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The Best Order of Skincare Application For Healthy, Glowing Skin in 2021


Skincare doesn’t have to be complicated, though it’s easy to see how it can be confusing to someone just making her entrance into the world of its lotions and potions. Simply put, skincare is a routine you apply consistently, in the morning and at night.

The order of events, however, is important. We want to get the most out of our skincare products. Our regimen is much more effective when we apply products in the order they were designed to be used and follow some simple rules. Here’s why the order of application matters—and how it can impact your skincare goals.

The Multi-Med Therapy Approach

There are so many approaches to skincare. From 10-step applications to the simplest, most essential 3 steps of cleansing, toning and moisturizing. Your skincare routine can range from basic to broad. Our Multi-Med Therapy approach is at the core of all Rodan + Fields’ skincare Regimens and we love it because it takes the guesswork out of skincare. The fact is, no single ingredient can effectively address a complex skin concern.

Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields created the Multi-Med Therapy approach as a means to control a particular skin concern, like acne, by creating a system with a focus on prevention, as opposed to treating individual pimples. From Dr. Katie Rodan’s and Dr. Kathy Fields’ years of research, they saw that it takes the right ingredients, in the right product formulations, used in the right order, to visibly improve skin. Each Regimen is backed by this Multi-Med Therapy approach in order to effectively address an individual’s skin concerns.

How to Create a Skincare Routine

When it comes to customizing your own skincare routine, these are the steps—in the right order—to follow both morning and night to achieve your desired visible results.

Step 1: Facial Cleanser

A facial cleanser is important for you to use every morning and evening to remove makeup, dirt, excess sebum and oil. Your cleanser of choice can also gently exfoliate to help slough off dead skin cells. This step must come first because your skin needs to be clean and free from makeup and debris before applying products on top—so they can do their job to the fullest. In other words, cleansing your skin prepares it to absorb the ingredients coming next in your skincare routine. You wouldn’t mop your floor without sweeping it first, right? This step is similar to that.

Step 2: Toner

Toner helps with softening your skin and enabling better penetration for the ingredients that follow in the next step. Toners also serve to cleanse your pores and keep them free from debris. Toners are often formulated with acids that help promote natural cell turnover to achieve this. They also help minimize the look of pores and even out the appearance of your skin tone. If you apply toner to uncleansed skin, the toner will not be able to work as effectively.

Step 3: Eye Cream

Hydrating and moisturizing this area is key. You want to use an eye cream like Redefine Multi-Function Eye Cream, which is specifically designed for the under-eye area so as not to cause any irritation. Applying an eye cream before any serums or moisturizers also helps to protect the delicate skin around the eyes. 

Step 4: Face Serum

Serums contain the most valuable and desired ingredients, often with a higher concentration. It’s important to apply your serum before your moisturizer so that your skin can absorb these active ingredients. Whether your serum offers Vitamin C, Hyaluronic Acid/hydration or Retinol, you don’t want to skip this step.

Step 5: Moisturizer, Lotion or Night Cream

Your moisturizer, whether you choose a cream or lotion, helps provide anti-aging benefits, in addition to skin-restoring moisturization. Moisturizers and night creams also serve to maintain the health of your skin barrier. Some products, like Redefine Triple Defense Lotion Broad Spectrum 30, also contain SPF in addition to their skin-moisturizing benefits, making them perfect for your AM routine.

Step 6: SPF

This step is only for your morning routine; skip it at nighttime. Always apply sunscreens as the last layer to protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays. You’ll need to reapply your SPF throughout the day as necessary according to FDA guidelines.

Incorporate as Needed: Face Masks

Face masks are great for those times when you want to give your skin a little extra self-care. Whether you’re doing an at-home facial or indulging on a Sunday while you catch up on a show you’re bingeing, masks serve as extra care for your secondary skin concern.

For example, when you use anti-aging skincare but you occasionally suffer from acne, you will want to use an acne-targeting face mask each week.

How often should you apply your masks? Aim for 2-3 times per week, more often for hydrating ones if your skin is very dry or dehydrated. You can apply your masks in the morning or evening after you cleanse your skin. Don’t forget to continue with the rest of your routine after —toner, serum, moisturizer, etc. If you want to do a mid-day mask, apply your moisturizer after removing your face mask for best results. You don’t want to leave your skin bare post-treatment.

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