What’s Your Order: How to Put Together Your Skincare Routine from a Pro MUA
Updated: Mar 5
One of the most common questions I get from friends, family and clients alike is what order do I use my skincare products in? While we’re bombarded with marketing as to what we should use, there’s little discussion about how and when to use them, which can often lead us to thinking we’ve wasted money on products that don’t work. Without a proper order of application, you might find that your products pill or worse: cause a reaction.
Here’s what I recommend, based on my own research and experience as a Professional Makeup Artist:
Duh. Need I say more?
When we cleanse our face, typically the formula works to loosen or dilate pores so that they can be swept clean. Afterwards, it’s imperative to tighten those pores back up to prevent them being clogged by skincare products, makeup, dirt and oil. Ensure toner has dried before proceeding.
If you’re going to use any sort of treatment, like a retinol concentrate, acne solution, or an AHA/BHA/PHA concentrate, this is the phase to use it. This step places the treatment directly on the skin with no products buffering in between, which allows it to do the most work. Depending on the formulation, your treatment can cause your subsequent serum to pill, so it’s very important to give your skin treatments time to sink into the skin before moving onward in your skincare routine.
Your treatment can be harsh, so the super concentrated ingredients soothe the skin and provide important nourishment to compliment the treatment, while counteracting any damage it could cause to the skin. Serums can be underrated, but offer a huge boost to your skincare routine, and also amplify the power of your moisturizer.
The most important step of your skincare routine is to seal in all the goodness you’ve already applied to the skin with a good moisturizer. Moisturizer is key to protecting your skin’s natural moisture balance in unfavourable environments or weather conditions, which helps prevent and delay signs of aging. You’ll notice many dark-skinned people don’t age until later in life; a lot of this has to do with moisturizing quite literally from birth. What’s mean to prevent ashiness present in dry dark skin, ends up keeping it looking young for an incredibly long time.
In the daytime, sunscreen is imperative. Admittedly, I didn’t start using it religiously until my 30’s after being prescribed a retinol treatment, and a scolding from a friend about using it without sunscreen. That said, the effects of a delayed-start are usually evident in black and white photos of me; hard black and white photos don’t lie about UV damage. Start early for prevention.
Stay tuned for my upcoming list of skincare must-haves I’m using right now!
Melissa is a Professional Makeup Artist and Special FX Makeup Artist working in Toronto and throughout the GTA for over 6 years. Her education, experience and contacts in the film and fashion industry have lended immensely to her creative vision, approach, and application, testing every product she uses and recommends on herself first.