The Correct Way to Apply Face Products

The Correct Way to Apply Face Products

Long ago, and not so long ago, people would just splash water on their faces and call it clean. Nowadays, as we begin to understand more about ourselves and our health, many people are beginning to pay closer attention to their skin. From serums to toners to scrubs and exfoliants, it can all get to be a bit much, especially if you’re new to the world of skincare. If you’ve done a little bit of research, you may have even come across people telling you to both use a lot of products and to not use a lot of products. It can be confusing! But don’t worry! We’re going to break down the correct way to apply face products, talk about what kind of products are right for your individual skin, and whether or not that 15-step process is truly necessary.

Determine Your Skin Type

Before you go looking for products to use, it is crucial that you understand what kind of skin you have. Everyone’s skin is different, and therefore, there are many different products on the 

market that are targeting different things. To determine which are best for you, you must first know what kind of skin you have. 

When talking about skin types, most people are referring to the moisture in your skin. Skin types come in three categories: dry, oily, and combination. While dry and oily are pretty straightforward, combination skin refers to people whose skin is both dry and oily in certain areas. 

To determine which you have, just pay attention to your face. Is it shiny and almost wet-looking? It’s probably oily. Is it dry, flaky, or itchy? Then you have dry skin. Are your forehead and nose shiny while your cheeks and jawline are dry? Then you probably have combination skin. 

For Dry Skin: It is recommended you use products that are creamy and non-foaming. They should contain ingredients such as ceramides, glycerin, and hyaluronic acid, all of which are great for your skin barrier. 

For Oily Skin: It is recommended you use products that will not overly strip your face of its oil. Too much will dry your skin out. Avoid charcoal, sulfate, and clay-based cleansers for this reason. Your cleanser should be gel-based or a gentle foaming cleanser.

For Combination Skin: Unfortunately, it does get more complicated for combination skin, as you are dealing with both dry and oily skin; however, it is not necessary to buy two different cleansers for different parts of your skin. Remember: less is more. It is best to use gentle cleansers that do not overdo your face, as this will irritate the already dry areas. It may take trial and error to find the best kind of cleanser for your individual needs. 

Additional Skin Types 

It is important to determine if you also have acne-prone skin or sensitive skin that is prone to irritation and redness, as your decisions about which products you put into your skincare routine may change depending on these as well. 

For Sensitive Skin: It is recommended you use products that are gentle, creamy, and contain a soothing ingredient such as aloe vera to combat any possible irritation. Avoid very strong cleaners. 

For Acne-Prone Skin: It is recommended you use products that do not contain harsh chemicals. Many harsh chemicals will cause dryness and irritation, possibly leading to more breakouts. Instead, stick to very gentle, creamy cleansers. 

The Three Backbones of Any Good Skincare Routine

We know we just told you that depending on your skin type, your skincare routine may differ, and that’s true! However, there are three fundamental building blocks to any good skincare routine that is the same no matter what skin type you have. These three steps are vital and are what you will build any other steps off of. 

The three backbones: 

1. A gentle, sulfate-free cleanser 

2. A fragrance-free, great moisturizer 

3. And a protective sunscreen of at least SPF 30 

While the type of these three products may vary depending on if you need a cleanser to combat excess oil or a moisturizer to help with dry skin, they are so important to maintaining healthy, glowing skin, no matter what skin type you are. 

Keep in mind your skin type when choosing these three products, and remember that simple is better. You don’t need something with a lot of bells and whistles, just something that is going to get the job done without leaving your face overdone! 

The Order Skincare Products Are Applied 

With the basics out of the way, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty: the order that your products should be applied – and possibly more importantly: which products should you really be using.

There are eight different kinds of products that we will get into shortly, but it is important to understand what products you should be using and the order they go can change from day to night. This is because your skin needs may change depending if the sun is out or not. For example, do you really need to wear sunscreen if the sun isn’t out? No. For this reason, it could change depending on the product and if it is morning or nighttime; however, most products are used both day and night and are in the same order. 

*Note: if you’re ever in doubt or forget which order, apply your skincare products from thinnest to thickest after cleansing your face. This will give you the best results possible. 

Step 1: Cleanser (Day & Night)

When we wake up in the morning, our skin can feel kind of groggy. It’s dull, it’s tired-looking, and it has oil collected on it from while you were sleeping. And after a long day out in the sun, it has dirt and even more oil on it. For this reason, the first step for both your day and nighttime routine is your cleanser. 

This step is crucial for all people, no matter your age or skin type, because before you put on any other products onto your face, you will want to make sure it is clean and ready. 

