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Toner, Serum, Or Cream: Which First On Your Face?

Step-by-step skin care? It’s complicated. You have a cabinet full of toners, creams, and serums and you don’t know what goes on when. Using products in the wrong order could mean you’re not getting the most for your money. Here’s a guide to make it easier for you:

1. Toners

Toners are astringents, which means they contract tissue like pores, making your face feel tighter. They often contain alcohols and are used to remove oil from the skin as well as tightening. Therefore, you should use them first. If you have dry or sensitive skin, however, you might skip them completely because they can make dryness worse.

2. Serums

Serums are liquid cosmetics. They usually have antioxidants or peptides to minimize the day’s damage done to your skin and to give you a more youthful appearance. Serums are applied first so that there’s nothing between their expensive ingredients and your skin. The exceptions are serums that contain silicone or dimethicone. Silicone helps lock moisture in your skin, but it also acts as a barrier hindering anything above it from getting to your skin. Silicone serums should be applied last. Like expensive serums, any prescription medications should also be applied first to ensure that their active ingredients penetrate the skin unhindered. If you have both, then apply the prescription first and the serum second.

3. Eye cream and face cream

Face and eye creams can be simple moisturizers or complex anti-aging products. Eye creams usually have antioxidants to help restore this most delicate skin. If you have one, then apply it before your face cream. Otherwise, by applying your face cream first, you risk rubbing it into your eyes. Once your prescription medications (if any) serums, and eye creams have absorbed, then apply your face cream last. If your serum has silicone or dimethicone, then apply it last, so its protective ingredients are the outermost barrier.

*This blog post was originally published at The Dermatology Blog*


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