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Have you puzzled over the right way to layer on moisturizer, serum, cleanser, toner, face mask, night cream, eye cream, sunscreen etc ? We have too ! So we decided to quiz Dr.Nirupama Parwanda of Zolie Skin Clinic to lay our doubts to rest and break down the correct order of applying skincare products.

  1. Cleanser : Skin care routines always start with cleaning your face thoroughly. If you use make up then first clean with makeup remover and then with the face wash best suited for your skin type. Cleansing removes all the excess sebum + dirt and prepares your skin to absorb active ingredients of your skin care products in line.
  2. Face mask : Applied after cleansing (and better so after exfoliating the skin) so that the ingredients of the mask are well absorbed and soothe the skin.
  3. Toner : Helps maintain the pH balance of the skin, to be applied just after the cleansing or in case a face mask is used, after removing the mask.
  4. Serum : Lighter products are applied before thicker consistency products. Serums are water-based, which makes them lighter than lotions and creams. Serums are thus applied just after the toner.
  5. Eye cream : Daily application of an under eye cream can help improve the skin in that area and improve or prevent early development of fine lines and wrinkles.
  6. Chemical sunscreen : Absorbs the UV rays and subsequently re-emit it in the form of heat. They need to interact with the skin cells to be effective, so they are best applied before any moisturizer.
  7. Moisturiser : Helps lock in the moisture and makes the skin soft and supple.
  8. Physical sunscreens or Physical sunblocks : Containing mineral ingredients such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide – work by deflecting and scattering UV rays away from the skin and are best applied in the end.
  9. Night creams : They are usually of a thicker consistency and are applied at night after moisturizing the skin.

This order is same for all skin types and the basic rule is to apply lighter consistency products before the heavier ones. This helps in adequate absorption of the products and their ingredients so that they work to their full potential. If we interchange products and apply them in a random order then their absorption and so will their action be compromised. The order will differ slightly from day to night :

  • Morning routine  Cleanser – Face mask – Toner – Serum – Eye cream – Chemical sunscreen – Moisturizer – Physical sunscreen
  • Night routine Cleanser – Face mask (optional) – Toner – Serum – Moisturizer – Night cream

Are there certain products/ingredients that shouldn’t be used together ? 

  • Retinoids and other exfoliants like AHA/BHA : AHA/BHA exfoliate the skin and retinoid too increases the cell turnover which can make the skin super sensitive and dry.
  • Vitamin C and Benzoyl Peroxide: BPO is a strong oxidizing agent and will oxidize Arbutin and kojic acid which are present in skin lightening creams, and anti-oxidants like Vitamin C, Vitamin E and ferulic acid.

Don’t forget to follow Dr.Nirupama on Facebook and Instagram for more skincare secrets !

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