Basic Skin Care Routine

Basic Skin Care Routine

This is Garden of Wisdom’s Basic Skin Care Routine. Keep in mind this is just a guideline and your own skin needs might be different. The key is to pay close attention to how your skin reacts to products and write in a journal if possible!


Use a cleanser that does the job you need it to do without stripping the skin of its natural oils or upsetting your skin balance.

For example: Oily skin can generally get away with using sudsy cleansers where dry skin generally cannot. Rosacea, Sensitive, Dry and Mature Skin Profiles usually cannot either.

This being said, sudsy cleansers can actually strip oily skin (causing the skin to pump out more oil as time goes on). Sudsy cleansers can strip dry skin as well, which causes further dehydration. These cleansers can also cause further sensitivity in sensitive/rosacea skin profiles.

If you don't need to remove makeup, consider using a non sudsy cleanser like our Soothing Gel Cleanser. If you do need to take off makeup consider one of our Micellar Cleansing Dew's or Cleansing Oils.

We generally suggest using between 1/8 teaspoon to 1/4 teaspoon of cleanser although you can adjust it to your own skin needs. We do recommend applying to moistened skin as this helps to keep product waste down. There is no wait time between cleansing and the next step in your routine.

All of our cleansers work best with a wet, warm washcloth (bamboo or cotton are best). Please use a fresh, clean cloth for each routine.

Another thought to consider: Try washing your skin only in the PM, and skip washing in the AM since very little is going to settle on the skin overnight - just use a clean wet washcloth and wipe gently over your skin. Continue your routine.


(Optional) A Microfiber Cloth or other product can manually exfoliate the skin. The purpose of an exfoliant is to eliminate flakey skin on a semi regular basis. Exfoliation also stimulates cell renewal. We generally suggest using between 1/8 teaspoon to 1/4 teaspoon of product for application. We  don't suggest exfoliating (including acids) more than 3-4 x per week max. There is no wait time between cleansing and the next step in your routine. Sensitive/Rosacea Prone Skin: We suggest skipping this step as it could and likely will cause more inflammation of the skin.


(Optional) This is to pull impurities out of your skin as well as act to seal in moisture depending what you mix with your clay. We also have masks that do not have clay in them and act purely to exfoliate or help with moisture. Please see our clays page for more info on how to mix clay masks. Doing clay masks too often can stimulate the skin too much, strip off too much of the skin's natural oils and cause it to react by producing more oil.

Apply evenly to face. Leave on for 5-10 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water and a soft, moist, warm washcloth. Remember you do not need a thick layer of mask for it to work well.

Skin Type Guideline

- Oily Skin leave in 5-10 minutes

- Dry Skin leave on only 3-5 minutes (not suggested more than 1-2 x per week)

- Sensitive Skin (not recommended)

Face Tonics:

A tonic helps prepare the skin for the next phase of your  skincare routine and to help reset it to the proper PH if necessary, also helps to make sure skin is clear of residue. This product is usually sprayed on the skin directly, or sprayed directly onto a cotton pad which is then used to gently wipe the skin. You’ll want to use enough to wet your skin thoroughly or wet the pad enough to wipe your skin with it. If you use the tonic on a cotton pad, it helps with gentle exfoliation respecting the skin barrier.


An active product contains, for example; peptides, acids, retinol, etc. These ingredients are what make a finished product healthy and balanced for the skin and would be considered ‘clean’ ingredients. With Garden of Wisdom’s products you will find these active ingredients in most of our serums, blemish prone products, creams and lightening products. You will want to use between 1/16th teaspoon to 1/8th teaspoon depending how much your skin needs. Use this as a guideline. Products with actives are applied to clean and toned skin first so they can penetrate the deepest layers of the skin. There is no wait time between cleansing and toning to the next step in your routine. Below we have listed we list ideal wait times IF you can spare the time.

Ideal Wait Times Between Products - though not entirely necessary

Exfoliating Acids have a wait time of 20 minutes. They will self neutralize after this point. 

Lightening Products -  wait time of 5 minutes

Acne Products – wait time 5 minutes

Anti Aging Products (peptides, dmae etc) wait time 5 minutes

Our Resurface Serums and Creams have a wait time of 2 hours before continuing your nighttime routine (apply ONLY at night). Most people cannot do this or do not have time to wait 2 hours before moving on. If you can not find the time, we suggest waiting at least 15-20 minutes before moving forward with your routine.


This step is usually in the form of a Hydrating Mist, spring water and/or a Hydrosol. This offers the skin barrier much needed hydration. Spritz enough to wet your skin. These products can be used in this step and also in between steps for more hydration.

Hydrating Serums:

Water based serums like our Encapsulated Glacier Gel, Hyaluronic Acid Serums, Hydrosol Gels and our other water based serums. We offer a cornucopia of skin care products. These (water based) products offer much needed hydration to the skin. Use between  1/16 teaspoon to 1/4 teaspoon depending on how much your skin absorbs. There is no wait time in between products.

