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What is the correct order to apply skincare?
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What is the correct order to apply skincare?

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How to layer your skincare for maximum results

Two of the most frequently asked beauty questions are, does it matter what order skincare is applied? And, if it does matter, what is the correct order to apply skincare for it to be effective?

The answer to the first question is a resounding “yes”. It does matter what order products are applied because they need to be layered in the correct order to properly penetrate the skin and work effectively.

The basic rule for the order of your skincare regimen is to apply products based on their consistency: thinnest to thickest. And if you think about it, it makes sense—the skin isn’t going to absorb a lightweight serum if it’s layered over the top of a rich moisturiser or a heavier sunscreen.

This thinnest to thickest rule applies whether you have a pared-back “skinimalist” three-step skincare routine or a more extensive multi-step skincare routine. As long as your skincare line-up features products suited to your skincare type and concern, keeping the thinnest to thickest layering order will have your skincare products working effectively for your skin.

Read on for the exact order to apply your skincare routine in the morning and the evening along with which skincare steps are essential and which are optional.

What is the correct order to apply skincare in the morning?

The exact order to apply skincare in the morning is as follows:

Step 1: Cleanser
Step 2: Toner
Step 3: Serum
Step 4: Spot treatment
Step 5: Eye cream
Step 6: Moisturiser
Step 7: Face oil
Step 8: Sunscreen

As mentioned above, this order applies whether you have a three-step or the full eight-step skincare routine. For instance, a basic three-step a.m. routine should include cleanser, moisturiser and sunscreen (in that order). The steps you can skip and those that are essential are detailed in each step below.

Step 1: Cleanser

Every routine whether you have a three-step or multiple should start with washing your face with a cleanser suited to your skin type and concern.

For instance, if you have dry skin, look for a cleanser formulated with hydrating ingredients such as Mukti Hydrating Cleansing Lotion which contains nourishing shea butter and macadamia nut oil. Sensitive skin? Opt for a cleanser formulated to soothe, calm and gently but effectively cleanse the skin. Try: Gracious Minds Daily Elements Antioxidant Oil Cleanser, which is formulated with anti-inflammatory sea buckthorn.

Can you skip cleanser?

No. Even you have a basic three-step routine, always start by cleansing the skin. “For ingredients to absorb properly, you need clean skin that’s totally free of oil and grime,” dermatologist Mona Gohara told Cosmopolitan.

Step 2: Toner

The second step in your morning routine is toning. Toners are designed to remove any leftover dirt, make-up or impurities after cleansing, as well as hydrate and prep the skin so it’s primed to absorb the rest of your skincare products. As with every product in your individual skincare line-up, seek out a toner targeted to your individual skin.

If you have normal to dry skin try Peggy Sue Superfood Toning Mist, which is formulated with bilberry, goji and blueberry extracts, along with aloe vera to to serve up a potent dose of skin-loving antioxidants and hydration.

Can you skip toner?

Yes. Toner is an optional skincare step. Some people swear by it while others feel their skin doesn’t need it. This step is entirely up to you and what your skin needs.

Step 3: Serum

Serums are skincare treatments that deliver active ingredients into your skin to target your specific skin needs. For instance, if dull skin is a concern, look for a serum with brightening ingredients like vitamin C-rich Kakadu plum or licorice root extract. Try: Grown Alchemist Brightening Serum: Phyto-Complex & Rumex Leaf Extract

Or, if anti-ageing is your main skin concern, try Cannabella Complex CoQ10 Serum. This plant-powered anti-ageing serum is formulated with hemp seed oil, coenzyme Q10, vitamin A, and jojoba oil to name but a few of the powerful botanical oils and vitamins working to combat the signs of ageing.

Can you skip serum?

Yes. It’s an optional step, but it’s also a valuable one to include as it’s an effective way to address specific skin concerns.Cannabella Cq10 Serum at The Day Ahead

Step 4: Spot treatment

Suffering from the occasional pimple, breakout or acne? This is the step in the routine to treat this. Try: Grown Alchemist Blemish Treatment Gel: Salix-Alba and Boswellia

Can you skip spot treatment?

Yes. You only need to include a spot treatment if you suffer from breakouts.

Step 5: Eye cream

Eye cream is typically a lighter consistency than your moisturiser but heavier than your serum, so it should be applied after serum but before moisturiser.

Can you skip eye cream?

Yes. Eye cream is optional but it is a great product to include in your line-up to target specific concerns around the eye—such as dark circles, signs of fatigue or puffiness. For puffy, tired eyes try Mukti Rosehip Eye Gel.

Mukti Rosehip Eye Gel at The Day Ahead

Step 6: Moisturiser

This one’s essential. Moisturiser in the morning and evening is a must for everyone, every single day. Moisturiser is the backbone of healthy skin. Not only does moisturiser hydrate but it also helps lock in other skincare products to help make them work effectively.

Opt for a moisturiser that suits your skin type and concerns. Not sure which moisturiser to choose? Read our handy guide to finding the right moisturiser for your skin type, here

Can you skip moisturiser?

No. It’s an essential step in your skincare routine for healthy skin.

Step 7: Face oil

Face oil helps seal in all the skin-loving products you’ve already applied and acts as a protective layer to lock in moisture. It can also be used as an additional treatment product to target a specific concern.

If redness and inflammation are a concern seek out a face oil with calming anti-inflammatory ingredients like chamomile and blue tansy. Theseeke Balance Elixir with blue tansy is a stellar option to balance, soothe, calm and hydrate skin.

Can you skip face oil?

Yes. Face oil is an optional step.

Step 8: Sunscreen

SPF is the last skincare product to apply in your morning skincare routine and it’s vital. Don’t skip or skimp on this step. UV rays cause so much damage to the skin from ageing to pigmentation to skin cancer, so protecting the skin from these harsh rays is crucial. Look for a sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection and a high SPF – there are tons of options available that suit each skin type. Read our guide to choosing the best sunscreen for you, here.

Can you skip sunscreen?

No. It’s vital to protect your skin from ultraviolet rays.

What is the correct order to apply skincare in the evening?

The exact order to apply skincare in the evening is similar to the daytime routine with two switch ups at the end as follows:

Step 1: Cleanser
Step 2: Toner
Step 3: Serum
Step 4: Spot treatment
Step 5: Eye cream
Step 6: Moisturiser
Step 7: Retinol
Step 8: Face oil

Face oil replaces sunscreen as the final skincare product to apply during the evening. If you’re using a retinol, apply it after moisturiser but before face oil.

If you prefer a heavier moisturiser, serum or face oil for evening, make it a true beauty sleep by switching out your daytime versions and let them work their magic while you slumber.

Similar to the daytime routine, this order applies no matter how simple or extensive your evening routine is. The essential steps for evening are cleanse and moisturise, the others are optional. For instance, a basic two-step p.m. routine should include cleanser and moisturiser (in that order).

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