The Regimen

Your Worry-Free Guide to What to Use When

When should I be using different skincare products


A reader asked if we could do a post explaining when to use each product within the skin care regimen and why. Good question. Are some products better in the morning? Others at night? Is there a rule to follow to make it all easier? How do you know if you’re doing it right? Let’s see if we can simplify and take the worry out of figuring out what to use and when to use it.

If there’s a rule of thumb, it’s this: Protect in the AMs. Treat in the PMs.



Your morning routine is all about protection, prepping for the day, and guarding against the elements. That means antioxidants, peptides, and SPF.

Wash with a cleanser targeted to your skin issues or a universal cleanser like Vivant’s Green Tea Antioxidant Cleanser, which guards against photodamage and pollutants. If you have acne-prone skin use a mandelic acid or benzoyl peroxide cleanser to fight the spread of acne bacteria. For sensitive or rosacea skin Cleansing Milk soothes and protects the skin barrier from the day’s aggressors.

Toner is an a.m. essential to lift away cellular debris and prep for better absorption of corrective serums. Toners also have ingredients to protect against environmental stressors, reduce inflammation, and encourage cell turnover. With its blend of glycolic acid, lactic acid, and witch hazel, Vivant’s Normalizing Tonic is a perfect universal toner to keep skin refined and balanced. If you have oily skin, opt for Normalizing Tonic Forté or Daily Repair Pads. A mandelic acid toner is an excellent choice for unevenly pigmented or aging skin.

Morning calls for UV, a vitamin C and E serum. Vivant’s Pure C + E Antioxidant Serum harnesses the synergistic strength of these two antioxidant heroes for advanced photoprotection and repair. 

Contrary to popular belief, retinol (vitamin A) can absolutely be used in the morning. Just be sure to use sunscreen because vitamin A can make skin more sensitive to the sun. Using retinol morning and night is the best way to take advantage of the cell regenerating properties of this antioxidant powerhouse.

And yes, you can apply vitamin C (Pure C + E) and your vitamin A serum together. The two make a perfect pair to maximize your antioxidant protection. Studies show, when used in tandem, the vitamin C/retinol duo reduces cellular debris, thickens the epidermal structure, and reverses visible signs of aging and photodamage.

Mandelic Acid’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial properties protect skin from photodamage and fight breakouts while melanin-suppressing activity helps maintain even tone. If you’re using mandelic acid, make it part of your morning routine. 

Your skin care routine might include both a mandelic acid and a vitamin A serum. If so, we recommend using the mandelic in the a.m. and vitamin A at night just to let each one work its magic.

No matter what other products your using, start your day with an antioxidant eye cream that will guard delicate skin from UV and photoaging. Wink Eye Rejuvenation Cream is a high-performance formula that gets its superhero strength from a blend of vitamin A, peptides, and caffeine. It’s guards against free radical damage and photoaging.

Finally, sunscreen is a must for your morning routine, especially if you’re using a vitamin A therapy. Day Treatment Lotion SPF 15 is all the hydrating and UV protection you’ll need in the a.m.



At night, take advantage of the body’s natural repair cycle, sleep. Focus on repairing and renewing with antioxidants, peptides, acids, and nourishing hydrators.

You can use your morning cleanser at night, though depending on your skin issues, you may want to consider a couple of tweaks at night. You could sub out your morning cleanser for a gentle hydrating wash like Cleansing Milk. Or you might want to mix in some Buffing Grains for some physical exfoliation if you’re not already using a scrub.

Use your toner to remove the day’s dirt, oil, traces of makeup, and cellular buildup and to optimize the performance of your follow-on products. Your a.m. toner works just as well in the p.m., but an ideal choice for nighttime replenishment is Skin Nourishing Toner with its ultra-reparative formula.

Your vitamin A serums are perfect at bedtime for encouraging cell renewal and collagen production. Likewise, your mandelic acid serums will boost repair, reduce inflammation, fight acne, and promote consistent tone while you sleep.

A moisturizer isn’t a necessity, especially if your skin is acne-prone, but if you like some additional moisture, this is the time to get it. Marine Skin Nourishing Cream is one of our favorites for intense hydration without greasiness. Its bioactive blend of marine minerals and proteins builds a healthy, resilient skin barrier and supple, elastic tone. 

You don’t need a daytime and nighttime eye cream. You just need Wink Eye Rejuvenation Cream. Protects during the day, replenishes moisture, restores resilience, and rebuilds collagen while you sleep. This is your dream cream. 

There’s plenty of cross-over here because many of the ingredients that protect also repair. There aren’t any wrong answers. It’s all just a matter of optimizing. 


Quick guide:

Cleanser - AM and PM

Toner - AM and PM

Corrective Serums - AM and PM 

Eye Cream – AM and PM

Sunscreen - AM

Hydrators - PM

Masks - Weekly AM or PM


Vitamin C – AM

Peptides – AM and PM

Acids – AM and PM

Vitamin A – AM and PM

Antioxidants – AM and PM

Related Articles

Vitamin C and Vitamin A for Youthful Skin

Mandelic Acid: The Complete Dermatologist’s Guide

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