How To Apply Skin Care Cosmetics In The Correct Order And Why It Matters

How To Apply Skin Care Cosmetics In The Correct Order And Why It Matters:

I previously discussed a lot of skin care products and that brought forth questions, mostly about not WHAT to use, but HOW to use them.  One of the questions I am most frequently asked involves the order in which products should be applied.  This seems to be universally confusing to most users.  People seem to wonder about how to apply skin care cosmetics in the correct order and why it matters.  The sequence in which you apply skin care products actually does make a difference and there is a right way and wrong way.

Too Many Products, Too Many Choices:

There are so many products to choose from nowadays, it is no wonder that how to use them all correctly is mind boggling for most.  After all, there used to just be cleanser, toner, day cream and night cream.  Then came eye cream, serum, moisturizer with sunscreen, moisturizer without sunscreen, sunscreen by itself, face primer, eye primer, lip primer, facial oil, micellar water, facial essence and the list just keeps growing.  (As I’ve been typing this, ten new things have probably been invented!)

Develop An Order:

To achieve the maximum benefit from your products, develop an order to your routine and it will be easy to follow.  What follows is a simple breakdown on how to properly coordinate your skin care products.  After all, why spend the money and go to the trouble to use them if you are not going to get the optimum benefit from the products, right?

Do You Need All of This Stuff?

Now, I’m not telling you that you need to use all of these products every day.  I don’t.  But, you can take a look at the list and you can see where your products fall in line with other products.

Skin Care Cosmetics Application Tips and Tricks:

  • Always begin with clean skin. Nothing is going to work well unless you are starting with a clean, fresh surface.
  • Exfoliate regularly. The products cannot penetrate through a layer of dead skin cells.  There is no point in putting skin care products on if they can’t be absorbed well.
  • Begin with the products that are the thinnest like water and then progress to the next thickest, and so on. Why?  Because if you start with a thick product, the thin one won’t be able to penetrate through it, won’t do any good, and you are basically wasting it.
  • Give each product a chance to be absorbed before you move on to the next product. (Depending upon the product this may be 20 seconds or two minutes.)
How To Apply Skin Care Cosmetics In The Correct Order And Why It Matters Cleanse First

Always Begin By Thoroughly Cleansing First

Thinner or Thicker?

Can’t figure out which ones feel thinner or thicker?  Here is a simple trick—Apply a dab of each product along your forearm, then turn your arm sideways and see which ones run or drip down first.  Make a note of that and apply them in that order.  If they all feel the same or don’t drip, then apply them according to how quickly and easily absorbed they are.  Rub  them in one at a time and count how long it takes for them to be absorbed.  Begin with the one that is absorbed the fastest and then progress to the next.  (You can also put them on a plate if you don’t want to put them on your arm, but that won’t tell you anything about the absorption rate.)

How To Apply Skin Care Cosmetics In The Correct Order And Why It Matters Begin With The Thinnest Products

Begin With The Thinnest Products And Work Up To The Thickest Products

How To Apply Skin Care Cosmetics In The Correct Order And Why It Matters Cream Thin Or Thick

Does The Cream Feel Thin Or Thick? How Long Does It Take To Be Absorbed?

Your order may be slightly different than what is listed below because your products may differ in viscosity from what I am using.  The order below is a general guideline, only.

Skin Care Products Application Order:


  • Oil Cleanser
  • Foam Cleanser
  • Micellar Water
  • Toner
  • Facial Essence (Like a watered-down moisturizer-good for dry skin)
  • Serum
  • Acne Spot Treatment
  • Eye Cream (If your eye cream is heavy, put it on after moisturizer or facial oil.)
  • Moisturizer
  • Facial Oil
  • Sunscreen
  • Primer
  • Lip Protection
  • Makeup (A future post will discuss the proper order for makeup.)


  • Eye Makeup Remover
  • Oil Cleanser
  • Foam Cleanser
  • Exfoliation or Facial scrub
  • Treatment Mask
  • Micellar Water
  • Toner
  • Facial Essence
  • Serum
  • Acne Spot Treatment
  • Eye Cream (If your eye cream is heavy, put it on after moisturizer or facial oil.)
  • Moisturizer
  • Facial Oil
  • Night Cream
  • Lip Protection
How To Apply Skin Care Cosmetics In The Correct Order And Why It Matters Give The Products Time

Give The Products Time To Be Absorbed Before Applying The Next One

Still Confused?  We Can Help.

Still confused?  Don’t know how to how to apply skin care cosmetics in the correct order and why it matters?  Message me with what you are using and I can quickly sort through the products to put them in order for you.

Coming… The Best Order for Applying Makeup:

I’m going to write another post that will demonstrate the best order to apply your makeup products.

