You can own the best collection of skincare products with all the right ingredients for the best skin but if you don’t apply your products in the correct order, or if you pair the wrong toner with, say, the wrong moisturizer, you could end up rendering your products straight-up ineffective—or, even worse, give yourself an irritated, sensitive face.
Basic Routine (no Actives)
Gentle Cleanser (or just wash with water) > Toner > Serum > Moisturizer Gel/Cream > Sunscreen
Make Up Remover > Cleanser > Toner > Serum > Moisturizer Gel/Cream > Facial Oils* > Occlusives like Vaseline/Aquaphor
In this post, i am going to cover the following actives
Vitamin C & Chemical Exfoliants - BHA & AHA.
Now, how should you add in Skincare Actives?
What are Actives?
For the most part, actives provide chemical exfoliation, treat hyper-pigmentation, prevent acne, and boost collagen and cell renewal to fight skin-aging.
Important things to note when using Actives:
- for optional efficacy, wait time of 20 min allows the Actives to work on your skin (if you are introducing something new to your skin, i recommend to start with 10 min and slowly work your way up)
- always remember to apply hydrating products after using Actives (I cannot emphasise the importance of moisturizing enough!)
- chemical exfoliants like (AHA, BHA, Retinol) should NOT be used together in the same routine (vitamin C is ok, but it also depends on your skin type)
- the frequency of using chemical exfoliants depends on your skin type, and the percentage of the acid - you can follow the directions and frequency of usage stated on the product’s package but it also depends on your skin type and it’s ability to tolerate the acid
There are many products which contain Actives in lower percentages, however in this post I am going to cover those more concentrated serums.
If you are using a Vitamin C Serum (eg. 20% Vitamin C)
Low PH Gentle Cleanser > Toner > Vitamin C Serum (wait 20 min) > Moisturizer > *Sunscreen
Can be used twice a day.
(If you have to choose to either apply Day or Night, our advice is to apply Vitamin C in the day as it helps to protect your skin from UV Rays, Pollution and Free Radicals)
Chemical Exfoliant - BHA
If you are using a BHA Serum (eg. 2% Salicylic Acid)
Low PH Gentle Cleanser > Toner > BHA (wait 20 min) > Hydrating Serum > Moisturizer > *Sunscreen (for AM)
You can use BHA - Day or Night 1-3 times a week. Depending on your skin type.
Chemical Exfoliant - AHA
If you are using an AHA Serum (eg. 10% Glycolic Acid / Mandelic Acid / Lactic Acid)
Low PH Gentle Cleanser > Toner > AHA (wait 20 min) > Hydrating Serum > Moisturizer
It is advisable to use AHA at night only.
Recommended to use 1-3 times a week (depending on your skin type).
Why do I have to wait?
Waiting is good so as to avoid different pH levels of the products to “cancel out” each other. For example, when you apply Vitamin C it lowers your skin’s pH level to approx 3.5 - our skin’s pH level is 5.5 so when you apply the Vitamin C serum you want it to do its job until your skin readjusts itself back to 5.5 (which take approx. 20min)
Will the product still works if I don’t wait?
Yes, but it isn’t working at its full potential.
To read more about the Benefits of the mentioned Actives, here are some posts you can check out: