It seems like an extensive skincare and beauty routine is all the rage right now (hello, have you seen Vogue’s 38-Step Beauty Routine?) with the growing popularity of K-Beauty and other skincare products that encourage a multi-step routine. But did you know, less may actually be more when it comes to skincare?
It’s true. While long skincare routines and tons of products get a lot of hype on social media, it’s actually the most basic skincare routines that have proven to be more effective in the long run.
At minimum, your skincare routine should include a cleansing step, a targeted treatment, and a hydration / moisturizing step, with an added step in the mornings to protect against sun damage, using sunscreen.
Not all skincare routines are created equal, though. The order in which you apply your skincare routine matters too. Some ingredients shouldn’t be combined in the same routine, some need to be layered on top of one another for maximum absorption, and some simply should be used in the morning or at night only.
Keep reading to see our thoughts on how many steps should be in your skincare routine and the correct way to apply them for maximum effectiveness!
How many steps should be in your skincare routine?
While a 38-step skincare routine might seem tempting if you love beauty and self-care, it’s not necessary, at all. As we mentioned earlier, at the very least, your skincare routine should have a cleansing step to remove dirt, grime and pollution, a treatment step to target your specific skin care concerns, and a final hydrating step to lock in hydration and moisture. And of course, we can’t forget to apply SPF everyday to protect your skin from sun damage!
That said, it can be fun to add in more steps to your skincare routine as needed - a beauty treatment here, a weekly mask there, and even skincare tools like a gua sha or facial roller can add to the overall experience.
We suggest starting with less steps and building your way up to another step to your skincare routine as needed, which we’ll explore later in this post.
Why the order of ingredients matters
The order you apply your skincare routine matters for many reasons. Some ingredients don’t mix well with others. Some skincare steps, like cleansing, are essential prep steps for the rest of your skincare routine. Also, some skincare products, such as oils, should always be the last step of your routine because they act as a sealant, “locking” moisture into your skin, meaning nothing else put on top of the oil could penetrate the skin. And of course, you wouldn’t want to apply cleanser after moisturizer - it just wouldn’t make sense! It can be confusing at first, but once you get into the swing of your own skincare routine and understand why each product needs to be applied and at what point, it will be easy to remember.
The ideal order to apply skincare products and what each step does
We’re going to break down each step of a skincare routine and where each product should go so you’re always applying them in the correct order. Not every step is necessary, of course, but it’s good to know so you can properly layer them and get the most out of your products.
- Our Pick: Fresh Brew Facial Toner
5. Moisturize and Hydrate
7. Primer + Makeup
If you wear makeup, the final step of your morning skincare routine can be a makeup primer if you use one, followed by your normal makeup routine.
Use the same cleanser as you did in the morning and double-cleanse to remove makeup, SPF, grime and pollution.
Feel free to use the same morning toner in the evening to prep skin for the rest of your evening routine.
3. Treatment/Serum based on your skin concerns
As we mentioned in the morning skincare routine, you should use a different serum in the evenings. So, if you use a Vitamin C serum in the morning, you may want to opt for an evening serum that targets other concerns like acne, anti-aging, or dark spots.
4. Eye Serum
- Our Pick: Doppio Firming Eye Serum
Hydrate with the same moisturizer as the morning, and add more if needed.
6. Oil (Optional)
In the winter months where you might be experiencing dryness, or if you’re looking to lock in your skincare routine, your last step in the evening could be a facial oil. Stick to natural oils like argan, olive, or jojoba oil to keep your skin soft.
So now that you know the correct way to apply skincare products for maximum effectiveness, we’d love to know what your current skincare routine looks like. Are you a simple skincare routine kind of person, or is your bathroom counter overflowing with products? Let us know in the comments. If you need help putting together your skincare routine, we’re happy to help!