What order should I apply my skincare?

The guiding principle: cleanse & purify, treat and hydrate. You don’t need all the steps every day, however whichever steps you do include, would follow this order.

Stage One: Cleanse
(Exfoliate & Purify)

Before you apply other products to the skin, you want to remove makeup, gunk, or excess dead skin cells. You don’t have to use an exfoliant or clay mask every day, but the order is as follows:

  • Cleanse/double cleanse (if you’re wearing makeup)
  • Exfoliate
  • Clay masks
  • Toner (if you use one)


Stage Two: Treat
(Water Based)

Next steps should be any product which is water-based. This includes hydrating serums and most sheet masks.

The order is:

  • Essence
  • Sheet mask
  • Water based serums


Stage Three: Hydrate
(Moisturisers & Oils)

Think of this as ‘sealing’ the moisture in.

Again, apply lighter texture and water-based products first, finishing with oils or heavy creams. This section includes: eye creams, oil-based actives, moisturisers, and creams

The order:

  • Eye cream
  • Moisturiser
  • Heavy balms
  • Oil

Last Step (the most important!): Sunscreen if it’s day time


So what should your routine look like?

A simple routine might look like:

  • Cleanse/ Double Cleanse
  • Serum
  • Moisturiser
  • Sunscreen


A more advanced routine might be:
  • Double Cleanse
  • Exfoliate
  • Clay Mask
  • Hydrating serum
  • Eye cream
  • Moisturiser

Need some help putting together the best skincare routine for your skin type? Try our skin quiz!

Beauty Affairs Skin Quiz Image

Alexis Adrienne

Alexis Adrienne

Alexis Adrienne is a passionate beauty writer with over 10 years of experience. She’s incredibly keen on all things skincare, makeup and cosmetics, with a fingertip on the pulse of the latest global beauty trends at all times.

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