Main content
7 Skincare Steps You Shouldn’t Skip


Don’t Forget These 7 Important Skincare Steps

Cleansing daily is a must, but it’s not the only skincare step that matters. Here, Kiehl’s dishes on the 7 skin routine steps you don’t want to forget.

In a perfect world, your morning routine would go a little something like this: you wake up (perfectly rested) and bounce out of bed, excited for the day ahead. Then, you put on a pot of coffee and head to the bathroom to complete your face care routine, following all of the essential skincare steps, so your skin feels balanced and looks healthy. In reality, however, mornings often end up being a lot less calm. And on chaotic days, there’s a good chance you find yourself skipping less-critical-seeming skincare routine steps in the interest of saving time.

We get it—mornings are hard. But for skin that looks and feels its best, a thorough routine is a must. Here, we’ll list seven skincare products you shouldn’t forgo just because they take a little extra time. We’ll also provide tips on speeding up your skincare routine without cutting corners. Keep reading for the scoop.

Don’t Skip:


Why You Need It:

You know you need to wash your face—but if you dry your face off afterward and immediately reach for your moisturizer, you’re missing an important step: toning. Using a toner helps remove any residue left behind after your cleansing step. It also helps prepare your skin for the rest of your routine, which is essential if you want your products to work their best.

Milk-Peel Gentle Exfoliating Toner

Some toners have other benefits, too. Our Milk-Peel Gentle Exfoliating Toner, for example, helps visibly refine the skin. The effective formula contains lipo-hydroxy acid and a blend of 23% emollients. It gently exfoliates and dissolves impurities while helping to improve skin’s texture, revealing a smoother, brighter appearance over time.

Don’t Skip:


Why You Need It:

An essence is similar to a toner in many ways—we go over the differences in our article Essence vs. Toner: How Do These Skincare Essentials Differ?—but it deserves its own dedicated step. The benefits will vary depending on the formula, but typically, essences provide a dose of lightweight hydration to help re-balance your skin after cleansing and toning. They’re generally considered the first treatment step in your skincare routine and can contain a range of skin-friendly oils, vitamins, and minerals.

One essence we love for all skin types is Ferulic Brew Antioxidant Facial Treatment with Lactic Acid. This powerful, antioxidant-rich formula with ferulic acid helps support the skin’s natural recovery processes and provides protection against damaging free radicals. It also helps remove dull surface skin, leaving you with a healthy-looking glow. We recommend splashing a small amount onto your face morning and night after toning for smooth, even-looking skin.

Don’t Skip:


Why You Need It:

One thing that’s consistent among the dermatologists we work with is that they say retinol is a must, especially as your skin begins to show the signs of aging. This powerful ingredient helps improve skin texture and tone, leaving your skin smoother and more youthful-looking over time.

Micro-Dose Anti-Aging Retinol Serum with Ceramides and Peptide

To reap these benefits, reach for Micro-Dose Anti-Aging Retinol Serum with Ceramides and Peptide. Suitable for all skin types, this gentle serum delivers a precise daily dose of pure retinol and helps firm and smooth the skin. It’s clinically-demonstrated to visibly reduce wrinkles, while consistent use over time helps improve skin’s texture and tone for a more youthful, refined appearance.*

*Results based on expert grading in a clinical test for subjects showing improvement after 12 weeks of use.

Kiehl’s Tip: Our retinol serum is best applied once daily. Save time in the morning by reserving your retinol serum for your nighttime skincare routine.

Don’t Skip:

Eye Cream

Why You Need It:

The thinnest skin on your entire body is the skin directly around your eyes. This makes your eye area uniquely vulnerable to the damaging effects of stressors, from minor nuisances like staring a bit too long at the computer screen one day to recurrent aggressors like consistent sleep deprivation (hello, dark circles). Thankfully, the right products can help keep your eye area hydrated and protected from these daily stressors.

For long-lasting hydration without a heavy or greasy feel, try Avocado Eye Cream. The iconic treatment with avocado oil and shea butter provides all-day hydration and immediately improves under-eye skin texture. It also helps defend the eye area from digital fatigue caused by blue light. You can apply the ophthalmologist-tested formula morning and night—alone or layered over a lighter eye serum—for a visibly smoother, brighter-looking eye area with continued use.

Kiehl’s Tip: Looking to speed up your routine? Avocado Eye Cream doubles as an under-eye makeup primer. Just apply a small amount around your eyes and let it absorb before applying concealer or eyeshadow for all-day wear that won’t settle into fine lines.

Don’t Skip:


Why You Need It:

Cold weather, indoor desk jobs, and cloudy climates can all provide a false sense of security and make it feel like it’s okay to skip your sunscreen step every once in a while. While that’s understandable, SPF is a must—and it’s one of the skin routine steps in which you should never cut corners.

Super Fluid Daily UV Defense SPF 50+

Every morning, rain or shine, you should complete your routine with a broad-spectrum sunscreen, such as Super Fluid Daily UV Defense SPF 50+. This lightweight sunscreen provides long-lasting protection against UVA and UVB rays and helps defend the skin from damaging free radicals. It has a non-comedogenic formula that’s suitable for all skin types.

As the final step in your skincare routine, apply an even layer of your chosen formula to exposed skin at least 15 minutes before going outside. For maximum protection, reapply your sunscreen every two hours (or after sweating or swimming) and stick to the shade whenever possible.

Don’t Skip:

Lip Balm

Why You Need It:

When we talk about skincare routines, we’re usually referring to what you use on your facial skin—and yet somehow, lips are rarely included in this discussion. As far as we’re concerned, that’s an oversight. Your lips are skin, too, and they’re prone to their own unique set of concerns. A dedicated lip treatment can help keep the delicate lip area hydrated and healthy-looking.

Don’t Skip:

Purifying Mask

Why You Need It:

If you don’t have any significant skin concerns to contend with, face masks may feel a bit superfluous. We, however, beg to differ. While masks certainly aren’t a daily staple, they do provide benefits that other products can’t. Clay-based masks in particular are especially beneficial for helping to deep-clean the skin. Plus, using a mask can serve as a form of self-care, which is wholly necessary.

Once weekly, we recommend setting aside 30 minutes or so to detox your skin with Rare Earth Deep Pore Minimizing Cleansing Cleansing Mask. This award-winning formula with Amazonian white clay helps draw out impurities to unclog pores and minimize their appearance. The effective mask immediately helps mattify and refresh the skin, while continued use is clinically-demonstrated to diminish clogged pores and blackheads by more than 44%.* We recommend using this powerful mask once to twice weekly to help reveal a smoother, more refined appearance over time.

*Results based on expert grading in a two-week clinical test on 54 subjects.

Orientation message
For the best experience, please turn your device