How to Effectively Layer Your Skincare

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The order of your skin care can make a huge difference.

How you layer your skin care can; Make your skin care work swimmingly or leave it like a fish flapping around out of water. Aka you see great skin change or you don’t.

How to Layer Skin Care

The absolute foundation of skin care order relies on one extremely knowable rule – start with your thinnest skin care first, end with your thickest skin care last.

Why? Because thick skin care absorbs at snail pace but thin skin care absorbs at hare pace.

Like trying to suck either water through a straw or smoothie through a straw.

Which in general means any skin care you have which is water based i.e. serums, essences, ampules and hydrators should be in your skin care order first. Then skin care you have which is oil based or more oil based i.e. creams, balms, facial oils and conditioners should be in your skin care order last.

Basics done. Now time to get into the nitty-gritty of skin care layering aka should you layer cream or balm first? When should you apply face oil? Does retinol come before or after serum?


Skin Care Order

The best skin care order for your skin care routine will fit products into this layering guide;

  1. Makeup remover
  2. Cleanser
  3. Exfoliator
  4. Toner
  5. Facial mists
  6. Serum, ampoules, essences (lightest/thinnest first)
  7. Lotions
  8. Creams/moisturisers including eye cream – more about this soon
  9. Face oils
  10. Face balms
  11. Sunscreen
  12. Foundation

Which from steps 4 to 11 is all about thinnest to thickest aka putting your frosting on top of your skin care cake instead of your cake on top of your skin care frosting.

Skin Care Steps

You should also know this: you don’t have to have skin care products in every one of these layering descriptions to have a great skin care order or be taking great care of your skin. Which means you might not have a step 3 – exfoliator but instead you have a step 4 – toner which not only tones but also exfoliates such as Glycolic Acid. Or you might not use a step 5 – facial mist, but you definitely do use a step 6 – serum.

Plus – some of this skin care order you will only do for AM i.e. sunscreen and some of this skin care order you will only do for PM i.e. makeup remover and I also strongly recommend cleanser.


When to Apply Face Oil

Face oil is a guaranteed last step/2nd to last step of your skin care order. Taking longest to absorb and being most similar to the top layers of your skin – using face oil as a last skin care step helps it work best.

Pssst! If you want to help your face oil absorb in more quickly you can always use a second dose of moisturiser over your face oil. It can help take any stickiness away quicker.


Retinol Before or After Serum

Proven anti-ageing ingredient – retinol – now here’s an active you want to make sure you’re juicing all the benefits out of ‘eh.

When to apply retinol in your skin care routine? Use retinol where it best fits into your skin care routine in order from thinnest to thickest. Also be sure to use retinol only in your PM skin care order as retinol is sensitive to light aka will be used up in AM before getting a chance to benefit your skin.


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  • 07/06

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