You may have the most lavish products in the world, though all will be gone to waste should you be applying them in the wrong order. It won’t only be diminishing the overall effectiveness of your routine, but it could even leave the skin dehydrated and agitated.
As a rule of thumb, products with a lighter texture should go on first, and those with a heavier consistency, last. Those with heavier textures such as moisturisers tend to sit on the skin, creating a barrier that is tough for anything else you apply over the top of it to penetrate through.
With all that said, here is the correct order you should be applying your skincare products! Remember to allow at least 30 seconds for the product to dry before moving on to something else in your routine.
Start by removing the buildup of dirt and oil with a cleanser. We recommend double cleansing, which involves using a cleansing oil or makeup remover first to dissolve makeup and then washing the face with a regular cleanser to ensure a thorough cleanse.
An ideal choice would be Fresh’s Limited Edition Soy Face Cleanser (RM205), a multi-tasking cleanser that works to tone, soothe and soften the skin. The best part is — it’s suitable for all skin types. This lotion-y cleanser is extra gentle, with ingredients including rosewater, cucumber extract, borage seed oil and amino acid-rich soy proteins.
Additionally, exfoliate your skin once to three times a week. As long as you’re not overdoing it, you’ll see a huge difference with your skin texture, tone and clarity.
Skipping toner is like writing your dissertation and then abandoning it halfway. It makes all the effort of cleansing and applying other products over the skin less effective as residual dirt may still remain on the skin. On top of removing whatever dirt that’s left, toner also balances the skin’s pH levels and sloughs away roughness.
If you’re looking for an affordable yet excellent option, The Face Inc’s Active Toner (RM48) could be an ideal pick. This toner also contains AHAs, so it helps to resurface the skin by removing dead skin cells on top of melting away impurities to reveal a radiant, glowy complexion.
Although a pre-lotion isn’t mandatory, it does extend added benefits to the routine. On top of gentle exfoliation, a pre-lotion effectively preps the skin to be more receptive towards the nutrients from other products you’re applying over it. Think of this as a primer for your skincare before you continue with the rest of your routine.
One we’re currently obsessed with? The newly upgraded Menard Beauness (RM230) which is rich in hot spring minerals and plant extracts, along with powerful ingredients such as coconut water, sasa veitchii bamboo water, and salicornia europaea extract — designed to act against imperfections and help tighten pores.
5. Prescription product or treatments
Now that you’re done with skin prep, identify any issues you’d like to target and apply your prescription medications and/or treatment products before anything else. It could be dark spots, pigmentation or acne, amongst others.
For dark spots and pigmentation, we adore Clinique’s Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector & Optimiser (RM358), a two-pronged corrector that reverses the appearance of dark spots, age spots, skin stresses and blemish marks as well as past acne marks, while calming the skin and resisting future darkening.
5. Essence and/or serum
Essences tend to be lighter in texture compared to serums, so should you choose to apply both, use the serum after the essence. On top of providing optimal hydration, the essence and serum targets specific skincare concerns such as ageing and dehydration by delivering a high concentration of active ingredients within the layers of the skin.
Our pick is Clinique’s Optimizer and Even Better Brighter Essence Lotion (RM221) for smoothening the skin’s texture while retaining moisture and providing skin brightening effects. Its ingredients comprise a blend of botanicals and Clinique’s NMF Complex that optimises the skin’s capacity to preserve and attract hydration.
6. Face mask
This is optional, and we recommend for you to use a face mask only about twice a week. To really get the most out of your sheet mask, you want to let it sit on the skin uninterrupted for at least 15 minutes. Remember that too much hydration on the skin may cause milia seeds to develop and you definitely do not want that.
Opt for sheet masks such as Ischia’s Miracle Marine Collagen Magic Gel Corset Mask (RM100), which is made from sacran, known to have 10x greater the hydration effect compared to hyaluronic acid. Meanwhile, the marine collagen peptides fulfil the dermis to strengthen the epidermis, resulting in a more radiant, lit from within finish.
7. Eye Cream
Even if you don’t apply eye cream twice daily, make sure you do every night, especially when you’re in your 20s. Regular use of eye cream keeps the delicate skin area elastic and can improve or prevent fine lines or the loss of collagen. To apply, use your ring fingers to gently tap the product in until it is fully absorbed.
Ischia’s Concentrate Eye Cream (RM115) has a lightweight texture that feels comfortable on the skin while firming up the eye area. Like its aforementioned sister product, the eye cream contains Italian hot spring water and Marine Collagen to reduce wrinkles while tightening and moisturising the skin.
8. Moisturiser or face cream
A moisturiser is absolutely non-negotiable. It creates a protective barrier on the skin against pollution and dirt on top of locking in all the other hard work you’ve put in prior to this last step. Yes, moisturiser is a must even if you have oily skin as it really helps in balancing out sebum production.
For a day and night combo, use Clarins Extra-Firming Day Wrinkle Lifting Cream (RM330) and the Extra Firming Night Rejuvenating Cream (RM347) to reduce wrinkles and expression lines. The duo is formulated with powerful plant extracts to also reduce the appearance of dark spots and uneven skin tone.
Applying sunscreen straight after cleansing will render the rest of your products useless, but popping it on at the end ensures your regimen can still work to its full potential. Never leave your house without it, especially since the sun rays in Malaysia can be very unforgiving.
The new SK-II Atmosphere Airy Light UV Cream SPF50+ goes beyond UV protection to protect the skin against ageing with the combination of concentrated PITERA™ and natural ingredients including Ume and Opuntia Cactus extracts. It also has an airy light texture to give you breathable protection that feels comfortable under makeup.
Alternatively, check out our cheat sheet below for a quick reference on the skincare products you shouldn’t be ignoring!