The definitive guide on the correct order to apply your skincare products

Have you recently invested in a skincare routine that involves more than the three-step regime previous generations used to swear by? Cleanse, tone, moisturise or the more recent update: cleanse, moisturise and apply sunscreen were easy to follow until products like oil cleansers, serums and masks captured the attention of beauty enthusiasts. 

Cue the cultish K-Beauty (Korean beauty) phenomenon that then took hold globally and suddenly our bathrooms were overflowing with all the products that could work for a eight to 10-step skincare programme. 

During the regime, every inch of your face would get massaged, rolled over, rubbed, dabbed, knuckled and pinched to absorb the maximum number of ingredients in the hopes of a brighter, more even glow. 

Since then, there’ve been calls to trim things down a little in the name of sustainability and cutting down on waste. But now that a lot of us find ourselves somewhere between a rigorous skincare diet and doing the daily beauty binge, we may feel confused about what we really need and then in which order to apply the most effective products.  

This is what New York Times’ writer Kari Molvar had to say about it all: “Depending on which product reviews you read or doctors you consult, there is a dizzying number of opinions on everything from how to moisturise to how to protect yourself from UV rays. Ultimately, caring for your skin is simply personal.”

So we're here to help you cut through the noise because ultimately, the choice is yours. 


BACK TO BASICS

  • Whether it's balm, foaming liquid, gel, lotion, micellar water or oil, you need to wash your face. If you live in a particularly polluted environment, have oily skin and wear a fair amount of makeup, try double cleansing.
  • Try a toner or serum. This step will help balance your skin. Look out for ingredients that include acids, green tea, niacinamide, retinol's and vitamins.
  • Moisturise. The best way to hydrate and soften your skin.
  • Protect. Sunscreen to avoid sun damage is a daily must.

MORNING ROUTINE

  1. Cleanser
  2. Toner
  3. Serum
  4. Eye cream
  5. Moisturiser/Creams
  6. Facial oil
  7. Sunscreen (This should always be the last product you apply as it needs to sit on your skin to block the sun)

NIGHT ROUTINE

  1. Makeup remover/ Cleansing balm or oil
  2. Cleanser
  3. Exfoliator
  4. Toner
  5. Mask (If you need to cleanse skin after use. Use after your serum if not)
  6. Serum
  7. Eye cream
  8. Moisturiser
  9. Facial oil

THINGS TO REMEMBER

  • If you’re still confused about which product to apply when, the general rule is to layer from thin to thickest consistency and from water to oil-based. Avoid mixing products unless they’ve been formulated for this and rather apply separately. This will all help increase absorption.
  • Don’t use vitamin C with glycolic or other acids.
  • If you have sensitive skin, apply the serum after your moisturiser to reduce the potency of any ingredients that may irritate your skin.
  • Save your retinols for the night time only and make sure to wear sunscreen the next morning after use

SOURCES:

https://www.allure.com/story/how-to-layer-your-skin-care-products

https://www.nytimes.com/guides/tmagazine/skincare-routine

1 comment

Wow, so clear yet insightful. I have always been on top of my skincare regime but I love the simplicity of how it’s explained above. I am just finishing my current product and going yearnskin soon

Sibongile September 29, 2021

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