How To Build A Flowing Skincare Routine

By Susie 

  • Products need to be applied in the correct "flowing" order in order to have maximum effectiveness on your skin
  • Don't worry - there are just a few simple rules of thumb you need to know
  • Going from thin to thick, water-based products to oil and understanding your sunscreen ingredients is all it takes!

In addition to making sure you’re buying clean and effective skincare products, there’s a certain order to applying them to get the most benefit from each. That’s why for all Soffli products, we always specify a “Step” so you know which ones should be used before others. 

The biggest concern of not applying product in the right order is that they might not penetrate and absorb properly making them less effective. It’s like buying a killer vacuum but not using it correctly - your floor will never be as clean as it could be. Another reason is that products might clump or pill, which honestly is the most annoying thing…especially if you wear makeup on top of your skincare products. 

Lucky for you, it’s not hard to know the proper order. Once you understand a few general principles to creating a flowing skincare routine, it’s easy to add or take away products and still maintain maximum effectiveness in your overall routine. Below are the general rules of thumb: 

Rule 1: Move in the direction of thinnest to thickest. Think of thinnest being the product closest to water - toner, serums and essences. Thicker product includes moisturizers, creams and oil. 

The thicker product creates a barrier on your skin, so if you apply the thinner serums and essences on top of your heavier products, they won’t absorb fully and provide the benefit you’re looking for. 

Rule 2: Move from water-based products to oil-based products. Again, the water-based products tend to be the thinner products so that would be toner, serum and essence. Your moisturizers and creams might include some level of oil and your face oil is close to 100% oil, if not 100%. Let the lighter water-based products absorb into the skin first before applying the oil-based products since oil can create a barrier.  

Rule 3: Sunscreen can be tricky. The one exception here to the general rules above is sunscreen.  First of all, I want to acknowledge that there doesn’t seem to be an answer all experts agree on. Some dermatologist will tell you that sunscreen is always last, so even after a face oil. Others will tell you it depends on whether you’re using a chemical sunscreen or a mineral sunscreen – for chemical which needs to be absorbed in order to be effective, you should apply after all water-based products but before any heavier oil-based products, and for mineral which works as a blocker, you should apply it as the last step of your skincare routine, even after face oil. 

Whichever advice you follow, it’s always a good idea to wait 5 to 10 minutes between your regular skincare steps and your sunscreen stage to avoid piling issues, especially if your routine includes oil-based products. 

Now let’s try applying this to product you might have in your bathroom now.  This how it should flow:

  • Cleanser
  • Toners like the Soffli Gentle AHA Toner
  • Serums like the Soffli 16% Vitamin C Serum
  • Moisturizer
  • Face oil (if you want to avoid pilling issues entirely or have oily skin, reserve this step just for nighttime)
  • Mineral sunscreen (obviously not needed at night!) 

You can see the progression of thin to thick and from water to oil. 

If in doubt, try testing the products on the back of your hand. The lighter it feels, the faster it will absorb. Take some time to mindfully build a flowing skincare routine to ensure that your products are giving your skin their full benefit!