Sign Up:

Want to be notified when the makeup application order posts?  Let us know in the Comments section below and we’ll send it to you.


How To Determine Your Skin Type

How To Determine Your Skin Type.  Today we are not discussing a product, but offering a tutorial.  I hope you find this helpful.

Here you will find how to identify what type of skin you have.  If you don’t have a magnifying mirror, I suggest you invest in one and really examine your skin. If, after you review these characteristics you still don’t know what type of skin you have, a brief visit to an esthetician or dermatologist can make that determination.  (Or, you can message me and I’ll try to help you.)

Knowing what type of skin you have is important. You can’t buy the right type of product if you don’t know your skin type. Every day I interview clients and most of them tell me they have “normal” skin when in fact, their skin is combination or some other type. Instead of normal, I prefer the term “consistent”.

Begin by washing your face with a normal facial cleansing bar and then do not apply any type of products to your face.  After one hour, read the below descriptions to determine which one best describes your skin.

Consistent (Commonly Referred to as Normal) Everyone’s skin is “normal” to them because they live in it every day. That doesn’t help to describe a type of skin. Therefore, I’ve decided to use the term “consistent” instead of normal.

  • Skin feels comfortable, rarely dry, tight or oily.
  • Skin is the same all over the face without some areas drier or oilier than others.
  • Skin has a soft, even texture without flakiness from dryness or shine from oiliness.
  • Breakouts are rare.
  • Pores are visible but not black or enlarged.
  • Makeup will stay on for several hours without the need for touch ups.

Combination (I have found this type to be the most common.)

  • Some areas (usually nose but possibly also forehead or chin) are oily and shiny.
  • Other areas (usually cheeks) feel dry, rough or tight. Dry areas may or may not have flaky spots.
  • May experience occasional breakouts, usually in isolated areas.
  • Pores may be enlarged in the oily areas and may contain black heads or white heads. Pores in the dry areas are smaller and may be visible but not black or enlarged.
  • Makeup will stay on well on the dry areas but may need to be touched up every couple of hours on the oily areas, especially the nose.

Dry (Becomes more common as we age)

  • Skin can feel tight, chapped or rough, especially after cleansing with surfactant products such as soap.
  • May experience dullness, patchiness, itchiness or flakiness.
  • Almost never breaks out.
  • Pores are small and nearly invisible. Pores rarely have black heads or white heads.
  • Makeup will stay on for many hours until it is washed away.

Oily (Very common in teenagers)

  • The skin usually feels supple and never feels tight or dry unless a drying product has been applied.
  • Skin looks oily and shiny all over, especially as the day goes on.
  • Breakouts are a regular part of life.
  • Pores tend to be very visible, especially around the nose, and there may be black heads, white heads or both.
  • Makeup tends to melt away after a couple of hours and needs frequent touch ups.

Sensitive (Can occur at any age and in conjunction with other types)

  • Skin becomes easily irritated or inflamed, especially by fragrances, allergens or climate.
  • Skin gets red, itchy, or stings when trying most new skincare products.
  • May have a diagnosis of Rosacea, eczema or dermatitis.
  • May experience breakouts from any number of irritants.
  • May burn easily and requires sunscreen with a high SPF.
  • Makeup may irritate your skin.
  • Makeup will stay on for several hours without the need for touch ups.
  • Sensitive skin can also be Consistent, Combination, Dry, or Oily! (Yes, you may have any type of skin and also experience allergies or sensitivity issues.)

Your skin can change as you age.  For women this is especially true as you experience menopause or even peri-menopause. Hormones can cause major shifts in many areas of your body, including your basic chemistry.

If after reading this you still can’t figure out your skin type, you can message me and after answering a few simple questions, I’ll be able to tell you.

Olay Total Effects 7-In-1 Moisturizer Plus Serum Duo

Product:  Today’s product is Olay Total Effects 7-In-1 Moisturizer Plus Serum Duo With Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 15 Fragrance Free  (Can these names get any longer?)

Overall Rating = 3 stars3 Stars – Good.

Cost:  $19.99 for 1.35 oz ($14.81 per ounce)  Price Category:  Mid-range

Sold By:  Walgreen’s; Wal-mart; Retailers everywhere

Container:  Plastic airless pump bottle with plastic cap and outer paper carton.  This pump bottle is sealed and the top does not screw off so you cannot refill the bottle or use it with other products.  I am a huge fan of this type of container because it presents the least potential for contamination.  Always keep your cap over the nozzle and it will stay protected.  The airless pumps are also quite effective at getting every last trace of product out of the bottle.

