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Using moisturizer in your skincare routine


In what order should I apply my skincare products?

My favorite part of my skin care routine- applying a moisturizer. Putting on moisturizer can seem like the no-brainer step in any skincare routine, but when exactly should we be applying it?

From using the wrong products on your face to applying them in the wrong order, it can be the reason why you’re not seeing any difference in your skin. Do you put serum on before or after moisturizer? Do you apply toner before or after moisturizer?

I’ve got you girly.

I’ve covered everything you need to know including selecting the best kind of moisturizer for your skin, the best order to apply your skincare products, and all the little tips and tricks to get that gorgeous glowing skin.

So, if you wondering where does your moisturizer fit into your skincare routine to get to that youthful glow, follow these steps, your skin will thank you for it!

Here’s a tip- When doing your skincare routine, you need to ensure you are using products that are suited to your skin type, and you have a daytime and nighttime routine.

Let’s get started!


Does it make a difference the order in which you apply your skincare products?

Does it really matter the order of your skincare products in your routine? If you put moisturizer or toner first? The truth is it does. Our skin works hard to keep things out, but when we apply skincare products we want to absorb as much as we can so our skin can benefit. After spending money on good quality skincare, you don’t want to render them ineffective or irritating just by putting them on in the wrong order. When you apply your products in the correct order, the skin has a chance of absorbing every single one, without them just sitting on top of your skin. That’s when you’ll notice the difference!

Applying moisturizer in your skin care routine

As a general rule, no matter if you have 2 products or 20, you will generally apply them in the same order. The best way to apply products is by starting with the thinnest, lightest products such as serums, and then finishing with the thickest product such as moisturizers or creams. Using a moisturizer as the last step will help to seal in everything and allow your skin to absorb the lighter products easily. If you follow this rule, you should be good to go no matter how many products or steps there are in your routine!

Let’s check out how you can put this in action by looking at daytime and nighttime routine so you know when to apply products.

Daytime skin care routine

A daytime routine is a bit different from the nighttime. The aim is to prepare your face for the day, using lighter products and a nourishing moisturizer every day as a barrier. It’s a good idea to use lighter products so you can do your makeup over it or you can leave the house quickly. You want to use products that nourish and protect the skin such as SPF, but not products that can make it more sensitive in sunlight for example exfoliating chemicals or acids.


The first step for any skin care regimen is to start with a clean face. When you wake up in the morning, wash your face with a cleanser to get rid of bacteria and to wake you up. Use warm water and gently wash your face. Go for a cleanser suited to your skin type, for example a hydrating cleanser if you have dry skin, and a cleanser with salicylic acid if you have oily or acne prone skin. Finish off with a clean towel so you don’t transfer bacteria to your face, and pat dry without rubbing. This is going to help prevent premature wrinkles.


This is an optional step. If you have a favorite toner you like to use, now is the time to use it. Toners help to regulate the skin’s ph after cleansing and can nourish the skin with antioxidants and vitamins. If your toner is a cleansing toner such as one containing glycolic acid, it’s best to use it at night to reduce sun sensitivity and dirt getting in. It’s great if you want to treat a skin issue as you can buy a toner specifically for your skin type. Do you use toner before or after moisturizer? Toner should be used before as its more for cleaning your skin. That being said, most people have healthy skin after cleansing and don’t need a toner at all.


I’m not s big fan of using a serum in the morning, especially since I like a quick morning routine. If you have an oil serum, its best to use it at night. However, serums such as alpha arbutin, niacinamide, or hyaluronic acid are great for the skin and lightweight, so you can use them in your morning routine very easily. Serums are concentrated and full of nutrients so you can buy one specifically for your needs for example anti aging or acne, and then use a couple of drops in the morning. As they have so much good stuff for your skin, its best to put it on early in the skincare routine, after cleansing your face, so your skin can absorb it all.


No, I’m not talking about moisturizer yet. This is where you apply your eye cream, or spot treatment cream, or anything else that has a cream like consistency. You can also use azelaic acid cream or vitamin c cream to brighten your complexion and reduce dark spots. If you often wake up with bags under your eyes or dark circles, an eye cream can help a lot, but since it’s thicker than serums, you need to use it after. If you suffer from acne, this is the time to apply your spot treatment cream such as benzoyl peroxide or azelaic acid, or a prescription cream. Remember, if it has active ingredients you may want to use it in the evening so your skin doesn’t become sensitive to sunlight.


