The Right Way to Apply Skincare Beauty Products

  • Whether you're a two-product minimalist or a ten-product maximalist, the order in which you apply your go-to beauty products can make a real difference in your long-term skin care results. Even if you're a seasoned skincare pro, basic application questions may arise, such as whether you should slap on that serum before (or after) moisturizing at night. Are you clueless about the right way to approach your skincare routine? Allow our definitive beauty guide to answer all your application questions.

    Which First: Serum or Moisturizer?

    Serum. General (and logical!) Rule: Apply a lighter consistency product before a heavier product to ensure that both sink in. Applying a moisturizer before a serum will only make the serum useless. Ellen Marmer, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, says to let the moisturizer penetrate. For best results, use a serum with active ingredients such as antioxidants (which help fight free radicals that cause aging) and hyaluronic acid, and wait a minute for it to settle on the skin's surface. Fix the hydration with a moisturizer.

    Which First: Lotion or Facial massager?

    You should do facial massaging after applying lotion. Massaging our face promotes oxygen and blood flow in our skin. Not only does this result in reducing puffiness, it also creates a brighter skin tone and appearance. The massage will also increase collagen production, which prevents the formation of wrinkles. You can call it the 'natural face lift'.

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    Which first, the eye makeup remover or the cleanser?

    Eye makeup remover. Joshua Zeichner, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, says that eye makeup remover formulas are concentrated to specifically remove stubborn eye makeup, dirt, and oil particles, making it easier for cleansers to do their job. If you cleanse first, you run the risk of being too eager to scrub the sensitive eye area. This can cause mild irritation and lead to pigmentation changes, fine lines and wrinkles, says Dr. Zeichner. Finishing with a cleanser will not leave a greasy makeup remover residue.

    Which first, the night cream or the eye cream?

    Eye cream. Some night creams contain high doses of potentially irritating ingredients such as retinol and vitamin C. However, eye creams are the only product you should go for because they are formulated to be gentle on the delicate skin around the eyes. This is why it's important to use a dermatologist who is board certified in New York City. Tapping the eye cream first helps to provide a barrier that prevents the night cream from creeping up. In addition to causing irritation, night creams can clog the glands around the eyes and cause milia. These are small, hard, deep white cysts that are harmless but difficult to remove. Then apply the night cream, concentrating on dry areas such as the cheeks and upper lip.

    Which first, the sunscreen or the moisturizer?

    Moisturizer. Think of it this way: your moisturizer is like a sweater, and your sunscreen is like the coat you wear over it. It's your outer protective layer, says Dr. Zeichner. You want to make sure there's nothing blocking it. When you put it on last, the sunscreen may block or block the sun's harmful rays before they reach your skin. Also keep in mind that if you apply sunscreen first, some of the sunscreen may rub off when you apply your moisturizer. This means that you won't get as much protection as you need, says Dr. Marmer.

    Which first, the foundation or the concealer?

    Foundation. For the most natural-looking finish, apply a thin veil of foundation first and blend. This acts as a filter, blurring imperfections and evening out skin tone. Because concealers are heavy and opaque, the less you use, the more realistic (and cakey) the look will be. Concealer should be used as a finisher for imperfections that are still visible after foundation. If you're lucky, foundation may be all you need, says Troy Surratt, a makeup artist in New York City.

    Which first, the lip liner or the lipstick?

    Lipstick. Katie Jane Hughes, a New York City makeup artist, says the classic approach was to apply lip liner around the perimeter first, then apply it to the entire lip to create a clear border, symmetry, and base for the lipstick. Today's lipstick formulations have such staying power that it is no longer necessary. Instead, apply the lipstick first, then use a lip liner along just outside the lip line to add definition and fake fuller lips, says Surratt.

    Which first, the eyeliner or the eyeshadow?

    Your call. Apply the eyeshadow first to create a nice colored background. Next, a creamy pencil can be glided over the shadow to give the eye additional definition, says Surratt. Draw the shimmering shadows of Adele's signature look, the beady cat eye. Or, you can use a pencil to prepare the eyelid, then polish it with a small brush to add shadow for a more vibrant, gradient look, says Hughes.

    Which first: the detangler or the styling serum?

    Detangler . If the hair is thick, coarse or frizzy, the first order of business after washing is to smooth out the knots, so call for a detangler (a conditioning mist containing polymers or oils to smooth the hair cuticle). This will help the brush glide through the buzz with less pain and damage. If you have fine hair, you could possibly skip the detangler. In-shower conditioner may be enough, says Harry Josh, stylist and creative consultant at John Frieda Hair Care. Next, use a moisturizing serum (usually a liquid packed with silicones or oils to smooth, soften, and moisturize hair) only on the ends, as this is the driest part of the hair, regardless of hair type. After air-drying or blow-drying, dab the same serum to add shine and tame frizz as needed, Josh adds.