Exfoliating should take place before washing, according to Allure magazine. Exfoliating first primes the skin for all of the other steps in the skin care cycle.
Dr. Harold Lancer, a dermatologist who invented the Skin Revival system, tells Allure that the exfoliating step is important, because it polishes the skin. All other skin care products absorb properly once exfoliation happens. Exfoliating removes the debris that rests on the epidermis, or top layer of the skin. After exfoliation of dirt and debris, the epidermis below is ready for the nutrients in skin care systems.