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Skincare Ordering – Which Order To Apply Your Products

You know your socks come before your shoes (or trousers, depending on your school of thought) but do you know the suss about skincare ordering?

When it comes to skincare, order is more important than ever. The Skingredients Core 4 is labelled from 00 to 04 and is the full dinner-plate for your face, as we’re fond of saying. You can follow the numbers straight through and then slot in Mix + Match products where it makes sense – but why is skincare ordering important, and how does it affect your skin if you follow an order or don’t?

Skincare Ordering And Why It’s Important

Skincare products all serve a particular purpose. Ingredients and products have different molecular weights, purposes and textures, so knowing what comes when means that your juicy, skin-beneficial skingredients can actually serve their goodness to your skin. If you’re a follower of Korean skincare, then you are probably aware of the ten steps which they suggest, and you might have even seen Liv Tyler’s 25 step beauty and skincare regime. That’s not a typo. It’s 25 steps long. 

We’re not suggesting something similar, but the point is that routine and order does have an effect on skin. There’s not much point putting on your SPF and then ruining its effectiveness by applying a serum on top, is there? 

Cleanse, Tone, Moisturise?

When it comes to the technique of cleanse, tone and moisturise, it’s close, but no cigar – and phew, because cigars are not good for your skin. This is skincare advice which was peddled in the 80s and 90s, and worked as a sort of one-size-fits-all routine for the majority of hoomans, but in developing nerdie practise, we’ve shifted gears a little. Cleanse, tone, and moisturise as a routine really focuses on skin types rather than skin concerns like congestion, skin dehydration or redness, for example, which is what we practise. The skin may be each of our largest organ, but your skin is individual to you. 

Ordering Your Skincare Products

Step 1: Pre-Cleansing and Cleansing

In skincare ordering, cleansing is always the first step in your skincare regime. If you don’t wear makeup, you might think that means that you can skip this step – or if you cleansed at night then you don’t need to cleanse in the morning, but this isn’t true. 

Cleansing is essential in ridding your skin of excess oil, pollution, dirt, sweat, old SPF, and all other gunk that can build up over the course of the day – or overnight! Cleansing is always an ideal way to prep your skin for the serums and other ingredients which will follow and it’s a building block of any skincare routine, in our eyes. 


The nerdie way is to pre-cleanse first (with a COM, 01 PreProbiotic Cleanse or both). Take the Cleanse Off Mitt, the 00 of the Skingredients range, soak it in warm water, and gently pre-cleanse the skin with just the mitt and warm water. Sweep this across your face in small, circular motions to remove any oil, makeup, or pollution – you don’t need any additional product to remove your makeup with the COM, but we like to pre-cleanse with the COM AND PreProbiotic Cleanse because we’re boujee. Adding PrePro into your pre-cleanse is particularly helpful if you’re wearing red-carpet level makeup.

skincare ordering


We always believe your pre-cleanse should be followed with another cleanse to remove residue and give back to or treat the skin. 

Skingredients PreProbiotic Cleanse is the 01 of the Core 4 as it is your main, AM + PM, as-often-as-you-like mild cleanser with the added balancing benefits of prebiotics, probiotics and hydrating polyhydroxy acid. Not only does it cleanse, it actually gives back to the skin. 

Another belief of ours is that cleansing should be a treatment step too! Using an active cleanser once every second or third PM, such as Sally Cleanse or whatever exfoliating cleanser you have in your routine, is your way to tackle your concerns and additionally prep the skin to receive more delicious nutrients. 

An exfoliating cleanser will speed up skin cell turnover, will decongest in the case of salicylic acid, for example, will help to brighten your skin and makes sure that actives like vitamin A or vitamin C will properly penetrate into your skin. 

Nerdie pro tip: use the other side of your Cleanse Off Mitt to remove your cleanser without soaking your bathroom! Talk about value, are we right?  

If you’re doing a wash-off mask, do it after using an active cleanser like Sally Cleanse or A-HA Cleanse and then continue with the rest of your routine. This is also the place for a Sally or A-HA Micro-Mask! 

Why Should You Double Cleanse?

To err is human, to double-cleanse; divine. The purpose of double cleansing is to ensure that you’re removing all products and build-up from your skin, and allowing your active cleanser or serums to penetrate into your skin. The first cleanse should remove almost all of your makeup, oil and debris from your skin, and the double cleanse should remove any further build up of dead skin and treat the newly cleansed skin with the active ingredients required – be they vitamins, probiotics or exfoliating acids. 

