Ever wondered why that skin cream everyone is raving about isn’t doing it for you? It might be you’re not applying it correctly and most importantly, the order in which you apply your skincare DO make a difference.

Certain moisturizers, for example, are formulated with barrier-like ingredients to trap moisture in. This of course means that the barrier will also keep out the potent ingredients in your favourite serum. Here are some tips to maximize the benefits from your daily skincare routine.

The basic rule would be to apply products from thinnest to thickest consistency and the general 3 steps would be to cleanse, tone and moisturize. These are the steps to follow for your routine:

  1. Cleansing

Use a gentle, non-abrasive and no-alcohol cleanser. It’s better to wash face with fingertips as washcloth or mesh sponge could irritate your skin. Limit washing to twice a day (morning and night) and after sweating heavily.

  1. Toning

A toner is crucial in removing impurities, residual cleanser, make up as it balances the pH of your skin, prepping it for treatment and moisturizing. It’s best to dab toner onto your skin with a cotton ball. If your skin isn’t totally clean, anything you apply will not be absorbed effectively and your expensive serum or moisturizer would not be able to penetrate your skin properly.

  1. Treatment

Apply your treatment right after toning to maximize effectiveness (treatments for enlarged pores, UV damage, etc.) or your serum. Never apply too much product as your skin can only absorb so much. If you layer too much on your skin, the product will sit on the surface rather than absorb. It’s very easy to over-apply serums because they tend to be light and packed with actives. Generally three drops smoothed over your entire face and neck is enough. For best results, massage in a firm upward circular motion to stimulate blood flow and to help ingredients absorb into skin.

  1. Eye-Cream

A pea-sized amount is enough for both eyes and it should be applied every morning and night after your moisturizer. The skin around the eye is very sensitive so use your ring finger, considered the weakest, to lightly dab in cream a circular motion under the eye to the cheekbone, at the outer corners and underneath the brows. You’ll also want to apply some onto your eyelids to help create a smooth foundation for eye makeup.

  1. Moisturize

Hydrate last to lock in moisture and protect your skin’s natural lipid barrier. It’s better to use a moisturizer without SPF as moisturizers with SPF means less room for active ingredients in the moisturizer. Applying with a peanut size is all you need. Avoid products formulated with parabens, mineral oil and phthalates as these ingredients are associated with higher levels of skin irritation.

  1. Sunscreen

Use generous amount of sunscreen on bare skin and apply at least 20-30 minutes before going out in the sun because it takes that long for chemical sunscreen to bind with your skin. If you’re still out in the sun, re-apply every two hours for continued protection. The best would be to use SPF30 that filters both UVA and UVB rays.

The Best Time

As studies have shown that skin repairs itself most effectively between 10 and 11pm, you should be applying your night creams BEFORE this time. This also relates to the importance of sleep.

When we sleep, our bodies repair and renew themselves and that includes on a cellular level in our skin. You’ll also want to save your high-powered anti-aging products and retinoid for your night time routine since they tend to weaken in the sun.

Remember, despite having the best resources, if you don’t use them properly, you won’t see results.

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