Whether you’re using several steps or just a few in your morning routine, did you know that the order you apply your skincare products can make a huge difference to your skin?
You might have a bathroom cabinet full of the most amazing skincare products money can buy, but if you’re applying them in the wrong order, you could be wasting your time and money – because you may not be getting the results you want.
I for one, even armed with a vast amount of skincare knowledge, hold my hands up to feeling confused about what order I should be applying products and what time of day they should be applied sometimes. So I decided to research the best order to apply skincare, specifically focusing on my morning routine and this is what I found out…
Why is your morning skincare routine important?
Your morning routine is all about prepping your complexion and making sure that it’s protected against daily aggressors such as pollution and UV rays, as opposed to your evening routine which is more focused on treating and repairing.
Our day-to-day lives impact our skin more than we think and even if you’re not outdoors at the mercy of pollution and UV damage, indoor pollution, such as blue light (from handheld devices and monitors) can be just as bad for your skin. It’s important to think about what elements you will be faced with throughout the day and ensure your skin is protected from them.
Why is it important to apply skincare in the correct order?
• It ensures that you receive the full benefit of each product you are using.
• Naturally, it is the skin’s job to keep things out, but when we apply skincare we want those good ingredients to go into the skin. In order to do that, they must be applied in the right order.
• If you don’t layer your products in the right way or you use products that aren’t meant to be used with each other you could be ruining their effectiveness, or worse still, irritate the skin on your face.
For ingredients to absorb properly you need to have clean skin that’s totally free of debris and excess oils. You may wake up with a glow but don’t be fooled, you sweat while you’re asleep and although you may look glowing (thanks to your nighttime routine – link) it’s your natural oils peeking through and needs to be cleansed. For the best results, opt for a cleansing milk, balm, oil or gel that will cleanse your skin without stripping the skin’s natural moisture barrier – and a fresh flannel every day (you can use it again for the evening).
This isn’t a step that everyone has to incorporate, but if you like to exfoliate using either a physical exfoliator (a scrub) or a chemical exfoliant (AHA / BHA acid toner) now is the time to do it. They will remove excess dead skin on your face so that ingredients are better absorbed later on.
3. Hydrating Mist or Toner
Hydrating the skin for the day ahead is important because it helps to plump the skin and also protect it. But not only that, it’s a fantastic way to wake up your skin. Look for a mist or toner that contains hyaluronic acid or glycerin, it will aid the skin’s hydration process and replenishes and water lost when you washed and dried your face.
4. Eye Cream
Our eyes are one of the first places to show signs of ageing. So if you’re not including this step and you’re already in your 20s, you really should be. It helps to improve the skin quality and keeps the appearance of the eye area smoother for longer. Eye creams tend to be lighter and thinner than other skincare products so you need to apply them before you start applying your serums, moisturiser and oils for them to be effective (because they won’t absorb properly if layered over the other products). You can, however, layer products on top of your eye cream.
If you’re using something like a spot treatment, it’s best to apply it prior to your moisturiser for it to be more effective (applying over a moisturiser means it has to get through an additional barrier before getting to the skin). Ideally, you should be using treatments like this at night, however, if you’re using retinol at night you might want to apply them in the morning so that you don’t irritate your skin.
6. Oils and Serums
These are grouped into one step because their texture will govern what order you apply them. Generally, as a rule of thumb, think thinnest to thickest consistency – the more watery the product is, the earlier it goes onto your skin.
Serums are essentially super-concentrated, nutrient-dense treatments that will address specific concerns, so it’s better to keep them as close to the skin as possible for the full effect.
Depending on your skin type, you may prefer not to use an oil at the stage, but if you are, add a few drops after your serum and let it soak in for a few seconds.
No matter what your skin type is, you need to use a moisturiser. It will keep your skin barrier healthy and will also help to trap all the ingredients you’ve layered onto your face from the previous steps. For daytime, look for a light and gentle hyaluronic-based moisturiser which will keep your skin hydrated, without feeling greasy or heavy. Or if you have oily skin, pick something that is oil-free so you’re not overburdening your skin.
The final step for daytime (if you’re planning on going outside – even if it’s for a few minutes!) is an SPF. Look for one that is a minimum of SPF 30 and ensure that it has protection against both UVA rays (that cause ageing) and UVB rays (that cause skin damage). Take care to apply your sunscreen not only to your face but also to your neck and the tops of your ears if you wear your hair back.