With all the different kinds of products out there, one of the questions I get the most often is, “When do I use that?” After the basic cleanser-toner-moisturizer, how do you layer products and still maintain effectiveness? I have a few easy, general rules that can help you sort out your products once you get them home.
- Use the products that have the lightest texture first. Feel the texture of each of your products. You want to use the product with a watery or gel-like texture first. These products, which are generally serums, penetrate faster and have a higher concentration of active ingredients, and you want that closest to the skin.
- Use exfoliants at night. Check the ingredients. Does it use an AHA like glycolic or lactic acid? Does it have retinol as one of the active ingredients? These exfoliants can sometimes cause photosensitivity, so it is safer to put it on at night and give your skin a chance to repair. Be sure to use an SPF in the morning!
- Use your antioxidants in the morning. Does this product contain Vitamin C? Have you got a CoQ10 cream? Is it a multi-vitamin for your skin? Your skin is exposed to more free radicals when you’re running around during the day, so you’ll get the most benefits from antioxidants then. You can always use antioxidants at night; you just want to be sure to use them during the day.
- Use the more reparative products at night. Does your cream repairs fine lines? Your skin, just like your mind and your body, restores and repairs itself at night. Get the most benefits from your reparative or anti-aging products by giving those ingredients to your skin when it can use them best.
- When all else fails… Prioritize your routine by your primary concern. You have two light-weight, watery serums. One addresses hydration, and one uses antioxidants. If you want to use them both, use the one that addresses your primary concern first. Is your primary concern is hydration? Put that on your cleansed skin first. Is your primary concern is anti-aging? Try the antioxidant serum first instead. The active ingredients will all benefit the skin, but this way it absorbs the product that fixes your first concern the fastest.
There are, of course, exceptions to every rule. These are only guidelines, designed to help you build your own customized routine with your favorite products. When in doubt, follow the recommendations of your dermatologist or skincare professional.