If you choose to use an exfoliant or scrub along with your cleanser, be sure to only use it once or twice a week. Do not use exfoliants and scrubs every day, as this can cause dryness and irritation.

*Note: For those of you who have skin medications, you will apply those after you clean your face with your cleanser before moving on to any other step! 

Step 2: Toner (Day & Night)

No matter if this is during the morning or night, if you’re going to use toner, now is the time to do so. However, not everyone needs to use a toner. While it can act as a primer for the rest of your skin products, for some, it is a completely unnecessary step that is entirely your choice. 

For those with big pores or signs of aging, toner can tighten those pores and wrinkles slightly, giving your face a fresh look!

Step 3: Serums (Day & Night) 

Another step that is the same for morning and nighttime routines, step three consists of any serums you may have. This includes vitamin C serums, hyaluronic acid serums, etc. Again, this is completely up to you. Not everyone needs or even wants to use a serum. In fact, many people choose to leave serums out of their skincare routine entirely.

Step 4: Eye Cream (Day & Night)

In both the mornings and the evenings, it is important to not neglect your eyes. If you wear makeup, your eyes are constantly being rubbed and cleaned over and over again, so it is important to not forget that they may need attention, too! 

For those who wear eye makeup, or have dry skin in this location, it is essential to keep your eye area from drying out. A moisturizing eye cream will keep your eyes looking awake and healthy. If you are beginning to show signs of aging, you may wish to get an eye cream that also combats wrinkles and aging. 

*Note: Keep in mind that this step is not the same as your moisturizer. Do not put moisturizer around your eyes unless the product specifically says that it is safe to do so on its original packaging.

Step 5: Spot Treatments (Day & Night) 

Whether it is morning or evening, if you have decided to use a spot treatment, now is the time to do so! There are different products that target different things, such as dark eyes, uneven skin tones, sun spots, etc. 

This is another step that can be completely skipped for those who wish to do so. Not everyone chooses to use spot treatment in their skincare routine.

Step 6: Moisturizer (Day & Night) 

Whether you’re about to hit the beach or hit the hay, moisturizing is incredibly important! It is one of the building blocks and backbones of your entire skincare routine and should not be skipped. 

Cleansing, even with the correct kind of cleanser, can cause small amounts of dryness or irritation. It is important to combat that with the appropriate moisturizer for your face’s individual needs.

Step 7: Face Oil (Daytime) & Retinol (Nighttime)

This is where whether is it day or night becomes important. For your morning routine, your next step is a face oil. This is another step that is not required but can be very beneficial. Face oils do not moisturize your skin on their own, but when applied over the rest of your products, they enhance how well your other products work, as they keep the other products from evaporating 

off your skin. For this reason, face oils should always come at the end of any routine (excluding sunscreen). 

During your nighttime routine, you may choose to use a retinol to combat aging or wrinkles. If so, retinol is your step seven, not face oil. This is applied at night so it can promote cell turnover, potentially giving you younger-looking skin over time. Since the UV light from the sun will break down the ingredients in the retinol, rendering it useless, this is best done in your nighttime routine, so it can do its job as your sleep.

Step 8: Sunscreen (Daytime) & Face Oil (Nighttime) 

During the day, your face is going to be in the sun a lot. For this reason, applying sunscreen as your very last step in the mornings is a fundamental building block of healthy skin. The sun 

damages skin and it is important to protect all the hard work you are doing to make your skin the healthiest it has ever been! 

At nighttime, there is no sun, so you don’t have to worry about sunscreen. The last step for a nighttime routine is face oil. We’ve already spoken about the benefits of face oil being the last thing you put on and it is true for your nighttime routine as well. Face oil will lock in all those other products you have applied to your face, keeping them on longer and giving them more time to promote healthy skin! 

A Quick Reminder! 

Remember: less is better! As fun and interesting as a lot of this sounds, it is important to remember that everything besides the three building blocks of healthy skin (cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen) are all optional. No, you do not need to use a toner or serums, or even face oil. Your skincare routine should be tailored to your specific skin needs. Everyone’s skin is different, and that is okay! That’s the beauty of skincare!


Your skin does a lot for you: it protects you from the outside elements and keeps you hydrated, as well as many other things. For this reason, keeping your skin healthy is so important. So whether you’re new to skincare or you want to learn more about it to enhance your routine, it is crucial you take care of it, just like it takes care of you. If you remember to use the correct products for your skin type, and you apply them in the correct order, your skin will be sure to thank you in the long run! 

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