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How to Layer Retinol, Night Cream, and Other Products for Aging Skin

Aging. It’s the concern every complexion will encounter at some point during its skincare journey. Not only because we all grow older, but also because we’re all exposed to different forms of damage (the sun, pollution, screen time, just to name a few) that can cause wrinkles, crepiness, crow’s feet, and sagging skin to show up prematurely.

Whether you’re focused on existing signs of aging or defending against premature ones, you’ll want to layer products that firm, soften, and protect skin from head to toe. But what comes first: retinol or eye cream? How often should you exfoliate in order to see fewer age spots? We answer all these questions and more in this complete AM to PM skincare routine for aging (and premature aging) skin.


Step 1: Barrier-Strengthening Cleanser (Daily)
Every skincare routine should start with a good cleanse. If you’re focused on aging skin, however, you’ll want a face wash that is soap-free, pH-balanced, and focused on strengthening the moisture barrier, which keeps skin soft, firm, and youthful. The pro-vitamin B5 found in our Antioxidant Cleanser will do the trick while also effectively sweeping away makeup residue, dirt, and other impurities. 

Step 2: Collagen Mask (2x per week)
Collagen, the most abundant protein in our skin, is responsible for skin’s plumpness and elasticity. Our collagen levels break down over time, however, which can lead to sagging skin and a tired complexion. A few times a week, apply a collagen-infused Hydrating Plumping Mask. (Note: While collagen is typically sourced from animals, ours is plant-based). It’s also formulated with rosehip seed oil, which helps smooth out the appearance of fine lines.

Step 3: Peptide Eye Cream (Optional)
If undereye bags and tired eyes sound familiar, gently tap on a pea-sized amount of eye cream while your serum sinks in. Look for one formulated with peptides, like Zero-G, to moisturize and strengthen the undereye area. You’ll also notice some instant brightening thanks to its ethically-sourced mica.

Step 4: Vitamin E Moisturizer (Daily)
Did you know? Moisture levels dip as we age, which makes hydrating skin more important than ever. For some additional aging skin benefits, smooth on a Rich Moisture Cream made with vitamin E. As an antioxidant, it helps neutralize damaging free radicals while conditioning the skin.

Step 5: Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen (Daily)
Every skin type needs sunscreen, but this step should most definitely not be skipped if fine lines and age spots are a concern. Fact: 90% of aging skin is not actually due to growing older, but due to extrinsic damage—like the sun. Make sure you’re applying one with an SPF of at least 35, as recommended by the FDA, but bonus points if you use a broad-spectrum sunscreen, like Guards Up, that defends against blue light rays and pollution, too.


Step 1: Barrier-Strengthening Cleanser (Nightly)
Prep the skin for your PM regimen by cleansing again. You may also consider double cleansing first with an oil-based wash, like a Cleansing Balm, to thoroughly remove leftover makeup and sunscreen.

Step 2: Dermaplaning Tool (1x per week)
Skin’s cellular turnover rate slows down as we grow older, meaning dead skin cells take longer to reach the surface and shed off. Not only does this result in a lackluster complexion, but can also cause age spots to linger. Brighten things up by exfoliating with an At-Home Dermaplaning Tool once per week. Sloughing off layers of dead skin cells and facial hair delivers an instantly smoother complexion, too. 

Step 3: Retinol Serum (4x per week)
That slow cellular turnover rate we just mentioned? Retinol helps speed it up. On nights you aren’t exfoliating, smooth on 2-3 pumps of our Gentle Retinol Serum to reform texture, firm skin, and smooth fine lines and wrinkles. Don’t forget your neck and chest also.

Step 4: Retinoid Eye Balm (Nightly) 
Retinol deserves a spot in your eyecare routine, too, as it helps firm up undereyes while softening crow’s feet. Because skin loses water while we sleep, look for an eye cream or balm that uses both retinol and moisturizing ingredients, like the black currant seed oil found in our Advanced Retinoid Eye Balm.

Step 5: Leave-On Exfoliator* (2x per week)
Most skin types will benefit from exfoliating up to three times a week to combat age spots and uneven texture. Chemically exfoliate with the Overnight Facial, which uses a blend of gentle AHAs (like lactic acid) and vitamin E to repair and rejuvenate skin without irritation.

*Note: Apply only on nights you aren’t using the At-Home Dermaplaning Tool or Gentle Retinol Serum to avoid any irritation. 

Step 6: Advanced Night Cream (Nightly)
All skincare routines need a moisturizer, but if you’re focused on aging skin, it’s time to start incorporating a night cream into your PM lineup. Night creams are typically thicker in nature to fight back against moisture loss while also infusing skin with restorative ingredients. Our Advanced Night Cream uses a blend of fermented purple tea and green coffee to not only moisturize, but also reduce rough texture and soften wrinkles.

Step 7: Antioxidant Oil-Serum (Optional)
The key to protecting against premature damage is to fill your routine with plenty of antioxidants, whose job is to neutralize the damaging free radicals that contribute to premature aging. After applying night cream (or before, if you prefer) pat a few drops of the the Antioxidant Oil-Serum into skin for added moisture and protection.

Step 8: Retinol Body Lotion (Nightly)
Our arms, legs, and bum…they all experience signs of aging, too. Top off your routine with a Retinol Body Lotion that repairs sagging, crepey skin while softening texture and evening out tone.

Got dry skin? Here’s how to layer your moisturizers, oils, and other ingredients for dryness and dehydration.