With each passing year, I’m becoming more and more aware of how important it is to take thoughtful care of my skin. After all, it is the true foundation under my makeup, and since I keep my everyday makeup routine pretty simple, the condition of my skin plays a huge role in the completed look. What I didn’t always know is that there is, in fact, a proper order to apply facial products, and that doing it correctly makes a big difference in how our skin absorbs important ingredients. I don’t know about you, but I’m all for a process that helps me get the most out of my skin care regimen and soak up all the delicate benefits of my favorite products. If you feel the same, then keep scrolling to learn how you should be applying your skin care products before you curl up in bed to get the most out of your beauty regimen…
Step 1: Cleanser
First and foremost, your products can’t deliver ingredients into the skin without a clean surface, free of makeup and dirt. This may be a no-brainer, but it never hurts to repeat! Always thoroughly remove your makeup, and even if you haven’t been wearing makeup all day, cleanse anyway to remove any dirt particles or sweat that may have accumulated throughout the day. If you prefer to remove makeup with an oil cleanser, make that your first step and follow up with a gentle cream, gel, or foaming cleanser.
Step 2: Exfoliant
In most cases, exfoliating daily can be too traumatizing for the skin, but on the days that you do exfoliate, make sure it comes right after you cleanse. Exfoliation removes dead skin cells from the surface of the skin, meaning anything you apply afterward will be able to dive deeper into the skin, instead of getting blocked by dirt and rough skin cells on the surface. Tip: Stick with a product that contains a gentle, all natural exfoliant like Jojoba beads; other crushed or ground ingredients can be too sharp and create even more damage, or “micro-tears” on the skin.
Step 3: Treatment Products
If you’re treating stubborn acne, age spots, uneven texture or anything in between, then load up on your facial treatment products in the evening on freshly cleansed skin. Because you’ll be going to bed fresh-faced, these products will be under optimal conditions to work their best. If you’re wondering just what falls under “treatment products,” think benzoyl peroxide, retinoids, topical acne medication and prescription creams, to name a few. Tip: This includes treatment face masks, if you have one. If you prefer a simple soothing mask, apply it after your treatment products to calm and cool skin after active and intense ingredients.
Step 4: Serums
Serums are products that contain very concentrated active ingredients, and usually come in smaller containers because a little bit goes a long way. Now that your skin has been cleansed, primed, and treated, you’ll want to apply your serum at this stage. Doing this on clean skin, but before any moisturizer or heavy creams, means those concentrated (and often expensive) ingredients will be able to penetrate the skin without any roadblocks.
Step 5: Eye Cream
If you have an eye cream on hand for brightening tired eyes, boosting collagen, or anything else, then now is the time to use it. Since the under-eye area is so delicate and has thinner skin, applying your eye cream at this point will allow you to reap all the benefits without being blocked by a heavy moisturizer.
Step 6: Moisturizer
Whether you’re applying a light daily moisturizer or a heavier night cream with active ingredients, make sure it always comes last in your routine. Not only will the heavier texture block ingredients from reaching the skin if applied too soon, but saving it for the end will create the added benefit of locking in all the ingredients you previously layered under it, as well as some much needed moisture.
If you ever forget the exact order, don’t panic—a general rule of thumb is to simply apply your products in order of consistency, starting with the lightest, and ending with your heaviest or thickest product.
Do you apply your bedtime facial products in this order? Or did any of these tips surprise you?
Share your nighttime skin care routine with me below!
Photos: Jessi Burrone for LaurenConrad.com