With so many products in our regimens it is easy to feel overwhelmed on the correct order. Yes we have grown very ingredient savvy but one serum doesn’t cut it anymore. How do you decide which treatment gets applied first and is there a correct way to apply? We asked Dr. G to weigh in on this and here are his thoughts and suggestions.

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 9.44.47 AMPhoto via MargoandMe

What is the correct regimen order?

Serums should always be applied first to clean skin. When we talk about clean skin we mean either exfoliated, peeled or cleansed. Wiping off the face with a makeup pad doesn’t count for clean.  The reason serums go on first is that they contain the treatment ingredients. They are formulated to go deeper than moisturizers to attack the problem or issue at hand. Next step should be the eye product, whether a gel or cream, the eyes should be treated during an individual step. Moisturizers go on next as they hydrate the skin and seal the serum. If you’re using a separate SPF, which I recommend, it should be the last step.

Where do Oils fit in?

Oils are not solely for hydration anymore as they target anti-aging, dark spots, fine lines and wrinkles and overall skin dullness. Oils are one of those products that can be used in a plethora of ways. If you are incorporating an oil for hydration it should be used after the serum and before the moisturizer. The oil could also be mixed in with the moisturizer or patted on after for extreme hydration and glow. If you tend to have oily skin you can try mixing the oil into your foundation and applying it as your very last step. If you are incorporating the oil for anti aging benefits, try using it as a treatment serum. Dry oils are the best option for this as they won’t sit on the surface of the skin and penetrate deep to deliver treatment ingredients.

What is the best way to apply products?

There are a few schools of thought on how to best apply skincare products. People either rub in product or press/pat on product. Made popular by the French, pressing is said to be less aggressive and more soothing when done correctly. I believe there is room for both methods in a daily regimen.


Pros: Fast and effective, overall coverage, stimulates circulation and blood flow

Cons: Rubbing and tugging could breakdown collagen and perhaps break blood vessels over time


Pros: No aggression to the skin, follows the lymphatic flow our our faces which is good for circulation.

Cons: Time consuming, not effective in coverage

What is the best advice about product order and application?

Choose effective treatment based products and be diligent about using them. The truth is getting them on the skin is the most important part.

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