This is the correct order to apply your skincare

To make the most of your skincare, the order you apply your products in really matters. Think of it like putting together an outfit – it’s not going to be quite as effective or eye-catching with your tights pulled over your skirt and your coat layered beneath your jumper.

How to order your skincare products

As a general rule, your skincare should be applied from lightest to heaviest, starting with watery lexfoliants and lightweight serums and finishing with a comforting moisturiser as the final step. The logic? Apply your heaviest skincare first, and the lighter products won’t stand a chance of making it to your skin.

Here at Trinny London, we recommend a four-step routine AM and PM, with a daytime SPF as an added extra. If you prefer a simpler routine, just follow the steps that apply to you…

Skincare routine: AM


Start the day right by cleansing your face. It might seem like an unnecessary step with no makeup or SPF to remove, but it’ll whisk away the bacteria, sweat and residual PM skincare still sitting on the surface of your skin. You only need to cleanse once, but take the time to massage the product in – a little “me time” moment before you start the day.


Regular exfoliation will reward you with a brighter, more even complexion. It’ll also help to reduce the risk of breakouts and help prevent blocked pores – impressive, right? If you’re new to liquid exfoliants (a mess-free alternative to granular scrubs) build up your usage slowly, starting from just a couple of applications a week.


Serums have the highest concentration of active ingredients in a skincare routine, so will be doing the bulk of the heavy lifting when it comes to targeting specific concerns. Daytime serums should defend skin against external aggressors like pollution, as well as provide hydration. Retinoids break down in sunlight and can make skin sensitive to light, so aren’t suitable for daytime use.


Moisturiser might not feel like the most exciting part of your skincare routine but if you skip it, you’ll know about it. A good moisturiser will both hydrate the skin and lock in moisture, ensuring it stays comfortable and plump all day long.


Round off your morning skincare routine with a generous application (around one teaspoon for your face and neck) of SPF. This will protect skin from UV damage which can at best cause fine lines and sun spots, and at worst lead to skin cancer. SPF is the only part of your skincare routine that you need to reapply during the day – especially if you have been sweating or swimming.

Skincare routine: PM


Your evening cleanse is your opportunity to wash away the day. First up, use a balm cleanser to melt away makeup, SPF and daily grime. Once that’s out the way, go in with a gel cleanser to give your pores a good clear out. If your skin is super sensitive or dry, you might want to just do one cleanse, or repeat the process with the balm cleanser twice. Not sure if you’ve removed all your makeup? Wiping a clean, white flannel over your face is a good test.


Exfoliation has its own benefits when it comes to fading pigmentation and brightening the skin, but sloughing away surface-level dead skin cells also gives the serums and moisturisers that follow a helping hand too. By clearing the way with exfoliation, your other products can penetrate the skin more easily, making exfoliators a great addition to your PM regime.

Confused about chemical exfoliants? No problem. Poly-hydroxy acids (also known as PHAs) have the largest molecule size, making them the gentlest of all the acids and the best for beginners. Beta-hydroxy acids (or BHAs) are oil-soluble, allowing them to remove debris from inside the pores. They’re a great choice for anyone who suffers from breakouts or congestion. Finally, alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) will give the most satisfying, skin-brightening results. PHAs can be used during the day, while BHAs and AHAs should be limited to evening-only applications.


As mentioned in the AM routine, now’s the time to really target any complexion bugbears. Choose vitamin C to brighten, peptides and hyaluronic acid to plump, niacinamide to decongest and retinoids to help renew skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines. To avoid overwhelming the skin, we recommend using exfoliants and retinal or vitamin C serums on alternate days.


If you feel your skin needs it, end the day with a generous coating of moisturiser. This will ensure skin stays healthy and hydrated overnight, so you can wake up to comfortable, glowing skin.

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