Should You Use Serums Before or After Moisturizers?

Skincare seems to come with a lot of complicated rules. There are full arsenals of products and skincare routines that have nearly a dozen complicated steps. 

Most people aren’t that committed to the idea of spending the better part of their morning applying products to their faces. 

The good news is that, if you choose the right products, there’s no reason to use more than a few. If your products are powerful and well-rounded, your skincare routine should only take a few minutes. 

Applying your products in the right order boosts their efficiency and allows you to experience the results sooner. 

Start With Clean Skin

The first thing you need to do is wash your face. If you’re conditioned to using bar soap or a body wash, face wash, shampoo combo product on your face, you might want to rethink that decision. 

These products are loaded with artificial ingredients and harsh detergents. They’ll remove the oil and dirt from your face, but they’ll also remove everything your face needs to stay healthy and keep itself balanced. 

Use a cleanser designed to work with your skin's natural microbiome

Anything else might be more harmful than helpful, which is the exact opposite of what you’re attempting to achieve with a skincare routine. 

A good cleanser should prioritize moisture, not whisk it all away. 

Apply Your Serum

Your serum should be applied to clean skin. After you cleanse, blot your skin dry. If you’re using a serum loaded with active botanicals, you don’t need very much. 

A few drops should be enough to cover your whole face. Use a few drops at a time, and gently massage it into your skin. Take care around your eye area where the skin is more delicate. 

You can use a separate serum or cream for your eye area, but you don’t necessarily need to. If the serum you’re using is gentle and hydrating, it will work just as well for your eye area as it does for the rest of your face. 

Use Special Treatments if Necessary

If you’re using medicated treatments, speak to your dermatologist about the other skincare products you’re using to avoid conflicts or negative interactions between ingredients. 

If you don’t have any skin conditions that require medicated treatments, this step doesn’t apply to you.

Finish With Moisturizer

Your moisturizer is the thickest product in your skincare routine, and it stays closest to the surface of your skin. It imparts benefits and moisture from the top down while sealing serums into your skin. This is how the two products work in perfect synergy.

Your moisturizer also works to protect your skin from environmental pollutants and free radicals. Moisturizers loaded with antioxidants are highly effective at preventing damage to your skin. Think of your moisturizer as your shield. You want it in front of you and unobstructed. 

Using SPF During the Day

SPF is necessary to protect your skin from damage caused by ultraviolet rays. UV rays can prematurely age the skin and damage collagen fibers.

You don’t need to be at the beach or out on the ocean to experience the damaging effects of UV rays. Sitting in your car in traffic is enough sun exposure to cause damage. Never leave the house without sunscreen. 

How Often Do I Need To Follow This Routine?

Consistency is key in achieving meaningful results from your skincare routine. Technically, you should be following your skincare routine twice a day. 

If you’re going from having no skincare routine at all to starting a thorough skincare routine, you might be questioning your ability to commit. 

Being consistent from the get-go will help you seamlessly incorporate your twice-daily skincare routine into your life. When you go to brush your teeth, you’re already in the bathroom. Tethering your skincare routine to your oral hygiene routine will help to keep your habits consistent. 

Making your skincare routine a part of your morning ritual and your bedtime ritual will consistently deliver benefits to your skin. If you’re not entirely committed, you can follow your routine once a day. 

Benefits will occur slowly and may not be as significant, but it’s better to nourish your skin once a day than it is to never nourish your skin at all. 

A Closer Look at Serums and Moisturizers

There’s a difference between moisture and hydration. Serums are hydrating products.

Your skin drinks it up, just like you drink water when you need to be hydrated. Moisturizers are formulated with oils. They’re heavier and more protective to your skin. 

Oil and water don’t mix, which is why the order in which you apply your products is important. 

If you were to apply your moisturizer first, your serum would sit on the top of your skin without ever getting absorbed. It can’t penetrate through the oils in your moisturizers, and it may cause your moisturizer to separate. 

This renders both products ineffective.

Your serum needs enough time to sink in. Once it's fully soaked up, the goal is to allow it to work in the background. 

When you put your moisturizer on over your absorbed serum, you’re locking it into your skin. The serum doesn’t interfere with the moisturizer’s ability to work, or vice versa. 

Everyone lives in harmony to create the perfect happy ending to your daily skincare routine. 

Finding the Right Skincare Products

If you want to keep your skincare routine simple, you need to choose products that contain high concentrations of clinically proven ingredients. You can accomplish a lot with a very simple routine if the products you choose boast maximum benefits.

Caldera + Lab’s skincare products are made of only active botanicals. Everything in every bottle came from a plant that was either harvested in the wild or organically grown. 

We know where everything came from, and we know how each individual ingredient benefits your skin. Our clinical tests showed that the overwhelming majority of men experienced benefits to the health and appearance of their skin using only Caldera + Lab’s products. 

We believe in aging gracefully, caring for your skin, and keeping your routine simple. We also believe in using our serum before you use our moisturizer. 



The human skin microbiome | Nature Reviews Microbiology

Tretinoin (Topical Route) Precautions | Mayo Clinic

Sunscreen | The Skin Cancer Foundation