Every skin type needs moisturizer, even oily skin or acne-prone skin. In fact, it can help to balance out the oil production. When going through the day, your skin will come into contact with wind, rain, pollution, chemicals, and all sorts, so having a protective barrier of hydration is going to prevent it from drying out too much. You can choose a moisturizer with ingredients that suit your skin type for example with hyaluronic acid for hydration, or ingredients that fight fine lines and wrinkles with anti-aging properties too. The best way to put on moisturizer is on damp skin, so it’s a good idea to get through the serums quickly so your skin is still damp from washing it earlier, to lock in moisture.


The last step is actually the most important one in a morning skincare routine, even though many people forget. experts recommend using sunscreen with SPF 30 or more on your face every day, no matter the weather. This is not only going to significantly reduce the risk of skin cancer, but it protects your skin cells by proving a layer of protection. This is key to your health and beauty, so don’t skip it! If you buy sunscreen, ensure you buy a facial sunscreen as this will be easier to absorb and won’t leave a white cast either. All skin types should use sunscreen, but it is especially important if you have sensitive skin. After applying sunscreen, you can go ahead and wear makeup.

You don’t need to be a board certified dermatologist to make your daytime routine tailored to your habits and skin needs. It can include every single one of these steps, or just the cleanser, moisturizer, and SPF. When you follow this order of application, your skin will be getting the most of these products.

Nighttime routine

At nighttime, the general rule of thinnest to thickest still applies, but you may be able to include more products or heavier creams and serums to treat skin conditions. Since your kin has all night to absorb them, you can make the most of it and have a more detailed night regimen. It’s also the best time to exfoliate or use a stronger treatment such as retinol or acne treatments as your skin will not be exposed to sunlight during the night.


As usual, it’s best to start with a gentle cleanser. Some people like to double cleanse in the evening using an oil-based cleanser and a water-based cleanser to ensure they get all the dirt and bacteria from the day off of their face. This is a really good option if you have acne prone skin. First, remove your makeup with an oil cleanser then wash your face with a regular cleanser. Ideally, you should be cleansing twice a day, to remove excess oil and makeup so you don’t clog pores but be careful around the eye area. You can also exfoliate at this step using a gentle chemical exfoliating serum with acids. This will help to remove dead skin cells and also improve cell turnover. It’s best to do this at night to reduce skin sensitivity, but exfoliating should only be done twice a week maximum.

Toner and serums

This is also a good time to tone and deep clean your skin by using a toner such as a glycolic acid toner. This will help to minimize pores and brighten your skin overall. You can also use serums with active ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, or face mists to boost your skin and nourish it after the day. These serums or essences should all be water-based and quite lightweight, aiming to nourish your skin. Since toner is about cleaning your skin, it’s best to use a toner first then your serum or essence. If you are using an face oil serum or a cream such as vitamin c, you can put this on after the water-based products.

Eye Cream

If you have mature skin, using an eye cream in your nighttime routine is a good idea to keep away wrinkles and crows feet. Since it is night, you can use a richer, thicker cream to restore hydration to your eye area. Be gentle with this step and very consistent, you’ll be able to see the difference when you wake up in the morning!


If you have any treatments to use, now is the time. Use retinol if you have mature skin to rejuvenate your skin and get a smooth complexion. Vitamin C is good to brighten scars. Retinol is an excellent treatment for fine lines and wrinkles and as an anti aging treatment. Do you use moisturizer before or after retinol? Retinol should be used before moisturizer as it is a treatment. The night is a good time to apply specific skin treatments for your skin concerns such as vitamin c. For acne, you can use stronger treatments with active ingredients to treat your skin while you sleep. Whatever skin treatment you use, ensure you don’t use them all at once. It’s better to use one a few times a week and then a different one on other days, so your skin is able to absorb them fully. Don’t feel you have to include treatments, go based on what your skin needs at that moment, even if it is a simple cleanse and moisturize.


