Here’s the Correct Order to Apply Skincare in 2021

Here’s the Correct Order to Apply Skincare in 2021

If getting a new moisturizer excites you and looking at skincare videos on Instagram never really tires you, welcome to the gang. We are as obsessed with skincare as you are. But sometimes, no matter the number of tubs and jars you stock up on, things don’t seem to be working the way you want. One common culprit is the incorrect order in which you might be applying your creams and serums. So, how to get them to deliver the magic they promise. Let’s begin with a few basic things you need to keep in mind while slathering your face with your favorite skincare products.

From thin to thick: Applying thicker creams first will make it hard for your thinner products to penetrate. Always apply lighter products like toners and serums before moving on to heavier moisturizers or lotions.  

Water-based before oil-based: Gel or water-based moisturizers should be applied before oil-based products so that they can easily absorb in the skin without the oil blocking them.  

Low to high pH: In case you are using skincare products with active ingredients, remember to check the pH levels in each one. If two products have the same pH levels, you may apply them at the same time. But if one of them is more acidic with 3.0 – 4.0 pH, apply it first. Wait for at least 30 minutes to apply the neutral ones with 5.0 – 7.0 pH. 

Now, that that’s of the way, let’s look at the correct order of applying skincare products.

Step 1: Cleanser 

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Starting your daily skincare regimen with a gentle cleanser is a no-brainer. But if you are using both water and oil cleansers, it can get a little confusing for the newbies. We know we previously advised to use water-based products before oil-based but cleansers are an exemption. Start with the oil-based cleanser to dissolve and melt away makeup and other impurities. Follow with a water-based cleanser to double cleanse your skin.

Step 2: Exfoliator

After you have cleansed your face, use a gentle or non-abrasive scrub to buff away dead skin cells. Don’t follow this step daily since excessive exfoliation can lead to irritation and even cause your sebaceous glands to produce more oil than usual which may result in breakouts. It’s a good idea to limit exfoliation to only a couple of days a week.

Step 3: Toner and essence

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A lot of people entirely skip this step because what good could a toner possibly do? Well, the answer is, quite a lot. Toners not only freshen up your skin, they also prep it for the easy absorption of on-coming serums and moisturizers. The best thing they do is neutralize the skin’s pH level if you’ve used a harsh cleanser before. Besides, even if you’re new to skincare, you must have heard the term CTM. Cleanse. Tone. Moisturize. A routine that can work wonders for your parched skin. So, grab that toner and pack a couple of layers into your skin after exfoliation.


Step 4: Serums and ampoules

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Serums are mostly targeted at specific skin concerns and should be among the first products that go on to your face. Whether you’re using them for brightening or treating pigmentation, serums and ampoules should be applied after toners. Their thin consistency makes it easy for them to absorb and penetrate into the skin instead of sitting on the surface. This makes them ideal to be applied before heavier moisturizers. 


Step 5: Eye cream

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Even if you are not using an eye cream in your morning routine, you must use one at night, especially if you’re in your late twenties. Eye creams ensure that the skin under your eyes maintains its elasticity and appears smooth. So, instead of waiting for the crow lines to make an appearance, start using an eye cream early on to delay the onset.  

Step 6: Moisturizer

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No skincare routine is complete without a nurturing moisturizer. Unless you’re oilier and find serums and toners doing the job just fine. If you aren’t, look for moisturizers with minimum silicone and fragrances. Moisturizers work best when they’re applied right after toners and serums because damp skin locks in the hydration better. 

Step 7: Sunscreen

Photo by Taylor Simpson on Unsplash

Last but the most crucial step is to apply sunscreen if you’re stepping outside. Or even if you’re staying inside (those stubborn UVA and UVB rays don’t care about your glass window). Sunscreen is your best protection against the harmful sun rays. If you are using a physical sunscreen, it needs to be applied at the end since it sits on the skin surface. 

What’s your skincare routine? Share your most favorite product in the comments below.  

August 28, 2020
3 minutes read  

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