Step-by-Step: How to apply skin care products for maximum results.

How to properly use skincare and get the best results:

You have it all – a Cleanser, a Treatment, and a Moisturizer.  Now, you may be thinking, how am I supposed to use this and in what order?

Here ’s a simple guide for how-to-apply skincare step by step to maximize the performance ingredients in each product and keep your regime quick, simple and effective.

Think of applying skincare like getting dressed: you shower, slip into your sheer/lightweight undergarments, step into your clothes, add accessories and finish with a jacket or coat.  

Skincare application follows the same idea, and size matters- products that have a low viscosity: essences, toners, and serums tend to have a smaller molecule, meaning they can penetrate more deeply into your skin and should go on first. The golden rule is to apply based on texture- start with the lightest texture and finish with the richest texture to seal and protect.  When in doubt, as a rule, apply your skincare in this order from start to finish:

Cleanse; Treatment (Toners, Serums, Masks), Moisturizer, Sunscreen.

1. Start with your Cleanser (Purify)

Start with a clean slate.  After sun care, cleansing is the most important step in your regime because proper cleansing clears the way for active ingredients to penetrate deeply into the skin to visibly improve texture, tone and overall skin health.  Imagine what a waste it would be to miss out on all the benefits of serums and creams because they can’t penetrate skin that is clogged with oil, sebum and dead skin!

How Are BBD Cleansers Different?

Unlike the traditional foamy cleansers that were first popularized in the 1950’s- which, until recently, conditioned American consumers to equate big bubbles with “clean”, Beauty by Design cleansers are formulated without harmful sodium lauryl sulfate, a known toxin and endocrine disruptor.  Each BBD cleanser is packed with natural oils and essences which are very effective at breaking down down oil, makeup and congestion deep in the pores without stripping the lipid barrier. Think of the lipid barrier as the automatic thermostat for our skin, it regulates heat, oil production and protects our skin from elemental irritants, if you disrupt the lipid barrier, your skin isn’t regulating itself properly, becomes vulnerable to environmental stress and can go haywire!

The secret to unlocking the power of BBD cleansers is: Use Less Water!  

Start with a dry or slightly damp face.  Add 1 pump of cleanser into the palm of your hand and drip 2-4 drops of warm water into your palm. Emulsify with your fingertips and cleanse onto a dry face in small, circular motions to fully clean your face area-by-area. Small, circular motions trace the edges of pores, scooping out dead skin, sebum, and oil that congests and hardens into blackheads.

If you have a device like Clarisonic- a rotating brush- or a cosmetic makeup cloth, now is the time to use it to deeply cleanse and gently exfoliate with your matched cleanser.  Some people like the feel of a “second cleanse” after removing makeup or rely on a gentle scrub to remove the dull surface skin- this helps everything that goes on next to penetrate better and work harder for your skin.

2. Next, use your Treatment / Targeted Products


Spritz with a toner matched to your skin’s needs and give it a moment to dry down a bit which allows the micro-molecules to penetrate and will draw the active ingredients in next step in your skincare regime deeper into the epidermis.


Follow with your matched serum, soothing lotion or oil/ breakout controlling gel and allow to fully penetrate and dry. Each serum contains targeted ingredients that act specifically to address each of your needs.  Serums can be easily applied with fingertips or with the assistance of devices that you may have in your bathroom such as Jade rollers, Oscillating wands or micro-current devices. Each works beautifully with Beauty by Design Treatment products.

Eye Treatments:

Apply eye treatments by lightly tapping creams and gels with your ring finger,  (since it’s the weakest finger, it won’t press too hard on the delicate skin) around the orbital bone around your eye in an upward and outward motion toward the temples.  *If you have a little product left over, apply this to the edges of the lip line for hydrating and anti-aging benefits.


Thoroughly cleanse and exfoliate skin before applying a mask so that all of the active ingredients will fully penetrate and work their magic for your skin type and it’s concerns.  1-3 times per week, apply a thin layer to face and neck, leave on for 10 min. Rinse well, and pat dry. Plumping and illuminating masks are great to do before applying makeup for a special event or when you know that you will be photographed- makeup goes on more smoothly and fine lines are diminished when masking before makeup.

One thing to note, unlike occlusive masks formulated with a petroleum base, Beauty By Design’s natural, bioavailable ingredients go on with a light feel and melt into the skin where they penetrate deeply to nourish the skin.  If you like the feel of a thicker mask, apply a little more, and place a warm cloth on your face while you relax for 10 min or so- the heat from the cloth pushes the nourishing and active ingredients more deeply into the skin.

3. Time to Hydrate & Protect with your Moisturizer

We recommend using your Moisturizer both day and night since this is one of the most important parts of any successful skincare routine.  Moisturizers help to nourish and protect the surface of the skin and can deliver powerful antioxidants to the deeper layers of the skin to assist in healthy cell activity.

If your Moisturizer has an SPF, that’s great for your morning routine, but you will want one without SPF for the evening because you aren’t exposed to the sun while sleeping and the skin repairs and heals at night. It’s much better to include ingredients like vitamins and retinoids that assist in nightly repair.  If your current daytime moisturizer does not have an SPF, you will definitely want to add a sunscreen to your daily routine and make it your top layer no matter where you live and your lifestyle (see below for more on sunscreens).

4. Finish up with your Sunscreens/SPFs

Sun Care is a vital part of your skincare routine- nearly all aging and skin disease is a direct effect of sun exposure.  Know the numbers and what they mean to optimize protection and get the most out of your sun protection products- learn how to calculate Sun Care math:

  1. Layering SPF 15 foundation on top of an SPF 30 lotion does not equal SPF 45.  Sun care products are not cumulative, you will only get the benefit of the highest protection.
  2. SPF 30 means that you can stay in the sun 30 times longer than it would take you to start to burn without sunscreen. For example, If you burn in the sun after 10 min of unprotected exposure to direct sunlight, an SPF 30 will protect you for 5 hours total. No more and re-applying will not buy you even another 5 min before you start to burn.
  3. Apply sunscreen liberally and often after going in the water or exercising in the sun. Dr. Kathy Fields tells her patients to apply an entire shot glass of sunscreen to the face, neck, and chest to get the full SPF  protection that is in the bottle. When sunscreen products are tested in the lab, they are applied very generously to the skin. Don’t skimp and fool yourself when applying- a sheer coast of SPF 30 will not yield SPF 30 levels of production.

Remember, your face and decolletage are very delicate and show signs of sun damage and age just like your face.  Apply Treatment and Hydrating products to these areas as well so that the skin on your neck and decolletage looks as plump and vibrant as your face.

Want more application tips? Check out this great article from Allure Magazine: https://www.allure.com/story/how-to-layer-your-skin-care-products

By: Hillary Clark, Beauty By Design