Which to apply first: serum or moisturiser? Find out here!

bridal skincare

Skincare can be confusing, especially when there is no dearth of skincare products to choose from and routines to follow. This abundance of products leads to many mistakes and several questions. One of the most common questions being: Should I use a serum or moisturiser first? And to understand this question you must be clear about what each product offers and what it consists of.

Let us take you through all the basics about serums and moisturisers to understand what to apply first.

Importance of a Serum

Serums are thin, watery or gel-based liquids that contain active ingredients and are used to target specific concerns. Typically one can use 2-3 serums in a single skincare routine for multiple skin concerns. Here are some of the main serum benefits:

  • Boosts hydration and softens skin
  • Fights signs of ageing
  • Combats pigmentation and increases brightness
  • Fights acne
  • Evens out skin tone
  • Reduces blemishes and acne marks
  • Minimises sun damage
  • Soothes irritated skin and redness

Importance of Moisturiserg

Moisturisers are creams or gels which contain helpful nourishing elements that balance the pH of the skin and give the skin a healthy and youthful glow. You can choose the right moisturiser for you based on your skin type. Oily skin and combination skin types prefer lighter gel-based products whereas normal to dry skin types can opt for cream-based formulations for extreme hydration. Here are some of the main benefits of moisturisers:

  • Brings back nourishment and hydration to the skin
  • Protects the skin from environmental factors
  • Balances the pH of the skin
  • Fights dryness and scaling
  • Soothes redness, inflammation and irritation
  • Fights dull skin and makes it healthier and pleasant-looking

What to apply first serum or moisturiser?

Skincare steps can be confusing. You may have the products you need but the question remains: should we apply moisturiser after the serum or before?

Since serums are thinner in consistency when compared with moisturisers, it is advised by skin experts to first use a serum and then seal it in with a moisturiser. So, should we apply moisturiser after serum? Yes, applying a moisturiser after the serum has 2 main advantages.

  1. Applying the serum first gives the serum for maximum contact with the skin. This means that in the absence of a moisturiser, a serum which you are using to target a specific skin concern can work more effectively as it comes in contact directly with the skin.

  2. Sometimes serums can be drying. And not every serum is made for hydration. This is where a moisturiser comes in handy. It not only replenishes the skin with moisture but also locks in the active ingredients in the serum and boosts its efficacy.

What is the right order of skincare application?

Since many people follow morning and evening routines, here are two basic routine orders you can refer to while building your own routine.

For a simple morning routine here are the steps to follow:

For a simple night-time routine here is the order to follow:

  • Makeup remover
  • Cleanser
  • Toner
  • Serum
  • Eye cream
  • Moisturiser
  • Facial oil

While this is just a skeletal structure of how a routine should look, make sure to be very mindful of the products you choose and the skin concerns you want to fix. And be aware of the ingredients present in each product to ensure that they can safely go well together and do no harm!

Serum and moisturiser Ingredients that should not be mixed

Not all active ingredients work well with each other. This means that mixing two products that are not complementary can cause skin reactions like irritation, redness, breakouts, dryness and more. Some examples of such pairs are

  • Retinoids and Vitamin C
  • Retinoids and AHA
  • Retinoids and Benzoyl peroxide
  • Retinoids and salicylic acid

So make sure to actively avoid the mixing of these ingredients. And to make sure that such mixing does not occur, do not use too many products with many active ingredients. Stick to a simple routine and check with an expert in case of concerns or doubts.

The Takeaway

A serum is a thinner product which needs more skin contact to work effectively. This is why a serum goes first and then you can apply a moisturiser. If you are new to skincare and these products, first understand your skin type and skin issues. Then research various active ingredients which could help your skin and even consult a dermatologist to understand better. You can also check out makeO skin (formely skinnsi) wide variety of serums and moisturisers that are vegan, cruelty-free, fragrance-free and science-backed for the best version of your skin!


What to apply first serum or moisturiser?

Always apply a serum before a moisturiser as a serum has a thinner consistency. Serums also work better with maximum skin contact. Following up a serum with a moisturiser can help lock in all the ingredients and keep your skin from drying too.

Do I need both serum and moisturiser?

Yes, serums are water or gel-based products that contain active ingredients which help resolve lots of skin issues. And moisturisers are extremely necessary to keep the skin nourished and hydrated from within. So both serums and moisturisers are very important for an effective skincare routine.

Do I need a serum or moisturiser at night?

You need to use a serum and a moisturiser at night. Since our skin cells are hard at work during the night time, you can take advantage of this by applying a serum and a moisturiser. This will help in smoother and softer skin in the morning while also working wonders on other skin issues.

Can I apply serum after moisturiser?

No, a serum after a moisturiser will not be effective. So, should we apply moisturiser after the serum? Yes. Since serums are thinner in consistency they need to be applied before a moisturiser for them to be effective at repairing the skin.

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