Help Your Client Build the Tight Skincare Routine
Choosing The Right Skincare Products
It’s not enough to have good skin-care products; for your products to be the most effective, you also need to apply them in the correct order. Your routine will depend on your skin type, the ingredients and formulations of your products, as well as the time of day you plan on using them.
When it comes to the proper order and application of products, you typically want to go from thin to thick — the viscosity of your products determines how they are absorbed into your skin. If you apply a watery serum after you have already layered on a cream or lotion, you are not receiving the full benefits of the thinner product.
Whether you have a three- or nine-step routine, there’s one thing anyone can do to improve their skincare, which is to apply products in the right order. No matter your skin concerns, you’ll want to start with a clean, toned base, then apply concentrated, active ingredients, and finish by sealing in moisture—and, of course, SPF in the daytime.
What Order to Apply Your Skincare Products in the Morning
Step 1: Oil Cleanser
It should be noted that if you are not using a facial oil in your nighttime routine, then oil cleansing in the morning isn’t always necessary.
Step 2: Water cleanser
Cleanse with either a water-based cleanser or do a micellar water rinse by saturating a cotton pad with pure micellar water and sweeping it all over your face and neck.
Step 3: Hydrating Toner
If you use toner, apply after cleansing your face and before everything else. Pour a few drops of toner into your palms or a cotton pad and gently wipe onto your face.
Step 4: Treatment Serums
A typical treatment serum used in daytime skincare is a Vitamin C serum, but no matter what types of serums you use, just make sure that the most potent active ingredient goes on first. To save time, a Vitamin C serum combined with hyaluronic acid so you don’t have to spend time layering in the early morning. But if you do choose to layer serums, always apply the hydrating serum after the treatment serum.
Step 5: Eye Cream or Eye Serums
You can apply regular moisturizer to your under-eye area, but if you decide to use a specialized eye cream, you’ll typically want to layer it underneath moisturizer, since eye creams tend to be thinner than face moisturizers.
Step 6: Moisturizer
Moisturizer both hydrates skin and locks in all the other layers of product you’ve applied. Look for a lightweight lotion for the morning, ideally with SPF 30 or higher.
Step 7: SPF
It may be the last step, but nearly any dermatologist will tell you that sun protection is the most important part of any skin-care regimen. Protecting your skin from UV rays can prevent skin cancer and signs of aging. If your moisturizer doesn’t contain SPF, you still need to wear sunscreen. For chemical sunscreens, wait 20 minutes before going outside for the sunscreen to be effective. Look for broad-spectrum SPF, meaning that your sunscreen protects from both UVA and UVB radiation.
What Order to Apply Your Skincare Products at Night
For nighttime skincare, you need to consider whether or not you want to incorporate a retinol in your routine. Night skincare is the time for more serious treatments like retinol and other photosensitizing AHAs like glycolic and lactic acids because a lot of these active ingredients break down in sunlight.
A typical nighttime skincare routine will look relatively similar to a daytime routine with a few minor tweaks:
Step 1: Oil Cleanse
An oil cleanse is always necessary at night, as you will be removing the sebum your skin produced during the day, makeup, SPF, and environmental pollutants.
Step 2: Water Cleanse
You can use the same water-based cleanser that you use in the morning, obviously, but if you want to include a more indulgent step into your nighttime self-care routine, then look for a cleanser that doubles as an oxygenating mask for a deeper clean.
Step 3: Hydrating Toner
If your toner is exfoliating—meaning that it removes dead skin cells with ingredients like glycolic acid—use only at night. Hydrating formulas can be used twice a day. Do not use exfoliating toner and retinoids or other exfoliators at the same time.
Step 3: Acid treatment
This is where retinol starts to come into play. Using AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids, e.g. glycolic and lactic acids) + BHAs (beta hydroxy/salicylic acid) at the same time as retinol can either be very beneficial or very irritating depending on your skin type. Using an acid exfoliation product that is formulated for daily use can make retinol more effective — see our recommended selections below. If you experience redness or peeling, you may need to alternate between the products. If you aren’t using retinol, this is where you might opt for a glycolic or lactic acid serum that will exfoliate your skin overnight.
Step 4: Spot Treatment
If you have any active breakouts, this is where you would apply a benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid spot treatment. Do not apply any other skincare over a spot treatment, especially retinol.
Step 5: Retinol
Always wait until the skin is completely dry before applying retinol — usually wait about 20 minutes and then allow your retinol product to fully absorb before moving on.
Step 6: Eye Cream
Opt for a heavier formula for nighttime use.
Step 7: Moisturizer
Some retinoids have a thicker texture that allows you to skip your night cream. But if not, you can layer on your favourite moisturizer now. Apply a generous amount onto cleansed skin and massage in until completely absorbed.
Step 8: Sleeping Mask
Sleeping masks help create a barrier to seal in all of your products and keep your skin optimally hydrated throughout the night.
If you're new to building a skincare routine, it can get confusing. Booking a consultation with a trained skin care professional will help get you started on the right track.