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Order of Skin Care

Order of Skincare-How to Layer Your Skin Step By Step

Searching for the correct order of skincare might be the most daunting experience for you on the web. The internet flooded with thousands of skincare routines and products make it more cumbersome to stick with one, resulting in a double-minded state for the reader. Here I will bring in the spotlight a step-by-step science-backed order of skincare that; not only you can trust; but also answer your mind obsessed with all the whys! 

Order of skincare, why does it matter?

Even if you follow the simplest of all skincare regimens, the proper order of skincare needs to be followed; for it to work. That is because some products might work better when applied after another. Therefore, the correct order of skincare allows better penetration of products.

Following are the skin layering techniques that allow maximal absorption of every single product you apply. Fasten your seatbelts as we are about to dive into an incredible journey where your dream skin will be our goal.


Cleansers can be water-based or oil-based. They are a foundational step in the order of the skincare routine.

Why does oil cleansing matter

As the name suggests, oil-based cleansers; are enriched with ingredients that emulsify dirt, excess oil and remove makeup. A quality oil-based cleanser includes surfactants and is not purely oil-based. Oil-based cleansers are pretty much for a person who wears makeup daily and has been; exposed to environmental gird.

How to use oil-based cleansers

Take 1-2 pumps of cleanser on a dry face. You will feel it as if oil is getting separated. Avoid applying on a wet face, or else; it might disperse like how oil and water do when they come into contact. Wash with warm water that will clear all the dispersed oil.

When to apply oil-based cleansers

You can use oil-based cleansers both morning and night. However, if you apply it at night, it will be more effective to remove your makeup products too.


Why do you need a water-based cleanser

Water-based cleansers are foaming cleansers that essentially contain surfactants. They are beneficial if you want a deeper cleanse. Likewise, you can use it if your oil-based cleanser needs to get rinsed too.

How to use a water-based cleanser

Water-based cleansers are activated; by water. Thus, apply them to a wet face. You can cleanse twice a day depending on your need for cleansing and the skin type.

When to apply a water-based cleanser

You can use a water-based cleanser both in your morning and night skincare routine. Alternatively, you can use oil-based cleansers at night and water-based foaming cleansers in the morning. Do not overdo water-based cleansing as it may reduce total skin moisture. 

When can you skip on a water-based cleanser?

You might not need a water-based cleanser if your oil-based cleanser also contains enough surfactants and, you do not need a second cleansing.


If you want to take this one step further, use a water-based cleanser enriched with tea tree oil if you have acne-prone skin.

The choice of men and women skin cleansers may vary!

Men and Women have different skincare needs that are pre-defined at a biological level. Studies show the differences in skin texture, thickness, tone, and hydration status. Make sure you grab the right products and apply them in the right order of skincare.

Follow your skin treatment goals!

Once you are, done with the cleansers, the step you should follow next depends on the treatment your skin needs. If you need to clear away the debris, try using a physical exfoliator. If hydration is all that your skin needs, use toner. If you struggle with hyperpigmentation and skin aging signs, go for a face mask or a serum.

Read on to know the significance of each step. Once done, you will be able to decide on your own; what is the best order of skincare to follow.

  • If your next step is a physical exfoliator or a toner, let your skin be wet.
  • If a face mask, chemical exfoliator, serum, or moisturizer, is needed next, let your skin be dry.


Why does an exfoliator matter

Exfoliate if your pores are enlarged or congested or if they need to be, unclogged. That is because clogged pores cause blackheads, spots, and breakouts. On the other hand, decongested pores allow you to absorb every particle of the product you apply next.
Nevertheless, exfoliation removes the dead skin cells and debris, as well.

How to exfoliate

According to the American College of Dermatology, gently apply a small amount of product to your face using circular motions for about 30 seconds. Then rinse off thoroughly with lukewarm water.

When to exfoliate

Exfoliate twice weekly. Moreover, it is better to exfoliate at night to get rid of the daytime gird.


If you are a face mask fan, use exfoliating face masks for 15 minutes and skip this step. Do not exceed the duration mentioned on the product; to prevent moisture imbalance of your skin.
Here is your all-in-one solution for exfoliation!

order of skincare-exfoliation


When it comes to face masks, there is a wide variety to make choices. From oily, dry to combination skin, you can utilize whatever suits you well to get the desired results.

All types of face masks and why they matter

Clay mask

Clay masks absorb excess oil and help manage dry skin; hence prevent acne, pimples, blackhead, and whiteheads.

Gel mask

Gel masks provide a cooling and fresh feel. They are the ultimate partner to reduce under-eye puffiness and relieve stress. 


