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Header_What Order to Apply Skin Care Products

What Order to Apply Skin Care Products

Your skincare order matters... but how to layer products can be a little confusing. Serums before oils or oils before serums? Mask then exfoliate or is it the other way around? Learn to layer like an expert with this skincare routine order breakdown and our product recommendations.

Skincare routine order

Skincare Routine Order

A more simplified routine for your daily routine with your 'core' skin care products.

Order to apply daily core products

Step 1: Cleanse

It might seem obvious that cleansing is first in your skincare order.

However, it’s an easy mistake to skip the cleanse and head straight to exfoliation on days you are exfoliating. Or, apply a mask without cleansing first.

Cleansing, no matter if your masking or exfoliating, is always the first step in your morning and evening face routine order.

A double cleanse with a gentle cleanser is a must in your evening routine. This removes makeup and the sweat, natural oils, debris, and pollution particles that all accumulate on your skin.

You can double cleanse in the morning too to remove bacteria and oil that builds up on your face while you sleep.

How to cleanse your skin

  • Splash your skin with lukewarm water and massage a pearl-sized amount of cream cleanser into damp skin with clean fingers.
  • Rinse with lukewarm water. You may like to use the esmi Microfibre Face Cleansing Mitt to remove all traces of product residue.
  • Pat dry with a clean, soft face cloth.
  • Repeat to double cleanse.

If you’re wearing non-tubular mascara, we suggest using an eye makeup remover before the first cleanse.

Your Step 1 cleanser options

You’ll discover the ideal cleanser for a range of skin concerns.

Step 2: Tone

Using a gentle exfoliating toner can assist with removing any last traces of dirt, grime and impurities, without damaging or stripping the skin barrier while prepping the skin for your next step. It also allows for better product absorption, as well as smoothing and softening skin!

Our Gentle Refine Cleansing Toner contains a gentle combination of exfoliation properties including AHA, BHAs and fruit enzymes and is suitable for daily use.

How to use esmi Gentle Refine Cleansing Toner

  • After cleansing your skin at night, apply 3-4 pumps of toner to a cotton pad. Wipe all over your skin.
  • You may feel a temporary warming sensation on your skin after application. This is normal as the product contains AHA and BHA ingredients that help to exfoliate and clarify the skin.

Hot tip: We like to allow the amazing ingredients in the Toner to absorb into the skin for 1-2 minutes before applying the rest of our skincare.

Step 3: Exfoliate (1-3 times p/w)

Next up - exfoliation! Using a gentle exfoliant helps remove dead skin cells from the surface and debris clogging pores to reveal a brighter, smoother complexion.

You can exfoliate your skin with a physical method, chemical method or combination of both.

The esmi range offers the Detoxifying Exfoliating Charcoal Serum for chemical exfoliation and the Gentle-Foliants which combine both physical and chemical exfoliants.

How to exfoliate your skin with esmi Gentle-Foliants

  • Apply a pea-sized amount of exfoliant to damp, cleansed skin.
  • In small, circular motions, very gently apply the exfoliant to skin.
  • Massage around your face to remove build-up and allow enzymes to deeply cleanse pores. Don’t apply too much pressure.
  • Leave on for 2–5 minutes and rinse with cool water or with your dampened esmi Face Mitt.

The Gentle-Foliants are designed to use 1–3 times per week depending on your skin type or as advised by your esmi skin consultant.

How to exfoliate your skin with the Detoxifying Exfoliating Charcoal Serum

  • Using the dropper, drip a pearl size amount onto your charcoal brush or fingers and massage into freshly cleansed skin, avoiding the under eye area.
  • Leave for 5-10 minutes before wetting the charcoal brush or fingers and massage around the face to remove any softened dead skin cells before washing off.

We suggest using the Charcoal serum 2 times a week, however, it can be used up to 5 consecutive nights. Use less frequently if you have sensitive skin.

Your step 3 exfoliant options

Smooth, brighten, and clear with our selection of Gentle-Foliants containing physical and enzyme exfoliant properties or the Detoxifying Exfoliating Charcoal Serum.

Step 4: Masks (1-3 times p/w- Wash off)

Face masks deliver a big hit of active ingredients to help address specific skin concerns. Incorporate a masking session into your routine after exfoliating 1- 3 times a week depending on your skin type.

How to use esmi Booster Masks

  • Apply generously to cleansed face with fingers or mask brush while avoiding the eye area.
  • Leave the mask on for at least 10 minutes.
  • When ready to wash off, gently massage the face with damp hands to promote circulation.
  • Rinse well or remove with esmi's Microfiber Facial Cleansing Mitt.

Your step 4 mask options

You’ll find an indulgent esmi Booster Mask for every skin challenge right here!

If you don’t have time to exfoliate and mask, simply choose one or the other to follow the cleansing step. 

Step 5: Eye Serum and Eye Balm

The skin around your eye area is super thin, delicate and one of the first places fine lines begin to show. This area can use the extra TLC of a separate eye treatment, especially to address the signs of ageing.

esmi offers Eye Serums and our Eye Delight Reflection Balm. Both types of formulations (serum and balm) work to treat the eye area but go about it differently.

Eye Serums target specific under-eye concerns like wrinkles, dark circles, puffiness, loss of firmness with active ingredients while the Eye Balm moisturises and nourishes.

If using both, first apply the eye serum then follow with the eye balm.

