There are no doubts that using the latest wonder face creams can help you achieve magazine-perfect flawless skin complexion, but their performance can be greatly affected due to several factors including applying them in the wrong order.
That’s why you have to know the proper sequence of your skin care routine. Each step prepares your skin for what comes next to allow the skin care products to work optimally so that you can see results faster.
Morning Skincare Routine
Step 1: Cleanse
① Cleanse your face thoroughly to remove dirt, grime, and oil. It is best you avoid foaming cleansers because most of them contain sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), a chemical that has a drying effect on skin and may also irritate eyes and mouth area.
② Use a sulfate-free mild facial cleanser that is made with gentle ingredients instead, such as cheap-and-good Cetaphil, Eucerin or CeraVe, all of which are available at most drugstores. I normally use baby wash or the honey cleansing.
③ Also, make sure not to wash your face with hot water because excessive heat robs your skin of its natural protective lipids, which can speed up visible signs of skin aging. The water should be comfortably warm but not hot.
Step 2: Tone (Optional for Dry Skin)
① Gently pat, not rub your face – cheeks, chin, and nose – with a cotton pad that has been soaked with toner, also known also as tonics, mists or astringents, depending on their strength.
② Since one of the toner’s main purposes is to restore pH balance and remove any left over residues from your cleanser and cosmetics, this skin care step is critical and should not be skipped if you wear heavy makeup. You can check my homemade toner recipe here.
Step 3: Treat and Moisturize
If you are using medicated or prescription-strength topical treatments for acne or rash, apply it first. This is due to the fact that they need direct contact with the skin to do the job.
① Eye cream, anti-wrinkle serum, gel or any other skin care products of your choice targeted to address your skin concerns should also go on first. Wait for a moment (about 5 minutes) until it is fully absorbed, then apply sunscreen and moisturizer all over your face.
② And don’t forget the neck and decolletage area, which are notorious for giving away your age as much as your hands.
③ Always apply in an upward motion, using short firm strokes to prevent the early onset of facial sagging. Then lightly tap your face with fingertips for about 30 seconds to enhance absorption.
One word about anti-wrinkle products like retinol based creams is they can increase sun sensitivity so be forewarned.
④ Next, apply a makeup primer and foundation followed by the rest of your makeup routine as usual.
In case you are wondering if it is ok not to wear sunscreen if the makeup has SPF, I can only say it depends on what strength SPF your cosmetics contain. Most makeup or beauty products you find on the market contain SPF 10 or 15, which is not enough to protect skin from damaging UVA and UVB.
Unless they have an SPF of 30 or higher, I would highly recommend you apply a separate sunscreen before putting on your makeup.
Night Time Skincare Routine:
① Repeat the daytime steps, except sunscreen and makeup.
② Take note that if the uppermost layer of your skin becomes too thick with dead cells, the active ingredients in your face care product cannot penetrate deeply enough to have a positive effect. Hence, you need to exfoliate, but not more than 3-4 times a week.
③ You can create your homemade face scrub with simple household items such as 2 teaspoons oats and 1 teaspoon baking soda plus just enough water to make a paste.
Toners are Necessary or Are They a Waste of Money?
In my humble opinion, I don’t see the need to apply a toner daily and only use it when your skin asks for it. For instance, if your skin tends to become very dry in cold weather, and breaks out with rich creams. Instead of slathering on deep-hydrating moisturizers, you can use a toner with hydrating agents followed by a lightweight face lotion.
As for extremely oily skin that gets greasy hours after washing, a toner is a necessary step in skin care regimen. It benefits the oily skin by helping keep excess facial shine under control, leaving it looking clear and feeling fresh all day long.
But avoid strong toners – astringents – unless your skin is super duper oily. This is because they contain a high amount of alcohol, which can be drying and makes skin feel uncomfortably tight.