Ask the Expert: What Order Should I Apply Skin Care Products?
It’s likely you have a specific process for applying makeup (primer first, lips last) and hair-care products. So, do you have an order with your skin-care regimen? If not, or if you simply need a refresher, layering is the word.
Similar to the way you layer clothing, layering skin-care products is pretty straightforward: thinnest to thickest. The basic order is serum before lotion before cream.
There are two areas that may not be quite as intuitive: SPF and oils.
- In the morning, you want SPF to be the last product applied before makeup. This stands true even if you are applying oil; pat the oil into skin and then apply SPF on top.
- At night, you want your oil to be the last product in your routine. Oils help seal in moisture and keep the water in creams from evaporating.
While I’m on the subject of products: I’m often asked how many are needed for an effective skin-care routine. The answer is lower than most people think: three or four. In the a.m., I suggest a gel cleanser, an antioxidant such as vitamin C, and a sunscreen moisturizer. At night, use a product with resurfacing ingredients such as AHAs and retinols, in addition to restorative peptides.