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With so many skincare products out there, from toners and essences to serums and creams, it's totally understandable that, quite frankly, most of us are a bit confused by the order in which we should be applying our skincare!
But, it's actually super simple, promise...
Skin Tip #1: Thinnest to Thickest
When it comes to skincare, the easiest way to ensure your products are being applied properly is to start with the thinnest consistency of product and layer up to the thickest.
That means you would apply any water-like toners or essences first, then move onto slightly thicker serums and lotions before finishing with an oil or moisturiser. If you try to apply a thinner product over a thicker one, it won't be able to penetrate the skin as effectively.
Skin Tip #2: Oil or Moisturiser First?
Okay, this is a little more confusing but we've got you. If you are applying a face oil, then you would layer this on after your thinner products like toners and serums. Of course, you may just cleanse and then apply oil, and that's cool too. The same goes for if you prefer to moisturise with cream, this would go on after you have layered on any products that are a thinner consistency.
But what if you want to use a moisturiser and oil - which comes first? If you are using a water-based moisturiser, so something with hyaluronic acid and glycerin, then you would apply that and finish with the richer oil. Water can't penetrate oil, so water-based products need to be applied before the oil to ensure they're not sitting on top of the skin, rather than going inside and doing their thing.
But, if you are using a rich moisturiser, that has ingredients like shea butter, then you would apply your oil and finish with the thicker moisturiser. Buttery moisturisers mix well with oil, so if you want to add a couple of drops to your moisturiser and apply in one go, you can. It's a good time-saving move.
Skin Tip #3: Know Your Actives
There are so many active ingredients in skincare that serve a purpose, from salicylic acid which exfoliates inside your pores to prevent and clear spots, to retinol that speeds up skin cell turnover for a smoother, brighter complexion.
Always follow the instructions when using skincare products with active ingredients. For instance, retinol should be applied at night (so it can work effectively while you sleep!) then SPF should be applied in the morning, as retinol can make the skin a little sensitive in the sun.
Alternatively, Vitamin C or antioxidants should be applied in the morning to help protect your complexion when you're out and about in the sun or treading those polluted streets.
So, when a skincare product says it should be used either AM, PM or can be used at both times, there is often a good reason for that.