Updated: Dec 3, 2021
There's a certain order your skincare should go in to get the best results out of your regimen.
Here are the 5 steps in order that you'll do morning and evening (minus the SPF at night) so you'll never be confused again!
STEP 1~ CLEANSE
This is your first step. Cleansing does just what it says and cleans away all the dirt, grime, and oil from the day. If you wear a lot of makeup, a good oil cleanser used first will melt it all away. Then it's a good idea to do a double cleanse either with the same cleanser or one targeted for your skin type to make sure you've gotten it all. Not sure about your skin type? Go see a Licensed Esthetician who can analyze your skin and tell you exactly what you need.
STEP 2~ TONE
A toner is a step that is usually very confusing for people. People don't realize how beneficial this step is for your routine! A toner may feel like you're spritzing scented water on your face, but it's so much more than that! A toner is made up of beneficial ingredients that help support skin health. They're infused with nutrients and plant extracts that help build and repair the skin barrier. They also balance the Ph of the skin and help drive serums deeper into the skin for better results. Again, the right toner will be important to know for your skin type. The most common complaint I hear is that their toner is too drying for the skin. If this is so, then you're using the wrong one. There's ones for dry, oily, and combination skin.
STEP 3~ SERUM
A serum is what treats your skin condition. Skin type and skin condition are two different things. Your skin type is what you are born with and can usually be determined by your pore size. Small pores are usually indicative of a drier skin type whereas, larger pores are seen in a more oily skin type. Your skin condition is what is happening to your skin. Is it dehydrated, do you have fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, acne, rosacea...these can be treated with a serum. Serums are full of powerful ingredients to treat skin conditions and concerns. They're usually the most concentrated and the most expensive step in your skincare routine, but soooo worth it!
STEP 4 ~MOISTURIZER
A moisturizer locks hydration into your skin. Moisturizers are infused with beneficial ingredients to further support skin health as well as occlusives, emollients, and humectants (ingredients that create a barrier on the skin to prevent moisture loss) like beeswax, natural oils like jojoba, and shea butters to name a few. Transepidermal Water Loss or TEWL is the loss of water that passes from inside the body through the epidermis (top layer of skin) to the surrounding atmosphere via the evaporation process. Moisturizers help prevent this from happening keeping proper hydration levels in the skin.
A common thing I see in the treatment room is combination skin, where someone feels like their skin is dry and oily at the same time. This is most likely from a lack of hydration in the skin. When the skin gets too dry, it starts to overcompensate by making extra oils to lubricate the skin. When you feel oily, naturally you don't want to add oil or moisturizer to your skin thinking it's going to make it even more oily. The opposite is actually true. Your skin needs more moisture to stop producing extra oil. It sounds counterintuitive but it works.
STEP 5~ SPF
SPF should be used during the day as it's not necessary to wear it to bed! Make sure you're choosing a physical sunscreen containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide which are natural minerals that sit on top of the skin and deflect the sun's rays. This is way better for your health since these ingredients are non-toxic. STAY AWAY from chemical sunscreens like oxybenzone and avobenzone which work by absorbing the sun's rays. These are very toxic to humans, plants, and animals. These have the potential to cause cancer, disrupt the hormone system, and cause harm during reproduction and development. A lot of professional skincare lines carry moisturizers with SPF in them which won't leave you feeling like you have a layer of white on your face. Mineral makeup often has built in SPF as well. 85-90% of wrinkles are caused by sun damage so wear your sunscreen!
I hope this helped clear up some confusion on how to use your skincare regimen! I suggest seeing a Licensed Esthetician who can take the guess work out of what you should be using. You'll save money in the end and won't be left with a thousand products in your cabinet that don't work for you :)