To reiterate, double cleansing is not a clever marketing ploy to get you to use double the amount of cleansers. Facialists have been doing it for decades! 

Step 2: Pre-Serum

This step in the Skingredients routine will help all the products which follow to sink in particularly well. This takes the place of a toner in our routine, as we don’t think toners are vital. Toners are often spoken of as helpful in removing traces of makeup and grime, and help to absorb oil. At their best, toners help products penetrate your skin better – at their worst, they are alcohol-based and astringent, stripping your skin and contributing to sensitisation. We do like treatment toners, meaning exfoliating toners or toners that introduce additional beneficial ingredients to your skin. 


Your skin will already be clean, fresh, and free of grime following your double cleanse, so the pre-serum step takes the place of the toner. Skingredients Skin Veg is a mean, green, nutrient machine. Formulated with veg-derived rockstar ingredients, it’s packed with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents (translation: soothing ingredients), light exfoliators, and Pro-Coll-One+, which helps to synthesise collagen and diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Polyhydroxy acid, such as the one found in Skin Veg, is a penetrant enhancer which helps to improve the efficacy of the products which follow. 

A product containing polyhydroxy acid is ideal for this step in your regime, as it’s helpful in assisting the other ingredients to sink into your skin. If you don’t use a pre-serum, this same spot in the routine is where you’d place a toner, a toning spritz or an essence if you’re a K or J Beauty user! You’d apply your eye cream or eye gel at this stage too, after your pre-serum or in lieu of it, before your serums. 

Step 3: Serum

Serums comes next. These are the nerdie vehicle of choice for getting all of the goodies as deep into your skin as possible. They are concentrated and only a small amount is required – you only need a pea-sized drop on your forehead and each cheek, to be smoothed down over your face, neck and decolletage… From the nipples up, baby. 

The first serum you apply depends on the serum itself. For the most part, vitamin A, vitamin C or niacinamide-based serums go first – when it comes to skincare ordering, you’re trying to get the most potent or finicky ingredients as close to the skin as possible.

Skingredients Skin Protein contains vitamin A in the form of retinyl palmitate, which helps in speeding up skin renewal. It can also improve the overall health of your skin, and is an amazing antioxidant. Vitamin A is a star nerdie Skingredient, as we don’t produce the required amounts of it naturally in our bodies and our stores are depleted by life and UVA rays – it’s uber important when it comes to skin health, so topical application is super important. 

Skin Protein also contains vitamins C and E for brightening and antioxidant protection. Antioxidants are important daily and nightly to tackle the free radical damage that accelerates ageing and the breakdown of our skin’s structural proteins, so there’s also other antioxidants like green tea and rooibos within Skin Protein. 

It’s not suitable for pregnant hoomans, but it’s the protein of the meal for your skin and provides what is needed to re-educate and replenish your skin. 

If you’re applying more than one serum, put the thicker or creamier serum on after thinner serums but we are big advocates for mixing them all together. 

Step 4: Moisturiser 

We don’t feel that every hooman needs a moisturiser because for many, serums will actually give the skin the tools it needs to hydrate itself. However, if you like the feeling of a moisturiser or feel that consistent serum usage just isn’t enough for your truly dry skin, it’s at this stage, post-serum and pre-SPF, that you’ll apply your moisturiser. In Nerd HQ, we like a tiny blob (very technical term) of Skin Good Fats under our SPF if we’re feeling a bit flakier. 

Step 5: SPF or Night Cream 

SPF is the final step in your morning skincare routine, every single day (even in midwinter). SPF has to be your last step of your skincare routine – the only thing which should follow it is your (mineral) makeup, if you wear it. Skingredients Skin Shield SPF 50 PA+++ is protective against environmental factors that can contribute to accelerated skin ageing such as pollution, UVA, UVB, infrared and HEV light. 

Apply a liberal amount (as in half a teaspoon) to your face and neck after your serums and your optional moisturiser. Skin Shield is handbag sized, too – so it’s ideal for bringing with you in case you need to reapply. 

skin shield

00-04 – that’s the Skingredients way. 

If you want to add your mix and match ingredients in, bear in mind that your AHA Cleanse and Sally Cleanse can take the place of PreProbiotic Cleanse in the evening time, twice or three times a week, or as recommended by the directions. Skin Good Fats can be used as a night-cream post-serum if you have dry skin, or are tackling skin dehydration. 

If you ever have any questions on Skingredients or skincare ordering, you can always ask on our live chat (the tiny blue bubble in the bottom right hand corner) or look out for Nerdline, coming soon! 

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