Skincare is an investment – we all know that, and the right products go a long way to giving yourself enviable healthy skin. But, like layers of flavour in food, if you do it in the wrong order you might end up wasting your precious product, and not getting the most benefit from it. Below we’ve listed our eight (or ten, if you’re feeling luxurious) step plan to prime your mug.


Obviously, if you do it in the wrong order, then it’s no hanging offence, but you might as well get the most bang for your buck. In a recent article we looked at how to repair your skin if you’ve been neglecting it, and the theory here is the same. Let’s start with clean hands and cleansed skin – you know the drill, then we can start building from a blank canvas, layering the products to get the most from them. 


A general, and rather intuitive rule for healthy skin is to start with your lightest products, and to let your skin absorb them before you move onto your heavier products – we don’t want pilling (those gunky mini balls you get when there’s too much of a product). A tip here is to make the most of the time between layers absorbing – do your teeth, brush your hair, clean your makeup sponge – so it doesn’t become a pain to do. Patience is key! So, let’s start our self-love routine…


First of all – Cleanser

We recommend starting with a cleansing oil, as they’re super effective at removing makeup without harsh soaps or chemicals, and then again with a foam or gel cleaners depending on whether your skin type. Voila! You’ll have the most pristine of canvases to work with, totally free of any makeup, dirt, debris or dead skin. If you’re having a night of skincare, now is the time to treat yourself to a clay or peel-off mask, or to gently exfoliate. 


Our first layer: Toner

As clean as your face now is, toning really prepares your face for everything else – it restores your skin’s pH balance (especially if you live in a hard-water area), gives you more even tone and tightens your pores for a perfect surface for the next products.


For extra hydration: Essence

Korean-style essences are everywhere at the moment, and are used as a kind of base primer to ensure hydration and to help the absorption of the later formulas, like a more lightweight serum. Not exactly necessary, but definitely recommended. Now would also be the time to use your sheet masks – another Korean beauty essential – and we all know how fantastic they are at rejuvenating and nourishing your skin. 


The big player: Serum

Serums have become an absolute necessity in modern skincare routines with their effective concentrations of ingredients such as vitamin C, ceramides and hyaluronic acid.The advantage of serums is that they are a carrier for active formulas that are penetrate deep into the skin, and so are ideal for targeting problems like fine lines, hydrating dry skin or solving issues like acne. These are powerful products, so a little goes a long way – they’re a fantastic investment and once you use them, you won’t be without them.


Starting the highlight: Eye Cream

This formula is often like a thick moisturiser, and now that your skin is totally primed after your serum, this is the time to apply in. Your eye skin is delicate, so we recommend applying your eye cream with your ring finger with small taps to avoid puffiness, hydrate fine lines and combatting the dark circles we can all be prone to. In a similar being, if your eye cream has retinol, it’s worth applying it after your moisturiser, as this ‘barrier’ will avoid the retinol irritating your sensitive eye skin.


Everyday essential: Moisturiser

This is the main layer, and you know better than to skip it! Here is where you nourish, repair and hydrate your perfectly primed skin. Here, you need to do your homework and find the right product or ask a professional: dry skin needs a richer product, but oilier skin will respond better to a gel moisturiser. We’d recommend an amount the size of a cherry, and treating yourself to a little facial massage to ensure perfect coverage and that feelgood sensation.


Lock it in: Facial Oil

With all that nourishment and hydration, we need a barrier to lock it in – but after your moisturiser, otherwise your products will pill and won’t absorb like they should. If you fall in the oily camp, we’d say to only apply facial oil at night – but do remember to use it to make the most of all the other products you’ve already used. 


You know what we’re going to say: Sunscreen

So, you have dewy, hydrated, nourished and healthy skin – let’s keep it that way! A quality sunscreen (not from the supermarket!) applied every morning will protect your skin from broad spectrum radiation and UVA/UVB rays, and is the final step in your skincare routine. It’s worth remembering that dermatologists recommend applying sunscreen even if your other products contain SPF. Another cherry-sized blob is plenty. Final reminder – don’t forget lip balm with SPF and remember to mist your hairline with spray SPF. 


Take the challenge

Although it seems like a lot of work, getting and maintaining great skin is really a question of routine. Trust us, set yourself a healthy skin challenge to do it for a week, and you’ll see the results and you won’t want to go back. Not every step is essential everyday – sheet and clay masks are more for an extra boost or deep clean – but I’m sure you need no excuse to make yourself feel (and look) great. 


Now, should we go au naturel or shall we get the warpaint on?!