Ask the Beauty Expert: In What Order Should I Apply my Skincare Products?

Posted by: Kate Moore

I love getting questions that are what I consider “back to the basics” because it reminds me that many people often wonder things that are second nature to me after being involved in the industry for so long. So when this question came through—In what order am I supposed to be applying my skincare products?—I was excited to break it all down and explain the step-by-step skincare process that I live by. 

First, why is this question so important? In addition to providing the best results, using the right item at the right time will help maximize the superpowers of each product in your routine. Think about it—you’ve already put in hard work to track down great formulas, why not make those formulas work their hardest?

Here’s my step-by-step guide, along with skincare product suggestions and why they’re important to incorporate into your skincare routine. Let’s get into it!

Step 1: Cleanser

This is pretty self explanatory—you want to start your skincare regimen with a clean slate—but there are so many different kinds of cleansers and you want to make sure you’re using the correct one for the time of day and your type of skin. Cleansers generally come in two types: foam and cream. Why would you choose one over the other? Preference for sure, but cream cleansers tend to be less abrasive and better on dry/sensitive skin types. Foaming cleansers work better for those who want to feel squeaky clean. I have oily skin, so I like the ultra clean feeling a foam cleanser gives me. I will add that there are also oil cleansers that are amazing for every skin type—it does the best job of getting make-up, dirt and oil off your face without feeling harsh. This kind is my favorite to use at night. And yes, even though it’s an oil, it’s great for oily skin because it attracts and pulls out the excess oil in your skin to help level everything out.

My fave cleansing products are: 

  • Foaming: IMAGE Skincare Ageless Total Facial Cleanser and Eminence Organics Stone Crop Gel Wash
  • Cream: IMAGE Skincare Vital C Hydrating Facial Cleanser and Eminence Firm Skin Acai Cleanser
  • Oil: Eminence Organics Stone Crop Cleansing Oil

Step 2:  Exfoliate

This is an often overlooked step but provides incredible change in texture and appearance of the skin! If your skin is dry, oily, dull, uneven or rough—you need to add in exfoliation. You don’t want to over exfoliate so this is a two to three times per week step. That being said, we do carry gentle exfoliants that are okay for everyday use if you wanted, but for most this is only needed a few times per week.

My exfoliant go-tos:

  • IMAGE Skincare Vital C Hydrating Enzyme Masque
  • IMAGE Ageless Total Resurfacing Masque
  • Eminence Organics Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant
  • Eminence Pear & Poppy Seed Microderm Polisher

Step 3: Masque

This isn’t an everyday product, but should be thrown in two to three times per week as a treatment after your skin is cleansed (and exfoliated if you choose to do so). There are masques for every skin concern and condition. Since this step is more personal to skin type, I would suggest stopping in and talking with me or another professional for a customized recommendation.

Step 4: Eye cream

This is something EVERYONE needs to be using day AND night! Our eye area is very sensitive and delicate, not to mention one of the first places we start to see signs of aging! Some need help with fine lines while others need something to de-puff or correct dark circles. 

Here are my top two favorite eye products that treat all those concerns:

  • IMAGE Skincare MD Restoring Collagen Recovery Eye Gel
  • Eminence Organics Neroli Age Corrective Eye Serum

Step 5: Serum

This is also specific to skin type and issue, but if you’re going to use a serum—this one goes on after you’ve cleansed and treated the skin with either a mask and/or eye/spot-specific creams. Serums are the heavy hitters in your regimen and are considered a treatment product. They penetrate the deepest into the skin and help correct or prevent unwanted changes. Of all the products you use, a serum is where you get the most change in your skin. You can also layer multiple serums since you may want more than one for varying results. Holler at your girl (that’s me!) if you need serum recommendations based on your skin situation.

Step 6: Facial Oil

Anyone can benefit from adding in facial oil. Yes, even my oily beauties. However, if you are dry— this would be a fantastic add. An oil will deeply hydrate, nourish and in some cases, firm skin. This step is best for a nighttime routine and could be used in place of, or added under, a moisturizer.

The facial oils I’m loving are:

  • IMAGE Skincare Vital C Hydrating Facial Oil
  • Eminence Organics Rosehip Triple C+E Firming Oil

Step 7: Moisturizer

This step is a crucial one! The job of a moisturizer is not only to bring hydration to your skin, but also help keep moisture in and harmful free radicals out. For the day, a moisturizer that contains an SPF of 30 or higher is important while at night something more hydrating and dewy works great.

My faves are:

  • For the day: IMAGE Prevention+ Daily Ultimate Protection Moisturizer SPF 50, Eminence Tropical Vanilla Day Cream SPF 32
  • For the night:  IMAGE The MAX Stem Cell Cream
  • Eminence Monoi Age Corrective Night Cream for Face & Neck

Step 8: Be Your Beautiful Self

The last step is to go out, face the world and be your beautiful self. And if you still have questions or need personalized suggestions, stop in and see me or shoot me an email!


Kate Moore is the Retail and Service Advisor at Cole’s Salon Burnsville. She can be reached with any product or service questions at 952-435-8585 or kate@colessalon.com.

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