Table of Contents:
- Why the Order of Your Skin Care Routine Matters
- The Basics of Any Skin Care Routine
- How to Layer Your Skin Care Products
- Your Daytime Skin Care Routine
- Your Nighttime Skin Care Routine
- Skin Care Routine Steps
We asked skin experts the question we wonder every time we buy a new skin care product or add a step to our routine: In what order should I apply my skin care products, and does it matter? Turns out, it does!
Read on for the details or skip right to the summarizing infographic: The Best Order for Your Skin Care Products
Why the Order of Your Skin Care Routine Matters
According to Dr. Heather Rogers, a board-certified dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon, applying your skin care products in the proper order ensures that your skin receives the full benefits of each product.
“The order of application is incredibly important,” says Dr. Rogers. “The skin’s job is to keep things out, but many of the skin care products we use have ingredients we want to get in. Only a very small amount of these key ingredients can penetrate the skin, even when perfectly formulated and perfectly applied. If you don’t apply products in the correct order, you will not see the best results from your skin care regimen.”
The Basics of Any Skin Care Routine
Aside from the order of application, some experts believe it’s also important to consider the time it takes for your skin to absorb your products. However, since most of us are often in a rush to get somewhere (or hit the sack), Dr. Rogers understands that this isn’t always possible. Her advice? Keep your skin care routine simple.
“Many products say you have to wait anywhere from five to 30 minutes before the next step to ensure proper absorption, but who has time for that? If you make it too complicated, you just won’t do it,” says Dr. Rogers. “If you have many steps, pause for a bit (a minute) to allow each product time to react with the skin. For example, at night, after I wash my face and apply my serum or evening treatment, I just wrap up my day and get into bed. I keep my moisturizer on my bedside table and apply it right before I go to sleep to give these typically expensive, specialty treatments a touch more time to penetrate the skin before I seal them in with my cream.”
Another piece of advice? Listen to your skin. Remember that you are unique and that nobody else has your skin. No matter what experts say, it’s important to find what works for you and always be kind to your skin.
How to Layer Your Skin Care Products, Plus Why Order Matters
So which product goes on top of what, you ask? An easy rule of thumb to follow is to apply your products with the thinnest consistency to thickest, or from liquid to cream. “In general, think thin-to-thick, but you also want to first use the products with the ingredients that are most important to penetrate into the skin (like antioxidants in serums) and finish with the products that need to sit on top of the skin (like emollients and humectants in moisturizers),” says Dr. Rogers.
Your Daytime Skin Care Routine: A Step-by-Step Guide
The morning routine is all about protection from the sun, pollution and the elements, according to Dr. Rogers, so leave your peel pads and treatment products, like retinol, for night.
STEP 1: CLEANSER
In the morning, start by splashing your face with warm water or, if you must, wash with a gentle face cleanser designed for your skin type.
Learn more: The Different Types of Face Cleansers, Decoded