Updated: Sep 18, 2021

How to apply your skincare products

When it comes to skin care, the only thing more important than the ingredients you use is the order that you use the products in. Knowing the right skincare routine order sounds daunting, but we promise you that it isn’t! Learning what order to use skincare products in has never been easier with this guide.

What’s the Right Order to Use Your Skincare Products In Your Routine?

Your skincare routine order should vary between day and night. Not by much, but there are some key differences. At night, you’ll need to thoroughly cleanse your skin from being out and about during the day, including removing your makeup. During the day, you’ll need to protect your skin from the sun properly. These little nuances make a huge difference in your skin!


Use daily. Morning & Evening.

PRO tip: get double the benefit with an oil cleanser, which also removes makeup.

Cleansing your skin well sets up your entire skincare routine for success. The order of a good skincare routine starts with cleansing with gentle, skin-appropriate cleansers.

Start your night routine order with an oil cleanser. They’re gentler on the skin and provide a much more thorough cleanse. A good cleansing oil will remove all makeup effortlessly so you don’t have to use separate makeup remover.

Cleansers are also a great way to add a short treatment to your routine. Some are formulated with ingredients to provide a quick shot of exfoliation or nourishment.


Optional. Morning & Evening

Toners balance the skin pH (or acidity level). Toners are only recommended if they have ingredients that can make a difference to your skin, such as Hyaluronic Acid, or other beneficial extracts. If not, you can totally skip this in favor of more concentrated products such as serums.

Serum / Treatment

As Needed. Morning OR Evening

Serums are formulated to give your skin a targeted dose of a specific ingredient. They’re usually thinner in texture and target a specific skin concern. For example, a Vitamin C serum is designed to target the signs of aging and brighten skin, thanks to its antioxidant-rich formula. Serums can also target hydration by including hyaluronic acid. These serums can be used morning OR night.

Serums themselves can also be layered on top of each other depending on their texture, or used at different times during your routine. Most serums are water-based and can be layered easily, just wait until your first serum is absorbed before applying the next one. If you’re using any oil-based serums, they should go after any water-based ones.

Eye Cream

As needed. Morning OR Evening

The skin around our eyes is the thinnest on our entire bodies. And shows more signs of aging than any other area. It’s important to use eye creams before there are too many layers of other products on your skin. The best skin care routine order includes applying eye cream on as close to naked skin as possible. When choosing an eye cream, look for these peptides that have proven to work for dark circles, eye bags and crow’s feet.

Moisturizer / Cream

Use daily. Morning & Evening

Moisturizers and creams provide slower absorption for a sustained moisture boost. They also lock in all the hydration and treatments that you’ve already put on your skin. They can come in light, gel formulas for oily and combination skin and heavier, richer formulas to nourish dry skin.

Some moisturizers also provide double-duty by containing skin-nurturing ingredients in their formulas like retinoids or collagen peptides – two of the most powerful anti-aging types of ingredients.

A retinoid cream is great for targeting both acne and anti-aging thanks to its ability to encourage skin cell turnover, something that reduces the look of fine lines and gets rid of acne.

Peptides are great for targeting wrinkles for a more firm and smooth looking skin.


Use daily. Morning only

80% of all signs of aging – from dark spots to wrinkles – are due to sun exposure (year round). Using proper sun protection daily is an essential step to skincare! When it comes to your morning skin care routine order, this should be the final step. That’s where using a properly rated SPF comes in. A minimum SPF 30 is recommended, and that protects skin against 96% of ultraviolet rays. Higher SPF 55 protects skin against 98% of them!

The most important part

When it comes to knowing what order to use skincare products the most important part is to listen to how your skin reacts to products. Adjust accordingly. There is no guide that will work perfectly for you, all the time. Your skin’s doing well with exfoliation? You could increase to 3-4 times a week. Do you want to prevent under-eye wrinkles? Add an eye cream.

As long as you pick the right ingredients at high enough concentrations and follow the correct skincare routine order, your skin will be glowing! .

Please, for the love of the beauty gods, remove your makeup and wash your face before slathering on your products. “For ingredients to properly absorb, you need clean skin that’s totally free of oil and grime,” says dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD, associate clinical professor at Yale School of Medicine.

Which means if you want to do things right—and, like, why you here if not tho?—skip the makeup wipes (they’re irritating and leave behind a layer of gunky residue that can break you out) and opt for a cleansing oil, which dissolves all makeup without stripping your skin. Then follow up with a gentle, creamy cleanser (especially if you have acne-prone skin). And don’t complain about this being a two-step process—it’s one of the only required steps in this entire routine. Not even a little sorry.

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