To most people, a proper skin-care regimen seems like a no-brainer. You wash your face, throw on some moisturizer, maybe a treatment product every now and then, and call it a day (or night)…Easy, right? Well, if you are really only using one product after you wash your face, then yes, that IS easy. (It’s certainly not going to do miracles to improve your skin, but easy? Yes.) However, if you are anything like the rest of us – trying to fight wrinkles, loss of elasticity, enlarged pores, dehydration, fine lines and all the other not-so-fabulous sh*t that comes with aging skin – then you, like me, are probably using more than one or two (or five) post-cleanse beauty products. All of the sudden, it’s no longer a no-brainer. It’s down-right confusing!

There are promises written on every jar. Hopes and dreams of brighter, more youthful skin, play with our heads (and our pocketbooks) as we search for the next BIG anti-aging miracle. And as a veteran to this cosmetic world, trust me, there are some miracles that come in a jar! But if you are randomly slathering various potions and promises on your face, you may be sabotaging your own results by putting them on in the wrong order. Certain products will actually act as barriers that block others from being effective. Not only might you be wasting your time, but you may as well be throwing your money down the toilet. Do not fear, however! There is a rhyme and reason to the layering of skincare products. And it’s all based on ONE simple rule: layer your potions just as you would layer your clothing, if you were to dress for the snow.

(Hold on to your long-johns, folks. It make sense.)

You wouldn’t put on your ski jacket and snow boots first, followed by your pants and sweater. Your lighter, thinnest layers – if placed on the outside – would be virtually ineffective, because they would not be able to penetrate the protective barrier of the overcoat. This is also true for skincare products. Barriers prevent other products from interacting with the skin and fulfilling their sole purpose.

In addition, the direction in which you apply a product also makes a difference. Why? Simply because of the direction our pores face. Just think of putting your underwear (or worse yet, ladies, your thong) on backwards. Ouch!  It’s easy to see that undergarments applied in the wrong direction would not be as effective, to say the least. This also holds true for beauty products. They must be applied in the direction in which they can penetrate the deepest.

So, here are some simple rules to follow when applying products.

Start with a clean face. Period. By clean, I mean free of all oils and residues that can form barriers that hinder the absorption of your products. I do NOT agree with washing your face with cleansing oils or heavy moisturizing cleansers unless that is the only beauty regimen you have. These leave a film on your face and block products from absorbing. I’ve used Phisoderm since I was a teenager. It’s simple, washes clean, and pH balances my skin. Done. Don’t spend a ton of money on face wash. Hello? It washes OFF of your face. You just want it to rinse clean, and not irritate your skin.

. If you think your make-up remover or face wash is getting off EVERY stitch of makeup or grime, think again. You are wrong. Take a cotton pad with a little toner (preferably a pH balancing toner that is neither drying nor moisturizing), rub it over your face, neck, chest, and even behind your ears, and THEN try to tell me your face wash is getting everything. You will be surprised what’s been left behind after you thought you were “clean.” Now, with a truly clean slate, the real work can begin.

DAYTIME: Serum, Eye Cream, Lotion, Sunscreen (IN THAT ORDER!)
Although your skincare regime may not include both a serum and a lotion, it is important to notice the order of application. Remember the concept of applying the thinnest material first? Serums are almost watery, so they need to be the first layer. If you are not using an anti-oxidant C serum, you are missing an important anti-aging potion (Future Blog to come on WHAT products you should be applying). I urge you to make an appointment with your dermatologist to determine your unique skincare needs.

NIGHTTIME: Serum, Eye Cream, Retin-A (or Retinoid product), Moisturizer (IN THAT ORDER)
Again, your nightly skincare regime may not include all of these items, but it is important to note the order. There are many different consistencies for over-the-counter retinoid products as well as prescription-strength Retin-A. Just remember, the thicker products go on last. I also use a neck and décolletage firming cream, which I layer on top of the Retin-A. Again, it depends on the consistency, so follow the rules of layering. If, however, you use a product to spot treat a specific area, such as acne or scars, apply that product first, and let it soak in before applying the rest of your products.

The Upward Direction. All products should be applied upward and into the pores to ensure deepest penetration. I initially work the product into my skin using small, gentle, circular motions. Then, I finish off with an upward sweep, gently pushing the product deeper into the skin. Remember, since most of the pores on our face point downward, it makes sense to apply treatment products up into the pores.

So there you have it. Don’t put your panties (or products) on backwards ever again. And certainly don’t layer them on top of your overcoat. If you are going to take the time and money necessary to take care of your skin, then don’t waste either.

Live Young,
Darnell 🙂

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