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  • August 20, 2022 5 min read


    You may have all the best skincare products in your beauty closet, but if you're not applying them correctly and in the right order, you'll waste your money and time without achieving the results you desire.

     According to dermatologists, one of the most asked questions is what skincare product to apply and when to apply it. With so many products, from serums to toner and essential oils, layering your skincare products can feel daunting. However, figuring out the correct skincare routine order shouldn't be complicated.

    According to Dr. Heather D. Rogers a certified dermatologist and surgeon, the correct order of application of your skincare products ensure the skin reaps all the benefits of each item. Depending on your skin type, the best skincare routine for you may not include every type of product we will mention. The general rule is to apply the products from thin to thick and apply the products with the highest percentage of active ingredients first to absorb them first. Let's discuss the correct order of applying your best skincare products, starting with the basics.

    What is CBD?

     CBD or cannabidiol is a natural plant-based chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. According to evidence, CBD has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that have been found useful in treating various skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Peyravian et al. (2022) found CBD's anti-inflammatory properties useful in acne treatment. However, most people worry about the high effects of cannabidiol, but that's not the case. Unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD is non-intoxicating and won't give you a ‘’high’’. THC is the intoxicating compound of the cannabis plant responsible for a high. The therapeutic properties of CBD have seen it become a buzzword in the beauty industry. Most brands and manufacturers incorporate CBD as an ingredient in their skincare products like serums to boost their effectiveness, hence the term CBD-serums.

    How to Layer Your Skin Care Products, Plus Why Order Matters

    As earlier mentioned, the best skincare product may not include every type of product. For example, lotions, creams, and balms are different moisturizers. Therefore, an individual may not need all three in their routine. For instance, people with oily skin may find that a daytime skincare routine of toner, serum, moisturizer, and the sunscreen works best for them.

    Step 1: Cleanse and Exfoliate

    Start by splattering warm water on your face in the morning, or if it’s necessary, cleanse with a mild face cleanser meant for your skin type. Some skin does fine with a splash of water alone. However, if your skin type produces a lot of oil or residue left on your skin from the products you used the night before, you may want to wash your face. Always choose a non-drying, sulfate-free cleanser. If you can't or don't want to use acids to exfoliate, you can manually buff away dead skin cells using a silicone cleansing brush or a non-abrasive scrub.

    Step 2: Toner

    Most persons decide to forego toners partially because they assume that most toners are cruel and irritating to the skin. That's not the case any longer, as there is a new kind of toners that can play multiple tasks, such as a delivery system for antioxidants, toning acids, and vitamin-B derivatives. Moreover, each kind of toner is meant for different skin issues; thus, it's essential to use the correct type for one’s skin issues. However, if one’s skin still looks healthy and they’ve not been utilizing a toner, dermatologists suggest it’s not needful to begin using one. Toners were essentially meant to assist restore the skin's PH after harsh soaps made it become too basic. Fortunately, many face cleansers have become better balanced, and toners aren't necessary. However, if a person has a toner they like using, there's no injury in clinging to it.

    Step 3: Treatment Serum

    The serum is the next step after cleansing toning, and remember to apply the ingredients with the highest concentration of active ingredients first so that they're closest to the skin and absorbed first. People can treat their skin concerns and fight free radicals with a serum containing active ingredients. According to Spencer& Obagi (2007), L-ascorbic acid, the active form of vitamin C, is great for antioxidant protection, brightening, fading dark spots, and even building collagen. If you have more than one serum in your skincare lineup, if in doubt, apply your lightest serums first.

    Otto et al. (1946) recommended not using more than two face serums per routine. Also, alternating skincare items is a strategy here. For example, if you have any serums that you love, use one or two in your morning routine and two different serums in the evening. It's still fine to use the same serum consistently, but alternating allows one to use many different serums effectively. Individuals can use retinoids and serums together, especially if the serum is soothing and hydrating.

    It is important to be conscious of using very aggressive face oil serums with retinoids. Tsai& Hantash (2008) reported that while many serums are available today, dermatologists recommend antioxidant serums as they provide various benefits. They protect your skin's inflammatory response and neutralize environmental pollutants and UV rays damage.

    Step 4: Eye Cream

    According to Neill (2012), it's critical to apply your eye cream every night at least, or twice a day beginning from your 20s. It's all about keeping a healthy and thick eyelid skin. Taking care of the eyelid’s skin area early enough ensures that it doesn't easily lose its smooth appearance and laxity later on. Consistency is necessary to observe the best results.

    Step 5: Moisturizer

    Most people, especially those with oily skin, think that moisturizers aren't for everyone. However, this is a misconception. Although the body contains a natural lubricating system comprising of glands that produce oil or sebum, individuals need extra hydration to sustain a shielding coating against infections and harsh environmental conditions after the destruction that harsh chemicals, sun, and weather, inflict on the skin. The correct time to apply your moisturizer is when the skin is still moist to seal in the hydration.

    Step 6: Sunscreen

    Sunscreen is the last and most important skincare product of all that needs to be worn daily. A zinc sunscreen is the best and should follow the moisturizer. Zinc is safe and effectual, providing the broadest shielding against UVB rays and UVA. Users who prefer chemical sunscreen should look for a formula that offers moisturizing benefits to achieve your daily hydration requirements while shielding your skin.


    This guideline has helped de-mystify how to layer your skincare products to get the most of your skincare investment. Now you know the correct order of your skincare routine. Also, it's advisable to treat your skincare goals personally and go for the essential treatments. Apply the most essential on bare skin before adding any hydration or sunscreen. That way, it has the best chance of doing its job without penetrating through layers of other products.


    Neill, U. S. (2012). Skin care in the aging female: myths and truths. The Journal of clinical investigation122(2), 473-477.

    Otto, A., Oliver, H., & Jane, M. (1946). A method for the rapid determination of alkaline phosphatase with five cubic millimeters of serum. Journal of biological chemistry164(3), 321-329.

    Peyravian, N., Deo, S., Daunert, S., & Jimenez, J. J. (2022). The Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Cannabidiol (CBD) on Acne. Journal of Inflammation Research, 15, 2795.

    Spencer, L., & Obagi, S. (2007). Cosmetic Dermatologic Skin Care: The Essence of Our Training. Cormct. Dewnatol20, 663-9.

    Tsai, T. C., & Hantash, B. M. (2008). Cosmeceutical agents: a comprehensive review of the literature. Clinical Medicine Insights. Dermatology1.