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You can buy the most expensive skincare products available, but if you don’t apply them correctly you could render them ineffective. When it comes to serums, creams, lotions, and potions -- the order in which you apply matters so that they can effectively penetrate your skin.
So with so many different options on the market how are we supposed to know what to apply and when? The basic rule to follow is to apply your lightest formulas first and the heaviest ones last -- because thinner products can’t penetrate thicker ones. Here are your steps:
Step 1: Cleanser -- AM and PM
In order for your skin to absorb all the good stuff you have to give it, you absolutely must start with a fresh clean face. Remove your makeup and use a gentle cleanser to get rid of dirt, oil, and product buildup.
Step 2: Toner -- AM and/or PM
Toners prepare your skin to receive moisturizers and can generally be grouped into two categories -- hydrating and exfoliating. If you have acne, use an exfoliating toner to unclog pores and dissolve blackheads. If you have dry skin, use a mild moisturizing toner to even your complexion. Make sure to let the toner sink in for at least five minutes before adding on the next product.
Step 3: Serum -- AM and/or PM
Serums are the lightest products but the heaviest lifters in your skincare routine. They are concentrated shots of hydration and nutrition that pack a punch of antioxidant power. For the daytime we recommend a Vitamin C formula to protect your skin from sun damage and inflammation. For nighttime we like a hyaluronic acid formula that restores moisture and rejuvenates skin while you sleep.
Step 4: Eye Cream -- AM and PM
Apply your eye cream before you apply your moisturizer as it is thinner than a face cream. In the morning look for a product that contains caffeine to brighten your under eye area and reduce puffiness. In the evening, you’ll want a more hydrating formula that will restore elasticity to the thin and sensitive skin around your eyes.
Step 5: Moisturizer -- AM and PM
No matter what your skin type is, a moisturizer is non-negotiable. It keeps your skin barrier healthy and prevents it from drying out throughout the day. Not only does moisturizer hydrate, it also locks in the other products you’ve applied so that they can be most effective.
Step 6: Retinol -- PM only
Retinol and other Vitamin A derivatives are a popular skincare ingredient that people have been using for decades to reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles. It works by triggering collagen production and increasing the rate of cellular turnover -- which means it also is useful to fade dark spots and scars! Retinol should be used at night as it can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. We like to apply it after moisturizer to avoid irritation.
Step 7: Oils -- AM and/or PM
Facial oils should be your absolute last step before adding sunscreen because no other products will penetrate past them. Face oils work to seal in the products you’ve applied and keep them from evaporating. They help increase the effectiveness of your regimen over time while keeping your skin soft and smooth.
Step 8: Sunscreen -- AM
Your last step before the sun hits your skin in the morning should always be sunscreen! Even if your products contain some sun protection -- you need at least SPF 30 to safeguard against premature aging and skin cancer. Don't skip it!
The more time you give each product to soak in between steps, the better they will work for you. Don’t get lost in the details -- keep it simple! Just remember: apply skincare from lightest to heaviest and give each product time to settle. Before you know it you’ll be seeing the results you’ve been waiting for!