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What order should I apply these products?

Hi beautiful people . 

My Mom has never been into skincare or makeup, She is 70 and I am 37, and I don’t think we ever talked about it until last month! She randomly asked me what I used, and wanted to know what it did- so needless to say I got a little excited and bought her some of my favorite things for Mother’s Day.  She has them all lined up on the bathroom counter and texted me asking what order to apply them in, and I realized I didn’t really know for sure.


Does anybody know!? I want to make sure it won’t harm her skin, and that they will work the way they are meant to.  I’d love to see what you think the best way to use them is! Some of the bottles don’t explain, and before I research the products I thought I’d ask you guys… I find there is always something to learn, and it isn’t always written on a bottle! 

The Products: 


Dr Dennis Gross - Universal Daily Peel Pads (HG)

SK-II - Facial Treatment Essence (a HG)

Caudalie - Vinoperfect Radiance Serum (HG)

Tatcha - The Deep Cleanse

Tatcha- The Water Cream

Glow Recipe- Plump Plum (I haven’t tried but I have heard such good things…yeah?) 

Sunday Riley- Good Genes (HG)

Drunk Elephant - Protini Polypeptide Cream 


That is it… is there some step I am missing? I know it’s just a bunch of random things, lol. But I just wanted to get her all my holy grails to show that skincare products *can* work and really make a difference. 🙂 



Lots of Love, 

Emily (and my Mom) 




Re: What order should I apply these products?

Hi @Emmalove111 ! I love that you and your mother are discussing skincare! I always tell folks new to skincare to start by identifying issues/goals for their own skin, which includes learning how their skin typically behaves. Then they can learn which skincare ingredients can address their issues/goals, and choose products that contain those ingredients. 


The basic order of application is cleanser, treatment(s), moisturizer, and (in the morning) sunscreen. 

About treatments: 
I lumped exfoliants, toners, essences, and serums into the treatment category up there because none of those are an absolute necessity for everyone. Which one(s) you may actually need depends on your skin's behavior and your personal skincare issues/goals. 

Application order: many folks follow the old rule of applying serums from thinnest to thickest. That’s not a bad method to follow, but it’s not always necessary. It really depends on how the serums are formulated, what else you use in your routine, and your skin’s sensitivity/tolerance level. 
Examples: chemical exfoliants tend to be thin and are generally applied after cleanser and before other treatments. So I’ll break them out from other treatments in my list below. But you could use a chemical exfoliant later in your routine if your skin tolerates it better that way. Some folks apply a retinoid after moisturizer at night to buffer vitamin A’s side effects. I know someone who applies a high-strength oil soluble vitamin C serum that way for the same reason. 
My crack at ordering your listed products: 
  1. Cleanser: Tatcha Deep Cleanse 
  2. Exfoliant (1-3 times a week): PICK EITHER Sunday Riley Good Genes or DDG Universal Daily Peel Pads. Don’t use them on the same day/night. 
  3. Treatments: SK-II Essence, followed by either or both Caudalie Vinoperfect and Glow Recipe Plum Plump in whichever order you want. Were I using those 2 serums, I'd use Plum Plump first because it contains hyaluronic acid. That's a humectant ingredient that can help anything applied afterward—like the Vinoperfect serum—sink deeper into your skin. Make sure your skin's damp when you apply Plum Plump. 
  4. Moisturizer: Either Tatcha Water Cream or Drunk Elepant Protini, applied to damp skin. This gives either moisturizer more hydration to seal into your skin. 
  5. Sunscreen (AM only): I don’t see one on your list. You DO use one, right? 🙂 Your mother should use one, too. Everyone should use one, regardless of weather or season. It's never too late to start using sunscreen! 

Re: What order should I apply these products?

Oh my goodness you are amazing!! Thank you so much!!! I’m sending this to her now 🙂 We do both use sunscreens already but I’ll make sure to put a reminder on there. You’re so sweet to reply in such detail, I’m printing this out for me also. I learned so much!!



Re: What order should I apply these products?

@Emmalove111 Yup... everything @WinglessOne said... she's a skincare guru round these parts and knows her stuff!  I'll add in another shout out for making sure SPF is in your routine!

Re: What order should I apply these products?

Is sunday riley Sunday Riley Good Genes All-In One Lactic Acid Treatment considered an exfoliant or a serum or a acne/spot treatment? What category should i label that under in my skincare app


@missjeanie  @WinglessOne 


Re: What order should I apply these products?

@danibear13  Exfoliants like lactic acid and other AHAs treat hyperpigmentation by removing dead skin cells from the surface of your skin. Good Genes is a 5% lactic acid exfoliant. Since it's a lactic acid exfoliant, it can also treat dark spots. 


What the lactic acid in Good Genes can't do is get down into your pores to unclog them. No AHA can do that. Salicylic acid (BHA) can, but Good Genes doesn't contain that ingredient. So, I wouldn't call Good Genes an acne treatment. 


But if you want to treat post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) left behind by acne—like dark, flat, post-acne spots—Good Genes is an option for that because it's a lactic acid exfoliant. 


Use Good Genes as an exfoliant. Most folks use exfoliants after cleanser and before other treatments. But as I mentioned earlier, you can use an exfoliant after serums if you want. That depends on your skin's tolerance of the exfoliant and the other products in your routine. 

Re: What order should I apply these products?

Aw, thank you @missjeanie ! 😊 And hooray for #TeamSunscreen! 

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