At night, it is best if you can use a night cream to moisturize. They are usually much more hydrating and won’t clog your pores. You’ll be waking up with smooth skin after applying a hydrating night cream, as they are made to be absorbed over various hours. You can still use the same moisturizer as in the morning, however. Using a moisturizer at night means you can prevent eater evaporating at night which will keep your skin in good health of your skin overnight. Do you use serum before or after moisturizer? Serum should be used before. Using this as the last step will help to seal in all the goodness you have applied on your skin before.

Remember, a skincare routine doesn’t have to be complicated. It can literally just be cleanser toner and moisturizer. The key is to do some skincare everyday, never sleep in your makeup, it can cause premature aging!


Benefits of using moisturizer

If you’re still wondering what exactly does moisturizer do, and why you should include it in your skin care routine, then check out some of these benefits:

Balance oil glands

When your skin gets too dry, your skin compensates by producing oil. But sometimes this can get unbalanced causing you to have oily skin that clogs your pores. To avoid this unbalance, moisturizing everyday means your skin doesn’t;t have to work as hard and will reduce oil production.

Replenish the skin barrier

As the skin on your face sheds more often than the rest, and it is more sensitive to environmental changes and needs essential lipids and ceramides to repair the skin barrier. A lightweight facial moisturizing lotion or gel cream containing ceramides can provide instant hydration.

Lock in moisture

Moisturizers act as a seal to moisture, helping to lock in water and hydration to keep your skin glowing. Without it, water can quickly evaporate from the surface of the skin, leaving it dry.

Treat your skin

When you choose the right moisturizer for your skin type, you can treat any skin concerns as well. Choosing specific ingredients that treat acne means you can both moisturize, and treat skin concerns. When your skin is inflamed, an anti-inflammatory lotion or gel-cream can help to reduce inflammation without leaving it greasy.

Convinced you need a moisturizer in your life? Then you are going to need to know how to choose the right one for your skin type.

Choosing a moisturizer for your skintype

Normal skin-Go for a water-based moisturizer to give your skin an extra boost and maintain its moisture balance. A lightweight, easily absorbed moisturizer is all you need.

Oily skin- Don’t skip out on moisturizer! Apply a lightweight water-based moisturizer that will not clog your pores. Look out for the word non-comedogenic and oil free. Avoid heavy creams with ingredients like vaseline on your skin, and shea butter or coconut oil as they will be too heavy for you.

Acne prone skin-if you have acne, look for ingredients like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide that are perfect for treating breakouts daily. Glycolic acid is another good one cleansing your pores.

Dry skin- Dry skin will need a moisturizer that is a bit heavier, such as oil-based or thick facial creams. Go for the ones with ceramides for better moisture absorption and hyaluronic acid. For very dry skin, you will need to go for a heavier nighttime cream or a face oil to keep your skin more hydrated.

Sensitive skin-The best moisturizers for you are the ones that are hypoallergenic, and fragrance-free or contain good stuff like aloe. You want to avoid any unnecessary or harmful ingredients and go for simpler, cleaner brands of skincare. Avoid acids in your products as they can irritate your skin.

Mature skin- Moisturiser can be a gamechanger for maintaining a youthful glow, especially as your own natural skin barrier may not be as strong as it once was. To lock in moisture, apply an oil-based moisturizer with ingredients like antioxidants and alpha hydroxy acids that can lock in moisture. It would be useful to select night creams containing retinoids and peptides to give your skin an extra boost. Find one that contains Hyaluronic acid in the formula, it’s another great one for retaining moisture.


Final Thoughts

With the multitude of skincare products available, it can be a challenge to know when to apply moisturizer in the midst of retinol, oils, SPF, and other products. To make sure your skin gets all of the benefits of each product, follow the general rule of thinnest to thickest, and keep it simple. You don’t have to use all of the products at once!

Daytime routines should be a bit lighter since you might be wearing makeup, but make the most of your evening routine to include anti-aging products, oils, or heavier night creams.

The most important step every board certified dermatologist will tell you is to use moisturizer and sunscreen daily with SPF 30 or more, and pay attention to your eye area in the evening when doing skincare.

What do you have in your routine?


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