In What Order Do I Apply My Skin Care Products?
We asked skin experts the question we wonder every time we buy a new skin care product or add a step to our routine: In what order should I apply my skin care products, and does it matter? Turns out, it does!
Sequence Matters, Here’s Why
Applying your skin care products in the proper order ensures that your skin receives the full benefits of each product. If you don’t apply products in the correct order, you will not see the best results from your skin care regimen.”
How to Layer Your Skin Care Products: A Step-by-Step Guide
So which product goes on top of what, you ask? An easy rule of thumb to follow is to apply your products with the thinnest consistency to thickest, or from liquid to cream.
Your Daytime Regimen
The morning routine is all about protection from the sun, pollution and the elements, so leave your peel pads and treatment products, like retinol, for night.
STEP 1: CLEANSER
In the morning, start by splashing your face with warm water or, if you must, wash with a gentle face cleanser designed for your skin type.
STEP 2: TONER
Most people choose to skip toners, partly because there’s a lingering assumption that most toners are harsh and irritate the skin. Fortunately, that’s not the case anymore. While they don’t physically “shrink” pores, the new breed of toners can serve multiple purposes, like act as a delivery system for antioxidants, vitamin B derivatives and even toning acids. Additionally, each type of toner is intended for a different skin issue, so it’s important to use the right kind for your skin concern.
However, if you have lived all your life without using a toner and your skin looks healthy, there is no need to start using one. Toners were created to help return the skin’s pH after it became too basic from harsh soaps. Face cleansers are now so much better balanced that toners are not a required step. That said, if you have a toner that you like using, there’s no harm in sticking with it.
STEP 3: SPOT TREATMENT
Prescription medications and acne spot treatments need to be applied as close to the skin as possible to maximize their benefits.
As acne spot treatments differ in active ingredients, check your product packaging or consult your dermatologist for the best way to apply it. Prescription-strength benzoyl peroxide, a common acne spot treatment ingredient, has a one- to three-hour working time. Any cream that comes in contact with it before it has completed its work will likely inhibit the active ingredient from working properly.
Remember that acne spot treatments can dry out your skin, so always apply only on spots where you need it.
STEP 4: SERUM
Serums are super-concentrated, nutrient-dense treatments that address specific concerns, so it’s better to keep them as close to the skin as possible. There are various serums available on the market today, but for daytime, Dr. Rogers recommends antioxidant serums, which provide a variety of benefits—from blunting your skin’s inflammatory response to neutralizing damage from UV rays and environmental pollutants.
STEP 5: EYE CREAM
It’s vital to apply an eye cream at least every night—if not twice a day—starting in your 20s. It’s about maintaining the health and thickness of the eyelid skin. Improving the skin quality in this area early on ensures that the eyelid skin does not easily lose laxity and its smooth appearance later on.
For best results, consistency is key. Remember: Nothing is magic. Results don’t occur overnight. You can further protect the delicate skin around your eyes by choosing an eye cream with SPF or applying sunscreen every day.
STEP 6: MOISTURIZER
Yes, everyone needs a moisturizer, even if you have oily skin. Most of us do need extra hydration after the havoc that sun, weather and harsh chemicals wreak on our skin.
Most experts recommend that the best time to apply a moisturizer is while the skin is still damp, so the sooner you go through applying your serum and treatment, the sooner you’re able to lock in much-needed hydration with your moisturizer.
Step 7: OIL
If your skin need an additional skin oil to increase the moisture, pat your skin oil all over your skin moisturizer. This will create a seal to protect all of your skincare products you just applied so that they can really sink in.
Step 8: SUNSCREEN
Sunscreen should be the last step in your daytime skin care routine if you’re using a physical or mineral sunscreen, which works by physically blocking UV rays. This step becomes tricky when you’re using a chemical sunscreen.