The anti-aging properties of cream masks can reverse signs of mature skin for a more youthful look. (Avoid usage if you have oily skin)

Sheet mask

A sheet mask is an all-in-one solution for all skin types. In other words, they are available to include a variety of skin types.

Fruit masks

If you are organic products fan and obsessed with a natural substitute, then treat yourself with a nature substitute, then treat yourself with a nature extract fruit mask, pleasing scent, and instant results at the same time.

How to apply a face mask

Use face masks that promise hydration and glow in the morning. Anti-aging face masks are best to use at night to augment skin cells repair.

order of skincare-face masks


Why does a toner matter

A common consequence of cleansing, exfoliating, and face masks are dry skin. That is the point at which toner plays its part. Toner helps in maintaining hydration and optimizing the pH of the skin. Studies prove that a pH of 5.5 needs to be maintained for its microbiome to flourish.
Skin Toner is useful for wiping out residues left by cleaners too. They tighten pores, beneficial for skin tightening; hence used as anti-aging. As a whole, make the skin look more balanced and natural.

How to apply a toner

Spray toner over your face. Use cotton, or gently pat with your fingertips.

When to apply a toner

Apply both morning and night for great results.

order of skincare-toners


Congrats! If you have been following along, you are on the right track to a perfect order of skincare. Once you are; done with the basics, it is time to add a cherry to the top of your skincare routine.

How are serums different from Toners and Cleansers and, why are they important?

Serums are; concentrated beauty products that contain a higher dose of some active ingredients. Since skin has seven layers, serum can well penetrate deeper into various layers of skin. They augment skin glow and minimize the effects of aging. Overall, the texture and tone of the skin are balanced. Moreover, they have less viscosity and do not feel heavy.

How to choose the best serums for your treatment?

The choice of serum relies on the treatment type your skin requires. Following is a list of which one might work better for you;

  • For acne-prone skin, use the salicylic acid serum.
  • To combat free radicals, UV damage, and hyperpigmentation use, vitamin C and E Serum.

How to use serums

Add 3-4 drops on your face and neck and gently tap. Do not rub aggressively and let it absorb into the skin on its own.

When to apply a serum

  • Use antioxidant, skin lightening serum in the morning.
  • The anti-aging serums work best when applied at night. That is because your skin cells regenerate during nighttime.
  • You can use hydrating serum both morning and night.
order of skincare-serums


Why does moisturizing matter

Moisturizers lock the effectiveness of a serum. However, people with oily skin types tend to avoid moisturizing. But, I would suggest you not skip one. That is because moisturizers protect you from getting blemishes, wrinkle lines in the future.

How to use a moisturizer

Hence, for oily skin, you can opt for gel moisturizers. These moisturizers enrich your skin without leaving excess oil.
For dry skin, use cream moisturizers to get a perfect balance.
Gently rub in the hands and pat on the skin, especially for oily skin.

When to apply a moisturizer

You can moisturize twice a day, both as a part of the morning and night skincare routine.


In the daytime, use moisturizers that are lighter so that they can readily be absorbed. Furthermore, the contents like Hyaluronic acids, ceramides add more benefits to your moisturizers.

skin condition rosacea rash and moisturization


Why does sunscreen matter

The last step is to nurture your skin with sunscreen; that shields your skin; without turning it much dry or oily. Sunscreen provides prevention against Hyper-pigmentation, aging, and skin cancer.

How to use sunscreen

Note that sunscreen should be; applied at the end of the skincare routine once the moisturizer is fully absorbed. If your sunscreen gives a white, crusty appearance, consider combining it with a moisturizer and then use it.

When to apply sunscreen

Always apply 30 mins before outdoor so that it absorbs well and sweat does not clear it off. If you are sweating before, gently wipe with a tissue.
Ideally, you should not apply any product on top of sunscreen. In this way, ensure you get the maximum shield.


To prevent UV-induced hyperpigmentation of lips, always apply lip balms with an SPF of at least 15. Apply one hour before going into the sun and repeat hourly application.

sunscreen for rosacea rash

The Bottom line

In a nutshell, your morning skincare routine should promise protection from environmental harms such as UV rays and pollutants. Thus cleansing, moisturizing, and sunscreen are the primary foundation of minimal morning skincare. Whereas; a night-care routine will help in the regeneration of your skin after a rough day. Skin cells repair when you are asleep. Therefore, it’s best to use all the beauty-loaded ingredients at night, and; you do not have to use sunscreen.

You can use exfoliators and face masks as a weekly add-on to your skincare routine. That is how you follow the order of skincare the right way and layer your skin that finally works!

Ammara Haroon
Ammara Haroon
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