One of the questions I get asked the most is what skincare product to apply, when!? With so many products out there (serum! toner! essence! oils!) layering your skincare products can feel really overwhelming! It doesn’t have to be, though. The general rule is to layer your products from thin to thick; and to apply the products with the highest percentage of active ingredients first.
Keep in mind I’m not an expert, but I have talked to a lot of experts about this, and this is what I have been told. I’ve talked about product order before in my bedtime skincare routine but today I wanted to break things down in full. I think the biggest “controversial” part of my routine (if skincare routines can be controversial?) is whether to apply face oil before or after moisturizer. I’ve been taught that it’s the last step, but if you want to apply it before your moisturizer, do that! Pampering should be fun… applying things in a slightly “wrong” order is not going to ruin your life.
Cleanse and exfoliate:
Obviously this is the first step. But I included it because if you are doing a double cleanse (more on that here),you should use the creamy/oil cleanser first. These are frequently applied to dry skin and the point is to use that rich cleanser to get your makeup off, and then use a gel cleanser to get your skin extra clean. If you are doing a face scrub, that’s the last part of your cleansing process.
For the longest time, I didn’t think toner was necessary but recently changed my position. Toner should be the last step of your cleansing routine. If you use a toner, this is where you do it. Pat skin dry and apply all over with a cotton pad.
Essence (or P50)
The next step is your essence. Whereas toner is the last step of cleansing, essence is the first step of skincare. (If you use it – you can read about my love of SK-II in this post.) I apply my essence (SK-II) in the morning after cleansing, and my beloved P50 in the evening. I’m going to do a longer review of P50 at some point (so many skincare requests!) but in the meantime Helena did a great review of it!
The two products are totally different, but they are applied at the same time in your routine. SK-II is for anti-aging but it’s really gentle and soothing, P50 is also for anti-aging but it’s more like a peel. I use it in the evening as it makes my skin a little red.
Serum is the next step. The way you want to think of your product order is that you want to apply the ingredients with the highest concentration of active ingredients first, so that they’re closest to the skin and absorbed first. Essence is packed with actives, as is serum. But because essence is more viscous (it’s consistency is like water), you want to apply that first. My favorite serum is Vintner’s Daughter but I also love Advanced Night Repair in the evening.
My second to last step is always my moisturizer. I love a thick, velvety moisturizer. Right now I’m really into this one from Tata Harper but I also really love Chuddha. For daytime, I always use a moisturizer with sunscreen and this is my favorite.
If you use an eye cream or a neck cream, this is when to apply these! I put optional as I don’t think you truly NEED a separate eye or night cream, but I like to do one because I’m a fancy lady.
The last step in your routine should be face oil. This is what seals it all in! I like to let everything I’ve applied sink in for a minute or two while I brush my teeth, and then gently pat on my oils. For me, oils are saved for nighttime as after serum AND moisturizer I’m already pretty shiny, but I really like to lock in all that moisture. My favorite is Everyday Oil, though I’m also testing this Eve Lom oil right now and have been pretty impressed by it so far.