Face Care

This Is the Exact Order You Should Apply Skincare Products

Your ultimate guide on how to use skincare products.  What the heck each of them do.  And the best ones to buy.

Listen, I get it—skincare is hard. Between the toners, the serums, the a.m. moisturizers and the p.m. extras, and that little bottle of oil someone talked you into but don’t really know how to use, your bathroom routine can quickly turn into a real-life version of the confused math lady meme.

But here’s the thing: If you don’t apply your products in the correct order, or if you pair the wrong toner with, say, the wrong moisturizer, you could end up rendering your products straight-up ineffective—or, even worse, give yourself an irritated, sensitive face. See? Complicated.

So to save you from randomly slapping on a bunch of junk in the vague hope that you’re doing it right, I went ahead and broke down the exact order to apply your skincare, both in the morning and at night, along with the best of the best products to use. Prepare to feel very, very smart—and very, very glow-y.

Skincare Order

Step 1: Cleanser

Please, for the love of the beauty gods, remove your makeup and wash your face before slathering on your products. “You need clean, oil- and grime-free skin for ingredients to properly absorb,” says Mona Gohara, M.D., dermatologist at Yale University.


Which means if you want to do things right, skip the makeup wipes (they’re irritating, and they leave behind a layer of gunky residue that can break you out) and opt for a natural makeup remover, which dissolves makeup—even waterproof—without stripping your skin. Follow up with a gentle, cleanser (yes, even if you have acne-prone skin).

Your Step 1 Cleansers:

Step 2:  Exfoliate


This is one of those things most of us forget.  We MUST remove dead skin cells from our face or else we are just covering up the dead skin, which can dull your complexion.  Exfoliation prepares your skin for moisturizer, serums, and makeup.  Fine lines will appear softer and your skin will have a beautiful, healthy glow.

Here’s the thing, you only need to exfoliate weekly and it can be done in the morning or in the evening; whichever is more convenient to you.  I like to do it in the evening because as you’re resting, it allows serums and moisturizers to really soak into your skin while you aren’t touching your face and getting sweaty.  For those that suffer from roseacea,  you should not exfoliate very often at all.  Once a month is the recommended frequency.

Your Step 2 Exfoliants:


Step 3:  Treat & Mask


If you want fresh, healthy skin you should treat, detox, and mask to remove all impurities, toxins, pollutants, dirt, oil, dead skin cells and anything else on your skin that could be damaging.  This step corrects the imbalances in your skin and masks reach deep down and really detox to reveal fabulously healthy skin.  This step also only needs to be done once a week, unless you suffer from acne.  Acne support gel should be used on a daily basis to treat and prevent breakouts.

Your Step 3 Treatments & Masks:


Step 4: Toners



Back in the day, toners were these alcohol-based liquids that irritated the hell out of your face. But today’s toners are filled with gentle, hydrating ingredients to coddle dry skin, or with exfoliants to treat acne. They’re not meant to be something that sits around on your skin and feels heavy.  They’re essentially just priming your face for ingredients to be better absorbed later on.  It is like a vitamin for your skin! Nourish and tone with one spray.

If you’ve got acne…

You can use a toner mist infused with Tea Tree Essential Oil.  This replenishing mist has a little something extra to help with acne and oily skin.  It will help unclog pores, prevent breakouts, and dissolve blackheads over time.  Wait five minutes before applying anything else on top so you give the tea tree a bit of time to work it’s magic.

If you’ve got every other skin type…

You can opt for a hydrating toner, which helps replenish any water your skin barrier lost when you washed and dried your face. After cleansing, spray over your clean, dry skin every morning, or every night, or both.  There’s no such thing as too much moisture, regardless of your skin type.

Your Step 4 Toners:

 Step 5:  Serums


This is probably one of my favorite steps!!  A good serum can make such a HUGE difference.  So, what is a serum?  You are not alone in having no earthly idea what a serum is. Even if you’re the proud owner of several serums, it’s not a particularly clear product on it’s surface. Think of the contradictions: It’s moisturizing, but you still use moisturizer. It can be oily, but it’s not necessarily face oil. It can be watery, but is it essence? So many questions and we haven’t even gotten to ingredient lists yet!

A serum is a skincare product that you apply to your skin after cleansing but before moisturizing with the intent of delivering powerful ingredients directly into the skin. Serum is particularly suited to this task because it is made up of smaller molecules that can penetrate deeply into the skin and deliver a very high concentration of active ingredients. This makes them a great tool for targeting specific skincare concerns, like wrinkles. Goodbye, signs of aging!  This is a morning AND evening must do!

Your Step 5 Serums:

Step 6:  Moisturizer



A moisturizer not only infuses your skin with hydration, but also helps trap in all of the products underneath it to make the ingredients even more effective.


In the morning…

Look for a light, gentle, nontoxic moisturizer, which will keep skin hydrated without feeling heavy or greasy.  And, ideally, get a formula that has a tint in it that can double as a moisturizer and natural SPF that provides light coverage.  Whichever you choose, let it sink in for at least a full five minutes before applying makeup (if, of course, this is the end of your skincare routine, and makeup is your next step).

At night…

Your skin goes into repair mode at night, working extra hard to fix damage and boost regeneration.  Your night moisturizer CAN be the same as you use during the day, however, ideally it should be filled with all the things your body needs and can use more of, like Vitamin B5, Vitamin C, and Vitamin A, Vitamin E, glycerin, and shea butter for extra softening.

Your Step 6 Moisturizers:

Now Celebrate!!


Because you just finally learned virtually everything (ish) in the world about skincare. You may now refer to yourself as a mini dermatologist (but, like, maybe not in front of any actual doctors, k?). Now please, go deck out your face and bask in the glory of knowledge.

Amy 2

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