How to use Eye Serums (AM and/or PM)

  • Apply a grain of rice-sized amount (per eye)
  • Massage to below the eye area and above on to the brow bone in an outwards motion.

Your step 5 eye treatment options

How to use the Eye Balm (AM and/or PM)

  • Remove the lid, place your Eye Delight applicator on the area around the eye.
  • Gently squeeze the tube until the product starts to appear from the tip, a grain of rice size is enough for both eyes.
  • Gently massage in a circular motion using the steel tip or fingers until all product is absorbed.

Step 6: Water-Based Skin Treats

esmi range of Skin Treats include two types of formulas - serums (which are water-based) and face oils. In your skincare routine order, the serum comes first.

How to apply water based Skin Treats (AM and /or PM)

  • Dispense a pearl size amount of serum from the dropper onto fingertips.
  • Massage into the skin.

Your step 5 serum options

Step 7: Masks (1-3 times p/w - Overnight)

esmi Booster Masks can be left on overnight for an intensive treatment and cleansed off in your morning routine.

Follow the same process of application as discussed in Step 3, however you can apply your serum before the mask (follow Step 5) when leaving on overnight.

If you’re new to using the Booster Masks it’s best to begin by leaving the mask on for shorter periods and work up to an overnight treatment.
Step 8 Retinol

Step 8: Skin Mylck Probiotic Moisturising Lotion

Probiotic Skin Mylck is moisturising lotion formulated with 100% Australian made probiotics to help heal and strengthen hyper sensitive skin, an optional step if already using a moisturiser.

How to apply Probiotic Skin Mylck

  • Using the dropper drip a thumb size amount of Mylck onto your fingertips or palm.
  • Gentle massage into your skin.

Your step 8 Skin Mylck lotion options

The beneficial bacteria in the esmi Probiotic Lysates have been researched and found to help heal and support skin’s natural defences.

All Probiotic Skin Mylcks are lightweight formulations. If you have extremely dry skin, we recommend following with an Oil Based Skin Treat to boost moisturisation.

Step 9: Moisturisers

Moisturisers are a key step in your routine to keep skin hydrated and nourished all day, while treating concerns with active ingredients to boost skin health and support a healthy barrier function. Esmi offers a range of moisturisers for every concern; ranging from lightweight Hydra- Fluids ideal for oily skin, to nourishing creams for dryer skin types.

How to apply esmi Moisturisers

Apply after cleansing and skin treat application. Using bamboo spatula or clean fingers, scoop a pea-size of moisturiser. Apply to face, neck and décolletage. Always follow with SPF application in a.m. routine.
Hot Tip- you can use more than one moisturiser in your routine! Choose a moisturiser that best suits your concerns, if you have more than one concern you can switch them up day to night. Usually we recommend opting for a lightweight moisturiser in your AM routine, and a more nourishing in the evening if you did want to use more than one.

Step 10: Oil-Based Skin Treats

Use for dry skin that needs extra nourishment after applying Moisturiser, or in place of moisturiser if you prefer.

Face oils are the last layer before SPF in your routine. An easy rule of thumb to remember the order of skincare is lighter (water-based) products are first and the heaviest products (oil-based) come last. Face oil maximises the effectiveness of the ingredients your previous Skin Treats by sealing them into the skin.


How to apply Face Oil Skin Treats (AM and PM)

  • Use the dropper to apply 2-3 drops of oil directly to your palm.
  • Gently massage into the skin.
  • Can be used around the eye area.

Your step 10 face oil options

Face Oils

Face Duos

esmi Duos combine the intensity of a water-based serum and moisturising benefits of an oil. Duos make it easy to address specific skin concerns with a face oil and serum in one simple step.

Other Skin Products


One of the most important skincare steps is sunscreen application in your morning routine. SPF is the final step. Skin Shield Natural Sunscreen SPF — Comfortable, non-greasy SPF 30 enriched with antioxidant protection for all skin types, especially sensitive skin.

    How to apply Skin Shield

    • Shake well before use.
    • Apply lotion liberally and massage into skin.
    • Allow to absorb at least 20 minutes before sun exposure.

    Face Mist

    Keep skin hydrated throughout the day with esmi Refreshing and Hydrating Skin Snack Face Mist.

      How to apply Skin Snack Face Mist

      • Shake the bottle to combine the oils and extracts.
      • Spray a few pumps of the mist.
      • Use over the top of makeup to set or throughout the day for a quick refresh of your skin.


      • Do I have to do all of these steps to have a great skin care routine?

      We recommend a cleanser, serum, face oil and/or moisturising lotion and SPF for a great basic routine. From there you can add products to suit your skin’s needs.

      • What goes first serum or oil?

      Apply serum first and then your face oil.

      • Can you use serum and face oil together?

      Yes. They are designed to complement each other. You should always follow a serum with a face oil or moisturising lotion as serums aren’t a replacement for a moisturising product.

      Our Face Duos range is a combination of both an oil and a serum so you get the best of both worlds.

      • Does face oil go before or after moisturiser?

      Face oil goes after a moisturiser and before sunscreen.

      • What goes first cleanser or exfoliant?

      Cleanser. Always wash your face first before exfoliating.

      • What goes on first sunscreen or serum?

      Serum should be applied before sunscreen. Sunscreen is the final (and most important!) step in your morning skincare order.

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