What's The Correct Order For Your Skincare Routine?

With quite so many skincare products on the market, you’d be forgiven for being completely confused as to which lotion goes on where, when and why. What comes first, the SPF or the serum? What even IS toner? Isn’t that the stuff the office printer’s always running out of? It’s a minefield. Luckily, we’ve sussed it out so you don’t have to; read on for a comprehensive breakdown of our recommended routine.

Everybody should cleanse, tone and moisturize, right?

Skincare should not be taken lightly with a one size fits all approach. Just as you choose your cosmetics on the basis of your individual skin type, so too should the components of your routine depend on the needs of your skin.

For instance, those with sensitive or reactive skin may wish to skip the toner, while those with acne-prone skin may wish to incorporate a toner containing an AHA or BHA (like salicylic acid or glycolic acid) into their routine to help manage breakouts. So be wary of brands suggesting you absolutely need every product in their line, and instead focus on your individual skin concerns when choosing your personal beauty regime.

Order of the Day:

1. Cleanser

‘I cleansed my face before bed, why do I end up having to do it again in the morning?’ - Simply put, you sweat as you sleep.

Our skin offloads more water in the evenings, sending our sebaceous (oil) glands in overdrive as they try to ‘emulsify’ our sweat (making us lose less water through perspiration) and prevent dehydration. Cleansing in the morning removes this oily build-up and resets your skin for the day.

2. Toner

If you have a specific skincare concern, a toner can work wonders. Some choose to skip this step altogether or replace it with a simple hydrating mist before moving on to the serum stage.

If you struggle with clogged pores or breakouts, you may wish to try an exfoliating toner containing AHAs or BHAs, like salicylic acid or glycolic acid.

3. Serum

A good serum can protect against pollution or offer targeted hydration for problem areas. We like to use a Vitamin C serum in the morning, as the antioxidant provides protection as you go about your day. If you’re using a hydrating serum like Hyaluronic acid, you’ll want to pop this on after any other treatment serums.

Organica’s Superfood Firming Serum contains both Vitamin C and Hyaluronic acid, and is one of our favorite products for nourishing and moisturizing dull, aging skin.

4. Moisturizer/Oil

This step depends on your skin type -whether you have dry, oily or combination skin. Do your research and choose a high-quality moisturizing product that won’t clog your pores. 

Whatever you choose, make sure you apply it following the treatment products in your routine so they are able to work their magic on the surface of your skin.

5. SPF

As your trusty barrier against harmful UV rays, sunscreen (or a product containing SPF) should be the last thing you apply to your face before leaving the house. 

Protection from the sun prevents premature aging of the skin, let alone the health considerations, so don’t skip this step. If you’re short on time, many moisturizers already contain SPF so you can condense your routine a little.

Evening Order:

1. Cleanse

It’s so important to remove your makeup at the end of the day (particularly eye makeup), even if it’s tempting to just crash into bed. You may even want to repeat this step to really cleanse your pores of the grease and grime from the day.

2. Masks

If you like to use a face mask for added hydration or deep pore-cleansing, this step should follow your cleanser but come before all other products in your routine. About twice weekly is optimum, or less if you’re short on time.

3. Toner

Just as in the AM, problem-prone skin should be treated with a toner after you’ve cleansed your pores.

4. Retinol

If you’re looking to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, or even target adult acne, retinol is the one. Vitamin A exfoliates, aids in the production of collagen, and fights free radicals - all-important in slowing down the skin’s aging process. 

Retinol is pretty powerful, so on swap it with acid-containing products on the days you use it to avoid any reactions (e.g. AHA/BHA toners/serums). It should be used in the evening and be sure to follow with SPF in the morning, as it increases sensitivity to the sun. Do not follow retinol with other topical serums, as you don’t want to diminish the effectiveness of Vitamin A.

If you’re wary of trying Retinol’s potent pure form of Vitamin A, then a natural source of Vitamin A like Organica’s Rosehip Seed Oil may be a good alternative. It’s also rich in Vitamin C, so is the perfect product to help you replenish your skin and encourage a smooth, blemish-free glow.

5. Serum

Again, apply treatment/topical serums (like retinol) first, and follow with hydrating serums.

6. Moisturizer/Oil

Bring your nightly skincare routine to a close with your favorite moisturizer, or choose a night cream specific to your skin type. In winter when the skin gets especially dry, you may like to layer oil over the top to lock in moisture.

If you have trouble nodding off, you might like to try our Dream Lotion as your night cream - with the added benefit of calming and sleep-inducing ingredients. Almond oil and Cocoa butter are super hydrating for dry skin, while the Lavender oil is proven to promote relaxation and relieve stress.

One Product You Should Never Put On In The Morning… And One You Should:

If you’re using products containing Vitamin A (retinol, retinaldehyde etc), you’ll want to apply these at night. The ingredient may increase sensitivity to the sun, so you’re better off letting it get to work overnight, and applying an SPF the following morning. To be on the safe side, the same advice should be applied for acids.

Products containing vitamin C, however, should definitely be used in the morning alongside your SPF, as the antioxidant provides a further form of protection against UV and pollution.

Advice On Acids:

While the concept of using acid in skincare is no longer unthinkable, you should still choose your products wisely. Rather than just piling them all because you can, opt for targeted solutions to your personal skincare problems.

Salicylic acid is a popular choice for oily skin or breakouts. Lactic acid will smooth and hydrate the skin. Glycolic acid can brighten dark spots or treat wrinkles. But if you find your skin too sensitive for any of the above, try Mandelic acid - its larger molecules don’t penetrate as deeply and may be less irritating for your face to tolerate.

So, To Recap:

  • Cleanse
  • Mask (pm, twice weekly)
  • Tone
  • Retinol (pm)
  • Serum
  • Moisturizer/Oil
  • SPF (am)

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