The Correct Order To Apply Skincare Products

The Correct Order To Apply Skincare

Because this question gets asked a lot and I get it…

Man, this post was a long time coming, ha. I swear I get DMs on Instagram about this at least three times a week and, truthfully, I had been procrastinating putting this together since I knew that picking my favorites for each category would be really time consuming (it was, ha).  When I do these types of posts I literally go through my beauty stash and basically all of Sephora and Ulta to find my favorites, so I hope you know I’m v. serious about these picks!

That said, we all know how important skincare is and the ultimate rule of thumb when it comes to the correct order of application is thinnest to thickest.  That essentially means you use your thinnest, lightest products first and end with the heaviest (i.e. face oil).

The Correct Order To Apply Skincare Products

Step 1: Cleanse

Ok, so let me start by saying that not everyone needs to do a full cleanse in the morning (especially if you have sensitive or dry skin), but I do always say to do a quick face wash to clean off any makeup debris or oil that may have come up while sleeping.  If your cleanser is also an exfoliator, great…but if not then read below.  All of these are also fab for double cleansing, btw.

My favorites: 

Step 2: Exfoliate

My skin always feels rough and ruddy when I don’t exfoliate, trust me.  Depending on your exact exfoliator product, you should be exfoliating at least once a week (but maybe more if the product directions say so).

Side note: Since I prefer chemical exfoliation versus physical, I always rant and rave about the Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel Pads (they’re actually one of my top selling products on here, too).  They’ve never sponsored me- I just think these pads are AMAZING and easy to use.  They also come in Extra Strength and Ultra Gentle for anyone who has severe sensitivity (I typically use the regular version but when my skin acts up I switch to Ultra Gentle).

My favorites: 

Step 3: Toner

Toners still have a bit of a stigma from back when they were all alcohol-based (yikes!), but toners of today are actually super helpful and often contain tons of hydrating and/or exfoliating ingredients that truly do help the skin and are an important part of your skincare regimen.  It took me awhile to get on the toner band wagon but now I’m here for good.  Since I typically use exfoliators with active ingredients, I personally love a calming toner (think rose, water, cucumber, etc.).

My favorites: 

Step 4: Serum and other treatments (non-oil)

Who doesn’t love a good serum, right? Essentially serums are a concentrated dose of antioxidants and hydrators that really amp up your skin when applied.  You can use them morning and night, but watch how your skin reacts since they tend to have a lot of actives.

My favorites: 

Step 5: Eye cream

Whether or not you need a separate eye cream is sometimes debated…but I’m still a believer since they’e formulated specifically FOR the eye area and thicker face creams can sometimes cause irritation.

My favorites: 

Step 6: Moisturize

Next step in your skincare routine should always be a moisturizer. I always recommend using a version that also contains broad-spectrum SPF (during the day at least) because you can never have too much sun protection.

My favorites: 

Step 7: Sunscreen or face oil

Once your moisturizer has absorbed into your skin, you’ll want to top it with a face oil since oils really seal in all of the ingredients and moisture you’ve been applying to your face this whole time.  If it’s DAY time, you can skip the oil and sub for a broad-spectrum SPF…I always try to do at least SPF 50 but SPF 30 is the absolute minimum! 🙂

And that’s the correct order to apply skincare products!

My favorites: 


Photo by Azusa Takano

3 thoughts on “The Correct Order To Apply Skincare Products

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