Skin Care Routine 101: How to order and layer products

by Posted in Skin .

Finding the right skincare products that work for you can be complicated enough as it is. But perfecting your daily regimen gets especially tricky when you have tons of products in your vanity case all vying for your attention. Which product should you use first? In which order should your remaining products be used? Which ingredients work well together? How long should you leave each product on before applying the next? Yes, it can be challenging. Finding a product that works well on your skin is important, but the step-by-step order in which you apply them in your skin care routine is equally as vital.

As a general rule, products should be applied from the thinnest in consistency to the thickest. The reason behind this is because thinner products tend to have active ingredients which can only penetrate deep into the skin if there aren’t layers of thicker products underneath. It’s also best to let each layer be absorbed into your skin fully before applying another layer. A minute or two may be enough. This way, the products can deliver their benefits without disrupting the layers prior.


The first thing that you should do before applying any skincare is to cleanse your face. Always start with a clean canvass that’s free from makeup, dirt, or any skincare residue. Some may argue that there’s a bit of a one-fits-all approach when it comes to cleansers and that anything that suds up and cleans will do the trick. However, that’s not always the case. People who have dry skin should opt for cleansers that have ingredients that aim to boost moisture, such as glycerin and ceramides. Those who have oily skin should choose gel-based formulas, but avoid those that are too strong and dry the skin up.

Not all facial cleansers have been created equally and not all will be beneficial to your skin, so choose one that can cater to your skin’s needs.

Explore Dr Barbara Sturm Cleanser


Immediately after you cleanse (and gently pat your face dry) should come the toner. A toner can make a big difference in your skin care routine. Not only because it can be used for double-cleansing, allowing you to wipe off the makeup and dirt residue that your cleanser may have missed, but it can also help your skin better absorb the next products that you’re going to apply. Be sure to always look for alcohol-free toners that have clarifying and anti-aging benefits.

Explore Obagi Toner 


Now, this part of your skin care routine is where the fun starts. Serums! What would we do without these magical liquids? Serums are designed to address specific concerns on your skin like wrinkles, acne, hyperpigmentation, and a host of other potentially problematic skin issues. Since these types of products are highly concentrated, they perform better when applied as close to your skin as possible. Hence a serum should always be applied straight after cleansing and toning. If you feel you have way too many serums in your skin care arsenal, that’s okay too. Try to only use one or two at a time to allow for the ingredients to really work your skin but then be open to changing up the serums every now and then based on what your skin needs on any given day. Feel empowered to assess your skin and choose the products that are right for what your skin needs then and there. Most serums even have effects that increase the effectiveness of other products, making it the perfect primer for the rest of your skincare.


Eye cream can be a tricky one, so for best results, apply the consistency rule. If your eye cream is lighter than your moisturiser, it should be applied first. If it’s thicker, it should go on after- more often than not, it’s the former. Don’t forget your eye area is also the most sensitive on your face, so be sure to always gently apply your eye creams to the skin. Many like to dab an eye cream onto the surface of the skin and allow the product to ‘soak in’ before applying the next.


Moisturisers are important because they support your skin’s health by strengthening its protective barrier. They also seal all the products that you have applied to your face prior. It is highly recommended that even if you have oily skin, moisturising should not be skipped. Moisturisers can restore the balance and hydration of your skin whilst preventing your glands from producing too much oil or your skin becoming too dry.

Take note that your skin also changes depending on the weather and your age, so it might be best to switch up your products from time to time if you’re not seeing its effectiveness.

During the day, applying a sunscreen is extremely important as the last step of your skincare routine. UV rays are proven to increase the aging process, worsen hyperpigmentation, and cause wrinkles. Do your skin a favour and protect it by not skipping this very crucial step in order to prevent further damage. Another reason to always apply SPF is that certain actives that you may have in your routine, such as alpha hydroxy acids and salicylic acid, can cause hypersensitivity to the sun, making you more prone to damage.

It’s a lot to take in, right? All you have to remember is that if you’re using more than six steps and products in your skin care routine, keep in mind that you should apply them depending on the product’s texture and weight. If you also have sensitive skin, adding two or more active ingredients in your daily regimen may cause irritations or cause these actives to counteract each other. It’s best to stick to one active ingredient per day and schedule the rest during the week. But other than that, just follow these basic steps and you will be layering your skincare like a pro in no time!

Latest update: 13/11/2019
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