With each passing year and with new skin problems popping up everywhere (hello acne in my twenties!), I’m becoming more and more aware of how important it is to take thoughtful care of my skin. After all, it is the true foundation under your makeup. What I didn’t know is that there is, in fact, a proper order to apply facial products, and that doing it correctly makes a big difference in how our skin absorbs important ingredients. I’m all for a process that helps me get the most out of my skin care regimen and if you feel the same, then keep on scrolling to learn how you should be applying your skin care products before you curl up in bed.
Step 1: Cleanser
First and foremost, your products can’t do their job without a clean surface. Always thoroughly cleanse your face (even if you don't wear any makeup) to remove dirt or sweat that may have accumulated throughout the day.
Step 2: Exfoliant
In most cases, exfoliating daily can be oversensitive for the skin, but on the days that you do exfoliate, make sure it comes right after you cleanse. Exfoliation removes dead skin cells from the surface of the skin, meaning anything you apply afterward will be able to dive deeper into the skin, instead of getting blocked by dirt and grime.
Step 3: Treatment Products
If you’re treating stubborn acne, age spots, uneven texture or anything in between, then load up on your facial treatment products. Since you'll be going to bed, these products will be under optimal conditions to work their best. Tip: This includes face masks! If you prefer a simple soothing mask, apply it after your treatment products to calm and cool skin after active and intense ingredients.
Step 4: Serums
Serums are products that contain very concentrated active ingredients, and usually come in smaller containers because a little bit goes a long way. Now that your skin has been cleansed, primed, and treated, you’ll want to apply your serum at this stage. Doing this on clean skin, but before any moisturizer or heavy creams, means those concentrated ingredients will be able to penetrate the skin without any roadblocks.
Step 5: Eye Cream
If you have an eye cream on hand then now is the time to use it. Since the under-eye area is so delicate, applying your eye cream at this point will allow you to reap all the benefits without being blocked by a heavy moisturizer.
Step 6: Moisturizer
Whether you’re applying a light daily moisturizer or a heavier night cream, make sure it always comes last in your routine. Saving this step for last creates the added benefit of locking in all the ingredients you previously layered under it, as well as some much needed moisture.
If you ever forget the exact order, don’t panic—a general rule of thumb is to simply apply your products in order of consistency, starting with the lightest, and ending with your heaviest or thickest product.