Order matters when it comes to skin care products
In a world of 10-step skin care routines, it can be hard to know when to use all those products cluttering your bathroom counter. Does moisturiser come before oil? And where does serum fit in?
“It’s very confusing to know how to apply and layer the variety of skin care products and ingredients that are currently available,” says paediatric dermatologist, Dr Sheilagh Maguiness.
You might be thinking, “Who cares?”
Well, you should. Your ingredients won’t work as well if you don’t apply them in the proper order, says Natalie Aguilar, aesthetician and dermatological nurse.
“Although the order of our daily skin routine can be confusing, especially in a five-plus step routine, it’s actually quite easy if you follow this simple rule,” she says. “Like a soup before a meal, your products should be applied from thinnest to thickest.”
But what happens if you use your products in the wrong order? We spoke with skin care experts to find out.
Here’s everything you need to know about the order you should follow when completing your skin care routine.
Disorder equals dysfunction
Layering skin care products in the wrong order is a little like wearing your underwear over your clothes. It’s not really doing its job, is it? (Unless its job is to truly shock the folks.)
“Believe it or not, the order that you apply your skin care products in is really important,” says aesthetician, Alexia Wambua.
Add products in the wrong order, and you may not get their full benefits.
“If you are doing your skin care routine out of order, you could be diminishing their efficacy,” says cosmetic chemist, Shuting Hu. “For example, if you moisturise then use toner, you’ll be taking off the layer of moisturiser that you just applied.”
In that case, you may be washing money (and beauty benefits) down the drain with your cleanser, says licensed aesthetician Sonya Dakar.
“Skin care in the wrong order won’t invalidate the efficacy but will definitely diminish its full potential, thus wasting time and money,” Dakar says. “I believe if you are already investing in your skin care routine, you should get the most out of it.
At worst, using products in the wrong order can harm your skin, says Hu.
Skin care routine order: the basics
To maximise the benefits of your products, the experts we spoke with agreed on the same general product order: cleanser, toner, serum, moisturiser, and SPF.