Figuring out the order of your skincare routine can be difficult. For example, which goes first? Is it necessary to use face oil? Is it important to use toner? I understand that skincare can be puzzling; for example, do I need to apply ten different products to my face? Actually, you don't, which is why I'll show you how to apply skincare products in the proper order

Remember this tip if you're not sure what goes first: When applying skincare, the general rule is to start with the lightest and work your way up to the heaviest.

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skin care products order

Image Credits: Fancy Correctitude

Here's an image to help you remember the correct product order and avoid confusion. You can save it and refer to it whenever you are feeling lost.

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Step 1: Cleanser 


You just woke up and need to wash your face to remove the oil that built up on your face while you slept. A clean surface is required so that the products can be absorbed by your skin. If you have acne-prone skin, opt for a creamy cleanser.


It is best for your skin to wash your face after a long day to remove all of the dirt and make-up from the day. Using make-up wipes does not count because they do not clean thoroughly and always leave some residue.

A friendly reminder: Not sure where sheet masks fit in? Right here. Use masks on clean skin, then pat on any excess serum or lightly rinse your skin with water before applying toner, serum, or moisturizer.

The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser


Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser


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Step 2: Toner 

Morning and Night

Toners contain mild hydrating ingredients to soothe dry skin or chemical exfoliants to treat acne. Toners' main function is to prepare your skin to better absorb other products, and they are very gentle on the skin.

Biossance Squalane + BHA Pore-Minimizing Toner


Awakening Milk & Honey Toner


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Step 3:  Serum


Vitamin C serum has numerous skin benefits. It treats inflammation, brightens the skin, and lightens dark spots over time if used regularly. It's quite strong; if your skin is sensitive, use it every other day instead of every morning.


For the night, use a serum containing hyaluronic acid to keep your skin hydrated while you sleep. Because acne treatments and anti-aging products can dry and irritate your skin, it is extremely beneficial for your skin because it keeps it moisturized all of the time.

Glow Recipe Plum Plum Hyaluronic Acid Serum


Epi Logic Daily Dose Vitamin C Serum


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Step 4: Eye cream


Because eye creams are lighter and thinner than face moisturizers, apply them before creams and oils. To help with under-eye bags, look for an eye cream with a rollerball applicator and a caffeine-infused formula that will temporarily dilate and tighten puffy under-eyes within 20 minutes.


There is a common misconception that night eye cream must contain retinol to help with fine lines, but in reality, your eye area is delicate and prone to rashes and irritation, so you should be gentle. You can apply retinol to your entire face rather than just specific areas. Apply a simple, hydrating eye cream that will protect your under-eyes while also repairing your skin barrier overnight.

BeautyStat Universal C Eye Perfector

eye cream

Olay Brightening Eye Cream

eye cream

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Step 5: Spot treatment 

Spot treatments can be used for a variety of reasons, including zits, scars, and dark spots. They are best used at night when your body is working the hardest to repair itself. However, if you use an acne-fighting toner or intend to use retinol, it is best to use spot treatment in the morning to avoid irritating your skin and having too many products on your skin.

Proactiv Emergency Blemish Relief

spot treatment

Even Tone Night Treatment

spot treatment

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Step 6: Moisturizer 


Look for a hyaluronic-based moisturizer that is light and gentle on the skin and will keep it hydrated without feeling heavy or greasy. And, ideally, choose a formula that contains at least SPF 30 sunscreen, especially if you don't intend to apply a different sunscreen later. Allow it to soak in for at least five minutes before applying makeup.


Because your skin repairs itself at night, it's best to use a moisturizer containing hyaluronic acid, lipids, and proteins to keep your skin looking healthy and fresh.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral SPF Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid

Morning cream

CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream

Night cream

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Step 7: Retinol

For those who don't know, retinol is a type of vitamin A. It helps treat acne, blackheads, and clogged pores by reducing the stickiness of the cells that clog pores and speeding up the rate at which the skin turns over and regenerates. As a result, they are ideal for improving your skin's overall texture, minimizing fine lines and wrinkles, evening out skin tone, and decreasing pore size.


If you're using it for the first time, apply a pea-size drop to your entire face one night a week for one week, then two nights a week for two weeks, three nights a week for three weeks, and every other night continuously.

If you're using a retinol-containing night cream, skip this step. If you have extra-sensitive skin, using retinol and retinol-containing night cream will just cause inflammation.

CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum


Step 8: Oil

Face oils seal in all of the ingredients and moisture that you just applied to your face, preventing them from evaporating as quickly. Oils do not moisturize your skin very well on their own, but when you layer them over products, they help increase the efficacy of your routine while also leaving your skin soft and smooth. Just remember to put your oils last. Don't believe that oils are only for dry skin. Certain oils, such as rosehip and jojoba, can help to reduce excess oil in acne-prone skin, while marula and aloe oils can help to soothe sensitive, easily irritated skin.

The Ordinary Rose Hip Seed Oil


Ulta Jojoba Oil

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Step 9: Sunscreen


Oils should be applied last in your skincare routine because they are still working to absorb and treat your skin, whereas sunscreen isn't trying to get through anything and is only there to protect your face.

The absolute bare minimum SPF you need on your face is SPF 30, so don't skip the sunscreen step because you believe your foundation or moisturizer contains SPF 15, you are mistaken.

Vanicream Sunscreen Sport SPF 35


EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46


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Main Image Credits: Instagram @haileybieber