Don’t Mess up Your Acne Care: Apply Products in the Right Order

Multi-step skincare may work well for beauty influencers. But most people have neither time nor energy for elaborate 10-step routines. Why even go there when you can upgrade your skincare routine with minimal fuss? When in doubt, just take baby steps—like adding an anti-acne cream for pimple care and a serum to give you a natural glow.

Of course, adding two new skincare products may leave you with questions: 

  • Should I put acne cream on before or after moisturiser?
  • Should I apply acne cream before or after serum?
  • What is the best way to apply acne cream?

We answer all that and more right here.


How to layer your skincare products—for maximum benefit!

The order in which you use skincare products matters a great deal. After all, you want to ensure that each subsequent formula penetrates your skin cells. How do you achieve that? By following a simple rule of thumb: Apply your skincare products in order of consistency, moving from the thinnest to the thickest.

Here’s why you should start light and work your way up from there: This

approach allows the lighter products to penetrate the skin cells more efficiently. If you were to do the opposite and apply a thicker product first—like, say, a nourishing night cream—it may create a barrier over the skin, thus preventing any subsequent products from reaching the skin cells and doing their job.

For instance, serums usually have a thinner consistency than moisturisers. If you apply serum after moisturiser, the serum cannot penetrate the skin as effectively because the moisturiser creates a hydrating barrier over the skin.

To help you get started, here’s a basic example of how to apply skincare products in the right order:

  1. Cleanser: Use a gentle cleanser like Clearica Cleanser to remove dirt, oil, and traces of makeup. For best results, wash with lukewarm water and pat dry with a soft towel afterwards.
  2. Toner: Swipe toner across your face and neck with a cotton ball to remove residual dirt, restore the skin’s natural pH, and prime your complexion for subsequent treatments.
  3. Serum: Apply a small amount of serum and massage it into the face and neck. You can find serums that target not only active breakouts but also scars and dark spots.
  4. Pimple cream: Use a gentle formula like Clearica Anti-Acne Cream to
    inhibit acne bacteria, minimise inflammation, bring down redness, and rejuvenate your skin.
  5. Moisturiser: End your skincare routine with a non-comedogenic, hydrating moisturiser. If your day moisturiser does not have sun protection, follow up with a lightweight sunscreen.


No more confusion about creams, serums, and moisturisers

You now know the thumb rule—lightest consistency first, thickest consistency last. You also know the order in which to use different products. So, let’s explore the specific reasons why serum, pimple cream, and moisturiser are best used in that order.

Q1: Should I apply acne cream before or after serum?

Acne cream after serum, please! Serums have an almost watery consistency

and are much lighter than anti-acne creams. They are also super-efficient in delivering high concentrations of active ingredients to the skin cells.

Hydrating serums can be a great addition if you are using acne treatments that dehydrate the skin or irritate it. A hydrating serum will get your skin nicely moisturised before the acne cream goes on.


Q2: Should I put pimple cream before or after moisturiser?

It’s best to use an acne cream before your moisturiser. Keep this in mind even if your everyday moisturiser feels heavier than the pimple cream.

Since most acne creams target excess oil levels, they could leave your skin feeling dry and parched. Apply moisturiser at the end to hydrate the skin barrier, making it soft and supple.


Q3: What is the best way to apply acne cream?

Acne cream is best sandwiched between the hydrating goodness of a serum and a moisturiser. When it comes to application, a little bit of pimple cream goes a long way. Take a pea-sized amount and use your fingertips to spread the cream evenly across your face and neck.

(Need help choosing a pimple cream? Read our guide to plant-based acne creams.)


Make your acne care products work harder

Acne-prone skin needs extra care. So, you will need to be diligent about your skincare routine involving cleanser, toner, serum, anti-acne cream, and moisturiser (in that order!). Repeat the process twice daily, use non-comedogenic products that suit your skin type, and wait for each product to absorb fully before moving on to the next. Also, rather than jump from one product to another, pick your skincare favourites and stick with them—our complexions prefer some consistency.





Disclaimer: This page is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a recommendation or for diagnostic purposes. Please consult your dermatologist or doctor before acting on any of the information provided here.