Does it matter what order I apply my skin care products? Yes it absolutely does matter!
Applying your skin care products in the proper order ensures your skin receives the full benefits of each product. The skin’s job is to keep things out but many of the skin care products we use have ingredients we want to get in. These key ingredients can penetrate the skin when perfectly formulated and perfectly applied. 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:
Think thin-to-thick you want to use the products with the ingredients that are most important to penetrate into the skin first (like antioxidants in serums) and finish with the products that need to sit on top of the skin like moisturizers and SPF.
Your Daytime Regimen
The morning routine is all about protection from the sun, pollution and the elements. Leave your peel pads and treatment products like retinol for night.
STEP 1: Cleanser
In the morning wash with a gentle face cleanser designed for your skin type.
STEP 2: Toner
Toners were created to correct the pH of the skin after it becomes alkaline from harsh soaps. Face cleansers are now so much better balanced and toners are not a required step anymore. Most people choose to skip toners because there’s an 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 hydrate the skin. 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.
STEP 3: Antioxidant Serum
Serums are super-concentrated, nutrient-dense treatments that address specific concerns. You need them as close to the skin as possible. There are various serums available on the market today but for daytime antioxidant serums are the best! They provide a variety of benefits from calming your skin’s inflammatory response to neutralizing damage from UV rays and environmental pollutants.
STEP 4: Eye cream
It's vital to apply eye cream at least every night if not twice a day. It’s about maintaining the health and thickness of the 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. Regular use of eye cream over time will keep the eyelid skin elastic and can improve or prevent against some fine lines or collagen loss.You can further protect the delicate skin around your eyes by choosing an eye cream with SPF or applying sunscreen every day. Wear sunglasses when outside to protect against UV-light damage.
Step 5: Spot treatment
Acne spot treatments, like serums, need to be applied as close to the skin as possible to maximize their benefits. 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 6: Moisturiser
Everyone needs a moisturizer even if you have oily skin! You need extra hydration after the havoc that sun, weather and harsh chemicals wreak on our skin. The best time to apply a moisturizer is while the skin is still damp. The sooner you have finished applying your serums and other treatment products the sooner you’re able to lock in much-needed hydration with your moisturizer. If you’re using an acne spot treatment you may want to skip those areas when applying your moisturizer to make sure the ingredients in it won’t interfere with the active ingredients in your spot treatment.
Step 7: 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 the UV rays.
Your Nighttime Regimen
As your skin naturally repairs itself at night, your night time routine should be all about treatment and giving your skin what it needs. If your skin is looking dull, exfoliate. If it is irritated, hydrate and protect. Here’s the best order of skin care products to make sure you get the most out of them:
Step 1: Double Cleanse
Double cleansing- Cleansing twice, first step to take off your makeup and second step to remove all the excess sebum, dirt and any left over makeup. This leaves your skin fresh and perfectly prepped to absorb your skin regimen.
TIP: If you’re using a physical exfoliant, like a facial scrub, use it in place of your cleanser after removing your makeup.
Try: iS Clinical Warming Honey Cleanser as your second step
Step 2: Eye Cream
Aside from addressing crow’s feet and dark circles eye creams can also serve to protect your delicate eye area from your other skin care products.
Apply your eye cream before your treatments to protect your eye area against potent ingredients which could potentially cause irritation.
STEP 3: Treatment Serums, Peels and Creams
Like the rest of the body, skin does the bulk of its repairing, restoring and regenerating as we sleep. This is why most targeted skin care treatments like prescription meds (tretinoin, acne and rosacea creams), retinol creams, exfoliative treatments (peel pads and masks) and anti-aging serums (infused with peptides, growth factors and other biologically active ingredients) are better used at night. Instead of layering up all your treatment serums and creams choose your evening treatment depending on what your skin needs right now.
Too many steps just increase the risk of irritation and decrease the desired result. Pick your evening treatment based on what your skin needs that night not based on what you have in your cabinet.
Here are other considerations:
- Choose between prescription meds (for acne or rosacea) OR exfoliative treatments (like AHA/BHA pads, peels or detoxifying masks). If you use both on the same night you increase your risk of irritating your skin.
- Don’t use retinol creams on the same night as exfoliating treatments.
- Exfoliate 1-3 times a week.
- Detoxifying/Clay Masks: Once a week is plenty.
Step 4: Hydrating Mask
If your skin is feeling dehydrated or you may want to add a hydrating cream mask which can be used as often as your skin needs an extra boost of hydration.
STEP 5: Moisturise or Night Cream
Some people use the same moisturizer in the day and at night. However, night moisturizers or night creams are generally thicker and heavier and designed to be absorbed over the course of several hours.
The heavier ones used at night create a protective coating on the skin to prevent water evaporation while you sleep. Maintaining a high water content in the skin is key for healing and maintaining healthy skin. If you are using the right moisturizer, it should be your last step because nothing is going to get through it.
Aside from the order of application if you make your routine to complicated, you just won’t do it.