How Do I Use a Serum Effectively?

One of the most common questions asked in beauty retail stores involves the application of skincare treatments. Products outside the traditional 3-step routine cause confusion, but we explain serums here.

One of the most common questions asked in beauty retail stores involves routines, and we understand the confusion. Who knows what works best when? Luckily, the staff at Adore Beauty has got your back, and we’re here to teach you how to best use your serum.

How do I use a serum effectively?


How should I prep for a serum?

Start by washing your face with a cleanser suited to your skin type. Cleanse once in the morning and twice in the evening. The evening double-cleanse removes makeup and sunscreen in the first round and gets skin clean in the second.

Great, but optional, prep steps include using a toner or an essence with treatment ingredients. Oily skin can take a toner such as SkinCeuticals Equalizing Toner. Drier skin is better off with something like Aesop Immediate Moisture Facial Hydrosol.

Also useful in the prep step are acid products, such as a gentle daily exfoliator in either a pre-soaked pad or a toner-type solution. These products help gently sweep away dead skin cells so your serum can penetrate better. A great example of this type of product is SkinCeuticals LHA Solution Priming Toner.

When should I apply my serum?

Your serum should go on after your cleanser and toner but before moisturiser or oil. A good rule to follow is to apply your skincare products from lightest to heaviest:

  1. Toner or essence
  2. Serum
  3. Facial oil
  4. Moisturiser


How do I use a serum effectively?


Do all serums need to be applied the same way or at the same point in my routine?

Generally, serums should go on before oil or moisturiser. But some serums and treatments, such as Alpha-H Liquid Gold, are meant to be applied last.

Be sure to read the directions for your particular product to see if it's an exception to the normal application order. With so many new serums on the market and high-tech serums becoming more readily available, you want to be sure that you’re using your product right.

Congrats! You have all the info you need to pop on that new serum and rock it like a champ. Remember, though: when you’re checking out a serum, any work it does will likely be undone if you don’t have an SPF of a least 30 somewhere in your daytime routine. Be sure to grab a fresh sunscreen before you invest!


How do I use a serum effectively?