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Order Up: A How-To On Applying Your Skincare Products

There are endless oceans of skincare products on the market today, but the real quandary comes in, not only finding the perfect fit for your skin’s tone, texture, and type, but also applying the products in an order that best utilizes the beneficial properties of each product.  If you’ve ever found yourself wondering if the application and order of your daily eye cream, moisturizer, serum, and sunscreen matter, then here’s the validation you’ve been dreading — Yes. It matters.

Dallas-based esthetician Renee Rouleau breaks down the general rule in skincare application by recommending that “you go thinnest to thickest.” For example, a toner is much thinner in consistency than a moisturizer, so that would be the first product you apply post-cleansing. “[Toner] goes on like water and you want to leave it damp so that whatever you put on next seals in all that hydration and any other active ingredients.”

Next comes your serum, which ranges in texture from liquid to gel, followed by an application of your moisturizer of choice. There is some debate as to whether rubbing a product into your skin or pressing the product over the skin is the best way to get the most out of your product without damaging the skin. Some schools of thought adhere to the rubbing method in order to stimulate blood flow, while others swear that pressing the product gently into the skin from the center of the face out to the lymph nodes behind the ears helps decrease puffiness and increase circulation without pulling and stretching the skin.

Eye creams are up-to-bat next, and should be pressed (not rubbed) into the skin around the entire socket cavity. Start by warming your eye cream in the palm of your hand, and then use three fingers to press the product into the inner corner of the eye, then towards the outer corner, and into the upper cavity.

And finally — and probably most important — a healthy application of sunscreen. Not your BB cream, not a tinted moisturizer, and certainly not your own homemade mixture of both. “Sunscreen is a drug that’s been tested and approved by the FDA in its final form,” Roleau says. “And anytime you alter a drug, you don’t really know what’s going to happen; you can’t feel 100% confident that it’s going to protect you.”

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