How to layer skin care products for your healthiest skin
Applying in order does make a difference. Here’s how to get allllll the glow-boosting benefits.
Whether you’re scrolling through SkinTok or strolling through the skin care aisles, the number of products available can be overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be! If you don’t know where to begin, or are wondering what to apply first, we have you covered. Here, we map out a tried-and-true routine, so you never have to wonder about the order of skin care products again.
Step 1: Cleanser
First things first: Cleanse to remove dirt, oil and makeup. Splash your face with water, suds up for about 30 seconds and then rinse well. This gives your skin care products a literal clean slate to absorb all those amazing ingredients.
Step 2: Toner
Editor’s note: This one’s optional. If you’re looking to streamline things, you can skip this step. There are a few different types of toners. Some act as a secondary cleanser catching any leftover dirt, some exfoliate and others leave behind a layer of moisture. Pick the one that best matches your skin goals. Apply with a clean cotton pad while skin is still damp from cleansing.
Step 3: Treatments
Another optional one! If you’d like to use a targeted product, like an acne spot treatment or dark spot treatment, this is where it falls within your skin care order. These products are very concentrated and are formulated to directly address an area of concern—like a breakout or isolated hyperpigmentation. Apply a drop or two just to the areas you want to treat using your (clean!) fingertip. Make sure it fully dries before moving on to prevent dilution.
Step 4: Serums
Serums soak right into your skin and work best when applied after cleansing/toning and before moisturizer. They have high levels of active ingredients and can really help you achieve your skin care goals. Some of our favorite serums include hyaluronic acid for hydration, calming niacinamide or brightening vitamin C. (Want to learn more about skin care ingredients? Check out our guide here.) Gently apply a dime sized amount to your entire face using clean fingers, but always read the label first. Some formulations may require a smaller dose or a unique application.
Step 5: Eye cream + Moisturizer
If you like how eye cream makes you look and feel, this is the time to apply—before or with moisturizer. Using a very light touch, tap a pea sized amount around your orbital bone. Then apply moisturizer. Moisturizer will help soften and hydrate skin, keeping hydration in and preventing moisture and your serum from evaporating. Apply about the size of a quarter to your entire face, neck and chest.
Step 6: Sunscreen
Every single day. All year long. Even when you’re staying indoors. (Because guess how your houseplants stay alive? Yep, sunlight is getting in there!) SPF should always be the final step in your daytime routine. We recommend choosing a formula with SPF 30 that offers broad spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays. Measure out two fingers’ worth of product and apply it to your face, ears, neck, scalp and anywhere that is exposed. If you use moisturizer or makeup with SPF in it, we still reco using a full layer of sunscreen too just in case. Better to be safe!
When in doubt, remember this rule: Products should always be applied from lightest to heaviest. Think about it in terms of how you’d wear clothing. You wouldn’t put on a thick sweater and then a thin T-shirt over it. Starting with your lightest products ensures they can soak into your skin and do what you want them to do. Now that you know how to layer skin care products check out our Love Your Skin event and load up on all the best products. Happy layering!