Serum Or Moisturizer First? Correct Order To Apply Both

serum or moisturizer first

Serum Or Moisturizer First

Navigating the world of skincare can sometimes feel like trying to solve a complex puzzle, especially when it comes to the order of application for different products. Among the most common questions is whether to apply serum or moisturizer first.  Relax, because whether serum or moisturizer first, you are about to clear the skincare dilemma and provide clarity to help you achieve your best skin yet.

Understanding the Basics

Before diving into the debate, it’s essential to understand the fundamental purposes of serums and moisturizers. Serums are lightweight, concentrated formulations designed to target specific skincare concerns such as aging, hydration, or brightening. On the other hand, moisturizers are thicker creams or lotions that primarily focus on hydrating and sealing in moisture to maintain skin health and integrity.

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The Argument for Applying Serum First

Proponents of applying serum before moisturizer argue that serums contain active ingredients with smaller molecules, allowing them to penetrate the skin more effectively. By applying serum first, you can ensure that these potent ingredients penetrate deeply into the skin, targeting specific concerns at a cellular level.

This approach maximizes the efficacy of the serum and allows it to work its magic before sealing in the benefits with a moisturizer.

The Case for Applying Moisturizer First

Conversely, some skincare enthusiasts advocate for applying moisturizer before serum. They argue that moisturizer creates a protective barrier on the skin’s surface, helping to lock in moisture and create a smooth canvas for subsequent skincare products. By applying moisturizer first, you can create a hydrated and balanced base, allowing the serum to glide on effortlessly without any potential interference from dry or rough skin.

Finding Common Ground

While the debate between serum or moisturizer first may seem never-ending, the truth is that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. The order of application ultimately depends on the specific products you’re using and your individual skincare needs. Here are some tips to help you navigate this decision:

1. Read the Instructions: Always check the instructions provided by the skincare brand. Some products may recommend a specific order of application based on their formulation and intended benefits.

2. Listen to Your Skin: Pay attention to how your skin reacts to different application sequences. If you notice better results with one method over the other, stick with what works best for you.

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3. Experiment Wisely: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different application methods to find what suits your skin best. You may discover that certain products perform better when applied in a particular order.

Frequently Asked Questions: Serum or Moisturizer First?

1. Which should I apply first, serum or moisturizer?

The order of application depends on personal preference and the specific needs of your skin. Some prefer to apply serum first to allow its active ingredients to penetrate deeply, while others start with moisturizer to create a hydrated base.

2. What is the purpose of a serum?

Serums are lightweight formulations packed with potent active ingredients designed to target specific skincare concerns such as hydration, anti-aging, or brightening.

3. What does a moisturizer do?

Moisturizers help hydrate the skin and create a protective barrier to lock in moisture, ensuring the skin remains supple and hydrated throughout the day.

4. Won’t applying moisturizer first block the serum from penetrating the skin?

While some believe that applying moisturizer first may create a barrier, others argue that it creates a smooth base for serum application. It’s essential to listen to your skin and observe how it reacts to different application methods.

5. Can I mix serum and moisturizer together?

Yes, you can mix serum and moisturizer together before applying them to the skin. This method, known as “cocktailing,” can save time and may provide additional benefits, especially if you have sensitive or easily irritated skin.

6. How long should I wait between applying serum and moisturizer?

Allow the serum to absorb into the skin for a few minutes before applying moisturizer. This ensures that the active ingredients in the serum have time to penetrate the skin effectively.

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7. Should I use different serums and moisturizers for daytime and nighttime?

It’s common for individuals to use different formulations for daytime and nighttime skincare routines. Daytime products often include SPF protection and lightweight hydrators, while nighttime products focus on repair and renewal.

8. Can I apply multiple serums and moisturizers in one skincare routine?

Yes, you can layer multiple serums and moisturizers in your skincare routine, provided that you allow each product to absorb fully before applying the next one. Start with the lightest consistency and finish with the thickest.

9. What if I have sensitive skin or specific skincare concerns?

If you have sensitive skin or specific skincare concerns, it’s essential to choose products formulated for your skin type and concerns. Consult with a dermatologist or skincare professional for personalized recommendations.

10. What if I’m still unsure about the order of application?

Experiment with different application methods to determine what works best for your skin. Pay attention to how your skin reacts and adjust your routine accordingly.


In the grand scheme of skincare, whether to apply serum or moisturizer first is just one piece of the puzzle. The most important aspect of any skincare routine is consistency and understanding your skin’s unique needs. If you read this far and still want my advice, I would say to simply layer your skincare from the lightest to the heaviest. Happy application dear one.

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