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  • A Step-by-Step Guide to the Ideal Skin Care Routine Order

A Step-by-Step Guide to the Ideal Skin Care Routine Order

Learn the correct skin care routine order for the ideal application. A step-by-step guide to achieving nourished & healthy looking skin.

Developing an effective skincare routine is crucial for maintaining an even, fresh looking complexion. Each product and step in a skin care routine has a specific purpose, however, to gain the full benefits from products they need to be applied in the correct skin care order.

The Right Order of Skin Care Products

A basic understanding of the order of skin care products is to begin application with thinner, more translucent products, and layer until you reach thicker and heavier cream-based textures. The ideal skincare routine order and the products used will vary depending on the time of day, as your morning or night care regimen will include different products. To utilise products effectively, follow our guide to understand the correct skincare routine order of application.

Step 1: Facial Cleansers

Begin your skincare routine with a gentle facial cleanser to remove makeup, and environmental pollutants that have built up over the day. Ensuring you cleanse your skin properly provides a blank canvas for the skincare products to come. Where makeup, dirt and grime remain, the products that follow are less likely to be effectively absorbed. 


Choose a cleanser that has hydrating properties, ensuring your skin is cleansed but not stripped of its natural oils and moisture. An ideal cleanser will leave your skin feeling fresh, hydrated and clean, but not tight or dry. Cleansing should take place in the morning, evening and after excessive sweating. All products will have dedicated application instructions to follow, but as a general approach apply facial cleanser to damp skin, massage the product into your skin, and wash off with warm water. Gently pat cleansed skin dry with a clean face cloth before moving on to your next step.

Facial Cleanser for Different Skin Types

The right cleanser for you will depend on your skin type. Suitable for all skin types, we recommend SkinCeuticals Soothing Cleanser, a gentle, soap-free cleanser. For those with dry or sensitive skin, we recommend the SkinCeuticals Gentle Cleanser which softens skin while cleansing. If you have acne-prone skin, look for a cleanser with ingredients such as salicylic acid as it gently exfoliates skin. We recommend our SkinCeuticals Clarifying Exfoliating Cleanser.

Step 2: Toner

The ideal time for toner is directly after cleansing. This is as a toner works to balance and prime clean skin for subsequent products. Toner is a deeply and rapidly penetrating liquid that infuses the skin with additional hydration while also removing any remaining makeup traces, to help stabilise skin after cleansing.

Toners For Different Skin Types
The right toner is dependent on your skin type and concerns. For a skin refining toner that is suitable for normal to oily skin types we recommend the SkinCeuticals Conditioning Toner as it contains hydroxy acids which exfoliate and decongest skin. For those with acne-prone skin, we recommend the SkinCeuticals LHA Toner which is formulated to help reduce the appearance of clogged pores and remove surface dead skin cells.

Step 3: Facial Serums

Facial serums are very thin, lightweight products that are usually formulated with higher concentrations of ingredients. As they are formulated with more active ingredients, facial serums can deliver strong and effective results. The primary ingredient in the serum will dictate the benefits it provides skin. To achieve the best results, apply the serum that is addressing your primary skincare concern first, this allows the ingredients to get to work immediately. Apply your serum to a slightly damp face and massage the serum into your face, neck and chest for optimal results.

Facial Serum Types

Vitamin C serums deliver antioxidant benefits to the skin which work to reduce the impact of free radicals. Free radicals are harmful unpaired electrons that cause visible damage to skin cells. When applied topically, antioxidant-rich vitamin C serums help to reduce skin damage and signs of ageing. SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF Gel is a lightweight vitamin C serum that helps protect against environmental factors to protect against signs of ageing.

Hyaluronic acid serums are formulated to infuse your skin with moisture. Hyaluronic acid retains up to one thousand times its weight in water, restoring hydration and skin volume. To target skin that is both dehydrated and dull, we recommend layering your vitamin C and hyaluronic acid serums. The SkinCeuticals H.A. Intensifier Serum is a corrective hyaluronic acid serum that works to rehydrate and replump the skin. Though vitamin C and hyaluronic acid can be layered, when incorporating a facial serum into your skin care routine, ensure you follow the specific product directions as some active ingredients should not be combined.

Step 4: Eye Cream

The skin around the eyes is thinner and more delicate than the rest of the face, requiring tailored skincare products. Introduce an eye cream to your skincare routine to care for this delicate area that is more susceptible to damage and the appearance of dark circles. Apply a small amount of cream and gently pat into the skin with your ring finger, avoiding contact with the eye.

Designed to firm the skin around the eyes, the SkinCeuticals Eye Cream targets ageing and dehydrated skin. It is suitable for normal, oily and dry skin types. 

Step 5: Facial Moisturiser

Applying an effective facial moisturiser is a key step in any skincare routine. Moisturisers deliver optimal hydration to the skin to replenish lost moisture. To gain the most benefit, choose a moisturiser that aligns with your skin type, or concerns. Facial moisturisers are typically formulated to align to different skin types, be it normal, dry, oily, combination and sensitive skin.

When applied in the correct skincare routine order, a moisturiser will seal in the ingredients delivered in the serums, ensuring they deeply penetrate the skin. SkinCeuticals Daily Moisturiser has a lightweight, non-greasy formula making it an ideal cream for your morning skincare routine, it should be applied daily and is suitable for normal, oily and combination skin. In the evening, we recommend the SkinCeuticals Renew Overnight Dry which contains rich botanical extracts to restore a radiant complexion. It is suitable for normal to dry skin types.

The correct next steps in your skincare routine will differ depending on whether it is your morning, or evening, skincare routine. Your morning skin care routine should always include sun protection, while products with active ingredients that may increase sun sensitivity should only be used at night.

Step 6 for a Morning Skin Care Routine: Sunscreen

While the morning and evening steps are the same until this point in the skincare routine order, the final step in a morning skincare routine is to apply sunscreen. Sunscreen is an essential protector against harsh UV rays which result in photoaging – adequate sun protection can help reduce premature ageing. Being exposed to these elements damages skin and leaves it vulnerable to irritation and premature aging. Applying sunscreen is a crucial step in preventing sun damage, thereby protecting your skin against the onset or wrinkles, laxity and age spots. SkinCeuticals Ultra Facial Defense SPF 50+ is an moisturising sunscreen that protects skin from UVA/UVB rays. It is formulated with an ultra-light texture so it won’t clog your pores, and is suitable for normal, combination and dry skin types. ALWAYS READ THE LABEL. FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS FOR USE. Apply 20 minutes before sun exposure. Sunscreen is only one part of sun protection so wear protective clothing and seek shade. Avoid prolonged sun exposure. Reapply every 2 hours and after swimming, towelling and perspiring in accordance with directions.

Step 6 for a Night Skin Care Routine: Retinol

The final step in a night skincare routine is retinol cream. Also known as vitamin A, retinol offers valuable skin care benefits. Retinol stimulates cellular turnover and the production of collagen which enables firmer and stronger skin, making it an important ingredient in any skin care routine. However, UV exposure can decrease retinol’s efficacy while also making skin more sensitive to the sun; for these reasons, retinol products are primarily used as part of an evening skin care routine.

An optimally concentrated cream for your evening skincare routine, we recommend the SkinCeuticals Retinol 3.0. Retinol 3.0 is suitable for normal, oily and combination skin types. While selecting the right products to address your skin concerns is the essential first step, understanding the correct skin care routine order of application is key to curating a regime that delivers effective results. Keep to the golden rule of thinnest to thickest texture in mind when applying skin care to ensure you adhere to the right order of application.

Skin Ceuticals

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