Are you applying your skin treatment in order?
Updated: Jul 13, 2018
Step 1: Cleanse
First things first. Cleansing always takes precedence. It sounds obvious, but some people insist on going without cleanser each morning. Their reasoning is that they wash their face each night. There's no makeup or dirt coming in contact with their skin while they sleep, so they just splash water on their face. This could be a mistake, according to Craig Kraffert, board-certified dermatologist and president of Amarte Skincare. "Why not just splash water on your face in the a.m.? Because even the best products won't work if debris or oil is on the skin. You will gain quite a lot from cleansing, as opposed to just splashing water on your face in the morning, because the products you use work their best and absorb most efficiently on debris-free skin." This makes sense, considering your skin can still produce oil and come in contact with environmental pollution at
Step 2: Exfoliate
Next up is exfoliant. This sloughs off dead skin and pore-clogging impurities, so other skincare products can sink in and work their magic. "Both cleansing and exfoliating are essential for keeping skin youthful and fresh, but in many cases, you can combine cleansing/exfoliating into one step," Kraffert says. "Save time by using a daily exfoliating and cleanser in one.
Step 3: Tone
After exfoliating, your skin should be smooth, fresh, and clean. That's when you reach for toner, which is a thin veil of hydration that should always precede moisturizer. "Toners are wonderful products to use, and while not everyone needs to use them, everyone can use them: They're calming and provide an additional layer of hydration to prep the skin for makeup," says Kraffert. People who have acne and/or oily skin will benefit most from using toner since "they're formulated to remove sebum, oil, and dirt from the pores."
If you don't have oily or acneic skin, Kraffert says to treat toner as you would a face mist or facial wipe. "They can be especially convenient for use while traveling or refreshing skin on a hot day without ruining your makeup.
Step 4: Serum
Next is serum. we prefers using a vitamin C serum each morning, which provides skin-protecting and anti-aging antioxidants. (There's a reason vitamin C serums are trending on Pinterest.) At night, though, we suggest subbing vitamin C serum out for a retinol serum. It smoothes the skin's texture and treats and prevents signs of aging. Celebrities like Jessica Alba and Chrissy Teigen swear by it.
Kraffert, on the other hand, recommends using a water-based serum like. "Your serum should be full of bota
nical extracts and antioxidants and lightweight yet powerful hydration properties as a primary benefit," he says. The potent blend of good-for-skin ingredients is subsequently why serums are usually the most expensive part of a skincare routine—and also why we are committed to using it correctly, which means applying it before moisturizer and after toner.
Step 5: Moisturizer
After serum, apply moisturizer to keep your skin balanced, hydrated, and plump. For people with dry skin, reach for a thick moisturizing cream. For those of us with oily skin, try a lighter gel moisturizer like.
Kraffert recommends using your moisturizer as another opportunity to treat your skin. "You want your lotion or moisturizing cream to have some brightening or retinol properties (yes, it's okay for daytime too!) and then follow that with a light formulation of SPF coverage." Step 7: Sunscreen
The final step to a well-ordered skincare routine is sunscreen (of course). It's the best tool for preventing signs of aging—namely hyperpigmentation, fine lines, and wrinkles. "Sunscreen should go after skincare and before makeup. It would not be ideal to put SPF under a lotion or cream moisturizer because, by nature, SPF products block sun's rays (and anything else) from absorbing into the skin," Kraffert says. Just don't forgo the use of sunscreen for an SPF BB cream. Kraffert says the recommended amount of SPF for daily wear is 50.That's the proper order for applying skincare products so they all work most effectively. If your routine differs from the one outlined above, that's okay. Just remember Darden's general rule: thin products to thick.