Have you ever found yourself reading a review for an awesome new skin care product, and thinking to yourself, “Okay… but how do I fit this into my routine?” If so, then you’re not alone. I get questions all the time from people wondering about the order in which they should apply their skin care. It can be incredibly overwhelming putting together a successful skin care routine. But don’t fret — I’ve got you covered! Here is the correct order to apply skin care products!
Prep and Cleanse
First things first, you have to prep your skin! The best way to do this is by getting rid of the makeup and SPF you’ve been wearing all day. Go in with an oil based cleanser to get rid of all the dirt and grime your face has accumulated throughout the day. Massage the oil onto dry skin to lift all the impurities. Rinse with lukewarm water.
After that you want to go in with a traditional cleanser. Not only will this help remove remaining oil from your face, but it will also clean up any impurities you may have missed. This method is called the “double cleanse,” and it started as part of the 11-step Korean skin care routine.
After your skin has been properly cleansed, it’s time to go in with an exfoliator to buff away dead skin. This will help prep your skin for serums, toners, and moisturizers (more on that in a bit). I recommend most people exfoliate only 2-3x a week, as over exfoliating can do more harm than good and cause irritation.
Now it’s time to tone! Toner is a great way to restore the skin’s pH, and prep the skin a bit further with hydration. Just dab a bit of toner onto a cotton round and apply it to the skin in outward strokes. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can follow up with an essence. An essence has a bit of a dual purpose, as it is a kind of toner and serum hybrid all in one. It is made for hydrating and aiding skin repair and cell turnover. You apply it directly to freshly toned skin with your hands and pat it in. Essence is the heart of any Korean skin care routine, and those who use it swear by it (myself included!).
Now that your skin is properly prepped, cleansed, and toned, it’s time for the real fun. Serums and masks! This is where most people get confused, and I don’t blame them. But just remember to use serums FIRST and follow up with a sheet mask. (Sheet mask is optional, but I highly recommend using them at least once a week.)
You want to apply a sheet mask AFTER using serums to ensure maximum treatment for your skin. Good skin care products can be costly, so you want to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck!
You’ve made it this far! You’re almost done, don’t worry. The final step in your skin care routine is moisturizing! Apply your favorite moisturizer and eye cream at this time. If you use a face oil, apply it after you use your moisturizer. Face oil should always be used on top of moisturizer and never in place of or under it. The reason? “When you use moisturizer (often containing antioxidants, retinol, or firming peptides) over the oil, the beneficial ingredients will not be able to penetrate the skin effectively because the oil will act as a barrier” (source).
And that is the best way to apply skin care products! See, that wasn’t so hard now was it?