In my last article, we discussed how to find your skin type, what that means, and why it matters. Now, the next, and perhaps most important step, is how to correctly use all of your skincare products. And before you ask, the reason all of this matters is, if you accidentally apply these in the wrong order, you could end up irritating your skin or rendering your products absolutely useless. Now that that’s all squared away, let’s dive right in.
So, you’ve done the research, spent the money, and have all your products at the ready. The next question is, how do you apply them correctly? The short answer is this: apply the lightest products first, and the heaviest last. However, if you are looking for a slightly more in-depth reason why–no worries, I gotcha.
*If you are still struggling to find the right products, I attached some of my all-time favs under each step.
1. No matter what, start with clean, dry skin before going in with your products. This ensures that all impurities, dirt, sweat, or makeup residue is off, and won’t negatively affect using the following products. And please (!!) skip the makeup wipes, and exchange for a double cleanse. By using both an oil/balm cleanser, and water cleanser, all of your makeup will be removed, and this will leave your pores happy and healthy–seriously, your skin will thank you. Start with an oil or balm, such as the Tata Harper or Then I Met You, and follow up with a water-based cleanser, like the Summer Fridays or La Roche-Posay.
2. Then comes your toner. Toners are generally used to balance out the pH of your skin, which allows for your other products to absorb seamlessly. Additionally, some toners contain AHAs or BHAs, which act as a chemical exfoliant; this is an amazing alternative to using any harsh scrubs on your skin. By using a chemical exfoliant instead of a physical exfoliant, you can avoid having to remedy any micro-tears or irritation later on. You can apply these by either gently swiping them on with a cotton round, or if you have more sensitive skin, simply using your hands and lightly patting it all over your face. (Side note: always try to avoid your eye area with toners due to the acids that many of them contain) The Peach & Lily or The Inkey List toners are the perfect way to incorporate both exfoliation and toning in one step.
3. Next comes your serums. Serums are essentially a way to deliver powerful, and effective ingredients directly into your skin. The molecules within serums are smaller than those in the products above, meaning that they will be able to dive into the deeper layers of your skin, and all of those active ingredients will start working right away–from the inside, out. If you’re looking for a serum jam-packed with active botanicals that will restore, moisturize, and balance your skin, Vintner’s Daughter is the way to go. While this is absolutely a splurge, I do have to admit that this is my holy grail product. However, if you are wanting to go down the vitamin C route, the Ole Henriksen serum will fulfill all your anti-aging and brightening dreams. Just always make sure to take into account that vitamin C is mildly acidic, so be careful when laying with any retinols, acids, or niacinamides. Lastly, one thing everyone can benefit from is moisture. So a hyaluronic serum like The Inkey List is the perfect option for anyone looking for healthy, hydrated skin.
4. Next comes your eye creams and moisturizers. First and foremost, everyone needs a moisturizer no matter your skin type! Moisturizers are the only thing that protects, and keep your skin barrier healthy. The majority of these products are made out of both water and oil compounds–essentially meaning that the molecules are slightly larger, and will go to work on the top and outer layers of your skin. Additionally, eye creams and moisturizers are almost always formulated in the exact same ways. So, if you don’t want to spend the extra money, you can always put moisturizer on your eyes the same way you would your eye cream. This being said, you should put a small amount of it on your ring fingers (because they apply the least amount of pressure), and lightly place it around your orbital bone. Both the SkinCeuticals and CeraVe moisturizers will leave your skin feeling plush and hydrated. However, if you have the extra cash to spend, and want to give your skin an extra boost, I do recommend the SkinCeuticals. While I will stress that you do not need to spend any extra money on eye creams, the Ole Henriksen and Youth to the People products are amazing at brightening your under eyes and reducing any fine lines or wrinkles.
5. Next, you can go in with your oils. The molecules in oils are easily able to penetrate those in your serums, moisturizers, and any other treatments you choose to use, but nothing can penetrate an oil. Additionally, they act as a sealant for the rest of your products and keep them from evaporating as quickly. The marula oil from The Ordinary, and the rosehip oil from The Ordinary are both incredible at replenishing any lost moisture and improving cell regeneration. However, if you are looking to truly treat yourself, I suggest you look into the face oil from Augustinus Bader–you won’t regret it.
6. Lastly, always finish with sunscreen. There are two different types of sunscreens: physical, such as the Drunk Elephant, and chemical, like the Supergoop . While we don’t have time to dive into all of the specifics today, I will say that physical sunscreens tend to be heavier, so if you have oily skin take this into account before deciding. No matter your skin type or skin concerns, this is an essential step in any skincare routine. This will protect you from any pollutants, UV rays, and act as a barrier between your skin and the outside world. And if you need any more convincing on this step, remember that sunscreen protects your skin from premature aging, worsened acne scars, and decreases your risk for skin cancer.
Depending on the different formulations of your products, and how many products you choose to use, there is always room for some improvisation. But, if you are just starting out, this is a foolproof strategy. Rather than spending the money on countless different products to combat your skin concerns, by simply knowing the right way to apply your favorites, you can save yourself so much time and energy. I promise, your skin will love you for it. As always, remember that taking care of your skin is just another way of demonstrating self-love. I hope developing a well-rounded and educated skincare routine can bring even a little extra peace and happiness into your daily life.
Edited by Emma Paquette