Oils, Oil Based Serums, Butters or Butter blends:

These bring lipids and emollience to the skin. One of the properties of these wonderful ingredients is that it will soften the skin and allow the pores to bring the gunk to the skin’s surface. Use 1-4 drops of oil or 1/16 teaspoon butter or butter blend.
*Can also be mixed with your hydrating serum to make a moisturizer right in the palm of your hand without the waxes. No wait time in between products.


This step helps seal your previous products to the skin. This step is not always necessary since your skin will absorb hydration and emollients with the hydrating serums and oil based serums. Moisturizers generally have a wax or wax like emulsifier (creams) to help keep the water and oil phases blended together and stable. Use 1/16 teaspoon to 1/4 teaspoon of the chosen moisturizer. There is no wait time unless you use makeup – in which case you may want to wait a good 15-20 minutes.

Those with a Rosacea Skin Profile sometimes find they can not use moisturizers as it causes their skin to flare. Since creams hold previous products to the skin's surface it can create just enough heat to make the skin stand up and say, wait! This is one reason we don’t generally suggest creams to those with Rosacea.

We generally do not suggest Moisturizers for blemish prone profiles either as the waxes/emulsifiers can clog the pores.

The following are example routines including all of the products that would be used. Remember this is just a guideline :) You can adjust to meet your skin’s needs.

AM – Generally the AM routine is going to be more simple than the PM routine

Cleanse: Remember that cleansing is not a necessity in the morning. Some chose to use a warm, wet, clean washcloth instead. The best options would be a bamboo, cotton or ultra soft coral fleece washcloth. Dispense about a dime to nickel size amount of cleanser into the palm of your hand, drip warm/hot water into your palm then rub hands together to emulsify. Pat into skin, wipe off gently with a wet, warm and clean washcloth. Do not massage into your skin.

Tonic: Apply your favorite tonic, hydrating mist, hydrosol or spring water.

Treatments: After cleansing any treatments would be used at this time. Anti-aging products, blemish prone products, etc. are generally used 2 x per day.

Shortcut alternative to product application: Spritz your face with a Hydrating Mist, Hydrosol or spring water. While your face is still moist, add 4-6 drops of your chosen serum plus 4-6 drops of an oil choice into the palm of your clean hand. Emulsify with your fingertips and gently pat into your face and neck. If you have any left over pat this into your hands and/or arms. If you feel more conditioning is needed pat a small amount of cream over this application. If your skin is not dehydrated you may not need the oil or cream. Don’t overdo it.

Hydrate: Spritzing your face before applying serums or creams will not only keep the waste of product down, it also allows the product to glide along your skin eliminating the typical tugging and pulling that can happen. As above, you can use your choice of hydrating spritz. You can also spritz product onto a cotton pad and gently wipe across your skin after cleansing. 

Water Based Serums: You can either apply this alone, or you can mix it with a carrier oil or oil based serum (see treatments).

Carrier Oil or Oil Based Serums: (includes any butters): This can also be mixed with your water based serum to create a moisturizer as mentioned just above, (see treatments).

Moisturizer/Cream/Lotion if you feel your skin needs it

Oily Skin Profiles will often find they don't actually need a moisturizer. You might choose to only use a water based serum or a really light hydrating gel that only has a touch of oil in it (like our regenerative serums) Often gals will mix their hydrating step with their oil step as it makes it absorb better.

Dry Skin Profiles will probably find they want to use the water based serum, oil and a moisturizer. Dry skin often will like to layer the water and oil steps as it helps seal the hydration in better. However this is not always the rule. Try both ways! (as long as you are not acne prone)

Combination Skin Profiles will be somewhere in the middle some days needing the extra moisture, and other days not needing it.

PM – Generally the AM routine is going to be more simple than the PM routine

  1. Cleanse 
  2. Manually Exfoliate or Mask
  3. Tone with your favorite tonic
  4. Treatments

We suggest using acids during the PM routine - whereas anti-aging, blemish prone, anti-oxidant, etc. products are generally used 2 x per day.

Hydrate: Spritz with your hydrosol or hydrating mist throughout the day as needed

Water Based Serums: You can either apply this alone, or you can mix it with a carrier oil or oil based serum

Carrier Oil or Oil Based Serums (includes any butters)

Moisturizer and/or Cream: if you feel you need it

A note about treatments..

Some treatments like spot treatments should be applied to totally dry skin (such as Viper Venom serum). Apply only to treatment areas.

Resurface (Retinol) Serum or Cream should be at the beginning of your routine, after toning and left on for 2 hours before continuing on with the rest of your routine. We know some of you will not be able to have the time to wait 2 hours, but we wanted to give a guideline for the best waiting time for this product. NIGHTTIME USE ONLY!! Please do not apply during the day as Retinol is not sun friendly! Use about a ⅛ teaspoon to ¼ teaspoon of product. Vary the amount depending how much it takes to thinly cover the skin.

Exfoliants like Acids: (used 2-3 x per week) These can either be applied to dry skin or you can hydrate the skin first and then apply them. We suggest a waiting period between the acids and continuing your other products. A pea size to dime size amount.

Glycolic - Salicylic - Mandelic - Lactisen - Lactic - New Exfoliation Serums

Fruity Exfo pads should go on dry right after your cleansing (skipping the toning) since they are on a pad which does some exfoliation as well. You don't want to double tone!