What Order Should Skin Care be Applied?

by Cala Walgreen / Sep 01, 2022
The order of skin care products from cleanser to moisturizer

Did you know the order you apply your skin care products can make or break the results of your routine? 

The Correct Order of Skin Care Products

We’re not just talking about applying night creams after washing your face.

The order of how you apply cleansers, moisturizers, serums, and more can make your skin care routine all the more effective. Or, on the other hand, render some products completely ineffective! 

Learn more about what order your skin care should go in morning and night.

Perfecting Your Morning Routine

When you wake up, there are three things you should always do to help your face look and feel fresh (in this order).

  1. Cleanse
  2. Treat
  3. Moisturize

Of course, you might want to include other products in your skin care routine. 

Here are some tips for how to apply your skin care correctly in the morning:

Step 1: Start with a Cleanser

Use a gentle cleanser when you wake up to create a clean canvas for the treatment that’s about to come. Cleansers are especially helpful if you have oily skin or are prone to breakouts.

Step 2: Follow with a Toner

Avoid toners with alcohol as the main active ingredient. Instead, opt for one that leaves your face feeling fresh and primed for the next step in your skin care routine.

Step 3: Apply Your Serums

These are totally optional but can do wonders for your skin if you know how to use them. For instance, a Vitamin C serum can be great for bringing out your skin’s natural glow.

Step 4: Enjoy Your Eye Cream

A rule of thumb for the order of skin care is to apply your products from thinnest to thickest. Since eye cream tends to be thinner than most moisturizers, it’s best to apply it around your eye area in the middle of your morning routine.

Step 5: Complete Your Spot Treatments

Dab a thin layer of your favorite product on any problem areas, making sure it dries before moving to the next step.

Step 6: Add Your Moisturizer

Moisturizer is a must year-round, no matter your skin type. 


Not only does it help refresh your face, but it also keeps all these important products you already applied in place so they can work their magic. 

Step 7: Finish with a Face Oil

Using a light face oil as this near-finishing step can help lock in hydration for the rest of the day.

Step 8: Don’t Forget the Sunscreen

Naturally, no morning skin care routine is complete without sunscreen. Before heading out for the day or applying your makeup, use mineral sunscreen to protect your skin from UV rays. 

Relax and Unwind With Your Night Routine

Woman washing face with gentle cleanser

Cleansing your skin before you go to bed is equally important to help your skin look refreshed in the morning. Many of the steps are the same, and the rule of applying your products from thinnest to thickest still applies.

  • You may want to use retinol at night before your final product to help avoid fine lines and diminish dark spots all over. However, you can skip this if you’re using a night moisturizer with retinoids. 
  • You can also skip the sunscreen and finish your evening skin care routine with your favorite face oil.

While everyone has a skin care routine that works best for them, make sure you’re applying your products in this order to maximize their effectiveness.

Shop our full collection of skin care favorites at Patchology to perfect your personalized routine today!