Is there a correct order to apply skincare products?

For some having an extensive multi-step skincare routine can feel like a burden. For others an absolute treat, a moment for self-reflection and self-care. No matter which camp you sit in you’ve probably still wondered what should my skincare routine actually be? And, is there a correct order to apply skincare products? To be honest, so have we. After a lot of research, chats with cosmetic science experts and dermatologists and a whole lot of personal trial and error, our founder Tiffany has got it nailed. So, let’s get into it…


Is there a correct order to apply your skincare products?

Before we get into our recommended routine lets discuss. Surely if the products are all wonderful and amazing it doesn’t really matter if I put my serum on last or my SPF on somewhere in the middle. Weelll… it turns out most experts agree that the order of application is incredibly important in ensuring you’re getting the maximum benefits out of the products. In a nutshell, you want to make sure that the ingredients you’re so carefully applying (any paying for) actually do penetrate the skins barrier to receive the full benefits-  which if you apply your skincare incorrectly won’t happen, meaning you might not see the desired results.

If you put your eye cream on last, it can’t penetrate through the multiple layers of skincare you’ve already applied, therefore it barely reaches the skin, let alone penetrates enough to give any benefit. Same kind of thing for your SPF, if it’s a physical one, you want it going on last to form that protective barrier from UVA and UVB light BUT if it’s a chemical one, you want it going on first as these need to be absorbed by the skin to be effective.

 To make things simple, here’s the order you should apply your skincare products to get the maximum benefits…

(Your Skincare Cheat Sheet) 

AM & PM Routines

Morning Skincare Routine

  1. Cleanser.
    Pillows can accumulate dead skin cells, oil and body sweat, that guess what…?- can rub off onto your face. Refresh skin and remove impurities with a morning cleanse, using a clean flannel to really remove that dirt. Oh, and don’t forget to regularly change your pillowcase.

  2. Toners / Exfoliating Acids.
    Go for something nourishing and hydrating. Think of your toner as a skincare primer, making the product that follow work harder. Gradually introduce an exfoliating acid toner to help to balance PH levels, remove dead cell build up and give skin that healthy glow.

  3. Eye Cream.
    You want to apply your eye cream now before any of your other products to ensure it properly absorbs in the targeted areas. To cope with puffiness, choose a gel over a cream. If you’re not an eye cream kinda gal work your other treatments right up to and around your eye socket and skin and skip this step.

  4. Serum. 
    This is where you target your specific skincare concerns. Not all serums are created equal, so invest in a good quality formula, if you’re using one, and make sure you choose something that addresses your specific needs; think pigmentation, uneven skin tone or signs of premature ageing.

  5. Face Oil.
    Oils are so packed with goodness they’re beneficial for all skin types- dry, dehydrated and even oily, helping to balance your natural oil production. For those with oily skin incorporating face oils can be a little intimidating, however by adding an oil into your routine, you can help balance sebum production, actually minimising unwanted greasiness. Use alone or drop into your moisturiser. We love pressing our Dawn Elixirinto the face, neck and décolletage while breathing in deeply to get the aromatherapy benefits as well as the amazing skin benefits.

  6. SPF.
    The one product Tiff insists no-one should live without! We recommend using a physical sunscreen for ultimate protection. If you feel like by this point, you’re a bit too wet and over-layered, wait a few minutes before applying your SPF. Go have breakfast or brush your teeth to allow your previously applied products to really sink in and then apply your sun protection.
Dawn Elixir

    Evening Skincare Routine

    1. Cleanser.
    We love doing a double cleanse to thoroughly remove makeup, dirt and grime, Well the first cleanse will remove the grime and the second will, you know, do the actual cleansing.Mask: We like to use face masks 1-3 times a week, depending on how skin is feeling. If it’s a little dry try a hydrating mask, breakouts- something with vitamin A, enlarged pores- we love a clay-based mask and so on.

    2. Toners / Exfoliating Acids.

     if you’re applying a retinol product later, skip anything exfoliating or acid based and instead look for something hydrating, like the nourishing toner from your morning routine.Eye cream: this is still optional buuut if you’re trying to avoid crows’ feet or suffer from dryness around the eyes it is a nice extra step. Even when using an additional eye cream, we still bring all our products as close to eyes as safely possible- whether that’s toners or face oils to get the maximum benefits.

     3. Serum.

    Same advice goes for your morning routine- this is a good place to invest your money but make sure you choose something that specifically targets your skincare concerns.

     4. Retinol.

    Retinols are brilliant for stimulating the production of new skin cells, but they can cause a fair bit of irritation if you’re not used to using them. Remember that different products may have a higher percentage of retinol than others, so build up gradually. You might even want to miss it out entirely if you’re using the Dusk Elixir as your next step… 

    5. Face Oil.

    Our favourite step! Our Dusk Elixir contains Bakuchiol, which is a more gentle, natural retinol alternative helping to stimulate cell turnover and boost collagen production. It can help with appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and because its gentle and natural you can use it every day without causing flakiness or redness like retinol. Plus, our Dusk Elixir includes gorgeous essential oils like lavender and frankincense that really soothe and relax the mind before bed.Moisturiser: If you like to layer, you can add in moisturiser for skin that needs extra, extra hydration. We’d suggest adding this step in at night when your skin is working to naturally repair and rebuild itself.

    Dusk Elixir

    *Okay, we’re just going to go ahead and address the big debate that’s ‘should I apply moisturiser or oil first?’ Some say apply your oil before moisturiser so that it absorbs right into your skin before you slather on more hydration, others say apply it after to seal everything you’ve applied beneath it in (e.g. serums) and lock in that hydration. Our answer, there’s not actually one conclusive answer. It’s down to what works best for you.

    And that’s it. Seven simple steps for morning and evening. Still feeling little confused? Got any Q’s or need a little more information? Send us a direct message on Instagram, or email us at and one of our team will get back to you.