Do you ever find yourself wondering what order to apply skin care products — or if it even makes a difference? The answer is YES, it most definitely does. You can take amazing care of your skin, but if you aren't applying products in the right order they won't be as effective. And since skincare products aren't cheap, it's best to learn how to use them properly!
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What Order to Apply Skin Care Products: Morning Routine
Think your face is clean in the morning? Think again! Oils from your hair may transfer to your pillowcase while you sleep and then transfer to your face — particularly if you're a stomach or side sleeper.
Old makeup and oil can also accumulate on your pillowcase if you regularly go to bed without washing your face (please don't!!), which creates a breeding ground for bacteria. Yuck!
The bottom line is that it's best to start your day by washing with a mild cleanser made specifically for your skin type.
Beauty Blogger Recommended Cleanser: CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser
While it isn't necessary to exfoliate every day, consider adding a mild exfoliant to your routine a few times each week. Exfoliating helps invigorate skin and remove stubborn dirt and oil from pores.
Beauty Blogger Recommended Scrub: Dr. Brandt Skin Exfoliant
Have you noticed serums typically cost more per ounce than most other skin care products? That's because the formulas are highly concentrated and contain very targeted ingredients.
Because serums are made of microscopic particles, they're able to penetrate into skin's deepest layers. For that reason, it's important to apply them first and then layer other products on top of them.
You'll get the most bang for your skincare buck by applying serums to freshly washed, bare skin and then allowing them to sink in for a few minutes before adding moisturizer.
Beauty Blogger Recommended Daytime Serum: Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum
Most skin types need additional moisture — even oily skin! In fact, if you have a problem with breakouts, it may be because you're not providing enough moisture for your skin.
When skin gets too dry, it overcompensates by producing more oil — which can cause breakouts. It's very important to maintain skin's hydration levels, so speak with your dermatologist if you think this may be an issue for you. He or she can advise on the best moisturizer for your skin type.
Skin care needs change considerably with the weather. Consider a gel moisturizer during the summer when the air has more humidity, and switch to a heavier cream-based moisturizer during the dry winter months.
Beauty Blogger Recommended Moisturizer – Oily Skin: Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel
Beauty Blogger Recommended Moisturizer – Dry Skin: Olay Regenerist Face Cream
Wear sunscreen every single day — no exceptions. Sunscreen should be the final step in your skincare routine each morning before you leave the house, and you should reapply throughout the day, as needed.
Always use a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30+. Broad spectrum means the product protects from UVA and UVB rays, which are both harmful to skin.
Beauty Blogger Recommended Sunscreen: EltaMD Broad Spectrum SPF30+
**These last two steps in the morning routine are makeup related, not skincare related. (They're also optional, since not everyone wears makeup.)
Once you've finished with your skin essentials, you can either go bare-faced to show off your natural beauty or add primer and foundation.
Think of primer as shapewear for your face; it smoothes fine lines and wrinkles so everything you apply on top of it looks better.
Beauty Blogger Recommended Primer: Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional
Foundation or BB Cream:
After skin is prepped and ready, it's time to proceed with your usual makeup routine! Add foundation, bb cream, or simply spot conceal any areas of concern.
What Order to Apply Skin Care Products: Evening Routine
Remember the dirty pillowcases mentioned above? Do your best to keep them clean by getting in the habit of washing your face each night before bed.
While your body sleeps, you skin cells are hard at work regenerating. In fact, nighttime is when your skin is most active! Skin cell turnover is at peak levels during the REM stages of sleep cycle.
When new skin cells are formed, the old ones are pushed to the surface so they can slough off naturally. (That's why it's good to exfoliate in the morning.)
However, if skin is covered with makeup those cells won't be able to flake off as easily and may cause blockages. And guess what causes acne? That's right…blockages and inflammation. That's why it's so important to wash your face every night!
Beauty Blogger Recommended Cleanser: CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser
Although this step is optional, a face mask is the preferred relaxing nighttime ritual for many girls. It's beneficial to incorporate a face mask into your evening routine so you'll have a calmer frame of mind before bed.
For full therapeutic effect, try soaking in a warm bath while allowing the face mask time to rejuvenate skin.
There are many different types of face masks, so it's up to you to determine which product best suits your skin's particular needs.
Beauty Blogger Recommended Face Mask: Lululun Face Mask – Blue
This step is also optional. Toner, astringents, and witch hazel all fall into the same category. They're products that primarily work to cleanse and tighten skin.
By using toner after applying a face mask, you'll help remove any impurities your cleanser may have missed — as well as any leftovers from your mask.
Beauty Blogger Recommended Toner: Thayers Witch Hazel
Retinol & Retinoic Acid:
If you use any type of retinol or retinoic acid, always apply it at night. Some retinol products are actually photolabile, which means they break down and may become unstable when exposed to the sun. Products like Retin-A increase skin's sensitivity to the sun due to rapid skin cell regeneration.
Apply retinol at night so it has the best opportunity to sink into skin and work effectively, then be generous with sunscreen (remember to use a Broad Spectrum SPF 30+) in your morning routine.
Be sure to apply retinol to your neck and chest so the anti-aging effects will carry over to that area!
Beauty Blogger Recommended Retinol: Differin Gel
Include a second application of serum in the evening so skin can reap the benefits while you sleep.
Hyaluronic acid pairs well with retinoic acid and retinol, so it's a good option to apply after using Retin-A or retinols.
Beauty Blogger Recommended Nighttime Serum: SkinCeuticals Hyaluronic Acid Intensifier
Since creams have the heaviest consistency, apply them towards the end of your evening routine. Remember to gently pat the product into sensitive areas surrounding the eyes instead of rubbing it in. (Patting helps prevent wrinkles.)
Consider adding cream to the neck and chest area, too, as a preventative measure against wrinkles.
Beauty Blogger Recommended Cream: Philosophy Hope in a Jar Overnight Recharging Moisturizer
Mario Badescu is the only drying lotion we use and recommend. In fact, it's probably one of the top 5 most recommended products on this site!
Did you know you're not supposed to shake the bottle? Dip a cotton swab into the pink sediment at the bottom of the bottle, then dab it directly onto pimples.
Beauty Blogger Recommended Drying Lotion: Mario Badescu Drying Lotion
Now if someone asks if you know what order to apply skin care products in, you can answer like a pro!
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