Apply Skin Care in the Right Order
You might have the most amazing skincare routine in the world, but if you’re applying your products in the wrong order, you can prevent your skin from receiving the full benefits.
This can not only diminish the overall effectiveness of your routine, but it could even leave your skin irritated, dehydrated or broken out. Here’s the correct order to apply your skincare products:
Step 1: Makeup Remover
Start with a makeup-removing cleanser, which could be an oil, foam, milk or micellar water.
Step 2: Cleanser
Use a gentle, sulphate-free face wash to perform a second cleanse.
Once your makeup is off, it’s time to actually clean your skin. You can start here in the mornings. In the evenings, this step will also ensure that you haven’t left any makeup remover residue on your skin (where it could lead to irritations or breakouts).
Step 3: Exfoliator and/or Toner
Acid-based toners gently exfoliate and prep the skin to receive treatment products.
Post-cleansing, I’m a big advocate for daily mild exfoliation with alpha- or beta-hydroxy acids. As long as you’re not overdoing it, you’ll see such a positive difference with your skin texture, tone and clarity. Plus, this step will help to remove any dead cells that can interfere with the absorption of your other products.
If you’d prefer a mechanical and enzimatic exfoliation, powder exfoliators such as foam powders or wahing foam combined with abrasives like salt or sugar, etc. are a gentle way to physically lift off dead skin cells.
When you’re not exfoliating, a balancing toner is a good idea as a final cleansing step, to restore your skin’s pH and prep it for treatment products any flower waters could be highly recommended.
Step 4: Treatment Products
Treatment products should go on bare skin before moisturizers.
Here’s where the most active products in your routine come in. You want them on clean, bare skin without a lot of dead cell build-up, so they can have the best chance of penetrating deeply.
Use any acne spot treatments, antioxidant serums, treatment oils, leave-on hydroxy acids etc. at this time. Antioxidants can be applied morning and night.
Step 5: Hydrating Mist or Serum
Hydrating serums and mists should be applied before heavier creams and oils.
I think everyone can benefit from incorporating hydrating mists and serums into their routine. If you’re normal to oily, their lightweight humectants may provide all the moisture you need, especially if you’re applying makeup next. They’re also essential for those with dry or dehydrated skin, as a first layer underneath heavier creams and oils.
You should start with mist, layering it under the serum. (You can also mist again before you add moisturizer, oil or makeup, to really pack in the moisture.)
Step 6: Chemical Sunscreen
Chemical sunscreen should be applied before moisturizer. I don’t recommend chemical sunscreen, but if you’re going to use one, you should ideally put it on before your daytime moisturizer. That’s because its working process and effect-mechanism, so you don’t want any creamy, oily products to hinder absorption and/or dilute its absorption and reduce your protection.
Step 7: Moisturizer and Eye Cream
Moisturizers help quench dry skin and can double as eye cream.
Next comes moisturizer, if you need it. Not everyone does! If your skin is normal to oily, you may be able to get away with a serum alone. Also keep in mind that when face creams are too rich and heavy, they can often trigger breakouts.
Step 8: Face Oil
Face oil acts as a barrier to prevent moisture loss.
Dry and fragile skin clients should use a face oil as last moisturization step. This is because it acts like a barrier, it reduces water loss.
If your skin is normal to oily you have to apply oil before your moisturizer, or you can add your oil to your cream and apply them blended.
Persons with acne prone or with really problematic, inflamed skin should use treatment oils as spot treatment as described in “Step 4”.
Step 9: Mineral Makeup and Mineral Sunscreen
Mineral sunscreen needs to sit on top of the skin to be effective, therefore it should be the last skincare product you apply during the daytime. Unlike chemical filters, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide work by sitting on top of the skin and reflecting away the UV rays.
Step 10: Foundation
Finally, you can apply traditional foundation, if you wear it!
Layer your skincare products the right way for maximum effectiveness.
I hope this helps demystify the layering process!
When in doubt, the general rule is to apply your products in order of thinnest to thickest. Anything light and liquidy will have an easier time penetrating bare skin, while thicker creams and oils should be saved for the end, to lock everything in.
Also consider which product or treatment is the most important in your routine. If you need serious results, apply it before you hydrate or protect, so it won’t have to sink through as many layers to do its job.