We all have a routine we go through every morning from the second we wake up to the second we walk out the door. One of the most important parts of everyone’s routine should be caring for your skin. After all, it is crucial to take care of your biggest organ if you want to look great and age gracefully. If you think your skin care routine needs a little tweaking make note of the tips in this article from Elle Magazine.
Even if you’re not onboard with the rigorous multi-step skincare situation Korean women swear by, you’re likely using more than one product in your a.m. routine. Even if it’s just a basic moisturizer and an SPF, it’s crucial to apply them in the right order to avoid negating the benefits o . “I get asked about this several times a day,” says New York-based Elizabeth Arden dermatologist Dendy Engelman M.D. “Truthfully, it could be wasteful of your time, money, and effort if you don’t apply products in the right order.”
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Every product in your arsenal may tout a similar resultlike brightening, acne clearing, or hydrationbut the methods and means of the ingredient delivery can vary wildly. “It all comes down to penetration,” explains Ni’Kita Wilson, a New Jersey-based cosmetic chemist. “If you put on a heavier cream, it will usually have a wax in it, so any water-based material applied after will have a hard time getting through.”
The best rule of thumb is to apply your products from lightest or thinnest to heaviest or thickest. “The exceptions are oils and sunscreen,” says Wilson. “Even though they feel runny, oils should go toward the end, right before sunscreen, which is always last.”
Assuming you’ve already washed your face, let the following list serve as your layering guide. Don’t spiral if you’re not applying everything below, though. Simply organize what you do use based on the order.
Toner or Essence
“Start with anything that has the same fluidity as water,” advises Wilson. This allows the thin fluid to sink deeply into the skin and also preps for the following step. “Water is a great solvent, so if your skin is moist, you are opening more channels for it to receive product.”
This relatively new category of skin care, like Elizabeth Arden’s SUPERSTART Skin Renewal Booster, boosts the effectiveness of your skincare products. “When we cleanse, we can strip our skin’s natural acid mantle and change the pH, which is not the ideal setting for skin to behave properly,” explains Engelman. “SUPERSTART gets it back to a normal pH and functioning at its best, which enhances everything else.”
Serums are usually packed with strong ingredients that can really change the skinthey’re the workhorse of skincare products. As such, it’s best to apply them as early as possible so skin can directly absorb as much of the product as possible.
While some lotions are on the thicker, heavier side, most formulas are fairly thin (and which you choose comes down to personal preference). You may not use a lotion, but if your skin is particularly dry, consider applying it pre cream or oil.
In general, the thicker the cream, the more likely it is to rely on waxy ingredients that create a moisture-retaining barrier. “Creams really lock in hydration,” Engelman says.
“This is your sealant,” Wilson says. Oils act as barrier protection, essentially working to keep moisture in and the bad stuff out. While they do add a little hydration, it’s not nearly as much as a thick cream that contains glycerin or hyaluronic acid. They also deliver instant softness, leaving your skin silky smooth.
No matter whether your preferred formula is light or heavy, sunscreen should always be applied last. “It forms a uniform film on top of the skin to shield it. If you put anything other than makeup on top, you may disrupt the film and open it up for the sun to penetrate,” instructs Wilson. Try Elizabeth Arden PREVAGE City Smart, which combines pollution and UV protection with a DNA Enzyme Complex to strengthen skin.
Give your skin a few minutes to settle and for some of the extra moisture in the formulas to evaporate (they’re meant to) before diving into your foundation.
And P.S., what’s the deal with pilling?
“If you notice your skin tends to ‘pill’ or ball up with product, wait until each layer dries before applying the next,” Wilson advises. Overloading product can result in more moisture than your skin can absorb, causing a chemical reaction that pushes ingredients out in a manner you can visually notice. And once that starts to happen, says Wilson, you really have to start all over again. “The beautiful thing about sticking to one brand is they will often stay harmonious,” notes Engelman. “We all mix and match, but if you like one product, you know the rest of the line was tested to work together.”
Are there certain combinations to avoid?
Every once in a while, certain ingredients don’t play nice together and can cause a reaction on your skin. “If you’re going to layer multiple strong ingredients that all have the potential to irritate, like benzoyl peroxide, glycolic acid, retinol, and vitamin C, do a small patch first behind your ear to see if your skin can withstand it,” Wilson suggests.