What is the order of application of products: skincare and makeup

When it comes to facial care and make-up, it is common to have doubts, especially with regard to how and at what stage to apply some products.

Furthermore, with so many similar items it is difficult to know the difference between each one and to understand its peculiarities.

Thinking about it, the Minute Healthy team separated some tips for you on the order of application of products when it comes to skincare (facial care) and makeup. Check out

What is the order of application of products on the face?

The application of the products on the face can vary greatly. There are specific recommendations regarding the step by step in skin care and others for makeup time, for example.

Following an order is essential for some products, as they can lose their functionality if they are used in the wrong way.

Despite this, you do not need to include every step imaginable in your routine, you can always adapt according to your tastes. For example, someone younger may not want to use an anti-aging cream, since those in the more mature phase can see it as a fundamental step (or not).

But, in general, you can always follow a basic order, varying only according to the products used:

  • Complete skin cleansing;
  • Toning;
  • Hydration and / or similar steps – anti-aging creams, vitamin C, serums, etc;
  • Solar protection;
  • Makeup.

What is the right order of skin cleansing?

Facial care is a question for many people, because not all of them have direct follow-up with specialized professionals (dermatologists) and sometimes they may have even more doubts when seeking online guidance.

Therefore, we have separated some practical tips for you. Starting with some common doubts that may arise when cleaning your skin.

Makeup remover or soap?

As the name suggests, the function of makeup remover is to remove makeup. So, it should only be used for this purpose, having no need to use it on days that you choose not to use make .

It should always be applied before anything else, as the soap alone hardly removes the makeup as a whole. Therefore, use a cotton swab with make-up remover and clean your face thoroughly.

To remove the mascara, a tip is to press the cotton in the eyes and wait for a while, so that the product can “melt” the mascara and facilitate the removal. That is, there is no use rubbing the cotton, it will only hurt your skin.

That done, you can wash your face normally with a soap or cleansing gel, in order to remove makeup residue and remove what is left of makeup remover on the skin.

Soap or cleaning gel?

The difference between the soap and the cleansing gel is in the way it acts on your skin. The soap is for a deeper cleaning and can even be in bar format. The gel is for daily use and acts more smoothly.

Therefore, both have the same function and to choose the best for your case it is ideal to seek a (a) dermatologist. In general, the soap is only for those with really oily skin and the gel can be used on all skin types.

That is, you do not need to use both products , considering that they perform the same function. Just choose either a cleansing gel or a soap for your daily use.

In addition, it is worth mentioning that cleaning with soap or gel is the first step – but, if you use makeup, it is the second (right after makeup remover).

Exfoliation or makeup remover?

As mentioned in the previous topic, makeup remover is the first step when using makeup and there is no need to use it otherwise.

That is, the exfoliation comes after the make-up remover and this step may or may not replace cleaning with soap or gel (according to your preference). Also, it must be kept in mind that it should not be done daily. This is because its main function is to remove dead cells and cause a renewal in the skin.

Therefore, since our skin is not renewed daily, but after a few days, the ideal is to perform facial exfoliation approximately once a week. For this, you can choose an exfoliating cream or soap.

Seeking guidance from the dermatologist is also important in this case, as in some cases a different routine may be recommended.

Micellar water or facial tonic?

Despite being similar products, micellar water and facial tonic are not the same. This is because micellar water is a product that can be used to cleanse the skin and, in some cases, even remove makeup more smoothly than a make-up remover.

It can also perform the tonic function. But, after all, what does a tonic do? It prepares the skin to receive the next steps – such as hydration, for example.

Therefore, a micellar water can do the tonic function, but the opposite cannot happen. So, it is only worth mentioning that to use a product to tone the skin, it must be applied after all the cleaning (including after washing with soap) and before applying any cream or facial care product.

That way, if you want you can use both products . Always remembering that micellar water can be used for cleaning and also to tone, while the tonic should only come to the end of all skin hygiene to prepare it for the next step.

What is the order to apply sunscreen?

There are many doubts about when the sunscreen should be applied. But the logic is very simple: always apply after performing all the steps of cleaning and facial care.

That is, after cleaning and moisturizing the skin (and / or applying other products, such as vitamin C or serum), you apply sunscreen. This is because, if applied after sunscreen, the other product will not penetrate deeply into the skin and will have little or no effect.

Therefore, the protector should be applied after your skincare steps (facial care) and before makeup (if it is to be applied, of course). It is worth mentioning that it is always necessary to wait for a product to dry and / or to be absorbed by the skin and then to pass the next one.

What to use first protector or primer?

The sunscreen and the primer occupy two different extremes: the sunscreen is the last step of facial care and the primer is, as the name suggests, the first when it comes to makeup.

So, first comes the sunscreen and then the primer – it can be used both before makeup and alone since there are options only to close pores or even out skin tone.

Moisturizer or sunscreen: which comes first?

As explained in the previous topic, the protector should be the last step of facial care. So, the moisturizer comes first.

After performing a complete cleansing of your skin and toning it up (if you want), you can apply the moisturizer of your choice. This is important because, before protecting your skin from exposure to UVA and UVB rays, you need to provide nutrition to make it healthy.

Then, wait for the skin to absorb the moisturizer (the time varies depending on the product, but usually 1 or 2 minutes is enough) and apply sunscreen.

Serum: before or after the moisturizer?

Serums are highly concentrated fluids and enriched with active ingredients that are rapidly absorbed by the skin. There are different types and with different functions, the most common are for hydration, revitalization and prevention of signs of aging.

Considering that its texture is lighter and, consequently, its absorption is faster and penetrates the skin more deeply, the serum should be applied first . In a practical way, it can be understood that it really treats the skin, while the moisturizer takes care of the superficial layer of the dermis.

How to put on makeup: what comes first?

Unlike facial care, when it comes to makeup, you don’t need to worry so much about the order of application of the products. However, there are still some items that need certain care.

In general, there are some guidelines that are related to issues of skill and not functionality of the product. For example, applying eyeshadow before mascara is something that facilitates the process.

However, products like the primer need to have their order respected. This is because if it is not applied before all the makeup, it will have no function and – even – it will affect the other products.

But there is undoubtedly a doubt that stands out: which comes first, the base or the corrective? Check out some application tips:

Foundation or concealer?

The foundation and concealer are similar products and with very similar proposals, which can cause confusion when it comes to makeup.

In general, there is no single order, it varies depending on the result you want. For example, if you want to hide something, there are two options: apply a darker concealer under the base or use, after the base, one exactly your skin tone (always apply only to the area that wants more coverage).

However, if you want to illuminate and / or highlight something (such as illuminating under the eyes, for example), after applying the foundation apply a concealer a shade lighter than yours.

In addition to these techniques, many people and – mainly – professional makeup artists, make use of colored concealers to camouflage stains and imperfections.

In this case, you need to follow some specific coloring notions, but the colored concealer is always used before the foundation.


Understanding the differences between the characteristics of the products and knowing about their functionality can help a lot to apply them correctly.

As we have seen, not all products need to follow an order, so always use your creativity and adapt the items to your routine, needs and tastes.

Do you have any tips you can give about product application? Tell us here in the comments and keep following the Healthy Minute for more content like this!

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