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The Best Order to Apply Skincare

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Many of us are winging adult life, including your skincare routine. You understand your skin needs, found some holy-grail products to use (if not, take this quiz to find out!), but are you applying them in the right order? Follow this guide to get the full effect of the skincare you spent money on!

Why Does Order Matter?

The skin barrier does an amazing job at protecting against outside irritants, but sometimes your skincare products are not penetrating the skin as you think they are. The reason the order of your skincare application matters is because you want optimal absorption by your skin, so the active ingredients can actually make an impact. This all depends on one key thing - the molecule size of the ingredients you’re using. 

Skincare Rules To Follow

For your daytime routine or your nighttime routine, the biggest rule of thumb is to order your products from the thinnest consistency to the thickest-- so, serums and liquids to creams and oils. As you start applying thicker products to your face, it plugs your skin in a way that provides a humectant barrier -  moisturizing agents that help to retain moisture in your skin. Since it seals in that moisture, the products applied on top probably won’t penetrate and work as well as you’d hope. 

Another tip is applying skincare products that have the most crucial active ingredients first so that they penetrate your skin properly. This includes the products that target your biggest skincare concerns. To better apply your skincare, understanding the pH levels will also help. Wait in between steps (at least 30 minutes) if you are applying products with differentiating pH levels. Lastly, remember to use water-based products first, before using oil-based products (unless you’re using it to cleanse with) because oil and water don’t mix. Use these tips to upgrade your skincare game!

Your Updated Routine

Because the same rules apply to your morning and nighttime routine, it will be a little easier to remember. For many, their daytime routines are trying to protect them from pollution, the sun, and other outside irritants. It's very important to get the ingredients that you want your skin to absorbs first and finish with an SPF to seal in moisture and protect from sun damage, the #1 cause of signs of aging. 


Taking the principle of thinnest to thickest, first, you would use a cleanser of some sort. We recommend using a face wash in the shower so the steam opens up your pores for a deeper clean. To remove makeup, it is best broken down with an oil cleanser. Oil breaks down the oils in your makeup! After that, you can rinse it away with a typical face wash. Try WOW Skin Science Apple Cider Vinegar Face Wash W/ Brush to gently exfoliate away any oils, dirt, and sweat that may have accumulated throughout the night. Don’t neglect the rest of your body! Using a body wash like the WOW Skin Science Apple Cider Vinegar Foaming Body Wash will cleanse and balance your body. Cleansed skin is the best time to face mask. After washing that off, we move on to the second lightest product-- toner. 


Toners work to remove leftover impurities with chemical exfoliators and balance your skin’s pH for the rest of your skincare. Try the WOW Skin Science 10-In-1 Apple Cider Vinegar Mist Tonic, as it is packed with skin-loving ingredients. 


Next, come the serums. Serums are basically a boost of active ingredients, concentrated nutrients, antioxidants, hydration boosters, etc. that target your skin woes. Serums really are the heavy lifters of your skincare routine, so don’t be afraid of them! Using something like a Vitamin C serum helps to brighten hyperpigmentation and also helps to protect your skin from free radicals and inflammation. Or, switch it up and go for something more hydration based, like hyaluronic acid to suck moisture from the air and help to nourish your skin. If either one is a bit too intense, then apply them every other day instead of every day. If you really want to up the ante, you can apply Retinol-- a derivative of Vitamin A that exfoliates pores to reveal the brighter skin underneath. Since it can cause irritation when you are trying to incorporate it into your routine, it is best to sandwich the application under your moisturizer. 

Eye Cream

Afterward, it is recommended to apply eye creams, as they are usually thinner than most other facial moisturizers. In the morning you can use an eye cream with a metal rollerball for application, which helps cool and depuff any eye bags. Using a formula with caffeine in the morning can also wake up your under eyes. At night, use an eye cream that is more geared towards deep hydration. Since there are no oil glands around the delicate eye area, it is best to not over do the active ingredients here. After these steps, you can apply any spot treatments you may need at the time to treat skin woes like acne, hyperpigmentation, and acne scars. 

Seal In Moisture

It’s finally time to apply moisturizer! And yes, every skin type needs moisturizer, even oily skin! During the daytime, you can use a lighter formula with SPF. Your skin repairs itself during your sleep REM cycle, so sealing in your nighttime skincare is especially important. At night, many people tend to go for a thicker consistency to give deeper hydration. Facial oils are also a great last-step hydrator. Oils are occlusive, which means that they seal in all the skincare you just applied to your face to keep them from evaporating as quickly. You can add some essential oils in the facial oil to help add a final boost into your skincare. You can use oils like jojoba oil, argan oil, castor oil, etc. to be a carrier for your blends. Essential oils like lavender, tea tree, ylang ylang or bergamot would be beneficial to your skincare routine. To hydrate your body, the WOW Skin Science Shea & Cocoa Butter Moisturizing Lotion is great for providing deep hydration, without being too thick of a formula. 


As we’ve outlined above, it is super important to understand the why’s and the how’s of skincare to make the most of the products you buy. It would be a shame if all the research, time, and money spent on the products were wasted because of incorrect application. Hopefully, you have the tools to upgrade your skincare routine. Good luck!

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Author: Akhila Jerripothula

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