We’ve written about how to layer skincare products before, and this time we’re going a bit deeper. In this post, learn how to layer skincare products the right way to help maximize the benefits of your topical treatments.

Face Oil: Layer It On Last

So you may get some conflicting advice when it comes to when to apply a face oil. Some advise to apply oil before moisturizer, so that it absorbs right into your skin before you slather on more hydration. Others say to apply it after your moisturizer, so that it can help to lock in the hydrating ingredients. To us, it makes more sense to do the latter – apply it after your moisturizer so that it seals everything in.

But, if you read our entire blog post, you’ll know that there really isn’t a perfect answer. Just use the face oil!

Antioxidant Face Oil...


Layer Skincare Products 101 : A Rule of Thumb vs Set in Stone

You’d think that a topic like how to build a skincare routine would be relatively easy. Yet, with all the options available to choose from – creams, serums, toners, essences, oils, etc., – finding the right products for your skin can get complicated. Add in how to use these products to maximize their benefits, well that just adds another level of complexity.

If you’ve already got a good skincare routine set up and want to learn the best way to layer skincare products, know that the advice is more a rule of thumb rather than anything set in stone. The most common recommendation is to go from thinnest in texture to heaviest in texture, but even if you get it wrong, nothing bad will happen. Breathe a sigh of relief!


Just How Important is the Order of Application?

In general, it’s recommended that you apply your products in order from thinnest to thickest. The rationale is that this helps to ensure the best possible absorption.

However, if you mess things up, and the order gets switched around, it’s unlikely to do much harm. That’s because very few products create a bulletproof layer that nothing can penetrate. So, even if you put your heavy cream on before a hydrating serum, the world won’t end. The absorption of that serum through the cream may happen a lot more slowly and you may not get as much to your skin as you would have if you’d applied it first. Additionally, since the goal of the cream is to help lock in the hydration from the serum, you may lose that benefit as well.

The same applies to active treatment serums. Ideally, you’ll want the ingredients as close to your skin as possible (think vitamin C, retinoids etc) so it’s best to apply these first for maximum absorption. Then follow with a cream, lotion or oil.

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Here’s the Order in Which to Layer Skincare Products

  1. Cleanser. It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that cleansers top the list. Single cleanse, double cleanse, warm water splash (often this is fine for many of us in the morning), it should always be the first step.
  2. Toner. We’ve always maintained that toners are optional. Not everyone needs to use them and they’re one of the products that you can leave out of your routine easily. However, toners can be useful to help introduce active ingredients like those found in acne treatments.
  3. Serum/Exfoliant. Exfoliants and serums like our Bespoke Vitamin C Serum or A is for Anti-Aging Serum often contain lots of active ingredients like antioxidants, retinoids and peptides so it’s a good idea to apply them as close to clean skin as possible. They’re the products that deliver the most skin benefits so it’s important to ensure their optimal absorption.
  4. Moisturizer. Whether you opt for a cream or a lotion, moisturizers help to hydrate and plump skin. They can also help to lock in moisture, preventing dry skin.
  5. Eye Cream.
  6. Sunscreen (AM)/Face Oil (PM). Sunscreen should always be your last step in the morning before you apply make-up. At night, face oil is the very last thing to put on before you get your zzz’s in. If you want to use a face oil in the morning, put it on before your sunscreen.

Remember not to apply too much, especially if you’re layering as your skin can only absorb so much. Let us know if you found this helpful.

Sharmani Pillay

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Because your skin renews once every 30 days, we recommend that you allow 4 to 6 weeks before assessing the efficacy of any skincare product.

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