Confused about the order of skincare application? – Be For Beauty

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Confused about the order of skincare application?

Sam Murton

Posted on August 22 2018

THE INKEY LIST | Confused about skin care order application| Key ingredient skin care

“I want to try all of these products but I have absolutely no idea what order to use them in? Can I use my Glycolic and my Vit C? How about my Retinol?”

Don't worry - we’re here to help...

It can get a bit complicated when trying to combine multiple products and making sure they're either in the right order or can be combined - but when you get it right it means you get all of the amazing benefits of using the best ingredients and your skin will love you for it! 

THE INKEY LIST focus's on the very best key ingredients and when looking at which products could be combined into a skincare regime, we often refer to the combination as a recipe. 

With that in mind, there are a few simple rules the will help create a recipe that’s right for you and how you can slot them in with your existing skin care products. Its a general guide and we’re not recommending that you use all them and certainly not all at the same time, but hopefully this gives you a bit of an idea of what to use and when.


Step 1: Cleanser

Kaolin Clay Mask - use this amazing mask 1-2 times a week for a deep clean 


Step 2:  Toner

Glycolic Acid - best for visible skin concerns, congestion or clogged pores


Step 3: Hydrating Mist or Serum

Hyaluronic Acid - can aid the efficacy of other products by acting a carrier so we would recommend you use this as the first serum.


Step 4: Exfoliating serums (AHAs)

You have a couple of options here...

Lactic Acid or Alpha Hydroxy Acid  - only use one of these if you are not using an exfoliating toner like Glycolic acid (as mentioned in Step 2). If you are then don't also use another AHA as this could lead to over exfoliation.

If you’re not using Glycolic Acid and are unsure about which is the right exfoliator for your skin, have a read through our guide on choosing the right AHA for you.


Step 5: Treatment products

For treatments, you have a few options... 

Vitamin C, Collagen, Q10 or Retinol [NIGHT ONLY]

It is best to use Vitamin C in the morning and Retinol in the evening, never at the same time as this will reduce the effectiveness of both. Collagen and Q10 are ok to be used alongside any other products.


Step 6: Moisturiser and Eye Cream

Three options for you to dependent on what your skincare concerns are..

Turmeric, Hemp and Caffeine (under eye) - these all target specific areas but can be used alongside any other products.


Step 7: Face Oil

Squalane or Rosehip oil - 2 natural oils that work in different ways. Squalane is a super-hydrator whilst Rosehip hydrates but also works on improving skin tone and pigmentation.


Step 8: Sunscreen

Zinc Oxide - with SPF50 and antioxidant qualities, as one of the final steps in your recipe, Zinc Oxide is must! The sun's great but it's best to manage your skincare so its affects are minimised.

When putting your recipe together, you'll probably want to try a few new gems and mix them in your tried and tested - good to remember that some products work better in the AM or PM and are recommended for use at a certain time of day.

So to help, here’s a quick guide of the products best for day and night.

Ideal products for AM


Ideal products for to use PM


Products for AM and PM

Remember, if using a retinol and an AHA (Lactic, Glycolic or Alpha Hydroxy) we recommend using your acids weekly or alternating your acid and your retinol. As both increase skin renewal using both daily may cause increase skin sensitivity.

If you have any questions click here to ask@theinkeylist .


  • Sam Murton: October 15, 2018

    Hello Laura. Thanks for your question. You can use our products alongside your existing moisturiser and cleanser, we’ve designed the range so you can add our products in and take them out as required. Chemical exfoliation could work well for you. It works to remove the bonds that keep dead and dehydrated cells attached to the surface of the skin, which may be clogging pores leading to break outs. They can also work to brighten and even out your skin tone.
    We have three acids in our range which work as chemical exfoliants and are great for drier skin. Which one of the three is right for you can depend on your skin sensitivity, but if you’ve never used an acid before we’d suggest starting with our Alpha Hydroxy.
    We’d suggest using once or twice a week after cleansing in the evening initially, and starting to use more frequently once your skin has built up a tolerance. We suggest to use this at night as it can increase you sun sensitivity, it’s also important to wear sunscreen while using. You can follow with your moisturiser.
    Adding Rosehip oil could also work well for you – it’s an powerful antioxidant that works to hydrate while improving skin tone and texture, particularly good for any post acne scars.
    It also contains Linoleic acid which acne prone skin can be deficient in. This deficiency can lead to excess oil production, clogging pores and triggering breakouts. Rosehip Oil helps to regulate this excess oil production. You can use this as your last step before bed after moisturising.
    We hope this helps, any more questions on the above or anything else please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

