How to layer skincare products for the clearest skin ever
It’s not just what you use, but how — and when — you use it.
Skincare used to be as simple as a single jar of cold cream. These days, more is definitely more.
However, when you have somewhere between five and 75 products lined up on your bathroom counter, figuring out which order to apply them can be more than just a little bit challenging.
And here’s the thing: the order in which you use skincare products does matter and can directly affect how well they work. But don’t stress: Here’s a (super) simple step-by-step guide.
Cleanser + toner
Cleanser: You can skip this step in the morning if your skin type is dry (or wash with water only), but it’s a non-negotiable in the evening when you need to remove dirt, oil, and makeup. Toner: Next comes toner, if you’re using it. While many toners act like a secondary cleanser, some are designed to exfoliate with acids, while others leave behind a layer of moisture. (Consider the moisturizing kind an essence — see below.)
Apply any targeted, medicated or prescription products, which should always go directly onto clean skin. Make sure they fully dry before moving on.
The lightest product you’re using comes next. An essence generally has a watery texture and can be patted onto the skin.
These tend to be a little thicker or gel like, but not as heavy as moisturizer. Serums also have high levels of active ingredients.
Creams or lotions get layered on top and can be the final step, unless you choose to use...
A few drops of oil will help keep the water in your moisturizer from evaporating.
A sleeping mask is designed to be applied a little heavier than a night cream, and can generally replace a night cream and face oil combination.
SPF should always be the final step in your daytime routine, no ifs, ands, or buts about it.
When in doubt, remember this overarching rule: Products should always be layered from lightest to heaviest. Think about it in terms of how you’d layer clothing. You wouldn’t put on a thick sweater and then a thin T-shirt over it, would you?
Similarly, you wouldn’t put on a thick moisturizer and then a lightweight serum. Starting with your lightest products ensures they can actually penetrate into the skin and do their intended duties.