POSTED: 8 Nov 2023

How To Layer Your Skincare Like A Professional

The secret to getting the most out of your skincare is using it the right way. Its for this reason that layering skincare has gotten so much attention over the last few years. Learning the best way to layer your skincare products is what can elevate your routine into an art form. The best thing though is that anyone can do this with a little knowledge and effort, absolutely anyone can do this. It is a smart way of boosting your routine without changing your products or investing more time. In this post, we will help you master this art to ensure that you boost the effect of every product in your skincare routine to and achieve your goals regardless of your skin type or concerns.

The Science Behind Skincare Layering

There’s plenty of scientific evidence that using skincare can improve the health and appearance of your skin. However, this doesn’t just stop at choosing the right skincare ingredients for your needs. You also need to use them correctly as part of a regular skincare routine. More recently, with the rise in different skincare products and formulations, there’s even greater awareness that the order in which you apply the also matters. Learning how to layer skincare will help you achieve this. You see, each product is designed to perform a specific function and how you use it will impact how how it functions. Layering skincare products in the correct order allows you to get the maximum absorption and effectiveness. Its not an exaggeration to say that the right layering technique can dramatically enhance your skincare routine.

Determining Your Skin Type & Preparing To Layer Skincare

If you’ve read any of our articles before, you’ll know that we always recommend taking a moment to reflect on your skin before trying anything new. Layering is no different and we recommend doing this even if you already have a routine that you like.

First of all, it’s vital to know your skin type. This will inform the type, order, timing and combination of products that you use in your routine. For example, people with sensitive skin or conditions like rosacea will need to avoid using too many active ingredients like exfoliating acids or retinoids at the same time to avoid irritation. On the other hand, those with dry skin should ensure that their routine is based around hydrating products that seal in moisture. Those with oily skin need to strike the balance between lightweight oil regulating formulas but avoid stripping their skin of moisture.

Next, have a clear idea of your main skin concerns and goals. Pin point specific issues you wish to address or improve, such as acne, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, redness or large pores. Set up clear and realistic goals that you want to achieve from your routine. This is important as your goals will help you choose the right products and determine how you layer them.

Finally, take stock of your current skincare routine and what products you’re using. Firstly ensure that you’re using the right ingredients for your skin aims. So for instance, if anti-aging is your goal, products with retinoids and peptides can be useful. For brightening and evening out skin tone, look for retinoids, vitamin C or niacinamide. Those with acne-prone skin should consider benzoyl peroxide, retinoids and beta hydroxy acids. Next work out what formulations your skincare products are in. For example do you have gels, lotions, serums, tonics or creams.

How To Layer Skincare products The Right Way

Once you’ve audited your skincare products, you can learn how to layer them! There are two basic rules of layering. The first one is to layer products from thinnest to thickest. The second is that if you really want to layer like a pro also consider its purpose. Below is our fool-proof guide to the best order for layering your skincare products:

  1. Cleansers: Always start your morning and evening skincare routine with a gentle hydrating cleanser. We recommend a gel, foam or lotion cleanser in the mornings. For the evenings double cleansing will help clean your skin properly. Start with a cleansing oil or balm (or micellar water) then follow up with a gel, foaming or lotion cleanser based on your skin type.
  2. Toners: In this category we put any liquid water-based products including essence and exfoliating acids. If you are using an acid toner start with that first. Then once dry apply your essence or other tonic.
  3. Spot Treatments: If you are using occasional spot treatment on isolated areas of skin (e.g. benzoyl peroxide gel or cream on a new pimple) then apply this here.
  4. Serums: If you are using several serums, apply in the following order: water, gel then oil-based.
  5. Moisturisers: The main aim of these is to hydrate and lock in moisture. In this category we include emulsions, lotions and creams. If you are using more than one, apply them in the order of thinnest to thickest.
  6. Oils: If you have dry skin then you might want to consider finishing off with a face oil for extra nutrition and to seal in moisture.
  7. Sunscreen: This is the most vital and last step in your morning routine. It doesn’t matter about the consistency of the sunscreen, use whatever feels and looks good on your skin.

Top Tips For Layering Skincare

As you can see a lot of skincare layering rests around having a common sense approach. That being said, here are some rules to help you layer skincare like a pro:

  • Keep it simple! This is a general skincare mantra we wlive by. No obe beeds a 12 step skincare routine every morning. Choose products with ingredients that your skin really needs.
  • Reserve the most active products (e.g. retinoids, arbutin or vitamin C) for serums.
  • The best place to use an exfoliating acid is in your toner.
  • get the most of ceramides, niacinamide and hyaluronic acid by using them in your moisturisers.
  • Focus your morning skincare routine on protection and hydration. A good example of effective morning routine is after cleansing to layer an acid toner, vitamin c or antioxidant serum, hydrating moisturiser and a broad-spectrum sunscreen.
  • Make your evening all about repair and regeneration. After cleansing, layer targeted treatments like retinol or Tretinoin then follow with a rich night moisturiser to support overnight healing.
  • Avoid using too many active ingredients at once, as this can irritate the skin.
  • Give each product time to absorb before applying the next layer.
  • Be flexiible as Your skin’s needs can change with seasons, age and lifestyle. Listen to your skin and adjust your routine accordingly.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment to find what works best for you and have fun with it!

Skincare layering is a surprising simple concept but can really upgrade your skincare routine. with a couple of basic rules you can easily learn to layer your skincare products to get the mot out of them. For best results, remember to spend a little time making sure you understand which skincare you are using and ensure that they are right for your skin concerns and goals.

At City Skin Clinic, we are passionate about personalised skincare. Through our online skin clinic, we offer safe and effective treatments like Tretinoin and Hydroquinone. We treat skin conditions like acnehyperpigmentationmelasma and skin ageing. To start your personalised skincare plan, book a virtual video consultation or use our online consultation form. The journey towards great skin starts here.

Authored by:

Dr Amel Ibrahim
Aesthetic Doctor & Medical Director
Founder City Skin Clinic
Member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England
Associate Member of British Association of Body Sculpting GMC Registered - 7049611

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