But the most important ingredient in your home care regimen doesn't come in a jar and you can't buy more of it. It's time.
The only way to see a return on the investment you have made in skin care is to use it correctly, and an indispensable part of that process is letting each component absorb fully before moving on to the next step.
After a thorough cosmeceutical cleansing and toning routine, a corrective serum or complex should be the first layer. Many of these agents can only be absorbed properly into dry skin, so letting your toner completely absorb is key. For daytime use, I often recommend corrective formulas with glycolic, salicylic and azelaic acids for acne-prone skin, kojic and gallic acids for lightening, vitamin C and DMAE to correct sun damage, spin trap and botanical antioxidants for age prevention, green tea and licorice for sensitive skin, and hyaluronic acid and EGF formulations for dehydration or after professional treatments. For nighttime use, most of my clients apply a carefully formulated retinol serum or complex at least two nights per week, and those interested in long-term reduction of hyperpigmentation and other concerns through deeper chemical peels alternate their retinol program with lighteners including hydroquinone.
Again, a few more minutes of product absorption at this step are crucial. Adding a moisturizer or SPF too early will not only dilute the corrective serum, but may also diminish the effectiveness of the moisturizer or sunscreen! After a patient few minutes (make tea, check email, dry your hair), follow one of the following orders of operations, taking care to WAIT between steps:
- Chemical Sunscreen -> Moisturizer and Eye Cream -> Makeup
- Moisturizer and Eye Cream -> Mineral Sunscreen -> Makeup
- or for nighttime, Moisturizer and Eye Cream only
The reason for this order is that if you are using a chemical sunscreen, it needs to touch the skin directly in order to do its job (another reason to let your serum absorb completely before applying it), whereas if you are using a mineral sunscreen, it should be the outer layer as it protects by reflection.
And finally, as you have probably observed yourself, it's important to let those moisturizers and sunscreens settle into your skin before moving along to makeup if you want a smooth finish that will last all day.
To recap, the advantages of applying your skincare treatments in the right order, and waiting a few minutes between each are as follows:
- Ensure full penetration of active skincare ingredients
- Ensure even penetration of active skincare ingredients
- Ensure full benefits of skincare treatments
- Ensure full benefit of sun protection
- Achieve healthy radiant skin!
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