  • Sam Murton: September 29, 2018

    Hey Mukaddes – thanks so much for your question – for pigmentation Vitamin C, Glycolic Acid and Retinol can work really well. Our skin experts have shared info on which products might help and how to use them below:

    Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps to protect skin from damage caused by environmental pollution. It can help reduce the impact of daily stressors on the skin such as pollution and sun exposure, which can lead to pigmentation, accelerated signs of ageing and a dull complexion. Not only can it help protect skin, but it can also work to correct damage, brightening and evening skin tone.

    Glycolic Acid is a chemical exfoliator and works to remove the bonds that keep dead and dehydrated cells attached to the skin, encouraging skin cell turn over to help even skin tone.

    Retinol is a derivative of Vitamin A, working beneath the skin surface at a cellular level to promote cell renewal and repair processes so that newer cells reach the surface quicker.

    Stimulating these renewal processes in the skin makes Retinol a powerful ingredient for reversing signs of ageing as well as improving overall skin clarity for a healthy-looking complexion and can aid with a number of skin concerns such as reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, uneven skin tone and pigmentation issues, we suggest using your Vitamin C in the morning to make the most of its antioxidant effects and using your Retinol and Glycolic acid on alternate evenings to avoid the risk of irritation. It’s always good to add new products to your routine one at a time and to patch test, just so if any irritation occurs you can easily pinpoint the cause!

    If you need any more information, don’t hesitate to get in touch – email us and we’ll be happy to provide support further.

  • Laura : October 15, 2018

    Hi, I’ve always had mildly troublesome skin – main issues are pale (translucent skin) and uneven complexion, adult acne, blackheads and odd white lumps here and there. I’ve never really known what products to use so generally stick to ones available on the high street, those for dry skin tend to work better. I’ve recently become aware of the Inkey List and am a bit confused as to what products would work and whether I should use them alongside my existing (basic) routine of a cleansing face wash and moisturiser. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks, Laura

  • Sam Murton: September 25, 2018

    Hi Louise – thanks for your question regarding sensitive skin.
    Certain products in our range can be great for sensitive skin! Are there any specific concerns you’re looking to target such as ageing or pigmentation for example? If you let us know we can suggest products in our range that can target your concerns and are suitable for sensitive skin – get in touch via email

  • Sam Murton: September 25, 2018

    Hi Charlie – Thanks for you question.
    Chemical exfoliation can work really well when dealing with Milia. It works to remove the bonds that keep dead and dehydrated cells attached to the skin which may be clogging pores, encouraging skin cell turnover. We have three acids in our range which you can use for chemical exfoliation: Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid and our Alpha Hydroxy Acid. Which one is right for you can depend on your skin type and sensitivity and you can read our Beauty Translated Blog post, What Are Acids and How do I Know Which One To Use for a bit more info.
    Using Retinol can also help with milia. A derivative of Vitamin A, Retinol helps to promote skin renewal and enhance collagen production. Stimulating these renewal processes in the skin makes Retinol a powerful ingredient for reversing signs of ageing as well as improving overall skin clarity for a healthy-looking complexion. We suggest using your retinol and acids on alternate nights to avoid the risk of irritation. Protecting your skin from the sun can also help prevent milia from forming so we recommend wearing sunscreen – our Zinc is a broad spectrum SPF 50 mineral sunscreen which won’t leave a white cast or pill making it a great base for makeup. We always suggest adding new products one at a time and patch testing so if any irritation occurs you can easily pinpoint the cause! If you want any more advice, email us at and we’ll be happy to provide further support.

  • Mukaddes: September 25, 2018

    Which product you would recommend for pigmentation as I have some on my forehead and on my right cheek since I had my boy 5 years ago

    Thank you for your help

  • Louise Cruickshank : September 25, 2018

    Hi. Please can you confirm your range is suitable for sensitive skin? Thanks.

  • Charlie: September 25, 2018

    I really struggle with Milia and have never understood what is causing them. I want to try and start afresh with some new products. Can you recommend a few for me to try daily to see if it will help my skin? Thanks

  • Sam Murton: September 04, 2018

    Hi Linda – yes, THE INKEY LIST range is cruelty free. Hope this helps? Thanks, Sam

  • Linda MCDowall: September 04, 2018

    Could you tell me if your products are cruelty free?

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