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Learn Skincare

THIS IS THE Exact Order You Should Apply Skincare

This is the Exact Order You Should Apply Skincare
You’re probably confused. About what, you ask? The order of our skincare routine, of course. The fact is, most people (aka all of us) are probably confused about our skincare routines. And even if you have all the right products — cleanser, moisturizer, vitamin C serum, SPF, check! — there’s the matter of how to apply them.
Moisturizer before SPF? Or SPF before moisturizer? Serum under or over an exfoliant? Wait, what about the oils? Undoubtedly, even the most skincare savvy person would throw up their hands. Or throw up.

But have a little faith! After all, we do. In fact, we think all you all need is a little guidance. There’s no need to freak out, no need to obsessively Google, and definitely no need to spend hours on skincare Reddit reading what skincareEmporor234 has to say. Because it’s all right here — your skincare routine guide 101.

1. Cleanser

We’re just going to go ahead and say it: Double cleansing is life. Ask your skin — it will agree with us. We know it feels extra, and if you’re even a little bit lazy like us, it feels like work you didn’t ask for. But there’s a good reason to double cleanse: It’s because none of your products can actually work if there’s a layer of dirt and makeup sitting on the top layer of your skin. So if you truly care about your skin — and your wallet — you’ll start first by removing your makeup. Go with micellar water (definitely the easiest way to remove makeup, in our opinion!) or a cleansing oil, or cleansing balm (because we all know at this point that makeup wipes are not great for your skin — right? We all know that?). Then cleanse again — this time with a gentle cleanser that’s gel- or cream-based.

2. Toner

Next comes your toner. If you’re blankly staring at the screen because you don’t use a toner and refuse to add yet another step to your skincare routine, hear us out. Toners can soothe the skin and replenish moisture — and they can be as easy as a facial spray. May we suggest this magical spring water?

3. Exfoliant

If you’re a fan of exfoliants, now is the time to bring in the big guns. Make sure the skin is dry before you start, and then apply your exfoliant of choice. Just make sure to not go too hard here. Use only one exfoliant to avoid dry and peeling skin, and a sad, sad heart. Once you apply, keep it moving onto your next step — no need to wait for your skin to dry!

4. Serums

We’re betting you know just how good serums are for your skin. If not, let us elaborate here: Serums are full of concentrated ingredients that target specific concerns. And we bet you have a cabinet full of them, just waiting to be used. “But can I use them all at once,” you ask? The answer is yes. Serums play nice with everyone, and more than one serum can be used at the same time — as long as you use this golden rule: always layer thinnest to thickest. This means that liquids come first, and then thicker consistency serums go on top. And if you’re looking for a new serum to add (aren’t we always looking for something new to add?), we love this vitamin C serum and this life-changing, ultra hydrating hyaluronic acid serum.

5. Eye Cream

If you ever had a poster of Jonathan Taylor Thomas on your wall, you probably are well-versed in eye creams. Since eye creams are thinner than your moisturizer and thinner products can’t penetrate thicker textures, apply your eye cream before your moisturizer.

6. Acne Treatments

As if we don’t have enough going on in our lives, 22% of women in the U.S. deal with adult acne. #Blessed. If you’re one of them, you’ll likely have spot treatments in your routine, like salicylic acid. Make sure to apply them before your moisturizer so they can do their job effectively. When it’s time to apply moisturizer, apply it around your spot treatments so you don’t spread the treatment where it’s not needed.

7. Moisturizer

The call for moisturizer should be unsurprising. It’s a non-negotiable, just like our Friday night glass of wine. Moisturizers keep your skin barrier intact, hydrate your skin, and seal in all those ingredients you just applied. Go for a light moisturizer, like this one during the day, and a restorative one at night.

8. Retinol

It’s time for the holy grail to come into play. Retinoids do some serious heavy-lifting for our skin — smoothing out wrinkles, fading hyperpigmentation, clearing our pores, and turning over skin cells faster so that you can look like a perfectly glazed donut. Exciting, we know. If you have sensitive skin, wait 10-15 minutes after applying your moisturizer — this will help reduce irritation and redness.

9. Oils

Want to really seal the deal? Enter: oils. They can penetrate and seal in everything on your face — but need to go last, because nothing (and we mean nothing) can penetrate an oil.

10. Sunscreen

You knew this was coming — because you’re smart, and you’ve listened to your esthetician, your dermatologist, your mom, and that one lady at Sephora. And you know sunscreen is the last step and that it is very, very important. Since sunscreen is protective, it goes on last — think of it as a shield. That is, a very strong shield that protects you from wrinkles, premature aging, and maybe (but probably not) internet trolls.

That’s it. We did it, we did it, Joe! (We will never not be using this reference. Thanks, Kamala.) We learned the steps of our skincare, and we took all the notes. Feel free to rattle off your new knowledge in a haughty, all-knowing tone to all your friends. You’ve earned it.