Here’s The Correct Order To Apply Your Skincare In 2020

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With an infinite number of skincare products on the market and counting, getting your head around which products to use should count as a full-time job. If you’re lucky enough to have pinned down the products that work for you, congratulations! Now, all you have to do is figure out which order you need to use them in for maximum results – easy!

Expect, it’s not really that easy at all, is it? Gone be with the days of a simple cleanse, tone, and moisturise routine. Now it’s all double cleansing, retinol, and we haven’t even mentioned the serums yet. BUT, luckily for all your skincare nuts out there, we are here to help clear the fog.

Below you can find our cheatsheets for you to bookmark/screenshot and refer back to whenever you need reminding of which product goes in which order, along with an explanation.


Your morning routine should be the least complicated of the two. Simply about waking up your skin and protecting it for the day ahead, here’s how your morning routine should go.


Using a water-based cleanser, wake your skin up by giving it a gentle wash. Which cleanser you opt for will depend on your skin type. This step is important as it removes sweat and grime that may have built up overnight, giving you a clean base to apply the rest of your products.


Optional for both day and night, if you enjoy using a toner and have found one that gives your skin good results, then knock yourself out, but whether it’s a critical step is out for debate. When it comes to toners, you absolutely don’t need to spend a fortune on one, there are many efficient ones on the market that do the job for ten euro and under.

When applying your toner, you can skip the cotton pad, as you’ve probably been told to use to apply it your whole life, simply squeeze a small amount onto your palm and massage it into your face instead, it works exactly the same!


Serum’s are a personal choice for morning time routines, however, certain serums can have great benefits on the skin and help to protect it further against pollutions and the elements underneath your SPF. A Vitamin C serum is particularly protecting against damage expose, which you can read about here.


Depending on your skin type, choose the best moisturiser for you to apply underneath your SPF. Many SPF’s do not provide enough moisture to the skin when used alone, and similarly a moisturiser ‘with added SPF’ does not provide enough skin protection, so it is best practice to use a separate product for each.

If your skin errs on the side of dry, or if you feel that your normal/combination skin needs a little extra oomph in the winter months, you can swap out your moisturiser for a face oil to keep your skin plump and hydrated throughout the day.


Ask any dermatologist, specialist, or skincare buff and they will tell you that applying SPF onto the face each day is the most important thing you can do for your skin. An absolute no skip step, each and every day you should be applying a factor 50 SPF generously onto the face, regardless of your skin type or tone.

This step is paramount because it not only prevents against skin-damaging, offsetting wrinkles, it also protects the skin against skin cancer too – so lads and ladies, if there’s one thing you do today, it’s SPF it up!


Unlike the morning routine, your nighttime skincare routine can and should be much more of a self-care ritual. With nowhere to rush off to, taking your time with your night routine means giving yourself some extra love, restoring your skin before heading to bed and giving it the best chance at renewal overnight. Here’s how you could be doing it.

Cleanse 1 

Yes, yes, you’ve already heard it before ‘you must double cleanse your skin’ but really, you should. If you wear make-up and/or SPF breaking down these formulas are critical in allowing your skin to breath and renew at night. Your first cleanse should come in the form of an oil or cream-based cleanser. This is because an oil and cream will best break down the make-up, SPF and dirt that is on your face, without stripping your skin of its natural oils entirely.

Slowly melting away everything that is on your skin, you should take your time with this step and ensure to ensure that the first layer of oil and dirt has been separated and removed from your face.

Cleanse 2 

Your second cleanse should then come in the form of a water-based cleanser. Most commonly referred to as a gel cleanser, you can check that this cleanser if water-based by simply checking the ingredients list, ‘aqua’ should be listed as one of the first ingredients. This step is vital as although your first cleanse has broken down all of the grime and dirt on your face, it will not have removed it from your pores.

Going in with a gel cleanser of your choice will ensure that all of the make-up, oil, and dirt will be entirely lifted for your pores, preventing your skin from becoming clogged, coming in the form of blackheads and breakouts.


As we said above, toning is an optional extra step. It does not ‘close the pores’ as we’ve been misleading to believe. But it can bring a little extra luxury to your routine and can be beneficial to some skin-types, so if you opt for a toner you can apply it the exact same way we explained above.

Eye-cream/Spot Treatments 

If you use an eye cream, spot treatment, or both, applying them underneath serums and moisturisers is important as it best allows the products to penetrate the skin. Leaving these steps until last means that they won’t be able to work to their full potential, so once cleansing and toning is done pop these on and allow them to settle in for a minute or so before moving on to the fun stuff.


Retinols are fairly new to the mainstream skincare game, but if you have already begun to incorporate it into your routine then you will be well accustomed with its benefits. Retinoids are the general term for Vitamin A derivatives, which works by sinking deep into your skin and speeding up the cell turnover process – giving you smoother, clearer and fresher skin.

Some moisturisers can already contain retinol, and so if that is the case with yours then you can skip this step as doubling up is not necessary (many anti-ageing creams contain a watered-down version of retinol, so always check the ingredient list). However, if your moisturiser does not contain it, then you can slowly begin to incorporate it into your routine by building up the amount of it you use each night.


Now, we’ve come full circle right back to the serums. Many serums can be used in conjunction with retinol, so this step is simply about choosing the best serum for your skin type. If you’ve ever wondered what exactly serums are and why you might want to use them, serums are essentially extremely concentrated shots of nutrients, hydrators and antioxidants. They’re good for your skin because they work overtime at repairing it as soon as they’re applied.

As we said above, vitamin C serums are great for daytime use, and if you’re in the market for a nighttime serum one containing hyaluronic acid may be the way to go as it will both hydrate and plump your skin while you rest.


Aaaand breathe, we’re nearly there. The final step in your night-time skin routine should always be moisturising. Locking in all of that good stuff you applied underneath, just before your skin goes into repair mode while you sleep you should apply a thin or thick layer (depending on your skin) of your moisturiser of choice.

This moisturiser can be different from your morning one, as you’re looking for it to pack a punch. One that contains hyaluronic acid, lipids, and proteins are ideal as it will give your skin exactly what it needs.

If you use face masks and exfoliants and are wondering when and where to incorporate them into the above, you should be exfoliating 1 to 2 times a week depending on your skin type, and this should come after cleansing and before toning. And most face masks should be applied 2 to 3 times a week (always read the label), and also slot in after cleansing and before toning.

And you’re done! Now, go to sleep, you must be feckin’ wrecked after all of that!