Daily skincare routine: What is the correct order?
Whether you do a 3-step morning routine or have time for a 10-step nighttime regimen, the order you apply your products matters more than the number of products.
Most faces do far better with fewer products, so you can keep it simple:
We’ve listed the order to apply your skincare products and the steps you can skip.
Step 1: Cleanser (A.M. and P.M.)
Remove your makeup and cleanse your face with a cleanser that suits best for your skin type before applying your skincare products. Clean skin is essential for ingredients to absorb properly.
Step 2: Toner (A.M. and/or P.M.)
Toners are optional. They prime your face for ingredients to be better absorbed later. Good toners include either soothing, moisturising ingredients to soothe dry skin or chemical exfoliants to cure acne and pimples. Alcohol-based toners leave you stinging and are extremely harmful.
Look for a toner that contains BHA (beta hydroxy acid, such as salicylic acid) or AHA (alpha hydroxy acid, such as glycolic acid or lactic acid), both of which work to unclog pores, limit breakouts, and remove blackheads over time. If you have dry skin, try AHAs; if you have oily skin, stick to BHAs.
Step 3: Serums (A.M. and/or P.M.)
Serums are concentrated doses of nutrients, hydration, and antioxidants that immediately improve the health of your skin after application. They are the heavy lifters of your skincare routine. Serums are completely optional, although they are often a good step in stepping up your skincare regimen.
We recommend using vitamin C serum in your A.M. skincare routine to protect your skin from irritation and environmental harm throughout the day, while also brightening skin and lightening dark patches over time. For your P.M. skincare regimen, choose a serum containing hyaluronic acid, which draws water from the atmosphere into your skin to plump it up and keep it hydrated while you sleep.
Step 4: Eye Cream (A.M. and P.M.)
Because eye creams are lighter and thinner than face moisturisers, use them first before applying creams and oils. Since your under-eye region is the most delicate area, be sure to dab your under-eye cream gently.
Step 5: Spot Treatment (A.M. and P.M.)
Applying spot treatments whether for zits, scars, etc., at night is ideal because that’s when your body thoroughly restores itself. However, if you’ve previously used an acne-fighting toner and/or want to use a retinol, consider spot-treating in the morning instead to avoid irritating your face with too much at once.
Step 6: Moisturiser (A.M. and P.M.)
Moisturiser is an essential step to your skincare routine. Whether your skin is oily, prone to breakouts, it’s the only thing that’ll maintain your skin barrier—making your face seem like it has a healthy and happy glow. For your A.M., get a formula with a sunscreen of at least SPF 30 in it. At night, your skin enters into repair mode, working to heal damage and enhance regeneration. So, your night moisturiser should contain hyaluronic acid, lipids, and proteins.
Step 7: Retinol (P.M.)
Retinoids penetrate into your skin to speed up cell turnover, helping your body to produce fresher, smoother, less wrinkled skin over time. Because retinoids stimulate collagen formation and cellular exfoliation, they will also remove dark spots, smooth scars, cleanse pores, reduce breakouts, and brighten skin. If you’re currently using a retinoid night cream, skip this step as it may exacerbate irritation.
Step 8: Face Oil (A.M. and/or P.M.)
Face oils seal in all of the ingredients and moisture you just applied to your face, preventing them from evaporating as rapidly. Oils do not hydrate your skin effectively on their own, but when you layer them over products, they can boost the efficiency of your regimen while also leaving skin soft and smooth.
Step 9: Sunscreen (A.M.)
Why sunscreen should come last in your skincare routine is sunscreen isn’t trying to penetrate anything, it’s there to protect your face and function as armour against the outside world.
At Secret Faces we carry two lines of professional skincare. A consultation with Darlene will be beneficial in deciding the best routine and product line for your skin.