When do you apply serum to your skin? Before your moisturiser or day cream or as the last step of your skincare routine right before your make-up?

We’re willing to bet that you are one of the majority who have been tricked by the beauty myth and are getting this one WRONG!

Because contrary to popular belief, applying the serum before your Day/Night Cream is going to make it harder for your skin to absorb all the active ingredients in your moisturiser – which means you’re missing out on the benefits (and wasting your money!).


Conventional wisdom (and lots of marketing budgets!) have told you that you put the serum on first to enable the actives in the serum to penetrate the skin, but if the actives are too big to be absorbed into the skin, they’re always going to be too big to be absorbed into the skin.


“Imagine if you were trying to enter a hole, but you were too big to squeeze through, so you go and put a rucksack on, it’s not going to help you, is it?” explains CULT51 founder Richard Mears.

As a second dimension, serums are all film formers (to varying extents). They put a film on your skin to make it feel smooth. When you apply moisturiser on top of this film it’s going to make it far more difficult to penetrate. Richard adds: “Think of your skin as a sponge. It can only absorb so much. If the sponge has already soaked up all the water before you try to add soap, you’re just going to end up with bubbles on the surface.”



If you’re using a well-formulated, multi-tasking moisturiser you don't actually need a serum at all - unless it is a specialist one that addresses specific complaints or problem areas (in the way that Immediate Effect Serum tackles dark circles and excessive puffiness).

If you love to multi-layer your products, have a think about why you’re doing it: is one product not giving you all the benefits that you need? And remember there are only so many active ingredients your skin can absorb - no matter how many products you use.

Award-winning beauty journalist Rosie Green tells you more about how streamlining your skincare really does benefit your skin here.


  1. Cult 51 Eye Repair Serum Product image
    Eye Repair 15ml
  1. Cult51 Immediate Effect Serum
    Immediate Effect Serum 30ML