The Simple Trick to Make Sure You Are Putting on Your Skin Care in the Right Order

So many products…so much pondering over how to apply them to your skin. If you’re stuck in skin care application confusion, follow these incredibly simple tips from Revision Skincare director of research and development, Tatiana Kononov, to guarantee you’re getting it right every time.

The Daytime Formula: Thin Goes First
Start by cleansing skin, then using toner or rinse if applicable. “Always apply clear, thinner serums or lotions first and progress to thicker, opaque creams,” Kononov says, adding that the thinner products are applied first because they absorb more quickly and do not cause interference with application and absorption of subsequent products. And, then, of course, there is the sun to contend with. “The sun is the number-one cause of aging of the skin and therefore, a sunscreen, should be applied every morning. Sunscreen should be the LAST product applied before makeup. It needs to be on the outermost surface of the skin to best protect from UV rays.”

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The Nighttime Formula: Introduce More Ingredients
You nighttime application steps shouldn’t stray too far from the above, Kononov says, but does stress she only recommends applying ingredients like retinol and alphahydroxy acids (AHAs) at night as they make skin more sensitive to the sun. “The skin and the body in general goes through more of a reparative process during the night, and therefore an adequate moisturizer should be used at night in addition to other products.” Her pick: Revision Skincare’s D.E.J Face Cream.

The Exceptions: Wait It Out
Like most rules, there are definitely some exceptions to this skin care science. “The largest exception is based upon the concept of pH of the product and the skin. Products with a low pH can interfere with the efficacy of the next product applied,” Kononov says. “The two most popular issues that occur with respect to this exception are application of an ascorbic acid product to the skin and application of an AHA product, like glycolic and lactic acid. These products have a low pH, and this low pH can break down the effective ingredients that are contained in a subsequently applied product.”

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If you are applying an AHA, Kononov recommends waiting at least 15–20 minutes (or, preferably, 30 minutes, if you can) before layering with or over any other product, as this gives the skin a bit of time to acclimate. As another example, “applying a peptide serum immediately after applying an ascorbic acid product exposes the peptides to a low pH environment and the chemical bonds that hold the peptide together can degrade in this environment. It does not completely negate the efficacy, but it definitely reduces it. Wait for at least 15–20 minutes before layering an ascorbic acid product with any other product.”