Call it a ritual. A time tested method. The result of much toil, research, trial-and-error.
It is what we’ve come to know as “The Skincare Routine.”
Ladies, we have our skincare routines down to a science.
Although, as we get ever-busier, we trade portions of our regimen for a few more minutes of staying in bed in the morning.
Exhausted, we forgo important steps at night in favor of returning to said bed.
A survey by Simple Skincare found that only a pitiful number of us are practicing our regimen on the regular.
All that time crunching can lead us to a rushed, slapdash approach to our skincare, forcing us to make compromises and adopt a philosophy of, “As long as I get the product on my face at some point, it will do what it needs to do, right?”
WRONG. (Well, sort of.)
Did you know that the way you layer on your skincare products actually makes a difference?
I’m here to break it down and give you a handy cheat sheet guide on the best way to layer your skincare products so that you’ll reap the best benefits from The Routine.
Why Does It Matter?
It’s not that your skincare items won’t work if you don’t layer them a certain way.
And, anything worth doing is worth doing right. Right?
It’s important to consider the purpose of your products — why you’re using them in the first place — and give them time to sink into your skin and deliver those benefits.
For instance, if you apply a thick moisturizer before more concentrated treatments, it can create a barrier that doesn’t allow your skin to absorb serums or liquids as well.
A general rule of thumb when layering products is to work from thin to thick.
Meaning, apply those formulas with a thinner consistency first and follow it up with richer, creamier ones last.
One more thing before we get to it: Remember that this is just my general recommendation for the order of operations, but there’s no one-size-fits-all skincare routine for everyone.
You may need to add or subtract some items based on your needs and skincare concerns (such as products made to target a specific issue).
Use this as a general guideline, and find the regimen that works best for you!
Step 1: Cleanser
As long as you’re splashing water on your face first thing in the morning, you might as well use a gentle cleanser too.
This will help remove stuff like dirt, oil, and impurities that your skin can accumulate from your hair and pillowcase while you’re sleeping.
Make sure you’re using a cleanser made for your skin type, so you don’t strip skin’s natural moisture.
Step 2: Toner
A lot of people skip this step because they think toners are too harsh for their skin.
Not so! Today’s toners are formulated to deliver moisture and clarifying and anti-aging benefits.
Toner isn’t always necessary, but if your skincare specialist or esthetician recommends one, it’s for a good reason, so use one after cleansing your skin.
As with cleansers, toners are specifically formulated for different skin types, so make sure you’re using the right one for you!
Step 3: Serums and Spot Treatments
Now that your skin is all prepped and squeaky clean, it’s time to apply those thinner-consistency products such as serums or those made to address specific concerns like acne, wrinkles, rosacea, and hyperpigmentation.
Both serums and spot treatments are more highly concentrated formulas designed to deliver benefits deep into skin’s layers, so it’s best to apply them as close to your skin as possible so they can penetrate without being inhibited.
With serums and treatments, it’s also important to wait at least 5 minutes so they’ve had time to absorb into skin before applying anything else.
Step 4: Moisturizer
Hydrated and moisturized skin is essential to fight wrinkles and blemishes, and it supports skin healthy by reinforcing its protective barrier.
This includes oily skin types!
When your skin senses it’s dry, it actually produces more oil which can make matters worse, so it’s important to maintain skin balance and hydration.
You may also need to change up your moisturizer with different conditions.
Does your skin get dry in the winter? More oily in the summer? Is it changing with age?
Listen to your skin so you can make sure you’re caring for it accordingly.
Step 5. Eye Cream and/or Gel
These days, we have so many options!
Yes, there are actually eye products specific for daytime use to combat last night’s puffy eyes.
And, you can layer eye products to get max benefits.
Apply an eye cream, wait a few minutes, then follow up with an eye cream for all that depuffing, anti-aging, moisturizing goodness.
Pro tip: Eye cream isn’t just for your mom! It’s recommended that you start using eye cream as early as your 20’s since this is the age when people start seeing signs of aging in the form of crow’s feet and eye wrinkles. Better to prevent than treat!
Step 6. SPF
Don’t leave the house without applying a daily dose of broad-spectrum SPF protection.
Even on cloudy days.
Even if your makeup contains SPF (it usually isn’t enough to provide adequate protection).
And even if you’re going to be inside for most of the day.
Much of our UV exposure occurs during non-sunbathing times like driving or walking to and from your car.
Make sure to apply sun protection at least 15 minutes before heading outdoors.
You can cut down on your get ready time by using a moisturizer that contains at least SPF 20 protection.
And, if you get a tinted one for light coverage and it’s a triple whammy!
From here, you can start applying any liquid makeup or concealers, or go barefaced and show off your natural beauty!
Here are some of my top picks to kickstart your day and get the most out of your AM skincare!
My gentle foaming cleanser is a great way to start off your skincare for the day. It purifies and refines pores while delivering hydrating and anti-aging benefits to your skin. Plus, it smells wonderful!
