Does The Reverse Skincare Trend Actually Do Anything?

We've all heard the unwritten rules of skincare at least once. Some include applying your products from thinnest to thickest or never going to bed with makeup on your face. Although some of these tips are debatable, we rarely see an entire shakeup in how we apply our skincare. That's why the reverse skincare trend has caused quite a stirrup in the skincare world. This reverse skincare trend stems from @glowwithava from TikTok, where she shows how turning your skincare around will give you fuller and plumper skin. The concept involves starting with moisturizer and ending with a toner, far from what you have probably heard before.


Although new skincare trends are typical, these new types of routines have gained traction thanks to the evolution of social media. However, it's important to note that not all new skincare trends have been backed by science or dermatologists. With the reverse skincare trend picking up popularity due to visible results, it's key to look at what it does and if it's the perfect solution for healthier and more hydrated-looking skin for you.

Is reverse skincare effective?

The reverse skincare routine involves cleansing your face and afterward reaching for a moisturizer before applying a facial toner with a cotton pad. Although this may indeed let your skin appear more supple, dermatologists are wary of the effectiveness of this reverse trend. In fact, Dr. Ifeoma Ejikeme tells Elle, "The reason for this is if you place a thick cream before a light water-based serum you won't get the full benefits of the serum as there is a barrier between the serum and the skin. If you place a glossy serum later in your routine it may give the illusion of luminous-looking skin but this may just be a temporary effect of light reflecting off the serum, rather than actual skincare benefits." Dr. Ejikeme's sentiment towards the trend is common among skin experts, who explain that this trend is simply a facade versus a solution for healthy skin.


Dermatologists are partly deterred from the trend because skincare products are designed to be applied from thinnest to thickest. This is because the thinnest products are packed with ingredients that are most effective when placed closer to the skin. On this, skin expert Katherine Mackenzie Paterson tells Truly Beauty, "Generally moisturizers will tend to contain more emollients and occlusives in them than serums that soften and trap moisture in the skin." Therefore, by putting on a moisturizer, you're creating a "barrier" and slowing the absorption of your other products, making them last longer.

The right way to apply your skincare

Although reverse skincare may not be the answer to your skin issues, there are plenty of ways you can make sure your routine is working for you. In fact, dermatologist Rina Allawah tells Real Simple that the ideal morning routine consists of a cleanser, toner, treatment, moisturizer, eye cream, and SPF. Then, your nighttime routine should consist of a cleanser, toner, an occasional exfoliator, treatment, moisturizer, and eye cream. You want to focus on making sure that your morning routine protects and preps your skin for the triggers of the day, while your nighttime routine will focus on solving any skin issues.


Although the reverse skincare trend mostly gives you the appearance of hydrated skin, a proper skincare routine will take time to show results. On this, Dr. Rachel Nazarian tells The New York Times, "Results are only seen through consistent use." This involves using the same skincare products for at least six weeks, at least once a day, to see the newly regenerated skin cells. If you stick with this routine, you will see healthier skin in the long run.