particularly lovely step: It’s gorgeously rich but sinks in easily, leaving my skin feeling more supple, elastic, plumped, firm, smooth…and glowier than ever. If you’re a moisturizer person, this is where I’d do moisturizer, though seriously, consider oil: People have been using it for centuries for a reason!

  • Skin-Routine Order goop by Juice Beauty Enriching Face Oil goop, $110

    This nourishing, potent miracle oil sinks instantly into skin and starts to work. Made with a pure blend of organic oils, it leaves skin remarkably supple, soft, and glowing. It turbo-charges any moisturizer but also hydrates beautifully on its own. It can even be patted on over makeup for a midday pick-me-up. The Enriching Face Oil is formulated with USDA-certified organic ingredients and contains approximately 99% total organic content.

2(b). If you’re super dry, layer on oil first, wait five minutes and add a moisturizer like Revitalizing Day Moisturizer from goop or Tata Harper Crème Riche over the top. Generally, for me, the moisturizer that’s inherent in any clean SPF is enough to seal in the oil, however.

  • Skin-Routine Order goop by Juice Revitalizing Day Moisturizergoop, $100

    The Revitalizing Day Moisturizer is a lightweight daily cream that reduces the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles, softens and nourishes skin, hydrates deeply, and targets dark spots for a brighter, more even skin tone. Infused with linseed extract, Vitamins C & E and powerful peptides, this moisturizer works throughout the day to firm and rejuvenate the skin. The Revitalizing Day Moisturizer is formulated with USDA certified organic ingredients and contains approximately 73% total organic content.

  • Skin-Routine Order Tata Harper Cremé Richegoop, $185

    This velvety, luxurious cream deeply moisturizes with sixteen natural hydrating compounds and twelve botanicals to seriously plump, smooth, and soften skin, for a supple, soothed texture and a dewy glow. Hyaluronic acid and essential fatty acids work as a shield to lock in moisture for ultimate renewal, not to mention instant comfort.

3. If I’m putting on concealer (most days, this is the case), I pat on a bit of Perfecting Eye Cream from goop by Juice Beauty under my eyes. Every makeup artist on earth pats on eye cream before concealer, no matter how oily a person’s skin is (you don’t have oil glands in the under-eye area); it makes all the difference in subtly (and temporarily) smoothing and plumping so the whole area looks better, and concealer goes on easier and looks 1,000 times more natural.

  • Skin-Routine Order goop by Juice Beauty Perfect Eye Creamgoop, $90

    The Perfecting Eye Cream deeply hydrates, soothes, and firms the delicate eye area, visibly reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Richly emollient, it increases elasticity and plumps skin for a more youthful appearance. Formulated with olive butter, sandalwood nut oil, and powerful peptides, this high-tech formula delivers immediate and ongoing results.

4. After waiting a minute for the oil/moisturizer to sink in, I pat on Ursa Major SPF 18. The reason many dermatologists recommend doing the SPF step first is they’re talking about chemical SPF, which needs to be absorbed by your skin to work (here are some of the many reasons to NEVER use chemical SPF). Clean, non-toxic, pure mineral SPF works by sitting on top of your skin, rather than being absorbed, so I like to put it on AFTER skincare, so as not to disturb it, and to give all the skincare as little between it and my skin as possible.

  • Skin-Routine Order Ursa Major Force Field Daily Defense Lotion with SPF 18goop, $54

    This lightweight, ultra-hydrating all-mineral SPF 18 blends in so beautifully it’s truly unbelievable. Unscented and packed with skin-perfecting vitamins, it treats your skin while leaving it smooth and protected. Sinks into skin in seconds, feels incredible–this lotion is seriously the ultimate (easy) daily anti-ager.

4(b). If I’m wearing tinted moisturizer—the brilliantly clean and nontoxic mineral-SPF 30 Dew Skin from Beautycounter in 02—I skip the Ursa (I put a bit on the backs of my hands, however).

