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Does Sunscreen Go on Before or After Moisturizer

Does Sunscreen Go on Before or After Moisturizer

We here at MadeMan are committed to offering transformational skincare to men. Part of completing this objective is ensuring that men everywhere are educated on caring for their skin. 

Both moisturizer and sunscreen are essential parts of any man’s routine. Even if you opt for a simple routine with just a few steps, these two products should be a part of it. Moisturizer is essential for keeping your skin hydrated, while sunscreen protects you from ultraviolet radiation.

The importance of applying moisturizer and sunscreen in the correct order mirrors the importance of ordering any layered skincare routine. A layered skin care routine involves applying multiple different products on top of each other with the goal of doing so in a way that renders the benefits of each product. 

If your skincare routine is still not producing positive results after consistent use, the products you are using might not be the problem but, rather, the order in which you are applying them. Everyone’s skin is different, and there is no one right way to treat your skin. Still, there is a right and wrong way to apply the products that you use.

Correctly layering your skincare products will allow them to penetrate and enrich your skin effectively. However, incorrectly applying your products can prevent them from working properly and may even lead to skin irritation.

For this reason, we will discuss the order in which you should layer your skincare products, including moisturizer and sunscreen.

Ordering Your Products

If your unique routine does not include one of the products that we will mention, you are welcome to skip that particular step and move on to the next one on the list that is relevant to you and your needs. 

1. Cleanser

The first step of any skincare routine should be to use a cleanser. The main function of cleansers is to remove impurities accumulated throughout the day like dirt and bacteria and prevent pores’ clogging. 

There are several different cleansers, including oils, gels, and micellar water, that you are welcome to choose from. While any number of these can prove to be effective, there are a few things for you to avoid.

It might be tempting to use the same bar soap that you use on your body in the shower on your face, but we advise that you avoid taking this action. Cleansers should help balance your skin’s pH level, but generic bar soaps tend to alter your skin’s pH balance. For this reason, it is best to find a cleanser that is safe for even sensitive skin.

Another aspect of cleansers to consider is the ingredient of surfactants. Surfactants are long molecules found in soaps that break down oil on the surface of one’s skin to help clean out impurities. 

While surfactants are proven to be safe in moderation, stripping the surface of your skin too often may prevent your skin molecules from being as healthy as they need to be. 

If you are looking for a cleanser that provides you with both a deep and gentle cleanse, we recommend The Resetter. This product is a two-in-one cleanser that doubles as a shaving gel. Unlike competing cleansers, The Resetter is water-based and uses all-natural ingredients. 

These ingredients include sunflower seed oil, which works to maintain your skin’s barriers and support its ability to fight off pollution and ultraviolet rays. Glycerin-infused coconut oil, which is full of antioxidants, can help preserve the skin, decrease the loss of moisture, and reduce dryness.

2. Toner

If you use toner, be sure to apply it after your cleanser. While this product is optional, it is encouraged for those struggling with excessive oil or clogged pores. 

The general function of toners is to refresh your skin without stripping it of natural moisture while priming your face for all the other products that you will apply next. Toning your face should improve its ability to absorb other products.

Toners are water-based products designed to cater to different skin types and needs. For example, one toner might specialize in treating dryness or irritation, while another might be best at providing your skin with more nutrients.

Once you have selected the toner that best suits your needs, use a cotton pad to dab the toner over your face. 

3. Exfoliator

After toning, you can move on to exfoliation. Exfoliating is a method for removing dead skin cells from the outer layers of your skin. Other benefits include increasing blood circulation and brightening your appearance. 

Approximately every 30 days, your skin will naturally shed dead skin cells. Sometimes it is unable to shed all of the dead skin from your epidermis. These dead skin cells can end up clogging your pores and, if not exfoliated, can result in acne. 

There are two methods of exfoliation called mechanical and chemical. Mechanical involves manually removing the dead skin from your face using a tool. The tool can range from a sponge to a bristle brush. 

Chemical exfoliation uses chemicals to dissolve the dead skin cells from the surface of your skin. The main chemical component of these exfoliating products is normally a BHA (beta hydroxy acid) like salicylic acid or an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) like glycolic acid. To avoid irritation, you can start by using an herbal-based exfoliator.

If you are using a chemical exfoliant treatment, it should be applied after your toner.

