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13 Jun

What is the correct order of applying skincare products?

Skincare is great, isn’t it? All those lotions and potions in the bathroom cabinet or on your vanity scream self care, and the endless options make your eyes water with excitement. But it can also be hard with all the different products and ingredients, exfoliators, toners, vitamin C and retinoids, morning and evening moisturisers, it’s like a complex game of Jenga. It’s important to make sure you apply your products in the correct order to prevent them from not working or worse, irritating your skin.

So what is the right order of applying skincare products? Let’s start with the morning…


  1. Cleanser – if you do wash your face with cleanser in the morning, this will be your first step. Go for a refreshing gentle cream or gel formula to help you wake up.
  2. Toner – toners help even out your skin’s pH balance, soothe and nourish the skin, and prep it for the next steps in your routine. Choose a refreshing toner with ingredients like rose, aloe vera or chamomile and apply it all over your face.
  3. Serum – serums are products with highly concentrated active ingredients, which means you need only a small amount each time you use them. Apply your favourite one before the toner has completely dried on your face to help it sink in. Vitamin C serums are great to use in the morning, as they are brightening and protect the skin from irritants like free radicals during the day.
  4. Eye gel – perfect for puffy morning eyes, as they are light and cooling and therefore, de-puffing. Pro tip: keep your eye gel in the fridge overnight for an extra cooling sensation. And remember, do not rub. Instead, gently tap your eye product under your eyes and in the brow area with your ring finger.
  5. Moisturiser – not only does it hydrate your skin, but it also locks in all the other products you’ve already layered on, helping them be more effective. Give your face a gentle massage when applying moisturiser to help you wake up.
  6. SPF – the most important step in your morning routine. Give your moisturiser a few minutes to sink in before proceeding with your sun protection, and don’t forget to use it every day, even if it’s raining!


  1. Cleanser – it’s time to take the day off. If you’re double cleansing, use an oil-based product first, which removes makeup, SPF and excess sebum and follow with a cream or gel product to get rid of grime and sweat.
  2. Toner – if you’re using an exfoliating toner (one containing AHA or BHA), now is the time to apply it. Don’t use it every day, it’s best to apply exfoliating toners  2-3 times a week to prevent irritation. Or stick to your daily toner.
  3. Retinol – aka Vitamin A. The magic ingredient, which actually works. It fights free radicals, optimises collagen production and smoothes the skin. Use it every other night, and don’t forget your SPF in the morning, as your skin can become more sensitive after using products with retinol. Also, the sun rays cancel the effect of the product. And stay away from it if you have skin conditions like eczema, or psoriasis.
  4. Hydrating serum – if instead of retinoids you use Hyaluronic acid serums, this is the time to put them on – right before moisturising.
  5. Eye cream – in the evening, you can use a heavier eye product, but follow the same routine – tap, don’t rub your eye area.
  6. Moisturiser – make sure you’ve given some time to your retinol treatment to dry before moisturising. You can focus on a couple of pressure points when applying your night cream for stress relief and better sleep.
  7. Face oil – the last step in your routine is the heaviest. Rub a few drops of face oil between your palms, and gently press it into your face to lock in all the hydrating products you’ve just applied and jump into bed!
And this is it, your easy guide to skincare application! Remember to love your skin, and it will love you back.
Kristina Ivanova

As a 20-something, I'm into the usual stuff: skincare, champagne, midi dresses, cats and holidays. I live in London, so I crave sunshine 90% of the time. You'll find me trying out beauty products while watching a teen drama on Netflix, or dancing around London's landmarks and streets, forcing my poor boyfriend to take pictures of me. I buy him ice cream afterwards, so it's ok.

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