Asian woman applying skin cream 

The order in which you apply your skincare products can affect how they react to your skin and their effectiveness. The main thing to consider in skincare routine order is absorption. You are layering at least three products on your face (at most 12, for those into a more maximalist routine, no judgment). They all cost money, so it would be irresponsible to just throw them all on with no rationale whatsoever. Besides, you want them to work, right? Follow this skincare routine order to make the most of your products. 

Cleanse Your Face

Proper cleansing is the foundation of any good skincare routine. Using one facial cleanser or wash is enough if you want a . Choose one addresses your skin type or concern — oily, dry, balanced, sensitive. The key to effective cleansing is not to rush it. As with washing your hands, the purpose of cleansing your face is to remove oil, dirt, and bacteria from your pores. Haphazardly doing it will not do.  

You need to wash your face for 20 to 60 seconds, depending on your skin type and sensitivity. It allows the ingredients to work and dislodge any sebum or dirt caught in your pores. You could treat it as a to make the process less mechanical. On the other hand, if you prefer to double cleanse, start with an oil-based cleanser to soften the skin and “melt” the sebum from your pores. Follow it up with a water-based cleanser to remove all traces of oil.

Prep Your Skin with Toner

Old-school toners weren’t so popular because of their severely astringent properties that irritated the skin. However, these overly drying toners are a thing of the past. Today’s good toners are chock-full of nourishing ingredients, such as niacinamide and hyaluronic acid.

Pat on Your Serum

Serums are super-concentrated formulas of what it is that your skin needs — assuming you’re using the right one. There are in the market: hydrating serums, antioxidants, anti-aging, brightening, and more. Choose your serum and apply it right after prepping your skin with toner. Take a few drops of the serum, warm it up between your palms, and gently press into the skin. Continue pressing until your skin feels tacky, which means it’s starting to absorb the product. 

If you need a hydrating, brightening, and nourishing serum, try POND'S Bright Triple Glow Serum. Formulated with GlutaBoost-C, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid, it is a hardworking product that gives skin a smooth, healthy, hydrated glow. 

Marinate in a Sheet Mask

Your skin is clean, prepped, and loaded with active ingredients — now it’s time to wear your favorite sheet mask. Think of it as the skincare version of “baking” (as in makeup, not pastry) your products. Wearing a sheet mask will create a nice serum sandwich and will help your skin absorb all those healthy nutrients better. 

For smooth, hydrated skin, find a sheet mask with vitamin B6 and tomato essence. This delivers intense hydration to the skin while fighting the loss of skin elasticity and maintaining its smoothness.

Lock It All in with Moisturizer

Here’s the crucial step. Locking your skin care in with moisturizer is essential in making them more effective. For example, if your serum contains hyaluronic acid, it needs something to draw moisture from — without moisturizer, it could take more water from your skin. Moreover, moisturizer helps keep your skin barrier happy and healthy. If the skin barrier weakens, your skin won’t be able to fight off irritation and inflammation as effectively. 

Protect Yourself with Sunscreen

The final step of any skincare routine order must always be sunscreen. It’s no secret that prolonged sun exposure can lead to sun damage, characterized by sunburn, dark spots, uneven skin tone, wrinkles, and dehydration, to name a few. If you’re constantly, carelessly damaging your skin by not applying sunscreen, you’re just wasting your money on skin care.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using sunscreen with at least SPF 30, which can block 97% of the sun’s UVB rays. Note that no sunscreen, no matter how high the SPF, can block 100% of the sun’s UVB rays, so don’t get duped by super-high SPF ratings. You’ll still need to reapply every two hours or after sweating, anyway.

Following the correct skincare routine order can make a significant difference in the effectiveness of products and skin health. These steps are not a trend. Scientific research backs them up. If your skin isn’t improving, check how you apply your products and make the proper adjustments to your routine.