"People always ask me what order you should do your skincare in. Here's what I tell them."

This wonderful nugget of beauty wisdom comes courtesy of Mamamia’s shiny new beauty podcast, You BeautyTo ensure you never miss an episode, subscribe to You Beauty here. It’s a blast.

For a relatively small patch of skin, our faces seem to need a lot of skincare products, right?

Cleansers. Exfoliators. Chemical exfoliators. Peels. Serums, Oils. Sunscreen. Masks. Day cream. Night cream. Eye cream. SO MUCH CREAM.

Once you’ve (somehow) figured out which products you enjoy putting on your face, then comes the question of which order you’re meant to slap them on in.

Beauty guru and Mamamia’s executive editor Leigh Campbell is known for having really lovely skin. So naturally, we asked her what order we should be doing our skincare routine in to look like her.

“It’s so hard to give advice to everyone… but there’s a general rule of thumb that applies to everyone no matter what you’re using,” the beauty editor of 15 years told co-host Kelly McCarren on the You Beauty podcast. (Get it in your ears below…)

“It’s regarding the texture. So go from the thinnest texture to thickest texture.”

In other words, as Leigh went on the explain, apply your thinnest, wateriest products first and the thicker creams and oils last.

“For example, starting after you’ve cleansed your skin when you’ve got a clear, bare face, you would then use the thinnest textured product in your routine. This might be a hydrating mist, or a toner, or an essence. Those products are all really watery and have the finest texture,” she said.


“I use a spritzy mist because it’s best to apply your skincare to damp skin (*brain explodes*) because it helps the products in your routine to absorb better. That’s why I use a mist to dampen my skin before my next step, which is a serum. The serum is generally the next step up in texture from a toner or mist.

“After your serum, or if you’re like me, two serums, you’ll move onto your day cream or moisturiser, and then generally, sunscreen after.”

Now, this is where things get tricky.

Sadly, Leigh said there’s no definitive answer to one of the most common facial sunscreen questions: do I apply my sunscreen before or after my moisturiser?

“There’s a huge debate about where sunscreen goes in your routine and dermatologists can’t agree. That said, if it’s a physical sunscreen, it goes after your moisturiser, and if it’s a chemical sunscreen, experts are divided as to whether it should go before or after.”

If you thought that was a touch confusing, but manageable, hold on because guys… that was just for the daytime. I guess we just trust this lady with glowy skin, yeah?

A post shared by Leigh Campbell (@leighacampbell) on


“Your night routine will go something like: cleanse, serum, then a face oil. The face oil goes over the top of your serum because an oil is thicker than the serum.”

“You have to be careful with face oils thought because essentially what they do is lock in what’s under them. Because it’s an oil consistency, it acts like a barrier and not much can get through the top of an oil. So adding a serum after an oil is a waste of serum.”


After an oil to lock in your serum, you can also add a thick night cream to lock in the oil that locks in the serum.


Onto something a little easier to explain, Leigh said the waiting time between your skincare layers is just as important as which order you put the products on in.

“You should wait a few minutes between applying products, you don’t want the product to feel juicy and new, you want it to feel like it’s penetrated or gone tacky or dry.”

“In the morning, I’ll do my serum then brush my teeth, then moisturiser and brush my hair, there’s things to do in between. Wait a few minutes between each step, if you can, to let the product get in there before you put it all on at once and dilute the products.”

To recap…

Morning order:

  • Cleanse
  • Face mist/toner/essence (if applicable)
  • Serum(s)
  • Day cream/moisturiser
  • Sunscreen (debatable depending on if it’s physical or mineral)

Evening order:

  • Cleanse
  • Face mist/toner/essence (if applicable)
  • Serum(s)
  • Face oil
  • Night cream/moisturiser


You Beauty Cheat Sheet

Other questions Leigh and Kelly answered, as well as products mentioned in passing, and their ‘spendys’ and ‘saveys’ (and where you can buy them).

“Do you have some general tips for where to apply bronzer and blush?”

  • Leigh says for bronzer, try:
    • Swishing a fluffy blush/bronzer brush into your bronzer palette.
    • Tap the brush handle either over your wrist or on the edge of your palette to get rid of excess product.
    • Lightly brush into your hairline.
    • Do a fishy face and sweep product under cheekbones.
    • Sweep product under jawline (or jowl).
    • Finish with a light dust over the chin and down the bridge of the nose.
    • Basically, the high points of the face where the sun would hit.
  • For blush, Leigh’s advice is:
    • Blush goes on the apple of your cheeks.
    • To find them, do a cheesy smile and put your blush on that chubby bit that sticks out.
    • Always tap off excess product.
  • Kelly uses cream blush for a natural, everyday look, and powder for events.

Spendy and Savey

Leigh’s Spendy: Alpha-H Liquid Gold, $59.95.

Image: Sephora.

Why she loves it:

  • It's "literally liquid gold" (well, not literally, but it's bloody good).
  • A glycolic acid chemical exfoliator product.
  • Stimulates cell renewal, promotes radiance, fights pigmentation and wrinkles.
  • Looks like water, use every second night by sweeping over clean skin with a cotton pad.
  • After, either go to bed with nothing else on your face OR pop your night products on top.
  • It's the first product Leigh recommends to friends wanting skincare advice.

Kelly's Spendy: Huda Beauty Rose Gold Remastered Palette, $95.

Image: Sephora.

Why she loves it:

  • The most creamy, buttery, amazing eye shadows.
  • Great pigment.
  • Colours look great on every eye colour.
  • It's expensive, but you'll wear almost all of the shades.

Leigh's Savey: IGK Rich Kid Coconut Oil Gel, $42.

Image: Sephora.

Why she loves it:

  • Was recommended to Leigh by one of the women in our You Beauty Facebook group.
  • It's a hair product for 'laid back texture and shine'.
  • You only need a tiny amount, and you scrunch in damp hair.
  • Emphasises your own texture, but feels really soft, not crunchy.

Kelly's Savey: Face Halo, $30 for three.

Image: Face Halo.

Why she loves it:

  • Micro fibre cleansing discs.
  • No cleanser or micellar water needed to remove makeup.
  • Cost effective because you use less cleanser/face wipes.
  • Chuck in the washing machine after use.

Until next week, stay lovely.

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