How to Layer Your Skincare

Layers. To make it clear we are not talking about how to look stylish in winter weather. We are talking about how to layer your skincare properly. No matter how expensive or affordable your skincare products might be, we all want to reap the maximum benefits, no? So it is important to know how to layer the products in your stash. A side-note – these are general guidelines. What works for one person, might be unimaginable for someone else. If it works for you, by all means carry on.

Simple and elaborate routines

If your skincare routine is low maintenance, the old rule applies. Cleanser/treatment serum/moisturizer. That is all there is to it.

Things get tricky if your skincare routine is a bit more *cough* elaborate (waves hand in the air). The general rule of the thumb is – you should apply the products by consistency, from thinnest to thickest.

For example – essences have been all the rage for quite some time now. But where does it go you might ask? Cleanser/essence/treatment serum/moisturizer.

Actives or treatments serums

Things get a bit trickier when you add actives into the mix. Actives or treatment serums would include AHAs, BHAs, retinol and vitamin C. These would go under the “treatment” step. Treatment serums should go directly to a cleansed face to ensure maximum penetration. In this instance your routine would look something like this: cleanser/treatment serum/essence/moisturizer.

That said – what if you want to use both retinol and vitamin C in the same evening routine? It is best not to apply retinol *at the same time* as vitamin C, as both of these antioxidants use the same pathways to take effect in the skin. There is better skin uptake if you leave a 20 minute gap between the two.

Oh yes, meet wait times! The bane of existence for every skincare aficionado.

Retinol used in conjunction with AHAs has been shown to be an effective treatment option for sun damaged skin. But there should be some wait time between the steps. In that case your evening routine would be: cleanser/AHA/wait time of 20 to 30 minutes/retinol/essence/moisturizer.

Oils and oil-based serums

Oils and oil-based serums can be skin saviours. But where do they go in the routine?

Oil molecules are bigger and in theory oils should go on top of the moisturizer. This ensures your moisturizer penetrates the skin (since the molecules are smaller). That said – we prefer to do cleanser/treatment serum/oil/moisturizer, just to seal it all in. It can be the last step in your routine, it can be second to last step or you can use an oil instead of your moisturizer. Whatever works best for you.

How to avoid pilling

What we are referring to is when you apply your products and by the time you have to apply your makeup, everything starts to ball up and roll off your fingers. Your face feels like it is covered in gunk and all you want to do is wash your face and start again. From experience we find a couple of things help to avoid that.

First – look at the base of your products. Water-based products are most compatible with other water-based products. Likewise for oils and silicone.

Second – some products take longer to sink in. Let the product sink in completely before proceeding with the rest of your routine.

Third – if a product keeps rolling off your face no matter how you use it, it might be a matter of using too much product. This seems to be applicable for eye creams in particular. Sometimes more doesn’t mean more effective.

Do you have any tips and tricks on how to layer skincare? Any tips on how to prevent your skincare from rolling off your face? Do let us know in the comments.

Roberta Striga