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Layer Up: The Right Order to Apply Skincare Products and Why It Matters

Layer Up: The Right Order to Apply Skincare Products and Why It Matters

News flash: if you have all the right skincare products but you’re not applying them in the correct order, you’re totally sabotaging your skin.  

Sound dramatic? Believe us, it’s not. 

On one hand, getting the order that you apply skincare right can help your products soak into your skin and deliver noticeable results. But getting it wrong can lead to skin irritation, ineffectiveness, and more. 

Here’s everything you need to know. 


First Thing’s First: What Is the Correct Order to Apply Skincare?  

In general, you should apply your skincare products in the following order: 

  1. Cleanser
  2. Exfoliant
  3. Shave Cream
  4. Aftershave
  5. Toner
  6. Serums
  7. Eye Cream
  8. Face Moisturizer
  9. Anti-Aging Cream

This doesn’t mean you need to apply all nine products every day (your daily routine might simply consist of cleanser, toner, serum, and moisturizer). Instead, this exhaustive list is meant to help guide you no matter what combination of products you use in your routine. 

So why is this the correct order and why does it matter? 


Why the Order Matters 

1. This Order of Application Helps Products Penetrate the Skin 

This has to do with the chemistry and purpose of skincare products.   

Cleansers and exfoliants wash away grime and dead skin, so they should always be the first products you apply. If you’re shaving, that should always be next. Otherwise you’ll shave off any moisturizer or serum that you apply.  

Toner is always the next step because its purpose is to balance the pH of freshly cleaned skin. These are all “priming” steps, since you’re essentially cleansing your skin and preparing it for the active ingredients and moisturizers that you’re going to apply next. 

Then comes your serum, eye cream, anti-aging cream and face moisturizer. As a rule of thumb, you should apply these products from thinnest to thickest. If you do the opposite, the thicker products will work like a barrier, and the thinner products will just sit on your skin until they get wiped away or washed out.

When you apply the thinner products underneath the richer formulas, the latter seal in the former while providing the moisture needed to open the pores and help the active ingredients penetrate even deeper.

In other words, everything will soak into the skin and work even more effectively. 

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2. Applying In the Wrong Order Can Cause Skin Irritation or Exacerbate Existing Concerns

You’re using skincare products for a reason, right? And the active ingredients that you apply are meant to address your various skin concerns.  

Well, if you apply your skincare in the wrong order, you’re keeping those actives from doing their job. 

Let’s say, for example, that skin hydration is your main concern. In that case, you need to apply a combination of humectants, emollients, and occlusives. Humectants, like hyaluronic acid, work by drawing water into the skin from the surrounding environmentWh, while emollients and occlusives seal that water in.  

So if you apply your moisturizer or serum - which contain humectants - on top of your oil, that moisturizer won’t be able to soak in. And your occlusive oil won’t be able to hydrate on its own.  

What does all this mean? You’ll won’t see your dry skin get better, you won’t understand why, and you’ll get frustrated. That’s a big problem. 

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3. Products Applied Incorrectly Won’t Work as Effectively  

In the same vein, if products aren’t able to penetrate well, they won’t work as effectively. What’s more, certain actives ingredients could cancel each other out or even cause a negative reaction if they’re applied directly after one another. 

These details of advanced skincare can seem confusing, but they don’t have to be. We take all these factors into consideration when designing our curated skincare routines. They come with a specific selection of products designed to work together to give you the best results. And we always include simple instructions that explain how to use each product and the order in which they should be applied.  

Daily Essential Face Care Routine

Ready to get started? Our Daily Essential Face Care Routine - for guys with normal/oily skin or for men with dry/sensitive skin - is an excellent choice if you’re new to skincare or want to get back to basics.


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