By applying skin care products in the most effective way, you can make sure they work properly and not waste your money on expensive skin care.

Woman looking at face in mirror
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My skin care regimen changes based on the seasons and state of my skin. I am using less heavy bases for my skin care products as we move into spring to get rid of my dry winter skin.

It is not just about the products I use, but the order I use them.

Skin care products should be applied lightest to heaviest.

If you want to know more about my spring morning skin care routine, read on.

“I only cleanse with water in the morning. I do a full nighttime cleanse in which I remove makeup and dirt, and it’s often the product I feel the next morning. My skin has never looked better when I cleanse with water in the morning.”

If you’re skeptical, try using a konjac sponge, which is a gentle exfoliating sponge that’s made from the konjac root. The natural clays help to naturally cleanse the skin without, again, stripping oil.

Following cleansing, I use a hydrosol to add a water barrier to my skin. This helps to act as a good foundation for all that is to come next. My favorite hydrosols have small amounts of essential oils such as lavender or rose, which are great for helping the actives penetrate the skin (next step).

Now it’s time for what I call “the do’ers.” Products that contain an ingredient — think salicylic acid — intended to achieve a certain effect are considered “actives.” They tend to be the “brightening” products or “correctors.” These products, plus serums, work on certain issues, concerns, or benefits for your skin.

The first thing that is applied is a serum. I like to let my actives sit for a while before I apply them. This will help seal the other products.

Treatments (optional)

If you choose to use treatments, this is an optional step. I would apply a spot treatment to help heal a pimples or use a cream or oil to treat eye problems in this stage. Treatments are usually spot focused so I put them on after my serum.

“I usually allow the treatment to sit for a few minutes if I am doing a spot treatment for a problem, as I don’t want to spread the treatment over my entire face in the next step.”

I’ll then move on to moisturizer. I tend to opt for heavy moisturizing with a face balm or heavy facial oil. I rarely use creams as I feel my skin reacts better to whole plant oil.

I will add the oil by massaging it into the skin with upward strokes. I usually take a few minutes to do this. I feel pampered with a mini-facial massage because this helps to work the product into my skin.

If I am using a balm, I will warm it up in my hands first, then rub it in between them to get it into a more oily consistency, and then continue as mentioned above.

You should always apply sunscreen. For me, living in Norway, if I’m going out for a cross-country ski session, or going to be exposed to the sun for big chunks of the day, I’ll use a non-nano mineral sunscreen. This is both environmentally friendly and helps to protect me from hyperpigmentation and other sun damage.

I will lightly pat the product on the skin, as if I am putting a seal on it.

The order in which you use skin care products can be a big factor in whether or not you use them effectively. This spring, why not try this order and see how your skin responds?

Kate Murphy is an entrepreneur, yoga teacher, and natural beauty huntress. A Canadian who now lives in Oslo, Norway, Kate spends her days — and some evenings — running a chess company with the world champion of chess. On the weekends she’s sourcing out the latest and greatest in the wellness and natural beauty space. She blogs at Living Pretty, Naturally, a natural beauty and wellness blog that features natural skin care and beauty product reviews, beauty-enhancing recipes, eco-beauty lifestyle tricks, and natural health information. She’s also on Instagram.