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There are some skincare rules that are basically a rite of passage as you hit high school – don’t pick your pimples, never sleep with makeup on, cleanse, moisturize, tone – you get the idea. But there are other rules that no one really mentions, and not knowing them could be seriously messing up your skin game!

The thing is, skincare is basically a science, so it needs to be treated with the same thought and care – you’d never mix two chemicals together without thinking about how they’d react! Your beauty products are the same; they’re made up of hundreds of potent ingredients that have the potential to either work wonders or wreak havoc when combined.

To make sure you’re not hindering your skincare regime, here are the two skincare rules people don’t talk about, but which will help you majorly refine your routine.

1. There’s a proper order to your skincare routine

Knowing exactly how to apply a particular skincare product is essential, but it’s not always clear when you buy a new product. Here are three very important things you need to know:

1. How much product you should apply
2. Where the product should slot into your routine
3. How regularly you should apply it

In some cases, using a product in the wrong way can damage your skin. Take retinol for example; if you use too much retinol too often you’ll most likely cause extreme dryness. Retinol should be applied at night and it should be slowly introduced into your routine. Check out our guide to using retinol here.

Similarly, slapping on a huge pile of moisturizer in an attempt to hydrate dry skin won’t necessarily do any good, and the product is just likely to pill (when the product gathers in little balls), which could clog your pores or trigger a breakout. Check out this easy guide to see how much of each product you should be using on a regular basis, and remember, consistency is key:

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Knowing where a product should slot into your overall regime is also super important. If you apply a product, say a serum, after a moisturizer, the serum won’t be able to penetrate the moisturizer, rendering it useless. Because moisturizer creates a barrier on the skin, the active ingredients in your serum won’t be able to reach the deeper layers of your skin where they can be effective. Follow this layering guide to ensure you apply products in the correct order. Check out how to layer all your skincare products correctly here.

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If you want to get a better idea of what a good skincare routine looks like and when to apply certain products, check out our essential skincare regime here.

2. There’s such a thing as too much skincare!

If you’re a beauty junkie like us, you probably have tons of potent beauty products packed with the best, newly hyped ingredients. But using too many products can do more harm than good – trust us, it’s our job to test beauty products – so instead of giving you healthy, radiant skin, you could be causing sensitivity, redness or breakouts.

Take salicylic acid as a prime example; if it’s used correctly, it’s an amazing exfoliator that cleans deep into your pores, unbinding the glue that holds dead skin cells together. However, if you were to use a salicylic acid serum on the same day as retinol or an AHA toner, you could over-exfoliate your skin, leaving it feeling tight, and looking red and dry!

So it’s important to take a look at your skincare regime and make sure you’re not doing too much, and the same goes for when you introduce a new product. We recommend writing down a weekly routine, so you can cross-reference your products and outline a skincare schedule! The general rule we follow is the more potent the ingredient, the more cautious (sometimes less often) you need to be using it. For more deets on refining your skincare regime, check out this post on how you could be overwhelming your skin.

Let us know if there are any other skincare concerns you’d like us to write about in the comments below, and check out our Beauty Glossary to get clued up on all the most important skincare ingredients.