Regardless of what products we’re using, we want to ensure they are getting absorbed into the skin where they need to be, which is why the order in which you apply them is so important. By applying products in the wrong order you may be making them less effective or risk unfortunate ingredient reactions. So what is the correct order?
In general it goes: Thinnest to Thickest.
Or in other words, most watery to most oily. As oil will block water from entering the skin, applying your moisturiser then your serum on top will not allow the watery serum to enter the skin.
To help, here’s the breakdown of how your routine should be organised, regardless of what products you’re using.
Using a double cleanse system is our recommended way to ensure a perfectly clean slate for your other products. Use a creamy or oil based cleanser like Vital C Hydrating Cleanser to melt down waterproof sunscreen and makeup and rinse it away before following with a cleanser with ingredients suited to your skin type to get the best clean at the end of the day.
If we are exfoliating, it’s best to do so before serums to ensure that the serums are not blocked by dead skin cells and can absorb better. However, if you are using a leave-on exfoliant such as an exfoliating serum, please check whether your other serums are compatible with it to avoid a negative reaction.
If you are using a mask like the Aspect Intense Hydration Sheet Mask, you don’t need to use a hydrating toner afterwards but instead just massage in the remaining serum from the sheet mask pack! If you are using a sleeping mask, this can be used in place of your moisturiser - we recommend applying at least 20-30 minutes before bed however to allow it to sink into the skin and avoid it rubbing off on your pillow!
Using a toner will help hydrate or exfoliate the skin depending on the product. It will also help improve the absorption of serums layered on after. This is great for hydrating, peptide, vitamin B, soothing or antioxidant serums.
However it can make an exfoliant, retinol / vitamin A or vitamin C products penetrate faster and be irritating. If you’re using a toner with these potent serums, let it absorb fully into the skin before continuing with serum!
In general, we’ll use our active serums first and let them fully absorb before layering on another - this minimises the risk of them mixing and causing a negative effect. Ingredients like Retinol, exfoliating acids and vitamin C should be allowed to fully absorb before following with hydrating serums that will form a barrier over them to trap in moisture.
Regardless of the texture of the moisturiser, it will go on after serums to lock them into the skin and prevent water from escaping the skin.
If you feel you are needing extra nourishment for your skin or you have an oil with active ingredients, it should go after moisturiser. This is because, despite many facial oils feeling very lightweight, it is technically the heaviest product and will block other products from entering the skin. After your moisturiser has absorbed you can pat a few drops of an oil like Aspect’s Redless 21 right over the top to seal the deal to soothe and nourish dry skin.
Sunscreen must always go last as it forms a barrier to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Applying other products such as moisturizers or oils on top can disrupt this film and cause it to become patchy, not giving you full protection. You should allow your sunscreen to fully sink into the skin before applying any makeup products and you should never mix your sunscreen with another product as this will dilute it and make it ineffective.