What’s the Proper Face Care Routine Order?

What’s the Proper Face Care Routine Order?

What’s the proper face care routine order? If there’s one question that’s often plaguing a skin care lover’s mind, it’s this one. Don’t worry, you are not alone. Even skin care junkies can get confused on the right order from time to time, especially when switching up their face care routines.

Flat lay picture of skin care and beauty products.

In this article, we will be discussing the correct order of how to apply your skin care products. You might think that this is not important, since they are all going to be absorbed by the skin anyway, right? WRONG! It is crucial that skin care products are applied correctly, otherwise you can run into problems like the ones below:

Less Effective

It doesn’t matter how expensive your skin care products are, if you don’t follow the proper face care routine order, they can become less effective. Surely, you would want to get your money’s worth and not waste all those perfectly good products!

Skin Irritation

The last thing anyone wants is skin irritation from using skin care. Unfortunately, this can happen if the proper face care routine order is messed up. Skin care products are made of different ingredients that each have a specific function and when they are mixed up randomly or used out of order, unwanted chemical reactions can happen.

General Rules in Skin Care Layering

Black woman applying skin care and looking in mirror. 

Skin care layering became a big trend since the rise of beauty gurus and YouTube tutorials a couple of years ago. While it is not really necessary to pile up product after product (increased quantity does not equate to increased effectivity), this can definitely help speed up your journey to getting that perfect skin. But, here's the catch - you have to know what you are doing. Otherwise, you can end up wasting a lot of money or even make your skin problems worse.

Make sure you are doing it right by following the proper face care routine order or rules below:

Go from light to heavy

To make sure all those delicious skinfood gets absorbed well, go from light to heavy. The correct order of application should be – toner, serum, essence, cream, oil. The more watery liquids get absorbed quicker into your pores, while creamier textures have bigger molecules and take a longer time. If you apply the oils or cream first, they block out the pores, preventing the lighter serums to penetrate your skin.

Mind the PH level

One of the trickiest things in skin care is figuring out how to balance PH level of all the products you are using. Being aware of this is critical because an unbalanced PH can cause dryness, irritation, peeling and other skin nightmares. When it comes to PH, the general rule is to go from low to high. Another thing to keep in mind is to not mix acidic products with neutral ones. To be safe, it is best to use them in different times of day or alternately.

Now that you know the proper face care routine order, here’s another question to mull over – do you really need a complicated skin care routine? Our answer (and even skin experts would agree) is no.

Keep it Simple

Yes, layering skin care can be very relaxing (and effective!) and admittedly, we’ve all spent one too many times watching 10-step skin care routines on YouTube. But hear us out – a simple skin care routine can be just as effective too. Even more so for the ones with sensitive skin.

Sliced fruits flat lay photo.

If your skin is prone to being irritated or breaking out, it is best to stick to natural skin care that use fruit or plant-based ingredients. These will be gentler and safer on skin but still do a great job in cleaning, exfoliating and nourishing your skin with vitamins and nutrients.

A simple skin care routine can do wonders on skin too. Just as with regular skin care products, there is also a certain order of application that must be followed. We promise, though, it is much simpler.

Here are the three main steps that you should do:


Of course, the first step is to take off all the gunk on your face – sweat makeup, oil, lashes, etc. One of the worst mistakes you can do is to sleep with your makeup on. Choose a cleanser that is gentle but effective. If you wear a lot of makeup, double cleansing – with oil and facial wash – is recommended.


Your skin needs to be regularly moisturized to be healthy. Without proper moisture, skin can look dry and flaky. Fine lines and wrinkles will also be more prominent. Moisturizers come in many forms and they are designed to target specific skin problems. Make sure to choose a moisturizer that is compatible or ideal for your skin type.


The last on the list of the proper face care routine order is applying a broad spectrum sunscreen. While this step is crucial, many neglect doing it. Remember, sunscreen not only prevents premature skin aging, it also protects you from skin cancer.

The proper face care routine order really depends on your specific skin needs. There are other face care steps like exfoliation, massage, detoxification, etc. that can be added into the routine. But essentially, the three most important things that you should do to keep your skin healthy is to cleanse, moisturize and protect your skin.

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