Yes, There Is Such a Thing as the “Right” Way to Layer Your Skincare

Got a skincare stash that even beauty eds would envy, but often find yourself completely winging your routine? And you know you need to layer your skincare, but you’re just not sure how? Consider this a judgment-free zone, as we’ve honestly all been there. But once you lay the foundation for an efficient skincare regimen, reaching your skin goals will become a whole lot easier.

Why Is It Important To Layer Your Skincare?

The answer is two-fold: 

  1. Increased absorption – layering ensures that all of your formulas have a moment to shine, and each has an opportunity to fully absorb into the skin, resulting in optimum skin results in the end.
  2. Having AM and PM skincare steps will allow you to mix and match products safely, especially when active ingredients are involved.

The Correct Order to Layer Your Skincare

Step 1: Cleanser

This step is sort of like a reset button for your skin. It helps remove any oils that accumulated while you snoozed and sloughs away any residue left behind from the night before. For frequent make-up wearers, we recommend double cleansing — start with a cleansing oil or balm, like the ones from Pond’s or Erborian, to break down stubborn make-up, sebum, and sunscreen, and then follow this up with a water-based cleanser to dissolve any lingering impurities.

Step 2: Toner

One frequently asked question we continue to receive is: Is toner really necessary? TBH, it’s up to you and your skin’s needs, but we love incorporating this watery liquid to prime and prep the skin. A good-quality toner will restore your skin’s pH, replenish lost moisture and sweep away leftover debris post-cleansing. There’s a wide variety of toners available on the market right now tailored for all types of skin requirements. If dryness and sensitivity are an issue for you, opt for a balancing and hydrating formula like Kiehl’s Cucumber Herbal Toner. And if you’re looking for a brightening and pore-reducing solution, Fenty Skin’s Fat Water Pore-Refining Toner Serum is loaded with niacinamide, witch hazel water, and other skin-refining gems.

Step 3: Serum

Serums form the backbone of your routine and carry your future skin goals on their tiny little backs. This is because they help deliver an intense dose of antioxidants and nutrients, hence why they must be applied in the earlier steps of your routine to penetrate the skin deeper. For the AM: Vitamin C is a holy grail ingredient that everyone should have in their arsenal — it not only brightens skin but it revs up collagen synthesis, meaning plumper and more youthful-looking skin. We love Elizabeth Arden’s Vitamin C Ceramide Capsules Radiance Renewal Serum with Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate AKA THD, the most stable form of topical vitamin C out there that’s also oil-soluble, meaning it delivers optimum skin penetration.

Step 4: Eye Cream

The eye area is the most delicate and has the thinnest skin on the face, so it requires an extra dose of TLC and hydration to slow down signs of ageing. For dehydration, an emollient-rich formula like Kiehl’s Avocado Eye Treatment works wonders. For dark circles, Skin Proud’s Bright Eye Gel-Cream concoction will deliver brightening pomegranate extract and niacinamide. And for an under-eye pick-me-up, you can’t go wrong with Nivea’s Perfect & Radiant Luminous Eye Treatment, which is laced with caffeine to reduce and energise puffy eyes.  

Step 5: Treatments

Whether it’s an acne or dark-spot-clearing treatment, you’ll want to apply this before your moisturiser for maximum penetration. We also suggest reserving this step for the night-time when your skin is in recovery mode.

Step 6: Moisturiser

Not only does moisturiser add an extra dose of hydration, but it also works as a protective coat that traps and locks in all the ingredients beneath.

Step 7: Retinol

AKA actual droplets from the fountain of youth. Retinol offers many wonderful perks, mainly increased cell turnover and collagen production. With regular use, this skincare hero can help diminish acne, pigmentation, and fine lines and wrinkles.

Step 8: Sunscreen

A non-negotiable step that will shield your skin from harmful UV rays, resulting in diminished dark spots, sun spots, acne scars, and other discolorations, and a lessened risk of developing skin cancers. Our top picks right now are Fenty Skin’s Hydra Vizor Invisible Moisturizer SPF 30 and Eucerin Sensitive Protect Sun Crème.


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