Serums, moisturizers, rejuvenating products, and sunscreens... What are their roles and in which order should you use them?

Sometimes we can get a little bit confused about all the different products we should use in our daily skincare routine. Check out this post to learn how to optimize your beauty ritual!

So far, our blog has focused on providing you with more knowledge about common ingredients, which are mainly used in rejuvenating products. We have gone through Retinol, Vitamin C, Hyaluronic acid and others, but skincare also includes other steps, such as moisturizing the skin, protecting it from the sun and, sometimes, adding some make-up. Going through each step in the correct order guarantees your skin receives all the nourishment and protection it needs. To help you with that, we will tell you the generally correct order of application of different products for your skin.

Clean skin first

The skin is made of different layers of cells - the bottom layer is the dermis, and the cellular layer above it is called epidermis. But not everyone knows that above it all, our skin produces and accumulates sebum, which is an oily substance produced by your body's sebaceous glands with the function of coating, moisturizing, and protecting your skin [1]. In fact, our face has about 900 sebaceous glands per square centimeter! You can tell how active your sebaceous glands are by noticing whether your skin is oily or dry. Even though sebum is very important for skin health, it also renders absorption very difficult. Therefore, before applying products which contain nutrients for your skin, cleanse it first, so you make it easier for such nutrients to cross the sebum and epidermal layers. And you guessed it right: exfoliating the skin may also facilitate product absorption! Of course, please don't go overboard in exfoliating, otherwise, you might end up with irritated skin instead.

Second, nourish your skin

After cleaning your skin, the very next step of your daily routine should be nourishing it. Usually, serums are the kind of products that concentrate the highest amount of nutrients in a light formulation, so use them first, and they will deliver the maximum quantity of nutrients. If you use rejuvenating creams, this is also the time to apply them, since most of them contain ingredients which should be absorbed into the skin in order to do their jobs correctly. Then, give your skin a little bit of time, so it can absorb properly since you don't want to end up mixing and diluting the serum with the next product on the queue!


Next, you can proceed with skin hydration. Moisturizers are the products which promise to hydrate your skin, so you may include them in your routine as well. Moisturizers hydrate your skin by combining different compounds, such as water, occlusives (molecules which block water evaporation, e.g. silicone), humectants (which attract water molecules, drawing them up from the dermis and, to a limited extent, in humid conditions, from the air! e.g. glycerin), and emollients (which actually don't hydrate the skin, but fill in rough spots and make skin feel smooth) [2]. Therefore, moisturizers will seal your skin after nourishing and prevent other products from drying it out. 

Sunscreen protection

If you use cream-based or lotion-based sunscreen, this is the time to apply them on your skin. If you use powder sunscreens, take a look below at "know when to change this order"! At this time, sunscreens are a girl's best friend, since 10 out of 10 dermatologists confirm their efficacy in preventing photoaging. Sunscreens can be divided into two main groups: physical sunscreens, which contain ultraviolet-reflecting mineral ingredients (e.g. zinc oxide or titanium dioxide), and chemical sunscreens, which usually contain ingredients like oxybenzone, and protect the skin from UV through chemical reactions [3]. In both cases, sunscreens are not meant to be absorbed by the skin and should be used in sufficient amounts to cover it evenly. That is why if you use sunscreens before other products your skin will probably absorb a lot less nutrients, and you may not reach the best results. 


Finally, you are ready for make-up, if you choose to apply some and really work it! 

Know when to change this order!

Whenever your skin is too sensitive, you can apply moisturizers before serums and rejuvenating products. As mentioned, this step may decrease the amount of nutrients absorbed by your skin, but this may be exactly what sensitive skin may require in order to prevent irritation. 

Also, if you use a powder sunscreen, you should use it above make-up, almost as a finishing powder. The nice thing about this kind of sunscreen is its ease in reapplication during the day!

With time and practice, applying your products in the right order will be second nature! Remember to choose products that don't build up in your skin, so you excess oil and heavy skin. And never forget your daily mantra: Cleanse, nourish, moisturize, protect, repeat! Your skin will greatly appreciate it. 

Other refs used:

OneSkin Team

OneSkin Team

By being able to reprogram the "code of life", we will create new ways of living, and new ways of growing older. OneSkin is developing solutions to enable people to age better, healthier, and with better quality of life. Our mission is to promote people's access to effective anti-aging products, so they can feel and age at their best.

Aug 23, 2019

More Posts

How does aging work? (Part 2) Image

How does aging work? (Part 2)

Mar 05, 2019

Last time, we discussed what aging is and how DNA alterations that occur during cellular replication plays into aging. To catch everyone up, each cell contains a copy of DNA and so each time new... more about "How does aging work? (Part 2)"

How Lifestyle Can Affect Skin Health (Part 1) Image

How Lifestyle Can Affect Skin Health (Part 1)

Mar 26, 2019

Overview of Lifestyle Habits on Aging Role of skin on your health The effects of sun exposure and smoking on skin health Why your skin wants you to eat well and... more about "How Lifestyle Can Affect Skin Health (Part 1)"

How Lifestyle Can Affect Skin Health (Part 2) Image

How Lifestyle Can Affect Skin Health (Part 2)

Apr 16, 2019

Last time we talked about the two biggest and most obvious culprits against skin health and came to two very familiar conclusions: wear sunscreen and don't smoke. This post will discuss some more... more about "How Lifestyle Can Affect Skin Health (Part 2)"