Applying products in chronological order

You just walked out of a facial service and you're really excited because you bought all the products your esthetician suggested you needed. You're so amped for tomorrow because you get to use all these fun new tonics, serums, lotions, crèmes, fillers, and more and more! Hooray!!!

Your esthetician is inside the salon or spa with a smile on her face watching you gleefully skip out to your car with your shopping bag in hand and is pleased as punch that you'll be back in 6 weeks with rave reviews. Everything is just coming up roses!

Except, tomorrow comes and you cannot remember what she told you to use first and the directions on the back of the bottle are a bit obscure so you wing it and think "well, hey, it can't be that hard, I'll just slather this here and dab that there and viola! Nailed it!"

Let's face it (I love puns), your esthetician works with these products day in and day out so they know exactly which to use, when and how. But you may be feeling a little confused or overwhelmed thinking they told you to apply your cleanser in the moonlight and then tone facing west, and only put on a mask if you see a squirrel in your front yard...yeah...we've all been there.

Let's dive in together, shall we?

Here are the ideal basic steps for your skincare routine:
1. Cleanse
2. Tone
3. Exfoliate (not daily - more like 2-3 times a week depending on skin type)
4. Tone
5. Mask (not daily - more like 2x a week)
6. Tone
7. Power treatment (glorious serums and gels)
8. Eye treatment
9. Moisturizer


Yours may have more steps, or not look a whole lot like this or nothing like this at all.
You either do not have the time or the products at hand for all these steps.

What's the most important?
Depends on what result you're looking for, I suppose.
Everyone uses a cleanser of some sort so for argument's sake, let's just take that off the table.
If I had to pick my top 2 steps, again it depends on your skin type and concern, I would pick Tone & Exfoliate. (I have a previous blog post about pH balance and the importance of exfoliation and the different types of exfoliating available to you - scroll through my page or let me know if you want to read it and I'll send it out again). A lot can be cleared up and accomplished with these steps.

When should I do all of this?
The golden rule of thumb is to cleanse, tone, power treat, eye cream and moisturize in the morning AND again at night. If there is just no way you can do all of that in the morning (because your 2 year old just dumped an entire box of cereal onto the living room floor perhaps....) then you should definitely aim to get-er done before you go to bed at night.
Do no ever sleep with your make up on. Ever.
(Sleeping with make up on is another blog post - stay tuned)
Take the 3 minutes after you brush your teeth to whip through washing your face and hitting up the toner, serums and moisturizer. You'll wake up thankful you did this. While you sleep, your skin is not exposed to environmental stressors, psychological stressors or physical responses (scrunched forehead and frowny face). While you sleep your body is replenishing, restoring and rebuilding from the day's hard work. Your body is getting rid of toxins, bringing nutrients through your capillaries and there is a higher rate of product efficacy when it is given the time to do it's job without interruption.

Why so many steps and so many products?
Seems crazy, right? But there is a reason. Remember the client I told you about in the previous post? Well, she was instructed to go ahead and mix her $80 serum in with her $80 moisturizer if she just didn't have the time to apply them the right way. That's money down the drain folks.
You'll notice eye cream is typically much thinner or runny compared to your moisturizer.
Same as a serum, and they are typically clear or at least not white like most moisturizers.
Each product is made up of different formulas based on the skin on that part of your body.
The skin on your kneecap does not have the same permeability as the skin under your eye. Therefore, the product needs to be able to penetrate and the skin needs to be able to absorb it in a timely fashion.
We put serums on our skin as a power treatment because the molecular structure absorbs into the skin at a rapid rate specifically targeting our concerns head on. We apply our under eye treatment next, allowing the serum to keep working, and because we will spend a brief moment lightly massaging (maybe a little lymphatic movement) to help remove puffiness from the day. We apply moisturizer for obvious reasons but also as it will help push the serum in further and lock in our hydration levels.
So the lady mixing her serum with the moisturizer? Her skin struggles to absorb a product that is bound to a moisturizer. The image just popped into my head - it's like a snow globe. All that glitter (serum) floating around in goo-water (moisturizer).

Hopefully this helps clear up some confusion and remember that I am always available for any skin care questions! Shoot me a text or a message or try the old fashioned phone call - I'm here and I would be glad to help!

Brooke BatemanComment