In That Order
One of the things I love most about my job as an aesthetician is educating my clients. Seeing that look of happy realization when I help them understand the whys and hows of their skincare routines makes my day, every single time. With that being said, many of my clients have asked me this question, even the ones who are self-proclaimed product junkies with enough serums to open their own boutique. That question is:
When do I apply Product XYZ on my skin?
It seems like a simple question, but when a client has several products in their routine of different types, textures, and benefits, it's easy to get a little disoriented. So, here is my handy guide to take away the guesswork:
Step 1: Cleanse. Naturally, you want all of your potions and lotions to meet clean skin free of makeup, dirt, and excess oils. That being said: if you use a cleansing balm and a traditional foaming formula, use the cleansing balm first to melt away makeup and surface dirt, then follow-up with your traditional cleanser to help deep clean your pores.
Step 2: Tone. These days, most cleansers on the market are already pH-balanced and thus do not need to be followed up with a toner. However, if your are acne-prone or have particularly oily skin, it is still worth it to use a gentle toner after cleansing to keep your skin balanced.
Step 3: Treat. With your skin completely clean, now is the time to use any special and/or medicated treatments so that the benefits address the issue directly. This includes acne spot treatments, hyperpigmentation serums, and the like. Applying these on top of another product, such as a facial oil will reduce their efficacy. Speaking of which...
Step 4: Serums. Serums come in water- and oil-based formulas, and the water-based formulas (such as those containing hyaluronic acid) should be applied first. While some may argue that oil-based serums are more hydrating, keep in mind that oil does not contain any water content, and therefore cannot truly hydrate the skin. Rather, those who use facial oils should apply them over a water-based serum to seal the moisture in. In the absence of facial oils...
Step 5: Moisturize and protect. For daytime, face cream and SPF should be the last thing to be layered onto the skin, and if they are one in the same all the better. In the evening, use a moisturizer without an SPF and with a texture that agrees with your skin type.