The Right Order: Serum or Moisturizer First for a Perfect Skincare Routine

Discover the perfect order for your skincare routine! Learn whether to apply serum or moisturizer first, the benefits of active ingredients, and more. #skincareroutine #serumorfirst #ingredients

When it comes to skincare, there are so many products available that it can be overwhelming to know where to start. One common question that arises is whether to apply serum or moisturizer first. The answer to this question depends on several factors, including the active ingredients in the products and the time of day. In this article, we will explore the best order for applying serum and moisturizer and provide tips for creating a perfect skincare routine.

Should Serum Go First?

According to experts, it is generally better to apply serum before moisturizer. The reason behind this is that serums are lightweight and contain active ingredients that can penetrate the skin more effectively when applied directly after cleansing. By applying serum first, you allow the active ingredients to work their magic and target specific skincare concerns such as wrinkles, dark spots, or dullness.

Order of Application for Skincare Products

Creating a skincare routine involves more than just serum and moisturizer. There are several other products that can be incorporated, such as toners, eye creams, and facial oils. The general rule of thumb is to apply products in order of their texture, starting with the lightest and ending with the heaviest. Here is a recommended order for applying skincare products:

  1. Cleanser
  2. Toner
  3. Serum
  4. Eye Cream
  5. Moisturizer
  6. Facial Oil

By following this order, you ensure that each product is able to penetrate the skin effectively and provide the desired benefits.

Active Ingredients in Serums

When choosing a serum, it is important to consider the active ingredients and their compatibility with other products. Some common active ingredients found in serums include:

  • Retinol: Known for its anti-aging properties, retinol should be used at night and followed by a moisturizer to minimize dryness and irritation.
  • Vitamin C: This powerful antioxidant brightens the skin and should be applied in the morning before moisturizer and sunscreen.
  • Hyaluronic Acid: A hydrating ingredient that can be used both morning and night, hyaluronic acid should be applied before moisturizer to lock in moisture.

It is important to note that some active ingredients may not play well together. For example, retinol and benzoyl peroxide can cause irritation when used together, so it is best to use them at different times or consult with a dermatologist for personalized advice.

Morning or Evening?

The best time to apply serum and moisturizer depends on the active ingredients and your skincare goals. In the morning, it is important to protect your skin from environmental factors such as UV rays and pollution, so applying a serum with antioxidants and a moisturizer with SPF is recommended. In the evening, you can focus on repairing and nourishing the skin by using serums with anti-aging or brightening properties.

Serum and Moisturizer Ingredients Not to Mix

While it is important to layer skincare products in the correct order, it is equally important to avoid mixing certain ingredients that may cause irritation or reduce their effectiveness. Here are some ingredients that should not be mixed:

  • Retinol and Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs): These ingredients can both be effective for exfoliating the skin, but using them together can increase the risk of irritation.
  • Niacinamide and Vitamin C: Although both ingredients offer brightening benefits, using them together can result in flushing or redness.
  • Oil-Based and Water-Based Products: Oil-based products should generally be applied after water-based products to ensure proper absorption.

It is always a good idea to read the labels of your skincare products and consult with a dermatologist if you have any concerns about ingredient interactions.


Creating a skincare routine that incorporates both serum and moisturizer is essential for maintaining healthy and radiant skin. By following the recommended order of application and considering the active ingredients in your products, you can maximize their benefits and achieve your desired skincare goals. Remember to always patch test new products and consult with a dermatologist if you have any specific concerns or questions.

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