Welcome to your skin check-in with Life & Style’s resident health and beauty expert, Dr. Will Kirby, a celebrity dermatologist and Chief Medical Officer of LaserAway. Every week, he’ll be spilling his candid thoughts and professional advice on all things skin, beauty and wellness as it relates to you — and your favorite stars.

With so many popular products to choose from these days, even the brightest beauty aficionados are baffled by the order in which they should apply their prized topicals — and product application order is very important! 

As a board-certified dermatologist, my true primary objective is to educate, and since “skin routine order” is a common subject that I often address with celebrity patients, I recognized that if they were puzzled, then many others were probably confused, too. As such, I present to you the definitive guide to the exact order to apply beauty products!

Before we get started, let’s take a huge step back and acknowledge that more isn’t necessarily better. You absolutely do not have to use this many products. In fact, applying too many products may waste your time, your money, your energy and dilute the ingredients in the individual products making them less effective! 

So, feel free to use this guide as it applies to your personal routine but please, never feel obligated or pressured to use this many products. After all, beauty should be fun and if it isn’t fun, then you aren’t doing it right. 

Here is the proper order to apply daytime products with pro tips included:

  1. Cleanser: Warm water and a mild cleanser is all you need in the am!)
  2. Toner: Toners are absolutely optional. If your routine takes too long then the first product to skip is a toner.
  3. Serums: Antioxidant daytime serums help mitigate environmental insults, like pollution, and neutralize inflammation!
  4. Eye Cream: Just like toners, eye creams during the day are optional. If you do use one, pick a thin formulation as opposed to a thick cream.
  5. Moisturizer: Not everyone needs a daytime moisturizer. If you have an oily complexion or moisturizer weighs you down then you can forgo it!
  6. Sunscreen: Pro tip: Flat, matte sunscreens work best if you are going to wear makeup.
  7. Makeup: My goal as a dermatologist is to get your skin so beautiful that you need very little makeup!

And here is the proper order for a nighttime routine with pro tips included:

  1. Cleanser: At night to remove sunscreen makeup, and the grime from the day, you may need two different types of cleaners. Consider a cleansing oil, face wipes, a washcloth, a foaming wash and or a gentle mechanical brush!
  2. Toner: You don’t always need a toner at night. This is definitely optional.
  3. Eye Cream: Use the soft pad of your ring finger to gently apply eye cream at night!
  4. Targeted spot or blemish treatments: If necessary, now is the time to apply a spot acne treatment or a blemish lightener.
  5. Retinol: Dermatologists love retinols! They make your skin smoother, softer, and more supple!
  6. Face Oil or Moisturizer: Skin hydration and moisturization is important, but don’t overdo it or you’ll weigh your skin down and potentially clog pores.
  7. Lip Product: Last but not least, provide a luxurious coat of a good lip moisturizer every night!

In closing, I need to emphasize that consistency is key. We know that skin does an incredible job of keeping unwanted things (like bacteria, yeast, fungi, etc.) out. As such, it’s also very difficult to get wanted things in.

So please, recognize that only a tiny amount of the intended ingredient will actually reach its target and the best way to have great skin is to follow a steady daily and nightly routine! Most importantly, don’t stress and have fun with your beauty regiment.