Description:  The name of this product pretty much sums up what the product’s intended use is.  In case you are wondering, the 7 benefits this product supposedly provides are: 1. Visibly smooths fine lines and wrinkles; 2. Evens skin tone appearance; 3. Enhances brightness instantly; 4. Instantly minimizes the look of pores; 5. Smooths and evens out skin texture; 6. Hydrates for a firm look; 7. Replenishes moisture.

I would argue that hydrating and replenishing moisture is the same thing (benefits 6 and 7).  Typically, hydration occurs as a result of replacing water and moisture from replacing lost oils, but the perception is the same.  Supposedly benefit number 8 would be the anti-aging benefit of an effective sunscreen.  I would like to see an SPF of 30 instead of 15.  This product contains a broad-spectrum sunscreen with both UVA and UVB protection which is important.  I’ll get into an in-depth discussion of sunscreens when we get to those reviews.

This is a fragrance-free product.  The Olay moisturizer is intended to be used after cleansing and prior to makeup.  You can replace the separate steps of applying serum, moisturizer and sunscreen with this one product.  Technically, this is three products in one, not seven or eight.

Morning Review:  I have been familiar with the Olay line of products for over 20 years.  They are constantly changing the names of products and putting them in different packaging, but their basic formulas are very similar.

This Olay moisturizer, although fragrance-free, has a definite scent to it.  I don’t know how to describe it other than a  chemical smell.  It is not offensive or irritating, but it is definitely there.  I don’t particularly care for the scent.

This is a thick white cream, much heavier than most Olay products.  It has a velvety feel to it when applied to the face.  If I accidentally get it into my eyes it does burn, so I recommend keeping it clear of the eye area.  This product has a very unusual side effect for me and others have reported the same experience.  If I have not exfoliated for a while before I use this, my skin just peels off a few minutes after I apply it to my face.  So much so that if I run out of my exfoliating products I use this.  If I have exfoliated immediately prior to application then it seems to be absorbed well.  It definitely provides a lot of moisture and hydration.  I do not think users with oily skin would like this product.

Makeup goes on very smooth on top of this product but only if I have recently exfoliated.  Otherwise, it is a disaster.  The first layer goes down the drain (with my dead skin) and then I have to reapply this moisturizer prior to makeup.

Regarding reducing lines/wrinkles, evening skin tone/texture, enhancing brightness, or reducing pore size, I would have to say no to all of the above.  I applied this to one side of my face only and examined it with a 15 power magnifying mirror.  I then had someone else examine my face with a medical-grade magnifier and he could not tell which side I applied the product to.  The only difference is that the side with the product felt softer when I touched my face, but there were no visible differences.

Morning Rating:  3 stars3 Stars

Evening Review:  At the end of the day my skin does not feel tight or dry.  If anything this product makes it feel a little oily as the day progresses.  I used this in Florida every day for a week and it did protect my face from burning.  There are other sunscreens that work much better so if you are only buying this product for that benefit, I have others I can recommend.

Overall Review:  Olay Total Effects 7-In-1 Moisturizer Plus Serum Duo With Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 15 Fragrance Free is a good reasonably-priced moisturizer if you have normal to dry skin and you don’t experience the peeling effect.

I would be interested in hearing from you and your experience with this product.  I have clients that use this product and their skin does not peel with it as mine does.

This moisturizer is suitable for the following skin types: (all but not oily)

  • All ethnicities;
  • All ages;
  • All sexes;
  • Dry;
  • Sensitive;
  • Consistent;
  • Combination.


Morning Rating = 3 stars3 Stars;

Evening Rating = 3 stars3 Stars;

Average from Other Testers = 3 stars3 Stars;

Value Rating = 3 stars3 Stars;

Overall Rating = 3 stars3 Stars – Good. (Please review the About 365 Cosmetic Reviews page for the rating info.)

Olay Total Effects 7-In-1 Moisturizer Plus Serum Duo With Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 15 Fragrance Free Box

Olay Total Effects 7-In-1 Moisturizer Plus Serum Duo With Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 15 Fragrance Free








Ingredients:  Active Ingredients: Avobenzone (3%, Sunscreen), Homosalate (4%, Sunscreen), Octisalate (4.5%, Sunscreen), Octocrylene (2.6%, Sunscreen). Inactive Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Niacinamide, Tapioca Starch, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Acetyl Glucosamine, Dimethicone, Panthenol, Stearyl Alcohol, Behenyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Polyethylene, Benzyl Alcohol, Titanium Dioxide, Isohexadecane, Nylon 12, Methylparaben, Dimethiconol, Ethylparaben, Allantoin, PEG 100 Stearate, Propylparaben, Cetearyl Glucoside, Cetearyl Alcohol, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Polysorbate 60, Sodium PEG 7 Olive Oil Carboxylate, Disodium EDTA, Stearic Acid, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Iron Oxides.

Important:  Please read our full Disclaimer before using this or any product.