4. Serums

Serums can be applied following your exfoliator. Similar to toners, different serums are typically designed with specific purposes in mind. Generally, however, they have a gel base composition, are nutrient-dense, and are meant to prevent irritation and redness by hydrating and boosting your skin’s health.

A quality serum should prevent fine lines on your skin and improve its texture and longevity. A simple way to select an effective serum is to pick one that contains antioxidants. 

Antioxidants are compounds that protect your cells against free radicals, which are unstable molecules that steal electrons from stable molecules and damaged skin cells in the process. Therefore, antioxidant serums can help defend against the adverse effects caused by free radicals and protect your complexion.

5. Eye Cream

Eye cream should be applied after your serums have been absorbed. The skin surrounding your eyes is very thin and, in turn, more vulnerable to fine lines, darkening, and laxity. For this reason, this area of your face typically requires a little extra attention.

Eye cream is different from cream used on the rest of your face or body in that it is thinner and lighter. These characteristics are what require it to be applied before the rest of your moisturizer so that it can be properly absorbed.

Some of the main functions of eye cream are to diminish dark spots, reduce the appearance of fine lines, maintain elasticity, and defend the area against impurities. For extra protection, you can use a complexion matching eye cream that contains SPF.

6. Moisturizer

Your moisturizer can then be applied following your eye cream. Moisturizers can help to trap in all of the previously applied products. Other benefits of moisturizer include keeping the skin barrier healthy, healing dry or damaged skin, and hydrating your pores.

Although our skin naturally lubricates itself through the production and erection of sebum, we can still benefit from additional nourishment. The right moisturizer should replenish the texture of your skin and increase the positive effects of your cleanser, toner, and exfoliator. 

There is a myth that those with oily skin or acne should avoid moisturizers. In actuality, everyone benefits from moisturizing their skin. It is simply a matter of finding the right formula. It is best to select a moisturizer with essential nutrients without harsh chemicals. For additional protection, use a moisturizer containing SPF.

For your convenience, we recommend MadeMan’s The Refresher. The Refresher is an all-in-one water-based moisturizer that uses all-natural ingredients like chicory root and castor seed oil to protect your skin. 

The chicory root is a proprietary active ingredient in The Refresher that has lifting and lightening techniques. It is intended to increase your collagen production and improve your skin’s appearance. 

The castor seed oil contains essential and natural fatty acids that can restore the skin’s natural moisture balance and relieve dry and patchy skin. These properties can also help with preventing acne and shielding your skin from external impurities.

In short, The Refresher uses these ingredients and more to battle aging, hyperpigmentation, redness, uneven skin texture, and dark spots.

7. Sunscreen

Finally, you should apply your sunscreen after your moisturizer has been absorbed. The purpose of using sunscreen is to protect your skin from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Unprotected exposure to the sun can result in photoaging and other harmful damage. 

There are two types of sunscreens to choose from: physical sunscreen (also called mineral sunscreen) and chemical sunscreen. When light from the sun touches your face, the ingredients in chemical sunscreen, like octisalate and avobenzone, absorb the UV rays before they can damage your skin.

Sunscreen is meant to be applied after your moisturizer as it acts as a protective layer for your skin. Some believe that if you use chemical sunscreen, it should be applied before your moisturizer to be better absorbed into your skin. While you are more than welcome to apply this practice, the general rule of thumb is that sunscreen goes on last.

Regardless of whether you use a physical or chemical sunscreen, it is crucial that the product you choose is broad spectrum. Broad-spectrum sunscreens defend against both UVA and UVB rays. 

UVB rays tend to damage the outermost layers of the skin, while UVA rays are more penetrative and damage the cells deeper. It is essential to protect yourself against both. 

Another important aspect of this protection is that it has a high enough sun protection factor. The sun protection factor, more commonly referred to as SPF, indicates how good of a job your sunscreen will do at protecting you from ultraviolet radiation. For proper protection, use sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30.


In conclusion, the safest option is always to apply your sunscreen last. On the off chance that your physical broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 is not working as well as you would like it to, you can consider applying it before your nutrient-rich moisturizer. 

The most important thing is that you use sunscreen and moisturizer every day. The benefits of these products, and all skincare products, are enhanced when ordered correctly.



The science behind skincare: Cleansers | PubMed

How to safely exfoliate at home | AAD

A Review on Free Radicals and Antioxidants | PubMed

Sun-damaged skin (photoaging): what is new? | PubMed

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