How to Apply Your Skincare Products in the Right Order

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There is zero shame in admitting you don’t know how to put on your skincare products correctly. From serums to oils, here's how to do it step by step!

Since I was a teenager I was constantly told about the importance of having a skincare routine, but the truth is I didn’t know how to do it correctly until about a year ago. Is the serum supposed to go on before the moisturizer? How about the eye cream? And when are we supposed to use retinol? It’s all so confusing. 

The bottom line is there is zero shame in admitting you don’t know how to put on your skincare products. But, because many of us spend a good amount of money (probably too much money) on skincare, it’s a good idea to learn the correct order. We wouldn’t want any products to go to waste, would we?

From the first step to the last step, here is how to correctly apply your skincare:

Step 1: Cleanser

washing her face
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You should be washing your face first thing in the morning and right before you go to bed. This is a non-negotiable! Whether you have dry skin or oily skin, use a gentle cleanser that works for your skin type. 

Step 2: Toner

Countless people skip the “toner” step of their skincare routine, simply because they believe toners will irritate their skin. Thankfully, with the right product, this isn’t the case at all!

Look for a toner that has BHA or AHA, which will help to prevent acne and unclog pores. However, you don’t have to use a toner if you don’t want to. If you’re curious, try one out every other day to see how your skin reacts.

Step 3: Serums

face serum
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From vitamin C to hyaluronic acid, serums are the easiest way to take your skincare up another notch. For those who aren’t familiar with serums, they’re basically concentrated with essential nutrients for your face.

A vitamin C serum will help to brighten your face, while a hyaluronic acid serum will help to hydrate dry skin. There is nothing wrong with incorporating multiple serums into your routine, but make sure you let one product soak in before moving to another. 

Step 4: Eye Cream

An eye cream can be applied right after your serums, though it’s not necessary for every person. However, if you struggle with under eye circles or puffiness, an eye cream might be a great thing to start incorporating into your routine.

Step 5: Moisturizer

moisturizer
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Now for the most important product of your whole routine — moisturizer. Even if you have oily skin, you should be using a moisturizer twice a day. It provides your skin with a healthy barrier and helps to hold onto all the products you just applied to your face.

However, you should try to use two different moisturizers, if possible. Your morning moisturizer should have SPF and be a bit lighter, while your evening moisturizer can be richer but without the sun protection. 

Step 6: Retinols

Retinols are probably the products people are most scared to use–and for folks with sensitive skin, there is real reason to be concerned. Retinols help with collagen production, which essentially means they diminish the look of discoloration, prevent breakouts, clear pores, and also brighten the skin. 

But, while they can be magic-workers, they can also be harsh on sensitive skin. In order to prevent irritation, start by using retinol once a week. If you notice your skin can handle the product once a week, try using it twice a week. Continue this process until you’re able to use it every night. However, make sure to not use retinol the same night you use an exfoliant, as this will cause irritation!

Step 7: Face Oil

face oil
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Last, but certainly not least, is the trusty face oil. It will not only lock in all the products you just put on your face, but it’ll leave your skin feeling smooth and hydrated in the morning. And again, even if you have oily-prone skin, you can still use face oil at night!

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