the skin edit.

Your skincare routine: The correct order to apply products

A skincare routine consists of the steps you take and the products you use to care for your skin every day. The goal of an effective skincare routine is to consistently deliver the right ingredients to your skin so that you’re always maintaining and improving the health of your skin.

You want to tune-up your complexion so that it’s functioning at its best, and also target any areas or skin concerns that you want to work on. Most people know that they need to create a customised and consistent skincare routine, but often don’t know where to start. Multi-step routines can feel confusing and laborious, and it’s hard to settle on a routine that works for your skin and your lifestyle. Layering products and mixing active ingredients can feel like guesswork – what goes where, what do I need, what am I missing – which leaves you feeling frustrated.

You shouldn’t need a degree in cosmetic chemistry to get a skincare routine that works for you. Read on to learn the essentials.


Your skincare routine should work for you, but it won’t necessarily work for someone else. When you are building your routine, you have to be flexible – start with the basics: cleanse and moisturise – and build from there.

When you add serums, night oils, and toners, remember that you might not necessarily need all of the things everyday. Listen to your skin and curate your routine in accordance with what it’s telling you.

Choose products that are gentle for your skin but contain ingredients that target whatever concern you need to address. For most of us, we want skin-nourishing ingredients, an anti-ageing effect, and a smooth, balanced complexion. To achieve this, you  need clean products that are free from nasties and well-formulated.


It’s not enough to have great  products and ingredients: for your products to be at their most effective, they must be applied in the right order. Whether you have a 3-step or 12-step routine, the one thing everyone can do to improve the efficacy of their skincare is to apply products in the right order.

Your skin is tasked with protecting you by keeping nasty things out, but the ingredients in your skincare need to penetrate the skin so that they can get to work. If you apply heavier creams before lighter serums and toners, the lighter products won’t be absorbed into the skin, and you’re wasting time and money.


Skincare shouldn’t be complicated, but there is an order that you need to follow when layering products. After cleansing, a good rule of thumb to follow is to layer lighter products first. In general, you’re going light to heavy so that thicker creams don’t prevent lighter treatments and serums from penetrating.

Sometimes, this rule is difficult to figure out – for example, in the case of a spritz or an eye cream – where do these go?

We’ve outlined a Pestle & Mortar morning routine for you below to show you exactly what goes where.


Let’s look at a built-out Pestle & Mortar morning routine. You won’t always need all of these steps but here’s how we layer product so that they can do their best work:

STEP 1: Cleanse with Renew Gel Cleanser to wash away sebum and polish the skin.

STEP 2: Tone with Exfoliate Glycolic Acid Toner or NMF Lactic Acid Toner to unblock pores and remove dead skin cells.

STEP 3: Spritz with Balance facial spritz  to calm and clarify the skin.

STEP 4: Eye hydrate with Recover lightweight eye cream to reduce dark circles and smooth fine lines.

STEP 5: Treat with Pure Hyaluronic Serum and/or Vitamin C 2 Phase Serum for added hydration and/or skin brightening.

STEP 6: Moisturise with Hydrate lightweight moisturiser to lock everything in and deliver 24/7 hydration.

Note! The final step in your morning routine is to apply an SPF

At night time, we add a cleansing step at the very start – use Erase cleansing balm to wipe away makeup and lift off impurities. If you choose to use a nightoil, you’ll apply it at night either before or instead of your moisturiser.

Two things will happen when you find products and a routine that works for you: you’ll get to know your skin better so you can manipulate your routine when required, and you will start to notice that you have less troubleshooting instances. In other words, when you get your routine right, you can look forward to having balance in your skincare life, instead of struggling to fire-fight skincare issues all the time.

Shop mentioned products

The Self Care Cleansing Bundle



Hydrating Duo




Retinoid Night Oil - 30ml


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