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Guide to the Correct Order of Skincare

How you choose to layer your serums, treatments, and other formulas can make or break your skincare routine. Here is your quick guide on the correct order to apply your skincare products to unlock the best results. 

How Layering Works

When it comes to layering, in most cases you’ll want to follow the thinnest to thickest rule – meaning that more lightweight formulas should be applied first, then followed by richer formulas. This ensures the thinner formulas are able to penetrate the skin, as a product with a thicker consistency may prevent any thinner formulas from fully absorbing. 

With certain products, it’s equally as important to allow the formula to absorb into your skin before moving on to the next step in your routine. This is particularly true of products with active ingredients like retinol, vitamin C, or chemical exfoliants. You’ll want to allow them to absorb for a few minutes before applying anything else. 

Step-by-Step Guide for Mornings

Here is a look at what a morning skincare routine should look like: 

  • Cleanser: Start off by cleansing with a gentle face wash. 
  • Toner or Facial Mist: While not everyone chooses to use a toner or mist, they can be great for nourishing and hydrating your skin while preparing it for the next steps in your routine. Since they are super lightweight, they should be applied first.  
  • Serum(s): After your toner or facial mist has absorbed (if using), apply your serums. A  vitamin C serum is perfect for the morning, as it will work to brighten and fight signs of aging while protecting against environmental free radicals. If you battle dehydration, we also recommend a  hydrating hyaluronic acid serum to maintain plump, soft skin. If you choose to use multiple serums, follow the thinnest to thickest rule. 
  • Eye Cream: If using an eye cream or serum, apply it after your face serums have dried down. Allow it to absorb before applying your moisturizer. 
  • Moisturizer: Seal everything in with a moisturizer that is suitable for your skin type. 
  • Sunscreen: Finish off with a sunscreen to keep your skin protected against damaging UV rays. Give your moisturizer a few minutes to absorb before applying your sunscreen.

    Step-by-Step Guide for Evenings

    Here is your guide to caring for your complexion at night: 

  • Cleanser: In the evening, it’s smart to double cleanse to ensure any sunscreen and makeup residue is removed. Start with an oil-based cleanser, and then follow up with a water-based formula. 
  • Toner or Facial Mist: Just like with the morning, apply a toner or facial mist after cleansing (if using). 
  • Retinol: If you use retinol, you’ll apply it next to completely dry skin. You’ll want to give it 10 minutes to fully absorb before moving on to serums. 
  • Serum(s): Next, apply your serum(s) of choice to dry skin. If you’re using retinol, make sure the ingredients in the serums you’re using are compatible. A hyaluronic acid serum is a particularly great match, as it will help counteract some of the drying effects of the retinol.
  • Eye Cream: Apply your eye cream or serum to the eye area after your face serums absorb. 
  • Moisturizer: Finish your evening routine with a moisturizer. 
  • Addressing Common Concerns

    Of course, this routine can be adapted to address your specific skin issues and needs. For example, you may choose to skip the retinol and instead use an acne spot treatment, or apply an exfoliating mask a couple times a week. As you’re crafting the perfect routine for your skin’s unique needs, be sure to keep the thinnest to thickest rule in mind for optimal results.