Once you know the right skin care products to use, you need to learn how to apply them. Believe it or not, there’s a certain order of application that everyone should follow to ensure that you’re not only getting the most out of your skin care products, but also not wasting an ounce of those incredible products.

Nearly every day, my clients ask me to write the order of application of skin care products for them to follow. I wish I had a nickel for every time I’ve done this! But actually it’s my fault. I should have written it down a long time ago for all of you, so here goes:

1. Cleanse

It may sound simple, but wash your face twice a day. This doesn’t mean using a makeup wipe, ladies! Those are typically full of alcohol and other irritating ingredients. I know you’re into convenience, but c’mon, this is your face we’re talking about.

2. Medicate

This is the time to apply any prescription based products. These include: retinol, customized brightening creams/perfecting pads, or other meds for rosacea.

PRO TIP: If you’re using a retinol, it’s critical to use a titration method—which essentially means building up skin tolerance by starting slow and gradually working up to a daily application. This will help you avoid the redness, dryness and irritation that can occur with a retinol.

3. Treat

Here is where your serums come in to play. Antioxidants, hyaluronic acid (Clarity’s new favorite “light and tight” serum with peptides) or C E Ferulic serum.

PRO TIP: When you’re using the four pillars of skin care (retinol, antioxidants, growth factors, SPF), you can mix the growth factor and antioxidant together. If you’re using Regenica Dual Serum (which we can’t get enough of!), the work has already been done for you!

4. Protect

Daytime? Sunscreen! Nighttime? Moisturizer. This is arguably the most crucial step of the bunch—regardless of your skin type, color or age.

PRO TIP: When applying liquid foundation, or tinted moisturizer, use 1/2 the amount you would normally use added to 1/2 the amount of a zinc-based physical sunscreen (we love Elta MD facial sunscreens!). Mix this concoction on the back of your hand and dab onto face, neck and chest.

5. Decorate

Here’s the “beauty” step. Wear your make up during the day and be sure to remove it before bed (see step 1!). While you sleep, use Lattise, that incredibly popular lash-maximizing wonder treatment. And the key to all of this working? Repeat! Every. Single. Day. Say you’re out late and you’re tempted to skip the routine and head straight to bed. Don’t do it! You’ll regret it as soon as you look at yourself in the mirror the next morning (or as soon as you see your makeup smeared pillow case). It’s time to put your best face forward. After all, you only have one.