Which First: Serum or Moisturiser? Expert Tips for Your Skincare Routine

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Layering your skincare products correctly is crucial for maximising their benefits. One common question is whether to apply facial oil or moisturiser first. The answer depends on the type of product and the specific routine you follow. Let's break it down for both daytime and nighttime routines.

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Daytime Routine

For a daytime routine, the primary goals are hydration, protection, and preparing your skin for the day ahead.

Step 1: Serum

Start with a lightweight, hydrating serum. Serums contain active ingredients that penetrate deeply into the skin, addressing specific concerns such as brightening, hydration, and antioxidant protection.

Why First? Serums are designed to deliver potent ingredients directly into the skin. Applying them first ensures maximum absorption and effectiveness.

Step 2: Moisturiser

Follow up with a SPF moisturiser. Moisturisers provide a barrier that locks in the serum’s benefits and keeps your skin hydrated throughout the day.

Why Second? Moisturisers seal in the serum's active ingredients and provide additional hydration, creating a protective barrier on the skin’s surface.

Step 3: Facial Oil (Optional)

If your skin is particularly dry, you might add a nourishing facial oil after your moisturiser. Oils can enhance the skin's barrier function and lock in moisture even further.

Why Last? Oils are heavier and can penetrate moisturisers, but not the other way around. Applying oil last ensures that all the hydrating and active ingredients from your serum and moisturiser are sealed in.

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Nighttime Routine

Nighttime is all about repair and rejuvenation. Your skin absorbs active ingredients better at night when it's not fighting off environmental stressors.

Step 1: Serum

Start by applying a nourishing night serum. Look for a serum that contains ingredients like bakuchiol, which supports skin renewal and repair while you sleep.

Why First? Serums are formulated with smaller molecules that can penetrate deeply into the skin, making them the first step to ensure active ingredients reach their target.

Step 2: Moisturiser

Follow with a rich night cream. This moisturiser provides intense hydration and supports the skin’s natural repair processes.

Why Second? A moisturiser will help lock in the serum's active ingredients and provide an additional layer of hydration, essential for overnight repair.

Step 3: Facial Oil (Optional)

For added nourishment, apply a rejuvenating facial oil after your moisturiser. This step is particularly beneficial for those with very dry or mature skin.

Why Last? Applying facial oil last helps to seal in the benefits of the serum and moisturiser, ensuring your skin remains hydrated and nourished throughout the night.


Understanding the logic behind the order of applying skincare products is essential for their effectiveness. For both daytime and nighttime routines, start with a serum to target specific skin concerns, follow with a moisturiser to hydrate and protect, and optionally use a facial oil to lock in all the benefits. Incorporating products in the right order will ensure your skin stays healthy, hydrated, and radiant.

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