  • Skin-Routine Order Beautycounter Dew Skin SPF 20goop, $45

    This glowy, translucent, instantly perfecting SPF 20 has to be the ultimate no makeup-makeup of all time. It’s less about masking flaws, and more about looking and feeling like you—but better. The delicate, deeply hydrating formula smoothes in like a dream; zinc oxide soothes and protects all day; black currant, peony-root extract, and vitamin C address age spots and enhance brightness, and powerful moisturizers leave you with firmer, smoother-looking skin. If you’re looking for coverage, this is not your product. It’s so sheer that different shades work for many different skins; if you’re in doubt, try No. 2, which works for practically everyone who tries it.


1. I cleanse with Tata Harper oil cleanser if I wore makeup that day; if not, I dab at my skin with a cotton pad soaked in a probiotic toner from Beauty Chef.

  • Skin-Routine Order Tata Harper Nourishing Oil Cleansergoop, $68

    Smooth this luxe, incredibly effective cleanser on, splash with water, and it will then sweep away every trace of makeup, leaving your skin smooth and incredibly soft. It’s packed with nourishing, all-natural oils, the gorgeous glass bottle looks incredible on any bathroom sink or vanity, and the pump makes it so you get every last drop. For the most moisturizing treatment, use it on dry skin; for the ultimate clean, use it on wet skin.

  • Skin-Routine Order The Beauty Chef Probiotic Skin Refinergoop, $75

    A supreme bio-fermented toner that refines the skin by exfoliating and hydrating—all in one clean, organic tonic. Rich in probiotics and lactic acid (one of those great AHAs we’re always raving about), this helps support healthy skin, and can greatly improve its appearance with daily use over time.

2. I put on Tata Harper’s amazing Retinoic oil.

  • Skin-Routine Order Tata Harper Retinoic Nutrient Face Oilgoop, $125

    For supple, elastic skin with increased clarity and smoothness, this rich face oil reduces the appearance of wrinkles as well as breakouts, creating dramatically healthier-looking and -feeling skin overall. Made with naturally-occurring retinoic acid extracted from rosehips, the formula combines antioxidants, amino acids, and minerals to nourish and renew dull, lackluster skin. It feels incredible going on, and you’ll notice the glow almost immediately.

3. If I’m feeling particularly dull/aged/miserable, I mix the apple-peel powder from True Botanicals into the Tata Retinoic.

  • Skin-Routine Order True Botanicals Antioxidant Boostergoop, $90

    The research on apples and on apple peel specifically—think how long an apple is able to stay fresh, compared to, say, a plum—is pretty incredible, and True Botanicals has put the peel’s power to work in this antioxidant powder. Packed with polyphenols, resveratrol, and quercetin, the powder is designed to be mixed with serum, moisturizer, or in a pinch, plain water, activating the ingredients only when you’re about to smooth it into your skin—so you get full-strength benefits, no preservatives, and the easiest-travelling anti-ager ever. Use morning and night, or switch in the brand’s brilliant vitamin C powder for the am; both powders are best mixed with True Botanicals’ Cellular Repair serums, Clear for oilier skin and Renew for drier. The glow we get from even a single use is gorgeous; over time, the smoothness and clarity becomes more and more noticeable.

4. If, on the other hand, I’m feeling dry or irritated, I wait five minutes after the Tata Retinoic, and smooth on the super-healing Blue Cocoon balm from May Lindstrom, which soothes and moisturizes like nothing else on this earth.

  • Skin-Routine Order May Lindstrom The Blue Cocoon goop, $180

    This deeply luxurious, miracle-working pale-blue balm genuinely (and immediately) transforms irritated, sensitive, or delicate skin, and it feels incredible, no matter what your complexion. Intensely moisturizing, it melts into skin on contact and calms, nourishes, and softens with an anti-inflammatory concoction of blue tansy, botanicals, and oils. Created by reactive-skin-sufferer/former model/gorgeous-skin-guru May Lindstrom, the glacial-blue formula is as gorgeous as it is effective.

Related: How To Get Clear Skin, Morning Skin Care Routine Products