Have you ever wondered in what order to put skincare products on your face? Use this step-by-step guide to get the best results.
Rules Of Thumb For Layering Skincare Products
1.Thin before thick.
Thinner, more liquid products like toners and serums absorb faster. So they should be used before thicker products like lotions and creams.
2. Water before oil.
Facial oils and heavier creams create a layer on the skin and sit there longer. So they should go before water-based products like a vitamin C serum or a hyaluronic acid gel.
3. SPF is always last.
Sunscreens with SPF protect your skin like a shield. They are the last thing you put on in the morning.
The Correct Order to Layer Specific Skincare Products
Step one: Cleansing
Why: Cleansing always comes first. It is the most important step in the whole skincare routine. Without proper cleansing, other products and treatments will just not penetrate and work well.
Moreover, cleansing prevents excess oil production, which can lead to acne and blackheads.
How to: Apply a handful of the cleanser to your skin. Gently massage to dissolve makeup & impurities. Finally, wash it off, or wipe it with a wet cloth.
Pro tip: Cleansers with active ingredients (benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid) might be too strong for daily use and cause irritation and dryness of the skin.
Step Two: Exfoliation (2-3x a week)
Why: This step helps remove dead skin. Unclogs your pores. And prevents acne.
Pro-tip: If you have never used chemical exfoliators before – start slowly. Play with how much product you use, how long you keep it before rinsing, and how often you do it.
Step three: Toner (optional)
Why: Toners get rid of any last traces of dirt stuck in your pores after you wash your face.
How to: Immediately after cleansing, saturate the cotton ball or a cotton round with toner. Apply to the face and neck in a circular motion for a minute.
Pro tip: Look for an alcohol-free toner so it does not dry your skin.
|Foaming Cleanser||Foaming or Oil Cleanser|
|Acid Exfoliant (2-3x a week)||Acid Exfoliant (2-3x a week)|
|Toner (optional)||Toner (optional)|
|Vitamin C Serum||Retinoid serum|
|Eye Cream (optional)||Eye Cream (optional)|
Oil-free gel with
|Sunscreen with SPF 30 or |
|Face Oil ( optional)|
Step Four: Serums
Why: Serums contain super-concentrated active ingredients that do much of the work to improve the appearance of our skin.
How to: Apply product to the face and neck – with your fingers, or drop directly on the skin. Gently massage it in. Let it absorb and continue with your skincare routine
Pro tip: For the morning, use a Vitamin C serum. It naturally brightens the skin and gives you good pollution protection.
For the evening, use a Retinoid serum. It is a must-have product for people with dark spots, acne, and wrinkles, or fine lines.
Step Five: Moisturizer
Why: Hydration is necessary for all skin types. And moisturizers work as a barrier, protecting our skin from environmental damage. They also prevent dryness and excessive oiliness.
Eye creams are targeted moisturizers that help eye bags, dark circles, and crows’ feet.
How to: Use moisturizers twice a day. Apply a light layer of moisturizer after your serums on the face and neck. Let it absorb.
Step Six: SPF (use in the morning):
Why: Studies show that 80% of age signs are related to sun damage. Sunscreens help prevent dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and premature aging.
How to: Put on your face and neck as the last step of your routine in the morning.
Pro tip: Use mineral-based sunscreen – it is safer for your skin and the environment.
If you want to start simple, try a 3-product anti-aging set:
Or take this 1-min quiz and get customized recommendations for skincare products for your specific skin concerns and skin type.
It’s not just about what skincare products you put on your face. The order of application is also crucial for products to be effective.