This is a unique combo of lotion and toner in one! All-natural ingredients nourish your skin with moisture while salicylic acid balances oil content. This is a great toner for those who have rosacea, sensitive skin, or are prone to acne! You can look forward to even, supple, and shine-free skin that looks healthy and clear.
My ultra-hydrating serum uses the power of 20% hyaluronic acid to promote your skin’s hydration levels by 10x and plump fine lines and wrinkles. It also doubles as a fast-absorbing makeup primer!
I’m so excited to bring you my daily moisturizer. It features 20% vitamin C to fight free radicals that cause signs of aging and to boost collagen production to fight fine lines and wrinkles. It also boosts your skin’s hydration levels by 10x!
Say goodbye to signs of aging! Peptides help revitalize your skin by retaining firmness and reducing the appearance of wrinkles. My eye cream also helps improve dullness, fatigue, and crow’s feet and quickly absorbs into your skin to deliver moisture.
This is one of my go-to’s for daily sun protection! The tinted formula gives you sheer coverage while providing you with broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection, and it goes on smooth. Zinc oxide physically blocks harmful sun rays, making it suitable for sensitive skin.
Step 1: Cleanser
Now it’s time to remove all that lovely makeup and gunk from the day with a cleanser that’s right for your skin type.
This step is crucial to avoid skin irritations, blemishes, and even infections.
You can start with a precleanse or cleansing oil to dissolve makeup, and/or cleanse twice with a lather-rinse-repeat approach to make sure you’re getting rid of all the day’s residue.
Step 3: Exfoliator
This step is optional but highly recommended.
To save time, you can combine this step with the aforementioned second cleanse.
Use a physical or chemical exfoliator to remove dead skin cells which will brighten your complexion and keep pores clean.
Be sure not to overdo it! Follow use instructions.
If it’s a product designed for daily use, that’s fine.
If not, stick to 2-3 times a week so you don’t risk damaging or drying out your skin.
Step 4: Toner
Put a few drops on a cotton round and swipe over your cleansed face, neck, and chest.
You’ll be surprised at all the dirt, makeup and residue your cleanser can leave behind.
Toners are the best way to balance skin and make sure you’re removing all that business for clear, healthy skin.
Step 4: Serums and Targeted Treatments
Let these wonderful formulas work their magic while you get your beauty rest.
Evenings are also the best time to apply products with exfoliating ingredients like retinol and glycolic acid since they can make skin sensitive during sun exposure.
For the same reason, this is also when you’ll want to apply any skin peels.
As before, wait a few minutes for serums and treatments to absorb into skin before moving on to moisturizer.
Step 5: Moisturizer or Face Oil
Skin repairs itself while you sleep, so you’ll support this process by applying a good moisturizer.
Don’t limit it to just your face either!
Remember to moisturize your neck and décolleté as well, since this delicate skin can also benefit from hydration.
Step 6: Eye Cream
If you’re only going to use eye cream once a day, then the night time is the right time.
Make sure to apply a rich formula around your entire eye area for maximum benefits.
Wrap up your day with some of my favorite formulas to beautify skin before getting your beauty sleep!
This concentrated form of coconut oil absorbs seamlessly into your skin and easily eliminates stubborn makeup! Simply apply 1-4 drops to your face, rub in circular motions, and rinse. It gets bonus points for its antioxidants and fatty acids.
Gently remove excess oil, dirt, and makeup with my moisturizing and gentle cleanser that contains coconut oil, green tea, and lavender extract. The formula is 99% natural, soap-free, and non-irritating.
Gently exfoliate your skin by buffing away dead skin cells and deep cleaning your pores! You’ll eliminate excess oil, neutralize acne-causing bacteria, and fortify your skin’s protective barriers to lock in moisture.
Soothe, calm, and cool your skin on contact with this hydrating and anti-inflammatory toner. It gives your skin an even appearance by refining its texture and reducing the appearance of pores. Your skin’s natural barriers are fortified with lipids that also lock in moisture.
Wake up to glowing, youthful, and moisturized skin! My 100% natural and lightweight retinol formula stimulates collagen production in your skin to smooth out any wrinkles and fine lines, while dark spots and discoloration are repaired overnight to even your skin tone. No flaking, redness, or peeling like traditional retinol products, but with all the benefits!
This moisturizer is designed to be used at night to deliver benefits while you catch some zzzzzs. The rich, moisturizing formula is enhanced with enzymes, proteins, and B vitamins to improve cellular memory and help your skin retain elasticity. It will leave your skin hydrated and supple, so you’ll wake up looking rested and ready to go!
I’ve used this eye cream day and night for over 10 years so I can tell you it’s incredible! It includes powerful anti-aging enzymes to improve firmness and color around your eye area. It also boosts cell repair to mend UV and free radical damage.
So, there you have it!
Here’s a handy little guide to help you remember the order of operations.
While this is the way to get the best benefits from your products, there’s no one magic skincare solution that works for everyone (although, wouldn’t that would be great?).
We each have unique skin and our own set of concerns and goals, so the bottom line is that you have to find a routine that works best for you.
You gotta listen to your skin and do you!
How do you layer your products? Have you found a method for success? Share your tips with us in the comments section!